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!

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.

Family Business Meeting

This is just cute. We had our monthly Hearts Homes and Hands board meeting this morning, which we hold in Lee’s office/our bedroom every time. What was cute was that we had to have so many supervisors

Fascinating business plan.

Right as we started, the upstairs dogs started barking. Why? Goldie was coming upstairs for the first time! She wanted to contribute!

I was lonely.

Or, actually, I think she wanted to be with her people. I particularly enjoyed it, because she sat with me, and I like having a big ole lapdog with me.

My lapdog from earlier this morning.

Our meeting went long, so eventually the dogs started their own meeting.

I move we adjourn.

Even Vlassic was in the house, and he came up until Penney growled. That’s at least progressing! In any case, the dogs made the people meeting much more fun. Now, off to mess with livestock some more.

Goldie is a Woman-Dog Now

This has fulfilled a prediction both Kathleen and I had made. You may remember that when Kathleen found out about Goldie, she was told Goldie was infertile, so of no use to the previous owners, who’d wanted to breed her. We don’t need puppies, so we were happy to take on a giant sweetie pie.

Bonus photo of Drew getting along with Vlassic just fine

Yesterday, I saw blood on the floor and thought yet another dog had cut itself on some random ranch hazard. But, later, Lee texted that “Goldie had started her period.” Oh my! She’s not infertile, she was just slow to mature, like a giant dog tends to be. That’s why we are giving her puppy food! It might also be that she was too thin to go into heat; who knows?

No more photos of blood! We’ve got it all under control, though, and we can get her spayed when this is over with (no, we do not want any giant hybrid puppies and are glad we know no intact make dogs). She’s being very clean, and all the other dogs are quite respectful of her.

The sun sets on Goldie’s childhood.

In other news, it just keeps raining. We’re supposed to take Drew to the vet in Waco today, so I sure hope it calms down soon. Mud is being produced! The weather has been great for mushrooms, though!

At least yesterday wasn’t too rainy, so I got to spend good time with Drew. We walked around the field, and of course he pooped on the driveway. Ah horses. He matched my every step, so I tried running a bit, and he trotted daintily along beside me. His trot is so pretty. It was a really happy time for me.

We were very coordinated yesterday. He is always looking at a dog.

And in other good news, we should be able to bring Apache and Fiona over to where Andrew is, so they can make friends and try out the stalls. I’m very excited about that. Crossing my fingers about the rain issue, but hey, the rain brings out a lot of cool insects, like giant walking sticks!

Lee’s hand is for scale.

Hoping you have a fun day, and that you like surprises. We may have more over here at the Hermits’ Rest!

Hay, How’s That New Horse?

Hungry. That’s how he is. Poor Andrew must have felt like he was in Heaven when he realized he was in a pen full of grass. As you can see in the photo below, he definitely mowed his pen quickly (photo was at 8:30 am).

Excuse me, I’d like more grass.

A second makeshift pen was quickly created for him, so now he has more grass to nosh on. I’m gonna bring him a bale of hay in a bit, just in case he needs it.

I need a little meat on my bones.

He’s got to grow, so he needs food! He has his veterinarian appointment tomorrow, so we will ask them what kind of food would be best for him, and I’m sure Trixie will have some ideas, too, when she sees him next week.

No more mud in my hair!

I had an hour between meetings, and since he’s right near the house, I was able to groom him a little. I got the mud off his mane and tail, and most of his legs, using extra tools we had at Sara’s (and I told her all about Drew when we met this morning to move Apache and feed him). Grooming was more difficult than it could have been because of his new best friend, Goldie.

What are you doing? Can I join you?

Goldie just thinks it’s cool to know a dog even bigger than herself, I think, and Drew is fine with her (he grew up with dogs). It’s just hard to groom with the dog running around.

I just wanna PLAY!

So, we are all having fun and getting acclimated. Meanwhile, Barbara the hen is still sticking with us, and getting around pretty well. The other chickens seem fine with each other, too, so maybe I’ll have more eggs soon!

Have a good day, and remember to focus on what’s good in your life; that often lets you handle your challenges with much more grace.

I’m still standin’, yeah, yeah yeah.

