Baby, It’s Cold Inside (Or, weird hotels I have known)

That’s right, blog readers, I am in yet another hotel. I had to be in Austin today for a couple of appointments, and I didn’t want to miss a whole lot of work driving to Austin and back from the ranch. The original plan was to stay at a friend’s house, but their guest room was full of boxes, and my back (and pelvic area) can’t take even a pretty and spacious couch right now. So, I booked two nights in the hotel closest to the Bobcat neighborhood.

This was quite modern in the 1990s.

I’ve looked at this hotel for what, 25 years now, but hadn’t been in it until last night. It’s an older one that has obviously seen lots and lots of conferences and workshops, but thanks to COVID has a lot of empty space. I got the corner room on the top floor, facing the courtyard, which gives me an interesting view of scaffolding.

View from my room

I thought it would be quieter, but the bartender, a fun Cantonese woman, assured me that sound travels up and echoes around. Sure enough, it does. But there are not many people around, so it’s okay. She said a month or two ago there was a film crew in the hotel, and it got VERY loud. Yes, I had myself an Old Fashioned at the bar last night. There was only one creepy person there. I ended up with two drinks, because the bartender didn’t like how the first one came out. Fine with me.

Trusses, up close and personal.

I had dinner last night with Anita at a teeny-tiny Japanese restaurant at the Arboretum, which brought back fond memories of when I first moved to Austin and the kids’ dad worked in the office building next to the shopping center. We spent a LOT of time at the bookstore and Thundercloud Subs. Hey, that’s where the Japanese restaurant is now.

We took a walk around the shops after dinner, and they were all closed except this really cool space full of things by local Austin artists. I wanted one of everything, but just got Anita a candle holder made out of tiny skulls. The place is called ArtUs Co Shop, and will only be open through the holidays, sigh. I knew I shouldn’t have put off checking the place out. If you are in Austin and need to buy gifts, go there. It’s like the Armadillo Bazaar only less crowded.

Anyway, about this cold. Wow is this hotel quirky. The staff are GREAT, though. But the hallway to my room is colder than it was in Colorado, and my room has stayed a brisk 67 degrees since I got here. It’s fine at night, since there are my beloved Hilton linens and pillows to keep my cozy, but while I have been trying to work, I’ve turned into an ice cube.

Brr.

I told them at the front desk, and they brought me a warm blanket (just as nice as the warm cookie upon check in). But, no one has come to work on the heat issue.

I do love the down comforters on these Hilton beds.

I went to get coffee to warm up, and the front desk clerk said to get nice fresh coffee upstairs. The server rolled her eyes and said they ALWAYS send people up there for coffee without pointing out that it costs $3. I got mine free because I had been downstairs earlier for a quirky but delicious breakfast. They sort of have a restaurant at the hotel, but not really. I did like the breakfast potatoes a lot, even though I think they made me sick. I ate along with an assortment of bald business dudes and younger couples whose male members wore gimme caps. Every single male under 40 had one on.

If I’m frozen to this desk, Anita knows where I am.

I think I like cold and quirky hotels, to be honest. They have character, like Valdoro Lodge in Colorado did. I can overlook the ill-fitting hallway carpet and random buzzing noises as well as the outlets that will not charge my phone. I have peace and quiet, which means I got so much work done already today that my boss is probably mentally telling me to stop. I did stop to eat a Kind bar and blog during “lunch hour.”

I look forward to seeing my old neighbors tonight, so I hope to have more to report tomorrow. At the ranch, the horses all got out of the pasture, but Lee says they are fine. Did I forget to lock a gate? I wouldn’t put it past me! And in final ranch news, I am told the pool will get worked on again Friday or Monday. As Lee’s dad would have said, “We’ll see.”

Your Junk Buying Expedition is My Dragonfly Observation Expedition

I noticed an ad in the Facebook Marketplace yesterday saying there was a large building full of stuff that was for sale near Milano (20-something miles from here). It sounded like it might be a thing the builder in the family might enjoy, I thought.

A beautiful place.

So, in a work break, we headed out somewhere in the area near Milano, Texas (mil-Ann-o). We hit a couple of bad train tracks, which was fun, then found the place. What a beautiful property.

And there were dragonflies!

While one of us patiently went through a treasure trove of old tools and equipment, I wandered around and took pictures of the plants I found.

There were lots of these Cuban jute plants

This is legit post oak savanna territory and the plants were right on! Gosh, the trees were beautiful.

Post oak.

Meanwhile, the building full of tools was fantastic. It had so much cool stuff, including some antique tools and a lot of wire we can use to make fencing. We both had a great time!

Some cool chains from today.

So. We each got what we wanted out of that expedition! A bunch of tools and equipment and plenty of iNaturalist observations!

The guy at the sale liked me, so he gave me this old lamp.

After all that fun, it wasn’t over! Later in the day, more fence poles went in. You can really see the pens taking shape.

Fence poles at sunset.

I also had a blast this evening helping with Sara’s family, who wanted to give their toddler his first horse riding experience.

I feel pretty.

We did a group grooming on dear Lakota so he’d look good. The poor horse was like, “No one pays me any attention for a month, then, boom, three people are grooming me!”

Sara had fun.

The little fellow really enjoyed his ride, but I think I enjoyed watching his parents and Sara’s sister the most. It must be so great to have grandkids! So many firsts.

This evening I went out to check the new pullets, because I wondered if they’d roost in their cage. Sure enough, I found five pullets in the cage, but Babette was even higher, on top!

We are all up here.

The other chickens were ALL on one branch. I love how chickens sleep together.

Sleepy time.

All in all, it was a fun day. Things are fine. I’m just not letting things outside my control bother me. Maybe my philosophy is actually sinking in.

