Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just had to...



post more pictures of this baby donkey and friends.  Couldn't help myself.

Bookends II


Thelma and Louise again demonstrate the artform of imitating bookends.

Fortune cookies and drink parasols

Thanks to the recent rains, the 'shrooms have popped up again.  Fungi are flat-out fascinating.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Snug as a bug

And cute as a bug too.  Little Louise takes a nap one afternoon in one of the dog beds.

Lovely

This was a particularly clear and bright morning at Run*A*Round and the egret was happy to oblige with poses against the rich willow greenery.

M-I-C-K-E-Y

This cactus growing along the driveway reminds me of Mickey ears.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Could there be anything cuter than this?!

A couple of donkeys guard a herd of beef cattle on the way into town.  I stopped to take a picture of the adults, only to be surprised by this little addition!  What a cutie!!! 



The mom came over to the fence to get some head rubs from me.  If I could've fit 'em in my car, I'd have taken them home with me!  No, not really.  The dogs wouldn't have been so welcoming and the jenny wouldn't have been very kind to the dogs either...

Lantana bonanza

The easing up of the heat (days in the 90s instead of 100s) and the rains we've received have allowed the lantana to finally thrive.  Even though I bought these last year, they are native to the Texas area so manage to return to life each spring and make it through the hot, dry summer to have a chance to flourish in the early fall. They are nicknamed "Ham and Eggs" for their color combination.

Surprise!

Sitting on the back deck steps one day with my camera, I glanced at the post about a foot from my face and went "Oh!  Hello!"  Hadn't noticed this big madam hanging around.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I love calves!

There is just nothing sweeter than baby calves.  This youngster joined a herd of beefers in a pasture on the way into town.  What a cutie!  (And if you think this is cute, wait until you see tomorrow's post!)

When I grow up, I wanna be just like you...

Our duck family swam out to investigate the visitors.  I don't think the little ones knew what to make of the in-betweens.

Color me tan

Another family of whistlers flew in to visit the pond one morning.  These parents raised 8 ducklings to their teen years.  Although they haven't colored out yet, they've just earned their license to fly so are mobile and can fly in for scratch feed when they want. 

I like how the 3 teens lined up to create a photo vibration effect (you'll have to click on the photo to enlarge it to see them).  :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bathing jays


Double dipping

Two blue jays partaking in bathing, each to their own basins.  I love the face plant the upper one takes for the sake of a good body wash.

Binder twining

These beauties are members of the morning glory family but grow wild along the roadsides and crawl over fence posts and bridge supports.  They are called bindweed.  They can grow so thickly that they'll actually kill other plants by overshadowing them.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Just what season is it anyway?

The calendar says it's fall;  the oak trees confirm that as they've just begun to drop acorns.  Our pear tree has fully bloomed again thinking it has a second spring.  Our crape myrtle trees are making another run for summer.  And our lawnmowers thought it was winter as they hadn't been used for the entire month of August.  (They were rudely awakened by me from the beginnings of their long winter's nap to return to active service after hurricane rains this month.)
Moon shining through oak trees at night.





Oh well.  As the saying goes, "If you don't like the weather in Texas, wait a minute."   
Pear tree in Spring II
Crape myrtles in re-bloom.


Not quite "gobble gobble"




A vulture stops by the pond to visit and displays his turkeyness.

Bittersweet

The hot and dry weather always lets the bitterweed get a good foothold wherever the grass is sparce.  We've got a nice crop in the barn pen area where Zim keeps the grass cropped low.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I "Heart" Duckies!

Isn't this a sweet family portrait?  The parents did the "swan thing" of making a heart together.  :)

I'll spare you any photos...

The dogs did their usual run*a*round this morning when I went out to the barn, heading out into the pastures, creeks and woods.  Later I saw Baron standing over something fuzzy in the yard.  After I coaxed him inside, I went to see what it was.  A small possum.  Poor dear had suffered some bite marks and, by the snarl on his face, looked like he had not died a peaceful death.  I went back inside, got a towel, then retrieved the critter by the tail to toss him into the pond.  I carried him a ways to reach an open spot along the shoreline and when I started swinging him to lob his carcass into the water, he began to wiggle.  I just KNEW he was playing possum with me!  I tossed him into the water's edge and watched the poor wet rat for a moment as he looked around dazedly.  I left him alone at that point so he could get his bearings and make his escape as the 2 Catahoulas were still on the loose and I didn't want them to show interest in what I was doing.  I hope he survives. 

