Arrivals and Departures

The population of the Hermits’ Rest is always changing. Today there’s someone new who arrived and someone old who departed. No one died, to put a spoiler in there.

Pet me once more

Dear old Granny, the skinny old mare with the inability to properly eat grass, has been sent off to hang out with Dusty and Kathleen’s other horse at the farm in Yorktown. She can wander around and squirt and quid all she wants, hang out with cows.

Enjoy your new friends!

I must admit I’ll miss her bony old self. She is awful with other horses, but she’s a real sweetie with people. I enjoyed hanging around with her, and gave her lots of love every day.

New resident

This little guy just moved into Lee’s pond. It’s one of our many baby bullfrogs from the spring mating fest.

I like my rocks.

He’s not as friendly as Granny, but he isn’t too afraid of people. Somewhere around here is a little toad, too. Lee found it in the house and put it back out.

I’m a toad.

Another new arrival is this skink. I think they are really cool. I’m not sure if we have one or multiple. I’ve spotted skinks a few times in the last couple of days.

One other visitor I have no photos of, but my guess is it’s a pocket gopher. I hadn’t seen any here, but Sara had some. I guess they hiked over here to enjoy chicken food. I blocked the holes last night, and lo and behold, there was a lot more food left this morning. I may end up just sharing my fancy chicken food with them.

Stay out of our food!

And in other chicken news, I tried letting Babette back in with the other chickens. An hour later, she was all bloody-headed again. Darn. So, she’s back in her isolation ward.

I’m a delicate flower. But at least I’m finally laying eggs regularly.

Apache has normal eyes again, and the dogs are fine. That’s it for our comings and goings.

Chicken Wrangling Success

Good news for me! I think I have the situation with Star and her week-old babies under more control now. Lee went out and got me the same feeder and waterer I had for the previous chicks that had gotten thrown out accidentally. I got those set up, and no matter how hard the dang mama hen tries to scratch at the water, she can’t get into it, and at least when it’s pretty full, she can’t turn it over and ruin everything in the cage.

This place is a mess (I have cleaned up).

The chick food also has stayed nice and dry and pristine since I got the feeder set up. Star’s food is still in a dish, and it seems okay now. She just likes to scratch. So, I gave her some scratch today. The chicks seem to like it first, unaware that they should only be eating medicated chick food.

The Brown Chick shows their new feathers coming in and their pretty eyes.

They seem fine and dandy, however, bright eyed and flapping their wings like they already want to take off and fly. Luckily, their wing feathers have not grown in very much. I guess they’ll be taking off sooner rather than later, though.

The Black Chick is probably a gray chick, but the wing feathers are pretty dark.

Ha! They can fly all they want, but they can’t get out! Hooray! They will have a little platform to stand on, a perch, and such. They already seem to like the little tree branch I put in there for them.

The rain has been pretty persistent, but the chicken cage has just gotten a little damp, which is not bad at all.

Rain damaged fire ant nest looks like it could be in the Grand Canyon area.

The rain has led to some interesting things outside the chicken world, like fire ants building interesting looking nests (yes, I’ll get rid of them, but sometimes they are fun to look at).

And the pool guys are back today. I guess yesterday was too rainy. In any case, I’m glad the chickens are okay and the horses have shelter. I’ve ordered even better feeding and watering stuff that should come in soo, so maybe the chickens will be fine for a while.

Lunch hour is over. Time to go make some documents.

The Chicken Family Annoys Me

Of course I am glad that Star managed to hatch two chicks. And I am proud that we made a fairly safe place for them to live and that their real feathers are starting to come in. But, wow, they seem hell-bent on making things difficult for themselves.

We’re innocent, honest.

The big culprit is Star. She has consistently overturned every food dish I put in the nursery. So, baby food and adult food are just scattered all over the place. I guess they have no trouble finding food.

But, that’s not all. The chicks were having trouble getting to the first water dish I gave them, so I put in a saucer. The Black Chick and the Brown Chick (no real names until they get older, I decided) get all excited whenever I add water. That’s because the moment I pour in nice, fresh water, Star jumps in it and begins scratching in it, getting it dirty and spilling it. I’m sure she has her reasons, but that is really annoying.

Mom, you spilled all our water. Again.

The chicks have their own little things. The cardboard border is down, thanks to Star, so of course the chicks try to get out. The good news is that chicken wire is too small even for 4-day-old chicks. They also like to get between the cardboard and the wire. At least they can get back out. I did try to fasten the cardboard with some metal, but that didn’t work. I will find some duct tape and use that next. I’m gonna outsmart those fowl.

Drink the water, don’t stomp in it.

I’ve been trying to get by on stuff I already had here, but it looks like I am going to have to go to the feed store and try to get one of those little chicken waterers and HANG it, so they can’t turn it over. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with food. The thing I am using is obviously too easy to overturn. I guess I’ll get one of the plastic chick feeders, too. They all got thrown out when the garage was cleaned out last month, and I have no one to blame but myself for that. I think I did it.

