Friday, April 30, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Twenty...

Well, today was a swell day. I was up early answering e-mails and stuff like that there. Then it was off to the office to do a few things (had to terminate one contract), and then it was off to the Board of REALTORS where I attended the first of nine weekly classes presented by Mark Leader called Leader's Choice. I was very happy with the class, I have lots of work to do, and I am happy that I have made the commitment. I will let you know how it all works out.

I got home and surveyed the bees and they all seem to be doing well. Jody made a yummy dinner, and once I finish this (not totally) I am going to go check on the cattle (there is suspicion of a new calf) and maybe move them to another pasture. I was very troubled earlier that I could not access my blog to do this entry. It would not accept my password, this and that. BUT, it all seems to have come back together now, and it looks like many of the past blogs have FINALLY uploaded to FaceBook. What a concept. As you know (if you know me at all) I am not really that technical savvy. Tom, our assistant will attest to that fact without hesitation.

Okay, I will be back in a little while, after I go check on the cattle...

Okay, I am back. No new cattle, but I am a little concerned that I think there is another sneezer back there...not a really young calf either, but it is another of the black and white calfs. I wonder if there is something going on with that blood line? I have to see what the experts tell me about that. I did move the cattle to the other pasture, so that is done, one thing I can check off my list for tomorrow. And I took this really cute picture of Violet's calf (yet unnamed). This calf (still not sure if it is a heifer or a bull calf) was born April 18th, so that makes it 12 days old. That make it our second youngest calf right now, we had another calf born three days later.

Okay, I am almost finished with this post, but this may classify as too much information, you need to let me know. How do you like my latest spring look? It is not terribly hot right now, but it is really humid, so I went out to move the cattle with boots and boxers. What do you think, too much leg? If you look closely I bet you can even see the scars from my knee surgery. OKAY. I know that is too much information. At least I was not out there in my knock-off pink crocs! That is a lesson I learned the hard way.

So, that is it for today. I am really happy that I could get logged in to the blog. Today is day 120, so that means that I have not missed a blog in 485 days. I was getting just a little panicky, but I was resolved that I would do the blogs in a word document, and upload them when I got my technical issues fixed. No panic, and everything worked out OKAY!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BOOTS & BOXERS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Nineteen...

Okay, it was really windy today in Bartlett, Texas. HOW WINDY WAS IT? It was so windy that it knocked a good sized limb off a dead tree towards the front of the property. We were already pretty sure the tree was dead, a victim of the past two years worth of drought, but we were still going to wait and see, you never know about these things, it could have come back. Well, probably not. At least this one did not fall over on the hives, it just kind of fell over between the hives.

IT WAS SO WINDY TODAY that we are on course for another negative energy consumption day. So far, we have purchased one KWh of electricity from the grid, and we have fed back 32 KWh’s to the grid. I think that is a pretty darn good deal. Who would have ever thunk we could have energy producing structures. NOW, we just need a few (okay several) million more of them and maybe we can reduce our dependence on coal fired electric generation facilities. DO NOT EVEN get me started on off-shore drilling for oil. We are very close to a real disaster, and I am certain that by the time I wake up in the morning, the oil slick will have hit the coast of Louisiana and caused unknown quantities of damage.

Jody and I went to Georgetown for dinner tonight, Tex-Mex at El Patron. We are both of the assumption that they have massive quantities of delicious entrees, but the only thing we have ever had there is the Spinach Enchiladas. No real reason to mess with success.

I am having intermittent Internet outages, so I am drafting this post in a WORD file, and then I will copy and paste it to the blog. I am very close to missing an entry because of access issues, not because of me forgetting to post.

So, I am not going to press my luck, this is it for today.

Deeds, Actions, Kindnesses, WIND, Changes, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Eighteen...

Today was a totally jam-packed day, full and definitely over-scheduled. It could have been worse because I had accidentally entered a meeting from 12:30 until 2 o'clock that was a mistake on my part...SO, I have a couple hours to actually pay attention to things going on in the office. My first appointment was at 7:30 this morning, and this vehicle is what I was greeted with. I have no idea who the car belongs to, but things like this are not really that extraordinary in Austin. I would have gone to the trouble of pixillating the license plate, but I firmly believe the owner most likely craves attention, so why bother. Whatever!

I then had a property on the REALTOR tour beginning at 9 o'clock. Is it any surprise that I was the first person to show up? And I was not even the coordinator of the tour. People eventually drifted in and had some breakfast, and we got underway at about 9:45. There were eight properties on the tour, and my listing was the last one. One property was deleted from the list because the agent did not show up, and another was problematic because the tenant was not cooperating; asleep and a large amount of contraband on the coffee table in the living room. Again, this is not something that should be considered extraordinary in Austin, because it is not. Maybe I am just too old...I'm just saying... On the way back to drop off my navigator to his car, we got stopped for a train, and it was a very short train, but one of the very new looking locomotives had a stenciled sign on it that said 'DO NOT HUMP'. I could not get my camera out in time for that photo. I need to know what that means, exactly, in locomotive jargon. I'm just asking...

Since I had some 'found time', I was able to have lunch with Carrie and we both got caught up on what had been going on in the office while she was out of the country. Everything is good, we are both lucky people, and we have no issues, compared to the rest of the world's population. We need to remind each other of that occasionally. At the end of the day, who cares about the small stuff. Fix what you can, avoid problems if you can, otherwise, just try to do your best!

