It’s All Good Until You Start Feeding Dog Treats

What a beautiful day it was. I think we needed a reminder that Mother Nature is still doling out the beauty to at least briefly distract us from the things humans do to each other.

Glory, glory, peace on earth.

As a reward for doing my least favorite thing about work (Agile stuff, not vital to this story), I tidied up the pool area and gave my back some more hot water love. I heart the hot tub.

Day swimming. Wow.

Later, after feeding the precious horses, we checked out the trailer lights. Ooh. There’s even an interior light for night loading and unloading!

That’s cool.

I’m pretty excited to use the trailer. I was glad they checked out the lights and other safety features. So shiny.

It was a good evening to rest on our laurels and tell each other we appreciate our efforts. I think Lee even set up the auto-fill system on the pool! We’re really enjoying it. What else do we enjoy? Sunsets, of course. Tonight’s was cherry red at times. Thanks, Mother Nature.

All was well until I opened the monthly Bark Box. I handed out really cute chew toys, then opened a box of dog treats. I handed them out to each dog, which got them all excited. I realized Alfred hadn’t gotten one, so I reached over to give him one and Harvey jumped up to steal it. Unfortunately, he also got my thumb. Ow. It was an accident.

Got me right on the edge of my nail.

May the sun warm all our brothers and sisters who are afraid, worried, or suffering.

A Cold Front and Other Improvements

It’s 30 degrees cooler today, and even though it made training a bit chilly, it was all good. Everything is a little better.

I wish I had her self-warning vest, says Drew.

Drew is doing so well. And he is so sweet. He has the best Alfalfa breath. I love watching how hard he tries to learn.

The dogs had a lot of cool weather energy.

Back at home, Harvey is improving. He walks better and is less swollen. An he stopped dripping. Whew. It’s a mess here.

I hid a lot of the day.

In the afternoon I took Apache out again, after a real disaster working with him yesterday. Today there was no bucking, snorting, or kicking. He did so well! And he was loving and friendly. Maybe yesterday when I was boss mare impressed him?

A good ending to my day.

It’s not all perfect. It never is. One of the chickens died last night, and I couldn’t figure out why. And while we just got a lot of wind, other parts of the country had dangerous tornados. But, that’s life. Never perfect.

I’m grateful for the good, like this deep winter sunset afterglow. Enjoy.

Sunset and Dining in the Rockies

I ended up spending the entire day yesterday with my patient friend, Cathy. I crammed a week’s worth of fun into that one day! I also crammed more than a week’s worth of exercise points in, but I feel absolutely fine in the leg department today, so my hiking boots must have done their job.

Fire on the mountain, but not a wildfire.

We left off in yesterday’s post after lunch. We went to check out the outlet mall, because Cathy hinted that it doesn’t suck. And that’s right, it doesn’t. The first place we went was not an outlet store, but a little jewel of a co-op gallery of art by local artisans. There was beautiful mosaic art and a lot of photographs, some by a photographer Cathy really likes.

Photo taken right near Cathy’s house. It was hard to photograph, because it’s shiny.

Imagine her happiness to find out that Stephen Johnson was working in the store that day! She found out he lives in her neighborhood, and they shared stories of seeing moose and other wildlife nearby. I enjoyed his stories very much and got some images of his photos. This is my favorite, partly because of the story of the pregnant cow moose, who he sees every year with her babies.

Look at her jump!

That was fun, as was finding a few items at the Columbia outlet that may help me ride Apache more in the winter. I got a head covering thing that would fit under my helmet, and a warm reflective shirt. We’ll see!

Then we adventured out to find some cool green hiking boots Cathy wanted to get from Facebook Marketplace. She loves Facebook marketplace. I have to say they are pretty darned cool boots.

Ignore Chalkdust, the extremely lovely husky/shepherd mix, and look at the shoes.

After heading back to my house to change and get my knitting, we went back to Cathy’s. I feel bad for how many times I caused her to drive back and forth from Dillon to Breckenridge! She baked some brownies and I knitted, then we went for a sunset walk, which she does most days. You know, I hadn’t walked enough yet. Cathy needed to, because as she admits, she is a jock.

Sunset from their house.

It got colder and colder as we walked, but it was fine. We got to see some clouds and sun and mountains, which made it worth it. And, oh yes, I got to look at all the houses in the neighborhood, which are rustic and have interesting garage doors and other exterior details. Of course, I peeked inside when I could, too. There were some fine light fixtures.

When we got back, there was a special treat! Cathy’s friend, Sarah, had invited us to have a girls’ night fajita dinner. I was happy, because I’d enjoyed talking to her earlier, plus I would get to meet two more women. So, off we went.

This is Violet, a husky. I took pictures of the dogs, not the people.

Everyone had fun getting to know each other and eating. Sara’s new neighbor across the street was really subtle in her humor, so I enjoyed her a lot. And the other guest is an artist and was making a beautiful butterfly installation for the place where she works in Breck.

I spent a great deal of time asking Sara where all her art and textiles came from. Her mother had a business selling Native American jewelry, so she had traded for some nice stuff, plus she had Peruvian tapestries, too. Drool.

It turns out Sarah teaches Pysanky eggs at the art center, so I got to see some of them. I would love to learn that technique to do with some of my eggs. Thank goodness Cathy took a picture, to prove there were people at dinner.

I’m asking endless questions about the eggs. They are so intricate.

In addition to meeting so many fascinating women today, I believe I had my biggest exercise day since back when I’d hike with my older son on holidays. I still can’t believe I feel so good…well, other than my digestion telling me I ate too much rich food. Today may be a recovery day, though I intend to get in the right amount of walking in (after football).

My exercise goal is 30 minutes, and I have a hard time getting it at home. Not here. Thanks, altitude!

Imagining the Future

I know I’m supposed to be living in the moment right now, but just for a few minutes let me digress and think about the future.

The sun will come up tomorrow!

Lee and I took a walk this evening and were looking around with the dogs and everything her. The sun was so beautiful in the sky as it was going down. The dogs were playing, the clouds were scuttling across so beautifully. Some of them were fast and some of them were slow. It was pretty cool.

Sunset dogs.

Then we decided to go sit in the hot tub and watch the sunset. Yes we could do that. We watched the sun making beautiful colors and imagined there being water in there and not dirt.

Mmm. Might be nice some day.

I did discover a problem. Do you know what? It’s really hard to get in and out of that hot tub. There are no stairs. And I am a short person. I think we’re going to have to work something out.

Trapped forever.

Ya know, with my workday being so long and so full of hard thinking, it’s great to just sit around and not do anything for a little while. I love my new job but wow, are the assignments I’m given in there complicated, and they have a lot of problems and issues. My job is to fix them! How about that? I may be tired, but it’s al good.

We also relaxed and hung out with friends.

Autumn sunsets are my favorite, and when I get back from my next trip, the leaves will be gone. So, I’ll save all these views for enjoyment when I’m elsewhere. These are in chronological order. Storms are coming!

We Made Them Fix Stuff

The day is over, and it was long but good.

Sunset over freshly mown grass.

More work got done on the poolside patios, but it got slowed down a bit because the Men spotted exposed rebar that happened when the workers chipped off the pool edges.

The beach are looks good, though.

So, they made some concrete and fixed it. They even dug up some areas to check. I’m sure that didn’t go over well, but it will make the Pool of Dreams last longer.

Fixed now.

I was impressed at how much work it took to build steps from one level to another. These are going to be STURDY. No corners are cut. And wow, they measured a lot.

Checking the stair measurements.

There was more pounding, including a manual pounder for smaller spaces. This patio ain’t going nowhere.

It does the job.

We were happy to see drainage pipes in the retaining walls they’re building. Lee approved big time.

You can sorta see the little pipes.

So, that was today. I worked a lot and then hugged all the horses. Ahh.

Even I got petted. A lot. I love Suna.

Enjoy more work in progress!

We had a beautiful sunset and moonrise to enjoy while feeding horses and planning future improvements. Ranch life is pretty good.

Minor Miracles

One of the things I’m most grateful for is that little miracles keep popping up in life, and they keep me moving forward with a good attitude. Yesterday was filled with these wondrous occurrences.

After this, we even had a few drops of rain (and it rained a LOT to the north of us).

