When You’re Irritated, Go Outside

No matter how many times I try to convince myself not to care to much about my work, I keep doing it, and the way things are set up now, I really need to just roll with the changes. But, I’ll try to do that again, next time.

Goldie is rolling with the changes. Keep on rolling, keep on rolling, as REO Speedwagon advised.

So, today I made a point of going outside and enjoying a relatively cool August day with the animals. I did some excellent breathing, then went out to see how the horses were doing.

What, I’m supposed to be rolling? Usually you make me stop!

I got Drew out and tried to groom him. Oh my gosh, he, too, had been rolling. In the sand. While sweating. He was now an orange horse. He had clay-like clods in his mane that would not brush out. I got my exercise in!

I don’t know what she’s talking about. I look just fine…from a distance, backlit.

We went for a walk, which was fine until Harvey took off after him and he bolted away. Drew is very pretty when running. And he waited for me. I took a deep breath and we finished our walk. Then we went in the round pen, and Drew totally made up for running off. He has improved so much! At least I feel like I’ve taught him something. He slows down, stops, turns, and comes to me when asked.

I’m not so bad. Also, Fiona’s empty dish tastes better than mine.

Then I fetched Apache, who was much less filthy but more bothered by flies. I see why Drew was rolling in the sand. Both got fly spray, so they will be better for a few days. I put Apache in the round pen to see if he’d move better after some pain killer the night before.

Yep. He’s trotting.

He acted like normal Apache. He trotted around and around until I asked him to stop. He turned around when asked. He just kept going. I think maybe it’s just he abscess growing out.

Look, you can almost see my ribs!

We had a good walk, and when he started wanting to eat every time I stopped, I practiced starting and stopping after different numbers of steps. That made him think, and his head stayed up.

My head is up, geez.

Sara has me reading a depressing article on sugar in grass. It makes me feel doomed at slimming him down again until winter. I can’t let him out only between 9 pm and 3 am. Sigh.

I can’t help it. I was born this way. Or mismanagement. Or something. This is my bad angle!

By the time I did all this, I felt better. Keeping myself centered to work with the horses helped a lot! Animal therapy. I’d say it’s free, but horses are not cheap.

Donkeys are cute and cheap!

Lughnasadh Blessing

Yesterday was not only our third anniversary of Vlassic arriving at our ranch, but it was Lughnasadh or Lammas, the early harvest festival in the Celtic tradition I enjoy observing (among many traditions).

This is our fun wheel of the year calendar we hang on the wall. You rotate it to put the current season on top. From sacredsource.com

One thing people do for this celebration is thank Mother Nature for her bounty. Today we’re thanking her for a surprise rain event that’s filled up the little pond and made some good puddles.

Lee’s new and improved drainage system also works!

We had already had an inch of welcome rain by the time I went out this morning, and we’ve had more heavy showers since. Wow, we might have the creek flowing well into this month! It had started to dry up from the previous rain, but this is a nice reprieve!

View out my window.

It’s a good thing Lee got lots of dirt moved around and made the bigger drainage pipes yesterday. His new pond might have gotten messed up.

Making a better path.

When he got overheated, he could sit and listen to his fountain, which makes it worthwhile!

Making things smooth. The rain will help!

I’m glad the horses are getting a free bath, and sure hope it dries out by afternoon! The rain has killed my ability to upload or download, so my work, both paid and voluntary, is hosed. The joys of rural life!

Note to grasshopper: that’s a fake plant. Hope it starts growing soon.

Enjoy whatever you’re celebrating this time of year. I’m going to rejoice in the fact that it’s only 77 F outside!

Happy 3 years to V. He is my biggest blessing of the season. Also, his nose seems to be healing.

Progress, Despite Heat

It’s the time of year that we can’t get much done outdoors, but Lee and I are getting a few things accomplished (mostly Lee). His pond project has made it to the “proof of concept” phase, in which he connected all the parts, added water, plugged in a pump, and saw it work. It makes a nice sound, and you can even hear it over the sound of the giant fan we need to make sitting on the porch possible.

Watching the water flow

The dogs like it, and it’s getting prettier and prettier as he adds rocks and such. Plans include adding river rock and some larger rocks around it, and then adding more water features, like a stream bed and another pond. I’ll wait and see how that comes out before trying to describe it.

When he first got it running. The top fountain part is a concrete planter.

Lee also did a lot of work on the small pond, mainly smoothing out an edge, for easier dog and frog access.

Any excuse to fire up the backhoe.

He also added more rock to the front walkway, which I think makes the front of the house look better. It no longer looks like the house was just plopped down in the middle of a pasture (which it was, of course; in fact the concrete was poured seven years ago, yesterday).

