Monday, November 30, 2009

The Dorkier Side of Thanksgiving

Somebody ate too much pie. Somebody has been eating too much pie for several years now. Somebody's husband might get in trouble for taking this picture at all. Somebody thinks gravity ought to give her facial structure a break.
It's much easier to look thoughtful while wearing grandma's glasses.
Good thing the jacket has a hood and can be cinched up tight. It gets sooooo cold in Austin.

In case anyone wonders if our local newspaper needs an new proof reader. They had one of those special pages that has ads that laid over the front page.
Also, in case anyone thinks Lee is all work and no play. He was the first one to notice this and the one to get a picture of it. His parents are so proud.
Photos may only be taken when everyone has a mouth full of food. At least I've trained them to chew with their mouths closed. Otherwise, eeeewwwww.

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and had a few things to laugh about as well.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

Lucky, doing what he does best.
As an old man of 11 or 12, he's allowed to sleep just about anywhere he wants to. He's quite the hunter of all things rodent when he wants to be. On chilly days, he finds a sunny spot or a human lap if it suits him.
Pearl captured him perfectly in this picture.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Second Chance

Just over 2 years ago, Lee and I were in Hawaii to help celebrate my niece, LeAnn's, wedding.
There, to walk her down the 'aisle' on the beach of North Shore, Oahu, was my brother.
I posted, just last week, that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. The diagnosis was based solely on a PET scan. The spots on his lung had popped up since his last scan 3 months ago. They are quite large for something that wasn't there 3 months ago.
They are located in the place that most lung cancers appear.
The doctors were quite positive that they were looking at cancer and would have gone in to remove them, if my brother's lung function was high enough to withstand surgery. It wasn't.
Instead, they decided to do a biopsy just as a formality. The biopsy landed him in the hospital for 3 days because of a collapsed lung.
What is astounding, is that the biopsy came back clean for cancer.
I was just wrapping my mind around the idea that my brother would be in for an horrific regimen of chemo and radiation in the next year and might die anyway. Then I called on the day after his biopsy and his wife said his tests were negative.
Prayers answered, a miracle, whatever you'd like to call it. I was blown away.
I couldn't believe it.
I still can't.

Instead of heading toward the sunset of his life, he has gotten a second chance. A chance to breathe easier, a chance to laugh longer, a chance to play with grandkids more, a chance to snuggle his wife for many more years, a chance to get to know his father even better,
a chance to......

I hope he doesn't waste his second chance supporting a habit that could take it all away from him for real. Second chances only happen once.

I love you, JTF. Please don't waste this gift.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


My washing machine, aka the Beast, held my underwear and socks hostage last week.
I called the GE Swat team to come help with negotiations regarding my laundry.
They giggled and said they could help "Next Tuesday between 1 and 5pm".
That was five days my poor underwear would have to suffer, locked in the washing machine!
In the meantime, I could unplug it and see if it would rethink it's position on holding my laundry hostage.

The computer brain of the washing machine had locked it up tight and closed the blinds so no snipers would have a shot.

My sweet, gimpy husband suggested that it would give me a legitimate excuse to go buy new underwear and socks.
"But I love my old underwear and socks!!"
In his defense, he had bigger worries than my hostage crisis. Pain was clouding his brain.
As I began to finally have the nervous breakdown that I so rightly deserved, my sister, Jean appeared. She encouraged me to NOT storm the machine and drag it out into the garage and break out my underwear with a sledgehammer.
"I just want my old, top loading, not computer-driven, washing machine back!!!"
I knew the ransom the Front Loading beast would want would be high. Possibly higher than I'd paid for it. I didn't think the sledgehammer idea was such a bad one.
Jean and Lee encouraged me to take a break and eat some dinner. Maybe the loss of electricity would sink in and the Beast would rethink its position and unlock the door.
I ate, but jumped up several times during dinner and checked on my dainties. Each time, the door remained tightly locked. The sledgehammer became more and more appealing.
While I was cleaning up the dishes, Jean announced that she'd reached a deal with the Beast and it had released my underwear and socks. I nearly cried. Evidently I was too close to the situation and my threat of using force had shut down negotiations. I don't know what she said, but I didn't care. I lovingly accompanied my laundry to the warmth and security of the dryer.

