Holiday wishes from Sage to Meadow and field notes

Shiney galloping to the corral during winter. No fear of the sun disappearing here.

A holiday greeting…

The sun in the northern hemisphere is at its lowest points this time of the year.  I do not think ancient and prehistoric people feared the sun would continue to sink towards the south and disappear forever — at least in southern latitudes of the northern hemisphere.  There was and is sufficient overlap of folk knowledge and tribal elder history to instruct the young and anxious that nature’s cycle continues her circle of cold to warm to hot, hot to warm to cold.

Christmas Eve and Day are here.  I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

* * *

Update on Lilly and Star…

Lilly, our oldest mare, is holding her own at 25 years of age.  She moves between the Well House Corral and the pasture, indicating a good level of energy and health.  Her feed consists of all the alfalfa she wants, Equine Senior Purina grain and 1 – 2 grams of bute (painkiller for horses) a day.  To husband animals rewards the steward: nickers and whinnies of recognition and impatience, warmth of animal in cold weather, riding for fun (both rider and horse can enjoy if accomplished properly) and work, and the sheer companionship and friendship of the horse.  One of my pleasures of having horses is hiking in the woods and having Star follow me like a hiking friend.  Star will go up and down creek bank, push aside brush to continue the hike and rest with me beside a fallen log.  If I wish to walk alone, I have to close the gate to the woods.  Most of the time, I want him with me.

Star is confined to the first corral.  He is overweight and feed intake must be limited.  He has all the coastal bermuda hay he can eat and some painkiller for his front legs.  His confinement lasts one week.  I have had to separate him from Lilly since she has alfalfa, he must have coastal.  Star is not pleased, but he adjusts.

* * *

A field post about bird songs on winter mornings…

December 16, 2010, 7:05 a.m.

Within the last two weeks I have noted birds about the barn and stables sing profusely only in the morning during the winter and are relatively quiet for the rest of the day.  I have not spent the day about the barn and stables to confirm unequivocally this observation (I’ll probably regret having brought this up in the first place), but it seems a sound observation.  During the day when I do chores and in the evening when I feed the horses and spend a hour or so in the barn area, I hear no birds or few birds.  In the morning, birds chatter and tweet, but do not break into long melodious fugues.

Our small ranch is located in North Erath County, Texas, Lat 32.43 N, Long -98.36 W, elev. 1,086 ft. Turkey Creek Quad.  Mesquite trees, live oak trees, elm and underbrush comprise the habitat for birds.

Among singing birds I see in the morning are redbird (just tweets), titmouse, chickadee, wrentit, wren, red-headed woodpecker, white-crowned sparrow, house sparrow, dove and a couple of other species I have yet to identify.  They browse in trees, on the ground and in the underbrush.  If I remain motionless in the corral after disturbing them, they resume their chattering and calls in a few minutes.  When the sun reaches a point in the sky at approximately 10:00 a.m. or so, songs and calls diminish.  I see birds for the remainder of the day, though not quite as frequent as the first two or three hours in the morning.  I hear during the day the quacks of ducks on stock ponds and crows on the fly.

7:35 a.m.

I have returned from the barn and stable area and this post is taking a curious turn.

A cold front moved in last night and the temperature is 40 deg. F.  The sun is not shining and clouds completely obscure the sky.  On point, birds are quiet, not even a peep, casting a different observation and bringing to light variables I had not considered: temperature, sunshine, clouds.

With the temperature in the 40s and no sunshine, I hear no birds.


Filed under Christmas, Flying Hat Ranch, Horses

17 responses to “Holiday wishes from Sage to Meadow and field notes

  1. You have the best stuff!

    That pic of your horse flying through the snow is wonderful. All these neat links at the bottom – wonderful. Your listing of the birds round your place and your noting of their calls – wonderful.

    What a pleasure you make sitting down at the computer – oh so different than the garish pages with ads. A peaceful, civil place you create here on your pages.


  2. Randall Tate

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! May you and your family have a safe and wonderful Christmas. Thanks for your blog as it keeps the heart close to Brownwood and what God created.

    Randall Tate

  3. A wonderful Christmas post! While I was out sweeping the light snow that had fallen on the walk overnight and feeding the birds that come to the feeder (along with the squirrels), a lone crow flew overhead, just at the tops of the trees, cawing Christmas greetings. A splendid day. I trust it is there as well. Merry Christmas, Jack.

    • Merry Christmas to you, Teresa. Crows, I hear tell, have certain qualities no other bird has. It did wish you a Merry Christmas. We’ve had no snow at the ranch, some rain, but that is so good. I hope you were able to see some of your family today. Or, at least call them on the phone.

  4. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  5. Your posts inspire me to check out Texas some winter (that’s right when it’s not so hot)! I love the idea of a horse companion. I’ve always thought a mule would be good for this steep and rugged terrain, they are so sure footed.

    I love what you have to say and how you say it! Joyous Christmas, and a Peaceful New Year to you and yours.

    Best Wishes!

    • If you head this way, drop by the Flying Hat Ranch compound. And, you are correct, visit in the winter or the months, November through March. Brenda and I sometimes want to pull up stakes and head north because of the heat, but we adapt. Siestas! Gotta love ’em.

  6. Something else wanted to respond to in your first part of the greeting – that in olden times our ancestors KNEW about the sun’s journey – this is first I have heard this view and I agree. Glad you brought it up – speculators will say the opposite. The huge slabs of rock that were moved to create just the right cracks to allow sun and moonlight in on Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon attest your view. The two spirals carved on the cliff underneath the immense slabs catch the sun’s rays on solstice and equinox days … a good record of awareness. They did seem to want to know how to say for sure that planting season had arrived and thus devised a marking place, utilizing planetary movement. But it isn’t hard to imagine others elsewhere without such gadgets knowing the seasonal rhythms – for they didn’t have all the elaborate distractions to keep them away from the reality of the elements, eh?

    Merry Christmas from the Rio Grande valley!

  7. I’ve had a change of heart this year, I don’t think I’ve uttered the words “merry” and ‘Christmas’ together in 20 years.

    But our world is so fractured that I’m enjoying seeing my community, both real life and cyber, enjoying the Christmas holiday. Maybe it doesn’t seem so bad since we no longer have cable TV and haven’t been subjected to the obnoxious advertising. All I’m seeing here is pretty lights, creative displays in store windows, neighbors paying visits to neighbors, and people wishing each other Merry Christmas.

    So Merry Christmas Jack and family, and thank you for the many times you’ve revealed a new perspective to me.


    • Debra: Thank you for your “Merry Christmas.” I, too, have mixed feelings and thoughts about the holiday, but go with the flow in this case sans commercialism. We see the neighbors paying visits, too, and wish it would continue through the year. Thanks, again.

  8. Pingback: Lilly: An American Paint Horse as Family | Sage to Meadow

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