Ups, Ups, Downs

Things have been good here lately. I spend a lot of time watching cute animals.

That’s a relaxed dog.

I even rescued a trapped English sparrow today who couldn’t figure out how to get out of the henhouse. I caught her and took her out. She was so exhausted that she just sat on my hand. Poor dear. No photos, since I had five hen eggs in my other hand!

So, here’s another friend, the gate spider. Apparently a Western spotted orb weaver.

There’s just so much joy in our animals. The dogs love evenings when we’re in the pool, because they can run and play with an audience. I take them out in the mornings for a little play, too, which makes for a nice work break.

Things continue to be good with the horses, too. We had good lessons today. Drew showed Tarrin how hard we’ve been working and then learned new backups. And poor Apache struggled a lot with moving his butt when asked. My left leg is tired! But, those two bring me such joy. I’m so lucky to be able to learn and grow with them.

But there are so many animals to enjoy here. My son found this really cool snake in his cabin. He just caught it and took it outside and caulked up the hole it came in. That’s my boy.

And today, I went to water the plants and was startled when I reached to turn on the spigot. Along the house was a complete snakeskin, I’m pretty sure it was one of our rat snakes. I love it when you get the whole skin.

I guess that’s enough animal fun for a Saturday evening. Hoping all is well with you. We’re having more family illness stuff. That’s the down part of the post title.

I Try to Cheer Up

I feel sorta silly for being sad about a rooster. But it’s sort of on top of three people I know losing beloved horses recently, too. Livestock? Friends? Fellow beings who enrich our lives? Sure.

Portraits of Carlton make me feel better.

I went out to remind myself of how we are all part of something bigger. Tiny mushrooms said, “Look at us!” I spent about ten minutes just looking at the first one there. So detailed.

I went in and tried to work. I’m glad I’m doing something that requires concentrating. It makes time pass quickly. But it’s not terribly cheerful. So, I decided to do something that would please Lee and make the house look better, too. I put actual china in the old china cabinet that one day I’m gonna spiff up. It looks better with Lee’s family china and my green and purple stuff in it. Some day I’ll find the rest of the china.

That made me feel a little better. It still needs some color. I sure was fond of tan and wood when I built this house.

There’s new life, though. A baby snake said hi.

And now it’s raining again so that feels better. I just needed to remind myself of what is good. Life is good, even when it’s hard and we lose our companions. That’s just how it goes.

Yay.

What’s Good with You?

I hope you’re finding good things in your life. They’re in there somewhere! Today I enjoyed a sunrise. Ok. The sunrise. There was just one.

Southern sunrise

It was pretty in every direction.

Northern sunrise

I was surrounded by color!

This is the western sunrise! Huh!
The east. With the actual sun.

That was my idea of goodness. No day that starts this pretty could be all bad. Even when you realize your pond has gone dry.

Ooh a barrel. Maybe Drew can pull it out!

There’s stuff blooming, though. And I found a passion fruit.

I even have a new friend, the garden spider who guards the henhouse. She decided to build her nest right across the door. I walked through it. Yuck. And she’d started rebuilding by the time I finished feeding the chickens. She’s good, though. I got to watch her deal with a grasshopper that got in her web. In mere seconds, it was all wrapped up and probably wondering what the heck just happened.

One more bit of goodness was that I saw an unfamiliar bird land on the back pond, the one with water. Then another. It was big, but not as big as a vulture or heron. But it looked like a heron…something was different about its head. Sure enough, it IDed as a tricolored heron! Yay! Now I’ve seen five: great blue, great egret, green heron, cattle egret, and the tricolor.

That’s plenty of good. Plus I got out of the house to go look at houses this afternoon AND ate dinner out with Kathleen. So glad she’s recovering! To celebrate, enjoy dog photos!

Heat. Sick.

Feeling bad today. Stomach stress and literally falling asleep randomly. No COVID, so my social life didn’t kill me. Glad for those free test kits. I think I’ve just tried to do too much outside the past few days.

Me and Carlton. Zonked.

I’m sure I’ll be better tomorrow. At least I picked colors for our next renovation project and look forward to a bigger project coming soon. More details soon!

Why I couldn’t take a nap. Four howling dogs and one trying to escape. Look at Alfred!

It really needs to rain here. Even with the pool, it’s getting to us all. The horses just stand in the shade. The dogs lay around the house. The people do their best. I just feel icky. Sleep should do the trick, and electrolytes.


Creature of the Day. Large wolf spider. Now outdoors.

Good to Be Home

One good thing about having to drive an additional hour to Pecos, TX because there was no water in the entire town on Van Horn, our drive home was easy. Wow, Pecos is a one-industry place. That industry is oil. We knew that, but it was impressive to see so many wells, tanks, and pipelines.

Where there was no oil the scenery was negligible. This might have been the least interesting desert we crossed.

Look, a bush!

Even the hotel, which I liked because it featured many elephant statues, a Buddha holding a US flag, and many Mexican cactus statues, had pretty dull birds. Grackles and doves! I did find a couple of new plants, so I was pleased.

