Category Archives: Star

Rosemary and Star

IMG_3308Here in central Texas, Erath County, we remain in a drought.  Since Christmas, however, rain has fallen and we do not have to boil our water before drinking.  The date for near-complete water extinction has been extended into the future.  No specific date for extinction has been given, but the February 15th date for extinction is no longer in effect.

In the photograph above, I hold a rosemary blossom, indicative of moisture in the air and soil about the large rosemary bush on the west side of the ranch house.  The scent of rosemary lingers on my fingers as I type.  I use the rosemary for several recipes, but I favor its use when I prepare a sauce for steaks or lamb chops.

* * *

Before Christmas, my good horse Star died of colic.  The old boy was fourteen years old and in his becoming ill, the first veterinary I called to the ranch said he was a strong, stoical horse in that he did not lash out at us, his handlers.  Star was diagnosed at six in the evening and had to be put down at two o’clock the next morning at the Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery compound in Weatherford, Texas, where he was surrounded by three female veterinarians who took control and managed his passing.  Without being sentimental, I still look out my porch windows, even today, to see where Star is in the pasture.  Is he loafing under the mesquites?  I know he is not there, but I still look.

Star

Star Bars Moore will be just fine.

Star Bars Moore APHA 808164, loafing in arena pasture under mesquites.

Star Bars Moore APHA 808164, loafing in arena pasture under mesquites.

 

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Filed under Life in Balance, Plants and Shrubs, Star

Star with water

Star with water sprinkler in Broke Tree Corral (June 28, 2012)

Hot weather pervades my place, but it also falls across so many regions this summer.  Colorado suffers this season with wildfires close to Colorado Springs.

My gelding, Star, sweats in temperatures during the day that come in at 100, 102, 108 deg.  Rains have fallen this spring so there is green and wildfires are negligible.  But, Star got water spray today.  After an hour of his nuzzling the spray and standing over the water, I shut it off.

His hooves were trimmed yesterday and like cutting our fingernails close to the quick, he was stiff today in walking to the hay bin, so, I turned the sprinkler on to cool him and to soften the earth upon which he walks.  My water comes from a water cooperative, the Barton Creek Cooperative.  I’ll spend a few more dollars this summer and turn the sprinkler on for Star.

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Overflowing pond

I’m not for sure the drought here in my area — central-west Texas — has been broken, but the recent rain filled my neighbor’s pond and it has overflowed gently the last few days into my pond or cow tank.  I walked yesterday to my pond and noticed the overflow, catching me by surprise as I jumped the slight current, avoiding getting my boots wet.  It was quite cold, by our standards, and I returned to the house after a bracing hike.

The overflow from Blue's pond, February 11, 2012.

Star follows me on the hike yesterday. He is browsing on grass sprouts, lately erupting from the rains.

I like the contrast of the leafless trees and Star with the previous photograph that shows emergent winter grasses and water.

The temperature yesterday when I hiked was 28 deg. F., not cold enough to freeze the runoff, but cold enough to wear a warm coat and toboggan cap.

Today the temperature remains about the same and we are forecast sleet and rain from 6:00 p.m. until tomorrow morning.

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Filed under Star, Weather

Rain in Broke Tree Corral

Rain in Broke Tree Corral, north Erath County, Texas, August 12, 2011.

Yesterday afternoon, after months of drought, rain came down sporadically in drops, then sheets of rain.

The first raindrops bounced on the aluminum roof of the barn and stables. Lightning flashed, thunder clapped, and Star the paint gelding and I flinched.  He bolted for about three gallops, then returned quickly to the shelter of the stable.  Within thirty minutes, five-tenths of an inch had fallen and a lightning strike on the oil piping fence about fifty-yards away knocked out electrical power.

I fed Star his grain and Horseshoer’s Secret — a potion for rebuilding hoof walls — and he munched haply through the noise of the thunderstorm, occasionally bringing his head out of the feed bin to see if I still sat in the alleyway waiting out the rain.  I talked to him, Good boy, fine fellow.

Broke Tree Corral is the first of two successive corrals about the barn and arena.  So named for an American Elm tree that broke in two, the tree has continued to thrive with bark and one-half of its internal veins intact for at least eight years now.  The grass in the corrals has become brittle and sparse.  The rain quickly formed small channels that flowed into the second corral, the Well House Corral, where bare ground could not stop the erosion-flow into the near fields of buffalo grass and mesquite sprouts.

Rain flows down the road towards the barn, north Erath County, Texas, August 12, 2011

Rain has fallen, the temperature has dropped and the Jack Rabbit has come out of his burrow to chomp on fresh sprouts and new, tender, blades of grass in the small dell between me and the Dooley place.  The drought has not been broken decisively, but this rainfall is a far away sound of better days and nights headed to Texas, a hunter’s footfall tracking a devil of fiery brutalities to slay and scatter to cool winds and shady juniper groves for those that live with the land.

____________________________

Notes, corrections and additions:

Try as I might, misspelled words sometimes slip through.  I do not rely on “check spelling” frequently, but will look again at a word if it is underlined in red.  In this post this morning, I misspelled, “lightning,” twice!  I spelled it “lightening” and missed the correction.  In writing posts, I do not have a proofreader.  It is an imperfect world filled with imperfect compositions.