On the way to my closing this afternoon, I took this photo of some lupines growing on the corner of Barton Springs Road and South Lamar. This corner always have a nice stand of lupines in the spring, and I really like the colors and the textures of the blooms. There may be some poppies mixed in with this batch, not sure.

My buyer client (that I met at 7:30 this morning for his final walk through) had borrowed my truck so he could move some boxes, and we did his part of the closing at 3 o'clock. He had been working all day long moving, and Lucy (the Escrow officer) was sick, so this photo of them both is really showing the best impressions of them both. I don't care what anyone says, I have their permission to publish the photo and I am going with it. Ed (my buyer client) is craving one of the new Kentucky Fried Chicken 'Double Down' sandwiches. I cannot describe the sandwich; if you want to know about it I suggest you do an Internet search, because you would not believe me if I told you. It makes my gall bladder begin to flutter just thinking about it. I actually passed a KFC this afternoon and there was an advertisement in the window, so they have arrived in Austin. Good grief!

When I got home, I found that they had indeed delivered the mulch and compost as planned; a little bit later than planned, but nonetheless delivered. Do you think we have enough? I am not sure. Home Depot had a challenge believing this was all for a single family residence, but they finally grasped the concept, and it is all stacked out there in the front. Hopefully it will not rain on Sunday, and the gardeners will return and we will be done with most of it. I hope we do not need to have more delivered. We shall see.

Tomorrow will not be as busy as today. I have an early meeting and then another meeting at 2 o'clock. Friday, I will be in a class all day long, and I will be teaching classes on Monday and Tuesday. Then I will have some time to breathe.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, CLOSINGS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seventeen...

The day broke wondrously this morning, and it seemed to be the beginning of a perfect day. Well, that was partly correct. It was a really busy and hectic day, with some accomplishments and some set backs, but all-in-all, it was a great day. Weather wise, it was a beautiful day in central Texas, and it is going to be a wonderful year when all is said and done!

Carrie and Margaret are back from Italy, and everyone professes to have had a wonderful time. I am really glad that they did, but at the same time, I am glad they are both back safely.

Today there was an inspection to attend, and lunch afterwards with my clients; finally got the 'clear to close' for my other client that was supposed to have closed last week. I am meeting with him tomorrow morning (7:30) and I have appointments all day long. Over scheduling at its' best, but you have to be flexible to survive. 'More sturdy stands the bowing reed, than doth the mighty oak.' I have no idea why I can remember that bit of Shakespeare from High School; I really did not pay that much attention in High School, and I think it shows quite often!

Tomorrow I have appointments back-to-back; 7:30, 9:00, 12:00 and 3:00. And I have clients asking me to comp their properties prior to listing them, and I am having to tell them it will be the weekend before I can respond. I just cannot make promises that I can't keep, so I hope they all appreciate that I am trying to be honest with them. Never too busy, I just have to pace myself!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, SUNRISES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, April 26, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Sixteen...

Well, it looks like it could rain. It is clouding up outside, and the wind is coming up as well. The sun was trying to break through the clouds as I was driving home from work, and I took this photograph. As much as I really do not think we need rain right now, I would welcome it simply because we planted some things yesterday and had a lot of yard work done, and a good little easy rain would be helpful for all those things.

It was Monday today...and you are welcome to make anything you like of that statement. I had a doctors appointment this morning, my regular check-up, and everything seemed to please the doctor, so I guess that is a good sign. I had some routine blood work done, and I will wait for Lisa's call tomorrow. We are very happy with our general practitioner, he actually calls us back to give us the results of our blood and other tests. What a concept.

Afterwards, I got some ordinary office work done, and went to inspect one vacant property. All-in-all the last couple weeks have been very pleasant. Nothing critical happening, just a nice calm life at work. Tomorrow my clients are having the home inspected that they put under contract last week, and hopefully there will be no real catastrophic issues found with the property. It was built in 1949, so you never know. We will just wait and see.

Carrie is back from her trip to Italy, and she looks wonderfully rested and peaceful. She is trying her best to keep the vacation mode working. She is listening to reports and considering her options, and not getting terribly excited about reality as it begins to set back into her daily routine. I am very happy that she had a wonderful time, and we are all glad that she is back with us.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, RAIN CLOUDS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Fifteen...

OMG! What a day. The gardeners showed up before 7:30, but they did not bring any mulch or compost. SO...I made four trips to Home Depot where I got 81 bags of compost, 135 bags of mulch, a set of three funnels (for the bee juice) and one rose bush. The gardeners were using the mulch and compost quicker than I could go and get them. THEN I had the pick-up bed full of weeds, which I took to one of the pastures to dump...and of course, along the way, I got the truck stuck in the mud. That was a bit of a challenge. ANYWAY... They will all be back again next Sunday, but we are having Home Depot deliver three more pallets of mulch and two more pallets of compost. AND we are figuring that will not be enough, so we are probably going to add to the order. Neither one of us knew how much maintenance this house and grounds would take when we bought it. It is still a surprise. We hope that once we get things under control, maintenance will be more reasonable (they said).

Anyway, the cattle also had to be fed, and hay needed to be taken out to them. So, I got that done, and the two newest calfs (born a week apart) are just about as cute as they can be. AND they hang out together, so that is nice. They have someone to play with.

Jody and I took another trip into Georgetown for dinner tonight, and now Jody is out sitting on the porch and I am going to go join him.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, MULCH (tomorrow may be compost), Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Fourteen...

