Nita's Week

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I've been saying for months now that I am going to order new Scrubbies and I am afraid Kathy thought I was kidding but my old one is limp and near uselessness. It had spent a year outdoors after being used to scrub water pans and brought back inside when I lost the last one.


I had a phone call on the recorder saying it was Carl Evans and it probably was. He talked of having been sick and now doing much better. But no word on writing more or sending in anything.

Randy has started taking Mocha and Suzy on walks with Rocky, 3 at a time. They are doing so well for Randy and I am glad they are getting to go. Mocha was getting fat and needing the exercise. When Randy goes to hook up Suzy, she gets so excited that she trembles with joy. In their yard, Sandy was being the big bully and taking away all her treats. Suzy would just sit at the back of the yard by herself. Now, she has a place close to Marley and is most happy to be out of the yard.

We've had no more rain and the weather people are again talking about drought and fire dangers. I looked today to find that the humidity was below 20% and that's okay for drying laundry but not for keeping the fires away.


Lately, there has been a helicopter or two flying over every day. In this hot weather, that means they have an injured person on the way to the hospital all from motorcycle accidents. Several have died lately and that is not good. When I was in the hospital, I could hear the helicopters coming in on a regular basis.


These weeks are flying on by. These two editions of the newsletter have run together. At first I have very little for the week and then I had to rush to get the second week done. But it's nice to be so busy for a change. Thank you folks.


It's been 3 days now but I did some things I'd not done in a very long time. The first was to get tangled in some branches and fall to my knees. The second thing was to be able to get up without having to wait for help. Awesome. I am still sore and stiff and have a few bruises but hey, I am feeling better.


It was down to 45 both this morning and yesterday morning. Brr. Still got up to 80 this afternoon. And gradually the temps will warm up. The bigger map showed south Texas getting up to near 100 and that's much above normal and HOT.

We had located an affordable travel trailer. But... Randy could not stand up in it. He's tall and just didn't fit. And it was old. But it was close by. Sigh.


Not owls. Mourning doves. All day and most of the night, too. And beautiful and big. They've been coming up to the seed table and the water pans. They looks to be a pair. Awesome.

I've been calling around looking for a used trailer that is in better shape than the one we already have where we could have a working bathroom and kitchen and not break the bank. Setting a toilet and doing all the shower and kitchen work are way too much for Randy. He thinks he is getting too old for such heavy work. And I agree since I cannot help him with much of anything.


Hootie Owl. I am hearing a hoot owl. It's early in the morning, barely sunrise. Cool indeed.


I started this morning by chasing a mosquito. But I lost him/her and it is still seeking my blood. As I walked through the house in the dark, some little fluttering creature buzzed by and I don't know what that was. A big moth, which there are lots of, or a hummer which I doubt but it could be. Don't know. But today, I will be out looking for any standing water and get it dumped out. Several places come to mind. Indeed.


Randy spotted the first hummingbird this morning. He saw 2 later in the day but I have yet to see one. And then I looked out to see one having a sip. He didn't land and was gone so quickly. Wow. Made my day. Ahhh. We had been hearing blackbirds lately and then today I am seeing cow birds and grackles. Did I mention that there are still LOTS of Blue Jays around. Always hungry and so well fed. No goldfinch left, they have all moved on along to other places.

Today is our Thanksgiving meal. A big fryer, giblets in gravy, stuffing, and probably some green beans. Forgot the pumpkin pie again but it's too hot a day to keep the oven going for very long. The chicken is getting cooked in the crockpot. Since we didn't get to have a festive meal or celebrate Thanksgiving this past year so this is good. I've been hungry for the taste of dressing with giblets and gravy. Yum.

Randy found and bought Eggies. Cute little plastic things for boiling eggs. We'll see how they do. We'll have deviled eggs. One of them is leaking, we'll see how that works out. The car race he was watching was rained out and he then took a nap to rest his eyes and headache.

It's 82 now and all the little fans are running. HOT. No cool down in the forecast. The wading pool in the puppy yard is filled with cool clean water. Perhaps this will be a mild summer.


The sprinkler is watering the yard and the redbud tree. There is still a large section of the falling Wall of China tree lying across the redbud. There is not much left of the offending tree but it is in the way of getting to any of the garden below. I do miss being able to use those beds but it will one day be a good garden. Yet I must now get realistic about using only raised beds that I can reach.

After a week or more of cold, we're back to 80 degree days and by the forecast, it looks like it will stay that way for the next week or so.

We are not seeing any gold finches. They have moved on, probably north.


I asked Randy to look for some new hummingbird feeders. They often show up at the end of March and I want to be ready. I only saw one gold finch today. Sigh, I will miss them but can now look forward to the hummers. I still have plenty of sugar left from last year. It is nice now to have more time in the evenings for supper, puppies and baths. It is just barely getting light in the mornings as Randy gets off to town.

The blue jays are still around which is unusual but Randy has been feeding them very well and they stay close for their hand outs. He buys the nut and fruit mix at the feed store.


Two days until spring and already the oaks are either budding or already have their flowers. Cough, cough, achoo. We were forecast for storms and lots of rain but only got drizzle to a light shower. Nothing to measure.

Blanco, the wild cat, has become a sometimes inside cat. We had 3 straight days of cold and rain where he came inside and stayed. I even set up Sly's litter box for him but he never used it. The dogs are often loose and would chase him from under the house, his only protection from the elements. He does not like being on the roof or up a tree when it is raining or sleeting or snowing. His new spot is by the heater, near the door. Did I mention that he likes rubies and scratching? Since it has warmed up, he is liking the brush outs to remove some of his thick and long fur.

I am feeling better all the time. Less time being winded and more time doing stuff. Actually getting the yard cleaned and working on the big raised bed. That's a bigger chore than it first appeared. Whew.


It's raining. And has been all night long. It is not above a drizzle but all is wet and the sky is gloomy. Staying above freezing, 35 but won't be above 40 all day. No sunshine until Sunday when it all moves off. Then we're back to the 70s and 80s. Spring. The waggie tails are already missing the warm sunshine.

Randy is having a lousy week. The puppies don't want him to sleep late and are proud to tear their way out of their yard and run and bark to get him up and awake. Come and play, Pop. I would like to find a DVD about training doggies. Sigh. Where should I look?

I have the tax program now and will begin today to work on our tax return. No newsletter going out this week. Just work on the return.


Colorado had snow and ice with their windstorm. We had dust with ours. Yesterday and today as well but today was so bad that the inhaler didn't help much if any. Now, we need a decent rain shower to rinse all the trees and plants.


Randy bought me a beautiful pot of blooming tulips. Wonderful. It was the 17th before the water leak was fixed. It was in a line on the pressure tank so it was not something Randy wanted to be having to try and fix.

The puppies have been giving Randy a bad time getting out of their fenced yard. Every way possible they have knocked down the gate, pushed down the lengths of fence and even bent the metal posts. Okay, they are really big doggies. Bad dogs.

Yesterday's rain totaled about 2 inches and was oh so nice. It will take lots of good regular rains to bring us out of the drought. We can just hope that we won't have the horrible long spells of temps over 100. Not good. Even now, when we have a hot day, Rocky seeks out the best water pan to lie in for cooling relief.


Happy Valentine's Day. Our lines had frozen and we are without running water with the problem being at the pump. Randy called the irrigation company but when they didn't show up, he realized that his new cell phone doesn't work. Sometimes but not often. If they got lost, they had no one to tell them what to do. Sigh. Maybe tomorrow.

I'd wished for a hoodie for Valentine's day but will be happy just to have running water again.

We had the snowstorm on Sunday but it brought a lot of sleet with it. Randy took a few steps out the door early in the morning only to fall. Poor POP.


I'd made a note earlier that I thought I heard from Carl Evans. Don't think so. The person called back and I talked to him on the phone. The voice was not right and he came close to asking where we lived. He suddenly had to go, so I said okay and hung up. He has not called back and I won't answer the phone again. Whatever. He did mention sending me poetry written by other people. Why would I want that? I don't know. Perhaps a joke of some sort. If it was Carl, I may need to remove his section entirely.

Randy is out with the chainsaw cutting trees away from where we are now planning to put a small travel trailer. Something with a bathroom and a kitchen so we can live in our new house. We will see.

There is still so much dust and sand in the air that I have trouble breathing inside the house. For now, the air filter is running all the time, we even moved it to the living room for a while. It does help a lot. I was a very bad girl and had stopped taking my prescriptions when I could not get to talk to the doctor about them. Bad idea. A trip to the ER this past Thursday got me started again and that doctor made me promise to call the doctor and get a new appointment. The soonest will be this coming Thursday. 


About 2:30 this afternoon, we were hit by a bad old windstorm, high gusty winds blowing up sand and clay until the sky was red. Made it most difficult to breath and the visibility was limited. It lasted until about 5 and stopped as fast as it moved in.


I think I got a message from Carl Evans today. On the telephone recorder. But how would he be able to get our number and why not just send an email. I do not know but by the sound of what he had to say, he'd been in the hospital near death but was now back up and around. He did not say if he'd be writing more but we can wait and see.

I didn't get a nap this morning, oh poor me. HA. The waggie tails had escaped their yard and were having fun adventures. When I got out and about, Sandy and Suzy were still inside their yard. This afternoon I got out and figured out how to get the gate open. Suzy tried to make a break for it but I kept her inside. Rocky and Dusty ran right in heading for the food pan and fresh water. Mocha got half way in and suddenly decided that she did not want to go. I asked her if she didn't need something to eat, see the big pan of goodies that POP brought you this morning? She went for it but my arms are still shaking. She is one BIG doggy and I am oh so tired. They are still laid out in their yard, napping. Randy says he'll reinforce the escape route later. All that and I was not winded, my heart was pounding but I didn't have the wiped out feeling like I'd been having. I haven't felt this good in a very long time. My chest hurts but it's from tugging and pushing on Mocha.

Do you know what the boys wearing baggy pants that hang down to show their underwear means? It was on Judge Mathis one day and seems that it was part of the convict's jail life. It means they are looking for a new husband. Good luck with that guys. Eugh. 


We went for my appointment with the regular doctor yesterday but he didn't show up. Okay. Randy voiced his concerns about the stress test next month and how I wouldn't last 2 minutes on a treadmill without getting winded. So, I called today and cancelled the appointments with the specialist. Now, I am on my own. My first step will be to stop the medications. I can find no medical person to find any advice on that. We'll see where that goes. But I had already been concerned that we had to come up with $2,000 for something of no use. I would rather know what is causing the fluid problem that I have. But then Dr. Totoe did not have tests run that would have addressed the liver problem he had worried over and perhaps that why he took the day off and didn't show up for my appointment. Seems doctors don't tell a patient what they are doing. Ah well. I'll never have to see him again. He won't get a second chance.


The phone rang before 5 this morning. It was Randy's cell phone but I never answer it. Within a minute of the ring stopping, the landline started. I was up so I answered right away. Sure enough, it was Jody with Hospice out at the nursing home. Mother was not doing well. Yesterday, they had added a medicine and today she wouldn't breath her oxygen so they took it out. The next call came about 30 minutes later. Mother had died. So, I had to wake Randy to go to the phone to start making arrangements. Randy had gone by the funeral home on Friday to pay for plans and today they picked up her body.

We'd planned to get me to the lab tests tomorrow so the results will be ready for the internist on the 16th. I keep getting email weather warnings that say we are under a snow alert. Perhaps a foot of snow between today and Monday afternoon. We'll see how that goes. The snow that was on the radar this morning, disappeared within a few hours.

I think the weight scale is broken. Okay, it's just me and I haven't lost any weight in the last several weeks. My bad. But we've had such good things to eat.

I reminded Randy that we have an anniversary coming up in a few days. He was needing something else to be thinking about.


Merry Christmas to all and may God bless you and keep you safe.

The snow started about 9 this morning and was off and on but with an occasional rain shower, the snow melted and was washed away. But it was fun to watch all those flakes falling. We had a nice quiet day with Randy cooking some new to us Chinese dishes. Recipes from a new book he found at the grocery store. Now, how can I loose weight eating these delightful dishes?


The weather folks say we got about 1/2 inch of rain yesterday and it did stay cloudy all morning. Now, it is a soupy drizzle but not really cold. 61 for a high and 60 for the low. Odd enough but just the wave before the next cold front. Such is our weather. The puppies were bad today. I had to call Randy at work about 11 this morning and moan the fact that they were almost all running down the driveway. Hank's barking had made it impossible to nap and there was no way I could get them back in their yard and fix the fence. Ooooh, Randy was not happy to hear me telling him of the problem and asking if he could come home and fix them. Not one little bit. I got an abrupt NO but then an email saying he'd be home at lunch time. He did but hurried to head back to town as soon as they were confined. Bad puppies. Only Marley stayed on the good doggie list. Sparky had broken her line and probably started the breakout.


Early this morning, we lingered at 36 degrees and then it started dropping to our current freezing level. That means we'll probably be without running water until it thaws again. I am feeling quite good. Did lots of lifting and heavier stuff yesterday and am sore from that but otherwise very good. My heartfelt thank yous to all who kept me in their thoughts and prayers. You are angels and my comfort.


It was down to 19 degrees this morning but with a clear sky and beautiful sunshine, made it to 50 this afternoon. Lovely. Inside was warm enough to turn off all the heaters. I feel okay but have to remind myself that I have a knife wound in my chest and must not cause it stress. Otherwise, hey, I feel pretty good.


It rained for about 2 hours yesterday, off and on about 2 inches at least. It started snowing last night and is still snowing lightly at noon. The snowballs falling right now are from the tree branches. It's 32 degrees and it won't warm up. Tomorrow morning will be cold and will freeze anything left on the roadways. Oh joy but we sure needed the moisture.


9 p.m. and it is snowing, but just a few flakes. 10 p.m. and it is sleeting. 10:30 and it is raining lightly barely more than a drizzle.


Just got word from the Heart Specialist calling to schedule a procedure for next week. It will be overnight probably and I will be asleep when the put a needle into my chest to drain fluid from around my heart. Oh joy, Happy Birthday to me. Sob. There will be no newsletter edition next week. Remember me in your thoughts and prayers.


Randy related his latest puppy funny yesterday. He'd been noticing that occasionally the water in the new puppy yard was running. He knew he always turned it off so he started watching. And he walked up quietly enough to catch Rocky in the act, at the faucet turning it on. It was not a hot day and they were not in need of water so Randy was challenged to fix the set up and make it where puppy could not get to the faucet. Smart puppies.


Indian Summer is here to enjoy. Today was the second day that I heard the summer geese taking to the sky for the return flight to parts way up north. I waved and wished them a good trip. They did sound eager for the adventure. Most nights are at freezing, just below or very close to it. Today was a drizzly, cold north wind type of day but we'll hold out for the warm sunshine. All the puppies are sun dogs and love to lie in the rays for warmth. Perhaps tomorrow the clouds will scatter and let old sol shine through.

A good week indeed, no chest pains. I am gradually working up to having more strength. Concentrating on diet and a little exercise.


I looked in the mirror yesterday and it scared me. Blotches of red under my eyes and don't know what that was about. My eyes do hurt but gee whiz. My nose still feels broken and probably is. But it's better every day and not really anything I can do about it. I am losing weight fast and that is nice. I feel better now. I can walk more and do more and don't get so winded. Better every day.

