Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Eighty One...

...and still no rain. Whatever...

Every day on the way to the office I pretty much take the same route, although there are options. Every day on my way to work, I pass the 'Basset House'. The Basset house is a house where there are five dogs of varying sizes and ages, but two of them are Bassets. The other dogs are perfectly content to sit and watch as you go by, but if the Bassets are out, they have to run and bark and chase. So, I have just begun stopping when they come out to chase. Have you ever wondered what a dog that chases a car would ever do if it actually caught the car? Well, the answer is...not much. So, this particular Basset is the less cautious of the two, and he will come around and let me pet him and he will just up on the car to get a better bit of petting before I go on about my business. I like it!

Busy day today, a long meeting at the Board of REALTORS, and then lots of work to accomplish in the office. Today is the last day of the month, so there were lots of bookkeeping things to make sure got accomplished, and security deposit refunds to get in the mail and all sorts of things like that. Move out notices, move-in things to get done, applications to process, all that. It is a busy time of year, and we could not do it without our very capable office assistants, Tom and Karla.

This little Barn Swallow hatchling fell out of the nest earlier this week, and Jody was out with the dog one afternoon and the dog had it in his mouth. Jody did not know what it was, and the dog dropped it, and Jody thought at first it was a frog and then a lizard. Well, it ended up being this little bird, and Jody placed it in a flower pot that is somewhat elevated, and the mama and papa birds have found it and have been continuing to feed it, so all is well thus far. Jody has seen the mama and papa birds feed this little one, so we have hope that all will be okay. There is not much alternative if you find a bird out of the nest, so we are happy about what is going on so far.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BABY BIRDS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Eighty...

What a beautiful sunrise this morning. A perfect way to start out the day. Today was another busy one, but beginning tomorrow afternoon, there should be a little bit of a decline in the activity. Made it to work with no problems, and for a lot of the morning I was reading the clock incorrectly (whatever) and finally I realized I was an hour ahead of myself. That was nice. I left the office at about 11:30 and headed to an appointment in FAR FAR north Round Rock...almost to the house. That appointment went well, and then I headed for another meeting at the Board of REALTORS. So, all in all a really pretty darn good day.

Call me Precipipus. PRECIPIPUS, far removed cousin of an equally tragic Greek named Oedipus. Yes, I am envious, but my envy is of rain. I have rain envy, and I am not ashamed to admit it. While I was at the Board of REALTORS, we had a break and I glanced outside and it was raining nicely. I called home, and Jody reported the patio had been dampened just ever so slightly, but it had dried up. Once the meeting was over, it was still raining in Austin, so I called Jody again to check, and still no rain. CRAZY! Parts of Austin got up to four inches of rain, and rain surrounded us here, but we were in the 'donut hole' and got no rain. CRAP!

This just in from the chicken-cam...nothing but a picture. Nothing really to report, I just like taking pictures of the chickens. Whatever...

After I was home for a little while, the phone rang and it was the Farmer's Market calling to see if we were home. NOT REALLY, you guys are so gullible. It was our neighbor Pauline calling to see if we were home so she could bring us some fresh vegetables and fruits (I guess peaches are fruits) from her garden. We are so lucky to be the recipients of this bounty of the county! Squash, tomatoes and peaches just harvested today. Everything is delicious and the peaches are just about as sweet as they can be!

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

Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seventy Nine...

It looks sort of promising for some P O P (television meteorologist speak for 'possibility of precipitation), but I really do not think it is gonna happen. There is a 50% chance of rain for the next three days, not so much because of the forecasted hurricane brewing in the gulf, but more because of a stationary front that is coming at us from the northwest. Whatever...I will take any kind of rain we can get. Lots of the cornfields have suddenly turned brown and look very parched. We really need some rain so these guys can get their crops in this year, since last year was a bust as well.

It has come to my attention that our whole purpose in life here at JB Acres in central Texas, is to act as a conduit for wild life, or more accurately, creepy life. You cannot walk ten feet outside without running face first into a spiders nest, and those things are tenacious. AND, if you happen to get on the spider end of one of those things, you will do an interesting little dance as you flail your arms in the air trying to get all that stuff off of you. Alan Funt is really missing an opportunity here!

