Back to Life, with Dogs and Hotels

There was something like regular life last night and today. Work was normal. Animals were normal. Weather was spring-like.

Dogs were typical

Lee and I tried our darnedest to watch a Nature show about animals in the Rocky Mountains. However, Goldie decided to watch with us. Wolves and coyotes made her run out and bark away at the intruders. She liked the elk, but when they went into a city and caused traffic jams, the car horns made her run out to see who was visiting. This continued for most of the show.

Why are all these objects torturing me?

(By the way, she also tried to ear Mr. Robotto again.)

Goldie had a love/hate relationship with this bear and her cubs.

Luckily she loved Grizzly 399, who had triplets. As the photo shows, she was fascinated. we were glad Penney ignored it and Carlton watched quietly.

What about me?

Alfred has been having a hard time. A couple of days ago I noticed blood on the floor. No, Goldie wasn’t in heat. It was Alfred! He had a wound on his side. It hurt. I’ll spare you photos. So we sprayed Cut Heal on him, which pissed him off but stopped the bleeding.

I’m a delicate flower

We still don’t know what happened. We looked everywhere but found nothing suspicious. No one shot him, either. He’s been safely in our dog area. So, Lee gave him antibiotics and pain killers. He was sad for one day, but has perked up. Naturally, he rolled in dirt, which caked in the ointment. But hey, no blood.

Thank you.

There hasn’t been any other drama, just work, knitting, worrying about family, and looking for signs of spring. Here’s are some flying friends.

I drove to Austin today for a much-needed haircut. I finally got it short enough. On the way I saw some tornado damage that made me sad. On Chandler Road, the house with the dog training space looked awful and their neighbors had horse barn damage. I hope the horses were ok. I saw a couple that looked ok.

I like it, and that’s what matters.

In my old neighborhood it looked much more spring-like than at the ranch. 80 miles south makes a difference! I love the redbud trees and Texas Mountain Laurel. Ahh.

My former neighbor’s yard was full of birds.

Another normal thing that happened was getting to go to book club. It was so great to see folks I really care about in person again. Plus I met Marsha, who bought the Bobcat Lair, which was a pleasure. And the discussion is always good. I get to host in the summer. I guess it will be at the pool.

And now I’m in that same weird hotel, but tonight in a quiet room. Ahh. I enjoyed trying out night mode on my phone camera.

In Love with Mr. Robotto

One of the last Pool of Dreams things is to get the robot pool cleaner up and running. Thirty days have passed, so Austin the pool guy came by to hook it up.

Note the dog-shaped shadow.

Lee and I enjoyed watching the robot as it sucked up debris on the floor, then climbed up the walls , turning around when it got to the top. We love Mr. Robotto.

It’s so cool.

As we watched, so did Goldie. After it came up and made a noise, she decided it was her number one enemy.

She is actually growling here.

So, while we were marveling at the amazing prowess of our new friend…

…Goldie was running around barking, staring, growling and pawing at this strange aquatic beast.

In good news, Austin was able to get the jet covers to stay in the spa. Now I’m really looking forward to some hot tubbing tonight after my evening training class!

Mmm.

A long day means I’ll really enjoy my spa. Time to put it on party colors!

Lee wanted me to share Mr. Robotto in action. Here he goes.

Not a Good Day to Be Harvey

Things can go downhill really fast when you have seven dogs with seven different personalities. Just last night, Goldie and Carlton played and played and played. Goldie would put her entire mouth around Carlton’s neck, and Carlton would gleefully gnaw on Goldie’s jowls. They invited each other to play with a toy and just had so much fun.

Today, Goldie had a totally different interaction with Harvey (who is a totally different dog from happy-go-lucky Carlton). Harvey has a history of getting grumpy with other dogs, as anyone who has known the dogs for a while is aware.

I had gone to get a delivery from the UPS lady, and all the dogs happily barked at her as we exchanged pleasantries. I set that package down and went to the mailbox to see what was crammed in there today. As I did so, the dogs kept barking. I got the mail, and heard some really upset barking coming from Carlton, like a cry-bark. So, I turned and saw six of the seven dogs all in a big ball. Then Harvey ran off and everyone else sniffed the ground.

