Hey, It Rained

And it might even rain again! The bottom of my screen says, “rain coming,” and it’s raining at my coworker in Cedar Park’s house. We are so excited about the mere idea of rain that he sent an IM that he heard thunder.

So says my laptop

It actually rained .37″ last night, complete with much thunder and lightning that the dogs didn’t like. It was music to MY ears, however!

I’m amazed at the signs of life I keep seeing this summer. Lee says this is probably going to be the driest year since we started measuring (we were not here every day during 2011, so we don’t have daily records for then). Trees are turning brown, which is scary, but some things are doing well.

Ruellia is especially happy this year, according to my Master Naturalist friend. It’s more of a desert plant, which makes sense. Some hardy non-natives are hanging around. Yesterday, I got some photos of crepe myrtles, spider lilies and one very confused rain lily at a house we’re working on.

And today I saw some zyzotes milkweed looking strong and happy, along with broomweed, velvet weed, and frog fruit.

Plus, something smelled very, very good over by the dry ole creek, and I realized it was thousands of tiny balloon weed flowers in the creek bed. White flowers do tend to smell good, I’ve found. I guess I’d never been around so many of them before, so I never noticed the lovely aroma. These vines don’t usually catch your attention until autumn when the fascinating seed pods appear.

Enjoy the photos and hope the promised additional rain comes here. We need it so badly.

Granny Squares

I heard it was recently International Granny Square Day. So glad I was working on some at the time. I have two rows done on the current project, which consists mostly of granny squares divided diagonally into two halves.

Goldie had to help.

It ends up looking like a quilt. I shared the yarn one day last week. To start, I colored in the pattern with markers. Of course I changed some.

My really messy doodles

I’m stopping here until the yarn for the heart arrives. I do have the other camo yarn I can turn into balls and swatch with. Sigh. The ball winder and swift are still packed up, somewhere. But I can wind by hand and it will count as exercise!

Time for wine by the pool

Speaking of which, it was literally like an OVEN outside today. Neither I nor the horses were up to running around. It was 102° and extra humid. So I got my exercise in the pool. I swim weird but it counts!

I didn’t have to save Suna.

The good news is real rain should be coming tomorrow or Friday. I will believe it when I see it, but it’s the most hope since early May. I think we need it, judging from the ground.

Sorry I’m so dull right now. All the interesting stuff I can’t write about. Oh, here’s a tidbit: I’m officially renewed and get to stay at Dell another year. Income! Yay!

You’d pet me more if you retired.

Hey, Hey, Hay

I’ve mentioned that we’re in a big drought, as big as when we first got to the Hermits’ Rest. You may be in a part of the world with too much water. Neither is ideal!

That’s a sad pond.

As you know, there’s not much for the horses to eat, even though we’ve been supplementing with hay and built more fencing to give them access to an ungrazed area.

Johnson grass. Yum.

The cows the family own are also hungry, So our friend Pamela came to the rescue with some round bales of hay from the end of last year that we could afford. As you can imagine, with high demand cones high prices.

Hey, hay!

To save our good square bales for winter, we’re going to get a feeder for the horses and give them a round bale for the duration of the dry and hot spell. The feeder will keep them from wasting hay. It will eventually pay for itself, I hope.

We will love this as much as we love each other.

So, we have plans, and that’s good. I’ve just got to get over my heat issue. I can barely do any horse stuff. They don’t mind too much, if at all. Much petting and bonding occurs.

You don’t see me. I’m hiding.

The heat is really a pain when it comes to deliveries. Since UPS lady won’t drop things off, we can miss things dumped by the gate. I was not happy my wine delivery sat outside for a long time yesterday. But, only one cork tried to pop. I “had” to open this perky orange rosé tonight for that reason. No one had to beg me!

Wine is Noisy Water Winery from New Mexico.

The good news from today is that I got a beautiful Creature of the Day. She a neon skimmer dragonfly. Look at her sparkle!

Well, I’ve had a hard work day, so it’s time to crochet, drink wine, and eat boudin. It’s what’s for dinner.

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.

Why I’m Thankful for the Pool

Maybe you’ve been reading this blog long enough to remember how I decided I wanted a swimming pool last year. I called it the Pool of Dreams.

Pool of Dreams today—notice the guard garden spider (a good one that eats black widows)

I think some people thought I wouldn’t use the pool. After all, I’ve never been much of a swimmer. I don’t blame anyone who thought this. But while I don’t swim much, I do love water and being outside, especially here.

Things you see from the pool include Vlassic.

I’ve really loved spending time in the pool, and am there nearly every day. The salty water is very soothing (Lee says it’s great for his eyes). I float in my floating device and practice deep breathing. The breeze cools me then the sun soothes me. Then I start observing.

Today I watched starlings flocking.

I see so many birds, especially right now when the herons and egrets are chowing down on the little catfish in the now-shallow ponds. Swallows fly over me and the English sparrow family hang out in their messy nest.

