First, we had a family reunion of sorts at MY HOUSE. Yeah, I freaked out for the three months prior and have pretty much been recovering ever since. I thank my lucky stars that a friend turned me on to someone that helped me get the house ready or I don't know what I'd have done. And then, an even luckier me, my cousin and her family stayed with me and she bent over backwards to keep the house in order for the five days she was here. Thank you Catrina! The reunion was all her idea, by the way. Next year we're doing it at cousin Lily's in Tow, Texas!
I took precious few photos during the family get-together. I was just too busy and too tired! Here's one of Catrina's little ones peeking through the front door.
After everyone left, there was a lot of garbage. Underneath one of the garbage bags was the Solifugae below. Nasty looking beast. Hubby wasn't home when I found it. As much as I wanted to scream and run, I also wanted to know what the darned thing was! I thought at first it was a scorpion, but then convinced myself it was a tarantula of some sort. I wasn't too far off! Fighting against my natural inclination to get as far away from it as possible, I caught it for hubby. I owed him big time for all the work he did before, during, and after the reunion. Being the "Hagrid" that he is, I knew catching something that really did resemble a Blast-Ended Skrewt for him would delight him completely. It did.
Shortly after the reunion I went to stay with my sister in Austin for a most wonderful weekend with her and the rest of my Austin family. The purpose of the visit was to say goodbye to my little brother, ack! He got a job with Blizzard (makers of World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and many more) in Irvine, California. But that's just the icing on the cake that is his life. His wife is pregnant with their first child. Sweet! Poor pregnant Suez, she's still here in Texas trying to pack their lives into boxes, sell their home in Arlington, TX (awesome neighborhood, terrific yard, looking to move there? Check It Out!), and then she'll get to join her hubby in Irvine.
I had little opportunity for photos in Austin, as it turned out. My Dad and Mamman Claudette took us to Austin's The Oasis on Lake Travis. What a treat! It's an enormous restaurant. Three stories and a deck/bar that stretches on forever. The big thing at The Oasis is to go at sunset and watch the sun sink down over the lake. The day I went the humidity was high enough that there was a haze in every direction. It was still beautiful.
My siblings' minds were addled by the heat as we'd all chosen a table on the veranda.
Outside the restaurant there was a bazaar. It was SO cool--booths full of people desperate to explain to you how everything they sell is handcrafted and made of either recycled materials or things acquired via fair trade. Suez snagged baby's first onsie from the tie-dye guy.
And except for a trip into San Antonio for my first hookah experience (Delicious! But I think I'll stick to the tobacco free blends in the future) with a woo woo group I met online, things are winding down again.
And, today, for the first time in weeks, I felt like braving the sun and the dust to try and take a few photographs. There was a relatively cool breeze today, one of the last we'll get to experience until Fall. I wanted to take full advantage. I headed for the farm to take some photos of our cows and to look for some of the Monarchs that have been flitting through on their Spring migration. I saw none, unfortunately.
For whatever reason, the white one suddenly started giving the black one a tongue bath. They were pretty cuddly.
Speaking of cows, we're ready to sell beef! We tried some of our own beef for the first time on the weekend of the reunion. It was so good! Tender! Juicy! Flavorful! What a relief, I didn't really know how it was going to taste. It exceeded my highest hopes. Our first taste test was done in the form of a side-by-side taste-comparison test. We had some truly beautiful store bought rib eyes as well as some of our own T-bones. The difference between the two was amazing. The grain fed beef had no flavor by comparison and seemed dry. Our pasture-raised, grass fed beef had the most delicious (not gamey or funky) flavor, was moist, and was very tender. For the reunion we served escabeche marinated and grilled chuck steak, muy delicioso. The raw chuck steak was so tender that I could cut right through it with my fingernails. Pinto Farm is ONLINE now, and ready to sell some tasty goats and cows!
As I was getting into my car to leave the farm today a flash of red caught my eye. Can you believe the vermilion color of this caterpillar? I don't think my photo editing does it justice, it was more red and more vibrant. Our nephew David says it's the Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar.