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Discussion Starter · #541 ·
Took a Mother’s Day ride with the goodewyfe today. We rode around the mountain for a couple hours, then stopped at a neat little outdoor restaurant near the ranch.

We tied the horses to trees in the shady parking lot. Our dog Snoopy tagged along too. We bought an extra order of food for him.

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Discussion Starter · #543 ·
LIZARD UPDATE
Apparently, Fido the monitor lizard has grown long enough to reach the top of the container I had it in. I went to feed it the other morning, and it was gone. The only logical explanation is that it was able to get a front foot over the edge of the container and haul itself out. I was actually intending to release it soon anyway. We have upcoming travel plans and I doubt that any of our helpers would be diligent in keeping it fed and the container clean. So now, hopefully, I have two monitors living in or around the barn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #544 ·
ANOTHER LIZARD UPDATE, MAYBE

I have not seen either of the monitors since Fido climbed out of the container. However, I've noticed a few subtle changes in things at the barn. First, I have not seen any of the small skinks that used to hang around. They would be a food source for monitors. Also, while the chickens still hang around outside, they rarely seem to go into the barn anymore. I do still see mouse droppings from time to time, but it has become a rare thing.

This morning, I found my small child’s saddle knocked over onto the floor. It had been sitting on a rolled saddle pad on an apple crate . Nothing else was disturbed. The door is locked. My first thought was that the larger monitor may have chased a mouse there and knocked it over.

It could also have been a chicken. They are rather clumsy creatures. But I saw no chicken droppings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #545 ·
Long time since I updated here.

We’ve been on the move a lot, making multiple 6+ hour trips across the mountains to Manila. International travel restrictions have eased a bit, and we intend to visit our son and his family in Japan. We haven’t seen them for over 2 years, and haven’t seen the youngest grandkid at all. We used to be able to simply get a “tourist visa on arrival”. Now we have to apply at the embassy for a “first tier relative’s visa. Asia thrives on bureaucracy, but at last all our paperwork is satisfactory, and we have only to wait for the Japanese embassy to return our passports.

In other news, a youth nature organization spent yesterday at our place planting close to 100 Nara trees. Nara is a Philippine native hardwood tree that has been logged extensively due to its resistance to insects and decay.
Im not sure our reforestation efforts will ever replace the trees we’ve cut to clear areas for vegetables, or for fence posts and such. But we will continue to plant trees as long as we can.

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Discussion Starter · #546 ·
We got word yesterday that our visa to visit Japan has been approved. The goodewyfe is traveling tonight to pick up our passports tomorrow.

We have grown weary of driving the 6+ hour hump over the Carabalo Sur mountains to get to Manila. We’ve started using what is called a “point to point” van service. They pick us up at a place of our choosing, and deliver us directly to the destination.
It can take a bit longer, as they are picking up and dropping off other people, but you ride instead of drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #547 ·
Monitor lizard update:

I found a few things scattered on the floor in the barn “office “ today. While cleaning up around the barnyard, I found some droppings that I haven’t seen before.

A bit of scatological research on google, and a conversation with a herpetologist friend confirmed that it’s likely from a lizard of some sort. The only lizard around that can leave that big of a mess is the monitor.

So I think at least one of the monitors have decided to hang around. If true, that’s a successful experiment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #549 ·
We are awaiting the van ride that will begin the first leg of our two month visit to Japan. Our son and daughter-in-law have purchased a new house. Our joyful task will be to keep the kids out of their hair while they accomplish the move.
The gardens and house are under the watchful eye and capable hands of the wonderful lady who has helped our family for close to 20 years now. The horses are under the care of our ranch manager, who has done the feeding whenever we are away overnight. I’ve shown him the first aid supplies and put him in contact with the municipal veterinarian and the rodeo kid turned vet tech who has helped us in the past.

We haven’t seen the family since 2019. This will be our first visit with the youngest grandkid. While we’re there, we will attend the shichi-go-san ceremony for the elder grandkid, and birthdays for both.

 
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