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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
I took lots of pictures today, and when I went back to look at them, I realized it’s been a beautiful day!
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.
The hooks were shaped on this piece of pipe, which made cool smoke when the metal got hot.
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.
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.
Really, who needs television? It’s darned entertaining around here. And I couldn’t even drag myself back into the house, because clouds beckoned.
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.
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.
Treasure your good days. Let them fill your heart with joy.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
There hasn’t been an update on our ranch citizens in a while, and tonight’s sunset inspired me to write one.
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.
As the sun disappeared it looked like a tribute to the universities I attended (orange and blue!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last night was absolutely magical, if also a bit scary for people on the roads. It’s one of those things that can’t help but inspire awe as you witness what Nature can do in the right circumstances. As a Blogmas gift to you all, I’ll showcase some photos from my Master Naturalist friends as I tell my story and share theirs, too.
For me, the magic started when Vlassic and I were walking back from feeding the horses, right at sunset. I noticed a red stripe along the horizon, where there was a break in the rain clouds that had hung around all day (but not brought anywhere near enough rain).
I suddenly saw a sliver of sun peek out from under the clouds. I got a few photos of the sun as it slipped through the gap and disappeared behind the trees.
Then I noticed the mist. I could actually see fog forming behind our house, above the pond, and across the field. I knew we were in a valley, and guessed it was probably clear on top of the hill where the cemetery is.
Right after I went inside, Lee came back from the office and said he was scared to death driving along the creek bottom to get to our house. The fog had gotten so dense that he could not see the road. A while later, Chris came back from a trip to Rockdale with the same report. Deep, deep fog.
About that time, Pamela texted me, “Are you living in a cloud?” I said I sure was, and she told me she’d sat behind her house and just watched the fog creep higher and higher from where I lived to the hill where she lived. This is what it looked like from her house as it came up.
Here are two pictures of roughly the same view from her house, one taken on Thursday when I was there, and the other from last night, both around sunset.
After Pamela sent me her photos, I started seeing more and more of them in my Facebook feed. Cindy Travis, who lives to the southeast of us, shared these beautiful images from her ranch.
Another Master Naturalist friend, Phyllis, shared what the fog looked like from her vantage point. Another beautiful sight!
Later on, I found some amazing images from another Master Naturalist friend, Larry Kocian.
He was on a bike ride through the fog right at sunset and really got some great images (he’s quite a skilled photographer). Here is how Larry described it:
…[T]his was taken at sunset on the Country Club golf course across the street from where I live. The fog started on the pond and it grew rapidly and enveloped the entire golf course, making it look like a Halloween theme setting. But then it felt like being in the clouds, experiencing absolute peace and happiness.
Me and my little girl Clarice, (in this photo), rode our bikes into this growing fog bank. It was a great nature experience, being at the right place, at the right time, under the right weather conditions.
There was 100s of birds (unknown species) all over this acreage, enjoying the fresh water from the rains earlier in the day. Also the saturated atmosphere here at the surface, the fog, was very refreshing. It was like refreshing lotion going into the skin. This fog hid everything on the acreage, except for these trees, making them look like they were floating in the clouds. And as you can see, the sidewalk the leads to the pond way down the way disappears into the clouds. We were floating in the clouds, enjoying this unique moment in Nature.
Thanks to Larry for sharing the photos and description! You almost feel like you were there, right along with him and Clarice. And here’s a special treat: he made a video of riding through the fog.
Well, if that doesn’t convince you that our planet is worth taking care of, I don’t know what will. Evenings like this are rare, but the memories will serve as a balm to our senses for a long time. No pandemic can take that away from us!
Once more, our Master Naturalist buddies made sure to preserve these memories. I’m grateful to Pamela, Phyllis, Cindy, and Larry for sharing with all of us, along with my dear friend, Martha.
Dystopian? That sounds cheerful, doesn’t it? Well, it’s just a weird day. It’s still all hazy, which makes it feel like I’m walking in a science fiction story.
