Guest Blogger: Are You Ever Safe from Snakes? No.

by Mandi Shuffield
Sarge, 9 years old. He will let his boys do anything they want to him. They seem to love putting things on his head…

The weather is finally cooling off here in Central Texas! I see a lot of folks are catching up on yard work and home improvements. I know the contractors I ‘ve talked to are sure happy about not sweating to death just from stepping out of their houses! But does this mean that we should be lured into believing that the venomous snakes are not active right now? It does not!

I have seen people share a post that gives the seasons that snakes are not out at this time of year. In my experience of almost 38 years, I’d say ignore that and pretend that even when there is ice on the ground, you could find a snake.

Just be vigilant, and then you won’t have to retrain yourself this spring. Don’t get lulled into security because some zoologist somewhere says they are “less likely” to be active. That’s the key phrase there, “less likely.” That doesn’t mean there is a 0% chance of finding them. That’s especially true if you’re moving leaves, debris, or climbing under a house where it is probably sort of warm.

Continue reading “Guest Blogger: Are You Ever Safe from Snakes? No.”

Who, Me? Hypochondriac? Paranoid?

What in the world would lead me to say this? Well, things have just been a bit…unbalanced this week. I’ve felt a little “off” all week, and have done some really goofy things that aren’t like me.

This is the can of delicious water that didn’t want to go in my mouth.

The biggest example is suddenly forgetting how to drink a beverage. I was sitting in my living room, watching television or reading, and I was really thirsty for that cold, fresh lemon-flavored water I’d gotten out of the refrigerator. So, while still focused on my other task, I picked it up and briskly poured it into my lap.

That certainly surprised the dog. But, really, I forgot how to put a drink to my lips? It’s like my body had a glitch. Of course, once that happened, I’ve been alert to any other motor-skills issues, so when I trip and almost fall on a tiny raised part of a sidewalk, drop what I’m carrying, etc., I think, “Oh no, I’m getting some disease.”

Vlassic took to his (my) bed to recover from my oddness.
Continue reading “Who, Me? Hypochondriac? Paranoid?”

It’s Not Always Exciting

Some days I run around doing interesting things. Some days I’m just full of deep thoughts. Not today. It was a very welcome normal day.

While dog walking, I caught Alfred and Lee adoring each other.

Everyone needs a day of downtime. I got to walk the dogs. I went to the office and did web and Facebook stuff for all my jobs, volunteer and paid. Nice.

I watched Mike S fix up the lighting in our conference room, which is good, because the light bulbs keep getting dim.

Ooh. Light fixtures!

I walked around exiting downtown Cameron and spent my Visa Gift Card Art the Bling Box.

Whew. By the time I bought some beef from the neighbor, my excitement level rose to a fever pitch.

Yet another ranch sunset.

THEN I went home and ate soup! Homemade soup! I hope Kathleen is over the flu soon, so she can make more healthy leftovers. This multi-generational household is great!

It’s a real joy to have a normal, unexciting day.

PS

Thank you to all of you who have said such nice things about my recent posts. I value your input and your thoughts.

Ranch Return. Ahh.

Being away from nature for a week was hard on me! I was so glad to come home to the ranch and see familiar sights. The trees, the cattle, the birds, my dear pets. It even smelled like home.

Back exploring with my buddies.

I got to check out what has changed and what’s new this evening. I also got to walk the dogs through beautiful autumn light. Here’s a report!

The old cedar elm at sunset.
Continue reading “Ranch Return. Ahh.”

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

The book I read all in one day is The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein (also a major motion picture, which I did not see). There seems to be an entire genre of books written from the viewpoint of dogs, these days. In fact, here’s a list of them from Amazon, and you will see it includes a book by a human with “dog” in their name.

As for this book, it’s both about racing and being a very intelligent dog observing a life. Like A Dog’s Purpose, this one posits that dogs are put on earth to protect or care for a family. When they are done, they go away and come back as something else. For our book’s dog, named Enzo, he is convinced he will come back next as a human, and he’ll know so much stuff, especially about racing cars.

I can see how this book became a “major motion picture,” because the people in it are not quite as complex as the inhabitants of the last few books I’ve read. The race-car driver dad is just plain good, with just a hint of temptation to be bad. The lawyers are just plain lawyers.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain”

Stinky but Fun!

In my previous post, I talked about going on a walk with Kathleen (who will be here for the next year or so, getting our Hearts Homes and Hands business going) around the ranch for a long time and getting no “exercise credit” for it on my watch. While annoying, there are darned good reasons we didn’t just trek briskly around the property. Plus the dogs got stinky.

Kathleen is ready for checking out the nature!

It finally cooled off enough to go for a nice exploration of the woods, which is just not easy to do in the summer. The dogs were pretty thrilled at the prospect, and engaged all their sniffers.

We’re ready to sniff!

I hadn’t had a chance to show Kathleen what’s in the woods (mainly a lot of cedar elm and coral berry), so she had fun discovering the little stream (or where it would be if it rained more), then as we moved on, we saw the gate to nowhere, and other bottomland landmarks.

Continue reading “Stinky but Fun!”

Blessing of the Animals – And a Surprise for Penney

I just got home from another fun Milam Touch of Love event, the Blessing of the Animals, which is a yearly celebration at many Episcopal churches in the US. Today the one in Cameron was at All Saints Episcopal, a church attended by a lot of my friends. They’d invited MTOL this year, and we really appreciated it.

Fifi is very friendly.

Our group brought two sweet dogs looking for homes, Henry and Fifi. The kittens Jean S. is fostering were also there, and darn, they are cute.

This sweet dog is all scarred, but so well trained and sweet, you’d never know she’d had a hard past.

I brought Vlassic along, as an example of the dogs that are dumped out in the country, which shows the need for helping animals out here. I was really proud of how well he behaved. He played a lot with Henry, who was thrilled to have a friend to play with, though he eventually wore V. out.

Continue reading “Blessing of the Animals – And a Surprise for Penney”