I want to thank all my friends, relatives, writers and readers for all their kind and comforting words. You make this all worthwhile. I will keep the newsletter going for as long as I can.


A pet funny of the week. Randy relates that on one recent trip to Pet Smart he was in line at the check out when he felt a scratching on his pant leg. So, he looks down to his shoe to see a very small doggie looking up at him. His paws were raised with one extended for a shake. He couldn't resist the offer and took a minute to shake and have a conversation with the little guy.

I spotted the first goldfinch yesterday. What a delight ! ! Lots more today when the word got out that there are plenty of seeds to be found. They are such a delight. Today there were at least 2 dozen show up to eat some sunflower nuggets. They seem to only appear in the mornings.

Feels like Indian Summer to me. It's 82 degrees right now after a low of 55. Night before last it was freezing before it started warming back up again. Lovely weather. Winter is when it freezes and stays there for a week.


Just had a visit from a neighbor telling me that they were going to shoot our dogs for running their calves and the deer. He said that they had been shooting over their heads but since they wouldn't quit, they'd next be killed. Randy asked me to try and get them into their new fenced yard. I've tried that before and it didn't work. We'll see. Just from the exhaustion of standing and talking, I am shaking like a leaf.

On a happier note, the goldfinches have returned. They are eating happily on the sunflower nuggets. It should be interesting to see how many doggies will follow me into the fenced yard. Sigh. I'd rather sit here and watch the little birdies.

Oh the joys of a new computer. I had the newsletter finished, finally, last night and went to open the upload page that Randy fixed for me only to find that it did not have what I needed. I found all the pieces but not to where I could put my info on them. So, today the rest will be put into place and I can have the newsletter up and going soon.


Another day and I am alive and well to see it. Nice. Both of my daughters have now called to check on me and say I love You. Very nice.

The big chore of the day has been to wash dishes. I washed clothes yesterday and caught up. There just isn't a lot to do around here without going outside. Today it's too cold but we'll be nice and in the 70s by the weekend. I might just go outside.

My oldest daughter was telling me that I should have stayed at the hospital to have the stints put in place. It may yet come to that but I need badly to lose a lot of weight first. Randy bought a new scale but it's a fancy one and we cannot make it work yet. We'll get there.


Today is Wednesday and I returned Monday evening from a week's stay in the luxurious Medical Center. By the time we left for the city on that glorious Tuesday morning, I knew I was getting NO air into my lungs. Talk about scared, that was me. Randy was sleeping when I woke him urging him to hurry, we had to get to the hospital right away that I was getting worse by the minute. Please hurry and that he did. He's such a wonderful guy. And he's been helping me all along the way. Tonight, he is shopping for food I can eat. When one has Congestive Heart Failure, that means no salt, no fats and no sugars. I want to stay away from the fluid buildup around my heart. Now that I am better, I want to stay that way.

Randy couldn't believe how hard it was to find no or low salt foods. We had to agree that the only way to eat healthy is to cook it myself. And that I will.

I remembered why my right nostril was hurting. That's the side they put the tube down me. Man, that sure did hurt. The bruises from my finger tips to my elbows are starting to fade away already. But nothing will remain like the experience and making sure I don't go through that again.



Has anyone ever become sick from being around a lot of mold? And dust mites? I am avoiding going into the back room and finally feeling better. Doesn't seem to be anything I've eaten that is keeping me sick. Randy was also having trouble eating the sugar free syrup and we stick with the Smucker's sugar free jams and preserves. Good stuff.

We are 20 degrees warmer this morning than yesterday but it is the warmth in front of the coming cold front. Again we'll dip down to freezing and have several very mild days. Hey, this is fall and as close at it gets. Still too hot on the in between days to grown any cool weather crop. They'd all go to making seeds.

This is a new computer and most is difficult to learn. I can hardly believe that PhotoDraw is not just still working but is now supported and improved. I am happy so far with what I am finding but there are so many other little bugs that I wonder why things were changed at all. But then, they don't ask me. I went to use my usual script in the Birthday section and it was gone. Half the available fonts and a lot of those were arabic and hebrew and things I don't know what they were.


I have proven to myself that I cannot eat any of the sugar free syrup as it makes me sick beyond belief. I will never eat it again. But I am finally feeling better.

The days are around 90 now with nice and chilly mornings. No rain in the forecast but a big time cold front coming this way for the middle of the coming week.  That will be fun. Some days won't get out of the 60s. Ahh.


The basketball coach/weatherman called it a "major rain event" and it is indeed that. It started raining about 2 this afternoon and is still raining. From heavy to moderate. The news update reported totals so far coming in from 2 to 4 inches. Lovely since by the radar, it will keep on all night long and perhaps tomorrow. What a relief from the fire danger. The rain is a drizzle now but it's almost 2 a.m. and the puppies will be glad to dry out a bit. It's also fairly cold and they hate being inside their houses.

I apologize for not getting a newsletter sent out for the past week but it just was not to be. I was sick for over a week and just glad to be feeling better. I have a list of the stupid things that happened to get in the way but that's of no interest.


We bounce from one cold front to another with hot days in between. Today is actually the 28th but I am still making corrections on the newsletter. I plan another trip outside to gather logs to help hold down the extra chicken fencing, to keep the doggies from escaping their new yard. Their running loose is driving me nuts. They try to follow Randy down the road and spend most of the morning off I don't know where. I fear they will get into trouble and get shot by the drunk neighbor. Rumor says his wife kicked him out but that doesn't mean he won't be around. He is evil. Randy has made them a very nice yard around the A frame that was used by Beau and Sammy. It will need repairs before it gets really cold.

The trees are looking dead from winter cold but we've not yet had any freeze. It's the heat they had to endure and about half are just plain old dried up but the leaves are not yet falling... guess that will wait for the cold. We badly need a good soaking rain. None of the tropical storms and hurricanes have made it up into Texas to give us the rains we often get during this season.


Yesterday was a day of rain. Oh so nice on and off all day long. Probably between 2 and 3 inches total but my rain gauge is in pieces and scattered around the yard. Silly puppies. The frogs were not chirping but I know they will be helped by some soaking rain. There were only about 4 of them in all. The drought will be around until we get some regular soaking rains. Many of them.

The truck is in the shop and we'll hold our breath until the results come in. The beast can be very expensive. 

Wanda said in a message that she would be sending notes this weekend so, I shall wait for them. I've finished work on everything else that I have for the newsletter.


I doubt that he gets to read this but I am wishing A.M. Jones a happy birthday. That's my little brother. Suddenly all my letters were coming back undelivered and no response to my phone calls. But I think about him and his family all the time and miss them all and wish for them the very best. Yes, he has a birthday coming up.

Last week, we set record highs. Last night and probably 2 more nights this week we'll be setting all time record lows. Down to 45 or 50 and that's just fine. Even the puppies are full of energy. They still love their fresh cold water but now they don't have to spend the day lying in the cool damp sand. The humidity is higher and it did take a while for the laundry to dry but that's okay.

Randy was telling me about how the puppies were out at the house helping him. He looked once to see Suzie dragging off the broom. He has to be careful what he leaves where the pups can get to things. His laugh of the week was when he took the week's garbage to the big can down on the county road. He quietly leaves when they aren't looking but they do notice and when he gets back, there is Suzi barking at him. Angry that he went anywhere without her. She stays close beside him all the time he is out and about.

The humidity was lower than ever today. 10% and feels like the air is sucking the moisture out of everything.


5:30 p.m., 13% humidity and 107°F.  Some clouds and it's down to 105. Yes, that 107 broke the all time record high. Our normals are 92 and 70. We are to get down to 79 tonight and that will be good. But the forecast shows gradual cooling. Yeah !

Wanda sent in her diary notes but it is already late, I am tired and will get much done tomorrow.


It  rained this afternoon. Storms heated up with the 105 record making lots of small storm cells. Most just brewed for a bit and faded away. But it was so nice. Made the puppies all bark at the thunder trying to make it go away. Puppies don't like the lightning and thunder and only a few would run for cover. The seemed to like the cool down. Probably was only about 2 inches but very nice.


The night after it had rained our low was down to 72 and it was ever so delightful. We didn't stay with that as a trend though. Last night was a record high low temp for the date in history... 80 and most miserable what with the higher humidity. The days are right at 100 every day.

This past Thursday, Marley went to the vet for her surgery, fixed so she won't have any more pups. She was sure hurting the first few days but she's fine now. Next will be Mocha and Sandy.

I have run out of time to post Dollar Stretcher's latest. It will wait for this coming week.

Randy brought home a "love seat" that is very nice. Took lots of work to get it into the house but I think Randy has finally recovered. The futon went to the doggies who love it.


It's raining ! ! I woke to big time thunder, lots of it. There was already rain dripping from the roof but the radar didn't make it easy to tell which way it was actually moving. There is rain falling gently but steady. And it's 75 degrees. What joy. The storms had been moving around us for two days and we'd not had any. This is nice. We really don't want the hail or flooding that some areas are having but the pups have plenty of places to get under for protection. It should move on off in plenty of time for Pop and his road gang (Randy and the pups) to get their walk. Wow, it's still raining.


I saw a painted bunting yesterday, delighted since I'd not seen one in over a week. The dove are coming up into the yard for seeds at the feeder and water from the big pans. I saw a hummer this afternoon but realized that there was a half-inch of dead ants inside the bottle. So first priority is to clean the bottle and fill it with fresh nectar.

We were up to 107 today but have already dropped to 105 and it's just passing 6 p.m. The weather guy was showing the lines of a front that could possibly bring us some rain. A slight chance tonight and even better chance for tomorrow night. Not much but it would be welcomed. Last night that same storm was popping up around Lubbock in the panhandle (north Texas) where it was pouring rain and the temp had dropped from near 100 to 75. Wow. It's been a long time since we were down to 75. The weather folks must be getting a lot of calls since the guy mentioned yesterday that we WILL have fall and it will cool down and the days will grow short. He assured us that he was seeing signs that the pressure dome over us was trying to move on off.


It 's 105°F right now. That ties a record but we could well break that all time record. Whew. It is most miserable with no relief in sight. When I get up in the morning, we're all the way down to the mid 80s and that's not cool even inside the house. With the a/c on, it's a little better. The electric company is threatening rolling black outs. Anyone have suggestions on how to cool down with no power? It's miserable even with the electricity. I've put foil over the window that gets evening sunshine and it did help some. I've closed off the back room that always shows the temp to be 118 by 6 p.m. We did break the record for the day with 106 and it's midnight and down to 92.

I was just out to finish evening chores and there is not a breeze. Just a bit cooler than indoors but not by much and in the sun, it burns the skin. I haven't seen the Painted Bunting at all this week and fear he cannot stand this heat. Poor little birds. But I did turn on the sprinkler for the plants and birds. Part of the periwinkles don't ever get much watering and are dying, so I took the time to move the hose. I gave the pups some long left over popcorn and they thought they were in heaven.

The weather people who are saying that this heat will last into October are now also saying that the drought will last well into next year. Oh my.


On Thursday the 28th, we got rain. It came as a line of pop up showers moved through the area. The first shower was brief and maybe 1/4 of an inch. Then, a bigger cell exploded with just over an inch of rain. How wonderful the sweet smell and delightful wet splashes. The puppies were not at all happy with the thunder but that didn't last for long. It did not soak in but had evaporated by Friday with the new storms moving away. We need more, so much more.

We've had a young Painted Bunting entertaining us for the last three weeks or so. Smaller than an adult but alone and not needing a parent to bring him seeds and teach him how to do it. Beautiful. He comes up to the window sill where his parents didn't come closer than the seed table. The quail have been coming up in their little clutch to get water. They have such a cute little waddle and only fly when startled. I counted  6 dove coming up in the yard for seeds and nuts and probably some water. Mourning dove from the lovely sound of their song.

I had sent out messages 2 weeks ago asking many of our regular writers to give us an update and share with their fans. Not one response. Even my email to Kathy Vilseck was returned saying account had been abused. Don't know what that was about. Could not find her phone number so I will send a snail mail. She had been away for a while so I have not hurried to try and find her as she may not be home yet.


My computer has gone crazy with different fonts and sizes. I don't know what to do fix it. Every time Microsoft makes an update, they throw me back to having a size of about 6 point. Hard to read even for me. Please forgive the mess, I'll keep working to restore order.

Wanda sent in notes last week and again today. It was I who failed to make any notes last week. I am still finding Sly's toys here and there and having to shake off the sadness of life without the little guy.

Randy had a good puppy funny for this week. He's been making a nice big fenced yard for Sandy, Mocha, Susie, Rocky and Dusty. He is still working on it but had raked up a big pile of leaves in one corner thinking he'd need to take them out. No, puppies has different ideas about that. Susie carried out the little sticks and branches to the brush pile while Dusty and Rocky played in the leaves. Randy said Dusty would come running and slide through the middle making leaves fly while Rocky stomped through making crunchy sounds.


No word from Wanda so I will finish the newsletter without her. I have tried every way I can to get Jenn to write more and no reply at  all. I will do some moving next week. For now, I don't want to even  think about it.


Sly died this evening at 6 p.m.


Sly is slowly dying and I am at my wits end. Randy and I are doing little but crying, suffering with broken hearts. We knew he was old but we'd still wished for many more years with the little guy.

I had an email from Wanda saying she was getting situated and would send in  her notes on Sunday. The day is almost gone and I've not heard from her. With little else for the week, I will wait a day or two. Doesn't really matter now does it?


I still have some cute animal photos yet to put onto our pages but for the last several weeks, I've lost the internet every evening and not had it back until the next morning. Not user friendly. Randy says it is not the modem but it must be our service provider. That means that they are limiting the time I have online. Don't know why. I don't call them with problems anymore since the people only ask the same questions. What color lights are lit on the modem. Say what? So, I'll wait until they have enough complaints and then they will have to do something.

Sly is barely hanging on to any strength at all. His one back leg is not working well at all. He cannot get to places he once could but he does not seem to be in pain. He still likes his back rub as usual but his appetite is near nothing and he is loosing so much weight that it is scary. We love the little guy and would have him around forever.

We are up to a count of 27 days of 100 or above temps. Every evening I get out with the water hose and soak down the sand in the areas that the doggies like to sprawl in the cool sand. It helps.

Mocha and Sandy are now wearing their big dog collars. Little do they realize that tomorrow they also get tie out lines and no more running free. Mocha is particularly bad to chase Blanco. Randy has been having to put his food and some water on the roof just so he won't be chased. Mean doggies. Bad girls.

We had a few drops of rain this afternoon but I think that Randy was just joking. Nothing hit the ground.


We have stayed dry for so long now that when the weather guy mentions when we'll have a chance of rain, we're excited. Something to hope for, makes us think of rainstorms we do remember. Getting wet when out and about. Let the roof leak, that's okay.

This has been a very sad week with Donna Schmidtke dying. I was stunned at first and then had to call her son to learn more. She was such a tough lady, having been through so much for so long, it was her time to take it easy and enjoy her own gardens.


We've had two little smatterings of rain drops. But I could count all the drops on both hands. This one just past had a few chunks of hail and a LOT of thunder and lightening. Scary for a few minutes. The puppies don't like either.

As it is after midnight and I do so want to finish this tonight, I will stop for now and hope I can get Randy to put all the pages up on the Internet in the morning.


