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.

Sunset Ranch Update

There hasn’t been an update on our ranch citizens in a while, and tonight’s sunset inspired me to write one.

There’s a bonus dog in this photo!

Last night’s solstice sunset was apparently amazing, but I was busy lighting candles and missed it. Luckily a friend took great photos for me to enjoy.

The sun sets right on our road.

As the sun disappeared it looked like a tribute to the universities I attended (orange and blue!)

Shiny.

Anyway, most of the ranch residents are doing well, but we’ve discovered a new chicken killer, our resident harrier. No wonder they call them chicken hawks. Sigh. But, as always, we have a plan. Since that hawk only goes after them out in the lawn, we’re going to keep the chickens cooped up for a while.

A project!

The newly arranged coop is getting its fancy new roof. Once it’s done, the residents will get locked in. That will annoy Gertie the Guinea a lot, but we want him alive! And hopefully it will remind my buddy Bertie where she should lay her eggs.

Harvey was a great supervisor, I’m told.

And to end on a happier note, I got home early enough today to play with Apache and Fiona. Apache was thrilled, and showed it his usual way.

Oh boy! I get to play with Suna, after I pee.

We got to go for a nice walk, and then I got him to run and trot around for a while. He seems in good shape.

As we were trotting, Fiona got all excited and started galloping around us in circles, hee-hawing away. After four or five circuits, Apache and I turned around to trot back. Fiona then zoomed into the race and began bellowing at Ralph’s cows.

I was wondering if I would ever get her back in the pen, but when Apache and I went in, she barreled in with us. I guess the both had some fun! So did I.

Holiday for Harvey

Whew. I was not a hermit today, as I spent a fun bit exhausting day surrounded by people. But I did fine, laughed a lot, and made it through dinner for nine people at the ranch table this evening.

I think Apache missed me.

The highlight of the day came toward the end of the delayed present opening. For some reason, Harvey really likes presents. He tried to take Lee’s wrapping paper, then was just SURE some hand cream I got was a treat for him. Glad he didn’t chomp down on it.

Kathleen admires Harvey’s dignity.

Here’s the cutest. My sister gave Lee some pint glasses that were carefully wrapped in bubble wrap. Lee threw it on the floor. Harvey, usually a slow mover, pounced on that precious wrap like the happiest toddler in America.

I’m so happy.

He then proceeded to vigorously shred it, tossing each piece gleefully in the air. Triumph!

Action shot!

He spent five minutes on this, before getting distracted by some tissue paper.

Visitors Easton and Nicole crack up as Chris watches.

Only then did Carlton and Penney take a turn.

Yay! Our turn.

That wasn’t the end of Harvey’s holiday fun. Chris and I had built the first fire in our outdoor fireplace this evening. We all took turns sitting by it in the chilly air. At one point I looked over, and there was Harvey, sharing a loveseat with our friend, Mike. He genuinely looked like he was part of the gathering as a fellow friend.

Romantic outdoor fire.

What a good dog.

I’m a good dog.

Starvey Harvey at Four

When we brought Harvey home from where he was dumped at the Rattlesnake house, the vet said he was about the same age as Brody, so I assigned him the summer solstice as his birthday. Sigh. Brody would be four now.

So dignified

Anyway, Harvey is doing well. Not as porky as he was for a while, thanks to Carlton keeping him moving, but nowhere near the bag of bones he was when Ralph first found him cowering across the street, waiting for his owners to come back.

Weight loss regime

He seems a lot calmer now, and less prone to his growling habit. He only gets testy when Carlton gets too relentless in his play requests. He also enjoys running and playing with Vlassic, which provides us with hours of fun.

I’m not too chubby!

He looks so incredibly happy when I get back from Austin every week that it makes me tear up sometimes. All that love coming barreling at me warms my heart. He and Alfred both just have the most expressive faces.

That dang Carlton grew. His legs are too long!

That’s really all I have to share. I just don’t talk as much about Harvey, it seems, but rest assured he’s always in my heart.