wrap yourself in the flag

Enjoy family and flag this July 4th.

Fly Old Glory.  Go ahead…wrap yourself in it.

betsy wiener1

Gaze up in wonderment and thank God you were born in the U.S.A.

Look others directly in the eye and proclaim, I celebrate being an American!

Have fun and appreciate your freedoms. Blessings to family and friends and blessings on our wonderful Republic. Flaggy love to all.

Who is Horseboy? Vote here!

This Horseboy thing has piqued my interest.  I mean, the Google camera car in Aberdeen, Scotland is innocently cruising and photographing, cruising and photographing, cruising and photographing-when it snaps this horrendous and frightening sight.


Startling, isn’t it? Is this a prank, or is there a new breed of man-colt in Scotland? In the absence of any discernible mammaries, because of the apparent pot-belly, and regarding the total sartorial wreckage….we can safely assume this horse is of the colt variety.  Or…..a filly, perhaps?

Summoning my vast and superior experience with all things equine, I’d like to offer my expertise in identifying likely suspects posing as Horseboy.  After perusing the list, cast your vote.  Together, we can stop the neighsayers and solve this equical mystery.

1.  The Lindbergh Baybee.  This young foal was last seen snoring in his straw in 1932.  That makes this suspect a little long-in-the tooth.  Does Horseboy look 78?

2.  Amelia Marehart.  In 1935, Marehart held the record high jump in the Grand Prix.  After being caught in the bedding with a certain handsome bronc, the manure hit the fan.  Her career inevitably stalled.  Reining in her passions, she took a solo trailer ride and was never seen in the arena again.  Could Horseboy really be Horsegirl?

3.  D. B. Pooper.  The year was 1971 and  Pooper was a cinch to win Stallion of the Year.  The entire world was knocking down his barn door seeking his studly services.  On an ill-fated plane ride to Reno, Nevada, Pooper decided to bust his breeding shed.  Fastidiously rigging together his horse blanket and halter, he donned a primitive parachute.  Bolting at top speed, he broke through the cargo door of the plane.  Pooper was never seen again, but he is famously listed in the anals of horse-breeding.  Could Pooper have survived and loped his way to Scotland?

4.  Jimmy Hoofa Hoofa was the leader of the largest breed organization in 1975.  The Feds suspected he was skimming green off the top of the union member’s feed rations.  They dangled a carrot and Hoofa bit.  Facing jail time and being accused of being a bald-faced liar, Hoofa muzzled himself for a time.  He had a nagging feeling he shouldn’t show with two renegade Paint Horses, but he made the meeting.  He got the gait and was never spotted again.  Did Hoofa wind up in cement casts or is he our masked Horseboy?

5.  Elvis Presflea Presflea was the most gorgeous black race horse of his era.  He was trotted out to Hollywood agents and cast in bit parts and starring roles in numerous films. His fame steadily mounted, but sadly because of his blinders, his appetites overtook him and vets reported he colicked in 1977.  No carcass was ever produced, enabling the media to make hay of his death.  Nagging doubts persist as to his demise to this very day.  Has Elvis Presflea left the building?

6.  Could this creepy horsehead hide the famous, or infamous Waldo?  My foals and I have been looking for him since their childhoods.  Perhaps he has finally left the homogeneous herd and ventured out solo?

7.  Whoa Biden.  This toothy gray gelding was perpetually plagued with hoof and mouth disease.  One day, he accused a fellow equine of ‘always being a smart ass’.  Regal horses don’t take kindly to being compared to lowly donkeys….no matter how brilliant they are.  Tragically, there have been many, many…way too many sightings of Whoa.  Did his owner send Whoa out to pasture??  Did he twitch himself long enough to pose as Horseboy?

What hayseed tickles your nose?  Cast your vote.  Who do you think is Horseboy?

Ah do duh-cla-yuh! Swamp things!