And it’s so windy that chairs, empty troughs, and the chickens’ shelter blew all over the place. I had trouble walking to see the horses! Vlassic even spooked a couple of times (but was good with cows).
It’s not all bad, though. I checked on the new goldfish, and I was happy to see the water in the trough already more clear and with fewer mosquito larvae. I swear they have grown!
We’ve lost only one fish, which surprised me, considering how green the water was. At first I couldn’t see the fish if they weren’t at the top!
Other things are actually doing okay, even in adverse circumstances. My poor fennel plant that got replanted near the “folly” had been weed-eated and mown by Jim (he likes a smooth lawn) is coming back! I thought it was a goner. I put a bunny next to it, to remind him it’s there. Fingers are crossed!
Even more amazing is that my asparagus patch, which had been treated with RoundUp, has come back! The weeds are in way worse shape, so maybe we can get that bed in shape.
Even in the wind and haze, I keep finding cool living things around the ranch. Look at this beautiful insect! It’s a nuptial scorpionfly. Huh.
And this caught my eye as I was going to check the mail. I wondered if it was aphids or some kind of goldenrod beetle. I guess I thought that since I recently found milkweed bugs and aphids.
I looked it up on iNaturalist and discovered it WAS something associated with goldenrod, but each white thing is a gall created by some tiny insects, Carbonifera goldenrod gall midge. That’s a new one for me.
Always something new, even with the weirdness of 2020 continuing. The sun will come up tomorrow, dimly.
I think the long saga of me needing hay for Apache is over for a while, at least. It’s nice to have kind Master Naturalist friends to come to my rescue.
I thought I was getting square bales from Pamela, who lives nearby, but it turned out her baling guy would make no fewer than 200 bales (understandably). I just don’t have the funds for that.
So then my other Master Naturalist friend, Cindy, said she had some old hay for my preferred price (her new hay was too expensive, and besides, the older the better for Apache). That’s probably the best for us, anyway.
So, after work, Chris and I took a trailer down to Cindy’s place, which is even more beautiful than I imagined. It’s a Suna Dream Property. While I enjoyed her Tennessee Walking Horses, Chris loaded the hay with the help of another Master Naturalist, Sam, and another nice helper.
They’d already taken the hay out of the hayloft, so it went quickly.
We got to look around and chat, too, which was so nice. I miss my friends! It was worth sweating away in masks! It’s a fine bonus to getting the hay. Also, I was so busy looking around and chatting that I didn’t get many pictures.
I also didn’t get any pictures of unloading the hay. At least here’s a picture or two of the loaded hay.
I went to get Lee’s brother a burger, and the onion rings took so long that I totally missed unloading the hay! But the food was good, so yay. And I did get photos of the beautiful stacks Chris made.
Speaking of beautiful, I tried to get a gorgeous picture of Fiona and yet another fine sunset, but every time I stepped back to take a picture, she followed me. This is my best try!
By the way, my friends’ beautiful horse property is for sale. Want to bring your horses and come live near me?
There’s just so much in my head that I’ve no time nor ability to write. I was analyzing work stuff in my dreams last night. I couldn’t stop dreaming about data.
I’ve pushed through everything today, which is great, but there’s still more coming up! Being occupied with work challenges isn’t all bad, of course. It keeps your mind off the state of the world, sick friends, and natural disasters.
I did enjoy a lovely sunset last night after the wee bit of rain. And I reconnected with a friend from grad school whom I greatly admired and had thought about often.
Plus, I can disguise myself with even more masks, since I got some pretty ones in the mail. Guess I’m not a plain black mask person.
Hope you’re handling your surprises and learning curves today. We’re all in it together.
Getting in touch with your emotional truth, by processing feelings to improve the human condition in the 21st century. Living out loud by my motto,"Triumphing over Trauma" 🌈
In light and in shadow, always with ❤