Finally, some landscaping is in progress!

What Was I Up To?

Meanwhile, I had to stay inside much of the day, due to not feeling up to par (I am sleepy so much, and can’t figure out why!). I spent a long time on yesterday’s blog post (thanks for the nice comments!). Then I decided to start another knitting project with some interesting yarn I bought years ago. It’s called Haze, from Queensland, and has corn fiber in it, along with cotton.

Goldie and Carlton are helping me nap.

I had been looking for a pattern, and didn’t think I’d found exactly what I wanted on Ravelry, but then my knitting friend Terri posted a photo of what she had started. That looked like what I wanted. It turned out to be one of the projects I’d already been considering, so I knew it was right. It’s a popular pattern from back when the Bones television show was on, named after Dr. Saroyan. It will be fun to knit. The leaf pattern edging is weird, but it ends up looking nice.

It’s a start.

Eventually, I knew I had to go out and mess with the horses. Sara came over and we sat in the shade, which wasn’t too bad, thanks to a slight breeze. I practiced making Drew stay out of my space, but also enjoyed him and Goldie (and precious Fiona).

They do like each other.

Eventually, we got up the gumption to do some work. I got Apache in the round pen, to see if Sara thought he had lameness or what. We are still not sure. Next, we got his food and put it in the trailer, because I want him to be comfortable getting in and out for lessons in Milano. Feeding him in there is how Sara had gotten him used to her trailer many years ago.

I’m in and eating! Of course, the first thing I did was poop. Sara got a picture of that, but you don’t need to see it.

I didn’t have much trouble at all getting him in. The trailer makes some weird noises and has a floor surface that was new to him, but he handled it fine. The main problem was that Goldie kept trying to “help” and when we were busy with Apache, she snuck in and ate his food. I do not want my fancy supplements going into the dog, sheesh.

It’s a long way in here!

I do plan to clean out the poop before the trailer is used to haul more of Anita’s stuff. But, we successfully got Apache in and out twice, despite the dog’s “help,” so I’ll practice a few more times before next Saturday, when he’ll actually go somewhere for the first time in a long time!

Here are some pictures from this morning of all the animals I saw.

Otherwise, it’s a burning hot weekend, so I’m mostly going to relax. I’ve been out petting and saying hi to the other horses a bit, but they’re just happy in their pasture. Everyone needs a day of rest; I guess that’s why so many religions mandate them!

Late afternoon sky to the south. No rain found us!

Reluctantly, the Dogs Have Their Vet Visit

Every year there are more dogs to look at here at the Hermits’ Rest. It makes the fee for the vet to come to us rather than us going to her quite the bargain. Yesterday, while I was in Austin away from the heat, Dr. Amy came out to see all seven dogs (Alfred, Goldie, Harvey, Carlton, Penney, Gracie Lou, and Vlassic). I always feel like I’m forgetting one, but it’s probably because Fiona is the size of Alfred.

They didn’t get rid of all my grass burs.

The big deal was that Alfred got his big problem dealt with, his dew claws. Both of the ones on his back legs have been problematic since he showed up. They grow in a circular shape, and eventually start growing into his leg, leading to pain and infections. Every time we cut them, he has to be sedated, and too much sedation isn’t good for dogs like him. So, we came to the decision that he’d need to have them removed, even though we’d wanted to avoid it.

So, when he finally got zonked out, they put sterile cloths under him where he fell (the floor in the entry to the house), and did it there. Lee has instructions for caring for the wounds and keeping him out of pain. He already walks better. Let’s hope this makes a big difference in Alfred’s quality of life.

Surprise! I’m overweight.

The other dogs got ALL their many shots (including rattlesnake vaccine), got de-wormed, and checked for heartworms (all negative). Lee says they all are getting a bit skittish. Maybe the horses warned them about vaccines?

We knew there’s have to be another sedation, because Vlassic was awful last time they went to trim his toenails, but his sharp toenails are a problem for poor Jim (and the rest of us, to be honest). When they went to get him, he showed up with a big…thing…on his nose!

What the heck?

Both Lee and the nephew had been playing with him earlier in the day, and he was fine then. Whatever it was happened during the afternoon yesterday. Dr. Amy said it looked like an encounter with something sharp, like a cactus or barbed wire (things we have in abundance).

Yuck.

It’s just horrible looking, though he doesn’t act upset. We have stuff to put on it twice a day, so it doesn’t get infected or worse. If he isn’t better in two weeks, she will try to remove it. It’s very weird that it came up so fast! Keep him in your thoughts. At least his toenails look way better!

But, he’s still happy

In other ranch news, chickens laid eggs in one of their new laying box choices, so I took the two that didn’t work out away. Now let’s see if the young hens ramp up and start producing.

