Saturday, May 30, 2015

Which Canine Are You?

Obviously, I need a point of reference to figure out if the canine in the first photo is the same as the second photo.
This picture was taken last night.  It's the only shot of him/her.
I'm leaning toward thinking it is a coyote and the tail in the air is a sort of 'flipping me the bird' behavior.  
Coyotes do not carry their tails up, nor do fox.

This is obviously a gray fox.  The dark stripe on the tail is the primary give away.

Even though they are in almost exactly the same spot on my front porch, the plants that are to the right were trimmed back this spring and so I cannot compare their sizes.
Maybe I'll get a pot from one of my garden beds and put it out there for reference.

They both evidently visit because this is where I throw kitchen scrapes for the deer each evening. 
 Usually just plant matter from making salads and such.  However, there is sometimes an old moldy piece of bread or 5 leftover brussels sprouts from dinner.  

Either way, if the first picture is a coyote, it is unsettling to me. 
I know there is a pack in the area, as they carry on something fierce at night.
I had thought they were staying well away from the houses, as there are plenty of cottontails and other small critters to eat back where they live.
I must be wrong (obviously!)
One coyote is no big deal to my donkeys.
If the pack comes into the neighborhood and into my pasture, my donkeys would be hard pressed to fight them off.

It might be time to attach no-climb fence to my 3 rail fence.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Not So Heavenly

I keep looking at the news, hoping for some good news about those that are missing.
In a small town, just 15 miles from my house, a beautiful river became a wall of death and destruction in the middle of the night.

We've been experiencing consistent rain this Spring; something that we haven't seen in over 7 years.
However, it just won't seem to let up.
Day after day of torrential rain finally caught up with the residents in Wimberley, TX.
The Blanco River rose to 41.5 feet in a matter of an hour or so.
Flood stage is 13 ft.!

Eleven people are missing.
Nine of them are from one household----vacationing for Memorial Day weekend on the river.
It looks like a 10th person from that house is the sole survivor.
A dad.
His wife and 2 children are missing and presumed dead.
They found the family dog, 6 miles downstream in a tree---alive.

I'm not normally an emotional person when it comes to "acts of God".
I understand that bad stuff happens to very good folks.
For some reason, this flooding and those missing are really getting to me.
I guess I can't fathom the pain involved with having a family member missing among the massive, massive piles of debris and rushing water.

The rain that was so very prayed for, wished for, can stop now.
We are high and dry(ish) at our house.  
The water runs quickly away. 
Our biggest worry right now is a tree that's leaning and needs to be taken down before it falls down on a fence.

It's raining right now--again.
(sigh)


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Walkabout

I've always love the term 'Walkabout'.  It has it's roots in Australia.
I don't know where I first heard it.
It was either in The Man from Snowy River or Crocodile Dundee.
It is defined by Merriam Webster as:

1: a short period of wandering bush life engaged in by an Australian aborigine as an occasional interruption of regular work 
2:  something (as a journey) similar to a walkabout
3:  a walking tour; especially British :  one in which a well-known person mingles with the public 
photo credit: My long-suffering and good hearted neighbor, Jason
Eleanor (Roosevelt) and Ruth (Bader-Ginsburg) have decided they must talk privately about matters of state.  
And by privately, I mean a quarter mile (or more) away!


My chickens have always roamed, but these girls are taking it to a whole new level. 
They walk all the way across my pasture, through the neighbor's pasture, around their house and into their back yard.

They scratch up the neighbor's flower beds, leave 'presents' on their pool deck and look in windows to see who is home.  
It is a mystery that I have no hope of solving.

They are not going over to some secret egg-laying site, because they dutifully walk all the way home to the coop to do that.
There are not super secret snacks being provided by my neighbor.  
In fact, my sweet neighbors are worried that the girls will either get in with their dogs and get killed or be taken by coyotes or other predators that live just beyond their property. 
"Here Be Dragons"
I'm a practical chicken owner though.
If they get eaten, they get eaten.
You cannot tie a chicken to a chain in the backyard.


I have asked my neighbors to chase them away when they see them.
I am also trying to figure out ways to keep them on the property.
One way is to keep them in the chicken run for the better part of the day.
It's a very large run, with lots of things to eat and places to scratch and bathe.
However, Ruth can still get out of the run.
Eleanor has given up "flying', and so is stuck in the run.
Thankfully, Ruth isn't wont to wander so far without Eleanor's company.


Still, why all that way?
A mystery that will never be solved.
Any chicken whisperers out there?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Lovely Day

It was indeed a lovely Mother's Day.
Click HERE to listen to the song that ran through my head all day long.


The day started as it always does.  A kiss from Eric before I pop out of bed to feed the dogs, release the chickens from their coop and feed them, toss corn to the deer and then out to the barn to feed Bill and Ted.  The donkeys always get the once over to make sure there were no injuries overnight.  A bit of fly spray for them as well.  The flies are awful right now.