Note: This dryer has a criminal past, but has long since been rehabilitated. I trusted it to take care of my laundry now.

But what happened with the Beast? What had made it lose its computer-mind?
Tuesday, the GE Swat team finally showed up. I was prepared for them to take the darned machine away in handcuffs and rid it from my life forever.
The officer in charge suggested that it might not be that its brain had malfunctioned, but that it might just be in pain. We discussed the things that led up to the hostage situation.

"Have you ever cleaned the lint trap?"

"A friend suggested that to me, but the manual that came with the Beast shows no indication of a lint trap. I think its lost its computer mind."

"No, they have a lint trap. Let's check that before we decide to shoot to kill."

After a bit of work, and some wet negotiation on the part of the officer, the lint trap was exposed.
The poor Beast!!!
Its lint trap was so full of yuck, that it must have been in horrible pain. No wonder if wasn't working right.
Dog hair, people hair, a necklace, $3.29 in change, gum wrappers, a hair Scrunchy, a couple Legos, a key to adjust the sprinkler heads, and two rubber bands.

It hadn't lost its mind after all. My washing machine was back to its old self again. It apologized by doing a load of laundry with precision and care, just like old times.

What made me title this "Giddy!"?
New computer brain for the Beast: $400+
Cleaning the lint trap: $95

Wouldn't you be giddy, too?

PS...It occurred to me, thanks to Linda at 7MSN ranch, that I could let others know where their lint traps are. If you look back at the picture, you'll see a panel at the bottom of the front of the machine. Nearly touching the ground, are 3 screws that hold that panel on. Unscrew them, and have an old towel and cookie sheet handy. You'll likely see a cylindrical thingy. Pull it out, gently and expect some water to come with it. Inside the cylinder is where you'll find the lovely stuff that chokes the washing machine's ability to drain.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

One Step Closer

I've been trying for weeks to get a decent picture of Mr. Cooper Hawk.
He's been diligently picking off the darn House Sparrows, one by one. He just doesn't like having his heroics documented. Every time I've gotten within a hundred feet of him, he flies away. I must have taken 30 pictures of him before I got this shot. Unfortunately, it's through a not-very-clean window. He's also very smart about staying in the shadows while hunting, and that makes for lousy picture taking light.
I'll just have to be patient. Maybe I'll give the kitchen window a good scrubbing, just for kicks. It may be the only way I'll be able to get a shot of him.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Single, Working Mother

In order to have any clue what you are looking at, be sure to click on the picture.
Well, it looks like my newest camera takes pictures that are not compatible with the Blogger "click to enlarge" thingy.
In the very center of this pic is a beige thing--it's an egg sac.
Just touching the egg sac is something lime green--it's the spider.
Just below the spider is a honeybee. The primary thing you are able to see is the bee's head.
I've been watching this green, female Lynx spider guard her egg sac for a couple weeks now. It wasn't until a few days ago that I figured out how she was feeding herself. She never seemed to loose touch with that sac. It looks like she hunts, but very close to home.
Lynx spiders, while they have some webbing, are hunters. They don't lay in wait on the edge of a web and hope something flies through it. Instead, they wander about and spring on unsuspecting prey. She is cousins with another hunter, the Wolf spider. It's funny how we humans give some animals, insects and plants common names that make the most sense to us. Lynx and wolves hunt for a living, as do these spiders. We gave the little venomous spider I spoke about here, another human characteristic--Black Widow. Somehow, the praying mantis didn't manage to get a descriptive name that goes along with the female's tendency to eat the male after mating. Maybe someone saw the praying pose they strike, long before someone witnessed the eating of Mr. Mantis.
It's rained the last two days. I haven't been out to check on Mrs. Lynx spider. I'm hoping her egg sac has hatched and she and her little ones have gone into dryer places.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Trials of Job

Something you need to know about me---I am not a Biblical literalist. In other words, I don't think every story, and sentence in the bible was written by the hand of God. For me, the bible is a sacred book with leadings and lessons that are good for us all.

