Dear Family and Friends,
We find ourselves in the midst of the holiday madness yet again, unprepared for the seasonal festivities and up to our ears in life. This year has been another one of transition, though we're still in Marathon and we're still juggling employment - that much remains the same. Thankfully our town was spared the wildfires that so much of our region was scorched with, but we're all in this drought together. If you feel the urge, y'all can even hear our local NPR segment on how the drought impacted birds (or our own blog entry about it).
Here's a boquet of Scarlet Musk Flower (Nyctaginia capitata, also called Devil's Boquet!) in the yard:
New in our life this year is a nearly hairless mammal who has brought an immense amount of joy to our lives... Anakin isn't always so sure about her, but he's the Original Puppy and she steals his toys. Nauga (naw-gah) was matched to us via Grand Companions shelter in Fort Davis* - she's half Chinese hairless, half Mexican hairless, and looks entirely Chupacabra (mythological goat-sucker vampire dog-lizard beast thing).
* Quick note about Grand Companions:
They are AMAZING. They don't have
rows of kennels so much as rows of offices
and each office houses a person and some
pups so the critters (and people) are well
socialized, people and house friendly, and
generally quite pleasant to be around!
In honor of Kindli's candid family photos, we bring you a few of the attempts made in the last few weeks to get the pups looking cooperative:
Anakin generally likes the camera, but Nauga's photogenic side is sneaky.
Also new to this year's update - our porch is now a *real* porch!
While we're at it, we should mention our fantastic pup-watchers, without whom we'd never have made it down to south Texas for the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival or up to Missouri for Thanksgiving. Dione and Gerald and their flock of 2 kids, 2 cats, 1 dog and 1 turtle are to thank for keeping Anakin well entertained in our absence - he LOVES staying with them! As for Nauga, she gets pampered by our friend Kathy and her daughter (our blacklighting companion!) and their flock of poodle and people and much fun is had by all. Below is Anakin playing with Star, photo by Miracle Tedrick (sorry, no pictures of Nauga's escapades!)
Finally, as this year winds down, there's a bit of schooling to report: 32 hours at Sul Ross Sate University means that in 12 more hours there will be a BA of "General Studies" on the wall. (Three schools and 170 hours later...) Highlights thus far have been two summer sessions at slight overload - Entomology being the Most Amazing Experience Ever, in spite of a drought year, and a fall schedule that included tutoring English, reading and writing. Work gems included a 7 hr shift in which over 30 papers were edited. Students still don't understand deadlines!
The Sul Ross longhorn, all dressed up for homecoming:
Also included in 2011 adventures: learning to crochet, turning t-shirts into dresses, trying our hand at raising Hubbard's Small Silkmoth caterpillars (conclusion: don't) and a lot of really, really good local birding. For that, we've been maintaining a second blog: Big Bend Birds & Nature.