Pretty White Things

While I’m pretty tired from the amount of meetings and learning I’m going through, I’m grateful to be surrounded by kind people and fun friends, including the non human ones.

Ready for his closeup

Lee took this beautiful picture of Carlton today. I need to frame it! Between him and Gracie, there’s a lot of white dog beauty around here.

Gracie taking over the big bed.

One more white thing is very new! Billie Idyll has finally laid an egg, and it’s a big one for such a small chicken. And it’s a lovely, creamy white. I wish Henley hadn’t stopped laying, so you could compare it to her extremely white eggs.

Compared to a Buff Orpington egg from Blondie.

Good ole Billie did good! Yay funny-looking hen!

You think I look funny, you should see Babette’s head! No wonder she’s sticking her chicken butt out.

I think this means just Betsy, the Americauna is still not laying, though since Babette got bopped on the head, she quit. I have quite the collection of merely decorative hens at the moment.

Betsy is upper left. She’s big enough to lay!

But they all bring peace and joy to the ranch, and that’s what counts. I’m glad for all the white, tan, red, brown, black, and spotted creatures around here.

My eggs may be small, but they’re the bluest.

We are still checking Star every day for chicks. They have food and water in case they hatch when I’m in Austin.

Bonus pic, because I love them.

Goldie’s First Bark Box

Each month I get a box of dog toys and healthy dog treats from Bark Box. They are always cute as all heck, and they have a theme. Highly recommended.

A box. It doesn’t bark.

They used to go to Vlassic in Austin, but since he stays at the ranch now, I bring them to the other dogs, who actually destroy them more slowly than V did. Don’t worry, V has dozens of toys in the RV.

His tail crinkles and the inner tube can be removed to be a separate toy.

This month’s theme was summer camp. The best toy is a beaver in a pool inner tube, but all are cute.

S’mores and campfire. All have interesting textures and sounds, so even if the dog is a terrier who insists on finding and removing the squeaker, they stay fun.

So, Goldie is new and hadn’t enjoyed the monthly toy infusion before. When I distributed the toys, Harvey and Carlton grabbed them and began squeaking them heartily. Goldie watched.

Later, as the others lay snoozing after playing for a while, Goldie walked over and gently picked up a toy with her teeth. She then jumped on the couch with it.

She has a toy here

Did she squeak and shake it? Did she destroy it instantly? No. She delicately felt around it. She lightly tossed it into the air and delighted in watching it fall. Then she cuddled it. What a gentle soul.

Thanks for the toys

As she was doing that, Lee pointed at his feet. There was Carlton, daintily “fleaing” Lee’s foot. He’s also very gentle for such an energetic dog.

I’ll groom you!

It’s always a fine realization when I see how well life is with all these dogs. They entertain us, cheer us up, and comfort us. I never would have imagined having such a large pack, but it’s worth the effort and expense.

Enjoying the strawberry moon

Penney Succumbs to Goldie’s Charms

I must share this good news. All the other dogs are getting along with Goldie the Great Dane. But Penney has been snarly and snappy since Goldie arrived. Until tonight.

Even Gracie is shocked.

As the day went on, she was nicer and nicer when they passed each other. Alfred is the same. No mote gruff barks. This is great. But when both Carlton AND Penney joined in the puppy playtime, my heart just melted.

Goldie isn’t graceful, but she’s enthusiastic.

I guess we will get to keep her! Kathleen has been enjoying feeding the dogs and hanging out with them. I’m glad she has her dream dog. Life is good.

Yeah, Maybe Goldie Is Happy

Perhaps I’m posting too many dog blogs, but who cares? It appears that the dogs have come to truces and are enjoying each other. There are still occasional growls and snaps (Penney and Harvey), but we all had such a fun and funny day that I had to share. Goldie had breakfast in my office, for privacy.

I just want to eat in peace.

Then she and Harvey joined Lee for some couch chatting time while he ate his breakfast. It was, I guess, cozy. Good thing she is gentle with furniture.

Much of today she stayed with me, but she did figure out the dog door at last, so she could go out. Carlton and Penney and Harvey made it mighty snug in my office, but they were pretty quiet!

Ahh, the cool floor.

After work (and a fantastic conversation with my wonderful dear friend formerly known as Nancy Jo), we all went out to play. At least it wasn’t as hot as yesterday! After running around, they had to cool off.

Alfred and Goldie looked like luxury liners out in the big pond. After explaining to the two guardian dogs that they did NOT need to bark at one of the cows, we all ran back. Well, Alfred and I walked.

Let’s race!

I sat on the porch for a while to enjoy the breeze. Since the dogs were cooler, they could play. Carlton and Goldie looked like they were dancing.

That tired them out, so they got on the ground to rest. Then they rolled.

Whew

And, as I knew it would happen, even Alfred rolled. He looks so happy.

See, I can roll, too!

I missed getting Harvey rolling, but there was quite a lot of it. The grass is so beautiful right now; who could blame them?

Were you worried that Penney didn’t get to play? Not to worry. She stayed upstairs with Lee, but Harvey went up and wrestled with her when we came back in.