The first one was so many people reading the blog the last couple of days. I guess tagging a post “death” brings in readers, but really, the hits were a testimony to how much my friends care about each other. Thanks to all who said such kind things about Stephanie, Terry, Beth, and Alston.

Next came an answer to my prayers (more like a response to my internal curses). The County finally, at last, por fin, made a stab at fixing the road that runs by the Hermits’ Rest. Thanks, Precinct 2, for doing this before we lost another tire or shock absorber to your potholes that were becoming dangerous craters.

Heading toward Sara’s house.

They put down some black stuff, and at least for the moment (i.e., until it rains again in a month or two), you can drive the speed limit! No more weaving and trying to judge which set of holes was less bad for your car. No more coming to a complete stop before daring to go up the hill to the cemetery. Wow.

Heading toward the cemetery. You can see they didn’t bother to cover the parts of the road without potholes, but that’s okay.

It felt bizarre going down the hill last night and not getting that feeling that you’re on a carnival ride. We feel so fancy now.

This part was solid pothole!

Maybe the people across the street complained. Since they are Cameron natives and from a Good Milam County Family, their complaints would be listened to. Gee, I hope all the cement trucks and heavy equipment for building our pool doesn’t mess up the roads again (or the trucks full of corn, cotton, or whatever).

Alfred hair.

And to me, this was an actual miracle: Alfred actually came up and asked to have me pull some of his tons of excess hair off yesterday. He even came back for more when I got tired of it. It now looks like it snowed in many parts of our property, but Alfred seems much happier. Good dog.

I’m a good boy

And this felt like a minor miracle, too, like a gift from my friend Terry. One of our friends found some pictures of us having parties at a conference we all attended. There were pictures of us having a movie night as well as us laughing so hard while reading a book about baby platypuses that we lost the ability to speak.

Paulette, Barbara, and Terry during our laugh fest. It’s been wonderful sharing fun memories of our dear friend. Photo by Elisabeth Lewin.

I’ve missed these positive memories about my supportive group of friends from back then, the majority of whom are still my friends now. It’s a miracle to have such lasting connections.

Movie night at the “Technology Room” at an LLLI conference, laughing with my friends Jo and Dave. Our lives have changed a lot, but we keep in touch. Photo by Elisabeth Lewin.

And finally, Lee and I went on a nice ride out in the country last night, to enjoy the daily miracle of a Texas sunset after a day that wasn’t too hot or humid (I barely sweated when I rode Apache around 5 pm). With all this open space, I enjoy either a lovely sunrise or a pretty sunset nearly every day, even when the air isn’t full of dust or smoke from fires and such. Or rain from hurricanes, which we won’t have, but our friends to the east are having way too much of.

At the end of our road.

Think about what miracles surround you, whether from people or Nature (yes, people are part of Nature; I realize that). These things help you get through illnesses, deaths, work stress, and more. Don’t forget to share your miracles with others! It helps to hear them!

Oh What a Beautiful Evening

Wow. It’s been the most pleasant evening I can remember. Once the sun went behind clouds, a breeze came up, and the stifling heat dissipated.

Awesome.

I took lots of pictures today, and when I went back to look at them, I realized it’s been a beautiful day!

The horizontal pipes are going up!

And yes, a lot of work got done on the horse pens. It’s really moving along! After work and my Friends of LLL meeting, I got to watch the process for making the tools to set the vertical bars that are next. These hooks were made from straight pieces of metal.

Hooks, tape measure, torch.

The hooks were shaped on this piece of pipe, which made cool smoke when the metal got hot.

This will ensure the hooks hang from the vertical pipe.

It’s fascinating to watch the tools being made. Such craftsmanship!

Meanwhile, I watered the chickens (Buttercup loves the hose spray), watched the dogs playing happily, and then saw what I thought was Vlassic chasing the cows. When I got up to yell at him, I realized it was a little too big of a fast, black animal to be him. It was our cute little calf, Baby Blue, who is just about the most playful calf I ever saw.

Racing back to the herd.

She ran around her mom and two others, then tore off like a racing cow, if there was such a thing, then ran all the way to the edge of the pasture. She then zoomed back up to her mama for a refreshing drink. I could NOT stop grinning.

