Hey, Hey, Hay

I’ve mentioned that we’re in a big drought, as big as when we first got to the Hermits’ Rest. You may be in a part of the world with too much water. Neither is ideal!

That’s a sad pond.

As you know, there’s not much for the horses to eat, even though we’ve been supplementing with hay and built more fencing to give them access to an ungrazed area.

Johnson grass. Yum.

The cows the family own are also hungry, So our friend Pamela came to the rescue with some round bales of hay from the end of last year that we could afford. As you can imagine, with high demand cones high prices.

Hey, hay!

To save our good square bales for winter, we’re going to get a feeder for the horses and give them a round bale for the duration of the dry and hot spell. The feeder will keep them from wasting hay. It will eventually pay for itself, I hope.

We will love this as much as we love each other.

So, we have plans, and that’s good. I’ve just got to get over my heat issue. I can barely do any horse stuff. They don’t mind too much, if at all. Much petting and bonding occurs.

You don’t see me. I’m hiding.

The heat is really a pain when it comes to deliveries. Since UPS lady won’t drop things off, we can miss things dumped by the gate. I was not happy my wine delivery sat outside for a long time yesterday. But, only one cork tried to pop. I “had” to open this perky orange rosé tonight for that reason. No one had to beg me!

Wine is Noisy Water Winery from New Mexico.

The good news from today is that I got a beautiful Creature of the Day. She a neon skimmer dragonfly. Look at her sparkle!

Well, I’ve had a hard work day, so it’s time to crochet, drink wine, and eat boudin. It’s what’s for dinner.

Heat. Sick.

Feeling bad today. Stomach stress and literally falling asleep randomly. No COVID, so my social life didn’t kill me. Glad for those free test kits. I think I’ve just tried to do too much outside the past few days.

Me and Carlton. Zonked.

I’m sure I’ll be better tomorrow. At least I picked colors for our next renovation project and look forward to a bigger project coming soon. More details soon!

Why I couldn’t take a nap. Four howling dogs and one trying to escape. Look at Alfred!

It really needs to rain here. Even with the pool, it’s getting to us all. The horses just stand in the shade. The dogs lay around the house. The people do their best. I just feel icky. Sleep should do the trick, and electrolytes.


Creature of the Day. Large wolf spider. Now outdoors.

Traveling and Sizzling

Been traveling. Yesterday we took back roads through a very hot but beautiful Arizona day. We passed through many tribal lands, including Apache. Eventually we hit the ocean and stopped driving. The solitude washed over me like yesterday’s desert rain and the heat burned through my concerns. I was left empty in a good way.

Desert rain from Thursday in New Mexico.

Here are some mountains, rocks, cactus, and vastness from our trip from western New Mexico to just north of San Diego. Lee loved the back roads. Me too. Who cares if it was 114°? Where we are now it’s perfect. Just like they advertise California to be.

Where we stopped for gas. Gas is $6 per gallon where we are now. Not perfect.

We Sizzle in the Summer

Today, Sara and I headed back to the lovely Watts Way arena for our fourth Working Horse Central show. I’d hoped Drew and I had improved enough to get some significantly better scores, but, I’ll have to be satisfied with knowing we’ve improved regardless of our scores. I’ll just keep trying.

We did have fun!

The big highlight for me was watching Saragorn and their blossoming partnership. Now that Aragorn is feeling better in his feet, he’s just amazing to watch.

She also had fun. One of the auditors was kind enough to take these great photos for us.

They were beautiful during the dressage patterns, and would have been even better over the obstacles if it weren’t for “user error.” Many of the competitors had some lapses, so she wasn’t alone. It was still great to watch.

He’s in such good shape.

As for me, I remembered most of the patterns for dressage, but honestly, I’m just not good at running beside a horse, and have no idea how to do some of the requirements I was unaware of. So, bleh. I tried. And he turned right much better!

There are no photos of that, so here is Drew looking cute.

I did way, way better on the obstacle portion, getting lots of 8 out of 10. Drew trotted, too, though apparently broke gate (started walking) but I had a hard time noticing. I dropped my whip, but still did 3 barrels the harder way. I was proud. I even nicely changed from leading him on the left to the right.

Barreling. I’m behind him.