P.S. to Husband.  Yes, I know it's risky to pick up critters.  Yes, I was careful!  I knew enough to wrap a towel around my hand before picking him up!  No, I will not get rabies.  Yes, I will do it again!  Yes, next time I will also wear leather gloves!

Bigger little by little


The ducklings are starting to resemble ducks, growing into elongated bodies and necks.  As near as I can count, there's still 9 of them!

Sharing space #3



One afternoon the ducks and their ducklings took a shine to a certain log near the shore where the turtles like to catch the sun. One by one the ducklings trundled onto the log to find a preening perch. Once the parents joined the little ones, the log began to sink a bit and the turtles finally ceded ownership of their float.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Face off


Two preying mantises faced off on the side of the house one afternoon, but to my surprise did not engage at all, merely danced around each other a bit before going their separate ways.

Just wrong in so many ways...



Baron made a good haul (literally) from the fields nearby, bringing back a spine with short-ribs still attached. Of course it was eventually "disposed of" in our pond, much to his dismay.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Follow, follow, follow me...

I loved the way the water squiggles looked in this pic.  And even though a couple of ducklings got turned around a bit, I wanted to ask you to sign up as a follower to my blog. 

I just recently added the "Followers" widget to the side of my posts (thanks to those of you who've joined in thus far!)  I know I've only been blogging for a few months, but I'm envious of those longer-term bloggers who have amassed a congregation of devotees to their pix and prose.  I know I don't do fancy-pants stuff here with breath-taking photography or poetry or recipes.  Just daily life around the ranch.  But if you enjoy my efforts, I hope you'll sign up as a follower.  In order to have your presence known, you'll have to follow "publicly" but I promise, it's not painful. 

Thanks always for reading!

Special effects the "easy" way...

Excuse me for my tardiness, but I'm just now joining the 21st century.  Have used the same camera and "easy" software for years, but never really played with it.  Took some pix of a lovely toad last night in the dark so thought I'd experiment a bit.

Texas toad in the spotlight

Same toad - just a bit color-enhanced
And just for fun, how about a little cartoon effect?

Regardless of what I do to her in photo editor, it helps to have a subject that's just plain gorgeous to begin with...

I plum forgot...

I saw these guys hanging from a tree along the side road one day and thought, "Oh, wow!  Wild grapes!"  When I finally stopped to look at them close up, I realize they are plums, wild or otherwise.

We had plum trees on the farm where I grew up in Wisconsin.  I ate and gathered too many as a child and now can't face them.  Guess I blocked them from my memory.  But to my credit, these are the same size as grapes. 

BB awaits


BB waits for a squirrel to make its move from the feeder tree.

A Baltimore man


A male Baltimore Oriole stopped by the bird bath for a dip. I've seen the Mrs. around also - instead of orange she's a pleasant shade of yellow. Nice to see them around this summer as we rarely get them here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Anyone? Anyone?

I tried to identify these lovelies from the www.lone-star.net/wildflowers/flowers.htm website but didn't see a match.  Anyone out there know what they are?  Just shout it out if you know it!

Update:  These are known as Partridge Peas.  I found them via this great website:  http://www.texaswildflowerpictures.com/wf_index.htm

Guarding the young 'uns


The whistlers have been doing a good job at wrangling their youngsters and keeping them out of reach of dogs and (hopefully) owls, hawks and snakes too. I hope the ducklings have a chance to grow into those bills...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crustracean infiltration




We had a few new visitors lately. A tiny snail visited the deck plank - right where the hummingbird sugar water occasionally drips. And BB discovered a big crawfish in the barn one evening, sadly already dead. I don't think he would have crawled that far during the heavy rains and instead tend to believe Tuxedo, our barn cat, caught him during one of his frogging missions and brought him up to the barn to toy with him.

The penny is just there to give you a size scale. No, they don't travel with pocket change... :)
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