Now we are all cooling off again. I think Goldie is settled in.

These humans have nice houses.

Geez. She is a big dog.

Who, me?

Gracie, the littlest Hermits’ Rest dog, spent the afternoon on the porch in her favorite chair. But she did get exercise. She moved to her favorite INDOOR chair. Cutie.

This is MY chair.

Just a Few Cute Animals

Oh goodness, I skipped a day of blogging for the first time since I resolved to post every day quite a while ago. I had good reason, though, it was a busy day with lots of fun meetings, animals to care for, chores, and conversations. By the end of the day, when I could have blogged, I chose to sit on the porch and talk to my family. Who could blame me for choosing in-person interaction? (Okay, someone could, but I probably don’t like them.)

A grasshopper.

There are lots and lots of bugs (including mosquitoes) out right now, and I especially liked this fuzzy caterpillar.

I got the chickens a big brick of treats at Tractor Supply today, since they completely finished their last treat, which was watermelon rind. They can certainly clean out a watermelon.

Let’s see. I also met a large fish, who’s apparently a local celebrity in Bea’s Kitchen (more on why I was there, later). It’s a fine and friendly fish.

I seem to be unable to add captions, but the fish says hello. Sigh, WordPress seems to give new features, then take away old ones.

And in case you were thinking I forgot the dogs, here’s Carlton making himself WAY too much at home in my bed this morning.

That’s some stink-eye! I’m off to do horse things and then finish my indoor writing tasks. I wish all of you a reasonable weekend, with weather that fits your desires (mine is no rain).

Extreme Pet Closeups

My somewhat large, white, short-haired dog, Carlton, has been chilly lately. Because of that, he’s spending a lot of time on our laps, under covers, or on us in bed (he used to sleep next to me, but lately he’s been on top of that excellent source of warmth, Lee). Sometimes he asks to get under the covers and sleeps next to me.

This is my frequent view of Carlton the Dogman.

But, also, he has been hanging around with me in my little recliner when I’m home, nuzzling under the afghan I’m knitting. It’s a good thing I’d already planned to wash it before giving it to the recipient!

For a dog, he has a great occlusion. Look how well his teeth meet.

He likes to raise his head up and ask me to pet his neck. I realized I could get some pretty fun photos of him while he did this, and want to share them with you. He is one pink dog with weird blue eyes, that’s for sure.

This close, it’s fun to see all the different directions his hair grows.

I feel so lucky to have him in my life. I guess I must, if I write about him twice in one week!

Doggie bliss.

More about Carlton:

Carlton the Dogman Second Anniversary (April 2020)

Carlton’s Dream (a painting of him) (May 2020)

Carlton’s First Anniversary (April 2019)

A Digression on Dog Genetics, Part 1 (July 2018)

A Digression on Dog Genetics, Part 2 (July 2018)

Happy Birthday, Carlton!

When we got my very pale dog, Carlton, he was around 4 months old. Sandra told us he’d been taken from his mother at 4 weeks and given to a child as a birthday present. Once the novelty wore off, he was chained outside for a couple months until Sandra rescued him and took him to the pound.

Just a blue-eyed boy.

She babied him and socialized him until I decided I wanted a small dog to commute with me between Cameron and Austin. He looked perfect in size and temperament. And he was so beautiful. He had weird blue eyes and we weren’t sure how well he could see.

My favorite picture of when I got him.

So, we took him to doctors and such, determining he could indeed see at least some, and that his coloring is a rare double Merle variation. Luckily, he has a Fox terrier spotting pattern that covers his ears. So he can hear!

Beautiful.

Carlton didn’t work out as a commuter dog. After he pulled me down a steep, wet hill and messed up my ankle (still hurts often) we decided to leave him at the ranch where he could run and grow. Soon, Vlassic appeared out of nowhere and I had my small dog!

Today!

It’s the day we arbitrarily decided is Carlton’s third birthday. He now weighs around 40 pounds and looks like the Greyhound Bus logo. He’s very fast and seems to see just fine. We think being confined on the short chain as a pup delayed his vision development, but he’s good now.

He does like to chew. And Alfred taught him to find food on the counter. Grr.

The most important thing to me is our bond. We sure love each other. The thing I look forward to most every evening is when he delicately steps onto my recliner and settles between my feet. He will lean his head way back and stick that pink nose upside down in my face. After a tiny lick he will settle down with a big sigh. That makes my day.

Night night.

Every night, he sleeps at my feet, or at my side if Needy Penney lets him.

Hiding from the lights.

Carlton is now a really good dog. He’s grown out of his youthful barking and jumping, which helps a lot. We enjoy watching him play and run with the other dogs and don’t have to worry about him chasing cows, because we don’t let him out much. Well, no dog is perfect.

Cute Animals for Scary Times

Really, I do understand why people are being cautious these days. The rate of coronavirus infections in Milam County has skyrocketed. I have been limiting where I go, and even wearing my mask to cross the street. I ordered a lot of new masks today, too, since I’m wearing them more and getting them dirty.

Question mark butterfly
This question mark butterfly is stunningly beautiful, and was right outside my office door.