It turned out that he and Goldie had gotten into a disagreement of some sort, and the normally mild-mannered Goldie must have snapped or something. Harvey was bleeding profusely and I saw blood everywhere. Carlton had blood on him, Goldie had blood on her, and even Penney had some. Vlassic and Gracie looked okay, and luckily Alfred was inside.

Goldie had cuts on her face and ear, and I thought Carlton did, too, but later it was clear he just was in the way of blood flinging, as was Penney. Harvey looked so bad that I got upset and called for Lee, who was not happy with me for my “hysterics” (no woman likes to have being upset labeled hysteria, by the way). He kept telling me they were all just fine, but I disagreed. Harvey looked bad.

See, no more blood on Carlton. And Lee cleaned the house, for which I am grateful.

He was sitting in a corner on a rug, trembling and bleeding. I realized it was Thursday, the day Dr. Amy is in Cameron, so I knew she could see him. We somehow got him outside by dragging the rug but could not lift him into the car. I called Dr. Amy, and the assistant said they were really busy and already had two house calls to do, so could we please try to bring him in?

STOP HERE IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE SIGHT OF BLOOD. THANKS.

I had to call Chris (sorry, I had to name him for this one post) and ask him to come help us, which of course he did, along with Marcus, who’s helping on Anita’s house. It took a while, but they guys got Harvey in the car by using a sheet to carry him, and we all took off to the mobile vet place.

Poor ole Harvey just sat there and bled, though he was interested in the car ride. I tried not to look at the gaping holes in his fur.

At least I got to go on a ride!

At the vet place, Amy bravely injected something in Harvey to settle him down, and after the second injection, he snoozed off. The clock was then ticking on repairs.

The poor assistant had a hard time shaving around the injuries, but Chris was able to help her out, so by the time Dr. Amy was finished neutering some dogs, he was ready. Some of the bites were BAD. There were big teethmarks and puncture wounds. Goldie must have really been pissed off, because his neck, shoulders and back legs were a mess.

Before shaving the wounds.

There was even a tendon sticking out of his leg. The tendon was what made me decide a vet visit was in order in the first place! Luckily, it was not a major tendon, and he will be okay without it.

Big ole tooth holes. And tendon.

I was impressed with how fast Dr. Amy worked to test each injury to see if it had damaged any organs. Harvey’s layer of fat helped a lot in that respect. See, Harvey, it’s good you are no longer Starvey. One set of holes went in and out, so she put a drain in it. The deeper holes were also left to drain, so there would be less likelihood of a big ole abscess forming.

Inserting the drain

More superficial wounds got stapled. All wounds got some goopy stuff slapped in it that will help heal. We will put more of that in the open wounds daily for a while. Harvey also got pain killers and antibiotics, a Z Pack for dogs.

Stapled up and heading home.

We got some for Carlton and Goldie, though it turns out Carlton doesn’t need them. Goldie may. I wish I knew what set the dogs off!

We got Harvey back in the car and back into the house. I’m glad Chris is so strong. Harvey is now in my office, separated from all the other dogs, sleeping his ordeal off. He is going to be in a lot of pain for a while, and we will be watching to see if he has blood in his urine or coughs up blood. Poor guy.

Sleeping it off.

I’m glad my coworkers were able to help me out when I missed a meeting today, and that my Indian colleagues forgave me for not being able to answer their questions immediately. Harvey came first!

She looks all right. Just has a few flesh wounds.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep you all posted on how the dogs are recovering and what we do about the issue. I want everyone safe.

PS: our sweet neighbor, Seth, got Harvey some get-well treats. He made sure to get soft ones, in case Harvey’s mouth was sore. Sniff.

Harvey would say thanks, if he was awake.

So Good to Have Tan Friends

I didn’t plan this, but I’ve spent my last evening at the ranch for a while with my animal friends, particularly the ones the color of deerskin. It rained a lot last night, and a cool front came in, so it was a beautiful end to the day.