One caveat though.
There's one story in the bible that is just a load of manure. That's the story of Job. Job has a whole chapter in the old testament that chronicles his trials at the hands of both the devil and God. There's the rub---God was in on it.
Scholars say that the story is just an early lead in to the trials of Jesus.
Either way, I know folks that believe that God gives us trials to test our mettle and faithfulness. Pure, 100%, Grade A, baloney.
Plus, there's the old saying of "God never gives us more than we can handle" that comes out of that story. I believe there are many, many people worldwide that would have issue with that statement.

Here's what I think and why it applies to the picture below.
I think that God is a loving God. I believe that God loves me like a parent loves a child--only a million times more.
Would I, as a parent, put my child through an horrific trial just to find out if he has the wherewith all to get through it? Would I cause my child physical pain to see if it would break her spirit? Would I make my child so miserable as to push him to the brink of insanity?
Not unless I was a deranged sicko!
Why would anyone choose to believe in and worship a God that would do those very things?

I believe that God mourns our trials with us, both mental and physical. I believe, if we ask, that we can be given some reprieve from those trials by the loving hands of others here on earth. I believe that I can stand in God's place, just as Jesus did, to help relieve the suffering of others. That's the job he gave me when he created me.
And so, here's where the picture comes in. The man in the picture is my brother, JTF. Making this walk with his beloved daughter, LeAnn was a bit of trial for him because under those khakis he only has one leg. Prosthetics don't do well in sand.
Of course, he might not have been there at all. It was a motorcycle accident that claimed his leg. A woman turned left in front of him at a green light.
His work managed to find some loophole with which to fire him.

He unfortunately, had a motorcycle accident a few years earlier that trashed his other leg. What that means is, the leg that survived the accident was already a bit wobbly. It was then forced into being his primary, upright support.

That 'good' knee had finally had enough and had to be replaced last year. Physical therapy is challenging enough, without having the support leg being sitting on a prosthetic.

So, you can see where JTF might be feeling a bit like Job.
He doesn't.
He smiles and is just glad to be alive. I'm sure he has his days, just like any of us would. I believe he has fewer of them than the average person would.

Unfortunately, he has a new trial ahead of him.
Lung cancer.
I asked last night when he called with the diagnosis, "So, are you freaking out?"
"No, what good would that do? It won't change anything."

He will fight this battle, as he has the others--one step at a time. He maintains a positive attitude and tells me that's what gets him through.

Yes, treatment will suck eggs.
Does he blame God?
Does he lean on God to help surround him with good doctors, good friends and good family.

Prayers on his behalf are welcome.
Questions about whether God has some mission in mind,
not so much.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

...Is Grateful That

When you post on Facebook, all sentences/status' begin with your name. You follow that with an "is". Example: CeeCee is taking Lee to the orthopedists here in Austin this morning.

Yesterday's Facebook post said,
"CeeCee is grateful that Pearl did not need surgery."

I kid you not---yesterday, we thought Pearl would be undergoing surgery to remove her appendix.
She woke up at 3am with a screaming stomach ache. Not one that makes you feel like throwing up, but one that feels like someone stabbed you with a knife.
The pain moved and took up residence in her lower, right belly by 8am. I took her to our family doctor, who sent us right on our way to the ER.

After much bloodwork, 2 bags of saline, several pokings of her belly and a CT scan, they admitted her.
Her white cell count was way up, but the pain was subsiding. By mid-afternoon, she felt okay. Still the white cell count bothered the surgeon, but her CT scan showed a normal appendix and she never ran a fever.

