Rainy Escapades

I know it’s October, because the rains are back. No pool guys today! But, that is just fine.

I went out this morning to feed Granny and the chickens, and heard a strange noise. What was it? Goldie. She had somehow gotten out and had joined me. I figured I’d determine what happened there later. I headed out to feed Granny, only to be met by four hungry faces.

All the other horses were out and wandering around. Huh. What in the world? I then ran the gauntlet of Apache, Remington, and Mabel, with Fiona trailing behind. I was impressed that I managed to get the food to Granny and not slip in the mud while doing so.

Gleeful escapees

Next, I walked toward the gate to Apache’s paddock. Apache and Fiona nicely followed me, so they were easy to get in. I saw that the gate had been pushed open. So, either one of them unlocked it or (more likely) I had it draped over and forgot to fasten it when I went back to the house yesterday.

Then I went to find the other two horses, which is when I took the photo above. They were just milling around, so it was easy for me to just lead them into the pens by holding their halters. They got lots of pats and love, too.

At least the baby chicks had not escaped, so I managed to keep one type of animal where it belonged! And when I took Goldie back inside, I went out and saw that she (or another dog) had managed to move the big gate that is leaning across the patio to keep the dogs away from the pool. I managed to give myself a couple of nice, sharp cuts trying to put it back (it’s heavy!), but for the rest of the day, so far, everyone’s been in their places.

Tiny cut, but was actually pretty deep. Hurt like heck.

It sure is nice to see the tanks/ponds starting to fill back up, even if it means pool delays!

I also wanted to share that I have a new friend right outside my window. She has a beautiful web, as orb weavers tend to have, but she seems drawn toward my hanging web decoration. I’ve had that thing since I lived in Champaign, Illinois! The rain isn’t bothering her, or her smaller friend who is up higher on the window, one bit.

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 the Great Dane Goes Mudding

You don’t have to go out of town to have adventures, as the Hermits’ Rest’s biggest canine, Goldie, discovered today. We made it home from Bandera and getting new job paperwork done in plenty of time for daily chores and a bit of fun.

Explorer Goldie.

The deer stand on the property had gotten blown over by the wind, so I went along to watch the tractor right it. Goldie ran alongside us.

It’s pretty here.

Once the stand was righted, we just had to enjoy the beauty of the back part of the ranch. I love it there, where all you see is grass and trees. It’s really fun on a horse, but pretty darned good on foot.

Up it goes.

We wandered around a bit finding big rocks for Lee’s pond. Then we went to check one of the small tanks/ponds that hides back there. I got all distracted by this walking stick on a Christmas cholla cactus.

The brown thing is an insect.

Goldie decided she was thirsty. After all, it got over 100 degrees today, and she ran all this way. She did her best to get to the water in the muddle of the pond, but nope. The mud was up past her knees.

I can’t get to the water.

The sound of Goldie pulling her feet out of the mud was the definition of “suck.” It was pretty funny, but I was glad she didn’t get stuck. She was too.

She was sooo dirty.

It’s hard to say what’s more

This evening, though, we looked down and saw Carlton patiently cleaning Goldie’s legs. They made a lot of progress before all the dogs erupted in play. Yeah, we miss our dogs when we leave.

Mysterious Structures

Hmm. Our front “yard” suddenly has interesting sculptures or something. And it’s not rebar, it’s metal pipe.

Life-size hangman game?

They just erupted this evening. They weren’t there earlier today!

Another one.

They certainly look sturdy. Luckily I figured out where they were coming from, because I found a welding table over by the garage.

Aha. A fabrication area.

There’s actually a good reason for these structures. There will be a new fence going up, a bit sooner than originally planned. That will give the dogs the ability to run around in front of the house without the problems we’ve been having.

Who us? Cause problems?

Yeah. Goldie loves to go across the road to visit the neighbors. The very cute neighbor dogs like to come over here. We are all worried our dogs will get hit, like Brody did. and our dogs like to chase slow vehicles and people who are running or cycling. We don’t want that! They get over-excited and misbehave.

The dogs will have lots more space.

So the fence that was supposed to go up after the pool was done is going up now. There will be a temporary gate for pool vehicles. There’s plans for gates that will make it not too annoying for us.

It will be fun to see what happens with these.

Still, it looks like modern sculpture to me.

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!

Go Away Anxiety. I Need a Nap.

When you’ve been graced with a genetic predisposition to anxiety, you can meditate, breathe, do talk therapy, and take helpful medicine all you want, but still have days when you can’t deal with the symptoms.

Current co-napper

I woke up that way today. I was dealing with my personal “stuff” fine yesterday, but since I woke up this morning, some chemicals are flying around my brain that are decidedly unhelpful and unpleasant. I got through my meetings, and through the screaming haze and fuzziness, I was even able to contribute. But wow, I feel like I’m in a vat of buzzing jello, with a high-pitched droning soundtrack. Oh, with bonus eye tic and chest pains. Thanks, anxiety.

Napper to my far left.

I’m going to try to sleep it off, me and the canines, who are great napping role models. I’ll share some nice sleeping dog images to entertain you, since I can’t put two thoughts together right now.

Napper to my immediate left.

My sinuses are yelling, too, because it’s dusty and the air pressure keeps changing. I’m a big ole negative whiner!

Napper in the next room.

Tomorrow is another day.

He was napping, then I came downstairs.

Careful Where You Stick Your Head, Goldie!

Kathleen’s precious Great Dane, Goldie, turned up with a marble-sized lump on the side of her head a couple of days ago. We wondered what it could be, but noted that it was near where she had some marks from a tussle with Harvey.

