Saturday, May 31, 2008


Exploring knows no limits!! At 6:20 this morning, Mike noticed that the horses were enjoying themselves in the yard ... WRONG side of the fence. So we hurried out to 'round them up' and get them back in the pasture. Doc has mastered taking the cover off the horse feed and was eating as fast as he could!!! The kittens were sharpening their climbing techniques! Once we got the horses + Eeyore back into 'their' area, I checked out the kittens, but only counted three, so I searched where I last saw them scampering about and running up and down the live oak tree. Alas, there was Marca - she needed a break and took a nap in a birdnest, since it wasn't breakfast time yet! It kinda reminded me of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Mama Mockingbird came back from her search for food and found Goldicat sleeping in HER bed!! .....I'm quite sure it's a mockingbird nest .... now it's a marcabird nest!!! : )

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Weeds or Wildflowers????

I love spring ... especially because of the new lush leaves on the trees and the flowers that are everywhere! I'm finding that in Texas, weeds are out of control!! I'm afraid if I put too much broad leaf weed killer on my lawn, the grass that's left will be sparse!!! Between the weeds and the ants, my grass has to struggle to survive. I'm hearing how hot it is in the summer (can hardly wait to have that to report on!) and how it bakes all the gardens and lawns!! There are numerous 'wildflowers' along the road between our ranch and Olney (6miles). This is just a sampling!!! There was a cost to taking these pictures, so don't think these pics are free!!!
The cost of THIS picture? 30 to 40 chigger bites!!!
This is Walker Road - the street where we live!!! The tall stem full of white flowers? Yucca! Lots of Queen Ann's Lace along the road.These can be found IN the lawn and just over the back fence!!!

This was taken yesterday, along the same stretch of road as the first picture. The cost of THIS picture (Black eyed Susans)? 5 chigger bites!!! The cost of Deep Woods OFF? Priceless!!

Along side Walker Road: don't know the ones on the left,but the ones on the right are Indian Blankets.
And of course, we have Prickly Pear Cactuses:
Could these be weeds?? Or must they be wildflowers???

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Where's the rest???

Yesterday Tober was having a good time playing with ....
a STILL WIGGLING tail of some sort of reptile. As you can see, it was IN the house. The big question? Where's the front part of the tail which has the head attached and will live on or should I say slither on??? And what does the rest of it look like? Where did she come across it?? I didn't want to find the rest on, in or under the couch or slithering over my bare toes in the kitchen!!! So the big hunt was on!! We searched all over the house, room by room, and out on the patio. Finally on the second round of looking (in case it was a snake!!) we found a lizard on the patio - without a good bit of his tail. (pictured right is his brother)

The good news???


2. We found the owner of the tail, and not IN the house.

3. Luckily the tail 'broke' off or Tober would have had fresh lizard dinner. Besides, he'll grow a new tail!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A BIG day in Kittendom...

See how they've grown! Kitty still nurses the babies, but luckily, they are starting to eat solid food! This is getting to be a challenge for her!!!

Their world is getting bigger! Since the kittens have been out of the box, they've been all over the side porch, which is a GREAT place for kitten education. They have romped, chased, pounced, crawled through small spaces, climbed a small tree, ravaged a lilac bush, dashed under the porch and learned how to spit and growl and puff their tales! It's been a playground.

Today they graduated to Climbing 300 and Mousecatching 301! They've breached the fence to the front yard for the first time and are expanding their territory!

They've gone from climbing a small tree, to climbing in a gigantic tree (under supervision, of course)

Then Kitty found a mouse and coached Precious on catching the mouse and keeping it away from others and growling a warning! You must click on the right hand photo to catch the expression on Precious' face!!!

Exploring the woodpile is another new skill of Marca - she'd better watch out for snakes!!!! They like to hide in woodpiles!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Mr. Mike was working to organize the garage on Wednesday, and set up shelves when his 70# crosscut saw slipped as he was setting it upright and nailed his big toe!!! Here we are 3 days later, and it still oozes blood and it's VERY purple!!! The good news is that it doesn't hurt much and he can walk pretty normal. The bad news?? We went up to the clinic at Shepherd Friday and they x-rayed his foot, and he did break the toe - the distal section. So he is now the proud wearer of a surgical shoe! Right now he'd NEVER get a regular shoe on!!! He's on the road to healing and isn't about to let this get him down!!! As long as he doesn't kick the dog, he's in good shape!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Farewell, Loyal Friend....

