Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Circle Of Life Rolls Around Again

She was simply known as "Momma" at our house.
I took the first photo of her in May of 2008.
Based on her size/weight, she was at least 2 years old. 
Probably older.
Either that or she was wise beyond her years.

May 2008
 Not far from her in the first picture, is the first fawn she ever brought to the house.
It was a little buck. 

We called her Momma because she was so very good at it.
Very protective. 
She once chased our dog Smokie, across several acres because Smoke got too close to her fawn.  I believe she would have pummeled her to bloody bits, had I not intervened.
In all the years that she's been coming, she's only lost one fawn.  
When the other does lost fawns to predation, lack of food/water, or being hit by cars, Momma always managed to keep her fawn alive.
She let her fawns stay with her beyond when other does kick their fawns out of the proverbial nest.

There were two springs when she had a new fawn at her side, with the fawn from the previous year at her side as well.  Built in babysitter, maybe?

July 2013
Anyway, I speak of her in the past tense because she was hit and killed by someone in my neighborhood while I was away in Chicago.
She died on my property, which in a strange way makes me happy.  At least I know what became of her.
How do I know it was her?  
Her fawn comes to the same special place that I fed her and Momma every morning.  
I'm just glad the fawn is weaned.  He's actually doing quite well. 
Still, I can't help but wonder how he will do without Momma's care and guidance this winter. 

Nothing goes to waste in the wild, I guess that's why it's called the Circle of Life.
Her body was quickly down to a few scattered bones. 
Vultures, coyotes, raccoons, and other top tier scavengers were replaced by smaller critters like rats and mice, and then finally the tiny beetles, ants and flies.  
"Dust to dust" as the saying goes.

Am I sad?
Not really.  
There are so many other ways her death could have occurred.  Suffering, as many deer do before death, was not how it ended for her.  I think she died quite quickly.

She was a wild creature.  She was always properly afraid of me.
I'm happy to have had the chance to see this wild creature every day for five years.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Where 1+1=A Million Billion Gazillion

When I first saw one of these at the beginning of the summer, I prayed it was an anomaly.
I hoped I would not see a second one.
I told a friend from Louisiana what I'd seen.
"Did you kill it?!!"
"Well, no.  They're harmless.  Besides, we don't even have them in Austin.  It must have blown in with that last front."
"You should have killed it!  You lived in Houston.  You know how it can get."

The next day, I saw another.
I just hoped it was the same one from the previous day.
The next day, I didn't see one.
Phew! Dodged a bullet!

What I did was dodge that bullet for a couple months.
This morning, on one window, I saw this.
On another window I saw this.
So what's the big deal?
I have two black bugs on my windows.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovebug


photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovebug
This is what the big deal is----they are Lovebugs.
Aka Plecia nearctica. Aka Honeymoon Bug.  Aka Two-Headed Bug.
They are called Lovebugs for obvious reasons.
You seldom see them as a single bug.  
Usually they are seen as a couple, as they are in the above photo.
But still, what IS the big deal?

photo credit: http://www.vehiclespa.com
THIS is what the big deal is.
The black in the above photo are Lovebugs.  A million, billion, gazillion Lovebugs.
I found this picture on a website for a car/truck wash, exclaiming, 
"Are You Ready for Lovebug season?"
It's a place in Florida where these romantic bugs were first discovered.

If you click on the link below my second photo, you can read all about these harmless little black bugs and why I should have killed the first one I saw at the beginning of the summer.
I'm going to go kill the two on the windows, now.
*********************************************************************************
Update:  Great, I went to kill them and they were gone.
I'm not going to tell my friend from Louisiana.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Last First Day of High School


 The cutie-patootie, cherub cheeked boy in the middle started high school today.
As a parent, my life has changed more in the last four years than in all the years previous.
Jenna started and finished high school. Tomorrow is her first day of college.
Preston finished high school and is nearly finished with college.  In January, he'll be married!

Four years is forever.  Four years is a moment in time.

