Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Purpella florae




These purple flowers grow along the driveway throughout the spring, but have popped up in droves in the pastures recently. The heat has stymied the hay growth but has allowed these weeds to flourish. I've reached out to Lone Star Internet group to help identify them as I couldn't find them on their wildflower website. So far no response.

Updated 10/4/10:  Per a response on the www.lone-star.net/wildflowers/flowers.htm site, these are known as wild petunias (ruellia).  I just love the internet community!  :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bright White!


Even under cloud cover, a white egret glows while walking along the pond.

Lying labs


Marigold and Baron lay near each other one evening. Reminds me of those artsy class exercises they had us do in grade school - you know, when you fold a paper in half, open it back up, write your name in dark crayon along the crease then refold it and rub the paper together to get a reverse image on the other side.

Looks like the bone is there to keep the peace.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Living on the edge


Birds often jockey for position on this old dead tree. A black-bellied whistler perches almost on tiptoe at the very end of the tree, only to be scared off by a Great Blue moments later.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another cool cow



Actually a bull. This guy lives down the road from us - yes, on the way to the feed store. Not sure the breed, but based on the thickness of his horns, I'd say he's got an exotic pedigree.

Nothing like the smell of fresh concrete...




We recently had our old rotten wooden front porch torn out and replaced with a concrete slab patio. I managed to keep the dogs off of it long enough for it to harden, but before the forms were even removed, Thelma Jean was completely at home.

I'm selfishly hoping as the dogs scramble out the front door the concrete will help wear down their toe nails a bit...

Friday, August 27, 2010

August snow




These blooming weeds are aptly called Snow on the Prairie due to the effect they have on the landscape. These spill over the hill at Neighbor to the South's front pond. We have a mini hillside avalanche near our pond as well.

No leading necessary



Gem and Zim take turns sipping from the pond. Although I provide them with tap water served in plastic tubs, sometimes they prefer their water unfiltered, with a little goopy algae and some baby minnows thrown in for flavor. 7-11 couldn't serve a Slurpee more delicious.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A fresh crop of cardinals


The cardinal pairs have successfully raised some good broods of babies this summer. The youngsters cluster around the feeder tree and squabble and play and take turns bathing. I love to see their colors developing. The young males look all red and gray blotchy - teen acne is rough...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

10, 20, 30...50???



I wonder how old this cactus cluster is. It grows along the roadside on the way to the feedstore. (I know, I know. You're thinking, "This girl needs to get out more - and to any place other than the feedstore!" But if you enjoy being home more than any other place in the world, then a trip to the feedstore is adventurous enough...)

Anyway, based on watching the growth of our own cacti at home, I can only imagine this huge cactus castle has been growing for decades. It's as big or bigger than our pickup truck as I drive by.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rats!!



Knockin' down feeders and takin' names... They don't even pretend to be frightened of me when I knock on the window and wag my finger to say "shame on you."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Re-Treat!


Sounds like something the Redcoats were yelling in 1814 or maybe Custer in 1876, but that's my mantra for dealing with those pesky mesquite trees. Just when you think you've got a plant licked, it sprouts new growth. Ugh! So every few weeks I diligently plod out into the pastures with my spray canister to spray, spray again...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Baron comes up with the prize


Then proceeds to play with, kill and devour it before the awards ceremony could commence...

Marigold goes a grazin'


Ms. M. stays out of the 'rat race' and prefers to munch on green hay growth.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Louise rests too




Louise sits by and lets Baron take the load of work for a while. After all, it is still about 100 degrees out there.

Takin' a break from mouse-huntin'





Thelma takes a rest and watches (alertly) while the others keep up the hunt.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rotor Tails


Thelma, Louise and Baron form a cloverleaf while investigating mouse trails.

Downward-facing dog


One evening the pups headed to the front pasture and were enthralled with hunting field mice. BB shows off her best yoga technique.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Smaller "normal" moth


This is what I would have classified as a big moth until encountering the one in the previous post. This one seemed plenty sizeable to me - about the size of a silver dollar. But now I realize it's just small potatoes... Still beautiful though.

Big-Ass Moth!


The dogs stirred up this creature in the barn one afternoon during feeding time. At first, as it flew erratically around the barn, I thought it was a small bat. Then I realized it wasn't thick enough for a mammal and when it landed, I ran and got my camera. This thing was as big as my hand! Kinda freaked me out, although it was beautiful. Certainly the biggest moth I had ever seen. We get big butterflies all the time, but usually the moths are pretty skimpy. This guy certainly impressed me!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hump Day revisited



Why is it that Brahma bulls look so stunningly massively hunky yet Brahma cows look so sadly misshapen? Their hang-dog ears and the big fleshy lump on their shoulders just don't lend to beauty queen status. But to each his own... These 'lovely ladies' reside down the road from us.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mennonite messages


We have a prevalent Mennonite population in our area. Unlike the Amish, Mennonites enjoy electricity, automobiles and the like, but they dress in traditional white shirts/black slacks for men and faint pastel dresses with bonnets for women. I marvel at their kids playing in the same garb in this Texas heat. Anyway, they make good neighbors, although when we first moved to the area, we were a bit taken aback by the signs they display at their residences. Always a Bible passage, usually one with a stern message to sit up, take notice, and obey God. They seem to trade signs within the community as the messages will make their way around town over time.

