At least so far that’s been true. And it’s true today. It rained starting last night and kept going until right about when I stopped working. We got at least two inches, which means we now are in a series of shallow ponds and the creek is extra full.
Once the clouds parted and there was a little sun, everything perked up fast. Suddenly the pollinators were in action!
I really enjoyed how green it is this year and how many flowers there are. I’m treasuring every day this spring.
Of course, other residents came out after the rain. I saw one of our large rabbits, then found this guy enjoying the poor drainage at the horse pens. I bet the water felt good. It’s just a rat snake/chicken snake, so there was no reason to panic.
Not only the natural world came out. There are lots of new airplanes here, thanks to an air museum moving in and a flight school, too. I enjoyed these two planes going over. I don’t enjoy helicopters shooting at hogs, though (or whoever is shooting at them with a semi-automatic rifle and not letting us know).
Today was just fine. I’m glad for the peace here, because it lets me send good thoughts to friends who need them. Love to all.
Birds and more birds. That’s the past few days. First, the turkey we saw recently has continued to be spotted by neighbors up and down our road. First, Mandi’s dad sent a photo of his sighting.
Then, this evening, the woman across the road sent in her own photo.
All the photos so far have one thing in common. They’re in the side of the road. I guess that’s where the best turkey food is? Now that everyone from the creek to the end of the road has seen it, we’re hoping to see more!
Well, while there aren’t many here at the ranch, Cameron town has continued to host lots and lots of them. The black-bellied whistling ducks are lurking in trees (yes, they roost in trees), flapping across roads, and vocalizing from rooftops.
I was amazed yesterday when I tried to see what kinds of birds were in town. The whistling ducks were able to drown out even boat tailed grackles. They were acting like they were competing in an annoying bird sound competition. (Other birds included white wing doves, a robin, cedar waxwings, and the omnipresent cardinals.)
Just for fun, enjoy the wonders of the Red House yard.
Hmm, the title of this post was about turducken. Where are the hens?
I thought it was really funny that when I went into the henhouse this morning Snacky Jacky (yeah, I broke down and named it) was comfortable and cozy in its own nesting box, like one of the hens. Buttercup was in another box, completely ignoring Jacky. The snake looked well fed, but I think it ate a big rodent, not an egg. I got ten eggs from seven hens in the past two days, so the detente continues.
Hey, it was a good day today, though, because I scheduled better Internet provider. That hotspot ain’t cutting it. I’m very proud of my patience, since I went through three providers before finding something that would work here. The one all my friends love can’t be used because there is a hill between us and the tower. The really, really close tower. Ugh. So, I will have non-ideal satellite until we can get StarLink. But I persevered!!
Ooh, and a got a horchata frappe to celebrate cinco de mayo. Yep. An Americanized beverage for an Americanized holiday. We’re becoming quite accustomed to our weekly coffee breaks.
Things are back to normal for spring in Texas. There was another tornado warning here, but just some hail happened, not like what others in the US have been going through. Today’s fun was record heat. Then the power went out all over town! That’s spring here.
But this post is about a new pet. Spring brings the return of many old friends here. In fact, I was just thinking I was surprised I hadn’t seen any snakes yet this year. I didn’t see any over the weekend, either. But, the chickens let me know my search was over when I went to feed this morning.
Well, it sure seemed at home in the nest boxes. And there were no eggs. I didn’t see any lumps in our new pet, though.
I just watched it for a few minutes, and I was surprised to see it slide…somewhere. I went around the corner and saw these very convenient (to a snake) slots made by the supports for the boxes. Someone asked why I didn’t stick my hand in there, and my reply was that the slots also looked like excellent habitat for black widows and brown recluses.
I’m feeling more happy with the snake right now, because I came back later and found five eggs. At least the snake is sharing! Later, though, after horse riding, feeding, and medicating, I went to shut the door to the henhouse and there it was, outside the chicken area.
So, as lovely as this rat snake is, and even though there are lots of mice in the hen area, we will have to discuss its meal choices before I’d let it stay.