Goldie and the Gulf Coast Toad

Nearly all the toads you see in this area are Gulf Coast Toads. We always have a couple hanging around the house. You never know where one will be lurking, as we found out today.

A lurking toad.

Once again, a big downpour happened while the driveway was getting worked on. I was on the porch with the dogs, watching the rain.

Testing the new drain arrangement.

So, there are a couple of places where Lee’s old drainage system broke, and that’s where water gushes out when it rains hard. Today, there was a second gusher. I didn’t recall that happening before. It was like something was blocking the first one. Until I heard a POP.

What’s that?

A dazed toad spurted out of the hole. That was the blockage! I laughed my head off, so I only got this blurry image before it hopped away.

Where am I?

Once the toad hopped, Goldie spotted it. She’d never seen such a thing!

What’s that?

I watched as she circled the toad. Every time it moved, she jumped back, often nearly knocking me over. At one point she got scared by and went way across the new path to circle from a distance. She just didn’t know what to think of that toad!

I was scared!

I knew enough not to let her lick it, but a couple of times she got pretty close.

That thing keeps jumping!

It was a lot of fun watching Goldie learn. I think she got the idea not to bite or play with them. I wish I’d managed to teach Vlassic that before he got a mouthful of toad secretion and started foaming.

I Could Have Worked Harder Yesterday, But…

Now, I’m not referring to my paid employment, which did get it’s time in, but to my after-work job, helping with the pens and other jobs. It was an uncharacteristically pleasant day, so I can’t blame the heat. No, it’s my little buddy Vlassic who kept me sidelined for at least 45 minutes.

I deserve attention.

I went outside around 5 to water the chickens and check on progress, and I sat down to watch the hole-digging process in the stall area. Vlassic jumped in my lap.

We are fascinated.

He obviously needed some Mama love, because he only got down once for a minute until 6 pm, when I had to get out of the hard chair and help out. He snuggled, he licked, he cuddled, and he sighed from happiness. I love when the weather lets me hang out with my doggie dude.

Before digging holes. You can see one of the water troughs set up and markers for posts to divide the stalls.

Now that the dirt is all moved, the stalls can be completed. There will be four of them (thus limiting the number of horses that Kathleen and I can acquire). Each trough will be shared by two stalls. It will be cool.

Goldie likes to be involved.

The holes in the pens were easy to drill, but there were also three holes farther out, to support a water trough area for the cows.

The new posts are past the big gate. The water line has to go way out there.

The last hole was a doozy! The auger just wouldn’t go down. It just bounced and bounced about a foot down. It took at least half an hour to get that hole dug, and the soil had to be loosened, and the auger had to go sideways for a bit. But, once it got past the hard stuff, it happened. It turns out there are a few areas of really compacted soil right there. That’s interesting, because just a few feet away, there was no problem.

Looks like a normal hole, but it is not.

The good news is that all the poles are in their holes, to make a rhyme. And I DID get some work in. I filled in some of the holes, including a large and very wet hole where the water line got cut and had to be repaired. Let me tell you what, damp clay soil is heavy. My back reminded me of that!

It may look like an area with dirt and some random fencing stuff, but that used to be a big hole.

Of course, that was all a drop in the bucket, compared to all the work that has to be done on this project, but it’s nice to get some sweat equity into my project. By the way, Lee also filled in two holes. Nice, dry holes, I want to point out.

Look at those fine poles.

It looks like, at least for now, we have all the posts needed for the horse area. Now, to just fill everything in, finish burying the water line (ugh, a great deal of hand trenching is involved), set the troughs up with their floats and stuff, and add gates.

While the “getting the horse over here” part of the effort is coming close to an end, the project will go on and on, so I’ll keep chronicling it. Why? Mainly for me, I guess. It’s fun to look back on things once they are done. I sure enjoy the photos of building our house!

The container gets to be turned into a tack room and hay storage, while the second container, once it get here, gets to be other storage. Or something. Plans are fluid. Then, the great cattle fencing stage of the operation will begin. Our ranch will look very different, and there will be lots more space for rotating cattle and adding to the herd (which, to be clear, is NOT my area, but it’s fun to watch). Speaking of cattle, the new young heifers behind us want to not only be friends with Goldie, but also the chickens!

These birds are fascinating.