Meanwhile, Over at the Cul-de-sac

The HOA promised us new plants in our Bobcat Lair cul-de-sac, and yesterday they got to work on it. When I left in the morning, there was just spray paint all over the place, but when I got back from work, there was evidence of change.

Hey, I haven’t peed on these yet.

It’s sort of funny, though. Because we only have certain plants we can use, the new plants look just like most of the other plants in the neighborhood, so they blend right in. Only if you knew sotol has replaced yucca would you really notice.

Oh, you just wish that pink stuff was flowers. Nope. Deer would eat them.
Continue reading “Meanwhile, Over at the Cul-de-sac”

Frog-a-rama

One of Lee’s recent projects around the ranch has been to build a little pond for the dogs to play in, and to conveniently keep water from draining into our driveway and making puddles where we don’t want them. The new pond is like a puddle on purpose.

Thank you for the swimming pool! We love the frog toys!

And as you can easily see, the dogs do like it! The water is remarkably clean, for such a small “pond,”and both Vlassic and Carlton are frequently seen wading in it. Lee has further plans for water features, which are fine with me as long as there’s something in them to eat mosquito larvae.

That’s where the frogs come in

As I was wandering around the pond on Sunday, I noticed movements. First I saw a LOT of little bugs swimming around or on the surface. Then I realized tiny frogs were jumping into the pond whenever I or a dog startled them.

Waiting for bugs.

Careful observation and standing still a while brought the delightful realization that heads were poking up out of the water! The first head was of a small brown frog or toad, about four inches long. It suddenly snapped up a flying bug (scaring the bejeezus out of me) and disappeared.

Next, one of my favorite sights on the ranch greeted me. The “eeping” frogs have a representative in the pond. These are large frogs that are bright green with striking orange eyes. I’m guessing they are green frogs, though I can’t get close enough to get a good photo.

EEP!

Anyway, when frightened, these guys yell “eep” before jumping into the water. They were favorites of Brody’s. He’d run along the big pond and you’d hear a series of frog sounds all in a row.

So, it made me happy to see so much life in a pond that is really not much more than a large puddle and has only been around for two weeks!

Hate. What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing.

Hate seems to be cropping up all over the place. It’s not just “those other people I don’t like” that seem to be full of hate, but people close to me. I’ve been paying more attention lately to how people use the word “hate” in conversation, and I’ve also been thinking hard about my own relationship to the concept of hating.

When people I know use the word “hate,” it’s rarely in reference to a specific person or other entity. It’s always a group. A friend’s son declared, “I hate snakes! All of them!” A close friend asserted, “I hate cops!” I’ve heard, “I hate Trumpers” and “I hate libtards” (actually BOTH in the same day).

Don’t hate me just because weenie dogs like to jump up and poke you in the eyes (a thing Sue Ann once believed).

Does that make people feel better? Does hate help them feel superior to a group? Or does it help vent feelings of being wronged in the past?

Upon closer examination, I would bet both these people don’t hate every individual snake, police officer, Trump fan, or me. It’s just that nebulous category that gets their emotional reaction. It’s hard to hate things or people you know as individuals. So I say.

Continue reading “Hate. What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing.”

Cameron History Note

We’ve decided to activate the website for The Hermit Haus, our meeting center at the former First Christian Church in Cameron. We are interested in knowing more of the history of the church, and would love it if any of you know about events or people of interest that happened during the long history of the church.

First Christian Church member Marie Jones Braden

For example, did you know that Tommy Lee Jones’ mother was a church member? Apparently someone knew that and told Mandi! Head on over to the blog for the Hermit Haus and read more about Marie Jones Braden!

While you’re there, we appreciate suggestions for the website and blog, since it’s new. We are excited that we may get to host the El Camino Real Master Naturalist meetings and class there next year. Anyone else want to rent out the building for meetings? The upstairs is all set! The downstairs still needs air conditioning, though!

Summer Dead Stuff

Hey again. I’ve got some more deep thinking coming up, but first I have to say it’s hard to get anything at all done this time of year, because there’s always something interesting and deceased laying around.

Our first thing isn’t dead, just empty. That’s the tiny nest the baby finch tried to fall out of yesterday. It’s so small and exposed! But birds successfully fledged.

Awkward photo of awkward bird nest

The next best is bigger and more protected.

There’s still a bird in there.

But at least two fledglings ended up on the porch this morning!

Continue reading “Summer Dead Stuff”

Did I Save a Baby Bird? And Summer Glory

Isn’t it about time I got back to nature observations? I think we all could use some sweet stories and pretty photos, so I’ll try to give you some of each.

I love this image of a wheel bug on the window at work.

The Dangling Finchlet

First, I’ll tell you about the house finch families who have taken up residence at the Hermit Haus, who entertain me and Mandi when we hang out by the carport. They sing and sing, and fly right next to us or sit in big groups chirping and looking spiffy (especially the males).

Hey, it’s hay and more hay.

Well, as we came out to leave this afternoon and I was trying to load paper towels in the car, something brushed against me. I looked left, and there was a poor little baby finch flailing away, but unable to fly off, because a piece of nesting material was stuck on its leg.

Continue reading “Did I Save a Baby Bird? And Summer Glory”

Gone Viral? With Dignity, of Course!

Here’s a nice story! Yesterday, I was checking my blog statistics, like I do once or twice a day to see what posts go over well, and I noticed a big spike in hits. What? And wait, they are all coming from Twitter? Why are they all linked to my book review of Dignity (which I still can’t stop talking about).

Usually Facebook is way more than Twitter.

At most I usually get 3-4 hits from my Twitter posts every day. Part of that is because I don’t think all the posts get shared to Twitter, and part of that is that most of my friends and family are on Facebook and access it there. That’s fine, because I write this for friends and family, not to share my brilliant thoughts with the world (first, I’d have to HAVE a brilliant thought).

One of these days looks very different from the others.
Continue reading “Gone Viral? With Dignity, of Course!”