Upon reentering the house I came upon a vase of yellow tulips and a bag of black licorice from Quinn!  He and I share a love of the oft despised licorice.  
Between the two of us, we'd finished the bag by nightfall.

A cup of coffee, a shower and some hustling about and we were off to church.
I was in charge of the service.
My lesson for the day was how people are like candy.
Licorice was not involved. 
Remind me to tell you about it another time.

We stopped by a local BBQ place and picked up lunch to eat at home. 
 No cooking or cleaning for anyone today!

Lunch with Grandma, Grandpa, Eric, and Quinn.  
Not long after that, Preston, Katie and Evie brought dessert.  
An amazing layered Lemon, Cream Cheese, Whipped Cream thing that had a Walnut/Butter/Sugar/Flour base.  
I'm sure it has a name, but it doesn't matter.  We inhaled it!  
Katie nailed the recipe on her first try!!
My gift from them was a book of photos from the day Evie was born all the way up to now.  She's almost 7 months old!  When did that happen?
Evie's gift to me was to show off her giggling skills when I introduced her to my donkey puppet. 

Finally, I got a call from Jenna in Iowa.
She's got finals this week and was happy to take a break from studying to call and wish me a Happy Mom's Day.  She also posted a heartfelt note on Facebook to tell the whole world how she feels about me.  Specifically our shared love of all things in the animal kingdom.

I finished the day, right on cue from Jenna's post, and rescued a Rat snake that was entangled in some bird netting.  Eric caught sight of it and came in the house with a sigh.  
I'll tell you about that next time.





Sunday, May 10, 2015

Steep Learning Curve

My congregation is badly in need of an up to date looking website.
Since I seem to be on the computer half the day anyway, I thought I'd take it on.

I Googled (has this officially become a verb yet?) 
"Free Website Templates"

One of the first things that popped up was 
"Top 10 Website Builders".


I picked the one that said "Easy for beginners" in its description.
Well, there ya go!  How hard could it be?
Famous last words!

While it doesn't require writing code, it does require that I save my work---often.
I found that I was mistakenly undoing something I really liked by simply moving to the next page.
I've completely, completely, completely started over with a new template 3 times.  
I just gave up on correcting one I'd chosen, and put several hours of work into!

I told Eric last night, "It's a bit like learning to back up a trailer.  You think you've got it and then all of the sudden the trailer has gone all wonky and is at a 90* angle to the truck."

I suppose it took me a while to learn my way around Blogger.
However, what I thought was going to be a quick weekend project is not a quick project at all.
It's probably going to take me a couple weeks to get put together so it looks nice, has all the right links and says something meaningful.

If WIX is "Easy for Beginners", I don't even want to know what other website designs are like.
Maybe I'll show it to you when I'm done.
Cross your fingers for me.
I'm going to need it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Spring Update--Busy, Busy, Busy

In my last post about my septic system, I was hopeful that my septic issues would be taken care of by now.
photo credit: http://www.allproservicesco.com/
They are not.

However, I have discovered many things about our septic system.  
Primarily, that you can't ignore it.
I have also discovered a truthful, local, reasonably priced company to help us take care of it.  That is priceless as far as I'm concerned.

Today, the pump is being replaced and we're crossing our fingers and toes and throwing salt over our shoulders and lighting candles and sacrificing goats (not really) that a new pump will cure the problem.
The next step, should the pump not be the issue, is a costly one!  

photo credit: http://blog.owu.edu/chimneyswifttowers/
For the 15th year in a row, my chimney swifts have returned!
A month ago, I saw and heard them in the neighborhood.
However, they did not come "home" to my chimney.
I wondered if they'd found more a more suitable place to call home.

Then, two weeks ago, I heard that familiar 'chitter' in my chimney and was delighted beyond measure.  
It doesn't take much to make me happy where nature is concerned!



We have had consistent rain all winter and spring.
The color green and all its variations has returned to the Central Texas color palette!
Jenna will not even recognize the place when she returns home from College next week.
She has not been home since Christmas.

Everything is growing, growing, growing!
Blooms are on everything in my garden.
Something that I haven't seen in years.  
Weeds come with rain as well.  
I am outside constantly.  
Talking to my plants, encouraging them on.
Yes, I talk to my plants.  
Tomatoes and peppers and onions and cucumbers and herbs.  All of them.
My flowers and other plants are taking over my beds, so much so that I've had to trim them to make room for my food producing plants.


Honestly, I think rain makes people in drought prone areas happier. 
People are nicer and more accommodating.  
Peaceful even.
Funny the power water has over humanity.
Our most basic instinct leads us to the thing we need most--water!
Our happiness is tied up, again at its base, to water.

Happy Spring everyone!
I'll be in touch again soon.
Just busy outdoors right now.