I was glad that I had not finished the newsletter yesterday as I got notes from Wanda this evening. Nice. They had a freeze and we've had nothing but heat. 106 was the official record breaking mark for the day. Too miserable to do much at all. Still no relief in sight.


I am so very popular a human. At least to our resident Cardinals. I had not realized that we had no working hoses to provide water out in the yard for the water pans. So.... I go out with all the needed good intentions. The first hose was running out to the driveway. ? So, I change hoses on the one remaining hydrant only to find that the hose had major leaks. I think critters had been chewing on it trying to get some water. So I go to change the hoses back only to find that I had tightened it so well that I could not get it off. Okay. I go looking for pliers to get it off. No pliers. Not anywhere. So, I settled for a paper towel. It was enough to give me the grip I needed and get the hose changed out. With most of our sprinklers, we are lucky to get just a little bit of spray. And we were glad to get that. The birds and myself that is. By the time I got back inside to my desk, I look to see over 2 dozen male cardinals. The females show up in about 30 minutes when the guys decided to tell them about the water park. 97 and even I feel like joining them.

We have a new grass fire burning to our north. It's good that it's to the north since the wind is from the south. Our humidity is at 14% and that's dry. They called in a helicopter to help put out the blaze but it's not under control yet. It's also good that we cannot see or smell any smoke.

Our yard looks like we've decorated for Christmas with all the beautiful red birds. Such stunning colors.

Sly is not doing well. He's taken to using the litter box all over the house. I caught him making tinkle under Randy's desk. He doesn't seem to be in pain but he left back leg is not following too well. He woke up wrong yesterday and slid off the filing cabinet. He fell into a hole from which he could not get out. I had to grab him by the back of his neck. As I got him up a little, I could lift from his tummy and get him on out. He was glad to be rescued, I was glad I had seen him disappear.

Tomorrow, I must find the clippers to start cutting out the Ragweed before it starts blooming. It's bad enough when I brush against it just walking down the pathway.


Yesterday, we broke a long time record high temp with 108° but today, we broke a longer standing record with 109. It came with breaking a record high low temp. 84 was that low and was a hot start to a brutally hot day. We'll see how much cooler the incoming front is going to be. Cold breezes sound pretty good right now. But they are forecasting low to mid 90s for the coming week's time. The only cool place is the bedroom in front of the a/c and fan. Miserable.


The newsletter will go out tomorrow since I don't want to wait any longer. Wanda sent in some new notes and photos.

We're staying at miserably hot and that little bit of rain last week did no good but to evaporate. Randy is taking a week's vacation but it's making it hard for him to sleep well at night. He likes to sleep late but that makes it worse even when he gets up at 7.


In all the years of publishing this newsletter, this is the first time I have combined two weeks into one edition. It marked the slowest I've seen yet. Scary indeed.

My, those pups do grow up fast. I can find no information about the problem I have with my camera so I will try a different approach. We will see.

Wanda sent in her notes this week and I am relieved that she still wants to write. She needs our prayers.

Randy is working on the house big time this weekend. He built the frame for our bed and it is in place. It's a small room but we will sleep well within. Every time he goes outside, he has 5 puppies to run along and help him. They enjoy going with him into the new house. The house is more beautiful every time I go see.

We're seeing two and sometimes 3 Pained Buntings out in the yard enjoying the seeds and fresh water.


I'll try and get some pictures of the puppies before they are all grown up. So very cute. I watched this evening as Rocky spotted a frog and followed it. He didn't know what to make of it. We've had a lot of the feral hogs running the woods so we need everyone to be barking and chasing them away.

We hit 102 this afternoon and all were miserable. No real chances of rain in sight but the temps should drop during the week and stay lower. More like the normal they should be.

Don't know if Wanda will be writing for awhile. If you know her, send her a note or email. She needs our support.


Wanda sent us a cold front and we don't want it. Forecast says 38 tonight and colder tomorrow night. Sigh. Not good for the garden. Not good at all. The cukes probably won't mind but it will probably kill the tomatoes. We didn't get out of the 50s today and both the little heaters were running all day. The pups were acclimated to having comfort and not shivering from the cold. But they have places to snuggle up in away from the winds.

We had about 1 1/2 inches of rain last night but we need a lot more. The thunder and lightning had Sandy barking nearly all night long. It came with a bit of hail and horrific winds.

Rats ! I sat to watch the TV and see the last 12 minutes of CSI but the network media broke in to cover Obama's announcement about the killing of osama bin laden. When the media was finally finished, the station went directly to the local news. Obama made the world wait over an hour before he made his speech.

Randy fixed the front steps and handrail for me today. I had fallen on Friday and lay on the cinder blocks for almost an hour before Randy got home and helped me get up. No serious damage but when he'd taken away what I used as a handrail, I had to sit in the doorway and scoot to the top step and then down the side. Not good so he fixed it better than ever today. It's not a ramp like at the new house but it will do. When we move to the new house, I will rarely come back here to this house. I hate taking his time away from working on the house but I had to be able to get in and out of this place and he did such a good job.


I heard the first Whippoorwill on Monday, the 18. Last year he made the area but never got a reply and stopped early in the summer. So far, no answers to his calls this year.

Finally a day of not smelling smoke. It is giving us coughs that won't go away. Another volunteer fire fighter has died so I cannot complain at all.

The loss of Kirk is sinking in. He'd been around enough and had such a personality that he is so missed. I think a lot of Sparky's barks are looking for him, calling him to come back. We miss you Kirk, the one to boldly go where no other puppy had gone before. The serious and somber one to sit beside us watching everything that we were doing like he was learning something every day. I know the hurt of missing the little fellow will ease with time but I'll not be able to call his name and watch him come running with Mocha and Sandy. Goodbye my friend.

We spent some hours this evening trying to get TV programming and could not. Finally deciding our antenna had died, we gave up. When I went to the online Homepage, I read where the terrible storm had knocked out their broadcast antenna and all the power along with power for much of the city. It must have been major since hours have past and they still are not back. We could hear the thunder but the storms went to the south of us and moved on to the east. We actually got a smattering of rain but just enough to make Sandy want to come inside and then it quit.


I did it ! ! I finished the tax return about 3 this afternoon. What a relief to have it done and out of the way. Now, I can catch up with some chores.

Kathy Vilseck had asked if any of the wild fires she had heard about were near us. I said no. But that was earlier. Tonight there is a new fire already 20,000 acres they say. Small towns are being evacuated as they are in the path. Our little town to the west of us was seeing ash falling and heavy smoke. 7% humidity with strong winds?? Not good. But for now, the wind has died down and the front has moved through and it is much cooler.


Still haven't finished the tax return but hope to get it done soon. Perhaps after I get the newsletter done for the week. I had waited on seeing what more receipts Randy had in his truck and he had one that I had needed.

Baby puppy Spot was acting weak on Saturday and getting worse by the hour. And had died by afternoon. Such a sweet little one but the very smallest, a runt perhaps. They are all a result of inbreeding. Little Face is now the smallest and weakest but so far, so good. I had been out on Sunday when we hit 100 degrees for a high. He had been out exploring and come back to the water pan where he plopped onto the ground. I could see the white of his eyes and he didn't want to respond to anything. So, i poured cold water over him. He jumped and jerked around but got up and was active and alert. Today he seems fine. This week is forecast to be cooler and that will be a good thing. (Note: Face died on the 15th.)

Since the wild fires here in Texas have been making the national news, I think everyone has heard about them. None are near us and we pray that they will soon all be out.


Our hearts were broken early this morning. Randy went to gather the pups to bring them inside and found Puff dead. She was such a sweetie with her super softness and almost curly thick white hair. She had seemed acting odd yesterday morning not wanting to wake up when we were getting active. I now worry about the extreme heat  to the extreme cold we've had and I must worry if all the puppies are in danger.

'Tis the season. I will finish up the newsletter and work on our tax return until it is finished. I will not do any fun things outside nor will I play any Solitaire. Randy installed the current program and I am left with no more excuses.


It was late in the day of the 31st that I saw several hummers. Then on Friday, I was seeing them all day long. Today, I see one or two every time I look out the window.

I read on Arlene's page that all their trees were in bloom and it reminded me that I haven't looked at the redbud tree. It is covered with the falling wall of china tree. So sad. And so many excellent garden beds but we cannot get to them for fear of the tree falling on down.


Today is the day to get at least one hummingbird feeder out. I haven't noticed any hummers yet but the 27th to the 1st of April is their noted arrival date. Must hurry along ! ! To me, it means the arrival of springtime. They often must endure periods of cold and even snow but they are happy to be here and I am happy to see them.

I had gone 3 years without being stung by a wasp then this past Saturday morning, I got one. Instead of the usual Benadryl and the days of feeling lousy, I took 2 Zyrtec. And a nap. By the time I woke up 3 hours later, the sting was nearly gone and I had none of the side effects. Nice. That doesn't mean it would work as well for someone else but it sure did for me.


This month has gone by way too fast. I am not getting done the things I need to accomplish. Randy has some tomatoes and green beans and cucumbers started and they are coming along nicely. The hail that came with our little bit of rain did no damage.

The puppies are all growing much too fast. Eyes open and walking on their little legs. One even goes to Randy when he goes out to bring them inside. When he takes Sparky, Marley, Mocha, Kirk and Sandy for a walk, he brings the baby pups inside and I puppy sit. Such fun.



It was brief but a very nice shower.


Puppies don't have their eyes open yet but they are sure growing fast. Even though they are so much smaller than Sparky's babies, they have big fat bellies. Marley has no trouble feeding them all. In her house though, they can escape to get outside. So far, no troubles but I cannot get down to pick one up and move them back inside. They like to bask in the sunshine and will go for the warmest place they can fine. One will be named Spock since he goes boldly where no little puppies have gone before.

The oak trees are getting ready to bud and bloom and so begins another season of allergies. Randy has started some cukes and tomatoes in the greenhouse. They are late getting started but hey, this might just be a good growing season. One would never know if one didn't try.


All 6 puppies are doing well. Randy had gone out yesterday evening and the last one born was cold and weak feeling. He coaxed it to a nozzle and it did begin suckling. Today it was nice, warm and feisty. Randy did take some pictures of Mocha, Kirk and Sandy but did not get them from his camera to my computer. My camera is useless.

Randy had the big laugh the other evening when he had Blanco the kitty in his lap enjoying some rubbies and attention. Sandy got jealous and wanted to be a lap puppy. Poor girl. He had told of a night when he went out with treats for Sparky and Marley but didn't take any for the pups. Kirk got mad and his little feelings were hurt. Randy said he was stomping around, just all upset and letting him know that he was suppose to bring something for the little ones as well. He won't do that again.

Randy built a fine big raised bed for the garden. Can't wait to get it planted. 


These weeks have been most unusual. Today was the first time I've been able to work at my computer all week. The West Inland Energy company has made the rounds of all the oil wells up and down our roads cleaning the wells, some several times. Then they get back to the field to the north of us and they stop but only long enough to set up and drill a new well or two. I can still hear the noise but it's further away. When they drill a new well, they are making noise 24 hours a day and it takes 3 to 4 days. Sigh. But when it is as close as our neighbor's field, the noise covers any thoughts and makes it impossible to work. When the wind is from the north, the smell of diesel fumes is sickening.

Marley has given birth, today, to 6 little squeakers. The one I saw when I went out for a peak was a tan color, just like mom. They are tiny compared to the size of Sparky's pups but Marley was big and fat before hers were born.


I have watched way too many old movies. I know because I noticed today on a very old cowboy and Indians movie that the woman had fancy fingernails. Nicely shaped with pale polish. I don't think so. She had been kidnapped by American Indians and lived in a teepee many years ago. Since our local FOX station quit broadcasting, we have very few programs to choose from. They say their signal is what it used to be yet several of their people do admit that the signal is weak but will be back. I asked when and they quit answering my emails. Sigh. We would have to use a Dish Satellite service and then we could get FOX. Yet they cannot drive down our dirt road without getting stuck. They won't consider us installing the dish ourselves and have no plans for getting a 4 wheel drive vehicle.

Today made 3 days in a row of 81 degrees. The pups are panting. Does anyone know how best to keep them from dangerous overheating. I am working on getting a wading pool and see how that works. The rest of the week looks to be just a bit cooler.


We had a wonderful day of 72 degrees today. Even the puppies were able to stretch out on a blanket outside for their naps. So cute. We were going to have Marley in for her surgery last week but even that would have been too late. It appears she is pregnant. Sigh.

I didn't get a lot done to the newsletter this evening when we lost the internet connection for hours and hours. I have lots of humor to share and hope to get it all ready and in place this coming week.


The puppies have been inside today, yesterday and all of last night. So far, I cannot find the salt shaker. Don't know how they emptied the trash can but they seem to love Kleenex. They were just chewing on Randy's tennis shoes but now they are eating the insides. Sigh. How can they be so cute and sweet one minute and get in things they have just been fussed at the next minute. Kirk had gone under Randy's desk and went toward the bedroom. But he was stuck so I pulled him out. I fussed some more and looked in another minute to see them all lined up, asleep. I checked the forecast and I can take them outside tomorrow probable about noon or so. And hope for no more extreme lows this season.


Monday of this past week brought in a cold front. By that evening, our temps were falling down into the teens. I wrote about the fun in the weather section since we did get 4 inches of rain followed by 4 inches of sleet and then a topping of 8 to 10 inches of snow. Randy didn't have to go into work so we were just trying to keep dishes useable and food to eat. The toilet got flushed and that was a very good thing.

We didn't use up all the water that was stored for such emergencies but as soon as the water thawed enough to give us water in the bathtub, I was busy refilling the jugs and getting them ready for the next wave of cold. We can hope we don't have as long a spell below freezing but it can and does happen. The forecast says we'll have rain and snow tomorrow with the slightly warmer temps so I washed a quick load of laundry and hung things in the bathroom. It always gives me a good feeling to have clean clothes. The water is running in hopes of keeping the line thawed and I can get a running start on dish washing in the morning.

It was about Wednesday or so when I looked up at the hallway ceiling to find that I could see the sky. The heavy snow and sleet had created a new leak. A nice quick flood of our hallway complete with river into the kitchen. A new spot for Randy to patch the next time he is on top of the house. The puppies were very glad to go back to being outdoor pups as soon as the temps were back up. Sparky was so glad to see her babies back, Randy said that she gave him a nudge wit her nose and the happiest look when she saw they were back again and safe.


Randy was telling me how he noticed that when he went to pull off a piece of foil for the grill, it startled the puppies. They didn't know that sound. Then later, he was cleaning and filling their water pan. He looked to watch them as he lifted one part of the hose and the length down near the pups moved along as well. Instantly, the little ones took off running, fast with those little tails pointing straight up. But as they realized their Pop didn't run, they came back to watch his work and get a drink. They are ever so cute.


The puppy funny of the week comes from Randy who got to witness the attack the other day. Sly was sleeping on the floor in front of the heater when Sandy, Mocha and Kirk all spotted him. Guess he looked like just another puppy to them. Randy said that Sandy and Kirk pounced on Sly's back while Mocha bit his tail. At this point, Sly promptly bites Mocha on the ear. She yipped and cried and cried but probably won't be biting Sly anymore. They are all teething but usually don't want to chew on what I want them to.


It took 4 days to have the water running again but we've not been as cold since. Will need to refill all the plastic jugs for extra water but our barely freezing every night will not be nearly as bad.

