You Can Certainly Fill an Empty Day

Welcome rain showed up overnight and throughout the day. That made us all happy but sure changed our plans! I had worked really hard to arrange to get the farrier to do the horses’ feet in time for me to then get to lessons for my two horses.

I need a manicure

The rain (and car trouble for the farrier) ended that careful plan, so when I finished work, I thought I’d have lots of time to think more thoughts about my next craft project (which I designed for about an hour while trying to get to sleep last night). But no.

That’s no lie!

I ended up doing practically every one of those things I’ve been meaning to get around to! Boom! Future horse stuff scheduled. Boom! Internet access at the Red House secured (guests coming soon!). Boom! Eye doctor appointment rescheduled, since the horse stuff conflicted. Boom! Packed for an upcoming trip. Wow, I’m flexible and a change management whiz!

When I finished packing I was treated to the sun coming in to light up my purple glass.

I wrote up all sorts of instructions and did a bunch of Master Naturalist work (it takes me almost as long to write up meeting notes as a meeting takes!). I guess I need more rainy days that keep me inside and away from those tempting horses and the wildlife.

I ran out to see this tiny sliver of setting sun. Ahh.

Yesterday I wrote so much about, of all things, a pretty weed, for the Master Naturalist blog that I didn’t blog here. I didn’t have much to say anyway, since I was upset at current events and annoying people. You might enjoy learning about henbit dead nettle, though, so check it out.

It IS pretty and chickens love it.

Back to crocheting a bird and not watching the news.

Sharing a Skill in a Soggy Field

Right after I wrote last night, we had the most intense rainstorm we’ve had since before the drought started. Around 2.55 inches fell quickly as a narrow band passed over. The water came up high enough to require the backup culvert to kick in so our driveway/dam wouldn’t be breached. Whew. The new pond flooded for the first time!

When morning dawned, we were inside a thick cloud of fog. It was ethereal and made everything around here look better! I especially loved to look at the horses sort of looming in the distance.

There were puddles everywhere, and I had a hard time enticing the chickens out of the hen house. Leftover bean soup did the trick and allowed me to gather the egg of the day, which I believe came from Star. You just have to wonder sometimes what goes on inside chickens. Or, maybe it’s better just to not think about those things.

It’s sorta like a space capsule

A few puddles didn’t stop me from working with the horses, who dodged the threat of getting bodywork, because the direction the rain came in made even their covered area full of puddles. It was weird having big wind coming in from the south!

I know the bluebonnets appreciated the rain.

The best part was that my son joined me today and brought his new Christmas-gift helmet with him. He’s helped me groom and worked a lot on the tack room, but not ridden with me before. I lengthened the stirrups on Apache’s previous saddle so he could use it. Finally I figured out how to do that myself!

After practicing some groundwork skills, I showed my son how to mount and turn by demonstrating on Drew, which conveniently gave Droodles and me some time to practice our newest skills. We turned on the forehand and did some mighty fine side passes. Even my son could tell he was going sideways. I was so proud.

Apache was NOT stressed out about this. They both enjoyed each other.

Drew then had to stand petulantly as he was ignored in favor of Apache. He was a very good boy and patiently carried my son around and paid attention to his cues. First, I led them and practiced stopping and starting. Then we put the bridle on, and my son walked Apache in the round pen, trying to get the stopping thing correct. He did well with turning, though. When you’re on your first ride, I’d think it would be hard to relax and say, “Whoa” calmly. Saying, “Easy,” in a calm voice also takes practice.

We will do more practice next week! Now, of course, Apache had to test my son. He ignored the request to turn, and just marched out of the round pen. I got to channel Tarrin and tell my son to shorten his reins, spread them wider and get Apache to stop. And he did!

Thinking about nature helps deal with horse shenanigans.

Then I got to pretend to be Tarrin and take him back in that round pen and do some work. We did the square exercise and a lot of side passing and leg yielding. It was fun for me, because I didn’t have stirrups due to having much shorter legs than a 6’3″ person. I discovered I was leaning forward but fixed that and did well. Hooray, I got to practice something new, too!

I deserve more food.

I really had a lot of fun, even without being able to let the horses trot. I don’t think they wanted to, anyway. They’d been slipping a lot in their pens. Speaking of slipping, Fiona slipped into Drew’s pen as we were getting ready to feed. They began a mud fight, where Drew would go nip at Fifi and she’d kick him. I’m sure it was a ton of fun for Drew, but Fiona looked annoyed, so we got her out of there.

