For Me, All Is Well

I can’t speak for the rest of my family, but today’s been good. I got to do grocery shopping for sickly children and had fun with that. I got them a Mexican saint candle to protect sick people. I need to get one for Kathleen, too, to ward off future surprises.

Come set a spell. We’re open!

I guess I’ll just share my tack room improvements, which make me happy even if they are small. My favorite things are my Mexican pottery from my beloved old office. I really like the foal with a disapproving look on her face.

Vacuum more!

I also brought the burro planter that I’ll put something in one of these days. I hope spider plants.

My kids got me the wall hanging one year when they still did gifts.

One of the baskets my friend Gina sent me recently makes my ugly tissue box fit in well. It has a weird liner, but that’s fine. And people who are allergic to scents can take care of the problems the adjacent diffuser causes. How efficient! The diffuser makes it smell less like garlic and coconut in here (from feed).

And I grabbed a bird hanging thing to charm anyone who goes to the tack area to view Drew’s ribbons. I predict this area will be more colorful next year. There will be competition!

I was so busy writing about the vacation rental we’re working on that I didn’t share the pretty things I found on a walk through the lower pasture yesterday. I checked to see if there was still any water in the creek and yes, there is a trickle.

Cow says why don’t you have cubes for me?

Mostly I enjoyed early autumn seeds and flowers. And more mama cows. That never hurts!

Electrified!

Yesterday had a lot of happiness to it, so let’s celebrate that! The electricians came in and hooked up all our new outbuildings so we can enjoy some light, air conditioning, heat, and fun. Yes, the pool house, chicken coop, and most important, the tack room, are all hooked up. Whoop! Some work still needs to be done, but the tack room was all ready to go.

Look, a light!

The lights are good, of course, but the most important thing that happened was the perky new air conditioner got up and running. I enjoyed basking in its coolness while I rearranged all the new feed I got when we went out yesterday.

Why, no, the air conditioner will NOT be set to that temperature in the future. Lee requests 78. We will see.

To celebrate the advent of the electric age, I also upgraded my floor cleaning technology and installed a cute little stick vacuum cleaner that’s cordless. It arrived all charged up, so I gave it a whirl. It worked great and now there are no crumbs laying around to encourage vermin (they can easily get in through the doors, because they have a gap–plan is to replace them one of these days with a nice barn door.

Vacuum cleaner, ready to go (plus stored bags and my helmets)

I’m all excited to finish fixing up the tack room. There is some painting to do, a light fixture to install, and the small refrigerator to obtain. That will all be soon. In the meantime, I have art to put up and things to allow me to get a bit of work done in there. I’m also going to get a small coffeemaker.

Also, light bulbs will go in those lamps today.

However, no coffee will be made today, since we are under a boil notice from the water company. Boo hoo. Hope that is fixed soon. In the meantime, I have bottled beverages to take over there.

Outside view of the little air conditioner that CAN! (It will also heat)

There was a lot involved with getting the electrical work done. Many things needed to be hooked up, large pipes needed to be filled with wire, and hookups made to all the little breaker boxes (we still need one more larger one, which I think will show up later today). The horses were fascinated when the workers were at the tack room!

We aren’t interested in the electricity. What’s on that trailer?

Yes, the horses got a present yesterday, too. I bought them a hay ring. It’s not as nice as my dream one, which is what my friend Cindy had on her beautiful ranch, but it will last a long time and was “only” $300. Livestock stuff ain’t cheap.

Hay ring, and chicken food that has to go over to the coop. That porch light ALSO works now, by the way.

I’m so excited that I have a place to cool off when working with the horses and Fiona, and that I can write in my horse journal there, have horsey friends over, and whatever. I am also glad the chickens will be able to have a heater in the winter and a warmer if we have chicks again. The coop still needs to be finished, but it wasn’t a high priority. The chickens are happy enough to have the new coop to hang out in when it gets hot. Every day I go to get eggs and find them all in there, relaxing comfortably!

I’ll show you just how happy I am. Lee gave me a flower sticker and it fell on my nail polish box just right. I’m as happy as that donkey looks!

Have a good weekend!

Shocking News?

It’s shocking, all right. The electric lines are being laid for all our outbuildings, but we do t think any actual shocks will happen since we are using professional electricians. It’s nice to see a little bit of progress after all the setbacks and such.

The Ditch Witch chugged into action on Wednesday and started digging the trenches for the electric lines. Then, it suddenly stopped working after getting the lines to the tack room, shipping container, and much of the chicken house done. That was disappointing, since the electricians were due today.