Busy day today, busy day tomorrow, and then maybe a little bit of breathing room beginning on Wednesday afternoon. I had calls for appointments today, and was trying to schedule appointments for the week of July 12th. Folks just do not understand that when you are over scheduled, it does no one any favors. I would rather do a few appointments well than do a bunch of appointments badly. Instant gratification is what is needed by ALL OF US!

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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seventy Eight...

Today was a really nice day. It all started with me letting the chickens loose from the coop, and I gathered up the newspaper, and sat down to absorb it all. By about 9:30, I had given the chickens fresh water, a little bit of food and refilled the bees water supply. I had also water all the planting in the front of the house (just around the house, not all the beds) and the back of the house. Some of the four o'clocks are poking up in the dirt, and finally we are getting a few of the morning glories blooming. I love morning glories. I took the tractor out and cut some of the tall grass around the feed barn and the big barn, and got a bale of hay ready to take out to them later. I also cut down (shredded) the tank rim in the west pasture, to get the burr bushes a little bit more under control.

Then it was time to get a shower and head off to get lunch. We were having friends out for lunch, so I was off to Jarrell to get kolaches, and then into Round Rock to pick up bar-b-que at Pok-E-Jo's (the best). I also had time to stop and fill the car with gas, and to take it through the $8-quarter car wash. Remember when you got a quarter-car-wash? Well, now they are $8. Whatever.

I made it back home and our guests began arriving about 12:15 or so, and that was a lot of fun. Jim, Renee, Lisa and Mike. We all had a nice time going around the farm and seeing the different areas. Mr. Speckles is always a big hit for visitors, and everyone got 'souvenir' photos with the main man! He loves the attention. We all had a BIG lunch, and then we went out again and messed around with the animals, so Mr. Speckles got a double dose today. There were too many of us out there, so even though we sat in the pastures, the calves were a little too skittish to come up and be their usually curious selves. Jim & Renee and the Speckled Man in this photo.

Everyone left about 3:30, and Jody and I went down for naps. It is really HOT here today, and the weather man just said the high temperature was 99 degrees today. AND there may be a chance that the hurricane will track a bit further north, and he has even put a possibility of rain in the forecast for three days next week. I will believe it when I see it. This is a photo of Mike & Lisa and the FABULOUS Mr. Speckles! Does Lisa look just a little bit nervous? And Mike was wondering if bulls would really charge at the color red!

CHICKEN-CAM photo of the day. Today they got just a little bit of lettuce and some cabbage (kind of like prepared product for cole slaw), but they were not hesitating to go for it. They love it, and they are pretty much becoming Pavlov's Chickens. They are trained to think that, when I come out to the coop around 6 o'clock, I am supposed to be bringing them something. AND they are usually right!

Busy week this week, at least for the first few days, and next weekend will be a three day celebrating for the Fourth of July. We do not really have too much planned (if anything) so we may need to start thinking about that.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, GOOD FRIENDS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seventy Seven...

Let's hear it for the weekend. I love weekends, especially if I am taking a guilt-free day off (or two). I got up this morning, and fixed egg-loaf for Jody and I , and then went out to see about cutting some grass. Too wet (dewey) to cut, so I waited til later in the afternoon. I did a few more things around the house, and about 10:15, Jody and I drove into Round Rock so I could take a look at a house I have listed for sale. The owner had her handy-man doing some work on the house this week, and I wanted to see how things were looking. He did a very good job, and my friend and colleague (and team mate fro the Leader's Choice Program) David conducted an open house there today and will hold another one tomorrow. Disappointing results today, only one visitor (with an agent), but there is always tomorrow.

After we visited the house, Jody and I went in to Lowe's in Round Rock and picked up four baskets of Purslane and a couple more (small) hibiscus. Jody seems to be on a hibiscus spree, but they are lovely. Anyway, the Purslane have added some color to the pool area, and the can take the full sun, and that is what we will be faced with for the next several months. After that, we stopped at Dairy Queen for spoilers and then on the HEB for a few things. When we got home, we both went down for naps, and that was lovely!