PHOTOS of the PUPPIES They are just over a month old now !

I can't believe how much trouble a program can be to work with the photos. But I did get a few. One or two of the new house but those will wait until next week.


Last night was 18° for a low and our lines froze. Randy is working on line patching #2 trying to get our water running again. I was able to get a pot of water for heating to wash dishes. Sigh. We might make it through supper and bath time.

The little fibre optics tree went back to its little box but it was sure a nice Christmas pretty.


We're actually getting a few flakes of snow. Not much on the radar but we're surprised at the snow. They told that the Sun Bowl in El Paso was played in the snow and I didn't know that El Paso ever got snow.

Discovered today that little black puppy is not solid black with one white paw, he also has the tuxedo coloring that Sly has. White on his bib and chest. So cute. But they are starting to stand up a bit and not just lie on their tummies. Randy says they look like pot bellied pigs when they lie on their sides with the big belly hanging out. We asked Dorothy Tweedt's permission to name our little brown pup, Mocha after her little one. She thought it was a nice idea. Brown is brown and this one has many shades of brown. Little Sandy doesn't want to be held, doesn't want to be left in the box with her siblings. Now, where does she enjoy napping when they come over? On the big tub on top of Randy's work shirt and pants, like Sly does. Go figure. Randy is the hero to all.


It's raining again. Lightly but still it is a good thing. The fireworks stands are already set up and selling so this would keep their business at home. It is always good to dampen the dry leaves and branches so they won't burn so easily. The sweet smell of rain is so nice, the dreaded smell of smoke in the air is not good.


The girls won't stop their silly barking. And just what are they barking at, I had wondered. Why they are barking at the owls. Back and forth. Hoot, Hoot, Bark, Bark. Get tired of it already.

The puppies are Sandy, a tan, a really light brown; Mocha, the brown/black butterball who now has distinctive light brown on the paws ; and Kirk, biggest and more like a football (and has one white paw and white down the front). Their eyes started opening yesterday and while they cannot see much of anything yet, at least they are trying. I will try to have some photos next week.


It's raining! ! Okay, it's a misty sprinkle but it is moisture falling from the sky. WOW. It's been so very long.

It's barely still the day before Christmas eve but still there. I just had to get Randy up from trying to sleep to go out and crawl around on the ground to bring up the puppies. The place Sparky chose to give birth to her pups was a big pit, or cave, covered with boards. Nice enough but I couldn't get down there. Earlier, I heard Randy telling Sparks that she and the pups could stay in her igloo, just let him know. I had been looking out to see her lying in the briar near the pit. Okay, I go out and look as she goes over to the igloo and goes inside. That was enough for me, I went and got Randy out to do all the jolly crawling in the sand to pluck the pups out and and into their new house with their mommy. Sure enough, that was just what she wanted. I think worrying about them had been keeping him awake, now he can sleep. One of the 3 pups, I call her Brownie, has respiratory problems. A stuffy nose, watery eyes and a rasp to her breathing. She likes for me to rub her forehead and hold her up at an angle. She would fuss when I'd hold little black one for her/his turn. The Sandy colored one rarely fusses.


Our hearts were broken this morning when Randy went to take the girls on their early walk. One of the little puppies had died. The little white with a black spot and the only one Randy had named, Spot. Last night, I had heard a hearty yip and then nothing more and it could be that Sparky laid down on her and perhaps suffocated the little one. Eyes not yet open never getting to see the bright new world.


We broke another record high temp today. It had been 77 and we hit 84° and will have the same again for tomorrow. No white Christmas for us. It rarely happens so it would have been a big surprise.


Have a very Merry Christmas, stay safe and warm. From our house to yours, the very best of wishes.

It wasn't an error when I wrote that there was a brown/black puppy and a black puppy. I went back and did a double check. They have to be side by side to tell the difference. One is black and the other is indeed brown/black. They grow by the day and will soon not fit in the box Randy uses to bring them inside. They never seem cold or hungry to Sparky is doing a good job to keep them happy and content. If there was a runt, it was probably the one born dead. This morning, I showed them to Sly and asked if he didn't need a puppy of his own, he turned and flew up to his bed near the ceiling. I am sure he'll come down later.


I was here at my desk the other day bemoaning the loss of all the honeysuckle out in the yard. All of it and not just part of it, when I looked closer to see that there were all sorts and sizes of birds in the clump where it had been. They were taking pieces of dried stems. Must have been just right to weave into their nests. The plants will live on giving birds their value.

We have so many goldfinches now that they can empty all 3 of the sunflower nugget feeders in about 3 hours. They will go to the other feeders for the small seeds and the sunflowers in the hulls but not with the same frenzy. The wrens and the sparrows are back.

Today is the first cloudy day we've had in many weeks. It's cold and gloomy and windy. All the critters are wishing for sunshine and warmth. Even Sly wanted some rays to warm him.


Late, again with the newsletter? Oh my but I have a bunch of good excuses. Sparky had puppies and now, we have 4 little squeaky pups. A blonde color like Marley, solid black/brown, white with black spots and a black one. One had been born dead but Sparks is handling her first ever litter just fine. She just loves to show them off and even figured out a way to keep the little black on in her pit with her. She keeps them to the back of the pit and she lies across the front. When Randy took Marley and Sparky on a walk, I was baby sitting and the silly little one came right on out like she could just follow them. Cried for a few minutes and then I moved to a sunny spot and she fell asleep. Such a wonderful feeling. But at 2 days old and eyes not open, she was going to escape into the world. It is a unique feeling to hold a little one in my hands. They are still at the little squeakers stage. Eyes closed and looking for something to eat, some warmth and mommy. That makes the 13th their birthday.


The latest cold front has hit. Weather guy said it was a weak front, no rain, snow or sleet. But it has some mighty strong cold wind. Kicking up lots of sand. Made me run to get back inside and warm. Should guarantee me of some mean old earache for the next few days.

Another day and I did not get the lights out and around the house. They will add even more than a porch light. Don't know if they will be enough to go around the end of the house but I can hope so. They are a string of Christmas lights and brand new so they should all work okay. It is light in the mornings when Randy leaves out for town but when he gets home in the evening, it is already dark. It will be nice to see where we are walking without a flashlight.


The newsletter should go out on time this week if I can keep up the pace and my eyes open. Randy has to go in early in the morning so I have just a few minutes left to get things added before I turn into just another hair ball.


What a day this has been. We've been making do with a kitchen drain line that cannot be used. So, I picked today as the day to take the drain apart and see what I could do. Everything went slowly but fine and then I was finished BUT I could not get up off the floor. I thought I had enough things arranged so that I could get up when I needed to but NOooo. I sat on a very hard cold floor for 1 1/2 hours until Randy got home from work to help me up. I think I cracked my right knee cap trying to get up on my knees. That did not work. Now, I must start tomorrow doing all the things that did not get done today.

And yes, the newsletter was very late being sent to the Internet and notes didn't go out until earlier this evening.


I looked out this morning to see 3 goldfinches sitting side by side on the big seed feeder. Randy got out a feeder that holds sunflower nuggets and they love those. The cold front should be here early this afternoon and we are sure dreading that. No freeze tonight but tomorrow night will be brutal.

The leaves are raining down upon us. The wind helps and there are flurries making drifts everywhere.


The little goldfinch from last year is back again. He has big eyes, but I think it is more that his eyes are almost round. And they have a white border. Pretty but not the usual goldfinch. I am seeing more and more winter birds every day. All the little finches and sparrows. So much fun to watch. With the squirrels still playing chase me all over the seed table and through the trees, the poor seed table has spent more time on the ground and the birds don't get many of the seeds. Randy doesn't like to fill the big feeder since the squirrels can empty it in one day. I'd rather have it atop a post but cannot accomplish that chore.


I am seeing 4 Goldfinches every day. The squirrels chewed through the holder on the new feeder that Randy bought and I must get out and figure a way to get it back in the tree. The silly squirrels won't eat the Niger seed that is in the mix but if the squirrels don't have what they like, they go for anything. No... they won't eat any of the acorns that are everywhere. They want the sunflower seeds.

Don't think we'll have to change Blanco's name but with his heavy winter coat, he takes on an orange pattern. It is very pretty but it does disappear with the warmer weather. One of these days, I'll take more photos and get them into these pages.

Did you notice in the birthdays for this month that Merton Searcy has a celebration on the 16th, that's tomorrow ! He will be 90 years old. Have a happy day uncle.


I went back into my notes on bird watching to see when the goldfinches do show up. Don't know why I was thinking it was in October or November. It's the first to second week of December so I should just be patient. Okay.


Randy had a great week off. Worked on little projects and of course, the house. So very much to do.

I heard a noise at the window and looked up to see a possum at the seed table eating all he could get to. Drats. I'd rather there than coming inside but gee whiz.

We've watched all the scary shows that were aired on the new movie station. I am jumpy but most are just so hoaky.


It's almost 2 p.m. and Randy was finally able to take the pups out for a walk. It started raining during the night and has just let up. One line of storms after another. We sure needed it but the puppies don't understand.

It was noon when I noticed that it was just getting colder and colder. The I see that it is 55 and turn the little electric heater on low and it is much more comfortable in here. Without the storm lines moving through, there is no wind. Most of the little birds don't move around when it's cloudy. They cannot see the shadows of the predators.

The last surviving Cockatiel died on the 25th. I think perhaps from being lonely. She would always whistle for me to whistle back. I think if we have birds again, it will be some little finches.


A week and still no goldfinches. Sigh. Perhaps soon. The weather has been mild so maybe the migrations are just behind normal times. There have been no sparrows but all the usual year round dwellers. The Cardinals and chickadees and  the tufties. The trees are changing color gradually. If you look across the trees, you don't see it. But if you are under a big tree, you can see patches of yellows and browns.


Randy bought a new feeder for the Finch seed mix. No visitors yet but then we usually don't see them show up for a while. I'd seen maybe one or two but it's still early.


Beautiful weather. Not too hot and not really cold. Okay, we've set up the little electric heater but it's mainly for Sly who is always cold.

I am going to try using the vinegar spray on the Ragweed. I had cut the plants at the base many weeks ago but that only gave me twice as many plants half as tall as before. I don't see flowers but the stench of the plants is unmistakable. Sure wouldn't miss those plants. I need to use my outdoor time to hoe up the sticker plants and dispose of them so there won't be so very many growing next year.

Our only local spanish language TV station has switched to all movies. How delightful. And they are in English. Sure wish they'd mentioned it, Randy told me and we've already watched several shows. Beats the networks and old movies.

In our hallway is a big old tub and in it are my winter clothes from 2 years ago. I spent all last winter not wanting to dig out the tubs and find what might be wearable. But here is the cold season again and I sure do need more clothes. Just got Randy to get me some T shirts but they are not very warm.

If I hurry this along, I can work on my camera download and include pictures this week. We will see.


The Blue Jays have found their way back to the water pans in the yard now. It is so nice to look out and see them at the pans getting drinks and bathing. I will have to watch close to be sure they don't empty the pans. They tend to splash all the water out of the big pans. They do seem to get along with the doves just fine.  I did have the plan to clean and fill all the pans but when I was outside, the hose was gone. The long hose with the sprinkler was the only one left. Wonder where the short one went. Humm. Chore for another day. One pan catches a drip from the faucet and is always full but the big tray pan is the favorite for Jays to bath in.


And I did take in the feeders and am looking to see if we have some thistle seeds or a good finch mix. I saw one goldfinch but none in the last few days. This morning very early, I hear both Blue Jays and black birds. Interesting. There are ever so many cardinals, both adults and babies. The one crying to be fed is now feeding himself.

I thought I knew Sly pretty well and could tell what he was wanting. Well, sometimes I am oh so wrong. Randy had left his work shirt over the back of his chair and Sly began by sniffing it thoroughly. Over and over. I put it aside to the tub and he left the favored chair to go to where the shirt lay. He sniffed and even sucked on the fabric. Finally, he curled up on the shirt and took a nap with it pulled up under him. Go figure. I'd thought he wanted it moved.


No hummers yesterday or today so far. Makes me sad. I miss the little birdies but maybe they've gone on to visit with Aunt Dorothy before they move on further South for the winter. But now I can look forward to the arrival of the goldfinches.


Randy's birthday is coming up this weekend and our usual out-to-eat favorite closed down. Sigh. Don't know if he'll want to try a new chinese food place since the company where he works doesn't pay for it as a birthday present anymore. He keeps reminding me that I also have a birthday coming up. Hey, it's 3 months away. He says it's for the extra income, Social Security, and we've needed the money since I gave up my city job. More nightmares.

I have yet to download the photos from the camera but I will get it done this coming week. It's one of those chores I hate to start since I know it will take several hours to complete.


That 57 we were forecast to hit, we had 55 and that was cold to us. I must get some more blankets. We have a comforter but I light a few of the lighter weight types.

I couldn't finish the newsletter last night since we'd lost internet for most of the evening and on until I shut down the computer. I had internet for most of this afternoon but about 7, it was gone again. I will finish as much of the newsletter as I can and be happy with it. Don't know what their problem is but we must be the only ones having any difficulties. So they say. Please be patient with the lack of a dependable service.

We were back in the mid 90s today but look for another cold front to move through some time tonight. Rain tomorrow but cooler on Monday into Tuesday. I got some new photos taken but sure don't feel up to messing with the program it takes to work with them. I'd like to work up some of the humor items and then put the pages into the Upload file. Nothing about DSL is better or faster. What a waste of money and time.

The start for tomorrow will be to call the wrecker service guy out to give us a jump start. At least there is someone who can and will do it. For a price. He has the business now that we used to always call for a wrecker. The fellow who had it died. And then Randy can get to town to buy a new battery. Sigh. The guy couldn't make it out on Friday until too late to get to town and get the battery. It make me nervous not having a vehicle for so many days. But we've had no problems.

I think Marley could have been stung  by a bee or wasp today. The insects have been swarming lately and she was always one to snap at them and eat them, just like Max used to do. But today she was barking and barking for hours on end. Randy could find nothing but a wasp. Finally wore herself out and she had a nice nap and seemed okay. Poor puppy.


Forecast for 57 degrees on Saturday morning. What wonderful words. We're at 98 right now and it is miserable. Our a/c went out on Monday and Randy bought a new  unit but it doesn't make it very cool in here. The front is called a cold front and it will bring strong winds, hail and perhaps some rain. We'll see what really happens. The a/c unit says it is 91 in here. Sweating. The cool air goes straight up.

The dove that we are seeing are called White Winged Dove. I had to use Patti Love's bird id site to find them. I was hearing shot gun blasts days before dove season officially opened. But I am still seeing dozens every day, playing in the trees and water pans.

We're watching a massive line of storms coming this way. I am beginning to hear thunder and the wind is picking up. The weather guy was talking of straight line winds of 70 mph or so. Not good with the stupid falling tree outside the house. I am trying to hurry and be asleep by the time the storm gets here. I have the pan in place to catch the roof leak in the hallway. But the radar shows that the storm show should start here in just a few minutes. Blowing dust? Yuck.


This past week was wonderful. 3 days where it didn't get out of the 80s. And 3 nights dipping into the mid 60s. Excellent. But the triple digits may return for this coming week. Already we are back in the mid 90s. Wanda wrote that her neighbors lost some garden veggies to a frost. She was lucky and it missed her garden.

