Tag: ranch

Florence’s So- Called Life, Season 1 ep 8

Florence visits the ranch and is aghast at how uncool Wiley is in the car.

(read in the voice of Florence, which sounds uncannily like a 14-year-old Claire Danes)

I love my life in the city…it’s, like, full of energy and stimulation. The dogs on my block…they bark all. the. time. Bekah gets really really upset when we try to join in. I just wish she would, you know, relax?

It’s really stealing my joy.


I’ve been in trouble a lot lately. It just seems like everything I do (eat) upsets Bekah and Lewis. I just can’t get it right. Apparently I can chew on sticks and toys, but not painted wood or vines or little trees? Those things are just asking to be eaten. They’ve only been there a couple of months and they are totally flimsy.

It’s so much easier when we go to the ranch. There are like no rules out there. I feel like I can just…breathe?

Every trip to the ranch starts with a car ride, which is great, because it’s the only time when Bekah and Lewis say that I am better at something than Wiley. I mean, obviously I’m faster and prettier. But they always say that Wiley is the good dog…except in the car. I am really good at riding in the car. I even jumped in by myself this time. Once. The other time Lewis had to lift me in like usual.

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Bekah can’t lift me in anymore because she’s getting…fat? Round? I don’t know what’s wrong with her. Wiley says she’s having puppies, but I don’t see any evidence of this.

Anyway, Wiley is a basket case in the car. He get’s waaaay too excited. It’s so…like….I’m embarrassed for him. He needs to get that under control. Delilah (the cool dog next door) can totally see him muttering and drooling all over the place like a moron.  That’s why I play it cool and just lay down. I’ve been riding in the car my whole life. I’m just not impressed.

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At the ranch, we get to run around ALL DAY. It’s all we have to do. And there are treats. And the Ranch Labs are there to admire how much fun we are. Cody gets involved sometimes, but Bella just shakes her head and makes disapproving looks. She’s very “classy.”

I love the ranch so much.

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This time, it was Christmas, and so we got PRESENTS! Before we left I got some Chum Treats from my friends the Walkers. They taste so good. Made with real salmon. And Bekah has to hold her nose every time she tries to feed them too us, which just makes me even more excited about them. She’s not a “high taste” person like me.

But then, when we got to the ranch, as though that wasn’t enough, Judith gave us ribs. Again, Bekah was not so excited about the look and smell of them, but she’s such a stick in the mud about these things. I loved my rib. I went and found a special place to enjoy it all day.

Special treats are another thing that makes Wiley act weird. He gets nervous and looks at me like I’m going to, like, attack him and take his special treat. I HAVE MY OWN! Obviously! I don’t need yours. Until I finish with mine. If you haven’t eaten or buried it by then, well, it’s your fault for being slow, and I’m going to come and steal it. That seems…fair, right? It seems fair.

In the end, we loaded back in the car. Wiley was still a mess. Sigh.

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We made it home, and I have never been so tired in my whole life. I forgot to beg for food, that’s how tired I was…and we went to sleep with happy dreams of Christmas with our favorite (though still a little overzealous about furniture and plants) people nearby.

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We Planted a Tree [Part I]

This is our sapling Taxodium mucronatum:


Among the many cool CPS Energy programs, the tree giveaway is my favorite. It’s hard to get super jazzed about Energy Star Appliance rebates, and Enegy Saver Home Management, even though we appreciate them. But free trees? Hoo-RAY!

As the sole utilities provider for San Antonio, it’s good to see them give back. I heard someone make an argument for benevolent dictatorships once, and that sort of how I feel about CPS. In theory, I’m a fan of choice. In reality, I like CPS, and would probably choose them anyway. If being a monopoly allows them to give away trees, I’m not so terribly opposed.

I even found myself standing in Woodlawn Lake Park’s Earth Day celebration handing out free CPS trees to Westside residents. At the beginning of the day they could choose between such drought tolerant and attractive Texas natives as Eve’s Necklace, Mexican Buckeye, Redbuds, Possumhaw Holly, and more. As the day wore on, the choices narrowed considerably, until all that was left were Possumhaws and an entire grove of Montezuma Cypress.

Throughout the morning, two master naturalists carried an ongoing discussion as to whether or not Montezuma Cypress trees, which typically grow along rivers banks, were actually drought tolerant. If indeed they are not, then the middle of the bone-dry Westside in the middle of the 3rd worst drought in the city’s history might not bode well for the survival of the Montezumas.

(According to Wikipedia…they are both drought tolerant and usually found in riparian areas.)

At any rate, their audible debate did not bode well for marketing the Montezumas. So at the end of the day, I eyed the remaining saplings, looking like little Charlie Brown Christmas trees, and thought, “Well, kids, one of you has got to survive.”

I happen to have access to a creek on my husband’s family ranch. Gallagher Ranch is a fine specimen of the Edwards recharge zone, and this has just the sort of springs and soils in which cypress trees thrive. Whether or not Montezumas can actually flourish in any Westside back yard may be up for debate, but on the banks of San Geronimo Creek they seem to do quite well.

So on a Friday night Lewis and I headed out to the ranch with out friend Liz and her pack of dogs. We walked the creek bed until we found the perfect place.



Lewis dug the hole.


We set the tree in.


I covered his roots. (I’m posing here…this is not the posture of someone actually shoveling.)


Now we will hopefully watch him grow.


If you’ve never planted a tree, I highly recommend it. I could wax on about the poetry of the experience, but I think that would only muck up it’s utility and grace. There are times where the poetry is in the doing, not the reflecting. Planting trees is one of those things.

I will only say this. Trees are so much simpler than people and politics. They take nutrients and they grow. They give back in predictable ways. They do what they do because of what they are, not how they feel or what they think. I know that it’s our magnificent minds and souls that separate us from the rest of the natural world…but trees have got something going for them. They live by the immortal creed: “It’s not how you look when you’re doin’ what you’re doin’. It’s what you’re doin’ when you’re doin’ what you look like you’re doin’.”