Monday, August 31, 2009

Day Two Hundred Forty Three...

When your day has been truly mundane, and you have no exciting photographs to post, I recommend you always go with a photo of the dog. It works every time!

Well, so far this has been a really busy day. I got up early this morning, as is usual for a Monday (or any day other than Saturday or Sunday) and got the day started. There were lots of e-mails to answer, since I expected to be at the Board of REALTORS for quite some time this morning. BUT, the meeting did not last nearly as long as I had anticipated, which does not happen frequently enough, but when it does it is just like 'finding time' and that is ALWAYS welcomed.

So I made it into the office about 10:30 and got lots of stuff done (it is the end of the month, and we are processing security deposit refunds ans things like that, and getting ready for new tenant move-ins and walking properties in anticipation of move-outs. Busy at the end of and the beginning of each month. Our emergency pager is rotated between three of us in the office, and tonight is my last night of 'pager-duty' (only somewhat different than dog-duty) and I am looking forward to not having that particular electronic leash for another sixty days!

I went to lunch with our MOST FABULOUS (he sometimes reads this) ASSISTANT Tom and we went to El Mercado (next door to the office). I should never really eat there, because I ALWAYS eat too much. I should just have a Pepsi and fill up on the chips and salsa...because after I fill up on the chips and salsa, they bring me my entree (is that a french word for a Tex-Mex meal?) and I eat that as well. I will never learn, and I guess I am too old to learn that at my advanced age.

I had a lease signing for a non-managed property this afternoon, and the Landlord (June) is a wonderful woman, and I bet she would be a lot of fun to go hang out with. But, I will refrain from that, since I would like to do some business with her again. She was referred to me by my long-time friend and another really wonderful woman, Ann. I think they are both going to hang out at Ann's condo on one of the Florida coasts. I hope they have a really good time! Have one for me while you are down there!

I will be leaving the office shortly, I have to take deposit checks to the post office so they are in toady's mail. MUST FOLLOW THE RULES, and avoid liabilities! It is really not too hard to do the right thing, it just takes practice!

Okay, the drive home was really uneventful, made and received a few phone calls from clients past and present. Can you believe tomorrow is the beginning of another month? I am ready for a Holiday (next Monday).

Ham and home made apple sauce for dinner tonight, and I am about to go jump in the pool right now. It is not (it is NEVER) too late to do something kind for someone. And, you can probably always work in something that will go a long way to make this big blue marble a better place for all of us. Think about it, and Have Fun!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day Two Hundred Forty Two...

Last night after I finished my post and dinner, Jody and I headed out for a quick dip in the pool. I cannot believe how chilly the water has become. Two nights of temperatures in the low 70's has already taken its toll on the water temperature. Anyway, after a brief time in the pool, we sat out on the patio for a while and watched the sen set, and watched the clouds go from apricot to pink to red in just a really brief time frame. I took a few photos, but the more brilliant the sunset became, the darker it was and the more difficult it was to capture the colors on camera. My friend Blake who lives in Lago Vista is the sunrise and sunset KING (whatever) and always posts amazing photos. My hat is off to him!

This morning it was very pleasant and we had turned off the air conditioners again yesterday and opened up the windows. They are still open as I write this. It is lovely to get the fresh air in the house. I made my usual Sunday morning egg loaf, and after that I went out and fed the cattle, and mended a few places in the fence that had been damaged by the big ol' bull Mr. Speckles. he does not realize his own strength, well, it really does not take a lot of strength to damage fences. Anyway, they are all fed and happy, and the fence is fixed, now all I need to do is get a fresh bale of hay to them and that will be it. Michael called last night and will be over with one of his tractors later on to get a bale of hay moved for me. It is nice to have neighbors that are always ready to help. We love it out here.

We are just about to get started getting started to get ready to go into Austin for brunch. We are meeting our friends Michael and Lynda, and that will be nice to sit for a while and just talk. And the food is expected to be very good at the Roaring Fork. We should be home around 3 or 4 and then it will be downhill from there. No real anything on the schedules, just relax until it is time to call it a night.

Well, as we were leaving for Austin, we got to the end of the driveway and I noticed that my tire pressure warning light was on. The last time that happened, I ignored it and ended up with a flat tire the next day, so instead of taking any chances, we took Jody's Highlander into town. Lunch (or brunch) was very nice, the restaurant was not crowded at all, and we sat outside where it was very pleasant. A nice breeze, a good view of Quarry Lake and wonderful company. We lingered for quite a while after we finished lunch and just talked about what was going on in the world. A very nice time and it was great to see our friends.

When we got home, Jody headed almost immediately for a nap, and I did a few things around the house, taking out garbage, etc. I also checked the air pressure in the car tires and found that both front tires were low in pressure. I hooked up the compressor and filled the tires up, and we will see tomorrow morning if they are holding up. I hate the nagging suspicion that the car tires may have either a slow leak or a nail or something in them. We shall see.

Nothing much going on for the rest of the evening, I suspect. I am wondering if I can find a books-on-CDs service kind of like NetFlix. I think that would be a good thing for while I am commuting every day on IH-35. Tomorrow should be a good day, I have a morning meeting at the Board of REALTORS and then kind of a busy afternoon. Tuesday is shaping up to be a busy day as well.

Okay, time for you all to think about doing a good deed for someone that does not expect it of you. AND see what you can do in some small way to make this world a better place for all of us. I know for one, I will really appreciate your effort. Have Fun!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day Two Hundred Forty One...

Well, much to my surprise, this morning at breakfast (or maybe it was last night at dinner) I asked Jody if there was anything he wanted to get accomplished today, and he said he wanted to get the garage cleaned out and organized so I could start parking my car back in the garage. This is all in preparation of El Nino doing his thing in the fall, and the anticipated heavy rains we are expecting which would make it very inconvenient to get in and out of the car outside the garage. Anyway, as I said, I was very surprised, but went along with it. I went out into the garage and just kind of looked around with my eyes glazed over, because I really could not decide exactly where to begin. If I can just find a 'jumping in' place, I can usually do just about anything, it is just the getting started part that causes me issues.

Anyway, we worked out in the garage for a couple hours, deciding things that needed to be thrown away, things that needed to be given to charity and things that needed to be taken to our resale place to see if we can make some moo-lah off it. It really went better than we both expected, and I only got distracted a couple times; once when I thought I needed to put the trickle-charger on the riding lawnmower (it started right up, so I did not need to do that), and once when I was transferring some stuff from the garage to the big storage building (I got involved with the neighbors talking about how to save the world! Happens every time). Anyway, here are both before and after photos, so we did good. I wonder how long it will last?

Last night it was so pleasant outside, we turned off the air conditioners and opened the windows to get some fresh air in the house. I started out a little bit warm, but we had the ceiling fan on in the bedroom, and by morning I was under the covers. We did not turn the air conditioners back on until just about 3 o'clock this afternoon, so that is really good. I think we will try it again tonight, it is supposed to be even cooler tomorrow morning. It was 70 degrees when I went out to get the paper this morning, and it was very pleasant.

After we got the garage cleaned out, we took some stuff into Georgetown to the resale place, and that put us at the Dairy Queen just in time for spoilers! Our favorite lunch! On the way back, we stopped at Hubert and Pauline's to see if they wanted me to drive my tractor back home, but it is not ready yet, they had not been into town to get the filters they need, but hopefully it will be ready tomorrow. I need to move a bale of hay into the pasture for the cattle, and if my tractor is not ready, I expect they will come over with one of their tractors and move a bale for me. It is really no big deal, the cattle will not starve and I do not want to be pushy. All of our neighbors are so nice, we would all do whatever we could for each other, so, you just do what you can.

We also visited with our 'back' neighbor Alan, he is back there having a tank dug on the back side of his property, everyone has big plans for all the rain we are expecting this fall. I hope the weather forecasters have this right, or we will all be really unhappy with them.