Ah vistid a South Carolina swamp recently.  More intrestin’ vahmints than you can shake a stick at!  Ah’d like to shayuh them with you.

Wanna peek at the gorgeousness?  OK…mah pleshuh. 

The swamp is beautiful and teemin’ with lahf. The green scum coverin’ the swamp has a pahticuluh name, but ah can’t remembuh now, honeh.  The trees are heavy with Spanish moss.  They tol’ us it isn’t ‘Spanish’ or ‘moss’ an’ it doesn’t kill or devowah the trees.
The swamp is home to mennah varieteh of birds.

Raht now, their names have escaped me, too. Ahm sorreh. Thought this was a raht intrestin’ bird and an outstandin’ picshuh. You agree?

The birds have a puhfectly, ideal habitat an’ rich sources of food. They were evrywayuh you looked…in the watuh an’ in the trees.
This swamp fella was enjoyin’ sunnin’ himself on the log.  He lahks the green slahm!

You best evuh be careful! The gatahs are cruisin’.
Oh gracious no, honeh-chil’! I musta got the picshuhs mixed up!!
Shugah, fohgive me please.  This little thing isn’t a swamp crechuh!  It’s Bella, the Yorkie.  Don’ you think she’s as cute as a moon pie?  Ah shuhly do!  Preshus as a bohled peanut!
Ah’d lahk to shayuh more of mah picshuhs of things ah saw on my visit to South Carolina.  Vistid some great family in Columbia an’ ah even sashayed a short trip to Chahlston.  Ate lots of grits an’ fried green tomatahs.  Ah’ve many things to shayuh about the intrestin’ suthun vacation.  The middle Sprout an’ her husband were so gracious to include me in the fun.
I’ll post some picshuhs in the futchah.
Mennah thanks for stoppin’ by y’all.

the saga of the offending hairball

Shoulda blogged about this incident a while back.   Fear tied my tongue, or in a blogger’s case…my fingers.  I’m upset.  I’m freaked.  I’m an upset, freaked lady.  But today, I am an honest, upset freaked lady.  Read on for the saga.

About a month ago, there was a traumatic incident involving a cat at my house.  Then, two days ago there was ANOTHER crazy happening.  I admit to not being a ‘cat person’.  Many of my fine friends are ‘cat people’ and they seem to live perfectly normal, happy lives with their cats.  More power to ’em….to each his own…live and let live…one fry short of a happy meal…and all that.

I’ve never had fun, fluffy experiences with cats.  Growing up…we never had one.  If I even so much as glanced at a cat, I was stricken with a raging, crusty case of ringworm over my entire body.  The disfigurement would last for months; people shunned me more than normal.  In my 20’s and 30’s I was unable to enter the homes of folks with cats.  I’d innocently saunter into the home blissfully unaware of the feline danger.   In a matter of minutes sneezing, hapless hacking, and Niagra eyes would have me stampeding for the door searching for relieving doses of Benadryl and Prednisone.
I did relent for a short time when the sprouts were small.  A cat moved in with us.  He adored all three sprouts.  He purred on the Texan’s lap.  He made an uneasy peace with our precious schnauzer (after he’d nearly clawed his eye out and we were left holding the vet bill bag).  He despised me-growling and hissing whenever I came near.  I’m not smiling on the inside.

Discovered he had been gleefully peeing on and over everything in our laundry room.  Who started the rumor cats do more than just paw around in litter boxes….that they actually URINATE and defecate in them?…I’d like to set the rumor-monger straight.  But, I digress.  One day the sprouts came home from school and the cat curiously wasn’t at our house anymore.  Where’s the cat, mommy?  Is he gonna come back, momma?  I patiently and earnestly explained the cat was using us all along….he was really a social climber. …he desired to live in a better neighborhood…..(cue Doris Day voice...que sera, sera…whatever will be, will be....).  Things calmed down over time.  I was back to blessed dogdom.