When they took off, it was a big whoosh!

I truly enjoy the time to myself. And the pool lets me be outdoors even in this historic heat. I’d be stuck inside other than when I sweat myself silly taking care of the horses, if it weren’t for the pool.

I’m very grateful to my spouse and family members who helped get this dang pool built.


Wait, I forgot my creature of the day! Here’s a beelzebub bee eater with its prey. What a scary fly!

Closer to Rancher-hood (and drought wrestler)

The endless stretch of rainless and ridiculously hot days has not ended here, so I feel much sympathy for my friends in the northeast who are finding out what it’s like here! No fun, right? Well, there is SOME fun.

This is a bale of hay. What the circle is on the shipping container is a mystery.

You might say that a bale of hay in a wagon is a pretty boring photo, even though the building and shipping container certainly are nicely painted. But what you don’t know is that this is a very special bale of hay! You see, I got it out of the shipping container ALL BY MYSELF. Any member of our family will tell you the shipping container doors are extra hard to open, even for adult males. Getting them open myself takes me one somewhat large step closer to true rancher-hood. Ranchers should be able to get their own hay out to feed their animals.

Hay? Is Drew eating hay? We better come check that out!

As you can see in the above photo, we do not have enough grass for the horses anymore. They need to have hay to supplement their nibbling. I’ve opened all the paddocks so they have as much grass as I can give them, but it’s not enough. I kept hoping and hoping it would rain and give us more grass.

No rain appeared from these clouds this morning.

Now, we have an area with some green grass still and a part of a field that hasn’t been grazed yet. But we can’t build the fencing, since welding will cause a fire. There are already too many pasture fires out here for the busy fire departments to take care of. I’d rather keep them safe and sound, since I happen to be fond of some of them!

Hey, Mabel, SHARE already!

There is a Plan B, which was going to start next week. That was to just put up some temporary electric fencing so the horses (except Apache, who doesn’t get to go eat a bunch of green grass due to his delicate constitution) can get some nutrition and “mow” the parts we can’t get to. We will have to fence off a couple of spots, so they don’t hurt themselves (like where the overflow comes out during floods (what are those, again?), which has a lot of debris in it to keep down erosion). I’ve been taking Drew out there to snack after we do our exercises every day.

Sure, there’s a hay pile for each of us horses, but we all want to eat from THIS one, except the plump one, who has a pile all to himself.

However, all plans are again on hold as Kathleen is back in the hospital dealing with pneumonia and perhaps something else, which we will not know for a while. The fencing isn’t something the work crew can do without anyone to direct them (they have been painting the Pope House in the meantime, which I am sure the neighbors appreciate).

Yay, Fifi made it!

So, I’ve been putting hay out where I can. I have a feeder where I groom them, plus a bonus one that will last longer than the hay that’s just on the ground (I still don’t have one of those nice feeders). And I have another slow feeder in the paddock, where Drew and Apache will spend tonight, so I won’t have to wander the earth trying to get them to come in for their lessons tomorrow (yay to have Tarrin back!).

Two hay stations are shown. Note lack of grass. Also lack of poop!

One thing’s for certain, bagging hay and scooping horse poop are good things to keep your muscles in shape, and the heat provides free weight loss. Mainly, though, the rhythm of chores helps me deal with all the uncertainty in our lives, just as much as doing crafts, like I mentioned yesterday. And the more things I can do for myself, the fewer things I have to ask others to do, which is true rancher-hood!

It’s Looking Good Inside, Not So Good Outside

There was a surprise waiting for me when I got home last night. My bedroom was no longer a poop brown color. It’s now yellow! Maybe it’s not the exact perfect shade, but it sure is more cheerful than before.

New sitting area

Lee knew how much I liked my bedroom in the Bobcat house, so he had the guys paint it while we were gone. Then he rearranged all the furniture and put up the art again.

The bookshelves show up more!

I’m very happy with the new look. Everyone says the room looks bigger and lighter. I still have some chests of drawers to bring in, along with my good mattress. Then the room will feel like it’s partially mine, not just Lee’s and the dogs. Of course, the dogs slept on me last night, but it was sweet.

I missed you.

Outside of the house things look less good. The drought is taking its toll. The big pond is going down fast and the little pond dried up completely.

Poor pond.

The grass is horribly brown. And it is very crunchy. Of course the grasshoppers are still here, but fewer of them.

Not pretty.

I asked my son to start giving the horses hay while we were gone (I can’t open the door to the storage container) and we’re going to keep that up until we can give them more grazing.

Thanks!

If things settle down a little more we can put some temporary fencing on the part of the front that we’d planned to fence in this spring. Keep your fingers crossed that Kathleen improves! At least the in-law suite is done and Lee’s brother is happily installed there. Progress!

Bonus. I got an Apache horse for the tack room. We spent so much time on Apache land I wanted a tribute. I always feel weird that Apache isn’t a Native American horse, but I guess paints are, historically.
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