Unfortunately, I totally didn’t do one of the easiest obstacles. I even prepared for it! But people were asking Sara questions as she called the numbers, and skipped it. I got a 0. No one even told me!

We did well checking the mail.

I’m not upset about that, though, because stuff like this happens! I just know I’d have gotten a very good score if I’d done that right. As it was, I got a good one. Sigh.

We RAN when we were done. We were so happy. That’s before we realized the oopsie. I can’t believe I can run that much.

We got to meet some new people at the show, which was fun. We also got to see great improvements in some familiar faces. At least one horse was so calm and compliant and her rider so composed…it was hard to tell they are the same pair!

Hard work pays off!

Every single horse had such kind and caring human partners! Even when mistakes happened, the riders were patient and encouraging to the horses. I was very impressed.

Another beautiful horse with a great bond with his rider.

Now for the highlight of the show. The final part is where riders see how quickly they can go through a set of obstacles. There are many ways for this to go horribly wrong. But damn, Saragorn put on a real show. Sara didn’t play it safe, and Aragorn was up for the challenge. They NAILED it both in execution and speed.

I’m the old woman reading the obstacles Sara

There are no photos of this, because I was calling the order of obstacles, but when Sara finished, she urged Aragorn into a canter and took a victory lap, waving gleefully. It was great. Sara said it was a lifelong dream come true. I was so happy for her!

My happy friend.

I guess it’s time to dust off my self esteem, which is low for reasons not having to do with my poor horse and his need to learn more. It’s more than the return to the Dark Ages. I’m needing some encouragement and had hoped for some today. Eh. Humanity is hard. Look at these horse pictures.

We are so grateful to Tarrin and her family, the lovely scribe, and everyone else who helped with the small but mighty Summer Sizzler Show. It was hit, but the show started early and got through it!

Happy judge and scribe

I’ll treasure my happy moment when I thought Drew and I had done well!

Drew looking particularly bony at 5:30 am

The Vines of Hermits’ Rest

I thought I’d take my own advice and get out in nature this morning, so I made up a project to see how many different vines I could see along the fence in front of and beside the ranch house.

Mustang grape. I know because it’s silver and hairy on the bottom.

It hadn’t gotten stifling hot yet, so Vlassic and I set off. I knew a lot of what I’d see, but figured I’d find at least seven different vines.

Vine
Looks boring, right? But if we hadn’t been aggressively mowing, it would produce cool little lanterns. It’s Cardiospermum halicacabum

I actually ended up with 12! At least I hope so. Most weren’t blooming, but I recognized them. The white morning glory had closed up and I couldn’t get to the flowers to photograph.

I was especially glad to see passion vines in more than one place, because I’d worried the poison ivy had crowded it out.

Passion vine with no beautiful flowers.

Also I was glad to confirm that we have sorrel vine here, since the Master Naturalist who lives not far from here has a lot of it.

Sorrel vine or Cissus trifoliata. It’s known as possum grape, too.

Otherwise, it’s the usual prickly, rash-inducing, invasive and/or pretty plants.

Of course I had to snap a few other pretty sights. Plus, there’s action around the hen house. There’s a new spider building a web right in front of where I get the eggs from. Luckily I have another way to get eggs.

And Chris put a live trap by the chicken run. We need to stop whatever took almost all the guineas and a hen! Hopefully, once it cools off, he will come up with more safety measures.

These are prettier than water hose, right? Lady Bird’s Centaury.

We do have a much more elaborate water system, though, since the other one was trying to make the hoses explode. Chris used new water hose/pipe and fittings to make a safer temporary setup until we make the fancy underground one. It’s also too hot to safely dig the trench for that.

At least the dogs are happy we’re inside all day. 102 is too hot for any of our outdoor projects! Happy July.

It’s weather fit for sunflowers!

Keep Track of Your Small Doggies

This could have been a MUCH worse post, but it’s scary to me, nonetheless.

Last night we were sitting on the porch with the dogs, when Lee’s brother walked up and asked if we’d seen Vlassic. We hadn’t in an hour or so. We looked and looked and couldn’t find him.

Not much room for common sense in that brain. (Old picture, still true)

I got worried he had wandered over to the Laywells across the street, which he had done once or twice before, so Kathleen and I jumped into Hilda, our utility vehicle, and went searching. We saw the Dorners. Hi Dorners. We turned around. We ran into Mr. Laywell on his utility vehicle (they go up and down the road all the time), who did indeed have a small black dog in his lap!