My family and the companies I am affiliated with are all being very careful. There have been two people die who work for my Austin employer, though I do not know what caused it. Sure makes you pause and want to hug your loved ones, though you can’t.

Sleeping white dog
For the past three nights, Carlton has been lying on top of me until I get to sleep. Dogs are so loving.

What I can do is tell you some fun/mildly interesting stories about animals and share some pictures! Okay!

A house finch nest
Mama Finch says she likes it on THIS side.

First, all the birds around our Cameron offices have been continuing their festival of babies. The mockingbirds finally left their parents this week. I miss them, but Lee says now we have a carport squirrel. The swallows are down to two babies who are about ready to fledge. And the every-valiant house finches re-built their nest on the OTHER side of the garage and are sitting on eggs.

I love that nature just keeps plugging along. Some things just don’t change.

One thing that doesn’t change is Alfred and his abundance of hair. We had him pretty well cleaned out, but yesterday we noticed Harvey was getting lots of hair out of him. So, Kathleen sat and patiently removed hair for about ten minutes, before Alfred ran out of patience.

Large pile of dog hair and two dogs
I’m not sure I like this…

The rest of the night, if Kathleen even LOOKED like she was heading toward him, he ran away. Not much makes him run. We laughed a lot, and laughing is good. I hope some day we can work on his other side!

A jackrabbit in Milam County, Texas
Just chillin in the pasture.

I got a new animal sighting today, too! I saw my first jackrabbit in Milam County, right on the ranch. Someone had said they saw a really big bunny, so I think this was the one. Those are some big ears, but I felt a lot better with my ID when a couple of local friends confirmed my sighting. I am happy to see them and hope their population grows.

In horse news, Apache is walking close to normally, for which we are all very grateful. He, Fiona, and Big Red the chicken are all getting tired of living in the tiny pen not sure why Big Red is always there, but maybe she thinks shes part of the herd.

Big Red, Apache, and Fiona
Good morning. We would like to eat now.
Ginger the chicken
I did not ask for a husband.

And in bird news, the guinea fowl are growing like crazy, and the new chickens are, too. The ladies are growing in their combs. Clarence, the newest rooster, has not won over Ginger and Bertie Lee yet, but its getting better every day. Thank goodness!

We think Bruce is about to get his crow going, which will be fun. At the moment he makes some funny sounds we cannot really identify.

So, that is the non-COVID news from around here. Office update soon!

Carlton the Dogman-niversay

My memories on Facebook told me that it was two years ago today that I brought a little white dog home to be my buddy and go back and forth to Austin with me.

I’m skinny and squinty.

Carlton the Dogman is no longer little, and he stays at the ranch. Still, he’s my dear buddy. I love the way his little pink nose feels when he says hi, and the evenings we spend in my chair are real treasures.

I’m a genius! I come when I’m called. Usually.

He has hobbies. Mainly they are swimming in muddy water and playing with cows. The cows totally love him and pay him no heed. He just likes it when they all group together.

I’m disguised as a Dalmatian. See my spots?

He has finally stopped jumping on me, but he still has a barking issue. He barks to try to get the other dogs to play, mainly. He has way more energy than the others, which explains why he’s so skinny.

I love you, too, Mommy.

We’ve loved having Carlton as part of our pack. He seems to be able to see just fine, even with his weird eyes, so we think he’ll be around a long time.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Those of you who haven’t been quarantined your whole lives have probably heard this saying before. It’s the first thing that popped into my head when I saw that today’s UU Lent word is bloom.

Let’s see how to do that. Image by @dmotif via Twenty20.

It being spring in glorious central Texas, you see blossoms everywhere. They look especially vibrant this year, since it’s been cloudy or rainy most of the time, and there is a lot of very green grass to contrast with it. I don’t think they are what I’m going to talk about today.

Bloom is a verb. When a plant blooms, it puts all its energy into reaching out to other plants, insects, birds, and animals. It sends pollen out to make seeds. Then the females put even more energy into taking what they got and making fruit.

That’s how I see the idea of blooming where you’re planted. Just like a plant, we don’t get to choose where we do our growing. Some of us get nice rich soil and lots of nurturing, others of us get placed on the sidewalks of life.

Burr clover can bloom on the driveway.

Right now a lot of us are planted in an isolated place. I’m even in a basement, for heaven’s sake. What is helping me a lot is taking the situation I’m in and learning from it. While I’m all cozy in here, I’m thinking of ways to be a better person, do my work better, and contribute to my community.

Blue-eyed grass is one of my favorite signs of spring at the ranch.
I’m planted right here, Mommy. I’ll bloom later, okay? I’m also metaphorically exhausted.

When I bloom, I’ll be able to make the best possible flower, and we can all do that, no matter where we’re starting from. You take what you’re given and make the best of it, or not, I guess.

Let’s hope that the fruit we eventually make from all the introspecting, preparation, and hard work we are doing to grow and bloom will be sweet, nutritious, and strong, so we can plant more ideas.

I’m metaphorically worn out now. Are you? What do you think about when you think of blooming?