Pearl was a trooper through it all. She is not a fan of needles in any way, shape or form and she got her first IV. Not a good time for her. :)

I officially came unglued when they admitted her. We were led to believe that the admission was short term and they were going to reevaluate before dinner time. When they started mentioning "tomorrow morning", I got on the phone. I called a wonderful woman from church that is a Nurse Practitioner and then called our Family doctor-----"Do they really need to keep her if she feels fine???!!!"
Both ladies assured me that what was happening was the way it should be and to calm down. I was just feeling like a hostage at that point and I needed them to tell me otherwise.

Finally, at 7:30 last night, the doctor relented and let us go home. I promised to bring her right back if she flared up again. She had no desire to spend the night in the hospital, and neither did I. Plus, Lee was in need of someone to help him get things done.

Pearl felt bad that we'd "wasted a whole day for nothing and I wasn't really sick." I just kept reminding her of that old cliche'--Better safe, than sorry.
All the doctors involved really thought she had appendicitis. Thankfully, her surgeon chose not to rush into things and waited it out.

I think I may need a nap, though. We've had enough excitement for one week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

Tuesday, November 10th. Lee broke his hip in Sedona, Arizona while mountain biking with buddies, TH and DS.
Wednesday, November 11th he had surgery on said hip, by Dr. Bradley Williams, in Cottonwood, Arizona.
I arrived to be with Lee in his recovery and let his buddies head home to Austin.
Grandpa and Grandma stayed behind to hold down the fort and take care of the kiddos.
Aunt Jean was at the ready, in case G'pa and G'pa needed a break.
Church family and friends kept us in their hearts and prayers.
Friday, November 13th, we left Cottonwood and drove 2 hours south to Phoenix. We stayed overnight.
Lee was administered to by a wonderful woman, named Ann from the Central Phoenix Community of Christ on Saturday morning before we left.
Saturday, November 14th, we flew home via Southwest Airlines--a non-stop!
Saturday night, he ran a fever that topped out at 101*----if it hadn't subsided, we'd have been back in a hospital in Austin.
Lee, taking one of many naps.
A pin, two large screws, and a smaller screw. Dr. Williams said he had the bones of a 20-something. Very good news!
The view out our 2nd story window of Verde Valley Medical Center.

This is the Cliff's Notes version of our stay in Cottonwood. I'm sure I'll be giving the finer points of some things that happened and his recovery here at home.
Thanks to everyone for their prayers and good wishes!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Jinxed It!

In my blog on Monday, I told you that Lee needed stitches because of a bike wreck.
I said "Luckily, he has never broken (knock on wood)."
I failed to knock on wood.

He called this afternoon from the hospital---again. I thought, as he was leading up to what was broken, that it must be a wrist or an ankle or a collar bone. I wish!
He broke his hip!
I am headed out to Phoenix tomorrow and we'll see what happens from there.

Thank God, for my family and my church family and my best friends. Everyone is behind me and will take care of things here on the home front.

Miniature Melancholy

Do you see this delightful duo? Their names are Reggie and Pete. They belong to my blogging friend, Danni over at On My Way to Critter Farm. First off, she needs to change the name of her blog to Critter Farm or Arrived at Critter Farm or How to Make Your Friends Without So Many Critters Jealous, Farm. Something along those lines. She started out with just her spunky dog, Roxie and a good natured hubby and son when she moved to her place in Oregon. Now she has chickens, llamas, a donkey and Pete and Reggie, the miniature goats.