Next Monday is Labor Day and Randy is already planning the grilling menu. He is making a list of supplies for work on the new house and making nice progress. Photos next week, I will try.


Total was 104 and brutal. 23% humidity which meant that any sweat would dry with a fan blowing. I put my weather notes in where I mention the cold front that is on the way. The weather guy wouldn't promise that there would be no more super heat after the cold front passes on through but we will sure enjoy the cooler weather. Everyone is excited.

I was watching the birds out in the water sprinkler spray and noticed a painted bunting on a branch going down to the water pans for a drink of cold water. I had not seen one in a month and worried they'd moved on. They are so elusive and have not been up to the seed feeder in so long.

The hummingbirds are almost all gone for the season. I saw one this morning and none this afternoon. I'll keep the feeders out until I don't see any more. It was the wasps and bees chasing them off from their favorite feeder. I will work on finding a way to kill the insects. I am careful to keep the feeders wiped free of sugar.

My apologies for not always being able to get the newsletter out on Mondays. When Randy has to be to work an hour early, nothing else works right.


I happened to glance out the window this afternoon and saw something moving up the driveway. I thought at first that it was a rabbit but realized that it wasn't hopping. It was walking. Steps, not hops. I looked again a few minutes later to see a cat getting a drink of water at the yard pan. What a substantial cat, I was thinking. Another stray. But the familiar look was that of a bobcat. A young one but with the potential to come back and kill all of the critters. So, I ran out and yelled at it. Don't think it had ever seen a human before and I had to clap my hands to get it to run away. I've been nervously watching the yard ever since. It was indeed beautiful.

We hit 101 today, an official high so my being miserable wasn't just me being old. It was so bad I couldn't stay in the kitchen but a few minutes at a time or outside doing much of anything. One of the TV crew asked the weather guy when we'd get a break from this heat. His answer was that fall starts in 6 weeks. We usually don't start cooling down until the end of September into October. Sigh.

For some reason, we are overrun with crickets. There were none early on but now, we cannot keep them down or out or chased away. And they stink. I killed one late yesterday well after I had vacuumed and looked this morning to see ants taking it away, piece by piece.


Another week and the newsletter is late going out. Here I finally have a little time but am so tired I cannot see what I am doing. I fear I have neglected a few of Arlene's paintings and a lot of good humor that had been sent in. I will catch up soon. Thank you all for your contributions.


Still the heat is difficult, enough humidity to make it hard to breath. I can't stand the kitchen when it is so miserable but the dishes just won't wait. Day before yesterday we had a smattering of rain that made everything a sauna but it wasn't even enough to water the tomatoes or puppy pits.

The last tall limbs of the Wall of China tree has fallen and as/when it comes down to earth, it will hit the end of our old house. Not good. Randy has decided to build a deck around the house "before we move in." We should/might be moved within the next 3 to 4 years. Sigh.

There are still lots and lots of hummingbirds. Swarming and doing all sorts of arial maneuvers, so much fun to watch. We have several dozen doves. I'd guess they are Mourning Doves by all the cooing I hear every evening. Beautiful birds with spooky red eyes. The Whippoorwills have been silent for about 2 weeks now. I do miss them. Guess the season was over early or the male moved on to another location.


Lion Cubs at the Abilene Zoo. CLICK HERE. When they are old enough, they will go on to other zoos and their breeding programs but for now, they are oh so cute.

The weather kid on TV last night was griping about the high humidity level again and how miserable we'd be today. Right now, we're at 23% humidity. That's the only thing that makes the 100 degrees F tolerable. That and staying inside in front of the a/c. The pups are in their wet pits staying underground in the sand. Good girls.

Supper is cooking in the crock pot and that means the kitchen is super hot for the day. Yikes. Wish they'd make a pot that didn't stay so very hot for so long.

The low humidity is great for drying laundry on the lines. I will be almost caught up again.

Must find a way to get water down to the shop soon. There are  too many plants there to keep carrying water in a gallon jug. Airplane and a mum, aloe vera and such.

The possums have been back for the past 4 nights. Back to securing all the puppy treats.  Found an empty tub and will use only that and not have to worry about when they will show up hungry. I had to hit one with a bag of dog food to make it run away. Aggressive boogers.

Just checked the homepage site and it is at 100 already with 19% humidity. Ouch.


The newsletter is running late again. I was waiting for some photos from Nancy but when I did not hear back from her, I decided to proceed. I was just glad to hear from her.

The possum did not find anything to eat so he left and has not yet been back again. That's just fine with me.

We had a little bit of rain yesterday and it is in the forecast today but the storms are all around but not making any rain drops. Lots of thunder from heavy mean old clouds.

I looked out earlier and saw a flock of doves. We'd been seeing 2 for the longest but I saw about 10 and went quickly to put out more seeds for them. I hope they are staying around to enjoy the area.

We still have lots and lots of hummingbirds. I am cleaning and filling 2 of the feeders every day. The 3rd is not as popular but I think it is a social thing. They are so much fun to watch.


Just confirmed my suspicions. A possum is back. There were none for about 2 or 3 weeks and then several nights ago, I was hearing noise of a critter moving around. When I heard the sound of a dog food bag being opened and could see it wasn't Sly, I knew I could catch the culprit. Sure enough and I was in time to chase it off.

I have given up on learning the program to put the newsletter onto the Internet. When it came down to actually showing me how to do it, Randy said there were just too many problems with it working on Microsoft. Sigh. This week is not a nice one with Randy's early schedule so I am doing good to get the newsletter finished and ready for him to send by Wednesday. Please forgive me.

If you or someone you know would like to write for the newsletter, please let me know. It can be occasional, regular or make it a blog. Just let me know, send me an email.


I missed making my notes last week but I also missed out on getting my lessons on how to put new pages onto the Internet. Randy just makes it look so easy but I remember before we got DSL and how every week, something would go wrong.

The hummingbirds are swarming but still around. I am seeing some unknown birds but don't have photos of them. I am sure they are just passing through.

We were down to gathering no eggs from the hens. So, I have been going out every afternoon and putting hay in the nests. And some oyster shell so they will have eggs that they cannot peck into. We're back to getting from 4 to 8 every day again. I didn't want to be getting more chicks yet. Oh and there was a snake one day and I did my best to at least irritate him and haven't seen him since.

It's been well over a week since I've seen any of the possums. There is nothing here for them to eat so they are not hanging around. That's a good thing. They stink.


Just called Wanda and wished her a Happy Birthday. The big 50. It's not until the 3rd but I knew she'd be busy if I waited too long. We had a nice visit and she is indeed sounding better and happier. It's not easy for her to get computer time so we won't look for any journal notes for awhile.


For the last several years, I have been watching and taking photos of a Wall of China Tree growing in the northeast part of our yard. Part had broken and was coming down to rest on an oak tree. The broken part was still living and making leaves. In the last month, the storms of high winds have brought more of it down. Every time I look, more is down, resting on other oak trees. I went out this afternoon to take out more of the ragweed and looked to the garden area to see all of the huge tree down. I can't get into the garden there now. Makes me glad that we decided on planting the new tomatoes in the south garden. We could have been hurt. Randy says he has a plan to take it down but it sounds dangerous to me. There was one new off shoot about 6 foot tall so I took it down while I could still manage it. There is another that is about 20 foot tall that will need a chain saw and Randy will have to take it out.

The Wall of China tree seemed like a good idea. It grew so fast and grew new leaves when grasshoppers ate the leaves. It was a grab bag special from Michigan Bulb. It was recommended that it be kept trimmed to shrub size since it grew so fast. It was not mentioned that the tree itself was weak and could not withstand strong winds. Now, we know.


It was nice having a good soaking rain and not having to water the tomatoes for a few day but we are back to dry and watering again. There are lots of frogs out and about since the soaking and they seem to be eating their share of the ants and that is good.

Randy is having to go in an hour early all week so I will finish the newsletter and shut down the computer very soon.


At 1:30 this morning, I was shining the flashlight onto the electric company statement to find their phone number. I'd waited about 15 minutes after the power went off and didn't come back on before I called. It sounded like there were many calls coming in and the storms were only getting worse. LOTS of rain but with the wind from the north, it was pushing the window in our bedroom leaving me unable to fall asleep even with the a/c making its usual noise. As soon as the front moved through, the wind let up almost to nothing. But rain, oh man did we have a lot of rain. Behind line number 3 were 3 more lines of storms that lasted until after daylight. The puppies were not happy little campers. Blanco was hiding somewhere dry and wouldn't even come out for his breakfast.

The power wasn't back on until 4:30 and I had fallen asleep at some point. It was enough time to turn off all the lights and the TV, feed Sly and get a bit more sleep before the alarm went off. Yawn. Everything is nicely soggy and steamy today. When the sky cleared, the temperature started rising. It's 86 now and will probably go over 90 by 5 when it hits the peak.


This past week, I had sent a message to Dorothy  Tweedt mentioning how we have so very many hummingbirds this year. She wrote back saying, "The hummingbirds come here in the early spring and go some place else and come back at the end of summer." She is in far south Texas, on the gulf coast. It is nice to know that they have stops along their travels. Maybe some of ours have been to her house.

The Painted Bunting made an appearance twice this week. I am sure there were many more time when they came up and I did not get to see them but I had been afraid they were gone. They are just busy making a new baby.

Yesterday was hot and a very good day for pasta salad. Today even hotter at 95 and a good day to grill some ribs out on the grill. Delicious.

Near the end of last summer, Randy bought a window a/c and put it in our bedroom window. It is small and could not cool more than the one room but what a welcome relief it is. Randy is so glad we have it now and often says so. I turn the unit in the living room off and the little fan before I go to bed so it gets very hot before we're up in the morning. We've had several weeks of temps getting over 100 but so far, they've not done it. 93 to 96 and  that is sure hot enough.

I had sent out notes to some of our writers and got great response. That means this will be a busy week for the newsletter and I must get busy getting them onto PhancyPages.


I looked out the window earlier this afternoon to watch a young female squirrel hanging from the hook holding the hummingbird feeder. She had stretched out to grab the bottom and push it up, tilting it so she could drink the sweet nectar until the bottle was empty. That did answer the question of why the feeders often went empty so quickly. Indeed they do have a taste for the sweets.


I had turned the sprinkler on down at the driveway early this morning. This afternoon, I looked to see a roadrunner moving back and forth through the spray. It was hot and that sure must have felt good. An extremely elusive bird but one who enjoys comfort.

Yesterday, I saw the painted bunting and it had been over a week since I'd seen one of them. Thought they'd moved along but it made me feel good to catch a glimpse. I think the mom and dad are making a new baby. The time to see the swarm of hummingbirds is very early in the morning while it is still fairly cool and barely light.


The possums had indeed returned to cause more of a mess than ever. So I am extra careful to keep everything put away.

I woke this morning very early. On Saturday nights, I like to stay up late and watch the double feature of CSI episodes. But I woke to burning stings on my forehead, my elbows and on my chest. Had to be a spider, scorpion or something of that size. I am still miserable but with enough Benadryl, I was able to keep breathing and make it through the day. It sure wasn't in the plan for the day but I will be feeling so much better tomorrow.


This has been a fairly slow newsletter week but difficult all the same. I am not nearly finished, it is already Monday night and I have all of Arlene's works yet to tend.

No possums last night or tonight. I am very happy and Sly agrees. I must hide his food and water as soon as he finishes a meal but that's okay. I'd tried putting it up higher but that didn't slow them down. There were 3. Mama, one baby and one of a size in the middle. They go after poop in the litter box but I can keep it cleaned.


I finally remembered to call the electric company and report that the guard light was going out. We don't usually notice but it goes on and off at odd times and makes the pups bark. It's just not something I think about during the daytime. I must be watching what they do or else they'll try and drive their truck across our septic tank. Not a good thing. Just the image of a big truck stuck in the tank is scary.

It's 85 today and hot enough to make the birds gather to frolic in the water sprinkler. Of course I am also watering the tomato plants. Marley loves it when Randy waters the Pampas Grass and she can lie on the ground beside them, it is cool and damp.

There are storms to our northwest but may not make it this far south. We will see but I will keep the sprinkler going just in case.  We got only a few drops but the dark clouds were a change.


So, one day it just appeared and now it won't go away. He had been happy eating what cat food Sly left behind but now, he/she has ventured onto the counter and sink. Sigh. A cute baby opossum indeed but too fast for me to catch with the long handled grabber. I am much too afraid to actually reach out and touch. Don't really think that the grabber has a strong enough grip to hold him and put him anywhere. And he is growing so fast. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

What a nice day for sleeping late. Except that at 6 a.m. the power goes off and then back on, a little. There was not enough juice to make the a/c come back on or the air filter. The TV came on and had to be turned off. I called the electric company and they were swamped. She wanted no details and said that most people described it as "weird" and the crew was on the way. Being this is a very big county and the trip was long to the local power sub station. As soon as they shut down the power, it was minutes before it was back on and working fine. But it sure changed the plans for the day.


All the little wild birds are busy laying eggs and raising some babies. They come up for nectar and seeds in a flurry, a mad rush to eat and return to their nests. I try to keep things filled or at least to get Randy to fill the big seed feeder that I cannot. We are treated to so many songs and even the black capped chickadees sing pretty songs. They weren't too happy with all the wet days but things are beginning to dry out already. There are still two odd goldfinches around. One is what I call the yellow finches since the other is gold and it is yellow with black markings.

The puppies are doing so well. Finally getting where they don't have to jump and scratch. There was a fellow from the census came up today and they did a fine bark to let us know we had a visitor. Randy takes them for walks twice every day and they live to go with him down the road and back again. They don't like cows though and will snort at them.


The Painted Buntings are still around but the cow birds we saw for a few days seem to have left. I always hope they will travel with some of the more beautiful red wing blackbirds. It's been many years since we've seen them.

Blanco is healing nicely and can again use his hurt leg. He can run and climb but hopefully leave the birds alone. Sparky had escaped her line and made no move to hurt or chase Blanco. They aren't friends but an earlier experience made Sparks believe that cats are indeed poisonous. Good doggie.

Randy has the new house back up to the point of making progress again. He was back out this weekend putting up insulation between wall studs. Ah, progress. If I can get out with the broom and trash bag to pick up what the pups had torn up (insulation) I will take some fresh photos.


The Painted Buntings returned yesterday. One of them anyway and still as beautiful as last year. I hope to get the camera out this week and charge the batteries. I want to be ready for some new photos of all the creatures and plant life. Of course the first step is to clean the window and put up some "curtains" so that I can take those shots without scaring off the birds. I did see the Oriole again yesterday getting a nice drink of water in the yard pan. They never come up for seeds and are rarely seen. We discovered that the Buntings are a song bird and sure love to sing. Might have been calling his mate but it was sure nice to hear.

Blanco is doing a little better. His wounds are healing and there are now a few places that we can touch him and offer comfort. Randy thought his claws were gone but when he was doing a stretch, I could see that he extended his paws and sue enough, he still has claws. He just cannot put his weight down on his left front leg. His appetite is ravenous but not being able to chase rabbits and mice probably has a lot to do with it. He still loves to follow Randy down to the work table at the shop and get some belly rubs and sympathy.


Poor Blanco has been out at night being a tom cat. It appears that there is a rival and now, he is loosing the challenge. Every day brings more wounds and now there is a deep cut on his left front leg and he cannot put weight on the leg. His face, head and ears are tattered. We even tried to bring him inside the house but he wanted nothing but to be outside again. He was curled up on the porch. Hopefully the neighbor's gypsy dogs will heave him alone. Poor fellow.

