"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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Glowing Health and the Blessings of a Simple Life

The weather continues to be magnificent and has given us opportunities to get outdoors to prune trees and putter.  I've also been able to get out to our property to check the trail cam and just overall enjoy the outdoors.  For the past two years during this period, we've been socked with ice and snow.  That isn't unusual in this part of the country but it isn't something that always happens.   The bright blue days and high sixties is also within the norm and it is sooooo good to be back home where it is a possibility.   

The girls continue to heal up from their various ailments.  Pearly is holding her own on the optic nerve inflammation and it's so good to see her eyes sparkle, again.  She was showing a little redness a couple of days ago and we put her back on the drops which seemed to do the trick.
Evelyn still has a slight touch of an ear infection (we visited the vet for yet another recheck, this morning) but she appears to be almost completely healed and doesn't have to go back.  She'll remain on antibiotics for another 4 days and I'll keep cleaning her ears and putting ear drops in for another week. 
Although I just said it has been balmy weather, I'll now contradict myself and mention that we had a cold snap just a couple of days ago.  I've been making a point of being more active and get out in more inclement weather, recently.  During the cold snap, I went out to our property in the bitter cold with high winds to swap memory cards on the trail cam we have set up out there.  

In case you are wondering why I've been trying to push myself physically, lately, it is because I feel absolutely wonderful.  I've enjoyed good health most of my life and am so happy to be feeling that way, again.  Seems like the past couple of years it has been one thing after another, between poison ivy, bad headaches and the uveitis.  I never did feel completely well after that awful bout of poison ivy a couple of years ago.  I've been trying to act as if I am healthy and it seems to be working.  I even got a touch of poison ivy on my leg and, wonder of wonders, it is actually healing up without having to go to the doctor to get prednisone or a steroid shot.  That's new.

At any rate, I went out to the property a few days ago.  Our property is 54 acres and is a roughly rectangular shape.  It is just over a third of a mile long, running east to west, and about a quarter mile deep, running north to south.  The wooded area where I like to set up the trail cam is near the middle of the property and I have to hike about a quarter mile from the road to get to it.  I pass the ponds on the way.  Here's the main one:
The wooded area is about 550 feet wide and 700 feet long, with the longer distance running north to south.  Down the center, running north to south, is a dry creek bed that runs wild with water when the rains hit.  On either side of the creek bed are deciduous trees and an abundance of fallen timber that has never been cleared over the years. 
I keep expecting large branches to fall on my head because there are some large dead trees with big branches that look ready to fall off.
If you look close at the next photo, you'll see the owl I scared up when I got there - It could be the Barn Owl that likes to roost in the wooded area during the day, or it could be a Great Horned - I'm leaning in that direction:
Native Cedars line up along the outside of the area of deciduous trees, providing a very significant wind break so that when you are within the confines of the wooded area, the air is still and not nearly as cold as out in the fields.  Once I make to that area, I find myself pulling off my gloves and can loosen up my parka and still be comfortable. 
What all that amounts to is that the area is a hot bed for wildlife because it has water, evergreens and deciduous trees as well as brush, fallen logs and adjacent grasslands.  And even when the wooded area creek bed is dry, there is a nearby pond and second creek only a few hundred feet away.  Moreover, it is partially surrounded by wheatfields that have replaced land that, back in the day, contained creeks and trees that protected and supported native fauna.   Because of that, our wooded area is an oasis for much of the wildlife of the region.  Moreover, the creek bed that runs through the property continues on the lands north, where it is wooded and left unimproved, and south, towards the river.  That creekbed serves as a wildlife highway for critters.

As is my custom, after swapping out the memory cards, I spent a little time silently being still in the wooded area.  Sometimes a deer, coyote or owl comes by, but usually, all the woodland critters are on to me and lay low.  I saw the owl but nothing else, last time.  But I did stop to say hello to the cows that are in the pasture just to the south:

The white rascal standing behind the other cows apparently had love on his mind:

As near as I could tell, none of his cow friends were interested.

When I got home and was turning into the driveway, a hawk flew ahead of me and landed in the tree between the house and the barn.  I believe it is a Red Shouldered Hawk and took a few photos:

 I think it is a beautiful thing:

 Just lovely.  Makes you feel privileged to have seen it.

When I got inside, I checked the memory card and, sure enough, it had a number of videos of bobcats playing over a period of just over a couple of hours.  They played like big kitty cats.  Here is a Youtube of about ten videos that I combined:  Playing Bobcats

I don't know what it is but, lately, seems like everytime I go outside, I see wildlife that I never used to see.  I saw a coyote in the pasture, yesterday, and today a half grown coyote pup crossed the road in front of me while I was driving home from the tree farm.  I also saw one of the foxes in the pasture a couple of nights ago. 

I set up the pasture trail cam so that it would show the girls while they barked at the foxes/coyotes.  Here's another Youtube that I put together with the videos that turned up:  Fox and the Hounds

I've been working on a quilt for my sister-in-law that I meant to finish, last year:

There are a few things I do well but longarming is not my strong suit.  To put it mildly.  I've been struggling to not make a complete mess of it.  I made a bit of progress, today, but didn't have a lot of time to devote to it, between taking Evelyn to the vet, running errands and studying for an activity I'm doing this weekend.

When I was in Law School, I competed on the Jessup International Law moot court team.  The way the competition works is that each law school team in a given region is given a fictional factual scenario involving two fictional countries who are having international disputes.  Usually, the competition fact pattern involves a humanitarian aspect and a business/trade aspect. The court case is treated as if it is being tried at the Hague and the law used is International Law.  Public International Law deals with basic things like human rights and the law of war.  Private International Law deals with trade issues, often involving treaties, the laws of the respective countries, and conventions.

International Law is very different from the law we are used to in the United States and, speaking as a citizen, having that background helps me, a little bit, to understand international events and why countries handle things the way they do.  My professor coach, a peace corp alum and old hippie,  summed it up a bit like this:  "In international law, there is no police force.  Even the Security Council of the United Nations isn't generally a player in disputes because the major counties have veto power and will exercise the veto in the best interests of their country.  If countries can't agree on how to solve a problem, war is always an option.  You can't just take another country to court to get satisfaction or call 911.  It is a jungle out there - survival of the fittest." 

 After graduating, I used to act as a practice coach to help the teams prepare but had to give it up when we moved to Virginia.  Now that we're back home, I'm helping out, again, and the practice round is this weekend.  It is a lot of reading but I'm looking forward to it.  And on that note, I need to get back to it.

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


Florida Farm Girl said...

I'm so glad that you are feeling well again. It does do the soul good to be outside in the fresh air where you can SEE things!!! And what lovely things to see. That red shoulder is beautiful.

Looks like the fox is taunting poor Evelyn. Glad the girls are doing well, too.

elsie123 said...

Ditto what Florida Farm Girl said. I'm glad you're doing so much better. I'm also proud for you that you're back in Oklahoma! There's no place like home. Love the pictures.

Miriam said...

SO glad you are feeling yourself again!

Those shots of the bird are amazing. The detail in the feathers in the wings is beautiful.

I hope you enjoyed the competition on the weekend.