When I woke up, I went outside and cut more grass, and then hooked up the shredder to the tractor and shredded some of the larger grassy areas. The grass cutting never ends. I need to just face that fact. It could be cut on a daily basis, and it would still never end. Grass, grass, grass! Whatever! Lots of lovely clouds around but no indications of any rain. What a drag...usually when there is a tropical storm approaching, we hope for a nice category I or II hurricane coming up into Texas which will bring us some rain, but with all the BLEEPING crap going on in the Gulf with BP, we cannot even hope for a little hurricane anymore. WE NEED THE RAIN.

After dinner, I went outside and swept out the garage and then cut more grass...the detail stuff around the pecan trees and things like that. And in the dog's yard. Detail stuff. Then a nice dip in the pool. I did get up early enough this morning to see the lunar eclipse, and it was supposed to be peaking about 6:40, but before that the whole thing disappeared and and must have gone behind some clouds. What a drag. I was up early enough and conscious of the eclipse, so then I got cheated out of it. ANYWAY...this is a photo of the other direction showing the hay pasture and the wind turbines. Very nice to look at, and they are just generating up a storm. Not like they did in the spring, but they are generating electricity and happily so!

Miracle of Miracles! One of the smoke detectors somewhere in the house is going off, and it is not 2 o'clock in the morning. I need to go find that little bugger and replace the battery.

Deeds. Actions, Changes, BATTERIES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, June 25, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seventy Six...

Okay, today was my last session of the Leader's Choice classes that I signed up for a long time ago. Every Friday for nine weeks. Today was the graduation. Before I went to the class, I left the house early to go into the office and get some work done, and by 8:30 I was at the Board. I was the team leader for our team, which basically entailed a lot of coordination and paperwork; keeping track of weekly statistics and today totalling everything up for the course. In this photo, I was up to my ears in calculations, and Susan asked me if I had signed Mark's card. I looked up at her and said, well, who is Mark? Well, of course, Mark is the Instructor and the developer of the course, and I was just totally drawing a blank at that moment. Susan practically went into spasms of hysterical laughter, and it was catching, and pretty soon everyone on our team was laughing. You had to be there.

Our team was also fortunate enough (and worked really hard during the nine weeks) to be awarded with the Top Producing Team and Top Overall Production awards. Congratulations to everyone involved. I have met some wonderful people during this nine weeks, and look forward to long-term relationships with all of them. 5o people out of a membership of almost 10,000 is a pretty exclusive group or real estate professionals. Congratulations to all of the folks that attended and who made the commitment to their own individual successes.

Jody and Tonya and Patrick came out to take all the cattle to the vets today for their annual check-ups and vaccinations. All are reported be be in good health, and good for another year. Every year I try to give Patrick a calf for his college fund, and this year he has chosen Orchid's calf. In fact, he and the heifer calf (as of yet unnamed, but a possibility is JB Orchid's Image) are going off to camp next week. SO, Orchid and the calf are going to live in Bastrop for a while, Patrick and the calf will be going to camp, and then they will be reunited with their other play mates in a few weeks or a month. Not sure.

This just in from the chicken-cam. We like lettuce. I like the chickens, and they like the lettuce, so it all works for everyone involved!

Hopefully there will not be a lot of activity around the house over the weekend. We are having friends over for lunch on Sunday, and that will be pretty much of our entire planned (as of now) activity for the next two days. I am certain we will make it in to Dairy Queen for a spoiler or two. Most likely!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, COW CAMP, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seventy Five...

It looked promising for a little rain shower on the way home this afternoon. There was one REALLY intense lightning display, but that was all we got. Nothing but empty promises. Unfortunately, we generally hope that a tropical storm will come into the Gulf and bring rain up to us in central Texas, but we cannot hope for that this year, with all the oil in the Gulf. I think there will be references to 'a perfect storm' in the months to come, and one disaster will follow another and another. Hope not.

Today was my Meals-on-Wheels day, and I only had four clients on my route. Folks come and go, there is no rhyme or reason to it. I really like delivering Meals-on-Wheels, and it is a very rewarding experience for me.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. It is our last session of the Leader's Choice program, the final of the nine week course. In some ways it seems like it all went by very quickly, and in some ways it seems to have gone on-and-on. A very worthwhile set of classes for me, and I believe most of the participants. I have met a lot of nice REALTORS and colleagues, so it was great, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others.