It has been in the 40s for lows the last few mornings and about 70 during the day. That's mild and most pleasant. The wind makes you feel chilly until you can stand in the sunshine.

This past Monday, the 19th of April, we heard the first Whippoorwill very early in the morning. Just before dawn and then not again until the following Wednesday. Since then we've heard it every evening as he moves around the area listening for a reply. It's rare to hear him in the morning and never in the daylight.

There is a pretty little bird called the Crowned Sparrow. The body looks like a regular old Sparrow but there are black and white stripes on the head. It is not a bright and flashy bird but has a beautiful song and always proud to sing it for me when he has plenty of seeds out on the table outside the window. Usually, we have a few every summer but this year, we have LOTS and LOTS of them.

Today we will be worrying over how to bring Blanco inside the house. Sly might not like it but the poor outside cat is coming up every morning with more injuries. Already lots of cuts and scratches on his head and ears and this morning, he had a wound on his front leg and was limping.


We're having a wonderful rain. 50 for a high today with a brutal north wind including a heavy mist to a downpour of rain. Rather gloomy and not one ray of sunshine. Maybe tomorrow. It started raining on Thursday and with this being Saturday night, we're hoping it will stop sometime tomorrow. The frogs were croaking loud last night but it was too cold for that today. Good to know they are still around.

After the truck quit, it took a large loan and lots of money to fix it, poor thing. But with a new engine, it will last longer than we will. Rats. Randy was told that there were rats making a home under the hood. Chewed up the air filter. I handed over the moth balls since we don't have rodents in the house anymore.


I finished the tax return this afternoon late but it still took another hour or so for Randy to get a printer that would actually print and give me copies of the forms. Then it was easy to get everything signed and into an envelope. It's a yearly relief to have it completed and not worrying the mind.

In making all my work and efforts take an extremely long time, I found that I had 3 or 4 stings on my right foot last night. Suddenly I couldn't breath and was feeling most miserable. A few Benadryl later I could breath but could hardly stay awake. Bummer for a day when I was  trying to hurry things along. So, the newsletter is short and sweet but


I'd thought about not having a new edition this week but since I cannot get Randy to clean out his truck and bring in the collected receipts, I can't really start on the income tax return. I could start but it's a good excuse.

My knee and ankle are better but I've cut down on my trips in and out of the house. There is no way we'll ever have a ramp to make it better or a hand rail. So, live with it.

I saw a robin early this morning. Earlier I had heard turkeys in the distance. An owl just a bit before that. Yesterday evening, I had heard doves cooing. Sweet. There are 3 hummingbirds now. 2 males and one female. I fixed another feeder and took it out so there would be no fighting and they are all happy.

The forecast said that we'd be in the mid to upper 30s this morning and it is cooler that lately but only down to 46 degrees.  A chill but very nice.

And when this edition is finished, I will work on the tax return until it is completed.


It's been too nice to stay indoors but my right knee and ankle have been giving me grief. The more I stay off of them, the better I am doing. But this is spring time and the dogs are finally not tearing up the yard so there is a lot to do. Garden beds to start turning.

No hummingbirds yet and they've never been this late. But it's been colder to our south that ever and not settled yet. Until they show up, I will worry that there won't be any this year.


The hummingbirds should be showing up any day now. Getting out a feeder or two has become priority and will be done today. I added sugar to the grocery store list for today. We still have some but last year we used so much and had so many little hummers we will need more. The goldfinches are down to just a few at a time. I did see two birds that looked like youngsters, smaller than the others. Guess the parents wait until the babies are able to fly the long distance to the next stop.

I had cleaned up the best of the hummingbird feeders when I put them away for  the season. I got them out and will fix the nectar and take one out this afternoon.

17% humidity, perfect for drying clothes out on the lines.


This past Thursday night was one of wild weather. Lots of lightning and thunder. Little storms that built up so fast and didn't seem to move just build and die and build back up again. A tornado confirmed close by but no damage known. There wasn't a lot of rain but it was driven by 50 mph wind gusts. A bit of hail and lots of sleet with only a small amount of snow. Not the 2 inches that was forecast.

Tonight's low of 30° should be the last freeze for a while. We usually have a freeze on Easter, so we will see.

I have the misery of the season. The oaks are beginning to do their flowering. Those little tassels of pollen, pretty in light green and pink. But brutal with their effect on the sinuses. Itchy eyes and runny nose. The Russian Olives are probably starting their own flowers but I didn't get that far out and up the hill. The honeysuckle haven't started but they will cause troubles since they are beside the house and there are lots of the plants this year. We have lots of periwinkle but I don't know if they are irritants or not. 


We are still under "red flag warning" for the fire danger. Nearly 0% humidity, 50 mph wind gusts and plenty of dry brush. But the weather guessers say that as the wind dies down tonight, the dangers will be over. These are the Ides of March so if the winds will indeed be gone, I will be very surprised.

The sky is an odd reddish color but we're told that is dust and sand, not smoke. As long as it does not smell like smoke, I will not worry.

6 p.m. and the wind has already died down but weather guy says it will be back tomorrow but from the north and cold. No idea if it will be the 50 mph gusts and red flag warnings. We will see tomorrow.


Anyone know how to chase away a bunch of wild hogs? Probably 4 HUGE ones and maybe 6 babies. One minute we're wondering what the dogs are barking about, then it's what are the chickens going nuts about and then I can see them. On the far side of the chicken yard. They could have pushed down the entire fence with just a few more minutes' time. Oh goodness. I fear they will be back. The old mother came on up into our yard moving not toward the doggies who were scared silly but toward me. Oh dear. Do they carry rabies?


The puppies are not tied up yet so I've not accomplished a lot this week. I cleaned the yard and they redecorated it with new trash. Marley brought up an old plastic bowling pin. Nasty. All sorts of plastic pieces, bones and other yucky stuff.

Randy went to sit down in his chair the other night. It broke twice as bad as the last time it broke so it went out the door. I want the cushions for puppies to sit on but now, it will have to wait until they dry.

No article from Gill this week so I doubt she wants to continue. Strong hints that she must be making more money toward their remodeling goals and how very much it was costing for Molly's upkeep. Sigh. Whatever.


It's 68° right now and one very beautiful day. A few clouds drifting by but not the fog and drizzle the girl's basketball coach/weatherman had forecast. Much too nice to be inside but I am catching up on the newsletter and enjoying the sunlight. It's been all cloudy for so long and this is warm and lovely. We do have snow and freezing in the forecast for the middle of this coming week but the waves are fewer and farther between.

I want to be working on the garden but the puppies think it is their area. One of the bird feeders on the north side of the house had disappeared so I was out and looking for it. Found it in the garden where it was placed along with other puppy toys. Sigh. These girls are growing so fast and eating so much but Sparky will always be the smaller sister.

I have started getting an email series, sewing secrets. They will be kept in my Homespun Creations section. There are 3 so far but I will add them as they come to me. I learned a lot about sewing feet for the machine. Since I learned to sew on an old treadle machine, we didn't learn how to use the different feet. Or what the different sizes and types of needles were for.


Randy went to go outside to feed Blanco the other morning to be greeted by a young skunk. It was happily eating Blanco's leftovers from the night before. We tried tossing an empty water jug but it wouldn't leave. Randy decided he should toss some water its way but with that, it sprayed the house. We can still smell it a bit and it's been 3 or 4 days now.

The low for tonight is forecast at 39 but we won't have many days above freezing all week long. We have a few nice days and don't want them to end. On the days when it hasn't been raining, we've had either fog or freezing fog. That is not at all common for this area but quite the norm this year. But it leaves us wet. Lots of standing water and wood that is not just wet but moldy and growing algae. Makes us wonder what kind of a spring and summer we'll have this year.

I was sitting here at my desk the other day and noticed a canister in front of the tower. What is in that. It is my battery charger for the batteries that go to my camera. I had to have a safe place since the last one had its wires chewed up by the pesky mice. Now, the mice are all gone but I couldn't find my charger. Now, I know right where it is and will probably keep it there. Yes, it's been that kind of week.


Seems like we've spent most of the month of January just trying to get through the days while being frozen solid. But the last water I had to save into empty water jugs is still in place. It's handy to take out to the critters for them since everything outside is frozen. We've had several days where nothing thawed and we'd just carry out some water and fill whatever had space.

I looked out this morning to see what seemed like snow but it was frozen fog blowing off of  the tree branches. It was thick as sleet on everything but light and not at all flakes, they were long weird looking ice pieces. Long as in 1/4 to 1/2  inch long and thin. From here, the neighbor's pasture looks like it is covered with snow.

Blanco didn't show up for breakfast call this morning so I will worry about him until I see him. But I was late getting up and out and about so he might have found something to eat. I don't know.

I am getting notes from lots of folks about their weather, ice and snow except for Wanda in Washington State where they are having lovely warm weather and thinking about an early spring and getting their gardens started. What a thought.

I have been rearranging my storage tubs in the hallway and living room. About half of them are the way I want but I still have lots to do. The old pantry shelf is way to small for what we usually have on hand.

This past Thursday, the  28th, we have between 5 and 6 inches of rain. A slow to medium steady rain that lasted all day long. It didn't freeze until the following day and then it was a lot of sleet and a big mess for the streets and roads. We are still frozen but not much is falling.



It has been a week of nice days in the 50s to mid 80s. Even broke a record high and no freezes at night. If the cold weather crop had survived the deep freezes, it would not have survived the heat. Go figure.

We had about half an inch of rain yesterday morning. Hours and hours of slow but steady rain. It marked the one year anniversary of the fire that nearly took out all of our Pharm and home. Randy was wanting to work outside but this helped to keep us from burning. The wind from the west was still brutal at 50 mph but has since died back. That's good.


We finally thawed and I am still getting the plastic jugs refilled with water. I can hope that there won't be anymore extended deep freezes but we must be prepared in case it gets bad.  The forecast low for this morning was 37 but I left the water "dripping" and saw a layer of ice over everything this morning. We had what was called freezing fog and as it melted, it fell off in big clump drops of moisture. Very odd indeed.

The pups are really growing. If I work with them every day, they get better at minding and not jumping and nipping the fingers. I'd seen a page on my Purina email newsletter about training. I will make the time to go and see what it has to offer.

Do you remember my Aunt Ruth's writing about her life, "4255 Virginia Ave"? She passed away Christmas eve. CLICK HERE and read what she'd written. At the bottom with the added notes, you will find the conclusion. More Genealogy, CLICK HERE.


There is good news and there is bad news. The good news is that we thawed out from the deep freeze yesterday afternoon. The bad news is that there was a break in the water line and we were not getting water to the house. The more bad news is that there was a second break near the  first. Randy just put the glue to the plastic pieces and we are now waiting to let it set and hopefully have running water in another hour or so. What I ran out of the line is full of junk and useable only for flushing.

So, the menu for supper has changed to something that does not require a lot of fixing, as in leftovers and heat and eat. We've used up all the water that was stored and in the bathroom, hall and kitchen. There is plenty more but will required going into the bird's room and bringing it out.

The puppies had a grand time going with Randy down to the pump house and "helping" him work. They are good girls.

My week has been just trying to survive the cold. The forecast calls for more snow and sleet and ice about Wednesday or Thursday of this coming week. Sigh.


Randy had a checkup with the specialist and he said Randy was doing very well. The bruising is all gone, and the swelling is almost gone. Randy doesn't need the cane anymore and has no limp. He is very happy.

The puppies are doing great. CLICK HERE to see the photos. The one that looks like the Marley dog in the movies is named Marley. The other that looks like she was painted is named Sparky. Good girls.

The snow of Christmas Eve Day, 2009... CLICK HERE to see the photos.


Wednesday defied the odds and weather man, it rained all day then all night long. The forecast was only for about 4 inches of snow and sounded more like wishful thinking. But about 3 this morning, it started snowing. 8 to 10 inches in this area with drifts up to 3 foot. Randy tried to walk down to the water pump but couldn't get there for the deep snow across the entire driveway. Tomorrow is Christmas but we won't thaw out until Saturday and that's a long time to last on what water we have on hand. No matter the sediment, I will be refilling all my water jugs as soon as the water is flowing again. 48 usually sounds cold unless it warm enough to thaw out the water lines.

This evening I received an email from my aunt Ruth's caregiver. Ruth was my dad's sister, two years younger than he was. Liz sent the following:

Dear Nita,

        I have some sadness to relay. Ruth passed away this evening at 4:30 Central time. I have been in contact with hospice all day. She left this world with many around her that cared for her for years, she was in no pain and very comfortable. I did not have any powers legally with her, her grandson Jim was named executor of her will and he has been involved with her and I am confident all will be taken care. She had preplanned and paid for her funeral up front and was very proud of that. The funeral home is Lupton Chapel in St. Louis. Her home Church was Third Baptist Church in St. Louis.

    Please let me know if there is anything thing I can do or help you with information.

Liz Hille

I let Aunt Dorothy (Tweedt) know of Ruth's passing but she won't return to Tomball until after Christmas. They knew each other as children.


Randy is doing a bit better and the swelling is going down some. It isn't hurting as bad as it was and that is good. He's making a trip for groceries tomorrow and all that walking on concrete won't help things. We're trying to use less propane so he won't have to take the tanks for filling as often. We have a good electric heater now and that will help.

I haven't refilled the water jugs but the water is almost clear enough to use. Must get more done before the next deep freeze and I will be needing to use the stored water.


2:15 p.m. and we have running water again. Not yet out of stored well water but it's just not easy to do things pouring from plastic water jugs. It's 40 degrees out and that was enough to get the lines running. I will get clothes and dishes washed and refill the empty jugs for the next adventure. It went out on Tuesday morning but we didn't get above freezing all that day. Yesterday wasn't warm enough with 33 to thaw anything. I have instructions to refresh the chicken's water pans so they can have fresh water. I'll make my rounds here in just a few minutes.

The above declarations sounded good but it takes the lines several hours to run clear water. The yucky stuff looks like our red clay from down deep in the ground. But it did get cleared out and I will wash clothes in the morning and I will stay up late to wash dishes tonight.

Randy has to wear a "boot" on his injured foot. It hurts him terribly but he cannot move his leg with it on. His foot is badly bruised and foot and leg are swollen tight. He says the skin itches madly but the specialist he saw this afternoon warned that the next step would be to cut the skin to relieve the swelling. That would not be a good thing. I've threatened to hide his clothes so he'll have to stay in and off his feet. I may be close to getting the ramp into the front door that I've been needing for a long, long time and now Randy does, too.


Okay, today is my birthday. Randy brought home the Chinese food on Friday night and it was so good. Not as good as he can make it but it meant no cooking in the kitchen and easy clean up. I did make the egg drop soup since I make it so much better than the restaurant does.


Today will be better. Today will be better. Has to be. Thursday the water line to the bathroom broke and flooded the bathroom. Not good. I had already loaded the washer with dirty clothes so I spent 2 hours hauling water from the kitchen to wash and rinse the clothes. They didn't get completely dry so most are still out on the lines. Today is bright and clear with only a gentle breeze. 25 degrees with ice everywhere but the sunshine is oh so welcome.

The snow that was forecast did not happen here. It went south and to our east. The gulf coast got snow but we didn't. Thursday was a day of rain, all day long. Cold and wet and miserable.