We had more rain last night, and Jody said there was a tremendous display of lightning and a lot of thunder. I slept through the whole thing. Interestingly, I do not really consider myself that sound of a sleeper, but I have slept through a tornado that destroyed the house behind ours when I lived in Memphis. So, I guess I have selective sleeping. I do remember being aware that it was raining outside during the night, but that is about all. We recorded about 6/10 of an inch of rain in the gauge, so that was nice. It was enough that the gardeners called at seven o'clock this morning to say it was too wet to pull weeds. They are now expected to be here in the morning. We shall see... This photo was taken last night on our way home from dinner, during a break between storms. I think it is kind of nice, I hope you enjoy.

Since the gardeners cancelled on us, it gave Jody and me an opportunity to hit the road, and go off on a little adventure. We were actually on a quest for wild flower sightings, and we saw some nice stands of Texas paintbrush, evening primrose, bluebonnets, and Indian blankets. The thistles poppies are doing nicely this year too. Lots and lots of nice flowers; Jody is even especially fond of the Texas Dandelion, and they are really pretty. We travelled close to 200 miles today, just wandering here and there, and getting lost along the way.

Sing along with me now...'AND THE CORN IS AS HIGH AS A TOYOTA'S EYE...' We are not sure, but we expect the driver of this car was quite surprised when he/she missed the turn (probably during the storm) and became air born and finally became stuck in this cornfield. You are never too sure about what you will see along these county roads, so it is best to always have your camera at the ready!

We sacrificed ourselves and stopped in Elgin (it was really too early for lunch, but we did it anyway) to have some pork ribs, JUST SO WE COULD TAKE THE BONES HOME TO THE DOG! We really had not intended to stop but the dog has not had a 'bone opportunity' in such a long time, and no sacrifice is too much for us to make it it will make the dog happy. Whatever... AND, that was in the very beginning of our journey. We had to endure the smell of ribs and slaw and potato salad the rest of the day. Oh, the sacrifices we will make!

We continued on through a little bit of Bastrop County, then back up to Manor, and over to Hutto where we made a couple stops; Lowe's for an electric hedge trimmer and some barn red exterior paint (to paint the feed shed and maybe the big storage shed) and then on to 'Dirts and Roses' a small local nursery that sells EARTH KIND (excuse me I cannot get the registration mark to print in this blog), that are endorsed by Texas A&M. We got two mutabilis roses, a honeysuckle vine and he gave us a dozen spider Lilly tubers. So, a planting we will go tomorrow (hoping all the way that the gardeners show up and they will do it for us). We also stopped to take this picture of the Hutto Hippo, the best looking of all the Hippo's that can be found at many places in Hutto. Legend has it that, a long time ago, a travelling circus stopped in Hutto and the Hippos escaped and took off for the river. I do not know how long they were 'on the lamb', but it must have been long enough for the legend to become established and it has endured for a long time! See the photo below!

Leaving there, we decided that all roads lead to Dairy Queen, so we stopped for a spoiler. What can I say? It is the weekend and it is a tradition! We made it home, bloated and belching, just in time to take naps before watching the news. After that, we headed off into Schwertner to see if we could nab some poppy seeds from the stand of poppies that are at the Schwertner Community Center. We are hoping they will dry and we can plant them for the spring. We shall see.

Deeds, Changes, Actions, HIPPOS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, April 23, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Thirteen...

A new day brings new challenges and opportunities. Nothing particularly wonderful has happened today, in fact there have been a few disappointments along the way. I did (I think) get a contract accepted for a couple GREAT clients, and we are still working on getting an Amendment signed by the Seller's of another property that was supposed to close this morning. Still having an issue or two with the lenders, and none of it is the fault of my client the Buyer. Just one of those things that was out of my control. I hate that! But, I think all will be settled eventually and one day in the FAR DISTANT FUTURE we will all look back on these challenges and laugh. What do you think the odds are? We shall see...

Today was the third anniversary of our ACE NUMBER ONE FABULOUS ASSISTANT TOM. It has been a quick and busy three years, and we are so delighted that he is working with us. He a a great person to have around the office and we hope he will be with us for a really long time to come.

We are still getting the office organized, and one of the things that Tom and Karla accomplished today was getting our signage remounted. We had intended to have the logo mounted on plexi-glass but I thought it would be interesting to just mount it to one of the pieces of glass when you come in the doors. It did not really take a lot of convincing, but there was some hesitation at first. BUT, once it was up, I think everyone is happy with it. I think it looks great!

The afternoon ended with me taking care of some errands that I needed to finish, and heading for the house early. I am looking forward to a nice weekend, and there is a possibility that Jody and I may head out to see if we can find any luscious wildflower areas. It has been reported that there are great views between Lockhart and Gonzales, so we may try that.

Once I was home, I became very brave and went out to check on the hives and put on my bee suit since I was going to invade their territory. All the hives are doing nicely, and all the queens were out of their queen cages, so all is well. There is lots of activity, and it was indeed a good thing that I put on my suit, otherwise I would most likely have been another statistic. But, I am also glad that I 'cowboyed-up' and did what I needed to do, AND I did it all by myself! I did not bother to start the smoker, and as it turned out, I did not need it. I may actually be able to do this beekeeping thing! The jury is still out!

While I was out tending to the bees, it started to rain, and that really did not bother me, in fact I was hoping it would keep the bees from being too aggressive. ANYWAY, in the matter of about twenty or thirty minutes, we got almost a half-inch of rain. I would really like about ten days of bright sunshine so the grasses in the pastures would grow and we would be able to cut and bale some hay. I would really like to get three cuttings this year.