I am madly in love with these tiny goats. Danni seems to bring out the best in her goat boys and they shower her with love any time she's around them.
I want some! I want two. Just two. They won't take up much room. They don't require much housing---certainly nothing like a big barn or something. I can trim their hooves myself. They can eat the 4 acres of thigh high grass we have. We'd save gas on the riding mower. Heck, I wouldn't even need the 56 inch, zero-turn radius mower I've been lusting after for years. Goat--$40-$75. Riding Mower of my dreams--$2,000-$10,000.
Okay, so there's a couple things hanging up the purchase of goats. 1. Lee--enough said. 2. My HOA only lets us have horses. Maybe I could convince them that two little goats would hardly be noticeable? I think they are afraid of that slipperly slope of "well, if you get two miniature goats, then Mrs. So and So will want two full size goats and then she'll want four full size goats...." You see where that is going?
Enter miniature possibility number two. They are horses. That settles the HOA problem. My friend, DD, has two. They are impossibly sweet and funny and silly and naughty. They make her laugh every day. They call to her when she's outside. Of course we'd like to think they are calling because they love her with all their little hearts. She and I both know they are calling because she is the Treat Queen. The poor things get watermelon in the dead of summer. They get ice cubes. They get carrots. Really, what don't they get? :) She has one that is really more dog-like than horse-like. He didn't get the horsey memo that says he shouldn't like to be pet and brushed and get belly scratches. He will actually paw you like a dog does, if you quit petting him. What's not to love about that?!
When I mentioned the idea to James the other day he said, "Why would we get horses that we couldn't ride?" Not that he would ever ride a horse, but he's been hanging around his daddy for 11 years and some of that common sense stuff has rubbed off on him. Remind me to limit their interaction.
Anyway, miniature horses are definite maybe. I'm just not lusting after them like I am of the goats and the next miniature on the list.
I really, really, really want miniature donkeys. Two. Can't have just one, as they are herd animals (as are horses and goats). I really, really, really can't have even one donkey.
Yes, they are technically equine, aka--horse family. My HOA would be hard pressed to make an issue of it. Where they would have sound footing would be with the noise pollution. Donkeys, no matter how happy, have this thing called a bray. It sounds a bit like a giant goose choking on something----at 85 decibels. They also don't care if it's 3:00 in the afternoon or 3:00 in the morning. Braying is just what they do. I don't know why they do it, but I do know it would wake my neighbors if they were sleeping. It would wake Lee, too. He's the one I'd really have to worry about.
Needless to say, I won't be getting any donkeys.

Right now, I won't be getting any of the above. You see, Lee has been smart enough not to fence the 4 acres. He is a smart man. That's one of the reasons I love him. He is the smartest, however, when it comes to me and animals. He knows darn, good and well that if he fences the property, 4-legged things would magically appear within its boundaries.

And so I must close, feeling melancholy. Why do I want miniatures? The cute factor plays very large in my 'want'. I've always wanted a lot of acreage with lots of animals. In my own time with full size horses, I realize that they are....well, they're big. They can do you harm without even meaning to. I still want the animals that I've always wanted, just not so big. Thus, the miniature part of the equation comes in.

Maybe Santa will help me out. I wonder if elves can put up fence, build a pretty little shelter, and run a water line out to my pasture? I wonder if miniature horses can fit in a sleigh?

Monday, November 9, 2009

It Was Bound to Happen Sometime

Lee gets his exercise on a mountain bike.
It gives him many things. Primarily it gives him the opportunity to relax his brain from the computer world and focus on uphill and downhill and rocks and sand and trees and cactus. No customers wanting his head on a plate out on the bike. No phone calls to take.
Plus he gets to hang out with the guys. Lee is first and foremost, a family-time sort of guy. I'm glad he allows himself some "me" time. I feel like it's important and I encourage it.

Mountain biking is a very technical sport. If you don't know what you're doing, you can be seriously injured. A few years ago, he went with a bunch of buddies to Moab, Utah for a week long bike trip. The very first day, within a half hour of starting the ride, one of the guys in his group took a header over his handlebars. Life Flight was called. He'd broken two vertebrae in his neck. The man was pretty new to the sport and they were in a place that looked harmless. He had come down a small hill and hit a patch of sand. The bike stopped, he didn't. The guy ended up okay in a "not paralyzed" sort of way. He had to have the bones fused in his neck. He doesn't go on mountain biking trips anymore.
Needless to say, I spent a bit of time wondering how that man's wife was doing when it all happened. What a fun phone call to get.

"Hi Mary, how are you?

"Oh, it's pretty good here. We've got some great weather today for riding."

"Hey listen, John had a little bit of an accident and wanted me to call you."

"Why didn't he call? Well, they said something about him not being able to talk on his cell phone in the helicopter because of transmission or something."