One long trench

Luckily, they got her up and running again this morning and finished the trenches so that the conduit could go in. None of this was easy in the baked clay soil we have in this part of the ranch. The worst parts were where they had to dig by hand and carve out curves in the path. My son looked like he was about to pass out, though of course he was well hydrated and got breaks.

Conduit, with curve, hard earned.

Now that all the pipes are in, the electrician could get exact measurements for all the wiring and such that they’d need. Everything’s so expensive right now that no one wants to waste any money on excess supplies. They will be back tomorrow. By then there should be an air conditioner for the tack room, too. Am I excited? Yes, I sure am. And very grateful. The chickens will be, too, when they get a fan to help keep them cooler.

Long…

What else is new since I got all whacked out about my diagnosis? Well, it IS the Hermits’ Rest Ranch, so of course it’s not shocking that another poisonous beast had to show up. This little darling was right under my feet while I was working. It is now a former bloodsucking conenose (or kissing bug, Triatoma sanguisuga). These bite people on their mouths and feed on the blood while the people are sleeping. Then the people get sick. Luckily, they have never been seen upstairs here.

Also luckily, Marcus spent part of his day spraying all around the house and pool for spiders. He found a big nest of black widows on the back side of the pool. They are former spiders now. I may be a Master Naturalist, but things that want to kill me need to go live outside my personal bubble. I’m tired of killer insects and spiders.

Yesterday

And it’s not a day at the Hermits’ Rest if someone doesn’t need to see a doctor. Today it was Goldie. I noticed a swelling on her yesterday, and thought it looked odd. It wasn’t there last time I looked.

Much bigger!

Today the swelling was bigger. It being Thursday, her favorite human was able to take her to see Dr. Amy and get it looked at. Turns out it was a scratch or bite or some other kind of “booboo” that got infected.

I gots an owie.

Dr. Amy drained it and disinfected it and put poor Goldie on antibiotics. She seems fine now, but now she has lots of scars on her belly!

Let’s hope tomorrow is a peaceful day. We could use one.

Too Hot to Paint but It Happened

I felt bad for my kid today. He is a very hard worker, not doing what he thought he’d be doing at this point in his life, but learning a lot. But wow it’s hot right now. And he’s been painting.

That shipping container blends in!

He and his coworker had already painted the Suna Shack red and white. But we also had the two shipping containers over in horse world. One is to be the hay storage and one storage for equipment. Both were reddish, but not red.

Another view.

In well over 100° heat, the second container got painted without the coworker. I was really surprised to see him patiently painting on white trim on it. I guess the nephew said to make it all match. Wow, it looks sharp so far!

Not quite done on this side, but I sure don’t miss all the shipping letters on the container. (Roof is getting replaced when it cools off)

I’m glad no one went along with the idea of painting stripes. Whew. I’m feeling like I’m a fancy barn owner, but not at such a high price. This is all done by my family (and Marcus). It means so much more than some prefabricated thing! I do love my kids and wish I’d been a better mom after their dad left. Oops. Back on that topic again.

Apparently this one gets white trim, too. Let’s see if they paint the poles.

Still. The horses will rest in so much style now! Speaking of style. I believe I found the loudest nail polish on earth. It’s called Mardi Gras. Obviously I’m not painting barns.

Yow.

But I do work, and I found out today that I’ll get to stay another year at Dell. We’ll see what I decide to do after that. And tomorrow I hope to do some painting for a good cause!

I hope I don’t mess up my nails!

On the Road to Comfy

Two of our many projects are moving quickly toward a better state. The in-law suite, which will actually be occupied by my elderly and a bit unsteady brother-in-law, is rapidly approaching a livable and comfy state.

Simple and clean

The room that was our first office/bedroom for Lee, which is in the back of our garage, is looking great, especially when I don’t show the other side of the room, where there’s still papers, books, amps and such that are Lee’s. I’m looking to see if any more of my stuff got put there. All the horse stuff is in the tack room, though.

In progress

The room now has a doorway to get to the bathroom and new kitchen area. Everything has been painted, new light fixtures are in, and the fridge is in place (and cleaned off from where the chickens used to roost on it). That was a lot of work.

Nice fridge!

The recycled granite is ready for cabinets that will hold the sink, microwave, etc.

I didn’t know we had a granite saw. Maybe that was already there.

The nephew went to get cabinets today. They need to go in, and I assume some flooring. Then it will be livable, even though the outside wall still needs insulation, which will happen when the pool house gets its insulation blown in.

We already had this bathroom with a handicap-friendly shower. It’s getting a bench.

I’m very pleased at how nice this looks. Speaking of nice! They put a desk in the tack room, which looks very nice with my temporary chairs. I’m hoping to get my furniture in there soon, now that it’s pretty clean.