We took off for the Filling Station Restaurant tonight, and I was trying to cut back on my intake of fried foods, so I ordered macaroni & cheese as opposed to french fries, and I mistakenly ordered grilled shrimp instead of fried shrimp. I was beginning to protest but Jody said that I had ordered the grilled shrimp, so I beat a hasty retreat in the complaining. It was good, but not as good as the fried shrimp.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, MORE RAIN, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Twelve...

This old rose bush in one of the front beds is just a riot with blooms and buds. We have lots and lots of exotic plantings around the property, courtesy of the folks we bought the house from, but there is a part of me that really likes the simplicity of the old stuff. Maybe because I am old...but I really like the fact that we have a couple antique rose bushes up closer to the road where Aunt Mary's house used to be, and lots of older plants like that. I sometimes wish that we could have some of the plants that I was familiar with when I was growing up in Michigan, like peonies and bleeding hearts, and wild violets and _____ (fill in the blank). But, this climate is just too hot, the summers are too long, and somethings just aren't meant to be.
BUT, this amaryllis that was a gift some years ago has bloomed out. We have four or five of these planted along the side of the house, kind of next to the 'creek' that is running alongside the house. Very pretty. I think there is a candy striped one out there somewhere, too, and hope it will bloom out soon.

The poor little calf has been buried, and thank goodness for Michael and Hubert and all of them for coming to my rescue. I knew it would be inevitable, but I don't know how much use I would ever have for a back hoe, so it is nice that the neighbors are amenable to doing stuff like that for us. Very happy to live out here, and I think both Jody and I are just about as happy as we can be.

It was an interesting day, deals are getting done, deals are falling apart, closings are being postponed (maybe); still not sure about that. Just another day in the life! But, at the end of the day, it is just nice to have some business to work on. It will all work out the way it is supposed to.

SO, I am not sure what my day will bring tomorrow, but I am looking forward to it. I hope you have all had a nice Earth Day!

Deeds, Actions, Kindnesses, UNCERTAINTY, Changes, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Eleven...

In my travels to and from the office and points here and there, I have not been fortunate enough to see very many paintbrushes along the sides of the road. That was my mission today, to take a picture of some paintbrush. Since I was making a spacial effort to spy them, I saw some nice patches, but generally speaking I was on the wrong side of the road, or travelling at about eighty miles an hour, and really had no opportunity to stop. Once I got off the Interstate, I took special care to find some decent patches that would also give me a vantage point to pull over and contemplate my F-stop issues. Whatever... Anyway, this little patch of paintbrush was found on FM 1105, just outside New Corn Hill. Very nice!

Today was a day of both sadness and accomplishment; highs and lows, peaks and valleys. For the first time, I have experienced the death of a calf. Not even a new calf, this girl was about six or seven months old. It looks like it was the result of pneumonia. I noticed that one of the cattle was laying oddly in the far back pasture while we were having dinner. I knew there was something wrong, the cattle just do not stay that still that long. I could not concentrate on my dinner, and had to go out and see what was the problem. It was one of Doodle Bugs calfs, who had not been named, but she should have been ready to go from us really soon, if not beyond that point. I will spare you the gruesome details, and I cannot believe that I am not just weeping right now. I know this stuff happens, and it is to be expected, and I have often wondered how I would react when the inevitable happened. I am taking it okay, and I know logically that it is part of the game.

On the other hand, Daphne gave birth to another calf today. This photo shows Daphne and her beautiful new calf. In the background, on the left side of the photo is Doodle Bug. She did not want to leave her calf, but I had to kind of corral her and Daphne and the new calf and I closed off the back pasture so they would not be around the dead calf. Michael and Hubert (or one of them) will come by tomorrow and bury the calf, and life as we know it will go on. There is one calf in the back that is baying continuously, and my imagination tells me it is Doodle Bug calling her calf. Who knows... It will all be better in a couple days.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, UPS AND DOWNS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Ten...

I have been plotting and planning about how to take this photograph for about a week now, so this afternoon, I just stopped and gave it my best. People in a small town in central Texas have been known to take exception to lesser things than someone with a camera laying flat on their back in the front of the Lutheran Church and snapping away. Someone could get the wrong idea. Well, okay,a lot of people could get the wrong idea. But, having said that, I think the photo turned out pretty well, and it certainly puts the church in a good light!

It is going to be a short blog entry tonight. I was showing property late this afternoon, and have just gotten home, had dinner, checked the bees and surveyed the cattle. There is no time to waste, I have to watch GLEE tonight, and it will be on shortly.

The bees are looking good, the cattle are happily grazing in the far back pasture. The newest addition can be seen happily romping around back there,so there are no issues to be corrected.

Deeds, Changes, Actions, CHURCHES, Kindnesses Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, April 19, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Nine...

It is time to talk about the Irises (sp?) again. There are so many interesting colors of them out here, many that I have never seen before, even though I have to admit I never studied Irises (sp?) that much in the past. This mahogany colored Iris is just beautiful, as are these lighter colored ones that remind me of Parchment. And they have suck pretty LARGE lavender colored pistels. Very interesting. And of course, what good Texan (other than a bunch of Aggies) would not like these burnt orange Iris? Just very interesting. If you ever had a chance, you need to stop by and take a look at some of these. It seems that every day we find another one that we had not noticed before. I hope you are not all bored of them, but if you are, just stay tuned, I am sure I will find something completely different to bore you with before long.