Tomorrow is also the day the cattle will be taken into the vet for their shots, wormings, fly treatments, Bangs vaccinations and whatever else they might be needing. And the little boy cow is going to be turned into a soprano tomorrow as well. Little Dude!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, NO RAIN (DAMMIT), Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seventy Four...

Well, another day, another day. I actually prefer another day, another dollar, but I will take what I can get.

Good news! Our friends Jody, Tanya and Patrick will be here on Friday to take all the cattle into the vet. Their annual check-up, shots and wormings, and fly control. Yippee! Unfortunately, I will not be here to help, but hopefully I will be here when they all get back. Friday is my last session of the Leader's Choice program, so I cannot (repeat CANNOT) miss that. So, this afternoon, okay this evening, I went out into the back pasture where all the cattle are and took photos to help Jody identify cow-calf pairs. It was not nearly as much trouble as I expected it was going to be. I think there is only one bull-calf, and he is going to be 'banded' on Friday, so that is always an interesting process. I love the life on a farm. I really and truly wish I had started this life several years ago. This is a photo of Minnie Moonbeam and her (yet unnamed) heifer (I think) calf. Minnie has a nice set of horns for sure!

Two sets of meetings today, I attended one and a half of them. I conducted one, and stayed for part of the second. I am still swamped with work in the office, so I have to make the highest and best use of my time. Honestly, I say this every week, but I really hope that next week will be a better (and slower) week. I AM NOT COMPLAINING!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, COW PHOTOS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seventy Three...

Whatever. Okay, I said it. I got it out of the way. I wonder if I can refrain from using the term for the duration of this entry? Whatever...

A very nice sunrise this morning as seen from the side view mirror of my car. Also a pretty good indication of just how dirty my car is. I used to believe that a dirty car was a happy car, alleging that by not washing the car I was actually saving resources (water, electricity, etc). In reality, I found that dirty cars actually use more gasoline because of the added weight and the compromised aerodynamics of the vehicle. So, I think it will be time for a car wash later on this week, or maybe the weekend!

Busy, busy, busy. But a good busy. The early morning was spent catching up on e-mails and messages that came in overnight. At 10 o'clock, we had our first office meeting in the over ten-year history of the company. We are planning to have meetings with EVERYONE on a bi-weekly basis, and we will see how that goes. Carrie had the GREAT idea that a different person conduct the meetings, so in two weeks, one of our agents will conduct the meeting. We are working on our long-term strategies and goals, and it is very interesting to me that certain assumptions (you know what they say) I hold to be accurate are not so very... Interesting!

I worked on finishing up the class I am writing and that I will be presenting the first full week of July. So far I am really happy with the way it is all turning out. I think it will be a very good class, filled with lots of participant discussion, and the book itself should be a really good reference book for the attendees. It is an advanced Property Management class, so I am happy with how it is all working out.

In the afternoon, I had a closing (really kind of late in the afternoon), and I am very happy that my Buyer clients have the home they wanted, and now all they need to do is start the process of unpacking. Congratulations to Bryan and Virginia, very nice clients, and wonderful friends! We are planning a Happy Hour real soon, or maybe they can just come out to visit us in the country. I was watching the clock for the appointment, and I did a map search for the Title Company (since I had never been there) and found out where/how/how long, etc. Of course, things really never go as planned when you are talking about traffic in Austin. BUT, I actually got there on time, with probably 15 or 20 seconds to spare. If I am not at an appointment 15 or 20 minutes early, I think I am late. I hate cutting it close.

Last nights bounty was tonight's supper. Everything we had for dinner last night (except for the rice) was fresh from Pauline's garden last night. DELICIOUS! Home grown tomatoes, cucumbers, and black-eyed peas! Everything was extra good. Jody got the recipe out of one of my old cook-books, the White Trash Cook Book, and it was called 'Hoppin' John'. Not sure why it was called that, but it was delicious, and I am looking forward to the left overs. Speaking of left overs, we know some folks who do not like left overs, but I think quite often that the left overs are better than the first go round. I think sometimes the flavors need to 'steep' a little while. Okay, really, I know what you are thinking, I just love food. Period!

