"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Springtime and Babies

Mr. Wonderful has been back in DC for most of the month (coming home on the weekends, sometimes for less than 18 hours) and that means I've been extra busy with chores.  He has another week to go and after that, things should get back to normal.  The first week he was gone the dogs were most unhappy.  It has gotten easier since then.  I made the unfortunate comment that I was beginning to feel single and for some reason, that didn't sit well with the Mister. 

Springtime has been a delight, as always, although it's been so dry that I was beginning to get concerned about how the hoofed animals were going to find grass due to the drought.  We have some beautiful horses across the street that were in a pasture with no shade and no grass.  Moreover, they were tearing up the fence along the street attempting to reach grass.
Isn't she a beauty?
You can see how the pasture she's in is stripped bare and she is on the verge of yanking down that flimsy fence to reach more food:
 She was trying to climb the fence:
There were four horses in her pasture.  The beautiful black mare, a palomino, a dark brown gelding and this pretty chestnut paint:

 She's a pretty thing:
 The dark brown paint gelding is my favorite:
Next door to us is Mr. Horse (whose real name, I believe, is Buck).  He is a character.  He knows how to get out of his fence, sometimes, and will show up in our yard where he wants to play chase but will run back to his house if he can get you to follow him.  He plays with Evelyn up and down the fence and will whiney and run alongside his fence when trucks pulling livestock drive by his house.  He probably should have a friend in the pasture to keep him company.  They usually run cattle but this year it has been so dry that at least three neighbors who usually do that have skipped it rather than pay for hay.
Here's the dark brown paint gelding and his friend, the pretty chestnut paint.  Neither is as flashy as the black mare but I like a horse with a little more umph in his body like the gelding has.  He is a complete sweetheart, though they are all friendly.
Two doors down our neighbor has five cows and three heifers.  They are Red Angus.  Two of the cows have new babies and the other three are due at any moment:
I love her pasture:
 Old Rex, age 32 if you can believe that, lives with the cows and they consider him part of the herd:
 This beauty is one of the heifers and has a twin:
Here's her twin!  Not sure where those horns came from but there must have been a strange bull behind the woodpile that wasn't Red Angus:
Yes, cows can have horns.

Here is the palomino in the stripped pasture:
 The chestnut paint and the gelding are good friends and like to stay near each other:
Happily, the neighbors spoke the lady who owns the property about the lack of grazing and since then, she's moved them next door to another pasture that has plenty of hay. 

Evelyn is quite the toad and turtle catcher.  This one wasn't hurt.  I took it away from her right away.  She didn't appreciate it but I'm sure the turtle did.  Well, he probably cussed both of us out in turtle talk but I can take it.

Spring is in the air for the bugs, too:
I don't have a photo but the bluebirds have nested in one of my bluebird boxes and laid five perfect eggs.  We were walking by the birdbox to check out our sick Caddo Maple and mama bird flew out and nearly took off Mr. Wonderful's hat.  It was a hoot (he laughed, too).  I've learned to slow down and let her get out of the box before I cross in front of her in order to avoid a collision.

And speaking of my Caddo Maples, the one out in the pasture was looking pretty sick.  Mr. Wonderful pronounced it terminal, probably from lack of water, and we got into a heated discussion about it.  He kept saying (and saying) it was dead and that I needed to face that cold hard truth.  I kept telling him I didn't want to hear about it and wasn't willing to give up on the thing.  It didn't cost anything to try to save it and it was good exercise.   If it was dead, he could say I told you so but in the meantime, I didn't want to hear any gloom and doom.   We reached a compromise that I didn't care if he said "it sure doesn't look too good" but I didn't want to hear anymore comments about it being dead.  I heard about two thousand variations of "It sure doesn't look too good," often tacked onto the tail end of a sentence so that it went something like, "This tree is dead, oh wait, it ISN'T DEAD but BUT IT SURE DOESN'T LOOK TOO GOOD," or "This tree is dead, oh wait, it ISN'T DEAD but is sure has a lot of dead leaves on it like it is dying."  Or, "This tree is dead, oh wait, it ISN'T DEAD but it looks just like every tree I ever had that was dead." Or, "This tree is dead, oh wait, it ISN'T DEAD but most rational people would think so from the looks of it..."