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Filed under Rain, Star, Weather

What is this with horses and water?

Hoof prints in water from Barton Creek.

And…

Star's hooves covered in mud so much you can't see his shoes. He's really a good boy.

Coming back for more…

Water, mud and a horse.

A good head shot…

Star after playing in water is curious about camera and all the excitement.

What is this with horses and water?  Or for that matter, kids and water?  They love playing in water.

I’ve not had rain in a few weeks and the corral is dry.  Star’s hooves needed moisturizing, so I turned on the water sprinkler this morning to partially flood the corral — about thirty minutes of watering.  Star saw the water coming out of the sprinkler and shoved his head, nose and mouth down into the steam of water, pawed at the ground and for forty-five minutes stood over the sprinkler getting his front quarters wet and soggy as well as his hooves.

I finally left him there, went back up to the house for another cup of coffee and to fetch the camera.  When I returned, he had gone back to his hay bin, but returned to the sprinkler when I asked him to pose.  He posed for a pretty-good head shot.

* * *

I am down to one horse, Star, and no cattle — for the moment.  I sold three horses in January and Lilly had to be put down that same month.  The far Pecan Tree Pasture is ready for a few head of cattle to graze and Star and I need to be around bovine for awhile.  Star has a natural cutting ability and takes his cue from me, even when I am on foot and not in the saddle.  If he sees I am trying to pen cattle, he will help me round-up the cattle and put them in the pen — more shepherd than equine I sometimes think.

A farrier of mine once said that he was the smartest horse in the remuda, but so smart he would try to outwit you.  Once he joined-up with you, however, you were buddies for life and you worked together.  Maybe next week, the sale in Abilene…

Early morning scan for fresh grass through corral panels.

Post-publication note: If you have not clicked on the first link of Sage to Meadow Photostream, the picture with the elk in the water, do so.  It is a young elk playing in the water and is enchanting to watch.  The Photostream is on the first sidebar — NOT the Vodpod photos of guitarists.

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Sound: 54 seconds of Sunday afternoon rain

Sage to Meadow Blog. A narrative of people living with the land in the American Southwest. That’s the short description of what this blog is about. I want to expand it a bit today with a video and especially the sound portion of rain, the weather change we’ve been waiting for here in central-west Texas. The fires are all out at Possum Kingdom. I saw U.S. Forest Service trucks on Thursday rushing towards west Texas and Arizona, accompanied by Highway Patrolmen with red lights turning. There must be problems farther west for them to rush. I hope my friends in west Texas, New Mexico and Arizona will see an end to the dry spell and conditions.

Here in central-west Texas, we have the rain. The view is towards the south, looking at the arena field and round pen. Star is in his stable. He whinnied a few minutes ago because I was tardy in feeding him. The rains have come in rhythmic bands throughout the day. In the video, you can discern St. Augustine grass, planted by the previous owners. I like the buffalo grass. You can see tufts of it and Queen Ann’s Lace on the first terrace.

I am running a test on a new format for my blog. The format is called Basic Maths. I’m not so sure I will stay with it. I have thirty days to test its application.

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Filed under Rain, Sounds, Star, Weather

Red flag flying with good horse Star 17 APR 11

This Sunday is another day of remaining alert for smoke in west and central Texas.  Fire Weather Warnings have been issued.  Red flags are flying.

Before we focus at noon until late evening on possible wildfires, errands are run and Star, our paint gelding is fed.

Star is out of isolation for rabies since Friday.  Now, after two weeks of isolation, he can once again nuzzle his horse neighbors next door and set his huge neck upon my shoulder.  Here is a photo of Star taken last week.

Star Bars Moore APHA 808164, loafing in arena pasture under mesquites.

So that is some of the good news here on Flying Hat Ranch or “Ranchito” as Donald Worcester, a deceased friend of mine, used to call his 142 acres near Fort Worth.

Unfortunately, later today we have to work with the following forecast from the National Weather Service:

URGENT – FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE…UPDATED NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORT WORTH TX 436 AM CDT SUN APR 17 2011 TXZ091-092-100gt;103-115gt;119-129gt;134-141gt;147-156gt;162-174-175-171800- /O.CON.KFWD.FW.W.0014.110417T1700Z-110418T0100Z/ MONTAGUE-COOKE-YOUNG-JACK-WISE-DENTON-STEPHENS-PALO PINTO-PARKER- TARRANT-DALLAS-EASTLAND-ERATH-HOOD-SOMERVELL-JOHNSON-ELLIS- COMANCHE-MILLS-HAMILTON-BOSQUE-HILL-NAVARRO-FREESTONE-LAMPASAS- CORYELL-BELL-MCLENNAN-FALLS-LIMESTONE-LEON-MILAM-ROBERTSON- 436 AM CDT SUN APR 17 2011 …RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM CDT THIS EVENING… A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO DEEPEN ACROSS THE TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA PANHANDLES LATER TODAY RESULTING IN GUSTY SOUTHERLY WINDS. SOUTHERLY WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 35 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED ALONG WITH HUMIDITY VALUES AROUND 20 PERCENT. THE COMBINATION OF GUSTY WINDS…LOW HUMIDITY…AND DRY FUELS WILL LEAD TO DANGEROUS FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS THROUGH EARLY EVENING. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT EXTREME FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW…OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AND DRY VEGETATION WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL. AVOID ALL OUTSIDE BURNING AND WELDING TODAY. DO NOT TOSS LIT CIGARETTE BUTTS OUTSIDE. REPORT WILD FIRES TO THE NEAREST FIRE DEPARTMENT OR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICE.
I obtain this weather warning when I click on our weather service and a red banner streaks alarmingly across the top of the page.  Catches your attention real fast!  There’s a red flag flying today with our good horse, Star.  All will be well and if not, we’ll manage with help of a Star.