Randy is going to look at the water line and see what he can do. We have the parts but I cannot get down in between the washer and dryer to put them into place. It won't be easy but I sure cannot. I'm afraid that the lines there are frozen solid so with temps getting up to 50 this afternoon and the little heater running, perhaps it will all thaw by then.

Wanda has been feeling bad. She over does her working so she is too tired and sick for the simple things. Go figure. Doubt we'll hear from her again this week. Her Christmas gifts are priority this month. We wish her well.


I made notes on the What's New page about the TDay fixings. When I read the instructions for the pectin, they told how many different versions they produced and that to use that one, I needed the sugar called for and not less and not Splenda so I didn't use it. I still put the berries on my dressing and was very happy with that. But it was a good meal and there will be leftovers. I've asked Randy to get some sour cream so we can have our usual turkey casserole on Monday night.

The cold front hit this morning with strong cold winds and some light rain showers. Wise Randy decided we should take the trash down to the road yesterday and we're sure glad now that we did since it is so miserable today.

I must note that the Zinnias are all gone now. The big Desert Willows had lost their leaves several weeks ago but the baby tree was looking good until this past freeze and is now dormant for the winter. The forecast shows that we will be down below freezing every night for the coming week. 


Finishing up as quickly as I can so we can get to town early in the morning. A little shopping but mostly just enough groceries to last through this coming week. Randy is enjoying his vacation time getting lots of work done on the porch to the house. This is an unforeseen project made necessary by the way the doors will be going together. Sigh. I can still get in by the back door so I will get some photos this coming week.


Randy was watching this afternoon when the neighbor's mama dog came over and all the puppies followed her on home. They were glad to see her I am sure. She's been back to eat cat food but the pups did not come with her.


Don’t know if they’ll be around in the morning since they are not enclosed but “they” were sure hungry. They came up to the back door to the trailer, whining and begging for food. Randy and I heard “them” at the same time and went running out. One, two, three. Oh so cute. Oh look, there are 4 oh my there are 5. Oh my goodness, there are 6.

They are maybe 8 weeks old and won’t be terribly big since their paws aren’t so big. There is a runt and a big one. But there is one solid black, one solid tan, and 4 that are black and white. Like a healer. Only one won’t come up and eat with the others. He’s skittish… or she. But it has sure been a much different way to spend an evening. Such cute doggies siblings from the same litter.

I think that for their breakfast, I shall scramble some eggs. We just happened to have saved all the on hand food from previous doggies. When I went out to close up the chickens, they were down in between the shop and the house. Now, Randy wishes he’d made a way to close the door on the new house. There are not steps and they can get under it in spots where they will fit. There is another bigger water pan there that attracts many dogs. They followed me and wanted to visit the chickens. One of the black and white ones would stop in front of me and want some rubbies and stroking. Wow.

If the neighbor’s dogs are barking during the night, they may go toward the voices. But there are wild hogs and coyotes and wild cats out there in the dark. Be careful little ones.


I thought last week was slow but this past week was asleep. Oh my. I get promises for articles and still get nothing to use. Ah well. I put together some seasonal images mainly because I am always needing something new. My old files had neatly and silently disappeared. Don't know why or where they went. Most of the best I had already taken to use. I have a click art that won't connect to the program on my machine. It has some fine artwork but it needs Randy to open it with a sledge hammer.

Randy bought the new 1.5 million Click Art and I am learning to use it. It does look like all instructions are some where online. The printed info tells nothing.

I made the rounds of the garden this afternoon. I picked the one and only sweet banana pepper, just right to sauté with just about anything. There is actually another plant that has never made a fruit but with hard freezes coming up, I doubt either will survive. 


What a slow week for the newsletter and I took the time to write to nearly everyone. Mostly no replies. Just got in Wanda's diary notes so I will be busy for a while yet. I'm not feeling creative enough to find some cute artwork so I'll just get it all in place and be happy for that.

Narita wrote of her weather but didn't mention anything new at her website. Gill wanted to find more comments on her blog so I left a note as anonymous but it looks as though she gets plenty of visitors. Makes me wonder why I add my comments on her week's worth of blogs. But she doesn't want to do it anymore so I need to figure out something better.

Sly won't let me have my chair back and has left me with the wooden bar stool. Not at all comfortable but at least he won't want it. When I got Wanda's email, I decided to swap chairs with Randy. He's asleep and won't complain. Even figured out how to raise the seat. Heavenly and I can keep working for a wile. Ahh.

I've taken the time to deep dig the new garden bed and get out more of the nut grass. There was so much in the first bed that I can't tell what is sprouting yet. There should be lots of spinach sprouts but I've killed several grasshoppers. Hey, I am ready to harvest.


Randy did battle for 2 weeks with our heater. It's a nice propane unit that he bought last winter. He was at a loss but talked to the fellow where he buys propane and he helped him figure out that the pilot light was stopped up and in need of cleaning. The air compressor sure comes in handy and now, the heater works like new. But no work on the house this weekend and no new photos.

We are scheduled to get DSL service from our current provider. It's taking an extra week but if all goes well, we should get it in the next few days. Hopefully it will not be such a chore to do the newsletter anymore. I will like that very much.

I got all the airplane and aloe vera plants moved into the light room the other day. We were getting night too cold for them to stay out any more. Randy had filled up the plant space with those silly computers and now must move them around again.


Already another cold front has hit with tomorrow not getting out of the 50s. I have way too much to do to take a day for searching through tubs for my warm clothes.

Randy has changed all the wiring for the phone line and still it will not work. We are ready for the switch to DSL. When he mentioned that the service people will have to come in and make proper connections, he also mentioned the sand dune under the heater. Like I should vacuum it up. Hum.

Randy worked all weekend on the phone lines, getting the air mattress aired up and on the new garden bed. No new photos of the house.


With Thanksgiving just over a month away, I am thinking about when to get a turkey and how to get it thawed and cooked without having space in the frig or freezer. It will already be frozen so it's a matter of being ready to cook it when it is thawed just right.

Randy got the work started on the fall garden. He made a pathway which will get me in and out again. But he turned the bed and brought in compost and manure. He bought some fresh Spinach seeds and I will get them planted tomorrow. But it means that he didn't get to do any work on the house this weekend.

I did spot a tomato plant that I want to move into the greenhouse and see if it will grow and make more fruit. First thing is to take out a 10 foot tall (long) devil plant that has been coming back from the root since the little greenhouse was built. But since I cannot move the plywood that covers the screened openings, I will have to get Randy to do that.


Sly did not eat my work, but he did take my chair and wouldn't give it back. So, I got very little computer work done this week. The sun did not shine all week so I didn't get any photos ready. A very dreary week with a cold north wind. I need some sunshine. I spent over an hour this evening trying to get Gill's pages to work and they would not. Finally, I gave up and sent her a message asking for help. We'll see. Wanda was going to send in Diary Notes and it's near midnight and no notes so I will find a spot for Jennie's new website link and give up on the rest. 


Finally posted some notes on my What's Cooking page. As it gets cooler, it is nice to have the oven or crock pot on to warm the entire house.

All together now, the photos of Anna Joyce that is: CLICK HERE and enjoy.

I was just hearing the weather guy say that this coming weekend would be the strongest cold front of the season. We will see. And I will look for more winter clothes and remind Randy to get more propane.


It was such a relief to look out on the porch this morning and see the silly tom cat. Looking up at me with severe hunger in his pale blue eyes. He didn't look like he'd been in a fight, he seems just fine. He appreciates Whiska's now more than ever.


Last night late I heard the shriek of a cat, loud and sharp but only one time and then nothing. And today, no Blanco all day long. He's always been a good one to come when called and he never would miss a meal. My poor little friend and already I miss him so much.


I was working here at my computer this afternoon and looked out the window to see three big old Blue Jays out in the water sprinkler. It was 97 degrees and they were having a fine old cold shower in the spray. There were probably a dozen Cardinals also in the water, so much fun and flitting about.

A cool front is coming in tonight bringing a bit cooler temps but we had stayed below average for several weeks and now all the bugs are back and we can put away the cold weather gear for a bit. I've requested Randy look for some new blankets.

I got one big sack full of Ragweed pieces but neglected to get them to the trash can. I don't want them staying around here but it's all I can do to cut and move the pieces. Noxious. I am very happy that I've had no more trouble with the allergy making my eye hurt so bad.

Sly's right eye is half closed. Looks like it could be an allergy. Don't know about that. He doesn't seem to be hurting. Just sleepy.

The Shop Vac Randy bought at Lowe's works great. It did not come with all the parts the manual showed it to have so Randy had to go back and buy them. Now, I find that the latch on one side doesn't work. I told Randy that I didn't want it to go back to them since we might get something worse. I can make this do the job just fine.

The acorns are beginning to falls from the oak trees. It's that odd sound of a little thud or ping and then some smaller thumps, rolling along. The wild pigs have been eating all the acorns already on the ground and now move through every night looking for fresh ones. They dig like this is a new garden. What a mess and a very good reason NOT to go outside after dark.

The neighbors to the south have a dog who has been coming over to eat Blanco's cat food every day. Several times a day now. She is so thin and those big brown eyes, looking so sad. Now, how could I resist. They have 2 VERY BIG dogs that come over in the afternoon and usually take the bowl with them. If I'm lucky, I will find it back near the shop. Hey, it's a big bowl.

New Photos: Zinnias, CLICK HERE.  Painted Buntings, CLICK HERE.


I heard the first Blue Jays this morning. Didn't see them at the water pans but it means they are back and that is indeed a good thing. It has been 2 days now since I have seen any hummingbirds at all. I think they have all moved on to the south. We've had a few days in the lower 50s at night but they are often here in the spring when we are still getting freezes and don't seem to mind that. Guess it depends on if they have any baby birds yet. And I did see some Blue Jays at the water pans north of the house this afternoon. Excellent.

Randy found a way around my camera program and I have new photos this week.

Randy and the House, CLICK HERE


Ragweed, Honeysuckle and an Unknown, do you know what it is? CLICK HERE


Next week I will have some photos of the painted buntings, the gardens and the flowers.

The Ragweed is no where near finished with its blooming. If the irritation was as bad to my right eye as it is to my left eye, I would not be able to see a thing or get anything done.


I had taken a few photos but could not get the program to work. Randy had installed it but I couldn't get it to find what I'd done in the past or go to downloading the new pictures. I will get Randy to check it out and have lots of new photographs next week. We have lots of weird mushrooms growing right now and they are sure an odd sight.

We've had 3 days of rain now, the 10th, 11th, 12th and half of today, the 13th. The most came this morning with heavy downpours. I never made it to the gauge but I can attest that the chicken yard is horrible. The hens love laying mash with the rain in it but the scratch grains were full of water, bubbly and sour. This heavy, deep rain is just what the Pine trees are needing. Now, I don't have to worry about watering them. 


The newsletter did not go up onto the Internet on Monday but will Tuesday. It's been an extremely slow week and that is fine as my left eye is worse than ever. I can hardly see what I am doing and have only a limited time with no pain. Soon, it will be better. I have new photos of baby Anna J. Can you believe she will soon be 2 years old. They are stationed in Hawaii now and she is a beach baby loving the water and sand. The photos will be next week.


Arlene sent in a collection of photos of Giant Panda babies after an earthquake in China. They will be at the top of my list for next week's edition. Poor little bears.

We have lots of Ragweed and I am most miserable. I am taking Zyrtec and learning to sleep a lot more. My eyes are having a bad time and the air purifier is helping so much. The longer my eyes are open, the more they hurt. I will never again not chop down the Ragweed plants before they get big enough to flower. What a big time mistake.

08-23-09 The hummingbirds are all but gone now. There are only 3 or 4 left now. That's down from perhaps 3 dozen or so. I was making up a new jug of nectar every day there for a long while. And that's more than we'd ever had before. There is still a male with the red bib that threatens anyone else no matter how big the bird. We have a flock of doves staying around which is normal during the hunting season which must be soon. Randy puts out a mix of seeds that they sure do enjoy and they tell their friends and relatives. There had been a flock of black birds for awhile but I've not seen them in days. There were cowbirds, grackles and some very big crows. They were only noisy at a distance but quiet when they came in for drinking at the water pans.

I have updated the Homesteading page with an update where I could complain about how Randy went to use the plywood he had ready only to find it wet. The new tarp did not help against the little bit of rain we had several weeks ago. CLICK HERE and check out the current entry. Next week, photos. I will beg every night for him to make the new computer program recognize my camera. Look for Summer/Winter 2009, doesn't that sound like cold weather is getting close?

It was this past Thursday, the 30th of July when a tanker truck didn't make the turn on our county road. Happened just after Randy passed through on the way home. The news reported an 18 year old driver who had to be cut out of the wreckage and an older instructor riding with him. They called in a helicopter for airlift to the hospital but the fellow was doing okay. Last we knew, there are signs posted for both directions of traffic noting the sharp turn but it's not the first time an oilfield truck has been going way too fast to safely make the turn.

Never fails that if I am ready to take photos, it will rain and rain but just enough to mess up the window and keep it cloudy. That's okay, the new computer isn't ready to accept my photo program. Maybe next week.

It is Tuesday of a new week now. Just spotted the painted bunting at the seed feeder, first the male and then miss female. So I ran to charge up the batteries on the camera. Sure want to get a photo before they leave. They have sure been a joy. Just wonder if they've made another baby. Wonder if they'll leave for the winter and be back next year or stay year round like the cardinals.

My window is no where near clean enough for getting good photos and Randy has not hooked up the computer to the camera for downloading. Must be patient and wait until he has the time.

I'd written of the hot days. We did get a cool front but 92 instead of 102 is still very hot. We got about 2 inches of rain which was great but also made the days very humid. I still have not charged the batteries on the camera but will this week and get out and take some photos. I was trying to finish up the newsletter and found that I could not get online so I shall just do what I can and call it done.

The hot days are hard to deal with. Sure enough, it's the Dog Days of Summer. Makes us look forward to the days growing shorter and cooling a bit. Any tomatoes out in the sun turn yellow and white with scalding. The cuke vines are suffering but with enough water, the still make lots of cucumbers. The grasshoppers feasted on the corn and green beans but finally the bird house gourds are growing fast.

This has been a slow week for articles and writing. But Randy is just finishing two weeks of vacation. He got the plywood down for the next layer in the house. But I didn't get the batteries charged on the camera so I have no new notes or photos. I will be helping with putting up the insulation and he started buying what we will need so I should be starting soon.

We've been visited by a male and female Painted Bunting, and their young son lately. Since Randy had started putting out some songbird seed and nuts and fruits mix for the outside birds, they have been showing up. But they are common for this area  CLICK HERE to see my From My Window page. So I found their images in the eNature site. Don't know  how long they will be around but they are sure a treat.

How hot is it? It's so hot that even Sly is in front of the a/c. He hates fans and cold and usually spends the day behind the toilet in the bathroom. Not today. It was an official 100° with 101 forecast for tomorrow.

Are you a fisherperson? Are you always looking for great places to go? I know that in Texas when you vacation at one of the State Parks, you don't need a fishing license. It's included, just bring your pole and  tackle. Calling ahead for a reservation would help as well. Not in Texas, just call and see what is available in your state.