Whose idea is it, do you think, to work on traffic signals on a major east/west thoroughfare in the middle of rush hour? Do you think they have a special department for stuff like that down at City Hall. I wondered why it was taking so long to get through the intersection, and this is what I discovered. CRAZY! Not only was this truck blocking one lane of the two lanes, there was no warning until you were already there. There was no way to plan of avoid it. AND, once you were through the intersection, THEY REPEATED THE PROCESS. Kind of like, they were so successful doing it at this intersection, why don't we try the next intersection as well. Whatever...

Today was a very quiet day at the office, so I actually left a little bit early. I visited with Michael and Pauline and Hubert for a little while before I got to the house, to see if they were interested in working on our THREE lawn mowers. One push, one self-propelled, and one rider. Oh, and while they are at it, why not let them look at the Mule as well. I am not that great with anything mechanical, but I know enough about when it is time to call in the experts. So, I think they may be coming by to collect the dead soldiers later this week and give them all the once over.

The bees seem to be doing very nicely. There is activity at all the hives, and that is a good thing. Happily, my bee sting from yesterday was not really bothering me too much, but I was definitely aware that it was there, SO when I got home this aftrenoon, I handed Jody the tweezers and sure enough, he found the stinger, still embedded in my flesh. It feels much less irritating now that that little booger has been removed! Tomorrow I will go out and make sure they all have food still, and this time I will be making mixtures of sugar and water. Eight pounds of sugar to eight pounds of water. That ratio will make about a gallon of syrup, and I need enough for five hives, so I need to get forty pounds of sugar to start with. WOW!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, SUGAR SYRUP, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Eight...

As I mentioned yesterday, we were supposed to receive some rain late in the afternoon. Well, WE DID! It rained pretty darn hard for a few minutes, and there were also just some nice gentle showers. Pretty much any kind of rainfall you could imagine occurred within a time frame of about two hours. When it stopped raining, we ventured outside to check the rain gauge, and we were really surprised to see that we had received almost an inch and three quarters. The water in the pool rose nicely as well, and I had a brief concern that the pool would overflow. I do not know what I would have done if the pool did overflow, I guess I would just watch it happen and see where all the water would go. Anyway, it did not happen, so that was just one more thing for me to worry about for no reason. I am really good at that.

I did get a couple photos...the first is of the rain gauge with a couple of the neighbors cattle. They are always very curious (I find cattle in general to be very curious) and come over to the fence line to see what we are up to. Then the sun was trying to break out from the cloud cover in the west, so I took the second photo of that. I think it was a pretty view, but we did not have a beautiful sunset that was captured by our friend Blake who lives in Lago Vista. He posted the sunset photo on his FaceBook page, and it was magnificent.

It is getting kind of late for a Sunday morning, it is a little after 8 o'clock, and so far none of the people who were supposed to show up (to dig weeds and cut grass) have shown up. No calls either. Typical! I am going to go and feed the cattle in a few minutes, and take a fresh bale of hay out to them. Then it will be time for egg loaf and after that it will be time to go and pick up the bees. I am getting kind of anxious about that, but I am also pretty confident that it will all turn out okay. We shall see...

I took the official cattle count this morning when I was on my way back in for breakfast, and I kept coming up with one extra cow. It seems that Violet had a calf either overnight or this morning, although I suspect it was overnight. The calf still has a little bit of blood on its' cord, but Violet is very perky looking. I will go with overnight, but mark today as the date of birth! Violet was our very first calf when we first started this adventure two years ago (or so). So now, she is having her own calfs! The wheel of life and all that stuff! This new calf is a lighter color than her mom and grandma (Daphne, who we still have). I think the new calf is a heifer, but I won't be certain of that for a week or so. It just depends!

I am also back from picking up the bees, and I have only been stung once, and it was not that terrible. There were lots of bees swarming around all the other bees, and at some point a bee went down the back of my jacket and t-shirt. I could feel it in there, but was trying not to make any sudden moves, but I got stung anyway. Nothing terrible, and it is not swollen up or anything, so that is great. Maybe I am getting a good bit of resistance to the stings. That would be great.

Only one hive (out of the five) was really unhappy about the whole process, and part of that was because it had a different kind of feeder included with it, and it was kind of difficult to separate from the transport case into the brood hive. But, everything seems to be pretty much under control right now, and it was not even necessary to use any of the smoke to calm them down. That one hive did swarm a pretty good bit, but no issues.

I think we are going out to dinner tonight, and that will be nice. We did have the guys show up later this morning to cut grass, so they have been busy doing that. Otherwise, it has turned out to be a pretty nice day, although it is not really sunny, just kind of overcast and cloudy, with a nice breeze. Not a bad day for transferring bees all things considered.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BEES & BABY COWS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seven...

Believe it or not, I stayed in the bed (sleeping, too) until after 7 o'clock this morning. Lovely! When I got up, I did my usual chores, and had a nice leisurely morning. Read the paper, had coffee, checked e-mails, all that stuff. Jody made blueberry pancakes for breakfast, and pretty soon after that I was off and on my way to bee class. Today's class was pretty much a representation of the class last Saturday at our house, same people, one extra guy (can't remember his name but very nice). We spent the morning putting together frames and supers, and just having a nice time talking and solving the problems of the world. I left after a couple hours, because there have been some changes to the anticipated bee deliveries, and I needed to make some modifications to my own supplies.

