More Waterfalls and Flowers and DUNG BEETLES!

I did promise to finish writing up my trip to Pedernales Falls State Park. Gosh, I hope you like wildflowers and scenery and stinky insects. I had lots of energy for hiking/looking at plants, thanks to sleeping so well. Ahh. Total darkness and no barking or licking makes for great sleep.

Lee needed coffee, too.

So, once I woke up on Sunday morning, had my coffee, and analyzed bird songs (so many vireos), I took off for the other nearby trails. First, I took the Coyote Crossing trail, which led deep into a very humid woodland area and crossed a mostly dry creek that feeds into the river.

There were many interesting fungi, ferns, and vines in the moist environment. I also got to see a ladder back woodpecker. Mostly I enjoyed the deep green solitude.

Once past that trail the scenery was very different, with seemingly endless swaths of black-eyed Susans and their friends. There were lots of new flowers there, and I had one of those “Linda Jo moments” when I got practically giddy over plants. But I didn’t have a fellow Master Naturalist to exclaim to!

The next trail was the one that led to the swimming area of the river. I must admit I forgot there was a river to go to, because I was so mesmerized by the flowers. The trail went down steep steps. Every time I stopped I said to myself that THESE were the prettiest flowers I ever saw.

And there were so many butterflies that I felt like Snow White in the meadow. They were flitting all around me. It was magical!

I finally got to the river, and was happy to see it wasn’t crowded. There were just a few families wading around and playing, plus a woman with a big dog.

Eventually I turned to go back, stopping to photograph lizards and more flowers. I let the family with the dog pass me on their way up, then encountered the dad resting halfway up. I said something about taking it slow because I was a naturalist, and we got to talking about his interest in foraging. Talking to them made me not even notice the steep climb! Finally, someone was interested in my blathering.

They left to take a bathroom break and I headed back along the road, where I found some phlox and other plants that like sand.

The family drove by and asked if I would like a ride back, and to be honest, that sounded good. So I joined them. They said they were thinking of driving to the big falls, and invited me along. I’m glad they did. It was a ways down the road.

We had a fun walk to the falls. The best part was when I saw a dung beetle rolling a ball of poop across the path. Carl (the dad) got all excited, because he didn’t know we had them in Texas. That got the two boys and the wife excited, too. She took movies and we had a grand time watching the beetles while all sorts of people passed us, probably thinking we were weird. But it was educational!

We finally made it to the overlook, and it was gorgeous. We saw a wedding party, too. We were all too tired to go down to the river, but they were going to go Monday morning. I was fine just looking down. The photos don’t do it justice, for sure.

And that’s about it for adventures. The rest of the day we sat outside a lot and went in to watch movies. I don’t know what to think about the Legion of Superheroes movie. They did stay pretty true to the characters…but it was nowhere near as good as Ant Man and the Wasp. Marvel does make a good movie.

Listening to me talk about birds.

Back Home

I was glad to get home on Monday, but sure enjoyed my wallows in nature. I needed that rejuvenation. Of course, there’s plenty of nature here. Just look at the baby birds in a nest on our back door!

Too tired to peep. A storm kept them awake.

Speaking of storms, one showed up out of the blue yesterday and dumped a ton of rain in a short time. It was full of thunder and lightning. The dogs were NOT thrilled, and since I was the only one in the house, all five indoor dogs clustered around me. Penney and Carlton were under my desk. Harvey was beside my chair. Alfred was standing on the other side of the chair panting into my face. At least Goldie just stayed on “her” couch.

Eventually, Penney wormed her way into my lap and did that unbearable wiggling and trying to squirm up to the top of my head, or inside me. I’m not sure what her intent is, but it’s hairy, hot, and whiny. Thank goodness I discovered the guys were stranded in the garage so I “had” to take them umbrellas. That allowed the dogs to distribute themselves among three people. Whew.

Help ME!

And oh yes, I’ve had my dose of cuteness. look at Jhayati! She’s so soft! And like my dad, she’s never met a stranger. Sara is in love. I’m pretty thrilled, too.

Bringing Home Baby

Taking a break from the things that are on my mind, I will share the fun Sara and I had as we drove back to Trixie’s ranch to get Sully and baby Jhayati and bring them back to Sara’s.

I’ve already grown and I’m not even a week old!

It went better than I expected in many ways. First, we managed to get there in between rain storms, which felt like a minor miracle. Then everything else went according to the plan, which was to take our time and not stress out the horses.