Did you know that the name Texas comes from the Hasini Indian word "tejas" meaning friends. Tejas is not Mexican for Texas. More tidbits added to my About Texas page. CLICK HERE. And more every week.

Our grown up kittens, the fluffs- Orange and White and now only White. Orange has not been around for almost a week. Randy encountered a bobcat on our driveway the other day and also found fresh hog tracks. Not good. We are so very sad now.

Arlene sent me  chart that shows how we benefit from fruits and vegetables. CLICK HERE. Thank you Arlene.

We woke up Saturday morning to most of the power in the house being out. It happened somewhere between 5 and 7 a.m. and at first I thought my nightlight had burned out. Randy had gone out to the shop and came right back inside. He wanted me to hurry outside with him. There had been a fire in the yard between the house and the shop. Looks like it was started by a worn out electrical cord and the fire spread to the west along a fence line and about 40 feet beyond. Wow, we were so lucky that it didn't burn so much more. The shop has remained without power until Randy can get a new line tomorrow in town.

Click Here to read of the freakish weather occurrence of Saturday night. I'd never heard of such a thing.

Photos: Work on the house, CLICK HERE. Flowers in the Yard, CLICK HERE. The Garden growing happily, CLICK HERE. With Randy waving at you...

I had asked Randy to buy some weight scales. The people kind and he did but he only found the fancy programmable variety which records loss of each person. Yikes. But I did figure out how to make it just a plain old unit. Since they must be on a flat and not carpeted area, I put it in front of the frig. No more snacks. No more onion rings and nothing late night at all. Sigh. I weighed myself this evening and I'd gained 2 pounds in the last several days. Not good. But supper sure was.

Added to my About Texas page is an item about the very first laundromat, the kind where you paid for the use of a machine to slosh them around and drain out the dirty water, then rinse. CLICK HERE. This makes me feel really old.

I am so glad to have Wanda back. It will take me a while to get her pages just right with the changes necessary but I am just glad to have her writing again. This is such a rough time for her and the girls but things will be much better now. CLICK HERE to read her latest and everything else in her section. Look for the Diary page.

CLICK HERE to read my latest notes on the  wildbirds outside my window.

I had an appointment with a dermatologist on Wednesday the 6th that seems to have consumed my entire week but it is now done and over with. The unknown growth on the side of my face is Seborrheic Keratoses. "Nothing to worry about" especially since it is most difficult to see and doesn't hurt at all. But the medical website info was wrong. It said that I would have a screening within 2 days and it would be free. Wrong. It took over 3 months to get an appointment and  I have no idea how much it cost since we only had to pay for the co-pay. What a relief. But I am back now and hope to get much more done on the newsletter this coming week. I might even take a photo of the two very little ripe tomatoes in the greenhouse. So many of the plants out in the garden have been tattered by the horrible winds, some hail and no rain. We've had cold snaps and two days over 100 degrees.

On May 9th, I heard several responses to Mr. Whippoorwill's call. First time this season that I had heard it. How sweet. They are making baby birds out there in the dark.

Randy fixed the memory card for my camera, I charged the batteries but still I didn't get back outside to take any pictures this week. It was cloudy and dark. And that's about all I finished this week. I've taken an extra day to finish up the newsletter and still it was cloudy and gloomy so I do hope that this coming week will have some sunshine and I can take lots of photos. The garden is looking great but they also want lots of sunshine. I wrote about talking with Wanda in the What's New this Week page.

I've added more Texas History items to the collection. CLICK HERE and let me know if you find more.

I heard the first Whippoorwill call on the 16th of April. We could hear it inside the house and then last night, I was outside and could hear it loud, clear and oh so close. What a beautiful song. But I did not hear any reply. He kept moving on around the area so maybe he did have a response.

I saw our first Hummingbird on Sunday afternoon, that's March 29th. We usually see them show up about the 23rd and I had the feeder out on the 21st. Wow, I just looked out to see another, not the same one,  feasting of the fresh nectar. Look above and inside Nita's Week for the link to my updated Wildbird Watching pages. Today is April 4th and I saw at least 8 today, no two quite alike. And even saw 2 at one time feeding happily.

We've not had any lows under 50 in over a week and that's good. Randy said that the cucumbers are starting to make a showing. He was out planting more tomato plants and the last of the seeds. He had to make another trellis for the yard long beans. Those are sure good.

I sent out messages to many of our writers but have not received any new articles yet. I can hope but I know that folks are oh so busy right now.

I finally updated my Wildbird Watching pages with notes on the Sights, Sounds and Happenings. Also updated is the From My Window page. CLICK HERE.

Randy finished 3 more beds out in the garden for the tomatoes this weekend. It is looking so nice. I will be out with the new trash can picking up trash and scraps. All the soaker hoses are now melted bits and pieces. But the old trash can is completely gone, not even a smudge of green. Just gone. I like a can that a big bag will fit and let me fill it quickly, not needing one hand to hold it open.

Click Here to see the photos from (last) Sunday. I will need to move them into other pages but for now, this will do find. Randy in the garden, waving and lots of tomatoes and of course, cats.

I called Wanda but Jay had not given her my message and I guess I didn't really figure he would. She sent in diary notes but her tone sounds as if Jay would say he was sorry and would go for anger management classes, she would stay. He won't change and I believe she knows that. He can never again be trusted. Getting Kaity and Jenni out of there is most important. In his arrogance, he believes he has the right to smash someone in the face when he feels like it. He should be in jail for assault.

We will start a prayer page. James William, that sweet little 3 year old, has gone to Iraq to fight bravely in this war we wage. Please pray for his safety as you pray for the safety of all our troops. Send your prayer requests to me and we'll start a new page.

Patti Love wants to help with a section on menopause. I will add what I know and the sites I have found. If you have knowledge or find a site to add, please let me know.

Thursday, January 22nd,  there was a big brush fire. The notes and photos are moved to the Homesteading section. I will get the camera out and take some more pictures for another posting.

More photos for the week, CLICK HERE to see Sly, The Skunk and Thanksgiving dinner.

Anna Joyce and her daddy as he was leaving for Iraq. CLICK HERE.

We'd recently heard the warnings that we should use caution as to where we bought Gift Cards for Christmas presents. CLICK HERE to see a long list of the current store and company closings and cut backs. If they won't honor the cards, you've lost all of your money. We always use Wal-Mart anyway.

I can now use my photos and it is easier than ever. I had to set up Paint which is part of Vista but with it open, the system will allow me to go directly to PhotoDraw which wouldn't work before. I can use the "slide show" and move from one photo in the gallery to the next. Easy to preview and gives me a crisp photo even from a page dump. I am happy. The Garden of 2008, CLICK HERE. The Fluffy Cats, CLICK HERE.  The Zinnias, Willows and Pampas Grass CLICK HERE.

Quick, before we have to give him a name. Help me discourage this skunk from moving in under our house. He seems to love cat food and is making a move on the chicken coop. CLICK HERE I am still working on a way to move the cat's food where it won't attract stray critters. Note: I have been putting up the food at dusk and the cats have to wait until we are up in the morning to get fed. It's been rare that I see a skunk and they seem to hate the sound of an empty water jug being kicked in their direction. I have not been sprayed and want to keep it that way.

BUT now I have discovered that what I wrote about outsmarting a skunk won't work on the new visitor. A possum chased me back to the house last night as I was trying to get out to the chicken coop to close up the hens. I shrieked and ran inside. White Fluff was doing a "point" to where the critter had gone since he stopped chasing me when I screamed and it ran under the house instead. As I was on the porch this evening going out to close up the hens, I hear loud crunch, crunch of the dry cat food. Sure enough, a possum and probably the same one. He scurries under the house and I go on out into the yard. As I finish my rounds and am bringing in the laundry, I hear him to the east of the house making his noisy way off and about to other places. We have LOTS of dry leaves covering the ground now and they make lots of noise as they move along.

The following was my encounter with a big bad skunk. Four nights later, he decided to spray something outside around the house and for hours we were gasping in disgust. But it did fade away. I have a difficult time going outside at all after dark. This was November 2nd:  It's a few minutes shy of being midnight, Saturday night and I just came running back inside. I was within 5 feet of a big fluffy old skunk. He was helping himself to the cat's food. I'd gone out to get a bucket of black sunflower seeds to feed the cockatiels. Wow, I was quiet and just went on inside the house. Sure didn't want to chase him and only asked Randy if he wanted to shoot it. He said no. The skunk didn't spray the house or me or fluffy orange cat who was sitting about 10 feet away. It will be a priority tomorrow to move their food to a spot where they can climb to but the skunk cannot reach. Wow, am I a lucky person or what. And with the time change, I will now get that hour back. But I will not go back outside tonight. Whew.

Updates are in place for Tip of the Week, CLICK HERE. It's been a month but hey. The What's Cooking page is also updated, CLICK HERE.

I now have a new page in the Homespun Creations Section for finding ideas with instructions to make gifts for any holiday or occasion. CLICK HERE and see what you think. If you can add any, send me an email. Kathy E. in New York State has started our page with her homemade hand creams. Thank you Kathy. I have almost everything I need to make the snow globes and want to get the materials for making the oven mitts.

My latest Birdwatching Notes are in the Sights, Sounds and Happenings. The geese are back for the winter. The last notes are in the From My Window section. I had to include the fall since I had so few notes for the spring and summer. Ah well. But we've had so many birds moving in lately and I was needing to write about them.  CLICK HERE. I have just added an article by BestNest. They often have some valuable tips and directions.

I must apologize for My Stay at Home Vacation, these are a few of my favorite places. I discovered that Wikipedia was not such a good place for information. Not at all. They allow anyone to edit, take out or add, information. I reached the point where I was seeing conflicting information. Waymaking was also the same. I looked to find that there was a new listing that posting "closest river" as being the same name for 5 different places. And not all in the same country. Imagine that. I will take the time to go back and take out all of their info. I will with time rearrange and confirm anything and everything from Wikipedia. Discouraging to say the least. Since I don't travel well and don't travel at all anymore, I sure have enjoyed putting together these pages. They are the best sites of many searches for fine and beautiful places, sometimes unusual. I hope you enjoy visiting. Let me know when any link does not work or if you know of sights we'd enjoy sharing. CLICK HERE (I have other interesting places yet to add but have finished the United States and there are now three pages Around the World.)

Past weeks:

I have been updating my notes. The Gardening Notes, CLICK HERE. The Weather, CLICK HERE.  I did go out and dumped over 3 inches of rain out of the gauge. Homesteading Notes, CLICK HERE. Wildbird Watching Notes, CLICK HERE. From My Window birdwatching CLICK HERE. Tip of the Week, CLICK HERE.

In our driveway we now have a good sized part of the Wall of China tree which has split and is falling. It is on top of the oak tree beside it but as it begins to dry and die, it is slowly getting closer to the ground. Randy can't drive the truck up the driveway and soon we will not be able to walk through to the house. What a mess and we didn't hear it split. It happened during some fierce winds. CLICK HERE to see photos. Update, it's weird but the broken limb is making new leaves on the ends of the branches. I can touch those branches they are now so near the ground. So, it is not drying and dying.

Walking around the yard, CLICK HERE...

Perhaps I will call it my stay at home vacation but I am still working on the new section of Caves and Interesting Pages. Our friend Deborah sent me info about the Caverns of Tennessee. I so enjoy the time online searching and have way too much fun. Some very beautiful photos to be seen. I will do more work every week. This is the only way I will ever see more caves and it's my cheap vacation. CLICK HERE and enjoy. Do you have a suggestion for a catchy name for the no cost vacations? I have even found some castles but sure love the rivers & waterfalls. 

Photos of the week: Willow blossoms, Trumpet Vines, the Zinnia bed and a couple of the kittens. CLICK HERE

I was out this morning hanging wet clothes on the lines when movement caught my eye. I stopped and looked to see 3 hummingbirds making the rounds of the Desert Willow blooms. Such a sweet sight. Made me smile and the chore easier to finish. 

We'd bought Randy new socks on the last trip to town and my plan was to throw away the ones with holes. They had formed a mound on the floor and my next step was the trash can. But Sly had other plans. We looked to see that he had taken the nice clean socks as his own special pillows. Sprawled out on his newspapers with his head on his new pillows. Such sweet sleep.

When Randy went out this morning, Wednesday, he found Beau's face full of quills. I don't think there is any critter except a porcupine that has such quills. But they are not indigenous to this area and we'd never heard of having them around. I did some research and know more now but sure hope it doesn't come back. Beau was so good to hold still for his gPOP. He was brave and didn't try to bite or snap at the helping hands. He did enjoy the sympathy.

CLICK HERE to see garden photos taken on June 1st. Grow you sweet goodies.

CLICK HERE to meet Anna Joyce, my first ever and only great grandchild. She is such a baby doll. Just added her "3-month old" photo. She's such a cutie. (Amazing, my ?dil sent me an email after no contact for years saying that I had a lot more great grand kids. I just had not been told yet. Whatever.)

Newest Homesteading Notes, CLICK HERE.

Find an excellent article from BestNest. com about Container Gardening. CLICK HERE and enjoy. They have plenty of Wildbird items and containers for gardening.

I have several contributors I cannot find now and all my emails are coming back to me. If you read this, please send me an email. Keep in touch. Sherri, Cherry and Bambie. Thank you.

The Current Project:  I finished this week and am so glad to have it done and stored for the first brisk cold day that it is needed. Perhaps by then, Randy will have another dog or two to take for walks down the road. October 1st makes it about a year to finish but it is perfect. I will get a photo and put it in my Homespun Creations section.  I am knitting a scarf for Randy. I had asked him to get me skeins of yarn to make some heavy socks several years ago. I had some instructions and tips for knitting them but got stuck when it came to finding a set of circular needles. What was available in the Wal-Mart was not what I wanted and what they had in the craft store was way out of my budget especially when I looked online and found they even more expensive. Someday perhaps. But for now, I can make a scarf from what I have on hand and it will be something that Randy needs. This he can pull up over his face to keep the wind out. He has a hoodie now and that will help so much. I started it this evening, 12-16-07 and put about 2 inches on it. A nice start but to finish in time for Christmas, I must do about 5 inches a day at least. Okay, it's February 17th now and I am still not finished with the scarf. It measures about 4 foot now and I found a pattern that called for making a scarf 60 inches long. I have a long ways to go. Randy thought 3 foot was long enough but I don't. He'll just have to wait, perhaps for next winter. NOTE: I am sick of knitting. The yarn must be coated with formaldehyde since it makes my fingernails grow 3 times normal. There is no way to wash it before using but I am still a foot away from being finished. There is little cold weather left. Come on Hot Weather.  It's May 4th today and the weather has gone from cool to hot again. I got the scarf out and put on another 6 inches but it's still not finished. It is in my way so I do want it done.

Gardening, (I have new photos of the greenhouse and will update more sections next week.)

Nita's pages: What's CookingGardening, Genealogy, Our House, Homesteading, Tip of the Week, My Cat's Window on DVD, FROM MY WINDOW - bird watching, the owl, Tips for Living in a very small home (can you add any tips?) Brain Bender, PhancyPages Specialty Shop. Feeling crafty? CLICK HERE to find lots of new sites to visit. FREE STUFF, CLICK HERE (and find a free copy of Sewing Savvy.) Real Kid Stories (Do you have some to share?) The citrus fruit flavor wheel CLICK HERE. (It even has recipes) Has anyone ever heard of or seen a White Cricket? Let me know please.