And Drew was so happy to see me when I got home that it made up for the fact that I had a tire blow up about a quarter mile from the ranch entrance. I knew those potholes would be my downfall! But, I was driving slowly, so I didn’t lose control, and it’s entirely possible to get it fixed, eventually. I’m not going to stress about that!

Lee Has a New Project

This is exciting! Lee has been thinking of doing something for a long time, and decided that now’s the time to get going on it. He’s working on a series of decorative ponds for the front of the house (these will not be cattle tanks, but nice ponds, with water plants and such).

A project begins. That orange paint got all over Lee, by the way.

He got started over the weekend, and spent much of yesterday digging the holes to hold a waterfall and a main pond, next to our new walkway. Since it was a very hot day, this all went in stages! Kathleen and I served as consultants and beverage fetchers. That’s very important!

Water will flow out of the top one, which will be covered by a big rock.

The idea with the pond is to eventually have the current one flow down a little creek lined with river rocks into a much larger pond, then recirculate back up. Rain overflow will go into another planned diversion.

The general idea of the pond. The pipes are for going under the path, I think. I need to get rid of that grass.

We will have to see whether we can put anything in there other than native mosquito fish, because we don’t want goldfish washing into Walker’s Creek, which is bad news! And we realize birds will want to snack on fish, dogs will want to mess with the pond, etc. So, this is all to be determined. At this point, Lee is going to get the small pond and waterfall going.

The stream will go down that low area, over to the new pond at the corner of the house. We like ponds.

And Dogs

I can’t resist sharing dog stories. Yesterday, before our biweekly Board meeting, Goldie decided I was a chair. I guess anything’s a chair to her.

I’m gonna nap right here.

We’ve also been enjoying watching all the dogs play. Goldie and Carlton have ended their embarrassing love affair, now that Goldie’s heat is over at last, and are now just buddies again. They have a lot of fun together.

Playtime is all the time!

Let’s see what further adventures this new week brings!

Saturday Morning Ranch Sightings

Here at the Hermits’ Rest, weekend mornings start early for some and slow for others. But there’s always something lovely to see or fun to do. This morning was typical. Lee has started taking a walk every morning and asked me to join him. He may not do it again, as I had him go with me to feed the chickens and move Apache into his pen for the day, but we did eventually get to walking and looking at what’s growing and changing along our arroyo, which is still springy after the recent rains. I’m rather fond of the native plants and even the bad ole invasives (the water primrose) that line the stream.

It’s pretty to me.

Heck, to me tie vine is as lovely as fancy morning glories, and the ruellia is as pretty as a garden petunia. Plus, they are free!

A plant I hadn’t noticed much before is blooming right now, and the blooms are so tiny and hidden among the leaves that you almost wouldn’t notice them. It’s called scarlet toothcup (Ammannia coccinea). It’s a riparian plant, which means it grows in moist areas along streams and such. I think the little flowers are lovely.

Lee and I enjoyed many sights. What a great start to the day!

Next it was time to do some work, since the rest of the household had already been up working with horses and other chores. I got to help cut mesquite down where Sara’s horses currently are, in preparation for the cows that live here to rotate there. That was a lot of fun, and I saw some beautiful iron weed growing in that field.

It was good to be able to help by loading branches and opening gates. Plus, I got to see the other horses and more native plants and insects. I’ll spare you the endless supply of grasshoppers.

Everyone was busy this morning. The tenants were haying and Kathleen was horsing with her herd. I enjoy watching her ride. They’re all progressing according to plan, from what I can tell.

The dogs are just having fun, as usual, swimming, running, and rolling. I love seeing a happy Alfred!

Penney’s Adopt-a-versary

My memories on Facebook alerted me to the fact that we have had Penney for two years now. I can’t say she is the easiest dog to own, but she has her own special charms, and has come a long way in her behavior.

Penney likes to be on my lap, when Carlton isn’t there, to supervise activities, like playing with toys.

She no longer insists on licking me in the face and sleeping on top of me. She sleeps by my feet, which is just fine. She is a lot less “needy” but still doesn’t like it when other dogs get attention. She does love to sleep in her little bed beside my office chair (usually with Goldie and Carlton on the couch, and Harvey on the floor).

Her spot by my chair.

She enjoys swimming and playing with the other dogs when they are outside, even Vlassic, who occasionally comes in the house now, after she attacked him in the night for daring to sleep beside me, soon after she arrived. It’s a good thing Vlassic enjoys sleeping over in the RV with Lee’s brother (and he is so good for the brother, too)!

Everybody having fun.

