A ('nother) week at warp speed and a failure to photograph

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sooo, I'm thinking you may have noticed the lack of response to comments along with a missing post last Saturday (DD sent me a text asking me what happened to it - Mom finally face planted, honey ;o) As much as I enjoyed having a happy houseful, I had a tough time getting adequate rest and struggled really hard to function through a completely disrupted routine (something at which I do NOT excel). When DH's nephew and DD with their respective canine entourages unexpectedly extended their visits for two additional days, I wound up trying to pack for a trip to visit my friend Sandy in the middle of it all - my thought process frequently disrupted by conversations and canines alike. I normally spend the better part of a day packing; I like to do it systematically so I don't forget anything (and ahahaha right?). I should add that we all had a wonderful time, and I would not have changed it by having them leave any earlier than they did. Ultimately, we all ended up leaving the house for our individual destinations at about the same time Sunday, which was kind of weird. Sandy, who knows me too well, was extremely concerned I might forget my saddle in the midst of my eleventh hour packing frenzy . "Are you kidding?" says I, "That was the first thing I put in the car! I may wind up wearing the same clothes for three days or riding in my pajamas, but I WILL have my saddle." It's all about the priorities people, right? ;o) [photo inset: My Kincaid AP leather saddle with it's fabulously deep seat; it turned out to be incredibly comfortable considering the bargain basement price - BooYeah!]

I don't know what it is, but every time I start up the driveway to Sandy's I can feel myself start to relax; feeling tension I don't even know I'm carrying magically dissipating. Amazing, really, and the reason I have dubbed her house "Sandy's Spa". *laugh* We went for a couple of leisurely trail rides on Monday and Tuesday through some fabulous forest trails about five minutes from her house. We had the most marvelous time! There are approximately 82 miles of trails there for riders and hikers - isn't that awesome? Of course we had to leave pretty early in the morning; it was HOT. Thankfully, the woods stayed fairly cool although we did cut our ride short on Tuesday due to the extreme temperatures (I kept a watchful eye on both the temp and the all-important heat index with my cell phone - what did we ever do without them?) We saw three deer - one, then two - they were there one minute and gone the next. It's amazing to me how they can just "vanish" into the dense underbrush without a sound. I wish they had held still long enough for a photo op (and I'll bet you do too!) but they were so fast, that by the time it registered they were long gone. Well, poop eh? ;o) The most fascinating thing this year was the butterflies; they were everywhere! I remember asking where they were hiding last year as we rode through Butterfly Crossing; there weren't any butterflies at all (I felt cheated *sniff*). This time, however, I was delighted to see Tiger Swallowtails, Black Swallowtails and a number of others whose names I don't  know fluttering in and out of the trees and happily chasing each other all around the trails. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of them either (and how sorry is that?) [photo inset: A small section of the map showing the many different criss-crossing trails]

On Tuesday afternoon, DH and I accompanied Sandy to rescue a sheep and a goat. [photo inset] Meet Amanda. Can you imaging wearing those winter woolies in the southern summer when the heat index was 105? Turns out that this is about three years worth of wool. Ack! The woman who was "baa-bysitting" *cough* (sorry) spoke to Sandy and explained the situation. It seems that a few years ago her owners, who were having a serious medical crisis (which I definitely understand), had asked her if they could leave the goat and sheep in her pasture until they were able to come back and get them, but then never did (I'm having a tough time with that part). I mean, three years? Yeesh. In any case, the two of them had been pretty much without human contact for the past three years (outside of the woman feeding them) and they had grown pretty wild. The woman said she would try to get them into a large pen for us. When we arrived, the goat managed to duck under the fence and headed straight for the hills, but Amanda couldn't fit so she took evasive maneuvers. You would think that a sheep carrying that much wool wouldn't be able to go very fast. Well let me tell you, that girl could RUN. It took the four of us slowly moving inward with our arms spread out to maneuver her into a small holding pen. I couldn't believe she didn't keel over from a heat stroke; all of us were just sure she would, but she didn't. Once she was penned she settled a bit and Sandy was able to put a halter on her and walk her (rather reluctantly) into the trailer, with Amanda yelling her head off the whole time (poor girl). We never did catch that goat (Sandy and her husband were going to go back for her at another time).

Of course the first thing Sandy did when we got back was to shave all that wool off. Although Sandy had never actually sheared a sheep, she'd been a professional dog groomer before and was pretty doggone (ha) handy with the clippers. She went after the clippers while I grabbed the big box fan from the house to try to keep them cool and then DH and I watched her go to town. I got an empty 50lb feed sack and stuffed the wool in there as it fell to the floor; when that one was overflowing, I started on another. We wound up with three bags full - just like in the nursery rhyme ;o) Unbelievable. You know she had to feel so much better without all that extra weight - not to mention about a hundred degrees cooler! Sandy turned her out with the goats who had, apparently, never seen a sheep before. I got some free entertainment as Amanda, (who was in the market for a new goat gal pal to hang out with), ran after the goats to find a friend. The goats, thinking it was some kind of weird alien invasion, scattered briefly before converging into a panic stricken bleating blob and taking off down the hill. Poor Amanda - it seemed nobody wanted to be her friend. She sure tried though:

and tried:

and tried:

Eventually, she gave up and stood there for a moment [photo inset] before turning to look stonily at the billy (the only one brave enough to go near her). Of all the missed photo ops over those two days, this is the one I lamented the most. Amanda appeared to be deep in thought, when she suddenly dropped her head and leapt at the billy. WHAM! Her head connected solidly with his side, sending the billy crashing to the ground. Honestly? It was hard to say who was more shocked: me or the billy. I guess he was pretty mortified; he lurched to his feet and hightailed it around to hide behind the barn. Nothing like a little public humiliation, eh dude? Beat by a girl, no less; how embarrassing. Pretty sure I know the answer to the friendship question from HIS perspective, don't you? After a late supper it was time to head home (*sniffle*). I think I fell asleep about 5 minutes after we hit the road; I was pooped ;o) We got back around midnight (late nights: something else I do NOT excel at). I pathetically crawled out of bed on Wednesday morning, fighting hard throughout the day to keep my bloodshot and gritty eyes at half mast. Didn't staying out late used to be easier? Don't I have vague and distant memories of staying out all night and/or getting home in the wee hours, yet still being fully (even mostly would work) functional the next day? Where did that ability go and how do I get it back? Yeesh.

Reality arrived a scant two days later (on Friday), with the beginning of school for teachers. I think this was our shortest summer ever; we wrapped up the year the first week of June and we're back to work the last week in July (wow). I did manage to edit the butterfly photos for you and put them in a short [lightbox enabled] slideshow. There are two Tigertail Butterflies, and one of them (the first photos) appears to have had a narrow escape from a predator. For my email friends, click here to watch it. Enjoy:

As always, thanks so much for reading this far and have a blessed week!

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