Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summertime...and the Livin' Is Easy

June started off with a bang with Gage’s graduation party.  After the festivities, we had hoped to enjoy some of that easy livin’ as we rolled into summertime.  So, a couple of days after the party, we headed to the farm for some R&R and more cedar cutting. 

After this spring’s rains, the milkweed pods have released their seeds, which will be carried by the wind on their silky parachutes.  

The mountain pinks are also blooming on the caliche hillsides, and provided a nice setting for a Bagley Pack and Cousin Molly portrait.

Upon arrival, we were thrilled to find that Red Cow, aka B6, had finally (after weeks of waiting) presented us with a health, red, splash-face bull calf. 

How’s this for a cute youngster?  His older brother was very happy to have a playmate.

And after having no rain in Hamilton for several weeks, we were very surprised to cross the Leon River and find it running bank-full, with the pecan bottom and oat field on either side of the road standing in several feet of water.

Since no rain had fallen recently in Hamilton County, we suppose the flooding was due to heavy rain in North Texas and upstream of Proctor Reservoir.  It will be some time before the water in the pecan grove dries up, and we hope the trees will survive the drenching.

We were back in Austin when summer officially arrived on June 20.  This year is special because the summer solstice and the 2016 June full moon fall on the same date.  This is the first time since 1967 that a summer solstice full moon has occurred, and Earth won’t see another until June of 2062.

The June full moon is known in the Northern Hemisphere as the Strawberry Moon, Rose Moon or Flower Moon.  Here’s a photo I took as it cleared the trees east of our house.  The sky was cloudless, and it was almost bright enough to read by.

Back at the farm a couple of days later, we found another of our cows, B4, obviously about to deliver her calf.  We watched her closely, but she appeared unconcerned and spent her time lounging in the shade or munching grass.  Surrounded by the hum of cicadas and the slow, soft scent of cows, I hung out nearby hoping to witness the birth.  

But B4 wasn’t going to give me an opportunity to witness her parturition.  She waited until dusk, and just as the other cattle headed for their bedding-down spot, she slipped away.  We looked for her all the next day, but never found her.  Then, on Friday she rejoined her sisters and their calves with her new bull calf.  Who could resist this face, even with a fly sitting on his milky nose.

And, in case you’re wondering why it was so hard to find the cow and calf, take a look at this photo.  Rue and I were standing only about 3 feet away from the new baby.  She didn’t see or smell him, and I only saw him because I could look down on him in his nest of grass.

We had a great time.  John cut lots of cedar and he and my brother toured the pastures we hope to burn next spring with members of the local burn association, who will help with the project.  

The dogs enjoyed themselves as well.  They almost disappear when running through the tall pasture grasses.

But the creek is still running and the stock ponds are full, so there are plenty of opportunities for swimming and they never miss a chance.  It was easy livin’ for them, for sure.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Graduation Day!

WOW!  What a week this has been!  Thursday, June 2, is a day we will all remember.  Our grandson, Gage Daniel Wann, crossed the stage at the Frank Erwin Center as a 2016 graduate of McCallum High School.  Since Wann is near the end of the alphabet and the grads march in order, we waited, and waited and waited....... Then, finally, he appeared, 

received that long-awaited diploma, 

and accepted congratulations.

Soon, the ceremonies were over and mortarboards filled the air.

Afterwards, everyone snapped photos of the graduate with:

Proud Dad Brian, Debi and Myles
Proud Mom Melissa
Grandparents Michal and John

Grandparents Trenton and Barb
            (All the grandparents were proud, too!)

Brad and Justine
It was a great day!  We missed Grandparents Sergio and Charlotte, Great-grandmother Audrey, Aunt Trish and Uncle Tim, but know they were with us in spirit.

The celebration continued on Friday at a graduation party at our house.  We had been preparing for days.  While I assembled food and other party accoutrements, John mowed the yard and power-washed the patio, with Rue supervising.

Cousin Kathy and Eric arrived early to help, and soon the party was underway.  Gage helped John boil 30 pounds of crayfish, corn-on-the-cob and potatoes, and they barbecued four racks of ribs.  

Prayers were answered, and in spite of dire weather predictions, the day was beautiful and sunny.  We visited on the patio and around the crayfish pot.

Gage's sister, Carter, and her friend, Hannah, and brother Atticus splashed in the pool.

We ate large quantities of ribs, crayfish, cake and homemade ice cream,

Atticus had a great time.  His dad wore out before he did.

And then it was time for graduation gifts.  Gage's Uncle Andrew helped keep things organized and entertained Colt.

At the end of the evening, we said our good-byes and the guests headed for home, just as the skies opened up and the predicted rain came down.  We were so grateful that it held off for the party.  Thank You, God!

Congratulations, Gage!  We love you and are excited for you.  We'll look forward to another big celebration in four years!