When I got home, in lieu of working on the hives, Jody and I decided to go into Georgetown. We drove down the road I told you about a couple weeks ago, that goes by the park. Jody had told me about these fields of Verbena that he had discovered the other day, and I wanted to see them. As we were approaching, there were a couple cars pulled off to the side of the road, and folks were taking photos of these photogenic mules (or burros or jack-asses or whatever they are officially). So as long as they were posing, I figured I may as well get in on the action. So, the fields of Verbena were very pretty, and the critters did not seem to mind the distractions one little bit.

We stopped at Dairy Queen and had a spoiler, and made it home in the early afternoon. All the forecasts have predicted rain, but so far we have only had a few sprinkles here. We know it has been raining in Austin because we have heard the reports on the radio, but so far we have escaped the rain for today.

Once we got home, I went to work putting the finishing touches on the hives, and I will still have a little bit of stuff to do tomorrow, but everything is under control. Jody pointed out this little ribbon snake that had been on the driveway, but it slithered under his truck. He too was very cooperative so I could take a photo. I think these may be closely related to what I referred to as 'garter snakes' when I was a little kid in Michigan, but not sure. Anyway, he was causing no harm, and they like to eat bugs, so there was no reason to molest him.

Tomorrow morning, I will finish the preparation for the bees, and probably feed the cattle and take them a fresh bale of hay. I will most likely open the back pasture up to them as well. I am supposed to meet the bee-folk at noon, so I will be pretty much wound up until the bees are all happily in their new homes, pollinating up a storm. I will let you all know how that works out.

Wish me luck!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, VERBENA, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, April 16, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Six...

HOWDY! How Y'all Are? I be fine, thanky! I had a pretty good day today. I slept very nicely last night, although whatever it is that I am still plagued with (maybe it is the plague) is still kind of holding me back, but I am getting better. I was at a meeting this morning at the Board of REALTORS and I was standing around with a friend of mine and we were comparing illnesses. I am not feeling like a youngster right now! I know it is just a matter of time and I will be feeling better, but I am tired of being tired and run-down. I would feel better (I think) if someone had actually run me over. At least I would feel like a had an excuse for feeling run-down! ANYWAY, the first photo is of my friends Warren (Who-Cares) and Marcie who were attending the meeting this morning. The other photo is of me and my friend and colleague Susan. Everyone in these photos are friends and colleagues, just to make that clear. It was a great meeting, and I am looking forward to the series of classes that this meeting previewed. It ought to be a series of excellent exercises.

Gray (I never know if it should be gray or grey, are both correct?) and overcast was the order of the day, and it kind of dripped now and again. We have close to another quarter-inch in the gauge since I emptied it this morning. The good news (again) is that there have been no more snake sightings, but I can guarantee that I am much more cautious. BUT, when I let my guard down, I expect the snake will be back.

The office was relatively quiet today, and everyone was going about their business as usual. Carrie (my BP) is in Italy, and she did not have any issues with her flight as a result of the volcano eruption in Iceland. That event has certainly caused the airlines a plate full of grief. Those poor individuals who are all stranded must be absolutely inconsolable. I had a text message from Carrie, and she was having a prosecco (not sure what that is) before retiring for the evening. She said the television was pretty much playing a loop of The Village People singing Y-M-C-A and various Cher performances. Whatever...

Tomorrow I will be attending my bee class before the arrivals of the bees on Sunday. I did not think I would be able to make the class because of other appointments, but that has all changed, so I will go in to help the folks that were all here and helped me last week. It is the fair thing to do.

I am looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning, hopefully til at least 6 o'clock, maybe even later if I can stand it. We shall see.

Deeds, Changes, Actions, PROSECCO (?), Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Five...

Well, now, isn't that interesting? It has been a long time since I have favored you with one of these photos. Don't tell the weathermen/weatherwomen but it is raining outside. Usually a 20% chance is really just code for 'It's not going to rain again, EVER' but they were all outsmarted this time. So far, we (here at the farm) have had over a half-inch in the gauge, and it is still raining, off and on. So, now they are saying there is a good chance of rain tomorrow, a fair chance on Saturday, and a possibility on Sunday. That could put a real kink in all the plans that we have for the weekend, but we shall see. As usual, there were a lot of wrecks on the Interstate during my drive home, and lots of slow traffic. You would think it was snowing again, but no, it is only raining. No one has heard of slowing down, or not texting while they are driving. Whatever...

Just in case you were wondering, I was ready for snakes this morning when I went out to check the meters. Of course, no snake, and I expect there will be no shake until I let my guard down. Why does that always happen?

Today was a nice day, and I am kind of winding down towards the weekend. I am rally looking forward to it, since my weekend has really opened up for me. Cancelled appointments mean there are new opportunities, and I expect I will fill the voids with no problems. AND Sunday is the day for the bees to arrive, and that will be a lot of fun.

I was a little bit suspicious that we might have a new calf out in the pasture, so even though it is raining, I put on my boots (no pants, just boxers) and grabbed an umbrella and went to check things out. Everyone is accounted for, no extras, but I still think there are a couple pregnant heifers back there. Time will tell... That Mr. Speckles, you just can't trust him.

Tomorrow I have a meeting in the morning, and then the afternoon is pretty free. I have a long e-mail response to a client to compose and send, and other than that, all will be business as usual.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, RAIN, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Four...

