Life on Charro Ranch

My time at Charro Ranch started with a heartbreak, ended with a heart stop, and had me question everything in between. Driftwood, Texas will forever be visceral in its realities of life and death, so long as it’s not gobbled up by concrete subdivisions, and has reminded me often not to take things too personally, because it is never about me and always something bigger. It has afforded me an opportunity to learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I’ve come to appreciate all my experiences over the years on the ranch, as they race through my mind.

The plan was to meet Reed in Texas after a few days in Chicago, but he never arrived and now it seems quite possible he will always avoid the places I am standing, for reasons beyond my reasoning. It is because of these reasons I spent the time reorganizing my Texas life and preparing for a new direction, one that will include cows, but will not include Reed.

My first day in Texas, I backed my car up the driveway and heard a strange yelp as I rolled up to the house. I paused, looked out my car window and was horrified to see tiny legs kicking under the car. I maneuvered the car away, exposing a whimpering newborn deer who’s head I just crushed. She was still alive when I dropped to the ground and put my hands on her jerking body to calm her, or perhaps to calm my horror and give me the exasperated chance to apologize for killing her on her first day of life.

It was terribly heartbreaking. I was officially a wreck and fought back my tears during my eye exam later that morning, even my eye doctor, bless his heart, paused to hug and comfort me over the unfortunate early morning death of a fawn.

My apologies ... :'((
My apologies … :'((

After she left this world, I placed her lifeless body in a beautiful field of wildflowers I now call Fawn Field.

The days ticked by and it became evident Reed would not arrive. Our phone conversations were awful and ugly, his rage over me being in Texas grew by the hour.

The rains soon arrived and with it came an army of spiders, mud and scorpions looking for higher ground. Electricity flickered and roads disappeared. I was killing scorpions without batting an eye and barely flinched when I awakened a huge 5-inch centipede. On the third day, I could stand it no more and fled to Austin to escape the pounding rains and my saddening heart. Thank God for cousin Noelle; she helps me feel normal in the world again as I follow behind her in malls I am literally a foreigner in, stomping the scorpions away from my mind.

image

Texas has always tested me in this regard; its weather and insects always a bit bad-asser and larger than what I’m accustomed, and in hindsight I’ll always be grateful it hasn’t yet killed me, but in fact has made me stronger. I spent many years at odds with Texas; it is arrogant and uppity when you’re not from here, but now she’s in my blood and I love her many people, places, animals and occasional gut-wrenching lessons.

I soon returned to the ranch to finalize the condensing of my life, and spent a stormy sunset with the cows on Swan Lake. They moved in to stand closer, which surprised and delighted me, as the Texas cows have always kept a fair distance, but not on this night. Did they know I was sad and in need of a friend? No, I’m sure they did not but who’s to say if they did?

Sunset moos

Reed was not coming, and in fact he had since exploded in a sea of stabbing words at me, for me and about me; it is time for me to go. There is no point in details because when two people live in entirely different worlds, the details are unnecessary and the truth unavoidable; get out and away before someone gets hurt. Although someone may be hurt.

memories of Bandito
memories of Bandito

The last day at the ranch I was prepared to leave and went to dip my feet in a raging Onion Creek where Bandito Bridge crosses; I have renamed this bridge because I miss that dog terribly and we always had a blast at the river. It’s a beautiful day and I notice everything; I feel so privileged to know this part of the Texas Hill Country; it is magical and raw in so many ways and I think back to when I first arrived in 2005 and hated it with all its bugs and creatures that go bump in the night. I have come so far because now I love to spend time at Charro Ranch and will miss it terribly. But it is time to go. One last visit with the cows …

Bandito Bridge on Onion Creek
Bandito Bridge on Onion Creek

I pulled up to the barn and all the cows were wailing and screaming and mooing like mad, it was an awful, awful scene! I jumped out of my car to see that the calves were in the pen and the mommas were out; the calves were being weaned and everyone was wailing. RayRay the horse was in the pen too, and was more unsettled than usual, pushing the calves around with his nose, completely uninterested in the apple I had for him, heyying and neyying all over the place. “What the hell is going on here??!” I asked as the wailing got louder and cows who normally keep their distance moved still closer to me.

Slow-motion turn, just like the movies.

I turned around and saw “him”. A huge, raging black Spanish bull, a bullfighting bull to be precise, as I have seen many times at the bullfights in Mexico. He had escaped from a ranch down the highway and was crazed with lust. He was panting and grunting, his head darting impatiently and aggressively. Without a moment to think, I hopped on air the 30-or-so feet back to my car — the bull moved towards me and grunted even more. Then he began to run towards me yet turned on a dime just as I reached my car. Fight or flight, I was completely in it and have no recollection of anything for the next several whatever’s, but sat there with my mouth agape completely aghast that there was a raging bullfighting bull on the loose now raping all the wailing momma cows. The bellowing moos still haunt me, as does the fact I’m still alive when a bull bred to kill somehow did not to kill me. Remember this is not personal, Meag.

toro... toro.. toro WTF
toro… toro.. toro WTF

My week at Charro Ranch started with a tearful, dying whimper and ended in an explosion of seething anger, and while it is true my heart is still lodged in my throat, I’m alive with a flush in my veins and more wiser view of the world thanks to this Driftwood, Texas ranch and its owner Reed Burns.