Penney is a real wiggle worm and cracks us up with her extra-submissive behavior sometimes. We just wish it didn’t make her pee on the floor. She was doing a lot better with that for a while, but since Goldie showed up, it’s worse. The two of them get annoyed with each other, especially in the house, when they both want Lee’s attention.

Pay attention to ME!

But, outside, she and Goldie are buddies. Lee told me this morning that they went on a little exploratory walk together, and they looked like they were having a lot of fun.

I’m glad we have her and can take care of her, special needs and all. Penney is full of love, just expresses it funny sometimes!

Tired of Horse Pictures?

Well, too bad. While sitting around with the horses and waiting for Trixie, I enjoyed getting pictures of them being themselves.

When one lays down, the other stands guard.

I’m really loving Remington. He’s about as friendly as a horse gets. He likes to rest his head on one’s head, and sweetly kisses (no nipping!) He’s even nice to Vlassic.

All the other horses have been napping and enjoying their salt blocks, especially Drew. It’s just so peaceful!

Plus, the main entry gates are now up. The big red one will no longer try to kill me when I lift it. And the big gates to the pasture will make moving cattle a breeze.

I’m also really surprised how the dogs and horses get along, other than Goldie chasing Fiona. Fiona needs the exercise, though.

Sand and Waters

I rushed to the ranch this morning to be there in time for the swimming pool company guy to show up. I had time to check the animals, and discovered Star is broody again. Fine. I’ll mark what’s under her now and see if we get any hatching. Maybe we can keep this bunch confined long enough to make it.

We are being invaded by these guys. Great. The next plague will be Army worms.

I nice young man came to talk about our pool needs and look at our property. We had a good conversation about pool quality and what we’d like. Also we figured out basically where to put it. Ahh. Hoping it won’t be too big or too small or too fancy.

Pool guy is measuring

Before we could say goodbye to the pool guy, a familiar truck drove up. It was the guy that brought our road base, this time with sand to put in the horse stalls.

A load of sand

There was lots of sand, but it quickly got moved to the horse pens, thanks to the tractor. We’ve sure gotten a lot of use out of that old thing! Then the rest of us had to shovel it into corners and such.

The easy part

I got pretty wiped out from shoveling and went back to work, but Lee and Kathleen kept going. Goldie, however, didn’t help much.

Doggie paradise!

The horses will have a much easier time navigating the sand than the clay when it’s wet. Here are some more sand shots, so you can see what we tried to accomplish with improving the drainage and such.

I think we will have a lot more success with this better dirt. And soon we will have all the gates up. So fancy, right?

The day kept growing and growing. But, I’ll write about it in the morning. Too much going on to blog much!

Dang! Animal Issues! Plus Sweetness

I have to admire Trixie. She came over and trudged through the scary clay mud to take a look at the new horses. It was obvious she couldn’t do their feet, but she wanted to take a look at Remington, especially.

He immediately took to her and started showing her where he hurt. It was so endearing. She is concerned about his old head injury and his limited vision in his right eye. But she said he’d learned to compensate.

Nonetheless, Trixie doesn’t want to do much with Remi’s neck until she sees the x-rays Kathleen has. But she did a few things for him, and at the end he yawned and yawned. He obviously felt better.

Meanwhile, Goldie wanted to play with Fiona, who was having none of that. Much kicking and donkey attitude ensued.

Dusty was fine, other than having an oddly shaped butt and needing to gain a couple hundred pounds. That was good to know. Trixie recommended supplements.

Then it was Drew’s turn. Trixie thought he may be younger than three, but I think his owner was right; he’s barely 3. Other than being thin, she said he was in good shape, EXCEPT his eye was all goopy. What the heck?

After goop was wiped.

While Trixie was looking Drew over, perhaps the sweetest thing I’ve seen in YEARS occurred. Goldie, who had already herded loose cattle today, came up to us. She sniffed all over Drew as if to figure out he was in pain. Then she licked his face!

Hmm. You smell funny.

Then my heart melted. Drew must have spent ten minutes being kind to Goldie. He licked and licked her back, licked her sore area where she is in heat, and carefully nipped her all over.

You are my friend.

They spent a whole lot of time calmly standing nose to nose. It was so dear. I could not love these two animals more. The both are so full of love and gratitude for their nice new lives.

You smell so good.

Because of the eye issue, as soon as Trixie left, we loaded poor Drew into the trailer AGAIN and rushed him to Dr. Kildore in Rosebud. They were great to let us in. The vet found he had a lot of debris in his eye, so he numbed it, flushed it, and got everything out. His cornea is not scratched. Whew. He needs ointment in his eye for a few days, then should be okay.

I’m staying here forever.

We still had trouble getting Drew out of the trailer. I wonder what has caused it? Once he was out, though, he held no grudges. He is such a wonderful soul.