I was out in the pasture - on the tractor - early this morning to help Jerry with the routine manure-moving detail. The temperature was bearable, and we worked under a perfect buttermilk sky. I'm not sure what a buttermilk sky means weatherwise, but I like the atmosphere that it gives to all outdoors - and it reminds me of that old cowboy song called "Buttermilk Sky."
Bathing the horses was next on our agenda. The fungal and/or bacterial skin infection that Tesoro developed a few weeks ago is cleared up now, but it took several baths in an iodine shampoo and regular treatment with an anti-fungal spray. Summer is the worst season for the horses when it comes to skin problems. They do a lot of sweating as they graze under the hot summer sun. The salty sweat attracts all kinds of biting insects, and that makes existing skin problems worse. The best prevention is frequent bathing and daily spraying with fly spray.
We've purchased a new washer and dryer - catapulting ourselves into the world of 21st century laundry. These appliances are a far cry from the ones they replaced. They're computerized and are, no doubt, smarter than I am. I was most surprised by the washer's repertoire of sounds - falling water, pounding surf, airplane sounds (taking off and landing), and various groans and moans. None of these sounds are loud. In fact, these machines are remarkably quiet. They are big - the size of small automobiles. Ok, I'm exaggerating, but the dryer door definitely has the feel of a car door when it closes. Will they clean the laundry better than the old appliances? Maybe. We'll see. I can certainly wash and dry more clothes at a time in these big high-capacity machines. That means I finish the laundry in about half the time - and that's a good thing!
Activity in my Addis post office box has increased lately. I've managed to find the time to send a few letters and do a little paper crafting. I recently sent this summery watermelon card off to California. In the last two weeks I've received letters from Texas, England, Australia, and India - and posts cards from Indiana, California, and New Mexico. I like hearing about the daily lives of my pen pals. No matter the geographical and cultural differences, we have a great deal in common - children and grandchildren, as well as homes, pets, and gardens to care for.
The twins are doing well, and their sister, Ellie, is adjusting to having them at her house. I guess she's decided it's sort of like day-care at home. Wallace and Arabella have started school up in north Louisiana. Arabella texted me yesterday that she has ten teachers this year! Was that a typo? Can she possibly have ten teachers? I'll have to text and ask for more information. Texting with my grandchildren! What would my mother and grandmother think of this new technology!
My current sewing projects are burp cloths for the new twins and crocheted doll clothes. The tiny burp cloth on the top of the stack is for Ellie and her dolls. My mornings and evenings are spent in the barn, but the blazing mid-day is a good time to be inside - sewing or reading or writing letters.
I've joined an online book discussion group, sponsored by the Trollope Society. It's called "Take a Trollope on Holiday." Ha! The assignment is Anthony Trollope's Phineas Phinn - one of the Palliser novels. Trollope is one of my favorite authors, and I read The Palliser series years ago. But a good book is always worth re-reading.
It's true that August is the middle of high summer, but - along with the heat and humidity - it always brings hints of fall. The angle of the sun is noticeably different. The pecan tree in the pasture is shedding leaves. It's always the last to put out new growth in the spring, but the first to send fall leaves raining down. This morning as I walked to the back of the barn, I saw a large flock of birds along the bayou bank. I startled them, and they all took flight at once. I don't know what kind of birds they were, but their lift-off was a beautiful sight. Migrating birds - another hint of fall.