Have a good weekend!

The Great Peeper Escape

Well, shoot, those baby chicks are three days old already, so naturally it’s time for them to start having adventures or getting in trouble. They were fine this morning when I went in and gave Star some scratch to enjoy. Oh, and since my sister asked, I decided I better name them, so meet (left to right) Granite, Bronzer, and Steel. I figure those names are unisex and color-coded, so I can remember them.

Hello, we like to eat. And peep.

Lee and I went on an ill-fated trip to find him a zero-gravity folding chair to sleep in when we travel, and when we got back, I headed over to the chickens to give them some mealworms I’d bought for them (as if they don’t have enough insects).

I heard a great deal of peeping long before I got to the chicken run. Obviously something was wrong! Was something in there going after my babies? Was one of them hurt?

Steel had just pecked Star’s beak. I’m sure that’s her loving look. Chickens don’t have many expressions, sort of like cats.

I peeked inside the roosting area, and there was Star and two chicks. Bronzer was not there. And the loud peeping was from outside the roost. The biggest peeper had managed to jump up on the fine Hook ‘Em sign I’d used to block their exit and gone down the ramp. Uh oh.

Right as I figured that out, Star jumped through the opening and went to comfort Bronzer. There he/she/they was, bopping around and poking at grass and such. The chick was fine, just wanted MAMA! Great, I thought, I have to move her before I can get to the baby.

Yay, eating from the feeder. Note that Steel is already getting some new wing feathers.

I gamely went into the coop, and crawled through the chicken opening, which is not a semi-large human opening. I was wearing clean jeans. Note that I say WAS wearing clean jeans, since Star had been depositing large mama hen poops all over the place. I waved at her, and she ran back up to the other two chicks.

As I waited for little Bronzer to bop close enough to me to be caught I noticed something I’d forgotten about: there was a DOOR to that roosting area, for if you wanted to shut the chickens in there at night. Aha! It’s a really cheap and non-sturdy door, as only a Tractor Supply’s least expensive chicken coop would be likely to have. But, it shuts.

Bronzer is really big. Hope that doesn’t mean future rooster.

I chatted to Bronzer for a while, as my back got all frozen up, and did I mention it was extra windy and below 60 degrees? Yep. I was worried the little one would get too cold, after reading about keeping them at 95 degrees for the first week (that is Star’s job).

But, yay, my patience paid off and I easily picked up the chick. Figuring out how to back up in a very tight space holding a peeping and wiggling bird was the next challenge. Something was catching my shirt, but I managed. Whew. I plopped Bronzer back where they were supposed to be and managed to shut that door. Safety at last!

Thanks for the bugs, says Bertie Lee. They are nummy. I’ll lay you an egg later.

Now that Star can’t get out, either, I went and got her some adult chicken food and will put more in there tomorrow. I was very glad to see Bronzer eating away and looking no worse for wear. At the rate they are growing, I should be able to let them back out in a couple of days, anyway. I’m learning that chickens are pretty tough.

Star must have mites or something. She’ll get to have a dust bath soon!

Hope your adventures have good endings today like mine have!

Black Weenie Dog Unsure about Cameron, TX

by Vlassic Bruns Kendall

Hi, I’m Vlassic, like the picke company, only with an extra s. I am a small, black dog. I travel a lot, now that Suna goes back to Austin more often. I like it in Austin, mostly. I get to hang out with Pickle the chiweenie, play with Anita, and snuggle lots and lots with Suna.

Snuggling makes me very happy.

I have some friends and enemies in Austin, but mostly friends. Last week a dog kept yapping at me until her human took her away. And for some reason, my old buddy, Percy, was mad at me much of the week. But, we sniffed butts and had a nice walk last night. I love walking in Austin. Suna and Anita pick up my poop, so I try to go as much as I can.

This morning, I got to go for a car ride (yay) and we ended up at this place in Cameron, where some of my family are, plus some nice people like Meghan and Jenecia, who give me treats and pet me. It’s a little weird here, but I have toys and a water dish, which helps a lot. Plus, I get to visit and “help” people work!

I’m having a meeting.

Suna took me for a walk today, and that convinced me I do NOT like Cameron. Everywhere I turned there were more dogs barking and running up to me. The first few were behind fences or attached to something that saved me. Whew.

I like the sidewalk, because there are no grass burs. And look, Suna picked up my poop, like she was in Austin or something!

But, a giant dog (Suna says a medium-sized old, sweet dog) came rushing out of a garage and barked LOUD. Suna screamed. She was embarrassed, she told the old human who came running out. In the end, I liked that dog fine, and we sniffed butts. Suna says she has no pictures because she was so busy protecting me. Thanks, Suna!

Parts of the walk were good, like I found a dead thing to sniff, and lots of places to pee.

MMM. Dead thing.

But, danger is everywhere! There were all sorts of grass burs on the sidewalk where the vacant lot had been mowed. I had to stop and remove them, but then, yay! I got to eat them. They are tasty snacks, actually.

Then ANOTHER dog came after me. Suna knew this one would be there, so she talked to it. He wagged his tail, barked a little, and went home. Suna saved me again!

By the time I got home I was exhausted. I tried to regain my strength by eating stuff out of the trash can, but she emptied it.

No luck with the trash can. I’ll just lay down.

Suna felt sorry for me, so she found a nice blankie for me to snuggle up in while she works.

I’m comfy and cozy now!

I’ll just take a nap now, and hope Suna takes me back to the ranch, where my other human, Jim, likes to hang out with me, and where I can run free with the other dogs, even bad ole Penney, who I actually like, now. And my chickens! And all those cute calves. I think I’ll dream of chasing them. Bye!

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