I’m about done with the blanket I’m making. Crochet gives me exercise points on my watch, so I appear very fit. It helped pass the time, but I was also glad when more mountains showed up.

Before heading home, I gave Kathleen the Native American pottery bear I bought her in Arizona. It’s my favorite kind that’s fired with horse mane and tail hairs to make the decorations. It’s a Mama Bear to look over her and protect her from negativity and unkind people. It will work!

Mama Bear

I have a large one of these somewhere that’s not unpacked yet.

We finally got home and I was so glad to see everyone! The ranch is fine and all animals and people are, too. I got to visit the chickens and hug all the horses.

Where were you?

Everyone looks darned good. Fiona especially looks fine. I think her recent worming helped. they got hay from my son, which I appreciate and do did they. It didn’t rain much.

I’m so sleek.

Drew and Apache both were happy to get fly spray. Ahh.

Back to work and heat tomorrow. Keep sending our family healing thoughts!

Book Report: Piglet

My new blogging strategy does include continuing with book reports. They are among the least-read posts, but the people who do read them seem to enjoy them, and I like having a record of what I read over the past few years. So, let’s go!


Rating: 4 out of 5.

My friend Johanna recommended the book Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family to me, saying it reminded her of me and my dogs. Once I started reading it, I could see how she came to that conclusion!

Piglet is an example of what could have happened with Carlton if he hadn’t lucked out and had spots on his ears and near his eyes. That’s a double dapple or double merle or one of those genetic issues that can happen when two dogs with the dapple or merle gene breed and get homozygous.

So, little Piglet ended up very pink and both blind and deaf. The fact that he has ended up being a social media star and an ambassador for both animals and people with disabilities is an amazing testimony to the creativity and determination of the veterinarian who adopted him, Melissa Shapiro.

Along with her family (especially Warren, her wonderful husband) and their six other dogs (and some birds), Piglet had a lot of supporters and helpers when he was little. I found it fascinating to read about how he figured out his world with his nose, including remembering people by their breath!

You can sure see the resemblance between Piglet and Carlton. Piglet is the same mix that Vlassic is, though (dachshund and chihuahua)

Shapiro’s pets did remind my friend of our pets, but the difference is that Shapiro has a lot more discipline and organizational skills than I do, so her dogs have a lot more skills and control than ours. But, the love is the same! I enjoyed getting to meet all the other pets in the household as well as Shapiro’s children, who thrived in the supportive yet disciplined environment in which they grew up. I had to smile huge smiles as I saw how each of them became their own person and braved the world with the confidence their parents helped them develop. Good job, Shapiros.

Wild dogs!

It’s hard not to like this book. It also makes you want to run out and contribute to Piglet’s nonprofit that supports educating people about the many accomplishments both humans and animals can have when they don’t allow disabilities to limit them. The Piglet Mindset is a great thing to have! Many readers will find themselves looking at disabilities differently after reading Piglet, and that makes is a truly wonderful book to have.

Check out Piglet’s Facebook page and his nonprofit and follow the extreme cuteness and pluck of this little dog. He has a lot of life left in him and a lot of work he can still do!

Pride and Practicality

I have to say my horses make me proud. Today was another lesson day for both of them, and you could really see progress, even since last week. Drew. Damn. He just loves to learn new things, so it’s easy to sneak new knowledge.

The goal today was to work on turning right without crowding. He thought it was working on stopping and starting, then going in and out of cones without me following. I walked in a straight line and he had to weave. He didn’t get it at first with Tarrin but got great at it with me. Proud!

He’s a winner.

He also is now jumping higher jumps, which is really going to help his muscles. And today he did it calmly, so he didn’t have to re-do anything. He was cool as a cucumber. In fact he drifted off a couple of times when we were talking. Maybe he will learn to turn more straight and I’ll learn to turn correctly, too. We’re getting instructions!

Q2 Virtual Show ribbons

I’m also proud of these ribbons from the virtual show we did in May. It’s the first time he ever had competition. And I was very proud of both Drew and Sully. They were very close in their scores. This was a great show for Sully’s first one! Sara has done such a great job training her. I’m proud of her, too!

Dog play break

As for Apache, he was moody at first, but he got really excited and seemed genuinely happy when he managed to jump over the high jump twice, in each direction. I think he surprised himself!

And that boy worked his butt off today. His goal was getting under his haunches and stopping properly. He has really been reluctant to stop when he’s anxious. Well he practiced stopping a LOT. He did many of the things Drew was doing, but including lots of stopping. To his credit, he got the idea!

By the time we were doing the “approach the scary trailer” ordeal, he was paying attention and stopping on a dime. Screech! That’s real progress. The whole trailer approach is improving. It’s not there yet, but Tarrin says he’s starting to trust that I’ll keep him safe.

I’m also doing better with my ability to be calm and deal with his stuff. I’m proud of our progress, but feel bad for how wound up he gets. I did give him a nice bath, and I can assure you he had a nice roll later.

Practicality

I thought you might get a chuckle out of how I decided to organize all those Color Street nail polishes I have. I found that one of my shoe boxes fit them perfectly.

