Saturday Morning Ranch Sightings

Here at the Hermits’ Rest, weekend mornings start early for some and slow for others. But there’s always something lovely to see or fun to do. This morning was typical. Lee has started taking a walk every morning and asked me to join him. He may not do it again, as I had him go with me to feed the chickens and move Apache into his pen for the day, but we did eventually get to walking and looking at what’s growing and changing along our arroyo, which is still springy after the recent rains. I’m rather fond of the native plants and even the bad ole invasives (the water primrose) that line the stream.

It’s pretty to me.

Heck, to me tie vine is as lovely as fancy morning glories, and the ruellia is as pretty as a garden petunia. Plus, they are free!

A plant I hadn’t noticed much before is blooming right now, and the blooms are so tiny and hidden among the leaves that you almost wouldn’t notice them. It’s called scarlet toothcup (Ammannia coccinea). It’s a riparian plant, which means it grows in moist areas along streams and such. I think the little flowers are lovely.

Lee and I enjoyed many sights. What a great start to the day!

Next it was time to do some work, since the rest of the household had already been up working with horses and other chores. I got to help cut mesquite down where Sara’s horses currently are, in preparation for the cows that live here to rotate there. That was a lot of fun, and I saw some beautiful iron weed growing in that field.

It was good to be able to help by loading branches and opening gates. Plus, I got to see the other horses and more native plants and insects. I’ll spare you the endless supply of grasshoppers.

Everyone was busy this morning. The tenants were haying and Kathleen was horsing with her herd. I enjoy watching her ride. They’re all progressing according to plan, from what I can tell.

The dogs are just having fun, as usual, swimming, running, and rolling. I love seeing a happy Alfred!

Mysteries and Owies

It’s a dark and stormy day, just right for tales of mystery and pain. My first mystery was actually painful.

You could smell ozone in the air as I went to feed horses this evening. Kathleen’s cow wondered why I was sitting on the ground taking pictures of buttercups when I should have been going hone.

Mystery Time

You know people make fun of Texans for wearing cowboy boots, right? Well, there’s a good reason. A good portion of the things here bite, stick, prick, or otherwise harm you, and feet are prime targets. Here are some prickly things I can see just walking around: prickly sow thistle, milk thistle, and bull thistle. Birds love them. Feet don’t.

Some thorny things should be found in trees, like mesquite branches. So how did this happen?

A pretty sturdy mesquite twig that was on the ground…
…was completely buried in my walking shoe.

Yeah, if I’d been wearing my cowboy boots at the tack room, as usual, I would not have felt that thorn in my foot! Thank goodness I didn’t step hard. How did it get there? There are no mesquite tree close by. Mysterious.

My guess is that it was in my square bale of hay. It was sharply cut like a baler did it. Ow! That’s my guess, anyway, because mesquite trees keep trying to grow up in our fields.

A Chilly Mystery

At least the second mystery over by the tack room isn’t prickly. First, for a week or more, we have been finding the fairly heavy doormat in front of the tack room door moved away from the door. We keep moving it back, but it keeps moving away!

That’s way too heavy for Big Red, even though she’s a strong hen.

Yesterday, I saw something jump out of the corner of my eye. Maybe the little barn cat? Maybe a raccoon? But why? I was pondering this when I went inside this afternoon as I was checking on the horses.

That was when I faced yet another mystery. The tack room, which is normally pretty warm, was really cold. That was weird to me. I looked at the air conditioner unit. It said 70!! What? That is unheard of! Ralph has it set at 76, and the rest of us are NOT authorized to change it.

Ralph said he didn’t go in there today, though he’d come by. Sara wasn’t home. Uh. I had never touched that thing until I put it back to 76 today.

Whew. Normal.

Now this is a real mystery. That chicken can’t open the door, nor can the clever equines. Who did it? Why?

Do we have a mat-moving, temperature meddling guest? No one knows!

I’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, I’ll happily report that the blue-eyed grass burst into bloom today. More spring beauty awaits.

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