I’m sure I’ll get all this chicken stuff figured out, and maybe when the rest of the family comes back again, I can get more ideas or help. In the meantime, I get to figure out what to do with the chickens so I can clean the cage. Hmm.

Consistency is Dull

Sorry, y’all, but there’s not much new around here. The two chicks are still with us, so that’s fine. I’d like that to stay boring.

Dang, we can’t get out.

The pool guys are still tiling. They spent a lot of time smoothing the edges, but did get some edging cemented in. They are so careful. That makes me happy. They also work like 11 hours a day. Ugh.

They were just leaving when I took this.

And the horses are fine. I’ve been so tired this week that I haven’t done much with them, but today I took Apache and Fiona out for some fun. First, Apache got to try out the new poles in the round pen. He tried to avoid them at first, but then started to have fun trotting over them. He even cantered really nicely for a bit!

Reward time.

We went for a good walk, practicing good manners, and exploring. Of course Fiona came along. She seemed to enjoy the view.

Whee

It really seems to me like these two have as much fun as I do wandering around and checking out all the different plants, hills, and trees.

Let me out!

And the promised house offer has not happened. Not surprised. No news is no news!

So yeah, it’s not exciting. The blog visits have plummeted. But, I’m employed, I have friends and family who care, and I’ll keep on keeping on, with a good attitude. Thanks for reading, all right of you.

Cheep Cheep, and Such

Sheesh, today was a dang busy one, but at least it’s mostly good. I had a lovely dinner last night with my friend, though it was bittersweet. The restaurant is in the location where my favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant, Hao Q was, before the really fun woman who owned the place, Hong, passed away.* It happened during COVID, so Anita and I didn’t even know. In any case, it’s now a Filipino restaurant, and pretty good.

Smiling women with cute hair.

Anyway, Chriztine and I laughed so much at each other’s stories (how I had burned hard boiled eggs yesterday morning, how she went the wrong way on the one-way street across from my former workplace, etc.) and guessing what the ingredients were in the extremely interesting frozen dessert we just HAD to try (there were beans, that we knew).

I do love the neighborhood in Austin. That’s Elvis the cat, on a roof. I think that’s Elvis. It may be his “brother.”

I worked and worked all morning in the sparkling, clean house, wishing an offer would come through, but, as of this writing, it has not. I did get to see my son, who is being very patient with keeping the Bobcat Lair house so pristine. Anita is growing weary, though. I feel bad for her having to do all the showing work, caulking and other optional but helpful things.

I did get to see two neighbors and their dogs! They were glad to see us, too.

I zipped back to the ranch as fast as I could, knowing that those chicks were due to hatch at any time. I rushed over to feed the chickens, then noticed Star was NOT in her nest. Oops. Babette was looking a bit nervous (well, she always does, actually, but at least her head is healing).

Something’s wrong!

Then I saw Star, under her cage. I looked in her nest and saw only one egg. Hmm. Wait a minute. I stuck my hand under Star (earning her wrath and some pecks), and discovered two little fellers. They had hatched and thanks to Star messing with my cardboard border, they’d gotten down.

Little chicks!

They could easily get out of there, so I couldn’t leave them. I ran to get Lee, and we proceeded to engage in a pretty darned funny (in retrospect) battle to capture Star and the little ones. I gave Lee a stick to prod them, and I got Star in the cage, but didn’t want to latch it so I could put the chicks in.

While I was around the back of the henhouse trying to catch the little ones, Star got back out, and she and Babette ran around and around, to Lee’s annoyance. But, he stuck with it, and I was able to get both chicks in the safety of their cage.

Getting Star a second time was NOT easy. I hope I didn’t hurt her, but I do think she lost some feathers. Finally they got in there, I put in new water, chick food, and adult food for Star, who I hope will start eating now.

I’ll just go ahead and eat this chick food.

Meanwhile, the saws were buzzing away over by the pool. The guys have put a smooth plaster edge around where the tiles will go, and have started putting in the limestone ledges around the pool. Lee said they did a lot of smoothing yesterday, too. I guess the tilework will take a while!

I’m getting the hang of the new job and am making some handouts and such. I’m glad I got useful sort of quickly. I just need to get enough sleep to have energy to do more with Apache in the afternoons…it will come.

There’s a lot going on with many of you readers, so I want to let you know I’m thinking of you and want to hear from you. Being a part of a community of kind and thoughtful people means so much to me.


*Please read the wonderful messages on Hong’s memorial page. You’ll get the idea. She knew everyone’s name, their favorite dishes, their wine preferences…everything. She was a total hoot, too.

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.

Ready for Babies

That’s baby chickens, not humans. I’ve been informed I won’t be having grandchildren. But, Star has been setting on three real eggs and one fake one for a while now. I’m guessing chicks will show up any day now. So, it was time to get ready for them.

She is in a cardboard box in the “hospital pen” (her choice). Rain gets in there and can’t drain, so it’s not ideal for babies, but the cage is well protected, so that’s good. I set out to fix things, with the help of the usual helper, who happened to show up for a day or two. Here’s what we did.

First, I put Star in a different box, which I had cut an exit in, for when the chicks come. She was pissed off, especially when I didn’t replace the fake egg. I forgot hens can count.