Spring forward to about a month back.  I’ve told you how we live in a rural area…we have neighbors, but we have some room.  Roxy-Doxy has a doggy door that enables her to go outside to our patio.  She has her own ‘poop garden’…but again, I digress.  The doggy door is plastic and has a couple of strong magnets on the bottom that help keep it closed.  She inserts her pointy doxy nose….and click-click she’s outside.

Sticks her head through again and click-click…voila!, she’s back inside.

Easy and efficient enough.  Here comes the scary part.  I started hearing the click-click in the dark of night….with the doxy snuggled warmly against my bum.   Click-click…what the hell?  Is it THAT windy again?!  Next morning….dogfood turned over in the pantry.  Soon enough…doxy was hunting and tracking INSIDE the house…showing us all the places the cat had been.  Cat hair on the back of my brand NEW sofa??  I hightailed it to Gander Mountain and bought a live trap.  I’ll spare you the details, but that haughty gray cat was a social climber as well.  Cats are always lookin’ to move up….humph!

Feeling smug and confidant our house was once again our castle.  Writing at the computer in the sun room surveying the hillside….did I see something?  A flash of gray, perhaps?  No, no silly…not possible.  Could the gray cat be slumming it?  One day I spied a tabby cat with white paws hunting on the hillside.  It’s a good thing the  tabby doesn’t know how to open the doggy door!  The other cat was really, REALLY smart….this one is probably of normal intellect.  One night, I’m startled from a deep slumber…..click-click.  Eyelids fly open.   Doxy is in her usual buttical zone.  Summoning the courage to get out of bed, I pad to the sun room and flip on the light.  I catch a fleeting glimpse of a startled tabby with white paws racing to another part of the house.  Texan….there’s a cat in the house…get up and grab a flashlight!  We’re gonna find it!  For some reason Roxy Doxy’s nose refuses to work at 1 am (union rules).   We are wandering from room to room, searching under every stick of furniture for the outlaw tabby.  Nowhere do we see the tabby and Doxy is quizzical.  We repeat our search.  No luck.  Maybe it darted back out the doggy door while we were looking for it?  We give up our brave kitty posse and fall back in bed.  I can’t sleep…what if the cat jumps on the bed and suffocates me?  Gives me a permanent case of ringworm….claws my eyes out?  About an hour later…(you know what’s coming)…..click-click.  Jumping out of bed, I race to turn on the patio light.  I spy a very self-satisfied tabby cat licking it’s white mitts.  Seems it’s made a very wholesome meal out of the dogfood it turned over in the pantry.
I set the live trap.  I was pissed.  I brought out the big-cat guns…tuna fish.  No cat.  The nocturnal bandit wasn’t buyin’ it.  Nothing brought him into the trap.  I made darned certain I padlocked the dog door every night.  I was keepin’ my breath, my eyes and my clear skin, thank you very much!

Fast forward to last Wednesday night.  I come home from church…there’s still daylight.  The Doxy is a lone sentinel in the bay window guarding us from renegade roadrunners and the fat, black pug from down the street.  The Texan is in the TV pit (yes, it’s a 1960’s house).  Suddenly, the wiener dog’s nose wakes up and realizes full potential.  She begins tracking INSIDE the house.  This involves the high-pitched hound dog bark and nose to the ground meaning Roxy Doxy is on the job.  The Texan hollers at me and we follow Doxy to our farthest back bedroom.  This is what greets me.  Avert your eyes.

What looks like a perfectly normal bed to the untrained eye is really a stray cat habitat.  This is made clear by the offending hairball.  See the hairball on my 800-count thread Egyptian cotton, unironed sheets?  Don’t be the ironing judge and take a look at the offending hairball.

