Harvey, He Loves Babies

Yesterday my friend Mandi visited. She recently gave birth to a tiny boy named Cuyler. Yes, she’s got a 22-year-old son. But also has this surprise gift.

I’m a baby.

We sat and talked with her in the rocking chair that I sat in when my kids were born (which reminds me that I gave birth for the last time 29 years ago today).

Declan being rocked to sleep by the dryer.

Anyway. I enjoyed meeting the baby, and I guess I wasn’t the only one. Harvey was fascinated. I’m told he also loved a visiting toddler that came when we were out of town, too.

Mandi and Cuyler

What warmed our hearts, though, was that Harvey went over, got a toy, squeaked it a couple of times, and then tried to put it in Mandi’s lap, for the baby to play with. Isn’t that sweet?

We also got to sit on the porch.

I’m enjoying all the new life around here. I wish them peace and safety throughout their lives.

Peace.

Pool Filling, Dog Feeling Better

Deepest thanks to all of you who read my tribute to my friend, Ted, yesterday. Keep his wife, family and friends in your thoughts. Your words comforted me. Wow, many folks in my circle are dealing with unexpected deaths this month.

This morning, we still had lots of water to add.

Today I tried to just do fun things. Lee and I spent a long time watching the pool fill up. That’s a slow process over here in northern Milam County. It’s actually still filling, but should be done by bedtime. It’s up to the beach area at last!

Almost full!

A nice young man named Austin came over and got all the equipment set up and ready to turn on tomorrow morning. The dogs loved him.

Whatcha doin’?

He installed the spa jets and skimmer baskets, then brushed down the pool, a thing we are supposed to do often until the plaster is cured.

Cleaning, from far away

He got the rather impressive robot pool cleaner ready to go, but since we can’t use it until the end of January, he didn’t show us how to use it. (The reason for that is that the wheels might mark the plaster until it is fully cured.)

This is the robotic cart.

Tomorrow, Austin will come back and bring the Pool of Dreams to life. That’s just in time for a much-needed Christmas light show! until then, enjoy more pool pix.

Dog Update

While watching the pool fill up, we also enjoyed the dogs. I’m happy to report that Harvey is acting much like his old self. He is playing with the other dogs, including Goldie. They act completely normal.

We get along. At the moment.

Harvey’s injuries are looking much better. Lots of scabs are gone, and where he was stapled seems healed.

See. I look better

He still has a couple of open sores that we put medication goop in, but even the horrible one looks better. I am very relieved to have the old pack again.

Much better.

The pool fascinates Penney. She thinks it’s a giant water dish, which I guess it is right now! I think she is gonna love the beach area. I predict a lot of damp dog feet!

I’m exhausted, so I’ll tell you how our three horse lessons went today. Quite eventful!

I need to learn to chill like Alfred.

Blue Screen Day

No day is great when the first thing you see is a bright blue screen on the new laptop you’ve only had two months. And yes, that’s what greeted me this morning, when I came down thinking I had 2.5 hours to work on training stuff.

At least it was a pretty morning.

Instead, I spent 2.4 hours on a tech support call, repeatedly rebooting and having to enter a giant, endless passcode. I became cranky. When the young man informed me I had to reinstall the operating system and could do it only if I had a USB drive of a certain size, I became vexed. Of course I threw out all my old Planview drives and only have the giant one where I brilliantly store all my backup files. It was too big.

Look who felt well enough to come out with the other dogs.

Now, I know how hard that job is and that they are reading from a decision tree and actually have no clue how computers work. I know the guy was trying while he repeatedly had to consult various things. But I also had to work.

The Christmas cactus cheered me up.

Of course my colleague on an Asian subcontinent had pinged me long before I came downstairs, so I had to help her while on the phone with the other guy. One big happy family, since we work for them same company. I got her going. Then the OTHER fellow I’m working with on that project needed help.

We think Carlton cleaned his shoulder up last night. It looks less gross.

I was really patient, for me. But in the end, someone has to come work on the laptop in person. So glad I spent extra for that. This means all blogging will be done on the phone for a few days.

I will stop with the whining and summarize that today was very long. The woman who pinged me before I came down to work was still asking questions when I was trying to work with the horses.

Not All Bad

Setting up equipment.

The day had good points, though! The Pool of Dreams finally saw some more action today! An electrician came to get all the power for the equipment set up. He couldn’t get the wiring to the part of the garage where the fuse box is, so he will have to come back.