Later, when Lee and I took a walk, there were Fiona and Drew, still picking at each other, but voluntarily, since they had the whole pasture at their command. I do enjoy watching the animals interacting. Thanks to watching them, our walk lasted until the sun (which had barely come out from the foggy clouds all day) started to go down. We got rewarded by some beautiful clouds, which helped me feel better after finding out how much my car repair was going to cost (YOW).

It Rained without Flooding

A cold front blasted through this morning. Declan mowed the yard, and we were comfortably discussing how he should wait to trim until later, when a huge gust of wind came and instantly lowered the temperature. Declan said, “Hello, winter.” It’s a powerful front that has lowered the temperature at least 20 degrees and brought a lot of rain.

The downspouts got their first workout. Gurgle.

Usually if it rains hard here, we get a flood. But while we got a lot, it didn’t instantly refill the ponds. I was happy to go out to the new pond a couple of times to see it wasn’t full all the way, and now was slowly filling.

The arroyo and front pasture are nicely draining into the pond, and I hope not washing too much dirt away. Some grass had started to grow. I’m encouraged, though.

The dogs weren’t thrilled by the thunder and stayed close to me all day. Well, except when the cows and calves decided to stand right by our fence and moo. And the calves enjoyed the rain and we’re playing, which especially outraged Harvey. It was hard to work (in between internet outages).

It may be cold and wet, but we’re cozy. Sending cozy thoughts your way.

Yep. The pool is full!

Cozy

There isn’t much going on. It threatened to rain here all day, but didn’t until evening. Lee and I went to the Lowe’s and Target stores in Temple (the town, not a synagogue, even though it was Friday afternoon), where it did rain a bit.

Two crocheted items, my finished ruana and in-progress blanket, have me cozy.

Dodging raindrops got me chilly, though I was glad we got most of the bedding for the vacation rental so it can get going soon.

I got home in time for a dinner and gabfest with Anita (and the very nice server at the Central Avenue Bistro), where I got all caught up on Pickle the dog’s adventures.

I dressed up! Lipstick and green jewelry. Much better than the hay encrusted ensemble I had on five minutes earlier.

Nice normal day other than the rain that we humans welcome and the thunder the dogs hate.

Sorta makes me dizzy.

Stay cozy, my friends.

Sky and Water

What happy news. The springs the bulldozer guy found made a tiny water patch in the refurbished pond. This makes me look forward even more to rain. This pond will hold so much water!

See that puddle?

Today he smoothed out the berm he made from the dirt he dug up. It’s very smooth and looks so natural. I’ll have to get pictures tomorrow. I think once it gets some vegetation on it, it will be great for horse muscle building.

Speaking of muscles, Tarrin is working on Drew’s. I wasn’t very good at it.

Mostly though, I want to join these birds. I was so happy today, because it was cloudy! Not rainy, but cloudy at least. Even the birds were happy.

Fly away against a sky of gray!

Maybe it will rain!

I Went to Work and Found Rainbows

Spoiler: the rainbow was not at work. But it’s true, I’ve been in my current job 11 months and had never been to “the office” until today. Well, I’d been to the first floor of the building many times, because I’d worked there on three separate instructional design gigs from 2006-2009.

Early departure!

I had a dentist appointment in Cedar Park (same dentist I’ve had for 20 years) this morning and really didn’t want to miss 4 hours of work to do it. Why work at a coffeehouse when Dell has an entire campus full of desks and wifi, and I have a badge to get in? So after my great dental cleaning (I glossed sufficiently) I went to find where the department I’m in has its seats.

A seat.

It was hard to find the cute little place assigned to the department I’m attached to. The stairs to it are unmarked! Luckily a guy I asked happened to have found the place last week, so he showed me, and reminded me where the cafeteria and the coffee shop where Lee and I fell in love were. No coffee anymore, but there is still a little food at the cafeteria.

A ping pong table!

Whoever designed this area took lessons from whoever did the Planview interior, but this is somehow soothing with all the white and light blue. It might be a nice place to work if more people were there. Today there was one other dude. It was quiet!

It’s sorta pretty for a space where no one has their own desk.

Yes, I had to reserve a “workspace.” I felt so modern and efficient. This is something that would take time to get used to, since I make a nest out of my work area. But, that’s not my worry! I’ll probably only come back a few more times before this job expires! Working from home is great, but this was a nice break.

The chatting area. Very near the sanitizing station.

I headed home with a stop by Tractor Supply for horse and chicken food. It’s always a little shocking to see all the changes along my route now that I do t drive back and forth every week. There are new traffic lights, a new gas station, and houses going up. I’ll be back next week, so it won’t change too much.