"Why is he in a helicopter? Well, I said he had an accident. It's just that they couldn't get an ambulance down the ravine we were in, way out in the desert."

"Is he going to be okay? Sure, I'll bet he's going to be just fine once he can move his legs again."

"Mary, are you there? Mary?"

Accidents can and will happen. I really have always prepared myself for a phone call. Either from him or one of his buddies. He is forever scratched, scraped, and bruised. Luckily he has never broken (knock on wood). Yesterday was no exception. I got this picture yesterday from Sedona, Arizona. No phone call, just a picture with a little computer smiley face next to it.
It turns out cheeks pop right open when they come in contact with bicycle parts or knees---he doesn't know which it was. He said the worst part of this little debacle was cactus spines. He landed in a cactus as a reward for not keeping his bike in an upright position. "That's what took so long at the emergency room. It took them forever to pull out all the spines."
Good thing I reminded him to take his insurance card.
He says the bruising has set in this morning. A badge of valor for a bike rider.

You'd think I would say that it's time to stop such nonsense and take up walking at the mall or something. Not gonna happen. If you look back at the picture, you'll see a light in his eye. It's a light that is only there when he's with his buddies skiing or biking. It makes me happy to see that light. He works so very hard for our family. He works wwwaaaayyyy more than a 40 hour week. He deserves the downtime for his brain and body and heart.

Have a good day honey. Stay on the bike and out of the cactus.
Love, CeeCee

Friday, November 6, 2009

God and Dog and Brother-in-Law

A month or so ago, my brother-in-law sent me a video. I shared it with you because it touched me so.
I am the consummate dog person. I love dogs. I think they hung the moon. My dogs sleep with us. I feel like their love for me is pretty darn close to that of God. Sacrilege, I know. It's just how I feel. They love me when no one else does. Even when I don't love myself!

After that post, I received this coffee cup in the mail. It was anonymous. At first I thought maybe the author of the poem/song might have sent it to me because I linked her site to mine. Then it occurred to me that she doesn't know my real name and address. Then I thought of my sister, Jean. She said no, she hadn't sent it.

Then I thought of JD, my BIL. He'd sent me the original post and I wondered if he would send me a cup without attaching his name to it. I called his house and talked my SIL, Joanne. She didn't know. Of course, that's not unusual if you've been married 30 years. Lee and I often do things that the other has no idea about. Nothing sneaky, we just have our own circles that don't include the other one.

Anyway, I finally cornered JD via email when I checked on he and Joann regarding a record early snowfall they had (they live out west). He confirmed that yes, he had indeed, sent me the cup.
How sweet was that!!
This cup is special on so many levels. Mostly because JD thought enough of me to send me something for no reason at all. Something that has meaning to me.
The cup is being handwashed. I wouldn't want my darned old hard water to etch off the picture and the saying. Also because a little cup holds more than coffee---it holds a message of love.

Love you too, JD.
Thanks for my little white cup and thanks for the love.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hawks 1, Sparrows 0

This is one of those pictures that you're definitely going to have to 'click' on to see much of anything at all.
A few posts ago, I told the story of this hawk and our swimming pool. After spending much time online and in books, I deduced that it is a Cooper's hawk and not a Sharp-Shinned hawk. Do hawks even have shins?

Anyway, this hawk has been around for a couple months and has basically driven most of the songbirds away. The only birds silly enough to stay around are the English House Sparrows. I could stand to have a few less sparrows around. In fact, I even looked into a trapping them, but then couldn't bring myself to kill them. I nixed that idea.

I have posted of their cuteness, but mostly I just hate them.

1. They are an introduced species. Some yayhoo long ago, thought they'd be pretty to have here in the US. He released 100 birds in Brooklyn, NY.
Here's what the pretty birds do to native birds:

The House Sparrow is quite aggressive in usurping the nesting sites of other birds, often forcibly evicting the previous occupants, and sometimes even building a new nest directly on top of another active nest with live nestlings. House Martins, Bluebirds, and Sand Martins are especially susceptible to this behavior. However, though this tendency has occasionally been observed in its native habitats (particularly concerning House Martins), it appears to be far more common in habitats in which it has been introduced, such as North America.

