the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Romantic Death in the Afternoon

Don't you hate when your meal is interrupted?  Of course, it might not happen if you don't dine right at someone's doorstep.  This guy decided to take his lunch date to the warm metal strip beside my patio doorwall:

The big guy is a bee killer fly, and his dinner date is a biting stable fly.  The bee killer prefers honeybees, but you know how it is - sometimes you have to settle for less.  So he's sucking the essense from his little friend, who you need not feel sorry for, since she's pretty vicious herself.

Sometimes dinner with a friend is romantic.  Sometimes it's just dinner.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Traveling Books

The Starr Ambrose International Division (my friend David) takes another of my books to another foreign country.  This time OUR LITTLE SECRET (English version) visits the Louvre in Paris!  Keeping me high class, as usual.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How To Scratch An Itchy Back

First, lie down in a nice sandy spot:

Then flip onto your back, wiggling with all four legs in the air.  Drag that tail in the dust, too:

Finish with a roll to the other side.  Rise and shake.  It works best right after a good hosing down, when the dirt sticks.  If your people groan and mutter bad words, just ignore them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beginnings and Endings

I finally wrote The End on the second book in my Barringer's Pass, CO series!  (Wait, that calls for a few more !!!!!!!  There.)  I wrote it figuratively, anyway; they really don't want the words on the manuscript, but after 370 pages I have to have some reward.  I write it, then delete.

I'd show you a picture, but it would be a photograph of my computer screen showing a 790 KB Word file.  Yawn.  So I have two photos of other beginnings and endings I found this week.
These cute little buggers are baby barn swallows, on their mud-built nest that hangs on the rafters of my barn.  The nest was built last year, so I figure the parents are either lazy or smart, skipping the tedious step of patching together straw and mud.

I took this picture Monday as the babies crouched just beneath the metal roof, scarfing down bugs from Mom and Dad and thinking about flying.  I strung a rope beneath the nest so they won't flutter down to the barn floor - cat territory.  Tuesday they were gone and the parents were dive-bombing the barn cats, so the kids were obviously nearby.  They returned that night.

This is, unfortunately, an ending.  It's a luna moth, about 4 inches across, the first one I've ever found even though they're considered common.  He was just inside the horses' run-in this morning, able to feebly move his legs, but nothing more.  You know I had to Google him, so here's the relevant fact: lunas only live about a week.  They have no mouth.  Their only purpose at this stage is to mate, lay eggs, and die.  I assume this guy wore himself out romancing the lady lunas and has laid down to die.  It was about to be a horrible death by horse hoof, so I moved him to the side.  RIP.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Life in The Trench

For several weeks now my husband has been working on a project to fix the drainage problems with our sump pump line.  It was backed up and gushing water along the foundation of the house.  The assumed culprit is tree roots, since the first owner of the house planted a row of maple trees DIRECTLY ON TOP OF THE LINE.  If he still lived here he could be cursing himself out right now.  But don't worry, guy, we're doing it for you!

The easiest fix is to re-route around the trees.  My do-it-yourselfer husband began by renting a trencher, then laborously adding a slope to the line by hand with a post hole digger.  Since he can only work on it during weekends, it's become a lengthy project.  And an obsessive one.  All other chores must wait until The Trench Project is complete.  There were unforeseen problems and obstacles, and completing The Trench has been like withdrawing from Afghanistan, with reported progress that's hard to believe because the thing is still there.

The latest news flash from The Trench is that MUCH progess has been made and the end is in sight.  (If that sounds familiar it's because you've heard it from the White House for the past ten years.  I'm trying not to dwell on that ten year part.)  But water is beginning to drain downhill toward the pasture - our version of victory.  Everyone will soon be happy, except, of course, for residents of The Trench.  The thing has been there so long that frogs have moved in.
You know what this means, don't you?  Now I have to be concerned that all these little lives are safely removed before The Trench is filled in.  I can see it now - refilling will be a slow, careful job with me adding shovelfuls of dirt, making sure the frogs jump out of the way, as my husband walks away shaking his head.