Thursday, April 30, 2020

The birds and the bees and the flowers...

...and the trees.

Once again I've struggled to find the time to whip my photos and ideas into a coherent post. Each passing day makes the coherent part harder. An acceptable title is more than half the battle; when this one came to mind (and stuck, being the earworm that it is) I could sit down and write.

My Japanese maples have leafed out in all their perfections of form. I do believe their spring colors are as arresting as their fall finery!
The fruit tree blossoms are fading fast; these are on my Braeburn apple tree.

And look! My baby fig tree, still in its pot awaiting its permanent position on our place, has two wee figs forming!!!

Other flowers are busting out all over. The Pink Walloper rhody that Brian and I got Rick one year for Father's Day is covered with an embarrassment of riches:

This morning I noticed that the first iris of the year was unfurling, and hurried over to get a picture. It was quickly photobombed by my sidekick; I pulled her away before she ate a bud. Then she proceeded to check out the perennial bachelor's buttons, and ate the head off a blooming volunteer crimson clover.

Tuesday was a bad day for birds here. Without amy prior red flags, Brian found one of our olive-egger hens dead in the run (turns out it was the one who laid brown eggs), and not too long after that I spotted something in the middle pasture just over the fence from the yard. When I walked over to investigate, I was heartbroken to see it was one of the bluebirds that has been hanging around this spring.

A sweeter discovery was this fresh nest I found on the lawn, woven from horsehair:

No photos of bees, but there is this "B," now officially registered for his freshman year of college: 😱

He wanted to have a campfire this evening, so we roasted veggie weenies and vegan marshmallows to go with our quinoa tabbouleh salad.

There's that photobomber again!

So that's it for April. It has surely been an unusual month; it would be nice if things start returning to 'normal' (whatever that is) in May. But "Que sera sera' (another earworm!); whatever will be, will be. The future's not ours to see; que sera sera."

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, April 24, 2020

Overcoming ennui

Between the pandemic, the teen's choices, my allergies, an exhaustingly busy puppy, and the weather, I'm fighting a bit of a slump. Thankful for the inspiration a "Post Isolation Fantasies" post on friend Alison's blog gave me!

Post-isolation fantasies:
1. Restaurant you would go out to. The only one I've actually checked for take-out ability (which was a no-go; they are totally closed), Marco Polo Global Restaurant in Salem, OR. I always get their General Tso's Tofu; mmmm, SO good!
2. Friend you would meet up with first. Probably Kate, one of two long-time horse-&-dog friends in the area. I've seen her a couple times since social distancing started, at an appropriate distance of course, and it was so hard to not be able to HUG.
3. Place you would go. THE BEACH!
4. Shop you would go to. Is a hair salon a shop? Yes, it is a shop. MY HAIR SALON; haircut, STAT!
5. Food item you would buy/eat. See #1.
6. Cake you would eat. I don't get this. I am not fantasizing about cake; I can make cake at home. I rarely do, because (#1) cake is not my temptation of choice, and (#2) if it was sitting around I would eat it anyway.
7. Show/concert you would go to. I got tickets to Black Violin in concert May 6 as a family surprise. It has been moved to Oct. 28 now, which means that Brian, the one for whom I thought it would be the nicest surprise, may be at college and not able to go.
8. Relative you would hug first. My mom, quickly followed by Dad. See #9.
9. Holiday you would go on. We don't "go on holiday;" that's never really been in the time/money budget, we have animals to arrange care for (and miss), and I like it here. All our trips involve visiting family and/or continuing education. So the "holiday" I would go on is to the Texas Panhandle to see my folks; it's been too long since I'm seen them!
10. Other activity. Church. Online worship is fine, but I miss seeing, hugging, and eating with my church family.
11. Thing you would do at work. Catch up with my co-workers!
The office African violets are lovely, though.
12. Item you would buy. Item? Seems like one can buy any "item" they want these days online. What I'd buy aren't really "items;" see #1, 4, 5, 9 (airfare).

Anyone else care to share their answers?

Speaking of the exhaustingly busy puppy, I got some underwater treadmill photos during her second PT session yesterday, and some winding-down photos of her this morning (her nap gave me time to post, although I probably should have been doing other things 😏).

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

My stand-up girl and other things

Poppy has always shown a remarkable ability to stand up very straight on her hind legs; she'd make a great circus performer, I think. Realized my oldest and newest unshared Poppy pictures show her in this position; wanting Chuckie to play in the first one, wanting Rick's ice cream in the second one.

Last Saturday afternoon Rick had to check a patient over at the coast, so the whole family rode along with him for an outing (the teen didn't want to go, but we made him 😠😆). Our coastal communities have begged visitors to stay away, so we just pulled over at a scenic overlook and waved at the sand and Pacific Ocean. Would loved to have taken Poppy on her first walk on the beach, but we respected the wishes of the residents. Can't blame them; visitors were flocking to their towns, buying out the limited supply of staples in their small stores, and risking health in communities without robust – or in some, any – healthcare facilities.

Not as flattering as the senior photos I took. 🤣
That evening, Poppy took over my chair. It had been a damp, cool day, so I had been cuddling her in a fleece blanket.

The next morning she was on my lap again, chewing on her Yeti bone, when something caught her eye. There's my stand-up girl again!

But she's also good at laying flat. I built a fire Sunday morning to take the chill and damp out of the house; Poppy approved:

Later Sunday I got Bernadette, my once-chocolate ewe, sheared. Her fleece, now a dilute cup of cocoa, is still luscious, and sheared much more easily than Blaise and Bing before her. Most of that is the timing of the rise, but part of it is color; lighter fleeces make it easier to see my scissors, so I can cut faster.

As I uncovered her neck, I realized with alarm that it was swollen and hard. I showed it to Rick, who postulated that it could be a thyroid tumor, or a goiter. Hopefully it's the latter; I am supplying kelp meal again to supply iodine if that's the case. I'd really hate to lose this gorgeous two-year-old; she has pretty much everything I want for my breeding program, should it ever resume – conformation, breed type, fine fleece, and polled genetics.

More sleeping Poppy pictures from this week:

Our pink flowering cherry is starting to rain petals:

Yesterday was a busy day. Poppy had her first physical therapy appointment in the morning. We all had to wear eye protection for her cold laser treatment, and then she had a short session on the underwater treadmill.

By the time the tank filled to the appropriate level and the belt started moving, I was busy helping control and encourage her (and getting very wet), so no photos of the actual work, but there will be other opportunities. We will be going in twice a week for several weeks; again, very thankful I can barter for her care!

When we got home I did more of the graphics work necessary for that barter, then cleaned up Bing's belly and legs. He looks scalped in those areas because I was able to mostly roo them, but that didn't leave him much cover.

I let Bittersweet out to browse while I worked on Bing, knowing he'd follow Bing anywhere I led him afterwards. He came up to check on us and ask for attention at one point:

 I was going to wait until all three boys were sheared before turning them into the wooded lot, but they really need tempting calories NOW, as all three are thin. So out they went. The weeds were more attractive to them at first than the grass, but that might have been because the weeds were the first green feed they saw:

The hens were busy yesterday, too; I got seven eggs from ten middle-aged girls! I caught my three Australorps all working at the same time:

I didn't have time to work horses, but everyone got turned out to exercise, boys in the arena and Stella in the pasture.

The arena was dry and dusty, but has gotten well-watered today; yay! We are way behind on typical April precipitation, so today's rain is much needed.

That's it for today from . . .