I was very surprised this morning when I started my day as usual, and when I pulled the cover off the water meter to take my reading, there was a snake inside it. I think the snake was just as surprised as I was, although I do not think the snake could be heard screaming like a girl all the way from here to Bartlett. I am surprised no one called 9-1-1. When I got home from work this afternoon, I walked back up there to see if it was still there, and it was not. I guess they are like many things in nature, and it is easy for them to get into small places. Tomorrow I will be taking my camera along as I make my rounds of the meters. You can never be too careful! I think it was just a rat snake or a chicken snake. I know for sure it was not a rattle snake. No rattles on that one. Anyway...this is a photo of one of the yucca's at the front of the property (around where Aunt Mary's house used to be). It ought to be blooming out pretty soon, I think these buds just appeared in the last day or so.

A nice calm and quiet day. Got some work done in the morning, and the final part arrived for my new computer mount. It looks kind of like the computer is levitating, but it is actually mounted to a bracket that clamps onto the side of the desk. It helps to get the computer OFF the desk top, because since I have chosen to downsize myself, all that real estate in my office has become much more valuable. I need room! I need to be able to spread out all my 'stuff'. So, that is a step in the right direction. AND, I can push it out of the way when needed, so I will have even more space. So far, I am pretty happy with it.

I had a lunchtime meeting at the Board, and it was a very good meeting with lots of information provided on short sales; actually there was a good discussion about short sales and foreclosures, and it was good timely information for all of us. Lunch was provided, and that was very yummy too. baked chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, cookies and Sweet Tea! What could be better?

On the way home, I went through Hutto and Taylor. Taylor was the destination because I was going to show a lease listing for my BP Carrie, BUT the prospective tenant did not show up. That was okay though, since it had been a long time since I had been in Taylor. On the way to home, I thin stopped in Granger, where they are preparing to film a remake of True Grit, this time starring Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges (in the John Wayne role). I had heard they are re-doing facades on some of the old buildings, and it was interesting to see. I will try and stop by there a few more times as things progress, to keep you up to date. This is one of the more interesting photos I took, I guess they will just need to film the front of this building, since that is all there is of it. The reality (is that an oxymoron?) of Hollywood in central Texas!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, HOLLYWEIRD, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Three...

Today was a really nice day. There was not a terrible amount of fog this morning for my commute in, it was a nice pleasant temperature when I went out for the paper (and my other morning rituals), I left early enough that there were no real traffic issues (I was only headed as far as the Board, since I was teaching classes), everyone at the Board was friendly, the folks that attended the two classes were friendly and seemed to enjoy the classes, and all-in-all it was a really nice day. Nice, clam, pleasant, friendly, lovely...I should probably add more adjectives, but I am done with that thought for the moment. This is a photo of the afternoon class, one of what I am trying to make a tradition. Photos of the class all looking the other way, so I do not need any ones permission to post the photo on this blog. If you had to get every ones permission, well, let's just say it would be a challenge. Recognize anyone? I didn't think so!

I stopped at FireBowl in Round Rock on the way home, and Jody and I both had Pad Thai for dinner. Very good, along with crispy crab Rangoon's for an appetizer. YUM! I am not a big giant fan of cilantro, and I always forget to ask them to leave it off my order, so I end up just picking it off. Such a difficult life I lead!

The pool cover has been removed from the pool, and it is pretty much ready to go. We just need to wait a little while for it to warm up, and it will be all done. We are delighted that Jeanette is back servicing the pool, she is a wonderful, conscientious and nice woman. I am all about nice these days! And competent, I think that is important as well. Nice and competent are very important.

Tomorrow will pretty much be a day in the office, I do have a luncheon meeting and then back tot he office. I have an out-of-town buyer coming in this weekend, and I need to get everything ready for that. AND, the bees will be here on Sunday. I have finished painting everything that needs to be painted, I have a few minor details to be completed, but otherwise, I and ready for those little buzzers. BRING THEM ON!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, RANGOON'S, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, April 12, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Two...

Today is a beautiful day here in Austin, but this morning was totally weird. It was tremendously foggy, probably the thickest fog I have ever driven in. It was so thick... (How thick was it?)... that I felt dizzy driving through it. I could not see (really) out the windows of the car. It was like I was immersed in a fog machine. It was crazy! But now, it is absolutely gorgeous. The fog lasted for about the first eleven miles of my drive, and as it usually does, it lifted at about the time I was approaching IH-35. CRAZY!

I went to Freddie's for lunch today, it was nice to sit outdoors, although it is a little bit chilly still. I had my usual (a club sandwich) and sweet potato fries. Very tasty. AND, I have chicken envy every time I go to Freddie's...they have the jumbo sized chicken perched up in an old oak tree...I could only get the medium sized chicken in my car the day I bought one. Pity!

I will be teaching a class tomorrow, and I am looking forward to that. Actually, I am teaching two three hour classes, and I really enjoy the subject matter. It should be a fun day of teaching, and a nice break from the office.

Lucky me! I got away from the office about 3:30, and had an enjoyable ride home. I am listening to a new book on CD, which is a compilation of articles that were originally published in the New York Magazine. So far I am not crazy about this book, but sometimes it takes me a couple CD's to get into the book. SO far, I have not been totally disgusted with any of the books I have listened to so much that I just sent them back. I have listened to all of them all the way through. I still think I need to sign up for some happier books, though!

I got home and painted on the brood chambers some more. I have one more coat of paint to put on one side of the brood chambers, and then I will be done. I am also just about finished putting the bees wax into the frames for the brood chambers, and when I get those two things done, I will be ready for the bees. BRING ON THE BEES!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, Kindnesses, Actions, BEES WAX, Kindnesses, FUN!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred One...