After that it was time for naps, but I really did not fall asleep. Jody had a good nap, and he will be getting started with dinner in a little while. Probably watch a NetFlix movie tonight, and that is about it, maybe a jump in the pool. Tomorrow we are meeting friends (Michael and Lynda) for lunch at the Roaring Fork at Stonelake for brunch, and we are all looking forward to that. I REALLY like that restaurant, and they have very good food. I am not sure what the brunch menu will be like, but I am sure it will be delicious.

I am sitting here watching an adolescent male cardinal take a bath in the fountain on the front terrace, very fun! He is really having a good time!

Do something nice for someone who is not expecting it of you, and see if there is any small thing you can do to make our world a better place. We are all depending on each other to try to get this right! Have Fun!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day Two Hundred Forty...

IT IS is back in session. I got stopped by my first school bus loading yesterday morning. It was a great feeling, it means that fall is on the way and cooler temperatures and hopefully rain will be with us soon. Say another couple months or so... I am the eternal optimist!

I am such a lucky person, I am truly blessed. I have a wonderful life! YAY ME! Last night at about 9 o'clock my neighbor Michale called and wanted to come over and pick up my tractor, I had complained that I thought there was something wrong with the hydraulic system. The steering was acting up, and I was having troubles with the loader and the hay stake in the back...but after a little thought I deducted that maybe it needed hydraulic fluid or there was a leak in the hydraulic lines. Well, Michael and his grandfather (Hubert) came by so we all stood around on the driveway gossipping for about 15 minutes before they got down to business. I LOVE LIVING IN THE COUNTRY!

When I went out to get the paper this morning, the temperature (according to the nuclear weather station) was 70 degrees, so we opened up five windows in the house to get some fresh air. Jody said he left them open until the air conditioner finally came on about 10:30...should be cool again tonight, so maybe there will be a repeat of window opening. Always better to have fresh air.

So, this morning Michael called and said there is water in the hydraulic line, and it needs new fluid and a new filter. The water is in the system most likely from condensation, because we do not use the tractor that often. It is two years old and does not even have 50 hours on the engine, so it is definitely not OVER WORKED. So, it is nice to have knowledgeable neighbors that can repair that kind of stuff, and they are going to do a regular oil change and grease job while they are at it. How nice is that?

We had a very nice rain last night, lots of thunder and lightning and it actually woke me up. I usually do not wake up for things like that. When we lived in Memphis, I slept on the second floor and a tornado destroyed the house behind us, and I slept through it. Now that is sleeping! We ended up with another quarter inch of rain, and from all indications they got more rain than that in Austin. We really need the rain!

Busy day in the office so far, and it is not even lunch time. I got in VERY early, and that is always nice. I like being able to spend time in the office before the phones start to ring. Very productive. If I am lucky, I will be able to leave the office early again today, and get an early start on the weekend.

EDIT: Well, my early departure from the office did not happen as quickly as I wanted it to, but I did manage to get home just before 5. I made a couple stops on the way home and filled the car up with gas, so that was all productive. I am not sure if there are any chores to be done around the house this weekend, but I am confident that, between the two of us, I will find things to do and stay busy. I have three NetFlix movies to watch and some fences to fix and that will pretty much take care of the time.

I hope you have been doing kind deeds for others, and that you have been making an effort to make our world a better place. Every little bit counts, and the world can use all the help it can get. Just watch the news if you do not think the world is full of crazy people. Have a great weekend, and HAVE FUN!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day Two Hundred Thirty Nine...

All-righty-then! We had some rain out in the country yesterday! Actually we had about a third of an inch, and that was really very welcome. When I was driving down IH-35, I could see the rain coming down mostly to the west of the Interstate, but when I got onto FM 979 (FM stands for Farm to Market road for you out-of-towners) it rained on me a couple times, and when I got home we had some nice accumulations in the gauge. This is a photo of what it looks like from my car when you are trying NOT to use the wipers, and trying to get a nice effect for the blog post!

This has been a busy day so far. We had our property management meeting in the morning and then at about 10:45 AM I left to go to my Meals-on-Wheels pick-up place. I really enjoy doing my routes on Thursday. Two of my clients were not home, so I had to give those meals away, and then one of the clients has had a stroke and is in the hospital, so I had three meals to give away. Sometimes that stuff just happens.

As I was on my way back to the office, I had a call from my Hawaii client (ED) who had just gotten into town and was headed to his new house. I had the keys and so I headed over to meet him (and his cat Kibble). It was fun watching the cat explore her new home. Ed will not have his furniture delivered from Hawaii until OCTOBER because the ship is going into dry dock! What is that about? But his car should be here in about three or four weeks. I don't think folks from Hawaii think anything about time delays like that, everything has to be shipped in or out, and that is just part of life. Ms Kibbles was considered 'carry-on-baggage' so that was a good thing. She did not seem the least bit phased about not having access to a cat litter box for 12 to 15 hours. She is really cute!

So the afternoon has been kind of slow, and my goal is to leave the office around 3P.M. I have also decided to QUIT noting AMs and PMs when I post the times of things...if you think I am going to be leaving the office at 3 AM, well, you will just have to deal with that! And if you think I have appointments at 4 o'clock in the morning, well, you must not think I have any life at all. I'm just saying...

The drive home was nice, although I did take a route that is about 10 miles further than normal. I needed to go through Taylor to do some errands, and on the way I stopped at the Chevy dealer in Hutto. I asked them if they had any information or a waiting list for the Chevy Volt (due out in about a year from now). Their response was 'no' to both queries, but they now do have a waiting list started (with my name, phone number and e-mail address). Someone has to be the trail blazer, and it may as well be me. At least now, if anyone asks them if there has been any interest in a production electric vehicle, they can provide a positive response. We all have to do our parts!

Jody and I went to Georgetown for dinner tonight at the Monument Cafe. Sad to say, even though we give them several months after our last visit, it has still not improved. Success has ruined the Monument Cafe. Their menu explains their is a 'Monument' to the past, sort of a 'Monument' to roadside diners from the 30's and 40's, where they served good food at reasonable prices. Well, no more for this Monument Cafe. It is a long story, but here are the down and dirty details. Jody ordered a Cheese Burger with onion rings. No cheese, and no onion rings...they were 'behind' in the kitchen and brought the onion rings 10 minutes after the burger was ordered. I ordered the club sandwich with sweet potato fries...I had to ask for ketchup (which they delivered to me in one of those little plastic cups). ME, the person who thinks ketchup can be used to enhance EVERYTHING. Oh, and the service was very good and cordial, a little bit stiff actually, but from the time we placed our order until the food was delivered (not complete but food), there was a 25 minute time lapse. We will wait several more months and perhaps give them another try, but they are close to being on our DELETE list. For all this (there was more but don't encourage me) Jody was given a complimentary dessert to go. The tab for the two of us (including beverages) was $25 not including tip. You decide...

Okay that is all my complaining for one day. We tried to do a kind deed for someone who did not expect it of our case the waiter at the above mentioned we did not penalize him for all the issues. Anyway, try to do a good deed for someone, and REALLY, try to do something to make our planet a better place for all of us. HAVE FUN!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day Two Hundred Thirty Eight...

These dead trees are something I see almost every night on my way home. They area really dramatic looking when the sun is illuminating them and the sky is dark behind them. I need to work a little bit on the photos, but I think they are neat looking.

This day started out nice and easy breezy, and then it got a little bit crazy, and I am not sure how it will all end. I get up pretty early every morning, and usually do a couple things, then I go in into the office and check e-mails and things. I have kind-of trained a good-sized gecko that when the office desk-top light comes on, small flying insects are attracted to the light, and it means pretty good eating for him/her. I have tried to take photos of the event, and that does not just seems to daze the gecko. But it is really interesting to see him catch small flying insects, but actually, I expected his aim to be a little bit better. It sometimes takes him several tries to get one bug, but he is nothing if not persistent!