Thank you for all the adventures Charro Ranch, I love you so much xx

I love you so much

 

New Energy in 15, I am a Texas Tree!

I have decided to lay down my roots in Austin, Texas after sitting on a fence for about a year. I actually cried as I gazed up to Lady Liberty on top of the Texas State Capitol; this State can annoy the heck out of me at times, but fault can be found in any state. I don’t look for that because I have found some awesome new friends, some bubbling opportunities and a fairly clear path ahead of me. It’s where I want to be.

xx

Shari the Master Gardener

This past May, I stumbled into a super-funky, super-vintage and totally cool furniture haunt in Bee Cave called Revival and fell in love with the place as soon as I walked in.

The first reason is that they have a pot-bellied pig named Hamlet, who roams the property and always seems to be chuckling at you or with you, I haven’t decided and honestly don’t care. He’s cute and he knows it. He even has his own air stream trailer with his name on it when he’s had it with the paparazzi.

Hamlet

I liked this place as soon as I walked in; it’s got a easy-peasy down-to-earth vibe, the artwork is local and cool, and the furniture and decor pieces are really unique and one-of-a-kind. I’ve had a lovely conversation with every person that I’ve met here.

I attended their first Succulent Class with Shari, their Texas Master Gardener and had a fabulous time with her and appreciate all the things she shared with me. Plus, whoo-wew that’s a fancy title I do declare!

shari

You know how every once in a while, you meet someone you can honestly share a few of the private little corners of your life with, and that person shares a little bit of their private little corners with you and suddenly you become bonded to that person in a special way and it doesn’t even matter if you ever see that person ever again?

Yeah, that happened and it was cool. Shari has spectacular energy and I swear there’s a halo hovering over her too.

I bumped into Shari at Whole Foods a few weeks later and when she saw me, she jumped up and down and said, “Oh, Oh, Oh, I have something to show you!!!!” as she threw things out of her purse onto the counter at customer service. What could she possibly have to show me?

She whipped out her iPhone and showed me her lock screen… it was me and my succulent planter!  I LOL’d all over Whole Foods because it was a goofy photo, but how cool was it that she made it her lock screen?

lockscreen

I asked Shari how she became a Master Gardener and she told me all about the program through Texas A&M and Travis County and wouldn’t you know it that by the end of that day I was signed up for the program and awaiting further instructions.

Well today was my first interview for the Master Gardener Training class, and it was pretty darn cool! Admission to the program is only offered once a year and out of everyone that applies, only 30 are chosen.  I am currently filling out the application and will submit before the June 30th deadline.

Exciting!

I’m also working at Revival now! xoxo

Fire Ants are from Hell

If there is one thing about living in Central Texas that raises the hair on the back of my neck, it’s the amount of creatures and critters I must learn how to do the two-step with, because they rule the land.  I am far less frightened of them at this age in my life, but that does not mean they are not showing up in my path, no Siree Bub, this land is their land, this land is their land. this land was made for them and them.

Field of Fire Ant Mounds = Deadly

Scorpions are hideous creatures and seem to appear in places you’d never expect; in the sink when doing dishes, on the inside of the bathrobe that I’m about to put on, inside the ovenmitt, discovered a moment too late after rushing to get the hot burning bread out of the oven. After I met my first scorpion while doing the dishes a few weeks ago, I literally launched off into The Scorpion Dance and bounced my ways backwards through the house in order to distance myself from it.  I had the creepy-crawlies all damn day.  But you can’t let them stop you. Keep on keeping on.

I am torn whether or not to post the pictures of all the creatures I come across.  That means I have to look at the photos again, and I always take photos.  I can’t seem to stop myself, it’s a gross fascination with that which I abhor. That said, here they are, a few of my buddies:

I attempt to make peace with them, in order for them not to rule my life and appear everywhere and this tactic seems to work — somewhat, but c’mon this is Texas.  Mostly you must be smart about it and proactive; I always shake my shoes out, spray my bed with peppermint and lavendar each night before going to bed, and now I carry homeopathic pellets with me, so that I don’t have to carry an epi-pen.  For the dreaded Red Imported Fire Ant.

In 2007, I was bit three times on my big toe by a fire ant or three fire ants, I am not sure because it happened so quickly and then they were gone.  My toe blew up and I had to get to the Emergency Room to have my toe lanced off.  Followed by two days of being a zombie while the pain meds did their magic — it was AWFUL.

I suffered five fire ant bites on both feet last week, and again my feet blew up and I was in searing, burning pain, just as their name suggests. I didn’t see a doctor until I came up for air and the pain subsided.  I was told my allergic reaction to these bites would get worse and now I need to carry an epi-pen. Ugh, an epi-pen! That’s what Uma Thurman got to the heart in Pulp Fiction!!

This did not set well with me so I made an appointment with a Naturopath doctor and have since been taking homeopathic pellets made for stings and bites, called APIS

I got bit by another fire ant on Saturday night.  It swelled up for an hour or so and then chilled the hell out.  I will continue to take the pellets as opposed to an epi-pen, because that’s just how I roll.

My new best friend, Apis

I also went to Allen’s Boots in South Austin to get some epic short cowboy boots, because my feet get hot but I need to cover them ankles!

Aways be prepared for what Texas is gonna throw at you, and never, ever jump without looking. xoxo