I’m not pleased.

I cleaned the tray where rain had pooled, and Star wasn’t thrilled with that either, but you can’t have chicks in a puddle.

Babette, who has a head injury and is isolated, was also not thrilled.

Next, we went over to the spare metal storage area and got two pieces that will block rain from coming in, as well as protect from winter winds. It went up great!

The yellow sign also protects the other side from rain. Two sides are still open for ventilation.

I think we did a good job being creative. I had noticed that the bottom of the cage had some openings that a chick might get through, so another cardboard box came to the rescue. We made a nice barrier that will also keep chicks in for a few weeks while Star can exit to eat.

“Hey! Get me down from here!” At least it’s easy to move Star to work on the cage.

Now I’m ready for chicks. Maybe this time some will make it! I have to go to Austin to get my hair done next Wednesday, so I’ll put out food and water before I leave, just in case.

“I feel cozy now.”

And now to relax a bit before tomorrow. I have talked to my son and my dear step-sister today, so I’m not even feeling like a hermit!

Chicken Newsflash

I haven’t written much about the chickens in a while. They have been blessedly normal and fine for quite some time! The only thing that has been bugging me is how long it has taken for the new bunch of hens to start laying. All I can figure is the few weeks of really hot weather may have delayed them. The older chickens, on the other hand, have been moulting, so there sure are a lot of feathers all over the place.

Pretty little egg

On July 27, there was one egg laid with an unfamiliar pattern on it, but nothing since then. Today, however, there was another pullet egg, on the ground, with some interesting spots on it. So, someone has started up.

The makings of a feather bed

I’ve been getting four eggs a day lately, and I have a suspicion that Blondie, the Buff Orpington, may already be laying normal-size brown eggs and I just don’t realize it’s her. She has very red comb coloration now, and has for a while (that is a sign they are ready to lay). There should be some colored eggs at some point, since I have an Easter Egger and another breed that lays colored eggs, but those two haven’t started.

I’m a grown lady. By the way, Henley, who is behind her, hasn’t laid an egg in months.
No idea why.

The other chicken news is rather predictable. Once again, Star, the world’s most persistent chicken mother wannabee, is broody. I thought about it today, and went ahead and stuck one of Butternut’s eggs and one from either Bertie Lee or Springsteen under her. We’ll not miss those three eggs, and if these hatch, well, Star is already setting in the cage where she can raise the chicks. We’ll see!

Leave me alone. I’m in my box.

In pool news, the guys seem to have finished the rebar today. The highlight is the shape for the fire feature. I will be interested to see what is next.

Ready for flames and lights.

Right now, I’m busy holding onto rocks for grounding, trying to look my best, and exuding positive vibes. It’s always a good thing!

This little rock has an S in crystals in it. Suna power!

Is It a Rebar Sculpture?

That’s what I asked myself when I went out to check on the Pool of Dreams after work. It’s looking very sculptural.

The flat area is our “beach” section, where you can bask in shallow water, or if you’re a dog, slurp.

They’ve been working on the rebar framework for the pool for a couple of days now. The idea is they make a ten-inch grid on all the surfaces. That’s for the gunnite to stick to when they build the shell of the pool.

The hot tub looks really cool. The part you can see through will be the waterfall. Ahh.

I learned from the men in the family why the rebar sits on bricks. It can’t touch the dirt, or it will rust and degrade and cause problems. They thought it was gonna do that and got all worried. But, the pool boss guy assured them anything touching dirt would go away when the frame was done. Yep.

You can see the bricks from this angle. You can also see where they are making a seating ledge in the deep end, for sitting and drinking wine.

It’s been fun watching the shape of the pool come to life. I’m figuring out where the skimmers will be, where all the fancy lights will be, and stuff like that.

What it looked like yesterday.

I also found out that because our fire feature will be propane, not natural gas, we can’t put those fancy glass rocks in it. We have to use lava rock. Why? Because propane is heavier than LP gas, and it would get trapped under the small pieces of glass. It would go boom. Not good.

And there’s always the sky.

We enjoy sitting and watching the clouds and animals now that the evenings are cooling down. It sure helps with the anxiety, which is better today.

Carlton really wanted to get into the disabled machine (its track thing burst).

Tomorrow is a big day for me, so send me lots of positive energy if you have any to spare. As a reward, I’ll share some pictures of my animal buddies. It is so pleasant outside with clouds, a cool breeze, and normal September temperatures!

A Date with Nature and Livestock

Nature’s creatures have nothing to do with human organizations, judgmental humans, or unnecessary drama. Their drama is, at least, necessary. So I dumped social media and went outside on this nice day.

It’s a nice day, because we’re in it.

Half the day I added to my collection of observations for our Master Naturalist group’s summer bioblitz. I missed the spring one by being in North Carolina, so I wanted to make up for it. Here, enjoy some things I found:

The rest of the time, I hung out with my animal friends. I’m sure if I had grandchildren I would not take so many pictures of animals.

Enjoy what really matters in life and let other stuff go. You’ll be healthier!