Monday, July 31, 2017

Unrequited Love

Once upon a time, we had two guinea fowl.  Due to difficulties in determining if either of them was a hen, we were never sure what we had.  They never really liked any of our chickens despite being raised with them.  They were a noisy pair...

Then one day, disaster struck, and one guinea met an untimely end at the teeth of an unknown predator.  The remains were summarily buried atop Mt. Weather in back of the shop.

This left us with one lone guinea.  We gradually came to the conclusion that the survivor at least, was a male.  This meant Deanna was now known as Dino.  Eh, gender fluidity and all, right?
Deanna  Dino

Being a lone guinea amidst a bunch of hens meant things were somewhat quieter here.  Dino now only screams at the blueberries, the grass, and the sky intermittently, rather than the constant noise of old.  He still chased the hens around the yard though, driving them away.

Sometimes Monkey1 would coo at him, imitating a guinea song, and he would run all around, looking for the other guinea...poor guy was lonely!

Then one day, he saw HER.  She was big, like he was.  She was black and white, sort of like he was.  She had red on her head, like him, so what if it wasn't in the same place?  She MUST be guinea!
Dino began following Salty.  He would guard her.  He would drive the other chickens out of the dust bath so Salty could bathe in peace.  She, was perfect in his eyes!

Salty on the other hand, ignored his advances.  In fact she pretty much ignores him totally, unless he has something tasty to steal eat.  She doesn't seem to mind him running the other hens off, when she dust bathes though.
And though Salty has been unresponsive to Dino's advances and displays of affection, she does allow him to hang out around her.  However, I did see Dino following our largest hen, Amber, around today...could he be two-timing our Salty?  Or has he given up on  his lady love, and begun to seek affection elsewhere?  Tune in next week, for more of Hens of Our Lives!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Back on the bike

Ok, I admit it, it has been nearly 2 years since I've been riding  my bikes regularly.  2015 was the last year I rode a lot.  With the move, selling the old house, etc, that meant no riding in the winter of 2015/16, and then getting settled in here, and not knowing the routes, meant no real riding in 2016.

That doesn't mean we were inactive though.  Our garage is now our home gym, and we have lifted regularly all of 2016, and some of this year too.  Various injuries and illnesses have limited us somewhat in 2017, but after helping run a SAG stop on the  Tour de Paris this month, I just decided I was going to ride.

So I have.  I have ridden more in the last 2 weeks, than I have in the last year.  It's a start, anyway.  I have been mapping out some rides on Ride With GPS, and have driven some of them to get acquainted with the roads.  Chipseal is everywhere.  Pavement is sometimes a relative concept.  Paved shoulders are available on some more-traveled roads.

Thus far, the problem is I have no "legs".  I am dog-slow, and endurance is of course similarly lacking.  Weight training has kept me strong, I can back squat to below parallel, in excess of my bodyweight on the bar, but my speed and cadence are low, that it will take a lot of miles to bring it up.  At least the endurance should come back in a couple months, provided I keep riding.

I want to ride.  I like it too much.  We used to have a lot of fun, back in McKinney, where we knew the roads, and the traffic.  But all that has been built out in the last two years--it was happening while we still lived there.  So I just have to find routes I like, with tolerable road surfaces.  Maybe I'll see you sometime, on the road!

Until then, Tailwinds!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sketchy connections

The storm that blew through here, Sunday night, smack in the dramatic ending of episode 2, Game of Thrones, was apparently strong enough to blow down more than one of our local internet provider's radio towers.  We knew the rain was heavy, as at the same time the net crashed, we lost the dumb satellites.  Ahh, the joys of rural life...

Yes our net provider's system is radio based (aka slow and expensive).  When the towers fell, that killed all connectivity, except for the even slower direct cellular connection.  Yep, my cell coverage is worse than my internet.

So, if I seem absent from the net for awhile, now you know why.  And knowing is half the battle!

UPDATE:  It's ALIVE!!!  Yes, the net came up at about 08:20 this morning!   I expect the connection will be "fragile" for a couple hours as they run tests etc, but for the moment, everything works!  Now, if only Deathstar Inc. would get their act together and figure out what is wrong with our primary cell tower (only a measured 3mi away.)

Friday, July 21, 2017

All that's fit to read

A fellow blogger and Texan recently (as in this week) published his first book.  And what a book it is!  LawDog, as he is known on the net, has published his first book via Amazon, in e-book format, with the dead tree edition soon to follow.  This bit of news was cause for much celebration and laughter here at the casa.  We have followed 'Dog's blog for years now, and always enjoy his tales, both of his unique upbringing in Africa, and of his work in rural law enforcement in Texas.  It is the latter which is the subject of his initial book, The LawDog Files.

I purchased the book while riding shotgun in the truck today, visiting various Doctors Orthopedic, dining on Hard 8 BBQ, and bemoaning the state of traffic in the Metromess.  Of course, I immediately began reading.  I couldn't help but laugh, loudly enough to receive inquiry from DH.  So I began to read to him as he drove.  Sort of an Audiobook...with giggles.  I couldn't help it--it's that good!