Really not a lot to talk about today. I got some stuff done in the office, and then I had a luncheon appointment about new regulations that have recently gone into effect which will, basically, slow down the home buying process. In my career, we have generally had a thirty day time from from contract to close; now it looks like we will be working on a 45 day window. New regulations concern things like Truth-in-Lending disclosures and appraisals. Things have the opportunity to become VERY complicated right about now, and the National Association of REALTORS is trying to get things back to normal, and asking for more study on these new regulations. Anyway, if you are considering the purchase of a new home (wink-wink) just let me know and I will fill you in.

I need to leave the office and go walk a couple properties; one that has an application for lease, and one that closed yesterday. Just minor detail stuff, but one is in the University area and the other is north off IH-35. Not so bad for the up-north one, but the University one is gonna be a killer with traffic at this time of day!

Well, life is good and it just keeps getting better. I ended up not having to go to the University area property, got the information I needed over the telephone. AND, traffic on the concrete highway was moving along quite nicely, I must say! So, got the stuff done at the North side property, and then, lo and behold, it started raining on me about seven miles from the house. And when I got home, we had about a third of an inch in the old reliable rain gauge. So, all is well that ends well. I had called Michael on the way home, and asked him if he had a plan for baling hay, and he said he thought it might rain (then added "probably not" jut for good measure) so we really got side tracked about hay baling. Anyway, I think there will be more hay for us in the near term, and all indications are that El Nino may work some magic for us in the fall, winter and spring. Just about the time I have solar panels installed on the house, we will never see the sun will be dark, gloomy and rainy for the rest of eternity!

Salmon for dinner tonight, and Brussels (spell check says this is correct, but I am not sure) sprouts with a hint of maple syrup on them. The ingredients list bacon and brown sugar, so that is close enough to brown syrup for me! YUM!

This is where I put the stuff about doing nice things for folks who do not expect it of you, and to try to do something nice to make our world a better place. So, you know the drill! Have Fun!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day Two Hundred Thirty Seven...

It is too bad that not everyone in the world has access to Sandy's Frozen Custard on Barton Springs Road. It is really not frozen custard, more or less it is really just soft-serve ice cream, but it is really good. When I was a little kid in Michigan, there was a place we would go to in the summers, it was either in Southgate or Wyandotte (we lived in Riverview) and we would get REAL FROZEN CUSTARD! It was really delicious, and I do not think I have had anything even close to that in decades. I cannot think of the name of the place, although I can see the building in my minds eye. If I think of the name of it before I post this I will edit he entry. I am obviously getting REALLY could I ever have forgotten the name of that ice cream spot? RATS!

EDIT: Okay, I think the name of the frozen custard place was 'Bob-Jo's' and it was on Fort Street, but still not sure if it was in Wyandotte or Southgate. Do not confuse it with 'Bob-Lo' which was an amusement park in the middle of the Detroit River, kind of like an early version of Six Flags. I NEVER WENT to 'Bob-Lo', we were not that economically advantaged. If any of my RCHS FB friends know for sure what the name of the place was, let me know!

Today was another great day in paradise. Life is good at the office, and we are all taking a breather from the chaos that was last week. We are having a few lingering issues, but nothing that we cannot all cope with. Property Management and real estate is a career that is NEVER the same. New things happen from day to day, and none of the days are really predictable.

I went and removed signs and lock boxes from properties this afternoon, and was cast off in North Austin, territory that I have not really been in for a while. Lots of new things going up, and especially the new 'commuter rail' stations at North Lamar near Anderson Lane. It is almost like Austin is becoming a real city, although I have known that for quite some time. Austin is somewhere around the 15th largest city in the country, but it still feels like a smaller town to me. WELL, actually now I really live in a small town, and I think the population of Bartlett is probably about 2,500. Not sure. Anyway, got some signs and lock boxes, had a closing this afternoon. It is always nice to have closings. REALTORS are basically unemployed between closings, without the benefit of any type of unemployment insurance. That is why they made savings accounts!

When I got home from work tonight, I discovered that the rodent traps that we have placed up in the attic were working. For quite some time, we were blaming the noxious odors on the dog, and questioning the selections of food we had given him recently. We apologize for the error, and we have asked forgiveness of the dog. Anyway, nothing that a good strong black cinch sack and a couple cups of water can't fix.

Strong winds here in the country right now, severe storms predicted for counties surrounding us. Threats of temperatures below 100 degrees in the seven-day forecast. Weather forecasters are such liars! I will believe it when I feel it!

Have a nice time doing good deeds for others, and really, try to make our world a better place for all of us. It is really simple, just do one small thing a day, and all those good deeds will make a difference! Have Fun!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day Two Hundred Thirty Six...

Okay, here is a photo of the 'tree props' I made yesterday, and tried to describe them in words, but I was not sure how that was working! Anyway, I think they do a pretty darn good job of holding up the low hanging and heavy tree limbs. Maybe I should patent something like this and sell them on info-mercials late at night on cable television. Too bad Billy Mays is no longer with us, he could sell a zillion of these things!

Speaking of cable television (or in this case satellite television), we got a notice this weekend from DirecTV that our local channel line-up is going to change on September 2nd. We had challenges with the local channels when we first moved to the country...our local channels are Waco, Temple and Killeen. So, for the last eleven months, we have kind of gotten used to the channels we have been watching, and we have gotten used to the slower pace of televised journalism that is offered there. SO we have no choice again, and we will be watching local Austin channels as of the 2nd. We are not looking forward to the Austin 9 PM local news (If it BLEEDS, it LEADS). I guess we will get used to that again though!

The day was really a good one, I got lots of office work accomplished, and that is always a good thing. Carrie (my business partner) and I had a conference call to a woman (Jill, a friend of Carrie's) in California who is going to do some writing for us so we can finally get our new web-site launched, AND we are merging two generations of Policies and Procedures Manuals into one (hopefully) cohesive package. We are shooting to get all this accomplished in the next couple weeks. We have been procrastinating for TOO LONG on both of these projects, but I think we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We just hope it is not a freight train coming our way!

I had a meeting at the Board of REALTORS for Realty Round-Up...think of it as the local trade show for REALTORS and other real estate professionals. It will happen the first week of October, so we are all coming down to the wire on this one. A lot of hard work goes into these efforts, and the volunteers all really make these events possible. There is lots of good hard work going on at our local Board, and I think we do a good job.

Crab cakes for dinner tonight. I have been hungry all day, even after lunch I was still hungry. I had a pulled chicken salad for lunch, and it was okay, but I was still hungry afterwards. I am really trying to cut back some, but the spirit is weak. I have really good intentions, but, well, you know...

I also need to go out and check the cattle, make sure they are all okay. They looked like they were okay from the road this afternoon when I came home, but I will go and take a closer look. Try and do something nice for someone today, and see what you can do to make the world a better place for all of us. I know I will remember to thank you for the kindness! Have Fun!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day Two Hundred Thirty Five...

A TALE OF TWO CITIES! This afternoon, we went into Round Rock to do some shopping...we had a $10 off coupon for Stein Mart (plus this is the tax free holiday) and I needed to go to PetCo to get some things for one of my clients...he is coming in from Hawaii on Thursday afternoon, and his cat will have been confined for eleven hours from Hawaii to Austin. So I am getting some 'kitty necessities' so the cat will be able to do 'cat things' when it is let loose in her new house. You know, a litter box, litter, cat food, food and water bowls, those kinds of things. Anyway, on the way home, we decided to go into Jarrell because we could go to the general store to pick up some 'single servings' of Blue Bell Ice Cream (mint chocolate chip for Jody and Banana Split for me). We took the 'Downtown' Jarrell exit, and I stopped at the SONTERRA TRAVEL CENTER (just a fancy new Truck Stop, think Buc-ees with a little bit less white trash) to get gas.