The day began cloudy, grey and misting rain. Maybe rain is too harsh of a description, but if you stood outside for any length of time, your hair would be done for. I started the day be assembling the remainder of the brood hives for the bees, and then I went to the pastures to feed the cattle and take a fresh bale of hay out to them. Along the way, I checked the electric fence, and it was not working, so, as long as I was out there, I needed to check on that as well. I got the cattle fed, and took the hay out and put it in a ring. The pastures are actually drying out a little bit, and that is a good thing. I suppose we actually need some rain, but not a deluge which is what started the pasture challenges in the first place. Anyway, the cattle were happy to see me, and I think they actually shorted out the fence...the had pushed one of the fence gates so that it came into contact with the hot wire, and that shorted it out. I don't think they have learned how to do that, I think they were just grazing by the gate and stretched to get a piece of green and pushed on the gate. Who knows? This photo is of two of our three original longhorns, and one of their calves. Daphne, her calf Violet and Orchid. Along with the bull Mr. Speckles, we have had Daphne and Orchid longer than any of the other cattle, although Mimi Moonbeam is probably the oldest of any of our cattle.

What you see here is (was) the beginning of one of my famous egg-loafs. This one actually became a cheese loaf, which is very similar to an egg loaf, but a cheese loaf is made with fried cheese and just a bit of eggs for flavoring. It was not supposed to be a cheese loaf, but it was delicious, and I may have to try one again one of these weekends. We were out of grated cheese, so while I was out with the cattle, Jody grated some cheese and asked me if that would be enough. I thought it was plenty, but the cheese coming out the grated receiver was kind of like a cheese-car. Similar to a clown car, only the cheese kept coming out and I thought there would be no end to it. However, the finished product was delicious, and my be worth another try.

Later on, we headed into Austin. Of course we had to stop at the Dairy Queen on the way for spoilers. I was showing property, and Jody decided he would go along for the ride. We stopped for a couple minutes at the office, and then we headed off to the Half-Price Bookstore, and then off to show property. We were headed back home by about 4:30, and we stopped at Central Market and picked up one of their dinners-for-two (Tilapia, spinach, rice and salad). Yummy delicious.

Finally by late afternoon, the drizzling rain stopped and it was not quite as overcast as it had been all day. The cracker-jack weather prognosticators say it is going to be pretty much the same for the rest of the week. AT LEAST we are not in the 90's or 100's quite yet. ANYWAY, Randy and Irene came over an they were taking some photos of the Iris, so I took a couple (to add to the 100's of Iris photos I already have) and thought I would share this one with you. Hope you like it.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, CATTLE, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred...

DAY ONE HUNDRED ALREADY! Where is the time going? Where are the days going. Where have all the years gone? Whatever... Today was another beautiful day in central Texas. We need to take advantage of these, because they will soon be replaced by very hot days and warm evenings. Summer lasts a long time here. At least there is some moisture in the ground now, so I do not think everything will burn up this summer as it did last summer. We can hope anyway. This is a photo of some wild flowers I saw along the roadside near IH-35 and FM 972. I think these are more cultivated than necessarily wile, but I liked the combination of colors. I hope you enjoy them too.

Bee class was held here today, and before that all started, I went out and mowed the grass around the hives so folks could walk around. At first I was going to cut an area directly adjacent to the hives. Then I decided I would cut the grass until a specific time. Then I decided I would cut the grass until the mower ran out of gasoline. I ended up cutting grass until I ran over a bunch of dead weeds that Mike had pulled and it made the mower stall. BUT, that was a lot of grass that got cut, so I was happy about that. Then I arranged the lawn furniture in the front of the yard by the road, did a lot of this and that kind of stuff, and then got all my bee supplies organized that I had bought. By that time, folks had started to arrive, and I was amazed that I had actually purchased the correct things to get the hives started. I thought the bees were going to be here tomorrow, but they are now going to be here next Sunday. I have changed schedules around the arrival of these bees about four times, so I hope this is the last time we need to change. ANYWAY, there were about eight folks that showed up for the bee class, and they all worked really hard to help me get my hives ready for the bees. They area going to be doing the same thing next week, except they will be at the warehouse, and I won't be there because I have an out-of-town-buyer coming in, and I will be showing property all day on Saturday. Whatever...I swear!

Another challenge with the bees is that they are being delivered in DEEP BROOD FRAMES, and I only had one hive with a deep brood super, so I had to buy four more deep brood supers, and deep brood frames. Bee talk. If you want to know what all this means, let me know and I will try to remember what it all means. I am amazed that I have remembered it this long. ANYWAY, the brood supers and the frames ALL HAVE TO BE PUT TOGETHER. Hundreds and hundreds of little parts, and then the brood supers have to be painted. So far I have pretty much got the supers put together (40 nails in each super) and I have some of the framed put together (only eight nails in each of those and I need fifty of them). So, tomorrow will be busy with nailing and putting together. I am getting pretty excited about getting the bees though, so my goal for next Sunday is to NOT have to be admitted to the hospital as a result of multiple bee stings. I hope that all works out.

Jody and I also went into Georgetown this afternoon, did a little bit of shopping, and shipped Mike some Corning Ware he bought while he was here. It will all be there on Thursday, Mikey. We went to Dairy Queen and had spoilers, and then once we settled in, we rearranged the furniture in both the guest bedrooms, so everyone will be more comfortable the next time they all visit, which we hope will be soon.

Tomorrow I will feed the cattle and take a fresh bale of hay out to them, and then in the afternoon I am heading into Austin to show some homes. Life is good and I am a lucky person!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, SMALL WOODEN PARTS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!