Quinn is beginning what I hope will be a time of great memories.
A time that he'll stretch his mental abilities and his athletic abilities.
A time where he'll grow friendships and learn that he's smart and funny and handsome.
A time where he'll learn that he can do whatever he wants in this world. 

I hope he feels blessed.  He is blessed beyond measure.  
In turn, he is a blessing to others.  Especially his family.
I know his brother and sister are thinking about him today.  
Remembering their feelings about their first day of high school.

We'll all be together again at Christmas.
It seems like such a long time from now.
It's exactly four months from today.  If four years can fly, I'd imagine four months will be here in a heartbeat.

I can remember when his head didn't come up to the window on the front doors.
5'7 and still growing!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Amazing Book, Chapter 6

The Book of Jenna

Chapter 1

Infancy and Toddlerhood

Fitful infant. Never slept. Only wanted Momma. Even Daddy wouldn't do.
Delightful Toddler! Once in motion, her tears stopped.  The world was her oyster.


Chapter 2

Preschool
Another circle is added to her life experience.
Loved Preschool! Loved new friends!
Loved Bugs and other creepy crawlies!
Loved Life!

Chapter 3

Elementary School
Yet another circle is added.
A fine experience.  
They figured out what we already knew---she's crazy smart and thinks outside the box.
A few emotional hurdles.

Chapter 4

Middle School
Circle Four is added.
Overall, a good experience.  Much better than many girls have in Middle School.
A couple boyfriends.  Several new girlfriends.
Musical Theater.
Some heartache. Some sadness. 
Some elation. Some amazing adventures.
New York City, for heaven's sake!

Chapter 5

High School
Circle 5, her life expands like ripples in pond.
School work gets harder. She's up to the test.
More self-confident.
Figures out what she 'wants to be when she grows up.'
Making plans.  Cementing friendships.
Three boyfriends.
Still with #3.  He's pretty wonderful.
First paying job.
They want her back next summer. 
"She's a hard worker, just like us."
Graduation.


Wasn't she just a baby?
Did time really fly like I was told it would?




Chapter 6

College
Today we leave for Iowa.
Soon,  she will add another circle to her life experience.
On Saturday, she will spread her wings and fly.

Is she prepared?  Yes, a resounding yes!
She's amazing!  
We're so very, very proud of who she is and where she's headed.
We love her truly, madly, deeply!

Are we prepared?
No.

The house will be quieter, darker, without her in it.
She is a light in our lives that we will miss having access to every day.
Thank goodness for Skype and texting!

I can't wait to see what amazing things she'll do in this chapter of her life.
Knowing her, it will be a wonderful adventure.

Love you baby!  
Have a blast and maybe study a little bit. :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Wishful Thinking or Helping Out?

I often look out my window while washing dishes, to see if I have any hummingbirds at my feeder.
Yesterday, something else caught my eye.



Do you see it, too?

Here, take a closer look.

photo credit: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/

I wondered if my little praying mantis had visions of catching a hummingbird, or whether she was too smart for that?  
I think she was waiting patiently for one of the nasty red wasps that frequent the feeder.
A couple weeks back,  I killed a red wasp that spent two whole days chasing hummingbirds away.
Evidently, hummingbirds can fight, fight, fight among themselves for a turn at the feeder, but they're afraid of red wasps.
I am, too.  
I used the "sprays 20 feet" wasp spray to kill it.

I watched this little mantis for a couple days, sit in the blazing hot sun and not catch a thing.
I finally took matters into my own hands and gently moved her to a place in my garden where she'd be more likely to catch a meal.
I say "she" because it didn't try to fly away when I picked it up.
Turns out female mantises cannot fly with their wings.
I just love Google!  I learn something new every day.

I digress.

I hope this little female stays around and lays a nice little bundle of eggs. 
The only thing better than a grown mantis in the summer is a hundred teeny-tiny mantises in the spring.

photo credit: http://ourdailylegacy.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 16, 2013

No Pictures to Show For It

There should be too many pictures here.
Instead there are none.