Ta da

I felt like decorating it, so I found my 2020 calendar of donkeys and used it to cover the shoe box. It’s certainly cheerful.

Howdy

The donkeys make me smile, and now it’s wY easier to see what polish sets I have. I also sealed the used ones in hopes that I can use them later by warming them up.

Ok. Fun.

And there ya go. Something random and not depressing! And because I want to reward those of you who read to the end, let’s enjoy the dogs on a pleasant evening.

Self Care Lets You Care for Others

It’s thoughtful not to bare your inner torment then just drop the subject. People worry (at least two of them!). So, hey, not only did I get in some quality talk therapy and encouragement from people I rely on, I bravely ventured to a new health-care facility to get my medications back (or see what other alternatives there are).

Hey, look, my tack room has a horse sign now. Thanks to Lee for hanging it!

Cameron is not overly full of health-care options, but a new one opened last month, and I tried it rather than stressing myself out by going to my old neighborhood in Austin to see the doctor. More self care, right there! The facility is nicely renovated and conveniently located on the same road we live on (only in the city, not the country). I had a rather negative first impression thanks to the relentlessly cheerful Christian radio station (complete with phone number I could call to get the staff to pray for me!) that clients have to listen to. But, at least it was positive in focus and not a certain television network I would have walked out on.

A cricket frog also cheered me up.

Good news! The PA I met with was just great. We talked a half hour, at least, and he both listened and shared information with me. I went ahead and got the same thing I was using before, but he gave me some ideas to look into, including a kind of progesterone treatment I hadn’t thought of. If it would help my hair grow more, maybe I’d like it. But, I’m going to read up on it a LOT before trying anything hormonal. I am really susceptible to hormonal flux.

Great blue heron says, hey, the pond got a wee bit bigger

Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll feel more like my easy-to-live-with self soon. That will let me be helpful to others, including animals. And oh my. Poor Vlassic needs help. Last night it rained, and of course rain is good, right? Especially when you are in an intensifying drought.

Better than no rain at all

The rain came with thunder and lightning, and poor Vlassic was over in the RV alone. He didn’t cope well. When I came to get him this morning, he couldn’t walk right, was screaming in pain and was unable to bark. He must have panicked. Well, that is NOT going to happen again.

I need love.

It looks like his companion in the RV won’t be home for a while, and Vlassic won’t come in our house because Penney traumatized him soon after we got her. So. Lee and I have all his stuff set up in the new apartment, even though it isn’t quite finished yet. There’s a couch in there, and I’m going to sleep in there with him until his buddy comes back. Then it will be plenty busy and he will be happy again.

I’m tired from being scared.

I can’t let my animals get all messed up. I’d been thinking Vlassic would only have to stay alone for a few days, but that isn’t the case. He needs to be with people at night as well as during the day (we’ve been spending a lot of time with him during the day). So, wish me luck, knowing how many nightmares I’ve already been having! But, Lee will have the other dogs and I’ll have Vlassic, and we will all have the care we need.

Sunrise after rain.

This will work until next week, when we had planned to go out of town. I’ll have to see if I can get some help after that if Vlassic’s companion isn’t back yet! Or stay home. I can also do that, because my little buddy’s more important than a vacation!

I guess this is good news. We apparently have an aviary in the porch. The former ceiling fan fixture near where the swallows live has just morphed into a gigantic sparrow nest. Mrs. Sparrow seems so happy about it. At least we lived here quite a while before those English immigrants found us!

Now, I have to say, it is hard to not be grumpy about some things. Some dog ate my crochet hook. It was a nice wooden one. Now I know I have many, but they are all packed up still. Damn. Back to knitting until Friday. Um, let’s look at more photos of more cheerful things…ish.

My former crochet hook. I thought they’d eaten a walking stick bug. No.

More to Come

I’m honestly too tired to write. The good news is all animals got vaccinated and Goldie got spayed today. All survived so far. Much tranquilizer was used.

What happened?

Vlassic and Harvey were quite the pains in the butt. Carlton hid. But he was good. Shocking: Alfred let them cut his toenails like a gentleman.

No no no no no

That’s all I can muster. Long day for my family. But we are grateful for Dr Amy the mobile veterinarian!

Stress Relief

Between concerns about family member health and work intensity, I’ve got no blogging brilliance. The heat doesn’t help.

Things are just upside down.

It’s getting really dry around here and we’re surrounded by katydids and prairie boopies (grasshoppers). They are everywhere. But, there’s a life and death fight going on that has me fascinated. The garden spiders and one dog are trying to help. Who wins? Check it out.

Yeah. Way too little water and too many grasshoppers this year. I’m glad today’s project for the guys was more power washing. The ceilings of the porches and the exterior of the house sure look good.

Clean house.

It’s gonna be a long summer. I’m extra glad for that pool. I can even get exercise in it. By the way, since it’s a salt-water pool, it feels good to open your eyes underwater! Lee says it’s like eye drops.

I assume these cows won’t open their eyes under here!
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