Sure, the chandelier look better than the fly trap, but this is good.

I tried to clean all the lids to the horse food, but one I can’t get the oily stuff off. I’ll get a more intense cleaner, I guess. I’ll get there. And it wasn’t even too hot today!

I practiced this game today. That proves it wasn’t too hot.

Now to sit by myself again. I’d feel lonely around here, but I was so surrounded by people in my 9 meetings today that I’m actually okay that everyone has other stuff to do!

Me at work. I dressed nice to get me through things. Like my sparkly tooth?

Look at that Suna Shack

It’s not done, but the tack room alas she shed has all the horse stuff in it now. The saddle racks are back up, pegs to hang bridles and halters are up, and it all looks good.

Everything has a place.

Feeding will be real easy because both Kathleen and I can access the food bins at the same time, and all supplements are easy to get to, thanks to the cool old storage unit.

I can even label the drawers.

I like how much of the stuff is recycled. It makes the place feel homey. Another cool aspect of the tack area is that we have a rack to store the trailer’s covers for the ventilation areas. Those things are hard to store.

Convenient. this is before the storage stuff went up.

I’m also happy that now I can see all the stored items in the lofts. That will make organized storage easier to achieve.

What about the Suna shed? Well, they put down my outdoor rug for fanciness, but that’s it for now. They don’t want to bring in furniture until the air conditioner is installed. The electrician isn’t scheduled yet but it should be soon. That will be good, since we don’t want the leather molding.

Imagine the possibilities!

I didn’t get to feed tonight, but I’m sure Kathleen enjoyed it. I was off taking my son and his partner out for dinner at the Nearly Empty Bistro, which was nice. No band so we could talk.

Forgot to show the finished windows yesterday. They will look good trimmed out!

We then walked around the completely empty town. It’s graduation night. Very few people don’t have a friend or relative graduating! Small town living.

Must sleep. Tomorrow we are filming a virtual horse show with Drew and Sully the mare.

What Happened to the Tack Room?

Yesterday I shared the big surprise I received when I got home and found a new hen house created from my former new tack room. I didn’t share what happened to all my tack and food.

It’s like the tack room grew!

Yep. I stepped out of the Hen House and did a double take when I saw there was still a barn red storage building where the tack room was. What the heck!

Very coordinated.

Well, you may recall that we had a lovely Victorian house on Ross Avenue in Cameron. It came with many empty lots and a couple of storage buildings. We are in the process of selling that house to an expert renovator, but are keeping most of the land and the buildings.

A window is going in, plus an air conditioner. And that roof is getting a tarp before it rains tomorrow!

My spousal unit, Lee, was the one who wanted to improve the chicken coop. The nephew said, why build another one? Let’s use the tack room, which is a bit cramped, and haul the big blue building here to be a new tack room? This decision was made before we left for our trip, so I can imagine everyone had a hard time keeping it to themselves!

That looks pretty fancy to me.

So, they had the plan of moving that building here, painting it, and turning it into the tack room plus, all before I got back. Unfortunately the house hauling person had a problem, so the blue building didn’t make it until last Thursday, by which time they’d cleaned it out and painted it red. I’m still in shock.

Wow!

My son, Lee, and the nephew worked overtime to get the flooring down, start insulating, and get some walls up so they could empty my trailer (where the tack all was), so I could take the horses to their lessons. That stuff has all moved a lot. I bet my son and our helper really hope they don’t have to move it again!

After today’s work.

Today my son finished insulating and putting up the lower walls. Now the gambrel roof and ceiling need doing.

The gap is where the window goes.

Notice there isn’t any horse stuff on the side of the room in the photos. There’s a good reason, other than needing it clear to add the walls. The nephew took it into his head to make half the building into a she shed. He even has it wired to put my precious former office chandelier in there. Holy crap.

They are going to bring my rugs and furniture from my old office. And my art! This will be so cool, and Kathleen, Anita, Sara and I can hang out in our girls’ club. Maybe we need a no boys allowed sign.

Wow. Stuff like this makes you just want to hug the world. I’m so grateful.

Horse Home Decor and Spa

What lucky horses I have. Also they are so sweet and good that they deserve to be pampered. Why do they deserve it? Wow they are well behaved.

Yes. Me. I’m getting my hooves trimmed right now.

Trixie came today to trim the horses’ hooves. You may recall that when I got Drew he could not even lift his back leg. Today was another story. She got him trimmed in less than ten minutes. No arguing or anything. By the time she was finished he was dead asleep and I had trouble getting his halter off. I just stood there and petted him and loved on him. It was fantastic.