I‘m tired now.

Really, who needs television? It’s darned entertaining around here. And I couldn’t even drag myself back into the house, because clouds beckoned.

It’s just beautiful.

I hadn’t seen a nice sunset in a long time. It was too rainy for a long time, then it’s been so blazingly hot I didn’t go out to look, though Lee reported at least one good one. Tonight? Glorious.

Dog, clouds, rain shower

You just don’t get many days this pleasant, that’s for sure. And even though I got a lot of work done, Goldie “made” me take a nap.

A nap for two.

Treasure your good days. Let them fill your heart with joy.

Make hay while the sun shines! Tyler V. did!

A Day of May Day Rest, Darn It!

We are happily back at the same condos we visited last year just as COVID was hitting. There sure was a lot between those two trips. It was such a nice drive, and Lee and I thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. We’re really happy with our fancy room, with a spare bedroom just waiting for visitors.

The view from our bedroom is all ocean, all the time.

We took a few little detours on the way and got to see little towns, which we hope to do more of while we’re here. We almost got caught by the same GPS error that hit us last time, but that was okay, because it allowed us to see some really cool clouds with the sun peeking out from behind them.

Not bad for through a buggy windshield!

Last night we just relaxed and stared at the sunset for a long time, while enjoying some hard-earned adult beverages. It’s nice to see Lee relaxing. Since these condos have everything we need, including Lee’s portable sleeping chair, there’s little to complain or worry about!

So far today, all I’ve done is get Lee his breakfast and better coffee from Starbucks and take a walk down the boardwalk. After that, we are getting groceries and relaxing the rest of the day. Yes, a whole day of doing nothing, other than using the good Wi-Fi to update things, which we can’t do at home without using all our data. There are some advantages to being in a more urban location, after all!

They shut this thing down, but appear to be working to open it again.

Admittedly, I have a lot of podcasts to catch up on, as if people are just dying to know where I’ve been the past few days. It is a relief to have three non-working days, so I’ll be all geared up and ready to “work from beach” next week. The weather is so lovely I should be able to use the balcony a lot!

We are on the 18th floor of that tall building, in the part that sticks out.

I know this wasn’t an exciting or pithy update, but wow, it’s nice to NOT have anything major to say or worry about. We even got good news about our business, so we may start profiting enough to build up some reserves, now that more people are vaccinated and feeling more comfortable seeking help.

It’s not South Carolina without their palm trees!

And before I sign off, happy Beltane, May Day, or whatever you’re celebrating. It’s one of my favorite days, and by gosh, I’m gonna enjoy it!

Sunset Ranch Update

There hasn’t been an update on our ranch citizens in a while, and tonight’s sunset inspired me to write one.

There’s a bonus dog in this photo!

Last night’s solstice sunset was apparently amazing, but I was busy lighting candles and missed it. Luckily a friend took great photos for me to enjoy.

The sun sets right on our road.

As the sun disappeared it looked like a tribute to the universities I attended (orange and blue!)

Shiny.

Anyway, most of the ranch residents are doing well, but we’ve discovered a new chicken killer, our resident harrier. No wonder they call them chicken hawks. Sigh. But, as always, we have a plan. Since that hawk only goes after them out in the lawn, we’re going to keep the chickens cooped up for a while.

A project!

The newly arranged coop is getting its fancy new roof. Once it’s done, the residents will get locked in. That will annoy Gertie the Guinea a lot, but we want him alive! And hopefully it will remind my buddy Bertie where she should lay her eggs.

Harvey was a great supervisor, I’m told.

And to end on a happier note, I got home early enough today to play with Apache and Fiona. Apache was thrilled, and showed it his usual way.

Oh boy! I get to play with Suna, after I pee.

We got to go for a nice walk, and then I got him to run and trot around for a while. He seems in good shape.

As we were trotting, Fiona got all excited and started galloping around us in circles, hee-hawing away. After four or five circuits, Apache and I turned around to trot back. Fiona then zoomed into the race and began bellowing at Ralph’s cows.

I was wondering if I would ever get her back in the pen, but when Apache and I went in, she barreled in with us. I guess the both had some fun! So did I.

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