Thanks for the nice day, Suna.

I went out to see the horses, with some grooming implements in my hands, and told myself I’d spend time with whatever horse wanted to hang out with me. The winner was Remington, who is definitely like Drew in his love for people (at least when Dusty isn’t here). I completely groomed him, massaged him, petted him, and made him happy.

This is me, all relaxed after grooming. ZZZ.

After at least a half hour of hanging out together, I took him for a nice walk around the yard. He’s such a good guy. We just walked and looked, and he had a couple of nice snacks of grass. I really think it’s good to spend time with all of them, if they want to.

I’ll just nap here for a moment.

Apache, Fiona, and Mabel were just not interested in grooming or getting petted, even though I did give them a chance. My guys will get plenty of attention as it is, and Mabel just really isn’t people-fixated. She likes Apache. And by the way, they all acted extra friendly when it came time to eat dinner.

After I had a nice porch visit with Mandi and Vlassic (she talked more than he did, but it was nice to hang out with them both), I spent time enjoying the other tan friend, Goldie. Lee and I couldn’t help but laugh as she enjoyed the wet sand that’s just hanging around waiting for the pool guys to get their supplies and get back to work. All the dogs had fun, but Goldie was the best. She blended right in, and stretched her golden self out as if we made that smooth space just for her.

You can’t see me. I blend in.

We really enjoyed watching her, with the setting sun highlighting her golden eyes that match her coat.

Those pool guys will just have to start over smoothing this out.

Of course, Goldie isn’t the only cute dog. Gracie was pretty cute as she walked all over the edges of the pool, trying to decide if she could get in or not. There was plenty of water in there today, enough that I even saw a little frog swimming around happily.

Should I jump? Yes? No?

Don’t worry, when the dudes come back, they will be able to drain it to keep working. They have a pump. I’m looking forward to reports on the progress.

Weirdest Day Ever

Sure, it’s been a weird couple of weeks for me. I’ve not shared most of it. Lots isn’t mine to share. But today. Wow. I literally was left with my mouth hanging open a couple of times.

I spent some time on the porch sorta glazed over, watching hummingbirds. They are monotone, because that’s how I feel.

I got a new laptop of my own, so I won’t be relying on work machines, but I’m so un confident in myself that I’ll wait until tomorrow to get it going. I am just zonked.

It’s silver.

So, here are some plants.

And look, a baby water snake and fish I need to rescue, once my brain engages again.

But wait. I did get to laugh last night. Mandi and I were talking to Lee on the porch, and Goldie got thirsty. She did her usual drinking method, where she buries her head and blows bubbles. We were so humor starved that we just laughed and laughed. Here’s Goldie today, though I couldn’t get a shot with bubbles.

See, even the weirdest day ever isn’t all bad. That’s worth remembering.

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.

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.

No One’s a Fan of the Crop Duster

This morning, loud noises started. Now, we are used to the sounds of airplanes flying fairly low, because a neighbor has his own runway, and he has just gotten a new plane, so it’s been going around and around, taking off and landing, over and over for the past couple of weeks.

However, today it was real loud. The first couple of times it happened, Goldie and Alfred were barking away, since they are the two who hate deep sounds the most (they also hate what we call “growly trucks”). We humans knew what it was, since we’ve lived here a long time: the crop-dusting plane was here to spray the defoliator on the cotton.

I was worried

What? You city folks may wonder what that’s about. Well, when the cotton has made pretty white cotton bolls, the current practice is to kill all the foliage (leaves). This makes it way easier to harvest. So, one week there will be happy green fields and the next week there will be sad brown fields with little white snowballs in it. So, there you go. Here, that is done by a plane, especially on small fields.

Also, I have a lump that needs to be looked at tomorrow by the vet.

Once we took Goldie and Alfred outside and they could see the plane, they lost interest.

Zoom.

The newer horses, on the other hand, were not thrilled at all. Kathleen ended up putting all her horses in the pens, so they could settle down. Drew huddled up with them, but he sure was on the alert for that dang loud thing.