From there, we went on to the Jarrell General Store for the ice cream. It seems like there are two distinct parts of Jarrell now, and a lot of that has happened in the short time that we have lived in the area. On the east side of IH-35 there is the new developments with Denny's, Burger King, MacDonalds, a new Mexican Restaurant and new housing developments. On the west side of IH-35 is everything else that used to be the ONLY things in Jarrell. Progress and new stuff will not be stopped, and it is getting closer and closer to paving everything. I wonder how long until our forty four acres will be a suburb of something? I guess we will just wait and see.

So started out slowly again, and we got up and read the paper, had coffee, and just had biscuits and fig syrup for breakfast. I went out and fed the cattle, and assessed the fence lines to see if Mr. Speckles had done any damage...I did not see anything terrible, a few broken wire extenders, but it seems like the electric fence is doing its' job. I hope so.

After that I made some tree limb props from some 2" PVC pipe that I bought yesterday. I cut the tops off on the 2" PVC tees and put them on the ends of the PVC pipe, so the open tees form kind of a cradle for the tree limbs, and using the pipe we can lift the heavy vitek limbs up and out of the way, so we can walk under them and keep them from breaking (we hope). Maybe I will take a picture of them and post it tomorrow, since I doubt that my written description is doing the trick.

After that, we both took naps and then we went into Round Rock for shopping.

Tonight I am making one of my famous egg loafs for dinner, something light and easy, since it is 106.4 degrees outside the last time I checked the nuclear weather station. Too darn hot to do much of anything!

So, remember to try and do something nice for someone, and try and remember to have fun while you are doing it!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day Two Hundred Thirty Four...

Last night when Jody and I were on our way home from dinner, we saw one of our neighbors (Michael) out baling hay for one of our other neighbors (Alan). Alan owns about thirty acres behind our property, and right now he is not doing anything with the property except trying to get the grass to grow well. Off his thirty acres, he got 16 bales, BUT he had shredded his land earlier in the year to get rid of some weeds and to fertilize. He seems to be kind of disappointed with his hay production, but I think it will only get better for him. I AM REALLY SURPRISED that I think we are going to do another cutting on our land in the next couple weeks, and the neighbors all think that if we get any rain in late summer, we may even get a third cutting of hay. That would be terrific. I am definitely guilty of 'hay envy'.

This is a picture of Violet (daughter of Daphney) our first born calf. She is about 16 months old now, and I just noticed today that she has a really nice rack working. Yes, cows do have racks, especially longhorns! Get your minds out of the gutter! She is really going to be a pretty girl when she matures, and I hope she will be a good mama. We shall see.

So, today got off to the usual slow start for the weekend. We got up late and read the paper, had coffee, and then had biscuits and fig preserves (thanks Pauline).Then I got out and checked the fence lines in one of the pastures, and changed the three mile solar pack with a ten mile pack, and that got the electrified fence to working. Jody and I went into the consignment shop in Georgetown and took some stuff in to our space, and then we went to Tractor Supply...I needed some PVC pipe and some fencing supplies. They did not have what I needed, but I did get some cherry flavored fruit slices! Not a total loss for the trip.

We went across the Interstate to Home Depot and they had what I needed (more or less) for the fence and the PVC pipe, so that was good. By then it was almost noon, so of course we pulled in to Dairy Queen for a spoiler. On the way home, we stopped at Alan's' (our back neighbor) and talked with him for a while, and he brought over two bales of hay to repay us for some hay he had gotten from us a couple months ago. After that, I worked awhile longer on the fence, moved the feed troughs from one pasture to the other, and then spent some time trying to get the cattle to move from one pasture to the other. Have you ever tried to think like a cow? It is not the easiest thing, but I too am sometimes motivated by food, so I could really relate! ANYWAY, I finally got all the cattle to the other pasture, and it was actually sprinkling here, but no real rain. Maybe later in the week.

So, tomorrow all I will need to do is to feed the cattle, and that will be it. Pretty much got everything done today. It was hot, and I got A LOT of sun on my face and arms. We both jumped in the pool to cool off, and that was great!

We are having chicken for dinner tonight, yum! I am kind of tired, so I think I will make it an early night, maybe sit down in front of the TV and watch more episodes of True Blood that were delivered by NetFlix. How convenient!

Try to do a kindness for someone, and see if you can make the world just a little bit better place for all of us! Have Fun!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day Two Hundred Thirty Three...

It is COTTON PICKIN' time in the country. When I was driving home yesterday I say the harvesters in the fields getting ready to 'pick cotton' and on the way into the office this morning the results of their labor was obvious. Large compressed bales of cotton ready for taking to the gins. These bales may sit in the fields for weeks before they are taken to be ginned, so I am not completely 100% sure of the process. I just know what I see.A few years ago, our friends Bruce and Melody were visiting from Connecticut and they were harvesting cotton in Bastrop County. Melody was riding with me and I don't think she had ever seen cotton in its' natural state, so we pulled over and she took a couple bolls home with her as a souvenir. It is a little bit different in the fields than it is in a 400 thread count sheet on the bed.

It was very still this morning when I went out to get the newspaper, and the sky was a little bit cloudy with those pop-corny kind of clouds. The few lights in the area were reflecting light up onto the clouds, and it was very attractive. Off in the distance you could see lightning, one of the benefits of living someplace where there are no other buildings around to obstruct your view. Reports had it that there was flooding in north Texas, and my friend Dawn reported her flight from Austin to Dallas was delayed because of storms in Dallas. However, when I was off to work, the sun was coming through brightly, and all was well in my little world.

The day at the office was much more calm than it had been for the earlier part of the week. It was almost like it was the calm beore the storm, but everything turned out well. I left for home about 3:45 PM, and got home just a little more than an hour later. Traffic is continuing to build towards its crescendo next week, when school terms will begin, and all the colleges in the area will once again be in session. The University of Texas at Austin alone has about 50,000 students, plus all the support staff, etc., that makes for a good bit more traffic on the roads. It is just what we have come to take for granted in the area.

Jody and I left even before the news was over to go into Georgetown for dinner tonight. Fish City Grill. I had the fried shrimp dinner, Jody had the Pecan Crusted Shrimp Salad. All were pleased with the outcome. After dinner, we stopped in to Old Navy to look at socks and boxers...all were boring, none were purchased.

Try to do something nice for someone around you, and see if you can't make the world just a little bit better place. But, remember to Have Fun!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day Two Hundred Thirty Two...

I have been delivering Meals-On-Wheels about once a week (sometimes I can't sometime I deliver twice or three times a week) for eleven or twelve years now. When I first started, I delivered a central Austin route, in the general areas of Burnet Road and 45th Streets. When our offices moved further south, I changed my pick-up and delivery area to a area near South Lamar and Manchaca area. I have been delivering this route now for about three or four years, and today I happened to notice this HUGE and VERY BEAUTIFUL live oak at one of my clients. I cannot believe I never paid attention to this tree before. It is stunning, and this photo does not do justice to it. I am going to spend more time next week trying to get better photos of it. How does it go...'I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree'. True dat!

I was behind most of the day today. I had been paying attention to the clock so I could go do my Meals-on-Wheels, and when I got there, it seemed like I was one of the last ones and I am usually one of the first drivers to arrive. I told the meal manager (Mr. Stan) that it was only twenty minutes til...NOON. I thought it was twenty minutes til 11, and the rest of the day was kind of thrown off kilter because of that. I recovered though, and every thing was fine.