Lee and dogs supervising the control panels.

I was relieved to get this done. The plaster is supposed to be Friday. We’ll see.

Looking tidy!

I have more to share that’s somewhat cheerful but I’m tired of typing on the phone. I’ll be back soon.

Wiring the fire pit. Harvey is trying to hide.

A Cold Front and Other Improvements

It’s 30 degrees cooler today, and even though it made training a bit chilly, it was all good. Everything is a little better.

I wish I had her self-warning vest, says Drew.

Drew is doing so well. And he is so sweet. He has the best Alfalfa breath. I love watching how hard he tries to learn.

The dogs had a lot of cool weather energy.

Back at home, Harvey is improving. He walks better and is less swollen. An he stopped dripping. Whew. It’s a mess here.

I hid a lot of the day.

In the afternoon I took Apache out again, after a real disaster working with him yesterday. Today there was no bucking, snorting, or kicking. He did so well! And he was loving and friendly. Maybe yesterday when I was boss mare impressed him?

A good ending to my day.

It’s not all perfect. It never is. One of the chickens died last night, and I couldn’t figure out why. And while we just got a lot of wind, other parts of the country had dangerous tornados. But, that’s life. Never perfect.

I’m grateful for the good, like this deep winter sunset afterglow. Enjoy.

How’s the Dog?

We’ve been asked that a lot today. Thank you to all who have expressed care and love for Harvey and the other dogs after the unpleasant incident yesterday.

Thank you.

We were happy to see him drinking water and making it out to pee last night and today. He didn’t want to eat, though, which had us worried that we would not be able to get his pain meds and antibiotics in him.

Not feeling good.

He spent the whole morning glued to my desk chair and shivering. I felt so bad for him. Mid morning Lee was able to get him to take his meds by spraying the stuff they make to put in kong toys. It’s puréed chicken. Harvey wouldn’t eat his regular food but ate that!

Must bleed on new things.

He got to feeling well enough to move around some, and by late afternoon he tried the stairs. That was not pretty, I’m told. The leg with the big injury doesn’t work real well. And it’s still bleeding. I got to clean that up. Between the blood and the smell, today was hard.

But every cloud has a silver lining.

It’s true. Mobile Harvey is bleeding all over the place, but he is acting a bit more like himself, just with a bum leg and ooze.

I’m interested in food.

He followed me around when I was holding an ice cream spoon and I realized he was hungry. Yay! Lee fed him his food, and he looked happy.

That made me happy, seeing him stand and eat. Then I looked at his legs. Yow, the left one is swollen. So glad he has good medicine.

Poor leg!

We are not going to leave him alone for a while and will separate him from the other dogs unless we are supervising. Right now all is well. I need it to be. There has been enough hard stuff this week.

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.

Just Us and the Dogs

With our housemates at their other house for Thanksgiving and Anita off to house sit for a while, Lee and I have the ranch to ourselves.

Love

But we aren’t alone. I thought I was earlier today, but then I realized I was surrounded by 6 sleeping dogs. I took a panoramic picture.

Alfred, Gracie, Carlton, Penney, Goldie, and Harvey

They take turns keeping us warm in the evenings. I usually have Carlton or Penney. Tonight I was reading and not paying attention when I realized the dog on me was quite heavy. It was Harvey. Aww.

It’s my turn.

He’s a bit smelly, but sweet. And he growls if Goldie tries to come near.

I’ll just lay here and play with my toys.

But, he spent so long watching TV with me that my foot fell asleep. He’s heavy.

Great show.

Lee usually has Penney laying beside him, sitting up like a person. Since my lap was full, Carlton joined them. Surprisingly, no fighting occurred.

Buddies.

That’s what makes a quiet evening at the Hermits’ Rest. I’ll just share this nice photo out friend Carol took of me and Lee. I declare it our anniversary photo, even though it’s a few days away. Lucky 13 years.

Suna and Lee, looked over by mariachis.

Wishing you love, wherever you find it.

News from Back at the Ranch and Seaside Sights

It’s a good thing folks back home sent me news, because I literally had meetings at 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the books today. Luckily one got moved and a few of them were short, so I had time to breathe. And I snuck in some content creation, too. Go beach me.

