Starvey Harvey at Four

When we brought Harvey home from where he was dumped at the Rattlesnake house, the vet said he was about the same age as Brody, so I assigned him the summer solstice as his birthday. Sigh. Brody would be four now.

So dignified

Anyway, Harvey is doing well. Not as porky as he was for a while, thanks to Carlton keeping him moving, but nowhere near the bag of bones he was when Ralph first found him cowering across the street, waiting for his owners to come back.

Weight loss regime

He seems a lot calmer now, and less prone to his growling habit. He only gets testy when Carlton gets too relentless in his play requests. He also enjoys running and playing with Vlassic, which provides us with hours of fun.

I’m not too chubby!

He looks so incredibly happy when I get back from Austin every week that it makes me tear up sometimes. All that love coming barreling at me warms my heart. He and Alfred both just have the most expressive faces.

That dang Carlton grew. His legs are too long!

That’s really all I have to share. I just don’t talk as much about Harvey, it seems, but rest assured he’s always in my heart.

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A Dog and His Frog

[Note: that should say “toad,” as you will see later, but I like that the title rhymes.]

Last night, while our merry community members were sitting on our porch watching the weather, we noticed that Vlassic, the little black dachshund mix was looking at something else. He was very intently observing the water trough that the dogs drink from and swim in (one that will soon hold some fish).

Hey, what’s in there! It looks fun! It’s swimming.

We soon realized he had spotted a frog-like creature in the trough, who seemed to be trying to get out, but with little success. Upon further examination, it appears to be a Woodhouse’s toad, but I’m waiting for confirmation on that. We had a long discussion about the difference between frogs and toads, but hey, they all go rivet rivet.

Let me OUT of here. There’s nothing to eat but mosquito larvae. Wait, I like that.

Meanwhile, Vlassic was running up and down, sticking his feet into the tub to try to reach his little buddy. It was really entertaining, so we let it go on.

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Equilibrium: Thanks to Dogs and a Porch

I’m finally feeling a bit better than I was last week. I instituted some processes and revisited some boundaries, which helped so much. Much of the reason I’m back at something like an equilibrium is that I took my own advice and slowed down, took yesterday off to just goof off with Mandi, Lee, and the dogs (separately), and let nature heal me by spending all morning today on the porch.

Carlton is checking for blooms on the sunflower hedge.
The house finch family that has built a nest on our front porch.

Our back porch has grown a nice hedge of sunflowers, which help keep it cool, and today the breeze was making the west side of the porch feel like a tropical paradise. So, I sat there with the dogs coming in and out, and just listened to the birds sing, watched the trees, and breathed. I got so quiet that the barn swallows, finches, and cardinals were flying in and out so close I could hear their wings (above the wasps). I highly recommend the porch sitting with no agenda method of de-stressing to all of you!

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A Dog Is Not a Donkey

So, today I went to visit my dear horse and donkey, who I hadn’t seen in a whole week! They’d already been fed, and Sara had ridden Apache in the morning. But I just had to say hi.

I brought Apache and Fiona out for some loving, and it became clear she had to be groomed, big time. She was almost all bur.

I look as good as Apache the giant horse!

To remedy the situation, Sara and I chatted and groomed. Fiona was in heaven. She leaned on us and practically sighed with joy at the attention. After 15 minutes or so, she had a lot less hair and burs.

She happily showed us her feet, so we could check her progress. Eek! All sorts of cracking and ugliness. However, she seems happy and able to run and trot. We will see what the farrier says.

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Grateful for Insights

I was feeling pretty crummy today. I guess grief hit me hard.

This Horace’s duskywing butterfly reminds me of how things get better no matter how dark it is

I asked my Facebook community friends to share things that brought them joy recently, thinking it might help. I was smart. It did help. I highly recommend reaching out and asking for help when you need it. It will remind you that people ARE good.

If you’re my Facebook friend, check out my post asking for joyful moments. All the happy babies, cute pets, fun stories, and nature observations remind you of all the beauty and love around us.

Sample cute baby, the amazing Ripley, who is getting her first teeth

How I’m Doing

Grief is hard, even when you intellectually know all about how it works. I hadn’t cried in so long that I couldn’t recall the most recent time. So I’d forgotten how much it takes out of me.

Being on Prozac for the last couple of years has helped me a lot, but I can see how it’s separated me from expressing some emotions. They’re there, but not all on top of me. It helps me from drowning in my empathic tendencies. But yow! When something breaks through it has physical consequences!

This mystery plant never bloomed last year, but it came back! Plus, lots of basil is coming back from last year’s plants

I have had the strange headache I used to often get. It feels like something gently squeezing the sides of my head. And I forget to breathe and end up gasping. That’s annoying. My words don’t come out well and I have trouble swallowing. Ooh, and let’s not forget the chest pains, my old friends! At least the weird neck tingling that used to really bother me hasn’t kicked in.

So, those are all my anxiety symptoms I used to live with every single day. How did I manage? How do others manage? I sure feel sympathy for them. If you have anxiety and are functional, you have my admiration.

This gerbera daisy got knocked back hard in the cold winter. It looks like a new plant now! I will also recover

I’m guessing I’ll feel better soon. Grief is normal and can knock you down. Soon the grief will bloom into love and warm memories of our canine friend, Brody.

The photos are all of my plants that have resurrected themselves after the winter.

I actually thought squirrels had murdered this poor plant, or the cold had killed it begonias are hardy, like me, I think!

Life, Death, All That

Still feeling numb about losing our Brody. To top that off, two chickens got killed over the weekend, the white one and the very perky little one who had only just started laying.

Before we lost Brody, we had all gone on a walk through the plants.

Tyler repaired the chicken coop and blocked the theoretical fox hole better than it was before. He also came up with a better door plan for the coop. I hope that works. I’m so tired of the life and death aspect of ranch life.

Life

There is always something to remind that life goes on. We did find a lovely nest next to our pond. We think it’s from a redwing blackbird family. Aww. No eggs.

Hidden Nest

As I was leaving for work and getting ready to pass where Brody died, I saw a whole family of killdeer run in front of me. So cute!

Brody the Cattle Dog. 2015-2019

Brody was lying by the gate. He didn’t get up when I honked the horn at him. My poor boy had decided to chase one last car. The dogs were out with Lee, because he was mowing and keeping an eye on them. My heart broke.

8weeks
We’d just had him two weeks here.

It hadn’t happened long before I found him. Thank goodness I didn’t see someone hit him and drive off.

one_year
One year old.

He was a very loving, perhaps a bit too protective at times, strong, intelligent dog. He brought us much joy, and sometimes worry.

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