This cat has loved our bed….looks like many, many times leisurely scratching it’s hairy back on this bed!  Doxy is half-out, half-under the stray cat habitat, formerly known as ‘bed’.  You are bright enough to envision the rest of this story.  Lots of barking, running, flashlight dropping and the tabby with the precious white mitts racing out the doggy door.  Click-click.  Trap re-set.  Still no cat.  Not much sleeping went on Wednesday night.  Roxy Doxy had trouble comprehending a sneaky feline had invaded her safe and what she thought cat-free home.  I’m still having trouble sleeping…..click-click….I KNOW he’s out there……...click-click
scary barn cat

Coronado was here-faces of Pacheco


Juan Andres Pacheco.  Former caretaker of this portion of America’s vast grassland.  He wasn’t the first.  The Native Americans…the Spanish…the Mexican vaqueros once inhabited this land.  Natives still roam the landscape.


Along with current ranch occupants.


The ranch family tree keeps branching.


Coronado explored this part of North America searching for the Seven Cities of Gold.


He didn’t find the cities.  He found the great American West.


Did he observe how the sky swallows one up in this part of New Spain?


The blood of Coronado’s lost horses beats true in the hearts of our equines.  The land and beast stewardship continue.


Doesn’t matter your age.


Doesn’t matter your sex.


There’s no time to question.


Just get the job done. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but sometimes it is.


Wisdom is available. Listening required.


Years of abundance blend with years better forgotten; drought, fire, record snowstorms.


Loss is a companion.


 Pulling on boots can signal hope.


Work is unending.  Cattle don’t consult calendars or time pieces.


Moments treasured with family and friends in precious, cool water.  Perhaps we’ve found our Cibola?


mountain mysteries

On our recent trip to the cabin, the air was abuzz with bears and rumors of bears; one man spied the bear at the salt lick across the lake, another spotted him at dusk circling the small pond. In my imagination, the bear looked something like this.

(Not OUR Actual Bear)

We kept a watchful eye on the wiener dog…especially around dark-thirty. Don’t think she would even make a good hor d’oeuvre for a bear but I’d rather not find out.  We didn’t hang up our hummingbird feeders.  Didn’t care to provide a bear with a sweet evening cocktail.
This next photo proves we are determined, brave mountain walkers.  In your face, bear!!!  You ain’t stopping hardy Texas stock from stompin’ in the woods and takin’ in the sights.  Walking in the cool mountain air is the best, isn’t it?

OK….OK…it was a little disconcerting to gingerly step over disemboweled fish on all the paths around the lake. These luckless  lake-trout had their heads bitten off and their bodies basically shredded. Not caused by humans.  But a bear’s gotta eat, right?  And bears love fish….so whatevs.
These mountain lakes are home to many interesting species (besides bears) and we were fortunate enough to spot some of them.  
I managed to snap the endangered Mountain Dachshund Boot-Scraper Mole (genus-wienerus) while it was digging outside one of the cabins.  Stealthily crawled on my belly and ruined a good pair of jeans to bring this stunning shot to you.
You’re welcome….not many of these left in the wild.  Most live in captivity at the Stuttgart National Zoo.
The eagle-eyed Sprout was first to see this next prize. She quietly motioned me over for the photo.

A thrilling capture, n’est pas??! One of the very few Giant Striped Slinky Finches (genus-metallicus re-bara) seen in the Northern Hemisphere. You thought it was the famous Sealy Posturepedic Coneheaded Crane (genus-matressvia firma)? No…no….that’s an easy amateur’s mistake to make. It’s positively the giant finch.
Smiling as the giant finch took royal flight, I high-fived the Nikon!  Imagine finding the Wienerus and the Metallicus Re-bara in the same day?  What could possibly be NEXT?  I was about to find out.
Rounding the trailhead, I raised my chin as the sun streamed through the budding aspens.  This surprise awaited me.

SCORE! Not so rare perhaps, but a fun capture of a beautiful elk grazing on the hill. I lifted the camera and took a few shots before he startled.

