Archive for February 2012
The border collies and I had a nice walk this morning. That is, I had a nice walk and they had a lovely run. Generally, I have two views of them; their back ends as they thunder past me . . .
. . . or their front ends as they thunder back.
That’s Xena in front, followed by Gena, and Spanky bringing up the rear. It’s amazing how three sets of dainty little paws can make so much noise. They do love to run — even after all of the hard work they do.
Notice the dull grey ground. This time last year, the grass was six inches deep everywhere. That rain Monday night won’t do much for us. It’s just too late. The snow in the mountains, though, may help the water situation. We had a possibility of rain today, but so far, no luck.
Bella and Kody got their feet trimmed this morning, a process they endure politely but not enthusiastically. Duffy got shoes a couple of weeks ago, so now all my equines are in good shape hoof-wise. It’ll be a few weeks before we have to think about that again.
It rained very nicely last night. It was raining when I was coming home from the knitting group. Now I get
lost confused very easily at night, but I had no trouble getting home in the rainy dark. I did sit at a stop sign for some time waiting for a car to go by before I realized that the “headlights” were actually someone’s porch light.
It’s been beautiful all day, but I spent most of it running errands. Then this afternoon has been devoted to making chicken cacciatore — one of our favorites. It is smelling wonderful, but I think I’ll go add a little more red wine . . . see you later. Sort of.
And it’s a little chilly, too. I doubt that it will make fifty degrees today. It was nice to watch the rain approaching.
We didn’t get a lot; maybe five or six hundredths. It came nice and slow, though, and every drop soaked in. We’ll hope for more.
It’s been a nice day to sit by the fire, and cuddling under the blankets will feel really good tonight. We’ll enjoy it — we’ll be sweating before we know it.
David left us another load of firewood by the back door. It’s mostly willow; that’s good for this time of year, because it burns quickly. We aren’t likely to need a fire much longer, and we can get the willow used up.
We have never had to pay for firewood. Partly that’s because a tree service parks a truck here, and they leave off wood; partly it’s because of PG&E clearing under the powerline; but mostly it’s deadwood from the willows . . . like this one.
This is actually half of a tree. The half that fell, leaving a “window” in the trunk, is lying in front of the living half. Willows seem to be hosts to every kind of bug known; so they shed branches almost casually. It’s this deadwood that provides us with firewood. The larger pieces get sawed up; the rest is shoved into brushpiles and makes habitat for all the small critters.
These old willows end up in fantastic shapes. Some of them remind me of the grouchy apple trees from “The Wizard of Oz”.
Now if we could just get them to throw apples . . .
Billy took me along on one of his rounds today, to save his bum knee. My job was to hop out of the pickup and retrieve some “toys'” that horses were chewing on — but which might not be good for their digestive system. I picked up a plastic feed bag and a couple of pieces of rope.
On the way, I noticed an egret hunting near the bridge. Billy said he lived nearby, and was there all the time. I hadn’t seen him so close before, and made my hubby run me back to get my camera.
The egret was closer than he appears in this picture . . .
He was farther away than he looks in this one, though. He must be hunting for small animals in the brush. There sure aren’t any fish or frogs there this year.
He was watching us closely by then, and in a moment was off in a flurry of white. I’ve noticed before that focusing on critters with a camera seems to alarm them. Maybe you look more like a predator zeroing in on them . . . or maybe it’s just that you aren’t just passing by, but stopped.
This morning, we had a couple of gentlemen in with a pickup full of wood duck boxes. We had almost forgotten that they were going to put some up, and I went out to see what they were up to. Wood duck houses are a Good Thing, but they weren’t too sure about putting them up with the water so low. I told them I hadn’t seen much but a couple of coots lately; maybe the stagnant water doesn’t taste good. I had to get to the Farmer’s Market, so I don’t know if they finally decided to put them up or not. If they did, they’d better have hidden them pretty well, or they’ll end up as kindling in someone’s campfire.
I was planning to drive today, so Xena and I walked downriver to see how far I might be able to take the cart. The answer was: not very far. We noticed, however, that the homeless population was increasing again.
Notice the lumps between the tents. Those were two large dogs curled up asleep. Xena and I went quietly away. Transients’ dogs don’t tend to be friendly, and these looked to be unrestrained.
We took out a large old poplar at the end of the arena. We were sorry to see it go, but they don’t tend to be long-lived trees, and this one wasn’t looking good. I thought it might be nice to plant my daylily collection down there, and get them out of the pots. The spot was just the right size and shape. David was nice enough to spend some time preparing the ground, and I packed the pots down there and spread them out.
Then it struck me. Daylilies are edible. In fact, judging by the sheep’s depradations, they’re delicious. The arena is going to have horses in it. Horses have very long necks.
I don’t think my daylilies would last long.
I can still plant them along the very edge of my little plot, but I’d better think of something else for the rest of it. Let’s see . . . what will not be palatable to horses, but also not poison them if they do snack on it? Offhand, the only thing I can think of is eucalyptus. I’d better do some research.
Kody and I did get in a little drive, though we didn’t go downriver, and very pleasant it was. We’re getting more confidence all the time. The farthest we went, though, was through the Teen Challenge parking lot — not very far. There were plenty of people to wave at this time, though.
I’d like to get some more pictures of us, but you have to have a volunteer photographer at the right time. We won’t be driving for a few days, though. It’s Bella’s turn for a little attention.
I skipped a blogging day yesterday; inspiration just wouldn’t come. The experts say that a successful blogger — or writer — should write something every day, whether they feel inspired or not. Phooey. Everyone’s entitled to a break.
Last night, though, was inspring. We had a pretty, but not overly spectacular, sunset. I was out taking its picture when I wondered what it would look like reflected in the river. I hurried down there — sunsets don’t last long! — and looked west. Wow. Here’s the resulting shot . . .
My camera has a sunset setting, so I decided to try it. I also lowered the camera a bit, to get more of the river. Here’s that shot.
It’s glorious, but the first one is more natural; the colors I actually saw. I guess it’s a matter of taste.
I haven’t been recording every drive with Kody, but I have been driving. Today was beautifully warm, in the mid-seventies, so we had a good time. We trotted around the ranch for a while, then went up to the Teen Challenge parking lot. Too bad there was nobody outside to admire us! Vanity aside, we had a great time.