We had a good property management meeting in the office, and we are still being plagued with failing a/c units. There is just so much that can be done when the temperatures are continually breaking records. These units are just failing, period. We are doing the best we can to keep up, but sometimes the cure is out of our control, and in the control of the property owners, who may or may not have the money to get the problems fixed.

Where we live in the country, we are under a Stage Four water restriction. Water supplies are getting short, and we really, DESPERATELY need rain. Maybe on Tuesday, but we really need a FLOOD. That is what usually breaks our droughts.

Big Brother (I cannot believe I watch that every season) is coming on in ten minutes, so I need to get this finished so I can go and sit like a vegetable in front of the television. Whatever...

Try to do something kind for someone, and that kindness will be repaid to you many times over. See if you can't make our world a better place. Have Fun!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day Two Hundred Thirty One...

I have finally been able to get gasoline in my car from the Walburg Texaco (the filling station) Gas Station. We have lived here since October of last year, and finally I found them to be open for business. I stopped in to get gas, and asked them what their hours of operation were. Generally speaking, they are open Monday through Friday from (about) 8 AM until 5 PM, depending on the 'ball games'. No more details were given, none were asked for, so I think it is kind of a 'we are open unless we are not' kind of situation. Whatever...anyway, I am going to do my best to give them my patronage. I like to be a supported of the community!

This was an absolutely beautiful morning. When I went out to get the newspaper, it was positively 'pitch black' outside, no real lights anywhere around except for the stars up above, and they were glorious. There was a gentle breeze, and it was kind of cool (as cool as we can expect in August in central Texas), and as far as I could tell, I was the only living human being in the universe. I really enjoyed the trip to get the paper and back.

When I stopped to check the water usage, I discovered we had used an extraordinary amount of water yesterday, which usually means the cattle had been up to something. I went back to the first pasture and found one of the spigots was running just a little bit. I think that spigot is at a height that is convenient for least that is my theory. I closed the spigot, and when I got home this afternoon, all was okay, so we shall see what tomorrow brings.

Today was a good day in the office. We had a really good meeting of the Professional Development and Education committee at the Board, and there was lots of good information provided by the committee Chairman Chad. It seems that all of a sudden, everyone is getting busier than they have been in quite a while, and everyone is glad for that. We are all basically unemployed between closings, and we are all grateful for the upswing in sales, leasing and property management, whatever your niche happens to be.

I do believe that some of the students are back in town...traffic to and from the office has been somewhat more congested, and next week will be the real deciding factor...I fear the traffic and congestion will be back with a vengeance. So, I will roll with the punches, not knowing what lies ahead on the highway (since I am boycotting the radio stations that offers traffic reports). But, in my advanced years, I am really kind of appreciating blissful ignorance, and I think it may have just found a deserving home in me!

Try to do a kind deed for someone who is not expecting it of you, and see what you can do to make the world a better place for all concerned. Have Fun!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day Two Hundred Thirty...

Okay, this might be a recurring theme...the sunrise as seen from the rear view mirror of my (car/truck) on the way to work in the morning. This morning I took the truck into the office because I had some 'heavy hauling' to do, and it was indeed interesting. I was up above the masses with a good view all around. It is very much different than the view I have from my compact Hybrid. I could even see traffic up ahead for a good long way on the Interstate. I don't really think it would be my vehicle of choice for every day commuting, I am really happier with the small vehicle. I guess it is all in what you get used to.

Lots more office stuff to get accomplished today. About mid-morning I ate a donut that has been in the refrigerator at the office for about three weeks. I was really good and I don't think it had aged badly at all, but it really put me on a sugar rush, so I guess I will just chalk that up to one more thing I cannot do...right along with fried foods, raw onions, and many other things I used to take for granted. But, I guess when you think about it, sacrificing all those things is not the worst thing, and I am just glad I can understand that, if I eat something that I know is bad for me, there will be consequences to pay.

Today (after the donut) I had a NARPM luncheon meeting to attend. The guest speaker was an attorney here in Austin who spoke on Landlord Liability Issues. A very interesting discussion, and it brought home any good points that Property Managers all need to pay attention to. If you ever need to fall asleep, just get me started on property management and/or real estate liability issues in general. Very interesting to me, but BORING to other folks.

It has been another HOT day here in Austin, and we are all really getting tired of it. HVAC systems all across the area are failing. It is just too hot, and we are all finding that the attic duct work is also failing...not much sense in air conditioning the attics of properties, but that is what is happening.

I am out to leave the office for another wonderful trip home. I have maintained my boycott of AM radio and talk radio in general to be more specific, and I think I am a happier and less anxious person for having done so. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

So, enjoy yourself, try to do something nice for someone who does not expect it of you, and see if you can make the world in which we all live just a little bit better. Have Fun!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty Nine...

Oh CRAP-OLA. There goes the neighborhood! I am going to sound like just another NIMBY here, but I can't help it. Off CR 972 and CR 319, just a few miles from Walburg, there is a new residential development being started, and up until today, it was nothing more than a sign on the road. Today, there is actually a foundation being prepared. That all has happened really quickly! The sign has been advertising twenty two home sites on two-acre lots, and it is really starting. Today I stopped and spoke with the lady that will be the new owner of the property. I was trying to be very positive, but I am not sure I made a great first impression. Mixed in with my congratulations for their new home, were a few things like 'we moved here to get away from development' and 'I wonder if you will be able to still see the stars' when all the houses get built? Oh well, I will apologize to her the next time I see her.

Today was a really good day at the office, with the possible exceptions of two over-bookings...I totally forgot I was supposed to have lunch with a friend, and later in the day I had another scheduling conflict, but save for those two mess-ups, it was a great day. I got into the office really early, and had great quiet time to get things done. I got several things crossed off my to-do list. SWEET!

I left the house before sun-up this morning, so traffic was really no trouble. I also worked my way north this afternoon with other appointments, so I was able to miss the really bad traffic on IH-35. Tomorrow I will need to take the truck into Austin, since I have a few errands to do that will need more space than the Prius. This will only be the second time I have taken the truck to work, and it is always a fun thing to do.

Tomorrow is also the monthly NARPM luncheon meeting, and that will be interesting. Lots of stuff going on.

Seems like I have nothing else of any interest to report, so I will close this entry. Be kind to someone, and try to have fun doing it!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty Eight...

There have been lots of stories in the newspaper lately about cattle rustling in Texas. I think the number of stolen cattle has increased 300% since 2007. I went out to put the feed in the feed barn this morning, and all the cattle came into the front pasture except old Mr. Speckles. I kept counting and counting, but there were only nine accounted for, and Speckles was no where to be found. He finally came around, I have no idea where he was hiding, but he found someplace...and that is not easy to hid in a large open pasture. Anyway, all are accounted for and all is well.

Today has been a wonderful up late, made a famous egg-loaf for breakfast after reading the paper. I went back into Georgetown late in the morning to put a combo lock box on a property and take a sign and lock box OFF the same property. We put the combo box on because we will need vendors to get in there tomorrow to clean carpets and do a make-ready clean.

Then we (Jody was with me) went on to Tractor Supply to buy an upgraded solar fence charger for the back pasture. I was not happy with the smaller charger we had, so I upgraded to a larger one. If you want to let the cattle know they should not go further than these wires, you need to get the point across the first time! We shall see. I am pretty sure thy know what the electric fences are, but this will send a clear message to them.

When we got back, we had some lunch and we both took naps. Jody was piled up in the guest room and I piled up in my big blue chair in the den with the television on...the History Channel. Sunday afternoon is not great for television viewing, even if you do have 800 channels to pick from. That is crazy!

So, I am going to go straighten up the shed a little bit, then come in and shower, watch the news and then we are heading out to the Catfish Parlour in Georgetown for dinner. You are all welcome to come and join us (dutch) if you like...we should be there about 6:15 PM or so, and we would love to see you!