Welcome back, clacked the storks

The weather is so weird this time of year. Halfway home I hit an intense rainstorm with hail and flash flooding. I’m glad my car has a rain mode. It was clear at the Hermits’ Rest when I got home, so I was able to feed the horses. The second I was done, rain started.

It was dry in there ten minutes earlier!

It stopped pretty quickly, so I was able to feed the chickens. I saw the sun come out, and there was the bookend to my day!

Hooray!

It was a good day, even with all the driving. Time to relax. I hope your day had some nice surprises!

Old Friends Return

Some of my things from Austin I don’t miss at all, while others have left a bit of a hole in my heart. Today some of my favorite things returned and it feels good.

My petit point flowers from 1993

I had most of my needlepoint wall hangings at the Bobcat house. This one was in my bedroom (as were the other old friends). I made it in 1993 when Declan was a baby. Today he brought it back to me.

It’s so pretty

The six-sided frame was made by my ex and his friend. They worked so hard in the garage of our sweet house in Champaign, Illinois, ciphering the angles, cutting the wood, and staining the frame. This may be the only thing he ever made for me, so I’ll treasure it always.

These two pictures I made after Anita got here, I think when we were in the casita. I made them for the Bobcat house, though. They were in my bedroom. The fun donkey has a yellow background to go with my old bedroom, which no doubt is white now! I really enjoyed making these, and I’m glad I’ll get to look at them every time I go upstairs from now on. Lee was very kind to hang them so quickly!

What’s this?

My knitting friends know that these two old friends are among my favorite things, and I’ve missed them! It’s an umbrella swift and ball winder that take loose hanks of yarn and turns them into pull-skeins, which we like to call “yarn cakes.”

Finished products.

You may recall that the yarn for the macho granny square project came in hanks. I wound the first two by hand, which my watch thought was an elliptical machine workout.

Before. These are hanks of yarn. Fancy yarn comes in hanks that you must wind yourself.

I mentioned that somewhere in the stuff from Austin were these useful items, but they were hard to find, since the boxes weren’t organized. Well, by gosh, they’re organized now and my equipment and art showed up! It’s going to make finding things for the pool house and another project that’s coming up a lot easier! Maybe I’ll find some old kitchen friends!

Squares in progress. This will be cute!

Meanwhile, we’ve been getting some pretty good rain. There is even some water in the front pond again, which means there’s been runoff. If the predictions are right, we’ll be back to green grass and full ponds next week.

Not impressed? Well there was just the barrel last week.

Or, knowing central Texas weather, it will flood soon. Our old friends, the floods. Better than droughts and fires!

It’s so nice to sit outside.

Off to start a fun weekend. Wow. I am becoming a little more social!

Hey, It Rained

And it might even rain again! The bottom of my screen says, “rain coming,” and it’s raining at my coworker in Cedar Park’s house. We are so excited about the mere idea of rain that he sent an IM that he heard thunder.

So says my laptop

It actually rained .37″ last night, complete with much thunder and lightning that the dogs didn’t like. It was music to MY ears, however!

I’m amazed at the signs of life I keep seeing this summer. Lee says this is probably going to be the driest year since we started measuring (we were not here every day during 2011, so we don’t have daily records for then). Trees are turning brown, which is scary, but some things are doing well.

Ruellia is especially happy this year, according to my Master Naturalist friend. It’s more of a desert plant, which makes sense. Some hardy non-natives are hanging around. Yesterday, I got some photos of crepe myrtles, spider lilies and one very confused rain lily at a house we’re working on.

And today I saw some zyzotes milkweed looking strong and happy, along with broomweed, velvet weed, and frog fruit.

Plus, something smelled very, very good over by the dry ole creek, and I realized it was thousands of tiny balloon weed flowers in the creek bed. White flowers do tend to smell good, I’ve found. I guess I’d never been around so many of them before, so I never noticed the lovely aroma. These vines don’t usually catch your attention until autumn when the fascinating seed pods appear.

Enjoy the photos and hope the promised additional rain comes here. We need it so badly.

Rain, and Other Things That Pass for Excitement around Here

You know when we are bordering on yet another drought around here when the grass starts to crunch under your feet when you walk across the fields. In the past week or so, even our relatively green pastures had started to get crunchy. Other parts of the state have it a lot worse (not to mention other parts of the US. But we here in scenic Milam County care about the Hermits’ Rest microclimate the most! Because of that, I was extra happy to hear drops falling onto the roof this morning.

A welcome sight.