I love my spa day

Apache was the same. Just stood there and took a nap. It’s so great to see his feet in perfect shape after struggling the past few years. My heart was so full just being with these calm animals. Trixie just exudes calm with horses.

Even though my ears are back, I’m good.

So yep, these precious beings deserve nice things. Or maybe I deserve a nice thing to support them. But today the crew did more work on the tack room. They built a nice shelf for the supplements right over the feed bins.

Feeding station

They also put excellent hooks and hanging pegs on the wall. I can’t wait to see what Kathleen and I do with them!

You may have to zoom in to see everything.

You may see a hat on the wall. It’s not a hat! It’s a riding helmet with a “brimmer” on it. It’s made of real palm fiber. It will give me lots more shade on my face when I ride. Sara got one, too. The helmet may look slightly dorky but it’s not too bad. My head will be safe and shady! that’s what counts.

Trying on my brimmer.

The other thing they added inside the tack room are hooks to hang each horse’s. Rifle and halter with his or her saddle. There is still a shelf or two to be built, but I’m pretty thrilled as it is.

So nice. This will be great for us.

The thing I like best about the tack room is the big, wide steps outside the door. I won’t fall down when carrying heavy items. I am just so impressed with how thoughtful they were in building it!

My new happy place.

We got everything done in time to close all the windows and put away all the outdoor furniture in preparation for yet another tornado warning. This one was even closer. I went in the storm room.

Not happy.

It missed us again. But it hit very very close. Not my favorite thing. People were hurt in nearby Salado and in the tiny town of Burlington just to our north.

Yuck. Much worse elsewhere.

More Tack Room Progress

The guys wanted to get all that horse stuff that came with the new trailer so the shipping container it was in can become the new hay loft. The hay needs to get off the trailer it’s on so we can get new hay in case the threatened drought arrives.

Well, they didn’t quite understand the instructions to put all the horse blankets in the loft. So when I came in, the thing was full of giant boxes of blankets and the furniture buried.

The stuff in the loft shown is all excess tack. That’s all good.

So, the nephew and I moved stuff around to where the tubs of blankets and saddle pads are ready to go to the other loft. Then I got to work. It was our first really hot day of the year, so I was glad to have a fan!

Vlassic is back in the pond again. It’s hot.

I set about figuring out what was in all the buckets of horse products. There was so much green spot remover! Grass stains will be no match for me! There was an ointment, cream, or spray for every possible horse ailment. There were supplements, hoof creams, wound stuff, etc.

There was also a major load of tack repair items. Many buckles and fasteners.

Ointments, creams, and metal things.

The largest amount of stuff was bandages. I get the idea their horses got hurt a lot. I’m ready for all sorts of injuries now!

Boxes of blankets at left. First aid equipment at right.

This all took me a couple of hours. It was very grimy cleaning the desk thing and all the dirty containers. Things aren’t in their final spots, but they are off the floor and out of buckets.

Once the tubs are in the loft, the finishing touches can happen and MY stuff can go in.

I’m sure glad we have the pool, because today I needed it. Wow, it’s deep! I really enjoyed the seat. Life’s good. And my horses will soon have their things stored near where they live.

I do it for them.

Goodbye to a Bird Friend, Hello to Others

Well, there was apparently an actual cock fight last night, and Peeper lost. I was not surprised, but sad. Bruce was just being a rooster. I tried. Sniff. Poultry are sure hard to keep.

Starlings and dewberries across the road.

In good bird news, I’ve heard my first red-winged blackbird of the year. And in better news, the scissor-tail flycatchers are swooping and soaring again. That’s good, because the barn swallows need help with all the flying ants and other swarming creatures.

Mr Robotto, the pool cleaner, was filled with tiny wings yesterday. Yuck.

But all is not bad. Look at the giant mushroom that’s just sitting in front of the house. It looks like an ostrich egg or a softball!

Drew is holding his own. I spent a lot of time with him today. I groomed him a long time and groomed filthy Apache even longer. That horse is still shedding like crazy. Drew is too, but not so badly. And in Drew news you didn’t probably want to hear, he pooped today, which means he’s functioning normally.

No photos of Drew, but right next to him is a newly organized shipping container.

We are about to get to where the tack room will be built out, which sure makes me happy. Then we will be on to our next ranch improvement project, which involves a little building down the road.

Isn’t it cute?

And on one last note, it’s also gnat season. It’s always something here. Enjoy some flowers and an insect.

PS: a hummingbird moth just landed on my phone as I was labeling the flowers. Nature is full of surprises.

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