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Filed under Flying Hat Ranch, Star, Wildfire

Rabies and Star

Star Bars Moore

In the city, look out for the bus.  In the country, what doesn’t sting or bite you will stick you — wasps, mosquitoes, mesquite thorns or worse.  Still, I had rather be out in the country and take my chances.

Rabies in horses is rare, but on the Bryant place, across the fence to the south of us, two horses were put down because one of them had a full-blown case of rabies.  Its companion horse had not displayed rabies symptoms, but Erath County authorities ordered it killed as it had no rabies vaccination documentation.  One was euthanized Thursday, March 24, and the other unfortunate horse this Thursday, March 31.  The first horse exhibited rabies symptoms and the vet took tissue samples that confirmed the disease.  The Bryants are having to take rabies shots since they were in close contact with the horse.

My paint gelding, Star, had been staying in the front pastures away from the Bryant place until last Sunday, March 27.  For two days, Star had infrequent contact with the second horse over the fence that had been killed.  Since rabies can be transmitted via mucous interchange, it is a very serious situation for Star.

Star had been inoculated against rabies in 2009, and last week before the contact with the Bryant horse he had been given his rabies shot for 2011.  Our veterinarian, Dr. Skeet Gibson of Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, Weatherford, says the 2011 inoculation has not gone into full effect, and the 2009 inoculation begins to diminish in effectiveness after a year-and-a-half.  But since Star had no contact with the rabid horse — only the companion horse that had been killed — the chances were slim that any transmission had taken place.

Nonetheless, the vet said to isolate Star for two weeks and minimize my contact with his muzzle and mucous discharges, look for symptoms (not eating, behavior changes, etc.) and contact my personal physician for advice.

I called our personal physician immediately and neither I nor Brenda will be required to take rabies shots unless Star is rabid.  Star will probably be okay, but isolation and observation is imperative.

And just how did I find out about this whole issue of rabies next door?  My neighbors to the east that have horses called me Thursday, March 31, to inform me of the euthanizing, and they have no land contiguous with the Bryants!  They called to alert me as a fellow horseman.  Neither the Bryants nor the Erath County authorities had contacted me.  Had I been informed last week, I would not have allowed Star to go to the far pasture — Pecan Tree Pasture.  As it is now, we are having to take measures to determine disease contact that may, in the end, be fatal to Star, although I repeat it is doubtful.

Within an hour after the Halls called me and I had visited with the Bryants to find out the facts, I went across the county road to inform a fellow horseman of the situation.  In the country, we must work together.  I choose to do so.

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Filed under Flying Hat Ranch, Horses, Star

Lilly’s Mound: early Winter morning

 

Lilly's Mound in an early Winter morning at Flying Hat Ranch, Texas, 2011 (click to enlarge)

In the far background are the Twin Mountains of north Erath County, Texas, 1,400 feet. Ducks swim and feed upon and beneath the pond in the middle of the photograph even in this cold weather.  The gate opens into the arena pasture.  The small mound with cedar posts upon it, to the far, far left in the photograph (you may have to enlarge), is Lilly’s Mound, 1,065 feet.  The mound is small and does not stand out in the photograph — in fact, hardly noticeable — , but it is a meaningful part of this good earth to me and Brenda and Star.

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Filed under Cedar, Flying Hat Ranch, Horses, Juniper, Lilly, Star

Winter day of my content

Duck flight, Flying Hat Ranch, Texas, 2011

The temperatures rose to 35 degrees and the sun came out, melting the snow about the place.  Corrals turned to mud.  Meadow Lark, White-crowned Sparrow, and Chickadee scattered away from their emergency ration station in the barn alleyway and I turned Star out so that he could run about the pastures and go to the county road to visit his friends at the Nowack place.  I saw deer track along the grove lane and vowed to throw corn near the salt block tomorrow.

Star galloped through snow and mud to the pond and as we both made our way towards the barn, ducks flew upward from their browsing, but circled back to the pond, dousing their beaks, grasping algae and minnow.  A west wind blew across the snow and I wore sunglasses to reduce the glare of the sun.  After I fed Star, I walked up the hill to the house, strongly striding because cold air filled my lungs and I was content with Winter.

Star galloping, Flying Hat Ranch, Texas, 2011

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Filed under Ducks, Horses, Star