But, it turned out to be a black terrier, the exact same size as Vlassic but way barkier. Nice to have a face to go along with the barking fits across the road (I’m sure they love knowing what the barking fits on OUR side of the road are caused by, too, so no judgment implied). Anyway, we made him talk to us again.

You can tell by the mud on his face that Vlassic likes to put his nose into things! He’s also been swimming a LOT lately.

We went by Mandi’s and yelled, we went over to Sara and Ralph’s…checked places he’d hidden before.

Finally we went back home, to find a small black dog in the grass. I hugged him a lot, then asked what had happened. Eek.

Vlassic had jumped into the pickup while Chris was getting some stuff out of it, and no one had seen him. He’d been locked inside the black truck for who knows how long.

If it weren’t for the pandemic, Vlassic wouldn’t have met his new buddy, Jim, with the RV that’s safe from mean ole Penney.

We are so grateful he is okay. I’d been thinking it was time to give up on dogs, since I seem to be pretty hard on them. Of course, we have once again reminded ourselves to check cars after we’ve been loading and unloading, because Vlassic or Harvey might have gotten in, ready for a ride. That’s so scary as summer approaches.

I love this dog SO MUCH. Here he is in a car. We made sure he got out.

So, if you have a dog that likes to go on rides, check your vehicles!

Texas Weather Weirdness AND Trouble in Kindness Land

This holiday weekend has had some rough weather all over the US, and I am grateful to have had nothing worse than fog and light rain. But still, I got quite a weather surprise last night. All day it had been damp, a bit chilly, and breezy. I was glad to have my coat on for horsing around and walking with the dogs.

I heard a lot about Lego creativity from Mandi’s youngest son last night. He is really funny and clever.

So, around 7:30 or so, I went over to Mandi’s house to look for rattlesnakes…um, no, to watch her make pies and talk to her kids. I put on the same coat I’d worn all day, and stepped onto the porch. WHAT?? It was HOT outside! Yes, after sunset it had warmed up at least ten degrees, maybe more. Now, that is NOT a usual weather pattern! It appears that the front that had stalled over the state had moved back to the north and brought sauna-like conditions. That’s a new one! And right now it’s almost 80 degrees, on the last day of November!

Kindness Land

I realize I could have made two posts, but since no one’s really reading this stuff this weekend, I’ll just combine topics.

You see, I have been struggling with kindness in some areas of my life. Since being kind is important to me, I’m trying to build new patterns and attitudes toward people I come across. To be honest, there are always people we find hard to be kind to, whether it’s someone who treats us or another person rudely, the person whose driving puts you in danger, or a coworker with no boundaries (made-up examples; please don’t worry if I am referring to you).

Continue reading “Texas Weather Weirdness AND Trouble in Kindness Land”

Strange Fruit?

I did listen to Billie Holliday singing the song “Strange Fruit” multiple times last week, since it was one of the topics that came up for the commemoration of slaves being brought to this continent in 1619. That song always makes me shiver. Then I’m sad. Then I’m angry. I hope humans learn from our mistakes and treat each other better. Someday.

In more mundane stuff…

Today I was looking around wondering what I’d eat during this time of year and right before my eyes appeared two more benign strange fruit: a passion fruit and a prickly pear.

Passion fruit and prickly pear amid shiny lights

Those would be sweet and delicious any time, but especially now, when it’s so parched.

Continue reading “Strange Fruit?”

Why, Yes, It IS Hot

hot1
The weather app says it’s hot.

After a period of vaguely okay weather, with some rainy days and nice things like that, it is now extra-July here in the middle of Texas.

Combine that heat with all that Saharan dust, and people are staying indoors in droves. In fact, if I had a Gratitude Journal, my only entry this week would say, “Air Conditioning!” I’ve been dealing with most annoying asthma symptoms all week.

hot2
Be careful out there.

Mandi was trying to paint the inside of the house she’s remodeling this week, but it doesn’t have air conditioning yet. She now has heat exhaustion.

I’m being careful and plan to feed horses and chickens at sunset, and will probably drive over there rather than walk.

Continue reading “Why, Yes, It IS Hot”

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