This one is a favorite of mine. Sounds more like a warning to the Friday and Saturday night revelers in the area that the Sheriff's Dept. is always nearby...

Monday, August 16, 2010

How now brown cow?



Yes, we have longhorns in Texas. This one resides on the way to the feed store. What a beaut. What a rack!

Bird on a Wire


Our resident white dove balances on the highline. I'm beginning to think it was hand-raised. Several times now it has flown in and landed quite near me. So either it's very curious or is used to being near humans.
I asked it one day if it was my guardian angel, and thanked it for being here. :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Toy 2


Even Thelma takes a turn holding onto one of the new toys - I think hers was by accident, though, since she rarely takes an interest in toys.

New toy


Daddy ordered a few squeaker toys for the 'kids'. Baron keeps his safe as he snoozes on the cool tile floor...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Feather dusting


Obviously our barred owl friends have been hunting in the front yard quite a bit...

Night hunter


A barred owl sits in a tree alongside the pond one evening, preparing for his nightly hunt. I love these owls. They are not shy around humans, often landing in trees or hunting in the yard even if we're outside at night. They're very talkative - barking and chirping and making all sorts of eerie noises before dusk sets in. And I love their famous call. In several bird books, it is described as "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for y'all?" Definitely a southern accent... :)

Click on this link to hear their southern drawl... http://www.tooter4kids.com/owls/sounds_made.htm

Friday, August 13, 2010

Amblin'

There's a country song in here somewhere...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The dog days of summer...


Long, hot summer days tend to slow life down a bit. The dogs spend exorbitant time laid out all over the living room tile floor, soaking in the A/C as fast as it pumps from the vents. Bird baths need refilling 2 or 3 times a day. Hummingbird sugar-water seems to evaporate as soon as you pour it into the feeder. And even the squirrels take it easy.

Life is good at Run*A*Round...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Deck Duo




Louise and Thelma make quite the pair of happy hounds while lounging on the deck.

County warning signs


This is what over 10 days in a row of 100+ degree heat and limited rain fall will get you... A county-wide burn ban. I was impressed to see the county invested in some new road signs to alert folks when one is implemented.

Many years ago at our previous country residence, Husband was unaware of a burn ban existing, and after lighting our brush pile on fire, we were happy to make a $250 donation to the county, via the Sheriff's Dept. representative that stopped by. We now prefer to contribute to the county coffers via our property taxes instead of through citations.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Favorite thing #2


Here's another favorite sight along the freeway after 'taking the hook' into Downtown Dallas. I call this "the hanging basket". It always brought a smile to my face as I drove in from the South Side.

The trumpet vines grow along the support cable to the telephone post, sneaking up through the plastic cable guard. Then they bloom out into a glorious orb of flowers and vines like a suspended flower basket.

They've grown this way for years, lending a surprising beauty along the freeway.

Monday, August 9, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

...near downtown Dallas.

I made the commute into Dallas for many years. The career was rewarding, the company and co-workers were wonderful, the hours in the car were a necessary evil. That ceased late last year after a company merger and subsequent layoffs. I was given a small consulting opportunity for a couple quarterly reports but that's been wrapped up and I recently turned in my company computer equipment. And hopefully bid an "official" farewell to the job commute into Big D.

Coming into downtown from the South Side is not really pretty. It's a rough part of town with dilapidated homes, some boarded up, others falling down. Homeless folks and stray dogs frequently cross the freeway between the rushing cars. It must have been a beautiful place once, with neat rows of porched houses and big shade trees.

This huge pine stands guard along the freeway. It looks a bit out of place among the other trees, but it is breathtakingly beautiful and strong, even as it towers over a boarded up, abandoned house at the corner of the access road. As I'd zip by on the freeway on the way to work, I'd glance over to appreciate its beauty and marvel at its magnificence. It's an inspiring sight... Or at least it was to me...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Scaredy-dog

After another day of 103 degrees, we had the great fortune to get a storm the other evening. Drenching waves of rain; healing rain for the dusty, cracked ground and the seared blades of grass trying to hold it together. But with the rains came thunder and lighting. So we get a sort of "indoor storm" to accompany the outdoor one. 380 lbs. of writhing, excited/frightened dog. All clustered in about a 4 ft square space near my feet as I sit on the loveseat hoping the power stays on. Marigold and Thelma always provide the spark - they are afraid of lightning/thunder so their eyes get dark and wide, their tongues hang out as they pant in fear, and they seek comfort near me. This gets BB, Baron & Louise excited as they want to know what the fuss is about. Undoubtedly BB and Baron start to play and rabble-rouse and Louise picks on Thelma to see if she'll join in. Then at some point, Louise crosses over from excited to fearful as the lightning gets more intense, and she joins the panting, dark-eyed, comfort-seeking crowd which again gets BB and Baron roiled up, pushing and bouncing around.

At some point, Marigold squeezed herself into the wedge of space between the sofa and loveseat and hid under the end table, hoping to get some sense of security in the storm. Poor girl.

After the rumbling and light show dies down, we all sleep well...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Speaking of the front field...


We have a gorgeous oak tree that grows along the driveway near the cattle guard. Its branches sweep down to the ground in several directions, creating a natural shade canopy on hot days. When the horses winter in the front pasture, its low branches are a favorite scratching post for them. Marigold says it's good snuffling territory.
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