His second book, tales of growing up in Africa, is due out in a month or two.  You can check for updates on that, if you follow his blog, also known as The LawDog Files, btw.  He has posted a pre-order link on the blog, for those who are ready to order early.

If you enjoy reading funny stories (most of them anyway) with a take on rural Texas life and law enforcement, you will love this book.  'Dog has a wicked wit, and quite the unique turn of phrase.  I personally, am eagerly looking forward to the second book, African Adventures.  I want to read The Ratel Pit again!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Probably gonna rain again...

The Silverado Sage is blooming fiercely again.  That usually means it's gonna rain within 2-3 days.  It's nearly (moreso sometimes) as accurate as the weather forecasts.  

And it is better looking than the weatherguessers!
One day, we hope these will all be a large silver-grey and purple hedge around the pool deck.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fun at the Tour de Paris

This year, due to DH's recent hand surgery, and a distinct lack of cycling this year, we decided, when approached  by the Chamber of Commerce, to help out with the Tour de Paris through our church, by running a rest stop, aka SAG stop.

Our church happily agreed to volunteer warm bodies to man the SAG stop, and also to make lots of homemade cookies to give out to the cyclists.  The ride has a large number of cyclists typically, usually 1000+/-.

We took charge of a relatively remote SAG stop on the 66mi route.  It was around 31 miles into the route.  We got set up at a local landowner's property just down from an intersection on the route.  The landowners were great to work with.  They let us set up along their fence, granted us parking in their driveway, and also access to their water in case we needed more.

Getting set up
The ride began at 8am, but we were on site by 7 and set up ready to rock before 8am.  We had expected it to be hot and humid, as is typical in Texas for July.  However we were blessed by fairly heavy cloud cover all day.  There were storms in the area, but for the most part, the ride was dry.
There was even bike--mobile EMS!

We didn't see as many riders as we had expected, due in part to a time cut off (riders had to make a certain rest stop by 11am in order to continue on the 66 or 80 mile routes), and I think also due to the rain potential.

The first shift crew.

I think everyone who got a chance to serve the cyclists had fun.  I know we did.   I look forward to either helping out again next year on TdP, or riding it.  It is a nice way to give back, to a community (local and cycling) that we care about.  

Saturday, July 8, 2017

I miss these guys...such good dogs.

When your big sister paints you in peanut butter--The perfect peanut butter removal system!

Oh lordy, they were young once...

Hurry up and shoot more arrows!

I miss this guy so...

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How high is the water, Mama?

It's 3' high, and rising!  Since Friday night/Saturday morning, we have had over a measured 6" rain here at the casa.  The storms have been freight-training over us.  The intermittent creek out back is running high.  The ponds along our road out of the neighborhood are overflowing.  We've had to kick on the pool filter early to keep the main pool from overflowing twice now.  If it overflows, it will run off to the back of the house, which needless to say is less than optimal!

The weather up here along the Red, is just different, than that to which we were accustomed in the Metromess.  The storms track in along a different path, and there is a lot more lightning.  Normally I love a good lightning show, having been known to go up to Malott Hall late at night, on the KU campus to watch storms from up on the 7th floor.

Local radar from this morning, tracking west to east right over us.

But here, out in the county, it is normally very quiet, if you overlook the guinea who screams at the sky, and the blueberry bushes, and anything else that he takes a fancy to...  Except during storms, and the 4th of July when he screams at everything.  More folks out here do bigger fireworks than some small towns!  It's a lot of fun!  There's a huge retailer 5 mi. down the road, and they have reasonable prices.  Our local veterinarian even opened up his parking lot to clients and the animal shelter volunteers, brought out a big stereo system, and hired the snowcone van to park there and sell goodies to the kids.  This way we all had a nice place to park, and sit on concrete and watch the fireworks that Paris put on, July 3rd.

Unfortunately, Indy hates both storms and fireworks.  Up here, both of these are loud!  We have a Thundershirt for him.  It helps a little bit, but not a lot.  We think when he was running stray in his former life, he got shot at by someone, because of how he reacts to anything that sounds vaguely like a gun shot.  For him, it leads to a panic attack.  We've even gotten Frankincense oil to apply.  It seems to calm him down a little too.  But neither gets him to totally chill.  Last night, I put him in our bedroom, the furthest from the fireworks noise.  He still spent the time in there pacing, drooling copiously, and, well, that's probably enough description of the flood in our room.  Just another reason to love tile and laminate flooring!  And just to add to the mix, Bullet gets a bit antsy when Indy is stressed, so he will pace the floor, click clack, click clack, click clack, with those big ol' Ridgeback claws, all night as long as Indy is stressed.
Bookend Ridgebacks.  Bullet on the left, Indy on the right.

The 4th of July weekend may be over, but the rain continues.  I'm hoping  the weather will begin to spread the storms out a little, to one a week, instead of every other day!