Try to make a new friend this week, and see if you cannot do something nice for an old friend as well. Have Fun!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty Seven...

FREE KID WITH THE PURCHASE OF A PUPPY! The guy even tried to make it a buy-one-get-two-free deal, but I was not gonna fall for that one. Kids are a lot more difficult (and expensive) to raise than a puppy, I don't care if they do look like St. Bernard's. As the day went on, Jody and I decided to go into Taylor and pick up some cattle feed at the Taylor Feed Store. We have seen local folks peddling all sorts of things in front of the store, or even on the side of the road for that matter; chickens, goats, geese, guinea hens, peacocks, you name it, if there are extras, they are probably for sale. This was the first time either of us had seen kids and puppies in a kennel cage in the back of a pick-up truck. If you can make up a better story that the one we did, just go ahead!

The days got off to a slow start; I slept in later than usual (in fact Jody was up before me) and we read the paper and had breakfast. Jody made blueberry pancakes and bacon, and we were just being kind of lazy. I decided to go out and see what kind of mischief I could get into. First, I started the lawn tractor (just mainly to see if it would start) and I went out to the road and cut the grass around the mail box. I did not really want to get carried away with grass cutting because I am easily distracted. I parked the tractor and got on the mule to go and survey the cattle situation. Distracted again; our neighbor Randy and his son-in-law were out in one of his pastures (that borders one of our pastures) so I went over there to shoot-the-breeze with them. It seems that other day when we had the rain and the high winds, a tree on his property blew over and landed on the fence. They were cutting the tree down and hauling it off, then the fence will be repaired and all will be fine. There is always something to do on a farm!

I was checking the new electric fences we had put in a couple weeks ago, and one section of the fence is not 'hot'. I used the mule and visually checked all the fence, and then I walked the entire area that I suspect has shorted out, but I could not find the problem. We will figure that out later, it should be an easy fix, just need to find the short circuit.

Then I fed the cattle and put a fresh bale of hay out for them. We will move the cattle to another pasture next week, and hopefully the rains we have had will have given the grass some time to come, and the cattle will be happier with green grass instead of hay for a while. That will be the plan.

After we went to Taylor to get the cattle feed, we went into Georgetown and had our weekly 'spoiler' at Dairy Queen. We were sitting close to the bathrooms, and it was really kind of entertaining. At one point, a father took his four kids (two girls and two boys) into the men's room (we don't know if they were relieving themselves or just washing up). In the meantime, a parade of people were trying to get into the men's room, including another father with a young man that REALLY needed to go. Remember trying to squeeze it shut, and the little dance you did because you had to go so badly? Well, this kid was doing that dance! We finally told that gentleman that there were five people in the men's room, and he might need to consider using the ladies room. He did, and the manager of the DQ practically had a hissy fit because there was a man in the ladies room. We were trying to explain to her the reasoning, and she finally quit being pishy about it...but whatever. It was all really cute and totally innocent.

When we left the DQ, I needed to go walk a property that had been vacated this week, and we have tenants scheduled to move in on Monday or Tuesday. The place is pretty clean, but there will need to be some make0ready work done...carpets cleaned, a make-ready clean (no one ever cleans the blades on the ceiling fans), and a trash haul. I do not know what tenants think will be done with their trash, but it does not just magically disappear! Anyway, it will all work out okay I think.

We came home, Jody went down for a nap, and I watched five episodes of the first season of True Blood. I have never seen it, and I am trying to get up to date before the new season starts on HBO. Interesting show.

So, it is now close to being time for dinner. Leftovers, YUM! Then most likely a dip in the pool, and off to bed. Tomorrow is another day!

Try to do a small kindness for someone, and as long as you are at it, try to do something kind for yourself as well. Have Fun!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty Six...

Today was the last day of my three days of classes at the Board of Realtors. I think the classes went pretty darn well, and it was a good group of learners. I really do enjoy the Instructor side of things, and it is always good to learn from others as well. I am constantly amazed at the things that I learn when I am teaching classes. Lots of recently licensed agents taking classes and having an entirely different view of the real estate business, it is really refreshing.

On the way home tonight, I actually was able to stop at Round Rock Toyota and get my car serviced...75,000 miles and it is still chugging away. I know that is not a lot of mileage to many folks, but it is to me. So, it was actually pretty darned efficient, I pulled in, was in-and-out of there within an hour, and of course the 'upsold' me a cabin air filter...but I have really been surprised that I did not need to have that changed earlier. I live off a very dusty road!

We went to Dale's Essenhaus for dinner tonight, we both had the 'Dale's Walburger with Batter Dipped Onion Rings'. Really, really good stuff. Amazingly, I am still not used to running into people we know here and there, but it is not an uncommon phenomenon. We ran into a really nice guy we know, Adam, that works for one of the vendors we use out here. He (we thought) lives in Georgetown, but maybe he lives in this area somewhere. We are always surprised when we see familiar faces here and there, because that NEVER happened when we lived in Austin. The area out here really is a 'small world'.

So, we are all ready for the weekend, and I hope you are as well. Try to provide some small kindness to someone, and especially someone who does not expect it from you. It can be as small as just a really sincere 'thank you', and I am sure it will be well received and truly appreciated. Have Fun!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty Five...

The sun is coming up in the rear view mirror. Another wonderful day in central Texas, and life is good. We had a good rain yesterday, and as I sit here working on this post, it has just started raining again. Rain is good, we like it, keep it coming, we will let you know when we are tired of it. I got into the office (actually my office today was the Austin Board of REALTORS) with no real issues. This is my second or third full day of boycotting talk-radio, and I am doing very nicely, thank you very much! I have been listening to classical and jazz stations on XM, and the occasional CD...I have gone through almost the entire set of CDs I loaded up earlier in the week. Time to swap them out this weekend.

Interestingly it is the middle of August already, and it seems like time is flying be more rapidly than ever. There does not seem to be enough time in the days, but I certainly do get a lot of things accomplished, and I do not seem to be messing too much stuff up. I am really enjoying the tranquility I an trying to get into my life, and it is so much easier in the decision making process. If I am already scheduled for something, I am really trying my best not to squeeze something else into the schedule. We are the inventors of convenience, and we do not want to give that up, and we want everything right now, me included.

Tomorrow will be the start of the weekend, and that will really go by quickly. I really do treasure my time at home. I may be feeling very calm because, an acquaintance of ours, not really a good friend, but just more of an acquaintance, was driving drunk recently and caused the death of four people (as of now, there are still others in the hospital). My first thought was, how sad for ____ but my next thought was, what a terrible decision he made. It is awful, but he made the decision to get behind the wheel of an automobile, and he can never UNDO what he has done. He may never see the outside of a jail for the rest of his life, and that is sad, but not nearly as sad as the consequences he placed on others. It is terrible to think that someone you know, someone who has been to your home, could cause such a tragedy to play out. I have done stupid things in my life, and I am sure I will do stupid things again, but I hope I never have to live with something like that. I am sure ____ would give anything to turn back the clock, but it cannot happen. I am very sad for all the persons involved.

So, remember to tell all the people you love that you do, and try to live each day to its' fullest. You never know what might happen, so we should all try to be kind to our friends, acquaintances, neighbors, just everyone. Try to do a good deed every day, and try to treat people the way you would like to be treated.

Sorry for the downer. Have Fun!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty Four...

NoSiree Bob, that is not some really expensive work of impressionist art you are looking at, that is actually RAIN on the windshield of my car, looking out on the parking lot of our office... RAIN! Of course everything in life has its' unintended consequences, and before, during and after the brief rains in Austin, traffic was unbelievably snarled. The showers began at about 3:30 PM, and lasted until late afternoon (where the shower occurred)) i was not a widespread event in Austin, and as a matter of fact, on the ride home northbound on IH-35, there were sections of the city that did not get any rain at all. Traffic lights were not functioning, many drivers were doing their turkey imitations, driving with their heads out the windows, mouths open, looking upwards to the skies, wondering what that is that is falling from the sky. It is a wonder there were not more wrecks (I did not see any), and I will check the morning paper to see if there were any reported drownings!