But I have room for another pet, because we did an oopsie yesterday. Kathleen and I teamed up to do the spring worming for the horses, which went well except for Mabel, who was not at all interested. She and Kathleen both ended up with wormer all over themselves and I had some on my hands. Everyone rinsed off in the water trough. Oops.
That was NOT very smart of us humans, but Mabel had more on her, and she wasn’t about to let us wipe her mouth. Luckily feeder goldfish are quite inexpensive. And I do still have one trough with big fish in it.
Things have been good here lately. I spend a lot of time watching cute animals.
I even rescued a trapped English sparrow today who couldn’t figure out how to get out of the henhouse. I caught her and took her out. She was so exhausted that she just sat on my hand. Poor dear. No photos, since I had five hen eggs in my other hand!
There’s just so much joy in our animals. The dogs love evenings when we’re in the pool, because they can run and play with an audience. I take them out in the mornings for a little play, too, which makes for a nice work break.
Things continue to be good with the horses, too. We had good lessons today. Drew showed Tarrin how hard we’ve been working and then learned new backups. And poor Apache struggled a lot with moving his butt when asked. My left leg is tired! But, those two bring me such joy. I’m so lucky to be able to learn and grow with them.
But there are so many animals to enjoy here. My son found this really cool snake in his cabin. He just caught it and took it outside and caulked up the hole it came in. That’s my boy.
And today, I went to water the plants and was startled when I reached to turn on the spigot. Along the house was a complete snakeskin, I’m pretty sure it was one of our rat snakes. I love it when you get the whole skin.
I guess that’s enough animal fun for a Saturday evening. Hoping all is well with you. We’re having more family illness stuff. That’s the down part of the post title.
That little donkey of ours is always up to something. This morning I stayed in my room drinking coffee for a while, then realized I needed to go feed the chickens. I looked out the front window and had a start!
Fiona was being herded back onto our property and the gate was being shut behind her. That little escape artist! I threw on my clothes as fast as I could but everything was under control before I got down.
The horses were in a kerfluffle but Fiona was just standing there, looking like she was thinking, in donkey thought.
I went down to her and said hi. I asked if she wanted to go back in with the horses. She answered by trotting right behind me as I headed to the gate.
I realized why she was following me: she was thirsty! I guess she hadn’t found the wet area.
It was easy to see how she got out. The fence wire is pretty high near the gate. She left “evidence” of where she got out, so that confirmed it. I’m told that’s the only way she could have gotten out.
She’s staying in with her buddies now, so maybe she’s gonna stay with the water. Drew and Dusty didn’t care. They’ve been happy hanging out today.
Meanwhile, I went to feed the chickens and found our creature of the day, a very lumpy rat snake. I hope the bumps in it are mice. It was awful early for the chickens to have laid many eggs. Go eat rats, snake!
Our house has a lot of comings and goings for a hermitage, but we’re glad that caregivers can come help out Lee’s brother while Kathleen’s still confined to her hospital bed. I get my dose of visiting by hanging out with the horses and getting them to do some exercises before it’s too hot. Luckily I usually have a little break between meetings.
It’s really great just to be with the little herd and check in on them. Mabel was especially friendly today and kept hinting that she wanted different places scratched. That warms my heart.
Later in the day, I went to give the chickens more water. I noticed they were all inside the henhouse, because it’s so hot. I filled the water trough, and when I looked at it, it was splashing, though no hens were near. The water was almost alive.
Actually, the living part was a rat snake who had been cooling off in the water. It was no doubt quite surprised by the sudden bath. It slid out and headed to the edge of the chicken yard, then climbed the chain-link fence by going in and out of the links.
It ended up behind the tin that used to make shade for the chickens before the hen house went up. It seems as if the snake was visiting for the water, not eggs, as I got six, including one just plopped on the ground! This heat must be hard on snakes and other cold-blooded creatures.
I left my visitor, since it was time to go check on Kathleen. Her recovery process is neither quick nor easy! I brought her some little gifts that had come in the mail, plus a pair of new glasses she had ordered. And magazines! All invalids need reading material. Let’s hope she hits all her goals and gets to come home soon.