News from the ranch ranges to worrisome to great. What’s worrisome is that Apache still isn’t 100% and Trixie the farrier/body worker isn’t sure why. Even on his extremely limited pasture, he’s managing to put on weight, too (still seems thin to me). Sara is taking good care of him, and even got to ride him. It turns out though, that Apache’s favorite object is now Sara’s back massager. Trixie used it on him, and according to Sara, he “melted.”

Happy horse time. More, Trixie, more!

We will figure out some way to get Apache’s diet right so he can feel okay again. That will be made better by the fact that I ordered a major ton of pipe yesterday, which will provide the foundations for our new world of fencing, pens, stalls, cattle working area, and expanded dog run (so the dogs can sit with us out front). This is going to be SO much work!

Look at all that pipe! And you can see dogs, too. Hi dogs!

Luckily we had the equipment for dealing with this stuff. We heard the Kubota tractor could not handle the weight of the pipe, so the front-end loader had to come to the rescue. We just knew that purchase was a good one.

I can handle anything.

We also hear that the dogs are having lots of fun “helping” out on the project. I can tell Harvey is having a good time!

I got to go for a ride.

Over here at the beach, we’d wanted to go back to Brookgreen, but I had too much work! I did get a moment to pick up a thank-you gift from Irina, the lady who helped us get more condo time. She is the first person I ever met from Moldova, and she was so impressed I’d heard of her home country, that she shared some of her wine with us. Who knew that Moldova was “the wine country?”

Can’t wait to try this, though I’d like to share it with friends and family.

I also got a tiny walk in between meetings, where I saw that workers were testing out some of the fancy new rides being set up near our condos. It looks like it will be a permanent installation amusement park, not a roving carnival. I will tell you this: I will not be getting on that roller coaster with a section that goes around and around in it.

Nope, not getting on that thing, ever.

It was really windy today, so we probably didn’t miss much not going anywhere to look at nature. Of course, I continued my hunt for natural beauty on Myrtle Beach, because I can’t help it. I found a rock with rainbow bubbles and a fresh little fish, soon to be seagull food.

But, the best thing we found were these jellyfish that washed up. They are just the most interesting creatures. It’s hard to believe they’re real when you look at them up close!

And now, it’s on to another evening of ocean watching, wine drinking, and eating delicious food (I made a huge piece of salmon last night, and seasoned it with crushed Doritos, since I’d forgotten to get any seasonings, and it was surprisingly tasty!).

We got to so many families enjoying themselves playing games together, got to watch a dog who couldn’t believe how lucky he was to find so much dirt to dig holes in, and even met a woman walking on the beach alone, wearing a tiara. It was her birthday, and she was rejoining her family in our building. I hope you are having fun enjoying the simple things, wherever you are.

Sunday Musings: It’s a Good Life, All Things Considered

Today, I’m being more explicit about what I’m grateful for than my usual gratitude practice, which is more like, “Thank goodness X is in my life, or I can do Y, or Z happened.” I want to say how grateful I am to Lee for deciding to get our retirement property early, build a house on it, and start with the rural fun and learning experiment we call the Hermits’ Rest Ranch. It’s saving my butt, that’s for sure.

Every Sunday morning, I wake up, make coffee, and hang around with Lee and the dogs up in our bedroom. It’s a huge room, so it has a loveseat, chairs, a little dining table (now Lee’s desk), and coffee fixings. Usually the dogs take turns wanting to sit by me and get petted. It’s such a gentle way to ease into the day. Weekends are the best.

This morning I had Carlton for a long time, and he was not about to let me do anything with my left hand except pet his long neck while he stretched his head straight up. Then big ole Harvey wanted some time with me. I’ve mentioned before that he thinks he’s a lapdog now, and sure enough, he managed to drape himself over my entire lap. We had a nice snuggle (I originally wrote “struggle,” which may, in fact, be accurate), though that bulky dog sure is heavy.

Not pretty, but fresh!

It is nice to review your previous day up in the bedroom, so I thought back on how happy I was to find out that all the guinea eggs from yesterday were still good, and wondered what to do with them, since I’m not heading into Austin for a few weeks, I can’t get them to my coworker who’s allergic to chicken eggs, but not guinea eggs. I guess we eat them.

Here, Apache has just picked up a clod or grass and declared round pen time was over. Typical scene with Sara working with Ace and Fiona eating grass like there’s no tomorrow.

