Monday, November 15, 2010

Howling At The Moon


For months I  found myself howling at the moon. Okay, maybe I wasn’t actually howling, but I found myself staring at it for nights on end.  A little clock seemed to be ticking in my head, warning me that the minutes were flying by and there I sat too tired to do anything.  Least of all sleep.

Being tired came from my 3 year old who still has not learned to sleep through the night. Not sleeping came after my surgery, where my body cycled on about 3 hours of sleep to an hour of wakefulness, then back to sleep.  Then came the worries, the expectation of changes that are coming, but not quite here yet.  My husband and I took turns jumping out of bed in the middle of the night, rarely both in it at the same time.

Then came the dreaded time change. “What nonsense”, is the common phrase you hear uttered about this event  in our house. But guess what, it has been glorious.  Suddenly my 3  year old is going to bed by 7:30, not 9:00 or 10:00. And I find myself with a little me time before I go to bed. Time to relax and unwind and talk with the hubby.

I find myself sleeping  for at least a little while before my youngest wakes me asking for her sippy or some snuggles. But I’m feeling more rested and calm. Somehow this seems to set the tone for my family. My oldest are going to bed earlier and my husband seems to be enjoying the fact that he is not the first one to bed.

And the best part is I wake up early and still see the moon, but I’m no longer howling. I’m wide awake and ready to take on the day. I make my coffee and actually have the energy to do some work, not just sit bleary-eyed waiting for the caffeine to kick in. 

I watch the moon disappear as I smile in greeting at the first wisps of light that streak across the sky. It’s a new day, and I’m ready!

How do you combat restless nights or mornings that come to early?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cotton-Top Hills – Part 2

On Tuesday I introduced you to some of the resident characters around here. But our place seems to be a tourist trap of sorts, because depending on the time of year, we always have lots of visitors. Some stay for the season and some are just passing through.


This is Leggs. He appears in the early months of fall along with many of his friends. Leggs is very shy and although he looks a little scary, he means no harm. In fact, he’s rather delicate in disposition. He’s looking for his lady love, so he never has time to stop and chat.

Prarie Dog 1 Oh, here is Mitzy. She appeared one day as I was working in the office. She popped up out of a gopher hole and frantically looked around. Obviously, she had taken a wrong turn in the underground tunnel system. I believe Prairie Dogs to be directionally impaired, but shhh don’t tell her that!

Of course we have our own live-in border patrol and they do their job very well. This is Blue Jean, Blue for short. She is 15 years old and still tough as nails.


Blue is super smart and likes to work. She patrols the property well and keeps us humans safe. A couple of years ago she had a run in with Momma from the diamondback gang. Momma was doing some early morning prowling close to the house. Close to where Blue knew my 6 year old daughter would soon be stepping out in the early morning darkness to feed her. Blue took a bite to the face, but sent Momma into hiding. *WB later found Momma out by the barn and made sure she wouldn’t cause any more problems.

This is Thunder. Thunder rolls with the punches. He quietly puts up with all of Blue’s bossiness and is content to sit outside of the limelight. He’s gotten along with Blue for 14 years and he’s jut a good ole boy. thunder

When the coyotes start howling in the canyon, he answers them with a call to stay away. He uses that same call on the toads he encounters. No danger too big or small for this guy.

And really I could go on and on. But those are our main characters. Oh wait, I forgot one of my very favorites. This little guy is the sweetest, don’t let his horns fool you.

horny toad 1

This is T. He loves to pose for pictures and is a very loving guy who is perfectly happy to be held. He keeps the ant population to a minimum around here, which is nice.

Do you have a favorite character of the animal variety?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I’m beginning to understand how Beatrix Potter felt

Beatrix Potter spent a great deal of her life isolated and in the country, so it is not too much of a surprise that the object of her stories were animals. Some days I feel a kinship with Beatrix, and not just because she eventually lived at Hill Top Farm and I at Cotton-Top Hills. It’s because the longer I live here, on the verge of civilization, I realize that wildlife can take on its on personality.

Now Beatrix could draw, not me, but I can take pictures. Beatrix could write stories, and I’d like to think I can churn out a few of those myself. I’m not as isolated as Beatrix because I usually have my posse with me, my three children. And occasionally my sweet husband shows up, when work isn’t demanding his attention 24/7. But there are some similarities, because we tend to name our critters around here too.

Let me introduce you to my cast of characters:

george 2

This is George the roadrunner. He is very curious in nature, which made naming him easy. When I was pregnant with Little One he would visit almost daily and rap on my front door with his beak. He is a very gregarious fellow and always on the move. He is the head of the welcome wagon around these parts.

hawk Red is a lofty guy. He spends many afternoon soaring above, but sometimes he’ll find a perch on one of the dead trees by the dried river bed. He always knows what is going on and is known as the town gossip.

cow2 This is Bunny, she isn’t really a resident of Cotton-Top Hills, but she shows up with her friends every once in awhile. She likes to throw her weight around and make sure she is seen.

moose deerMoose, he’s a dear fellow. He’s quiet, stately, and considered our patriarch.

But every town has it’s outlaws. Here is one of ours, he’s wanted around these parts.

baby rattler That’s Fang, and she’s the youngest member of the Diamondback gang.

But luckily for us we have a Sheriff here, and he is always on the lookout for Fang and her gang.


That’s just an introduction to my cast of characters. There are many more citizens of Cotton-Top Hills I’d like for you to meet. I’ll have to arrange some sort of meet and greet for you all to get to know them. Check back on Thursday and I’ll see what I can do.

Until then, you might want to check out the series by Susan Albert titled The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. I met Susan through my mother-in-law and have attended many writing conferences and workshops with her. She’s a wonderful writer and I think you would enjoy her books.

Do you have any favorite characters that hang around your place?