Mom, don’t eat my tail! I’m trying to grow big and strong here!

Once everything was ready, we stopped to calculate how big Jhaya should get. Apparently you measure the cannon bone and calculate however many inches it is. That somehow tells you the number of “hands” high the horse will be. Jhaya came out to be 15 inches plus a little. That predicts 15.2 hands. That pleased Sara. It’s not too big or small.

How does the cannon bone predict height? It’s the size it will be when the horse is full grown at birth! All new to me.

Trixie gets the measurements.

Now came the fun part, getting the horses in the trailer. The hope was that the filly would just follow her mom in. So Frederick, Trixie’s helper, led Sully out. The next photos show how it went.

Once we enjoyed the Jhayati Show, Sara and I took the horses to her place. She kept checking for little ears behind Sully in her trailer cam (what a great purchase) but there were no issues. Sara did an amazing job driving smoothly, even on the dirt roads, and taking the curves carefully. Even the really bumpy left turn onto our road was good. And I don’t think I’ve ever gone down the rollercoaster hill with less heaving and bumping.

When we arrived, everyone was fine, and a rain shower had just passed. Whew. And both horses looked fine. Sara got things all ready to move them and then unhooked Sully and opened the trailer door. Here’s what happened.

This went so well! Jhaya just walked into the paddock with Sully like she does it all the time. She didn’t act remotely upset or traumatized. This transition went better than we’d hoped. Thus was the first day of the rest of her life with Sara. Sara’s dream has come true! I’m very happy for her.

Flame on, Jhayati! (That’s actually our burn pile that smoldered beautifully yesterday)

We Have a Fresh New Neighbor!

Get ready to say “aww” and squeal a lot. You may recall (if you’ve been reading a while) that Sara has been working with a beautiful Andalusian mare named Sully, who was carrying a foal fathered by some famous deceased stallion. Sully belongs to our friend Trixie, and Sara agreed to take her to lessons during the gestation period.

I learned stuff and looked pretty.

We’ve all enjoyed having her around and have been eagerly awaiting the birth. She went back to Trixie’s recently to give birth, since Trixie is a lot more experienced with foaling.

Recent foals. Awww.

We got word yesterday that Sully did a great job and produced a little filly (girl horse). While she got photos, of course Sara wanted to see her. And because she’s a good friend and knew I’d pout if she didn’t, she asked me to come along for the meet and greet. That way I could take pictures while she basked in the new life.

Hello, it’s me, Jhayati!

Do you have questions? I bet you do!

So far, life has been good.

What does the name mean? It’s from Pali, and means to burn, or to Buddhists, to meditate. It’s a significant word for Sara, and lo and behold little Jhaya has a flame on her forehead (if you use your imagination, anyway).

Flaming hot.

Why is there light hair around her eyes? That’s a sign that this very dark girl will grow up gray like her mom. Drew probably looked similar as a baby. Horse hair colors are fascinating.

I’m extra dark. That’s genetic, too.

What the heck is going on with that gray beard? We don’t know! But isn’t it cute? She also has a light spot on one nostril. You can’t lose her in a crowd! From the side it looks like a Billy goat beard.


Enough questions. It was fun watching Sara marveling at the little girl that she’ll spend the next many years with. And it was great to see Trixie working with the new baby. She’s so good at it. Here are some photos of when we first met Jhaya in their stall.

Eventually Trixie and Sara got the mother and baby to go out in the little paddock outside their stall. Fresh air and soft grass were just what the mom and one-day-old baby needed. After a bit of nursing and exploring, the filly just had to move!

This is fun!

Before we knew it she was breaking into canters and going in circles. We may have missed her first steps, but we got to see her first run! Wow! It’s just amazing how horses can move so soon after birth, but it comes in handy for prey animals. We all just beamed at her like no horse had ever done that before.

If you’ve never run before, you will get worn out. Jhaya just plopped on the grass, got comfy, and had a little snooze. All the humans around her didn’t bother her at all, since Sully is a good mom already and would take care of her. Sleeping babies always make you say, “aww.”

While we were charmed by the new life and proud of the new mom, we did have to go home. But she’ll come here next week! Horses grow so fast. I’m glad I got to see Jhaya when she was brand new.

Bye, friends!

This visit, along with this morning’s installation of satellite internet, helped me deal with how out of sorts I’ve been feeling. I’m sure glad there are distractions like baby horses!

something poetic

(formerly The Lost Kerryman)

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