To be truthful, the number one thing I’m grateful for is my tack room. It smells pretty good in here for a room full of horse feed.
Number 2: Happy horses. Apache is calm again today, Drew has been running around with Dusty, and Mabel has let me rub all over her.
Number Three: Good health news about dear friends. I was so relieved to learn a former neighbor is recovering from a bad stroke, and my friend Jeff got his eye worked on again.
Number Four: Returning birds. I was greeted by the sweet sound of a red-winged blackbird this morning. Plus, the barn swallows are swooping and chattering outside my office. I love that sound.
Number Five: I got to see some local friends when I went to get a prescription filled. I was off really early because I’d started work at 6 am today. You can edit a lot of job aids in that silence.
I’m Not Grateful for…
Why was I working so early? Because I was awakened by the familiar horror of skunk breath. Yep, Goldie got another one. Once more I had to remove pitiful remnants of an animal who was where it shouldn’t have been. Once more Lee and I were trying to deodorize a giant dog. Ugh. But the rest of my day has been fine.
Over the past month or so, the friendship between Goldie, the Great Dane, and Carlton, the extra-white mutt, has blossomed into what can only be true love. They’re together almost all the time and keep each other in great shape, in between long naps on the couch.
And of course there’s the running in huge circles around the house, the dog play (like horseplay only with dogs), and the long drinks from the pool when they need a break.
Hmm. I must also mention the barking at things in the night. Cattle? Rabbits? Coyotes? Skunks? Armadillos? Raccoons? Big cats? So many possibilities, all real, judging from poop.
They just plain enjoy each other. Often I see Goldie’s paw on Carlton, asking him to either join her on the couch or play. And they hardly use dog toys. They have each other (giving Harvey and Penney time to play with the squeaky toys).
This morning they must have spent 45 minutes gently playing, licking each other, and chewing on body parts. Penney just watched. Lee and I could not stop laughing at their antics. They just don’t get tired of each other. I remember being that much in love!
In other events, We had a nice party last night for our friend, Mike, who turned 60 this week. Martha cooked a delicious pasta dish and Lee and I contributed a big ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. It was really good. We all prefer ice cream to actual cake, so it was a hit after some time time in the hot tub! and Anita got to have a second birthday celebration, since we’d already enjoyed a meal in Temple on her actual birthday. Celebrations of people you love — I guess that’s good for people AND dogs!
It’s shocking, all right. The electric lines are being laid for all our outbuildings, but we do t think any actual shocks will happen since we are using professional electricians. It’s nice to see a little bit of progress after all the setbacks and such.
The Ditch Witch chugged into action on Wednesday and started digging the trenches for the electric lines. Then, it suddenly stopped working after getting the lines to the tack room, shipping container, and much of the chicken house done. That was disappointing, since the electricians were due today.
Luckily, they got her up and running again this morning and finished the trenches so that the conduit could go in. None of this was easy in the baked clay soil we have in this part of the ranch. The worst parts were where they had to dig by hand and carve out curves in the path. My son looked like he was about to pass out, though of course he was well hydrated and got breaks.
Now that all the pipes are in, the electrician could get exact measurements for all the wiring and such that they’d need. Everything’s so expensive right now that no one wants to waste any money on excess supplies. They will be back tomorrow. By then there should be an air conditioner for the tack room, too. Am I excited? Yes, I sure am. And very grateful. The chickens will be, too, when they get a fan to help keep them cooler.
What else is new since I got all whacked out about my diagnosis? Well, it IS the Hermits’ Rest Ranch, so of course it’s not shocking that another poisonous beast had to show up. This little darling was right under my feet while I was working. It is now a former bloodsucking conenose (or kissing bug, Triatoma sanguisuga). These bite people on their mouths and feed on the blood while the people are sleeping. Then the people get sick. Luckily, they have never been seen upstairs here.
Also luckily, Marcus spent part of his day spraying all around the house and pool for spiders. He found a big nest of black widows on the back side of the pool. They are former spiders now. I may be a Master Naturalist, but things that want to kill me need to go live outside my personal bubble. I’m tired of killer insects and spiders.
And it’s not a day at the Hermits’ Rest if someone doesn’t need to see a doctor. Today it was Goldie. I noticed a swelling on her yesterday, and thought it looked odd. It wasn’t there last time I looked.
Today the swelling was bigger. It being Thursday, her favorite human was able to take her to see Dr. Amy and get it looked at. Turns out it was a scratch or bite or some other kind of “booboo” that got infected.
Dr. Amy drained it and disinfected it and put poor Goldie on antibiotics. She seems fine now, but now she has lots of scars on her belly!
Let’s hope tomorrow is a peaceful day. We could use one.
There was something like regular life last night and today. Work was normal. Animals were normal. Weather was spring-like.
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.
(By the way, she also tried to ear Mr. Robotto again.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We really enjoyed watching her, with the setting sun highlighting her golden eyes that match her coat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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!
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.