DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

Another day of 100 plus heat! Is this what they call the “Dog Days of Summer”? I think I’ll stay inside, thank you very much, and lie here on the sofa, with my pillow, and catch some zees.

Mom’s made sure there is plenty of water for all of us and, even though she has the thermostat set pretty high (86 degrees), she has all the fans going so it’s quite comfortable in the house.

I feel sorry for the horses, the goats, and the cows ’cause they have to stay outside. Mom says she’s going to bathe the horses in a little while. They get all sweaty, and salty, and itchy from the heat. She washes them down in the front yard so the grass can have a drink.

Well, gonna take a nap now. See ya’ll next time!

DROUGHT!

Dry pasture

It is hot and it is dry! Mom is really getting worried about the lack of rain: grass is dying, plants are dying, trees are stressed… We still have hay from last year’s last cutting, but the grass for this year’s cutting isn’t growing. Us dogs and cats will be OK, but my horse and goat friends, and the cattle might not be. They need the hay to get through the winter, and hay prices are going up, and up, and up.

Dying plants

Mom said that many Texas ranchers are auctioning off their cattle because feeding them is costing too much. I hope Mom won’t have to do that. I like my cows. I don’t want to see them go.

 
 

WEEKENDS AND HOLIDAYS

I love weekends! I love holiays! I love’em ’cause my Mom gets to stay home all day. It’s hard having a working Mom. We get up at 4am so she can feed my brother and me and little Sammy (he’s Big Mom’s dog), and all the cats (there’re five of them: Chewbakka Swiftpaws, who helps me type my blog, Indiana Manywhickers, Lukey Longshanks, Nena Greyshadow, and Jessica Snowpaws).  By the time she gets through with us, and showering, and dressing, it’s time for her to leave, and I don’t get to see her until she gets home around 5pm. 

I spend the day with Big Mom. She’s a good egg, but at 87 she moves kinda slow, and I have to be careful not to trip her up ’cause she could easily fall and break a bone. I sleep by her bed until she gets up, and sorta follow her around the house to make sure she’s okay. My brother Rio likes to spend his time outdoors; although nowadays, with all this heat, he’ll stay inside half of the time. Guess you could call him “Mister In-and-Out”.

This weekend Mom pulled up the old carpet in the living room. Rio and I think it’s great since now we get to lay on the cool cement! Besides that old carpet was smelly, too.

Ri on cement floorMe on cement floor

See y’all next time!

THE HAWK

Unlike the South Ranch which has a wide expanse of pasture, the North Ranch, where I live, is full of trees: pine trees, oak trees, pecan trees, magnolia trees, even a mulberry tree. And where there are trees, there are birds.  In this case, Red-Tailed hawks.

My first encounter with one of these birds was on a clear day. I was sniffng around one of the oak trees when I hear this screeching sound. I looked up to see something come falling out of the sky. I watched, waiting for whatever it was to hit the ground.; but, instead of hitting the ground, it soared upward again and I could see something hanging from it as it disappeared amid the trees.

“Did you see that, Barkley?” my Mom asked. “That was a red-tailed hawk, and it looks like he just caught his dinner.”

“Wow!” I thought to myself. “So that’s what it was.”

I trotted off in the direction I saw the hawk disappear, hoping to spot it again. But no luck.

A few days later, I saw the hawk again. This time it was sitting on one of the fallen trees (we still have a few of them around: reminders of hurricane Ike.) “Hello,” I called out.

The hawk turned an eye towards me and spread its wings as though to fly off: “Stay away,” it warned. The voice was female.

I stopped in my tracks. “I saw you catch whatever it was you caught the other day. Very impressive.”

“Rat,” the hawk replied. “And thank you.”

“How can you fly through the trees so fast without flying into one?” I asked.

“We see faster than you can. I think humans call it flicker threshold. What is a blurr to you, is slow motion to me so I can fly between the trees and not hit them.”

She remained silent for a moment, then cocking her head said: “I must leave now. I must hunt. My little ones are hungry.”

Withwhat she spread her wings and took off.

I watched her go, wishing I too could fly.

Hawk photographs courtesy of Tony Northrup – www.northrup.org

THE COWS

Barkley, here.

I told you I live on a ranch where there are lots of cows, so I thought I’d introduce you to some of them:

This is Molly. She’s one of our older cows and a real good momma. I’m careful not to get too close to her ’cause she can really kick! Learned my lesson when I was a pup and lost my two front teeth.

And this is what it looks like from my point of view when I’m herding the cows.

Pretty imposing, wouldn’t you say?

And here’s our bull. He stayed a while at the North ranch (where I live) until he was moved back to the South ranch with the cows. Got to know him well. He’d see me coming and head straight for the pen. “OK, ok, I’m going,” he’d mumble. “You don’t have to show off.”

I guess you could call him a gentle giant, although I never let my guard down with him. Neither does my Mom. A bull is a bull is a bull. And that’s no bull.