The better news is, we got almost 3/4 of an inch of rain at our house. Jody said the rain was being blown so hard at times, it was coming down horizontally, and he was surprised that there was any rain in the gauge at all. The winds were blowing so hard here that the wind turbines shut themselves down. They have a breaking device that shuts them down if the winds reach a certain velocity (60-65 miles per hour), but I don't think the winds were that high, I think there was a lot of turbulence in the area, and they get confused, and their little computer brains shut down. That is what I think, and I am sticking with that story.

So, rain is a good thing, and I am sure there will be lots of talk of it around the water coolers all over the city tomorrow.

Other than that, there is very little excitement to report, so I will not bore you with details of the day. I should mention that I have successfully completed my second day in a row (cold turkey) in my effort to boycott AM talk radio (or all talk radio for that matter). I am feeling pretty good about that right now. It was a bit inconvenient not being able to know what the traffic ahead of me was doing, but I survived with only slight inconveniences.

I do think it would be a good time for you to try and do something kind for another person, and think about if you can make a do anything that would make our world a better place. Have Fun!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty Three...

Okay, so nothing really that exciting happened in my life today, so I was no where that afforded a good photo opportunity, but I do remember that people are all push-overs for dogs and here is a picture of the main guy in our household, the big BEAR dog! We do not really know what his name was, we just gave him that name last December when he adopted us while we were visiting the shelter where he had sought temporary refuge. He is a great pup, most likely about 8 or 9 years old, and real pleasure to have around. Everyone likes him except the cat, and that is understood, the cat still does not like me after almost 15 years. Whatever...

Okay, I went cold-turkey on the AM talk radio scene today...I did not listen to any talk radio, not even on the XM channels, and I am very proud of myself for that accomplishment. I have to admit I had a small anxiety pang on the way into the office this morning, and my right index finger was kind of twitching right up there towards the end of the drive, but I made problems, and I think I ended up much calmer than I ordinarily would have. A big shout out to Paul and Mark for giving me options for my drive into town, much appreciated. Paul says I need to investigate the audio books that are available, and I think I may actually give that a try. With my 60 minute commute each way, I should be able to go through a book or two per week...I could actually get some knowledge from this challenge.

All went pretty well in the office today, there seems to be a rash of miscommunication going on between us, a few of our tenants and a couple of our Landlords. Two tenants are calling directly to the landlords, and by-passing us completely. Outrageous claims have been made, totally contradicted by their own e-mails to us saying that issues were corrected on a timely basis and to their satisfaction. E-mail is a wonderful tool for documentation, and I approve of it very much. AND, it is all dated and time stamped, so you can follow that e-mail trail, and problem solved. Good record keeping is really important. Anyway...

I went and 'drove' a couple properties this morning, 'walked' a possible new property management account, and picked up signs from a couple other properties. I ran a couple errands on the way home this afternoon and got home just a little after 5 PM. One of the news stories on the national news was about the new electric cars being produced, and comments from folks that are currently leasing those cars. Consumers are complaining about the inconveniences associated with electric vehicles, particularly that you have to remember to plug them in (DUH). Another issue is the length of time needed to charge them from ordinary house hold electrical service. That then brought up the fact that you can outfit your property with a device that produces more electricity to the vehicle, but the manufacturers of those components are not yet ramped up for the full production that will meet the expected demand if the electric vehicle really catches on (which I hope it will). Unintended consequences are everywhere!

So...there you have it. Another day, another batch of kindnesses presented to our planet by each and every one of us. Think globally, act locally. it really has more meaning today than it did when that motto was so in vogue. What do you think you can do right now, and a very small scale, that will make our world a better place. Talk among yourselves, and then go do it! Have Fun!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty Two...

I think I have driven this car (my current car) longer than I have driven any car I have EVER owned (and that would include A LOT of cars!). My current car has 75,000 miles on it, and last Saturday (two days ago) was the first time I have EVER used the CD player in the car. I have had a breakthrough! I am no longer controlled by talk radio. Well, I really doubt that I was every controlled by talk radio, but... My car also have XM radio in it, and I just like to listen to talk radio. I have been becoming more and more inclined to just turn off the offensive channel. One local AM radio station gives you a traffic update every five minutes in the morning, and I now know what the longest thing in the world is. It is, if you happen to switch over to catch the traffic reports too early, very painful just to listen to the talk show hosts (?) rant on-and-on with their uncivil incantations just to know if there is bad traffic ahead. So, I have happily discovered my CD player, and I have begun listening to my boring 70's, 80's and beyond CD's. It has done wonderful things for me. I actually realized this afternoon, on my way home (and this was actually the first day of this new routine) that I was driving much less aggressively. I was in the middle lane, not in the fast lane, and I was okay with that. I think that is worth a lot. I hope this trend will continue, and I will keep you informed.

Today was a busy and good day. Lots of stuff going on in the office, mostly office stuff for me. Rents (for the most part) are all in, and we will begin processing statements later this week. I ran several errands throughout the day, and all that was good. It is still extremely hot, and I am sort of tired of that. We are at lease having some breezes, so it is hot and humid, but there is a little breeze to make it a little bit more tolerable.

Got Bikes? I have seen folks all around hanging these old bikes on their fences, and I am going to try and start picking up old bikes wherever I can find them. I think it will be another addition to the 'yard art' of the farm, and I wonder how long it will take me to collect enough to get started. I need to cover about 825 feet of fence in the front of the property. So, if I figure an average bike will be about 4 feet long, that will be about 207 old bikes I need to collect and paint to get the thing going. Please feel free to let me know if you have any old bikes laying around. They do not need tires, pedals, chains or any of those things, really all I need is enough parts so it will be recognizable as a bicycle. I think I can get this one before the end of the year. What are your thoughts?

Joy got a Tuscan Cantaloupe at the grocery today. Do you think that means it was shipped here all the way from Italy? I do not think that would be very ecologically correct if that is the case. I will need to check into that.

Have yourself a nice day/afternoon/evening. Do something kind and unexpected for someone, and that could include just listening to a CD in the car instead of talk radio. That would be a good thing for all of us! Have Fun!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty One...

Pavlov's Cattle! Welcome to the JB Acres farm in central Texas, home to NOT the smartest Longhorn cattle in the vicinity. They are pretty much aware of their surroundings...whenever I move the feed troughs or whenever I am present in any capacity, they think it is time for them to be fed, and they are generally correct. Today, early this morning (before breakfast) my intention was to go move the feed troughs from one pasture to the other, and while they were being distracted with the feed, I was going to move another bale of hay into their pasture. Everything went pretty much according to plan, but they were all really interested with what I was doing with the tractor, so they got in one area of the pasture, and six of the ten of them could not figure out how to get back where they came from. So, there I was with my toilet plunger (what I use when I am working them to protect myself) leading six big Longhorns into the bigger pasture like I was leading rats out of the city. Anyway, once I got them to the troughs, there were content to pretty much leave me alone, and I was able to take the hay into the pasture without them being all that curious about what I was doing.