I went out to feed the chickens (and would have fed Drew, but he ignored me) this morning and saw we’d gotten two tenths of an inch. Even that much made Lee happy. I was really hoping for more, since we hadn’t even gotten any puddles yet. I watched the forecast and tracked clouds on the radar. More was coming.

Thank you, clouds

April is a kind of weird month here. Sometimes we get hardly any rain and sometimes it’s a lot. This year has been on the scant side.

Today’s rain will make this month no longer the least rain since Lee has been measuring (and yes, the dates go right to left – thanks to Lee for the graphic).

Today has gone well, though listening to the steady rain makes me a little woozy. We are getting the good kind of rain, with no tornadoes, hail (far as I can tell), or other severe stuff. Just a nice rain that has finally filled up Lee’s “pond” and given the new gutters a workout. The fact that it’s up to a half inch is exciting for us!

Other things that pass for exciting are small. For example, I’ve had a pot that appeared to be a pot of dirt sitting on my porch for going on two months. I was beginning to think that Lowe’s had sold me a pot of dirt rather than some bulbs in dirt. At last, things have poked up and someday there will be calla lilies and caladiums in there.

At last, life appears. I am proud of myself for not digging in there and checking to see if anything was growing.

My nails also are exciting this week. I had been doing them in boring ways while some problem nails grew out, but this week I layered flowers over a nice turquoise color and got something that really goes well with my overly abundant rings. By the way, I am using the ColorStreet stuff. I find it works very well for me and lasts about ten days. I can even do nail repairs and it helps keep them looking fine. (I’m actually going to break down and do an MLM party for this stuff, just because some friends want to get some of the colors, and I could use some freebies.) I don’t like it (or anything) enough to sell it, but I can help some other woman make money, even though I am not a fan of MLM “small businesses” in general (here’s where I ranted about that once). The particular sales person I am using right now actually is a good marketer and has nail tips even I, a person who’s been doing her nails since 9th grade, didn’t know.

And that’s it for my blissfully rainy day. Oh, wait, one more thing. I got us more of the pool floats that we like so much. I call it my yacht. Kathleen has a much bigger yacht, but it likes to blow away. One of the man-folk in the family actually asked if I could get a bigger one for him, so I got one in XL. When they arrived I got a chuckle out of the stereotypical bathing-suit lady in the regular one and manly man in the XL (though he is not an XL man, in my opinion). At least they are racially ambiguous; they could be mixed, white, black, Latinx, South Asian, Middle Eastern, or maybe even Pacific Islander. That’s rather good. My favorite part of the packaging, though, is where they have one of those square things to scan. I found the fact that “scan me” is “scanne-moi” in French is pretty funny.

Like I said, it doesn’t take much to pass for excitement around here, and with all the other stuff going on, anything that brings a laugh is good with me.

Welcome Rain, Unwelcome Wind

It’s been drier that usual the past couple of months, so we are happy to see a reasonable amount of rain today. One of the cool things about the ranch house is that there’s always a porch you can sit on when it rains.

Goldie is looking for that darned pool robot, her enemy.

Rain doesn’t stop the wildlife action, though. I went out in the drizzle to get the mail and heard a sound. I looked up to see one of those huge flocks of starlings going over.

And who doesn’t love a rainy wildflower, even an annoying one?

The crows are in full murderous activity, too. They’ve been trying out all their caw variations and flying back and forth, as if on a mission.

That’s where they are, but not at the photo time. I’m glad to see the cleared area growing some cover.

It’s funny. The minute the crows stop, the songbirds start up. Cheerio cheerio! Peep peep! Chirp chirp! Cardinals, sparrows of various kinds, and the little chickadees enjoy breaks in the rain to get some food.

A full pool

The wind keeps whipping up and making waves and waterfall splashes in the pool. I foresee spillover. But at least so far the new plants are holding down the outdoor rug. Suna triumphs over nature! So, that was at lunch…

Wave action.

Time Marches On

I went back in and tried to work. It’s gotten windier and windier, and sure enough, we are now under a tornado watch. Of course, I’m alone. So, I hefted all the patio furniture up close to the house and tried to make everything as heavy as possible. Usually things up against the house make it in our heavy wind periods. I think the horses will be fine all lined up in their shelter.

Whatcha doin’ Suna? This is fun!

If there’s a tornado, well, I just wasted a lot of money on plants.

Nope, that’s not gonna help in a tornado, but it does keep them from blowing all over the yard in a gale.

I’m sure all will be well, and if not, I’ll get to try to herd the dogs into the storm shelter. Let’s hope all is well, ok?

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