Yep. I was sitting on the porch a long time yesterday, since it was my designated day to not do anything in particular. The gang of feral cats kept wandering by. One of them kept sitting there, staring at me. No, feral ginger cat, I am not going to feed you or give you water, because my spouse would be Most Displeased. Besides, I happen to know you have plenty of food and water.
I was feeling all smug, because I’d already made my Move and Exercise goals on the Watch. It’s easy around here! That made my December goal, which was even more smugifying. I’m doing what the doctor said and increasing my exercise; I even raised my Move goal last week.
In addition, a Facebook friend graciously told me how to make the Exercise app on the phone show up on my watch, which means that if I stop for a second to take a picture, the app will pause. That will make my walks “count” more than they have in the past. Nothing’s more frustrating than walking for a half hour and getting one minute of “credit” for it. (Yes, I know my body counts it as exercise, but I want to make my watch happy, too. And yes, I know one of my goals for 2020 is to stop trying to make other people happy. But, this is a watch. It’s different.)
I wrote this blog entry originally for Milam Touch of Love, our animal welfare organization, but hey, who doesn’t love a story about beautiful kitties (other than Lee)?
This week I’m in Bandera County, Texas, which is west of San Antonio in the Hill Country. I’m staying in a cozy log cabin in a pleasant, older “resort” that’s perfect for hermits. It’s mostly scenery and quiet.
However, there are cats. Lots of cats. They’re feral, but obviously very well fed. I thought my husband was going to explode when he saw all the cats (as much as he loves dogs, Lee is not fond of cats and has a convenient “cat allergy” to prevent us from having any).
This morning, I put my MTOL Board hat on (it’s really an ear warmer) and set out to investigate. As I walked around the complex, I noted a number of plastic bowls full of cat food. I also noticed three lovely shelters built out of boxes covered with blankets and with a tarp over them. Hmm. Someone is taking care of those kitties!
I wandered over to the picnic pavilion, where I found a LOT of very happy cats smacking away at bowls of milk, drinking fresh water, and eating cat food. They were not happy to see me, however.
So, I decided to find out more about the situation and headed into the office for the complex. There is a really sweet woman who works there (it’s a small resort) who I’ve already talked to a couple of times.
As the days grow longer and longer here in Texas, our harvest starts arriving. It’s lots earlier than in other parts of the US, where nothing’s ready until August, but hey, it gets hot here early.
Some Good News
This has been a great year, too, with the rain continuing to fall much later than usual. It’s raining now, in fact, and it’s only 79 degrees (too bad it was up to 93 at the end of our horseback ride this morning).
I think I’ve mentioned that our neighbor Tyler started a vegetable garden this year. Yesterday, as I was looking for chickens, I peeked in and saw a really, really big yellow squash. And Tyler is out of town.
So, this morning after putting up the horses and Fiona (who went with us on our whole ride and caused no trouble), Sara and I went in and harvested the giant squash and zucchini that were lying under the large, healthy vines. We have to hand it to Tyler, his fencing and netting combination have worked great to keep meddling animals, birds, and others out of his crops. We left him plenty of small squash to harvest for himself once he gets home.
One of the most satisfying activities we engage in here at the Hermits’ Rest is to go look at the shared Wild Hermits property on horseback. Sara, who co-owns the property with us, knows it backwards and forwards, and always has something to show me. Plus, we see things from the perspective of our horses, Apache and Spice, who always have a surprise for us.
Yesterday was the perfect day for a ride. It was neither cold nor hot, the sun was behind clouds but it wasn’t dismal, and it wasn’t too windy. The ground had finally dried out enough that we felt okay venturing forth; it’s taken a long time to get over the big rain event, and we still hesitate to go out to the “bottom,” where it’s still spongey. And all the trees are changing color.
Since it’s still a bit damp, Sara, the horses, and I just walked to one of the pastures, I believe it’s the one she calls the trap (they have names for all the pastures that I can’t keep track of very well, not being a cattle rancher, I guess).
The horses kept stopping and sniffing the air. Even Spice, who usually is the pacemaker, kept stopping. We kept looking to see if there was anything weird going on, but the only thing we smelled was the unusual but sort of pleasant smell of the fermented hay the cattle owners had given the cows in the next pasture. Sara said it reminded her of her childhood on the dairy farm in Illinois.
When we got to the end of the race (the skinny passageway to the distant fields), we had to stop and take a breath. At the end of the passage is a very large post oak tree. This time of year, all its leaves are a golden brown, but have not fallen yet. When you look at the tree, you see nothing around it but fences and other trees. What a great feeling.
We couldn’t get a photo, because we don’t take the good phones out on our rides (it sure would hurt to fall off a horse and land on your phone, plus that can’t be good for a phone). That’s why you have a substitute photo of a cedar elm.
Trees are great fun for horse exercise, too, as we can do circles and figure eights around them. I even trotted in a circle. I am not big on trotting, since I came rather late to my equestrian career. Apache enjoyed it, though, and so did I. We are in no hurry and have no show plans. Just fun. I’ll keep moving toward more adventurous stuff.
When we returned from the ride, having let the horses sniff every downed branch and check out every bunny that hopped by, Sara got a text from the friend who leases the pastures on the other side of the road. She’d seen a juvenile wild cat headed to the next ranch. Well, that may explain why the horses were hesitant to just head on out. The cat probably came from our area, or at least its scent did!
We are watching our little pets carefully. I don’t want to lose Vlassic the dachshund, and Sara doesn’t want to lose her cattle dog puppy!
I interrupt my sharing from the conference I attended to share what a lovely afternoon my spouse, dogs and I had at the Hermits’ Rest yesterday.
I came home from work, and just felt like taking a long walk. I gathered a few dogs and started my usual route around the property. As I went down toward where the arroyo stream meets the woods, something smelled wonderful. I realized it was a large bed of fall asters. The little valley had trapped the aroma.
The aroma had attracted more than just me, too. The flowers were literally abuzz and aflutter with bees of all sizes and at least six types of butterflies. I was really happy to see Lee come down to see me, so he could enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds with me.
I really didn’t take all that many photos, because we were just observing. Still, I have to share that we got at least one migrating monarch in the bunch! There were also Gulf fritilaries, a red admiral, fiery skippers (lots), and some painted ladies.
After a period of vaguely okay weather, with some rainy days and nice things like that, it is now extra-July here in the middle of Texas.
Combine that heat with all that Saharan dust, and people are staying indoors in droves. In fact, if I had a Gratitude Journal, my only entry this week would say, “Air Conditioning!” I’ve been dealing with most annoying asthma symptoms all week.
Mandi was trying to paint the inside of the house she’s remodeling this week, but it doesn’t have air conditioning yet. She now has heat exhaustion.
I’m being careful and plan to feed horses and chickens at sunset, and will probably drive over there rather than walk.