SNAKE IN THE GRASS! After cattle chores, it was time for breakfast, and I made one of my famous egg loafs, and Jody and I finished radding the paper. After breakfast, I got up and was taking coffee grounds and egg shells out to the compost heap, and I was going to walk over and rinse out the bucket we use to collect compost materials inside the house, and I nearly stepped on this snake. SCARED THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF ME! We believe it is a King Snake, but not 100% sure. Positively sure it is not poisonous, since we only have three types of poisonous snakes in this area; ratters, copperheads and coral snakes. Pretty sure it was not one of those, definitely not a rattler unless it had been on the losing end of a previous fight somewhere. Anyway, we watched the snake until he went on about his business. I also think this is the same kind of snake that ate the fish in one of the small ponds in front of the house, and the same kind of snake that lives in the garage. I saw that snake one day last week, and he looked like he had just had a meal (of mouse we hope). We are not big on killing snakes, they all have their function in the ecology of the area, although if it had been a rattler, I would have done my best to make sure it was a dead rattler. Let's put it this way; one of us would have been hurt really badly, hopefully not me.

So, after that flurry of activity, Jody and I went into Belton, Teas, wondering if it would be really closer for us to go there than into Austin if we were wanting to do some shopping. The results are, we really think there is just about everything we need to shop for in Georgetown, which is the closest of all, and if we really need something that we think we can only find in Austin, at least we are familiar with the area, and don't have to fumble around looking for the places to shop.

Came home, had lunch, took naps, watched a movie, and then we went back into Round Rock to do a little bit of shopping; Men's Wearhouse, PetCo and Fire Bowl for take-out dinner for tonight. YAY Firebowl! We love that, and even though Mama Fu's is good, we still prefer Fire Bowl. Glad we found one in Round Rock, close enough to go to whenever we want.

On the way back from Round Rock, we got some sprinkles of rain, and the temperature registered in my car went from 103 degrees to 79 degrees in just that ride home. Incredible! We were happy to see the rain, and it was actually raining at the house when we got there, not enough to register anything in the rain gauge, but we know we had a little brief shower, and we will take whatever we can get.

Almost time for supper...cannot delay eating! Be a good citizen of the world, try to do something nice for someone else, and always reward yourself for a job well done. Have Fun!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day Two Hundred Twenty... was a busy one, just find yourself a comfortable spot, this is most likely going to be a prodigious entry. The day started out very nicely, Jody and I both slept until after 6 AM, and I went out and got the newspaper. Every morning, on the way to get the paper, I stop and read the electric usage and the water usage. The electric usage because I want to see how the wind turbines are doing, and the water, because I need to make sure the cattle have not done something accidentally like getting their horns caught on a water pipe and caused a geyser somewhere. The reading this morning said we had used 2230 gallons since yesterday, and we were not even home yesterday. I was much relieved to know that I had misread a 6 for an 8 and we only really used 230 gallons! That was good.

After breakfast (cinnamon rolls from Upper Crust Bakery) I went outside and started putting air in my really flat tire, so I could take it into Bartlett to get it repaired. That took a while, and before we went into Bartlett, I surveyed the new fencing we had put in behind the two current pastures, the idea being that we will open up one more pasture for the cattle and still have enough land for baling hay. The new fencing looks good, but I am still just a little bit skittish about putting the cattle out there with just two hot electric wires to keep them in. Everyone else seems to do it, and I guess I should just get over it. Time will tell.

Jody and I drove in to Bartlett at about 8:30 AM, and the tire repair shop was not open. I called the three telephone numbers in the window, and finally got someone that said they would call me back in a few minutes. The call back said her husband would be there in a few minutes, so we waited. A little while later, the wife showed, followed soon after by her husband. The guy that owns the shop is a very nice man, and we have done business with him in the past (with the lawn tractor tires). A little while later, and for a small price of $8, the nail was out of the tire, and we were on our way. The first photo (above) is the crippled car waiting for the tire to be repaired. I had no idea so much dust would be all over everything...just covered in dust. The second photo is of downtown Bartlett from the tire repair place, a busy place on Saturday morning. The people watching was really fun.

SO...I forgot to tell you about the mouse patrol last night (half of which I am very thankful to have slept through). It seems the cat is still on mouse patrol late at night. For those of you keeping score, the score is CAT 6 - PEST CONTROL FOLKS ZERO. Anyway, it seems the cat found itself another baby mouse, and decided to present it to Jody in his bed. You can always tell when she has a mouse because of the very distinct noise she makes. Anyway, not only did she present her catch to Jody, she decided to play 'cat and mouse' on the bed with the mouse. Jody said she would let the mouse go, the mouse would try to run off, and then she would pounce and play. Some fun little cat game, I guess. I was not awakened until much later, and by then the mouse was dead, and I guess she thought her meowing could raise the dead, but it only worked to raise me. I grabbed a tissue from beside the bed, retrieved the dead mouse and unceremoniously placed it in the toilet. And as long as I was up...

Okay, so while we were getting the tire fixed, Jody was going through the CD's in the glove box, and on the way from Bartlett to the IKEA Store in Round Rock (by way of Tractor Supply in Taylor) Jody was treated to a couple cuts off the Super Tramp album, Breakfast in America. I have not heard that album in YEARS AND YEARS, but I have really good memories of it...and it has to be played LOUDLY! Poor Jody...Poor, POOR Jody! I only made him listen to two tracks, and then I turned it off. I really wanted to crank it up, but I will wait for another time.

SO, we went to IKEA and got some stuff for the office that could not be ordered on-line, and a couple things for the house. Then we left there and went to the Tractor Supply Store in Georgetown, and then to Dairy Queen for our weekly spoiler. By the time we got home, we were both ready for a nap, but I decided to watch a movie instead. I watched 'Twilight' which has been here for a week or so from NetFlix. Not a bad movie, I can see why the tween little girls are all gaga over it.

I had a call while the movie was playing, and I am going to leave the house about 5 PM and go show three houses in Jarrell. Not too far from the house, so that is going to be fun. Tomorrow I am going to feed the cattle, and put a fresh bale of hay out for them. I will need to move the troughs first to keep them occupied while I move the hay and get the ring around it. That will be fun though, as long as I do it early in the morning before the sun really gets going.

So, today was a great day. I hope (if anyone is reading this, I have not been able to figure out if anyone ever reads these posts) that you have had a wonderful day as well, and I hope you are all as happy as I am, and feel as lucky as I feel. Try to do something nice for someone, and it will come back to you many times over. Have Fun!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day Two Hundred Nineteen...

Well YAY for me. It is not really that bad, I was just trying to get your attention. Yesterday when I was on my way home, the tire inflation signal was on in my car, but I did not pay that much attention to it, and I just drove on. I am not a natural blonde, I just play one in the car! Anyway, I came on home, Jody and I went back into Georgetown for dinner, and back, no issues. This morning, I went out and looked at the tire, and it was kind of flat. No big deal, I was not taking the car into the office this morning, anyway, so now I will just put some air in it tomorrow morning and take it in to Bartlett and have the tire fixed. That is the plan, anyway. I will let you know how it all works out.
Jody had a couple appointments in Austin this morning, so the plan was for us to take his car into town, he would take me to the office, then he would go to his appointments, he would come back to the office and we would go to lunch, and after that he would go to Costco and wherever else he wanted to go shopping and come back w to the office and we would head home. Everything worked out just as planned, no issues.

It was a fine day at the office, and lunch was great. We went to Threadgill's on Riverside Drive for lunch (Jody had the three veggie plate and I had the Special of the Day, Bar-B-Qued Pork Ribs, yummy) and then I headed back to the office. Got a lot of work done in the afternoon as well, and Jody and I left the office about 3:30 PM for home. A fine day if I do say so myself, and I am really looking forward to the weekend.

I think I will be showing property tomorrow, so that is a good thing. I have errands to do as well (see above about the flat tire) and I need to go to IKEA (hi Ed), and maybe Men's Wearhouse and who knows what else we can think of between now and then.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the weekend, and I just want to remind you all that I am the luckiest man in the world, I am a very happy person, and I try to make a note of that every day.

NOW...go do a nice deed for someone, and try to do a small kindness for someone every day. It will make our world a better place, one small kindness at a time.

Have fun!