I gots an owie.

It kept growing, and by yesterday evening, it was WAY bigger than a marble, more like a plum in size. We knew Dr. Amy would be in town today, so she went into town first thing this morning.

The lump, after treatment started.

The diagnosis was either a snake bite or a dog bite. We aren’t sure which it is, since there is a lot of neck chewing going on in this house, mostly in play, though. And, of course, there are a lot of snakes a curious dog could run into.

An example of neck chewing fun.

We think Goldie had fun on her outing, though it was reported that she didn’t want to leave the juice place where her friends work and had to be lifted into the truck. That’s getting harder, because she now weighs 106, up six pounds since we got her. She is filling out to be just right for her breed!

Yep, could be a snake bite, all right. And doesn’t she have lovely gums?

And, with all the playing and running she gets in with Carlton and Penney and with chasing Fiona all over the place (grr), a lot of her weight has to be muscle!

And Harvey, he also gets in on the frolicking.

We are glad that she has the medicine she needs to deal with the infection. The injury certainly didn’t put a damper on her good spirits and cheerfulness, however.

We live on a ranch. Things like this just happen as a normal part of life! I bet Goldie is a lot more careful where she sticks her head from now on.

Minor Miracles

One of the things I’m most grateful for is that little miracles keep popping up in life, and they keep me moving forward with a good attitude. Yesterday was filled with these wondrous occurrences.

After this, we even had a few drops of rain (and it rained a LOT to the north of us).

The first one was so many people reading the blog the last couple of days. I guess tagging a post “death” brings in readers, but really, the hits were a testimony to how much my friends care about each other. Thanks to all who said such kind things about Stephanie, Terry, Beth, and Alston.

Next came an answer to my prayers (more like a response to my internal curses). The County finally, at last, por fin, made a stab at fixing the road that runs by the Hermits’ Rest. Thanks, Precinct 2, for doing this before we lost another tire or shock absorber to your potholes that were becoming dangerous craters.

Heading toward Sara’s house.

They put down some black stuff, and at least for the moment (i.e., until it rains again in a month or two), you can drive the speed limit! No more weaving and trying to judge which set of holes was less bad for your car. No more coming to a complete stop before daring to go up the hill to the cemetery. Wow.

Heading toward the cemetery. You can see they didn’t bother to cover the parts of the road without potholes, but that’s okay.

It felt bizarre going down the hill last night and not getting that feeling that you’re on a carnival ride. We feel so fancy now.

This part was solid pothole!

Maybe the people across the street complained. Since they are Cameron natives and from a Good Milam County Family, their complaints would be listened to. Gee, I hope all the cement trucks and heavy equipment for building our pool doesn’t mess up the roads again (or the trucks full of corn, cotton, or whatever).

Alfred hair.

And to me, this was an actual miracle: Alfred actually came up and asked to have me pull some of his tons of excess hair off yesterday. He even came back for more when I got tired of it. It now looks like it snowed in many parts of our property, but Alfred seems much happier. Good dog.

I’m a good boy

And this felt like a minor miracle, too, like a gift from my friend Terry. One of our friends found some pictures of us having parties at a conference we all attended. There were pictures of us having a movie night as well as us laughing so hard while reading a book about baby platypuses that we lost the ability to speak.

Paulette, Barbara, and Terry during our laugh fest. It’s been wonderful sharing fun memories of our dear friend. Photo by Elisabeth Lewin.

I’ve missed these positive memories about my supportive group of friends from back then, the majority of whom are still my friends now. It’s a miracle to have such lasting connections.

Movie night at the “Technology Room” at an LLLI conference, laughing with my friends Jo and Dave. Our lives have changed a lot, but we keep in touch. Photo by Elisabeth Lewin.

And finally, Lee and I went on a nice ride out in the country last night, to enjoy the daily miracle of a Texas sunset after a day that wasn’t too hot or humid (I barely sweated when I rode Apache around 5 pm). With all this open space, I enjoy either a lovely sunrise or a pretty sunset nearly every day, even when the air isn’t full of dust or smoke from fires and such. Or rain from hurricanes, which we won’t have, but our friends to the east are having way too much of.

At the end of our road.

Think about what miracles surround you, whether from people or Nature (yes, people are part of Nature; I realize that). These things help you get through illnesses, deaths, work stress, and more. Don’t forget to share your miracles with others! It helps to hear them!

Random Goodness

Hey, isn’t it tine for a good day? I think it is. The main highlight is this here somewhat blurry dog.

Should I go hide?

As we noted a couple days ago, Penney refused to go down the stairs. We never have figured out what caused her whining and groveling behavior. Lee was having to get her started, and she was having accidents.

She was playful once downstairs.

Well, suddenly, late this afternoon, she thought about it, and came on down. What a relief.

Resting on her laurels

Other good stuff! I went on such a nice walk this afternoon, to celebrate having an actual fun day at work again, after a couple weeks of struggle. I got lots of observations for our Master Naturalist Summer BioBlitz. But it was such a pretty day.

The hill next to our property.

Sure, it was hot, but there were so many plants, bugs, and flowers! I didn’t think about anything but how varied life is in this little microclimate.

My favorite grass. Silver bluestem.

Plus! It rained a tiny bit. We are in a more normal weather pattern, so any rain is good. It was sprinkling while the horses were eating, and we looked down and saw this.

People keep saying I’m a horse, so I may as well eat hay.

That Goldie. You never know what to expect with her. She’s always getting all the other dogs to run and play. But she also gets tired. It all makes me smile.

I love a good dog bed.

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!