Spider spray is going to be generously applied around the outside of the house!
Today Apache and I had our first lesson in a while, since Tarrin is recovering from some surgery that will improve her quality of life, if she survives her convalescent period. That’s hard for an active person! I just brought Apache, since Drew is doing well.
This was one educational lesson! Tarrin did great scooting around on a 4-wheeler and Apache did amazing for the first half of the lesson. He jumped the right way at least twice. We were proud of him! This is going to build good muscles! He and I both did well doing some circle things that we can easily practice at home. I’m getting more balanced, and that feels great.
However, as soon as he got tired, Apache started to act up. We got some great practice with not putting up with that…stuff. I’m improving. We practiced me getting off, having him run in circles on the ground, then me getting back on. That way he doesn’t get to think he can get me off him so easily.
It was much better than last time, and I was more assertive. Plus, once he calmed down he went right up to the trailer, ate one treat, walked around, went back, and got another treat three times! No drama! And like Tarrin said, I had to do it myself, because she couldn’t jump on Apache and discipline him. Go team.
I’m getting the hang of it, slowly but surely, and Apache is really getting to be more of a partner. We’re enjoying each other and not just thinking any time we get together is only for work.
I’ve mentioned the snake that was in the henhouse last week and the snapping turtle that visited. The reptiles and their ilk have not stopped coming, though.
This morning my son was mowing the back yard when I went out to feed the horses. He said to go get my camera, because he’d just seen a different kind of snake.
He was right. That wasn’t another rat snake, it was a thick ole water snake. Like everything else, it seemed to be moving from one body of water to another.
The bad thing was that it went over to the swimming pool equipment, where there is already a garden hose that looks just like a water snake. Now we are very careful over there.
Only an hour or later I went to put something in the tack room and spotted a movement that looked familiar. Nope, not a snapping turtle, but one of the native cooters. It didn’t stick its head out enough to ID it, and it’s shell was covered in algae. A fine little specimen.
These guys are breeding right now. I know for sure, because my friend Jeremy, who does all his ranching at night, saw one laying eggs and burying them last night! I’ve never seen that, since I do NOT ride a tractor at night.
We are still getting rat snake visitors, too. There was one in the henhouse last evening, another full-grown one, who had already gotten an egg. I got the other ones out, and just left the snake, since I was on my way to a Master Naturalist party for our graduating class. I did post it on Facebook.
Apparently my photo startled the aforementioned Jeremy when he saw it. Then only a little while later, he nearly stumbled across one doing his yard work! It looked exactly the same, which gave him another start! Like me, he’s a snake fan, but they still can startle you! I love having interesting friends who share stories.
By the way, I had a blast at the party last night, which was held in one of Milam County’s numerous Mexican restaurants. This was in Rockdale. The folks I sat with were so much fun and told great stories about the area and it’s history. I’m sure everyone noticed how much we were laughing.
Of course, we talked about reptiles, too. I heard that last year, Gene Rek, the guy who sells us our chickens, had over twenty rat snakes in his turkey pens. Yow. That’s more reptile visitors than even I would want.
We all realized it had been a long time since we’d had the chance to just relax over a meal and get to know interesting people better. It felt good to laugh and share.
Sure, it’s been a weird couple of weeks for me. I’ve not shared most of it. Lots isn’t mine to share. But today. Wow. I literally was left with my mouth hanging open a couple of times.
I spent some time on the porch sorta glazed over, watching hummingbirds. They are monotone, because that’s how I feel.
I got a new laptop of my own, so I won’t be relying on work machines, but I’m so un confident in myself that I’ll wait until tomorrow to get it going. I am just zonked.
So, here are some plants.
And look, a baby water snake and fish I need to rescue, once my brain engages again.
But wait. I did get to laugh last night. Mandi and I were talking to Lee on the porch, and Goldie got thirsty. She did her usual drinking method, where she buries her head and blows bubbles. We were so humor starved that we just laughed and laughed. Here’s Goldie today, though I couldn’t get a shot with bubbles.
See, even the weirdest day ever isn’t all bad. That’s worth remembering.