Our faithful dog, Sheba, has been with the family for 16 years. Judi, Travis and Chey got her in Poultney, Vermont when visiting their Uncle Ted. She was a Beagle/German Shepherd mix. She has beagle ears and the white spot on her chest and German Shepherd build and tail. She became Cheyenne’s dog, since Travis claimed Missy, our peekapoo-poo. With college and a marriage, she became our dog.
We remember Sheba racing across the yards in Sagamore Hills, OH to chase squirrels; and her tendency to ‘take herself for a walk’ with the leash in her mouth! Sometimes she would shake it so hard it would often come off of her neck. Then she suddenly realized that the chain was no longer around her neck! Did you know that dogs could give impish looks when they realize that they’re about to get away with something? Yup, when she realized that she was no longer on a leash, she almost grinned as she scampered across the yard to play with Droopy two yards away.
Sheba was always a ‘people dog’. I can’t ever remember her even snarling at anyone. She just wanted to be around the family. As she got older, her wanting to be close by almost became an annoyance. Wherever you would go, Sheba was right in front of or behind you. We finally developed the habit of simply stepping over her any time we turned around. Judi became used to stepping over or around her on the kitchen rug by the sink, or next to the computer chair or by the couch when watching television. When outside, she oversaw every weed that was pulled, every branch cut and followed the mower everywhere it went!
Several years ago, Sheba had a neurological incident while we were on vacation. Fortunately, Cheyenne was house-sitting and took her to the Vet for treatment. It turned out to be some rare syndrome in older dogs possible related to blood sugar. Though she recovered in time, poor Sheba hasn’t really been the same since then. We thought that we’d lose her before Christmas that year, but that was about 5 years ago, and Sheba has plodded on.
Finally it was time. Sheba’s physical state was noticeably on a downhill slide. Her legs were very weak, and barely controllable. She would walk and drag her claws to the point of significant bleeding… and not even know it. She could no longer control her bowels, and would leave a poop wherever she happened to be, and not know it. Her kidneys could no longer concentrate urine and she had marginal control. She was almost deaf, and losing her sight, and totally oblivious to her surroundings… it was time.

Farewell, good and loyal friend.
I’ve heard that the Lord has a special place for loved pets at the entrance to heaven. They can play in sunshine and never have to worry about food or shelter. And then when their master is called to heaven, they come bounding over the hill, with tail wagging, to be with them once again.

Oh, to be a cowboy!!!

My Heroes have always been cowboys…
I grew up a-dreamin' of bein' a cowboy, and
Lovin' the cowboy ways.
Pursuin' the life of my high-ridin' heroes,
I burned up my childhood days.

So… what does it take to be a cowboy?
(a) A cowboy hat
(b) a guitar
(c) chickens
(d) cows
Correct answer: (d) cows

What is it that cows like to eat?
(a) Pizza
(b) Cockleburs and Thistles
(c) Coyotes
(d) grass
Correct answer: (d again), Grass

When we settled in here at the ranch, the trick was to turn 80 acres of six foot tall weeds into useable pasture for cows. That took a 300HP tractor pulling a big plow (see earlier post) to get rid of the weeds. Unfortunately, I found all of the rocks which really do a job on plows. For every hour of plowin’ it takes about 10 hours of fixin’.
Fuel for the tractor….. $1000
Fertilizer……………. $3500
Sprigging 30 acres…… $3000
Seed for 40 acres ……. $1050
Rental of Spreader….. $400
Having the rain come at exactly the right time and having friends and neighbors lend you equipment…………. PRICELESS
Now it’s time to watch the grass grow (literally!), but in the meantime, I need to learn how to repair some barbed wire fence, and get rid of some mesquite trees.
(When does that romantic life of a cowboy begin?)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Waiting for the grass to grow!!!

Our little ranch of 80 acres is basically our yard, a pecan orchard (below left) , 2 stock tanks (below right) , 2 large fields and a smaller 'natural' grazing area where there are lots of mesquite trees, some natural grasses and weeds - and... fire ants. Our goal is to have producing pecan trees this year and 2 fields of grass worthy of baling for feed and for grazing for a small herd of cattle next year. Don't think it's an easy task to accomplish this!!! First you have to plow (disk) the field (below left) . Along with every hour or two of plowing goes 5 to 10 hours of repairing the equipment!!!! (below right is a broken rod) I think rocks grow in our fields! Mike had to return 2 or 3 times to pull rocks out from between the blades. Then after plowing, he retraces his steps with a cultipacker (equipment in foreground left) which breaks up the clods of dirt and smooths out the field for planting. Then you lay down fertilizer and then finally you lay in the grass seed and then pray for rain. If only the native grasses he planted will come up and proliferate this year, we'll be set because they're perennials. Our other field was planted about a month ago by 'sprigging' Coastal Bermuda. The sprigging procedure was interesting - instead of planting seeds, you plant roots and wait for them to take over. We now see some of the coastal up, but there are lots of thriving weeds to keep it company. The picture below shows the load of 'sprigs' and the machine on the right - plows a furrow, drops a sprig and the blades you see cover it up. You can see how many pieces of equipment we needed. Luckily most of the equipment was on loan and some we could rent. I cannot begin to tell you the cost, but this is no small undertaking as you can see. Now we have to keep the weeds mowed down until the grasses can take over and choke them out. Mike thought he was going to come down and spend his time watching the cows, but we don't have any!! Guess he'll have to watch the grass grow for now.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Where are they now?

Everyone has been amazed that Kitty allowed her kittens to remain in a box atop the table on the front porch and allowed me to handle them without moving them. But since I helped her birth them, I figure she has a level of comfort with me. I sure enjoy the instant access!! On Tuesday two of them discovered how to climb out of the box and began checking out the table. So on Wednesday I put the box down on the floor of the porch. Kitty had some 'words' (more like action with claws) with Sam about his proximity to her kittens! Poor Sam couldn't understand what he did to deserve her wrath!! Kitty is ALWAYS on duty!!! When I looked in the box before my bedtime, the kittens were gone!!! Thursday morning I spotted new activity just outside the side porch, so quickly figured out where she moved them. This was a 2nd choice spot though as she tries to house them in the garage whenever the door is open!
Thursday they were 4 weeks old and they are now engaging in Early Play 101. They should graduate to tougher courses soon! I'm seeing evidence of Porch Climbing 101 and Serious Pouncing 102.
Then it's time for a rest!!
But look at who feels left out and REALLY wants to be a part of the games!!