I don’t like that thing.

Apache has been there and done that, since he’s lived here most of his life, and Fiona seemed to figure it was better than Goldie chasing her all over the pasture (which happened yesterday).

We are not pleased.

I’ll watch to see how long it takes for the cotton plants to die. They contributed, though. That’s good, I guess. But now you know why cotton isn’t the greenest of crops. It requires a lot of chemicals when raised in the modern way.

I’m better now.

Good News BONUS

I heard from the swimming pool dude, and we don’t have to wait until September 20 for them to start…they start tomorrow! We’ll have all the fencing under control by then, so no problem from our end. The family teased me that now I will have endless blog material. I promise to talk about other topics. No one but me (and Kathleen) is THAT interested in giant holes being dug, and I realize that.

This is going well.

No doubt I’ll have many things to rant about or long-ass horse stories. It’s a wonder I get any blog hits at all!

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.

Donkey versus Dog, and Other Ranch Sights

Maintaining my detachment from things out of my control is a challenge right now, so there are LOTS of nature walks going on. The benefit is that you get to see drama, birth and death, and beauty throughout the day. This morning, for example, I went out to do the usual chicken feeding and horse moving while it was still relatively cool out. That meant all the animals were frisky, especially the dogs and equines. As I was trying to give Apache his daily hay, Goldie was “helping,” as usual. She made the mistake of getting between Fiona and the hay, and Fiona finally connected with one of her kicks, and got poor Goldie on the side. Much yelping occurred.

Goldie may even be taller than Fiona at the shoulders.
Perhaps too extreme of a close-up, but it’s worse than it looks here. But, Goldie is fine and her usual cheerful self.

Fiona has been warning Goldie and the other dogs to keep back by flattening her ears and back-kicking (to the extent that I no longer stand behind Fiona when dogs are around), but she’s just so fascinating to Goldie, who is her match in size, but not in bulk. Carlton has learned to keep his distance. I’d like to say Goldie has, but the photo above was taken AFTER the kick.

There’s always someone kicking, scratching, or biting someone else around here. That’s how they maintain their pecking order (literally, in the case of the hens). I also got to enjoy watching the beautiful swallows figuring out their pecking order from their morning launch station. There are always dozens of them sitting on east side of the house each morning as they get those insects.

Lee is always telling me how observant I am, and I know that just comes from a lot of practice going on hikes and entertaining my younger son with all the different bugs and flowers we saw. Anyway, this morning was one of those sparkling mornings with lots of dew. Also some of the really ephemeral parasol mushrooms that appear and quickly fade away were up. They are so delicate that they tremble at any slight breeze.

A little later in the morning, it was Lee’s turn to want to get some nature walking in, so I accompanied him. We went over to the dam, and found all sorts of interesting things. The MOST interesting is that there are dozens of baby catfish in the overflow area. There are so many of them, and I know that water will dry up way sooner than our other ponds, so I think I will try to catch some and transfer them.

Look at all those little guys!

When I was young, my mom caught some baby catfish in Noonan’s Lake near Gainesville, Florida. She put them in our goldfish pond, and we watched them grow and grow. By the time we moved away, they were a foot long and we loved to try to drop food straight into their huge mouths. The goldfish were also really big. Dad did a great job on that pond.

When we turned around to go back, after enjoying the fishies, I saw lots and lots of insects on the velvetweed. At first I thought there were three kinds, but when I uploaded to iNaturalist, I realized I saw juvenile and adults of the same insect, the eastern leaf-footed bug. There was a stink bug of some type, too, but I failed at taking its picture well enough to ID it, as you can see below. Well, and there were zillions of differential grasshoppers, zzz.

Well, that just shows you what you can find if you look hard and are patient. Focusing on the teeming life all around you reminds you that you are just a small part of the big picture. And watching the animals handle their disagreements with no hard feelings is a good lesson for us, too. Now if I can just maintain that feeling of oneness with the Universe, detachment from unhealthy attachments, and goodwill to all!

sara annon

seeking the middle path

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