I also reminded myself how good I am at being patient in difficult situations, which yesterday’s time with Apache once again proved. Both he and Ace were antsy, like there was something going on around them that put them on alert. I never did figure out what it was, but it led to more dancing around and trying to do what HE wanted to from Apache. He just wasn’t thinking. But, we stopped, had a little chat, and eventually went on to have a nice ride. He really likes it when I talk to him calmly.

And for those of you suggesting lessons, I’m actually signed up for some with a local trainer. That’s why I got a Coggins test for Apache when the vet was here. Sara will take Ace and I will take Apache. That means we get to practice trailer loading, because it’s been a long time since we’ve gone anywhere out of town. He used to love going to Kerri April’s to learn Parelli stuff.

This is a cool brown skink that was in the hay feeder yesterday!

I roused myself from all my musings and went out to see what’s going on with the chickens and such. Every single step I took, Bertie Lee was right with me. She’s the Big Red of my main flock. That hen just likes me. When I checked the chicks, they’d knocked their little feeder over and messed up the water, so I fixed all that and gave Star more adult chicken food (the kind they don’t like, but my shipment of Grubbly feed has not arrived yet, due to high order volumes).

They are not starving, anyway, since every time I look in they are eating away at the plant growth in and around their little coop. I’m sure no bug stands a chance in there, either!

Here’s a pretty buckeye I saw yesterday.

Then I just sat around, watched the chicks preen their feathers (it appears that they are trying to get the fluff off, so their fine new feathers can grow out), and enjoying the pond, trees, and butterflies. I got to watch the little ones go up and down the ramp, and it’s clear they are way faster at it than their mom, who carefully steps down the ramp. They also jump up and down off the small tree branch I put in their area and flap their little wings when they go to land. They will be strong! I wonder how old they will be before they can fly?

Naturally, I looked up the answer on the Googles and found they start testing their wings at around a week (check), but they don’t get their flight feathers until around 5 weeks, so we have something to look forward to!

Just looking around the ranch keeps me focused and gives me perspective. My challenges are just small bumps in the road compared to all that goes on around me every day in nature. And, like my friend Vicki has been reminding me lately:

I’ve survived all those previous hard times,
so I will probably survive this one, too.

I don’t want to just survive, I want to thrive! So I’m going to keep focused on the fact that life is good, I’m surrounded by supportive friends and family, and the new events we’ll go through will make us stronger and wiser. This is what I hope for all you out there, too.

And don’t forget to visit the podcast if you need something to listen to that’s fairly uplifting and pleasant. For me, it’s a nice break between some of my more intense podcasts! And if you want to help out with my blogging fees, consider visiting the support link at the top of the page.

Love Is a Wet Puppy

Ah, the work week is over. I made it, and even did well. I only checked on the chicks three times today, and was able to watch one of them drink water. They’re definitely eating!

We did get more rain, but it let up in time to go see the horses with Sara. What a happy surprise it was to see little Bess along with her other cattle dogs. She’s such a cutie.

Look what I found!

Sara introduced her to Apache and told her not to chase Big Red. Big Red also told her! There’s certainly a lot for a young dog to learn!

I’m not chasing. I’m thinking about it.

After playing with Bess for a while, Sara went to get Ace. Bess was very interested, and watched intently.

There’s something big over there.

However, once that giant beast came walking up, Bess glued herself to my side, not taking her eyes off him. I petted her and told her she was okay. I could see her little ears trembling, so I volunteered to take her back to the house.

Puppies love a good stick.

Yeah, that was SUCH a burden, right? It’s so wonderful to hold a warm, soft living being who snuggles up to you and softly licks your fingers to show her contentment. Cattle dog pups are so soft, for dogs with such sturdy fur as adults. And since I was chilly from walking through the wet grass and getting jumped on by her tiny wet feet, she kept me cozy. Yep, love is a wet puppy.

Blurry cause she’s running so fast.

When I got my damp self back to the Hermits’ Rest, certain dogs were very aware I’d been with a puppy. Penney glued her nose to me for ten minutes. And when I sat down, with clean, dry clothes on, Harvey jumped into my lap (a new, awkward habit of his) and proceeded to sniff and drool extensively on my pants and shirt. I was all wet again.

Here’s a demonstration of Harvey gluing himself to someone. Both are very happy.

That Harvey. He really likes laps these days, especially Lee’s. And once he’s draped across you, you aren’t going anywhere for a while. I guess love is also a large wet dog.

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