You probably won’t believe this, but he seemed almost tame. I think he would have eaten out of our hands had we offered. Weird.  The effects of global warming, no doubt.
We had hiked a long way and our feet were tired:  time to head back.  Little did we realize what horror awaited us.  I’m sorry to have to show you this next picture.  I’d like nothing more than to tell you we skipped home and gaily ate S’mores and milk and talked about our perfect day of capturing unbelievable images of rare animals on film. But no, Marlin Perkins, that is not how this day ended!
Making our way back, we came upon the site where I had earlier happily snapped the Giant Striped Slinky Finch.  Steady yourself….for I am about to show you…..the utter bloody massacre we unwittingly stumbled upon.  Behold the finch carnage.

All color left my face as I blinked back bitter tears while staring at the Slinky Finch’s lifeless carcass hanging in the branches. What the hell happened? Had he dropped from the sky like a flaming meteor? Had he come upon the territory of a lurking predator who snapped his fragile slinky neck? Bewildered, the Texan and the Sprout tried to console me. ‘At least you got the shot, Mom’ the Sprout cheerfully chirped. Yes….I got the shot, but I was feeling strangely hollow.
Turning toward home, we sadly drug our feet on the gravel road (thinking of the pitiful Slinky Finch and a good day gone bad) when we came upon this.

You are absolutely correct.  You REALLY are Marlin Perkins!! Bear scat (or poo, or turds, or doo-doo, or baby ruths)!! ‘Crap…the bear’s been here!’, I screamed.

Well…… fellow Jack Hannahs and Steve Irwins……. that’s how this day ended. I don’t have absolute proof. Nobody saw anything but there’s one less gorgeous Giant Striped Slinky Finch gracing the mountains. Next time we’re out walking, the bear better hope he doesn’t run into me!  This chick don’t take kindly to brazen attacks on an innocent, rare bird.

a mountain walk-the dog’s eye-view

Went to the cabin over the Memorial Day holiday.  The Texan’s grandfather bought a cabin in the Pikes Peak area in the late 1940’s (?) and our family has been lucky enough to spend many summers up there. 

Don your hiking boots, grab a fishin’ pole and fall in line for our hike.  I’d love to show you the sights.  The Texan found his favorite fishin’ hole.

The Sprout on a rock fishin’ with the ever-present, helpful fishin’ dogs.

Hey,  you gotta bite GP? Sophie is lookin’ interested!

Sic ’em Sophie!

Run Reba, run! Is that Roxy-Doxy in the background? Whatcha sniffin’ Roxy? Is that a dead, smelly fish??!

No Doxy, no! Oh….&@#+*%$*^%!! You rolled in the smelly, dead thing! Lovely.

Hope you’re proud of yourself, wiener-dog. I see a bath in your future.

Shhhh…walk very softly. The Texan has laid his head on his tackle box. Getting a little shut-eye, huh? Long walk wore you out, Texan?  Altitude gettin’ to ya??

Doxy, Reba!!….don’t bother the Texan….can’t you see he’s trying to rest?

Shhhhh….Soph! Don’t kiss the Texan…he’s resting. You fishin’ dogs are out of control!

Where we see a resting Texan, the Sprout sees an obstacle for one of the fishin’ dogs to practice her mad jumping skills.

Jump Reba, jump!! MJ and LeBron in a goldendoodle body!

Does the Texan look like a log to you? Is this any way to have a peaceful mountain nap?

Can dogs smile? You be the judge…..

There’s lotsa smiles in the mountains…that’s just the way it is. Hope our mountain walk made you smile today. I’ll show you some other interesting mountain critters soon.
A fantastic weekend to all!

‘thank you’ isn’t enough

To those who lost their lives in selfless service to our country,
To those who have served in any branch of the military. 
To my dad and two uncles who served in WWII.
To those who are currently serving our nation at home and abroad:
I salute your service.  Please accept my undying gratitude and thankfulness for your contribution.
Your deeds will not be forgotten. Your example inspires me to cherish freedom and attempt to live each moment more fully.  Thank you.