I've seen this happen. I once found two day-old wren chicks lying on the ground below my birdhouse. I couldn't figure out how they'd gotten out of the nest, and replaced them. I went in the house, and watched a male sparrow go in the birdhouse and toss the chicks back out on the ground!

2. They are piglets! Before I jury-rigged my chicken feeding situation, I would go through several pounds of chicken feed a week. Now, my chickens can dine mostly by themselves and I don't have to refill the feeder but once a week.

3. They poo all over everything and in every thing. That habit spreads diseases/parasites to my chickens. One of their favorite things to do is perch on the edge of the chicken waterer, get a drink, then spin around and relieve themselves. I have yet to be able to rig a waterer that makes that impossible.

4. Back to the idea of them being piglets---they also power through the sunflower seeds and bully the other birds away. The only bird big enough to challenge them is the cardinals.

So, if it isn't apparent, I don't care much for English House Sparrows.

This morning, I heard a loud thump against my kitchen window. I looked up just in time to see the hawk make a mid-air catch of a sparrow. It was amazing!

I grabbed the camera in hopes of finding him in the trees with his catch. They are nearly impossible to find without the help of the local song-birds giving away their location. There is always much commotion from smaller birds when a predatory bird or snake is in the trees.

The picture is so horrible because the hawk was in a very dark spot in the tree. I had to bring up the light in the picture for you to see it at all. I also couldn't get very close. They don't like paparazzi one bit.

I hope to see Mr. Cooper hawk around more often. He's caught one sparrow, he's only got 30 or so to go.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why I Can't Mow the Pasture

I really need to get out and mow my pasture before the rains really set in for the winter. I always hesitate because I love the way the grasses look during autumn. Most all the trees on the Edward's Plateau are Live Oaks. What that means is, the trees don't shed their leaves until springtime when the new leaves push the old ones off. We don't have any fall "color". There are a few trees that change with the seasons, but very few. The grasses are about all we get. I look for any excuse not to cut the pasture at all. Lee likes the clean look of a nicely mown pasture. I like the natural look.
Excuses as follows:
"Animals use it as cover, honey."
"It looks like a pink ocean when the wind blows, honey."
"I like the wild look, honey."
"I can see where the deer bed down at night, honey."
"It will help protect the cat from the owls and coyotes if he's out hunting at night, honey."

Now I've got a new one to add to the list.
"Look at all the butterflies that are using it right now, honey"

These butterflies are sort of the ugly-ducklings of the butterfly world, compared with the others we often see. They are American Snout butterflies. Not much more interesting than a common moth. In fact, they are making a terrible mess of the front of my car. There are thousands and thousands of them. I have no idea what interest they have in my pasture. They aren't mating. They aren't wicking pollen. My only guess is that they are warming and drying in the morning sun.
No matter their reason, butterflies are a darn good reason to leave the pasture just like it is for now.
"Honey, the butterflies will leave soon enough, then I can mow the pasture."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween 2009

Aunt Jean and James carving up the pumpkin. I got the job of 'gutting', since I'm primarily the eater of the seeds.
James chose our beloved home state as his design this year. He drew it free hand, which impressed me a great deal. I can't draw it on a flat piece of paper, let alone on a bumpy, round pumpkin.
Pearl, the zombie in PJs. Not so unlike how my kids behave when they've been to a sleepover---zombies all the next day.
James, the 6-armed man. No makeup, no crazy hair, no hat. Just "a guy with six arms, mom."
Tom, as Woody from Toy Story. His girlfriend, Kay, went as Bo Peep. There's a picture of the two of them somewhere (I've seen it on Facebook!), but it's not in our computer.
This is Tom's favorite look these days when having his picture taken--silly. He seems to be so happy these days. He's especially happy in this picture, because he's been fighting a college application deadline. He finally finished on Saturday. Just in the nick of time. It was those darn essays that were holding him up. Now we wait.