I lost track of how many buckets of water I carted back there.  Mr. Wonderful finally picked up a soaker hose to save me a few steps.  Then we started worrying that we'd given it too much water since Caddos don't like to be fussed over (although since Mr. Wonderful kept insisting it was dead, already, I personally think he didn't need to even speak up).  I accused him of hedging his death bets so that NOW he could claim I'd drowned it if it died.   At any rate, I quit giving it so much water. 

Last week, I took in some leaves and a bunch of photos to the county extension to see if they could give me some advice.  The diagnosed it with Southwest Disease (sun scald from having the bark exposed during the winter).  They theorize that it isn't diseased and lack of water had nothing to do with it.  It was just weakened from the injury and prone to wind damage and bug attacks.  They said it would lose a growing season, most likely, but should be okay and start looking fine by the end of June.  And to quit watering it. 

I was very happy to hear that.  Of course, now Mr. Wonderful and I don't have anything to talk about other than the fact that, "Huh.  It SURE LOOKS DEAD."  At this point, however, I really don't care what he says about it. 

The humingbirds are swarming the feeders I've set out on the patio:
 They sure fight all the time.
We are finally getting into a more typical spring weather pattern.  Last week we got an inch and a half of rain and three days ago we got over four inches.  Here are some photos of a thunderhead that blew up to the east of us, last night: 
This monster popped up in about 20 minutes from just about nothing.  We didn't get any rain from it because it was east of us and heading in that direction.  But it was gorgeous to watch form.
 As the sun set, you could see massive lightning all through it:
Several times a day I head down to check on my cow friends to see if they've had another calf but so far, nuthin.'
I keep thinking that the storms we have blowing through will tip the scale in favor of labor but to be honest, those cows are so huge that I don't think they can hold back much longer, regardless:
My birdcam died and I haven't been doing much quilting.  Grandson rolled over for the first time and my son sent a video of the second time he managed which thrilled me to death. 

Off to check on my cow friends.

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


Florida Farm Girl said...

Hey girl!! Good to hear from you. Those red cows are wonderful, aren't they? Horses are gorgeous and I'm glad the owner moved them when the lack of grazing was mentioned.

Now, as for that thunderhead --- that thing is beyond magnificent -- beauty wise. I'm sure it produced some serious weather for folks in its path. I haven't been sewing since the first of March but I think its time to pick up a new project. We all need a break once in a while. Take care.

Miriam said...

I love those dramatic cloud photographs.

I hope the tree thrives!!!

Thank goodness for videos!!....and proud Fathers!

Are there any calves yet???

BilboWaggins said...

My, that cloud is spectacular.

Anonymous said...

I hope all of you are safe!


Paula said...

Virginia is a nice place, but nothing beats waking up in the country. So glad I moved! In the pasture across the street, there are 2 horses and a cow. Maple thinks she's one of the horses and would probably argue with you if you tried telling her any different!

Right outside my quilt room window, a cardinal built her nest in a birdfeeder I have hanging in a tree. I got to see her build it, lay eggs and raise the 3 little ones. I got some awesome pictures. Hoping she's about ready to do it again.


Anonymous said...

Your photography is spectacular! (Just like your quilting!!)
Can you recommend your favorite digital photography book for starting out?

Penny said...

Sara, thank you. I think it is mainly that this is a good camera but in terms of books, I have really enjoyed The Digital Photography Book (set of three) by Scott Kelby. It is written in layman's terms and amounts to a lot of tips (most that don't apply to me). The format is very readable, photos are great and it conveys information about things I don't even have enough knowledge to know to ask about. And after reading it, I have a tad bit better understanding of how things work so I am in a better position to select other books to go in more depth. I also suggest getting a book that is specifically geared to whatever camera you use. Factory manuals are essential but having something written with an index and table of contents that is user friendly with shooting tips is also helpful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the book recommendation; I'll see if I can find them. Love reading your blog and looking at your beautiful and creative photos.