I took my camera on vacation.
Really, I did.
I took four pictures.
Funny how a tiny camera (compared to cameras of old) was just too big to drag out of my purse.

If I ever choose to get a new phone (I hate new technology), I'll get one with a great camera.

Aannnyywwaaaayyyy,

Eric, Quinn, Jenna and I went to Chicago.
Jenna chose Chicago and Milwaukee as her 'Senior Trip'.

I'm going to be brutally honest and say that Chicago was a bust.
We saw some lovely things.  We had some great food.
But overall, there was at least one of us that was mildly or wildly unhappy at all times.

Three things were absolutely great.
The breakfast at the Weber Grill restaurant.
The weather---75* and partly cloudy.
The train system between our hotel and the touristy part of town.

The second half of our trip was MUCH better.
We rented a car in Chicago and drove to Milwaukee to visit 
my niece Sarah and her family.
We visited, we ate, and we took a trip to the zoo.
Our main objective was to meet the new baby, Luca.
I got to meet him in April, but the rest of the family had not.
In fact, Eric hadn't met any of the kids.
The last time he saw Sarah and Ryan, it was at their wedding.

I wish they lived closer.
I wish they lived in Texas.
Maybe we should all move to Iowa and call it even.

So, to wrap up.
Chicago---lovely city, but not everyone thought so.
Milwaukee---beautiful, green and best of all, some of our family is there.

*************************************
On a side note: We got home, only to discover that our well might be almost dry.
The well company came out, replaced a part in the pump and thought we were good to go.
It did great for a couple days and this morning we have no water again.
Iowa is looking better and better every day.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Happy 25th Anniversary!

25 years ago today, this guy said "I do" when asked if he'd take me as his wife.
He's been stuck with me ever since.


I'm certain he's probably wondered a time or two what he was thinking.
Lucky for me, he's committed to working through the rough patches together.
Sometimes he's needed hip waders and machete', but we've gotten through.

My life would have been terribly different had I not met him. 
I would have carried on with marriage and raising children, in the same manner I was raised.

He taught me how to love and how to disagree.
He taught me how to raise children without using guilt as the driving force for action.
He has opened up a world of possibilities that I would not have had otherwise.
We've been places I would never have gone without him.
He's supported everything I've ever wanted to do---well, almost everything.  
I still don't have donkeys.

Will be having some big celebration or vacation in honor of this anniversary? 
Not right now.
We've got lots on our plate, here at the end of summer.
We teased yesterday that we should have used our crystal ball when setting a wedding date to see that the end of summer is incredibly busy with family and work; and celebrating our anniversary would be next to impossible every single year.  
February would have been a better month. 
For now, we have hopes of going to Yellowstone by ourselves or eating ourselves silly in New Orleans.

Thanks for the first 25 honey!  Here's to 25+ more!
I love you madly!!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Guess What Chicken Butt?

Old joke, don't know its origin.
It goes like this.
Me: Guess What
You: What?
Me: Chicken Butt!
Me: Guess Why
You: Why?
Me: Chicken Thigh!
Me: Guess Who
You: Who?
Both: (because there's an assumption that you know how this joke goes by now)
Chicken Poo!!

At this point, if we were both 9, we'd laugh like it was the best joke ever, because we'd both just said, "Chicken poo!" in unison.

I though of this joke right away when I saw this series of pictures I'd taken of Momma and her little buck fawn.


I long ago gave up having a compost pile because it invited raccoons and skunks and opossums to come to dinner at my house at night.  Whereupon, they'd discover that the salad bar also had chicken nearby.
They all love chicken.
And not in a friendly sort of way.

So, I decided to just sidestep the nocturnal chicken killers and feed the deer instead.
They were grateful and even go so far as to share the salad bar with the chickens.

The trouble is, I can hardly ever get a picture of just the deer.
The chickens continually photobomb (usually with their 'chicken butts') most of my attempts at decent pictures of just deer.

I finally gave up and zoomed in, to purposely cut Ms. Hen out of the photo.