Almost done.

These little Barn Swallow fledglings are just about to fall out of the nest. We watch them from the breakfast room table, and they are having a hard time staying in all together. There is really little room for error on their parts. One false move and they will be trying out their wings for the first time. Speaking of chickens, the chicks over in the chicken coop are about seven weeks old today, and they are doing really well. About 13 more weeks and we should have some eggs. Just in time for some distant Holiday. Whatever...

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BRYAN AND VIRGINIA, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, June 21, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seventy Two...

This just in from the chicken-cam: CHICKEN BUTT! Whatever. Welcome to the first day of Summer. Whatever again! It has been summer here for about six weeks already, and we would happily trade it all in for some fall-like temperatures. Okay, well, at least a little bit of rain.

Busy day at the office, and I got a lot of work accomplished, but not the most important thing that was on my list. I am really not meaning to procrastinate, it is just happening. Other work (telephone calls, e-mails, FaceBook) is getting in the way. Tomorrow I will buckle down and make more headway in the work that I have been putting off. REALLY!

We interrupt this program to bring you this special bulletin: Pauline (one of our neighbors) just called to make sure we were home and to bring us some fresh vegetables. Tomatoes, black eyed peas, cucumbers and squash. Yummy! What is better that fresh vegetables? Well, it is your neighbors sharing their bounty with you, just because they want to, and because it is the neighborly thing to do! What could be better than that?

Okay, so you know what I am doing tomorrow, right? Not procrastinating. I'll check back!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, FRESH VEGGIES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seventy One...

There is no way I can adequately describe how much stuff I have accomplished around the house today. I got up about 5:45 and putzed around for a little while. I finally went outside and got the newspaper, and did my meter readings. All is well. Shortly after, Jody was up, and we read the paper and had coffee. About 7 o'clock, I decided I needed to go out and cut some grass before it got too hot. I have to use the push type mower to cut around trees and things, and then I use the riding mower to cut the big spaces. I have cut grass several times today, and I have pretty much come to the conclusion that there is no end to grass cutting around this place. Again, the 2 and a half acres the house is on is a lot more labor intensive than the other 42 acres. CRAZY!

After I cut most of the front grass, Miguel and his brother-in-law Juan showed up, and there was plenty of stuff for them to do. Jody and I left to go into Bartlett in search of sweet rolls or something for breakfast. We went to one bakery where the basically have donuts, but they also have breakfast croissants and sausage and biscuits. We decided to go to the other bakery where they were advertising breakfast tacos. We ordered and took our tacos home with us. I ordered a Nopalito and Egg taco, the first time I have ever tried that. Really had no particular taste one way or the other, but it was good, and I will have one again. They were on corn tortillas, so that was lovely.

We got home and enjoyed the tacos, and Miguel and Juan had taken down a HUGE privet that was in front of the porch, and they took down an Afghan Pine (obviously a Christmas tree from years ago) that had seen better days. I know Afghan Pines do not have a long life expectancy, and the droughts of the past couple years took a tool on it, so it was time to go. Might as well put it out of its' misery! Things look much better with both items gone, and we can actually see outside with the big privet gone. I planted some four o'clock seeds where it was, and some more where I had planted them the last time (you remember, the ones the weed puller thought were weeds and pulled up). Whatever... ANYWAY, we both like the scent of four o'clocks, and they will come back year after year with little effort. AND the add nice color, and the bees and the humming birds will enjoy them.

I also fed the cattle and took a fresh bale of hay out to them. I took the food out to them and they were all in the barn, sheltering themselves from the sun. It did not take too much encouragement for them to come out and see what I was doing with the Mule. They are always happy to see the Mule, they always think the Mule equals food, and about once a week they are right! All the cattle seem to be doing well, I am thinking we will have one or two more calves this year. We shall see.

It is hot, hOT, HOT here in central Texas. After I did most of everything I had intended to do, I got nekkid and jumped in the pool. Always a refreshing way to cool off. I have also drunk about three cokes today with voluminous amounts of ice. I am also sure I have a red-neck farmer type tan working right now as well. We shall see. Well, I shall see, you probably will not. Whatever.

In spite of the heat, the crepe myrtles are really outdoing themselves this year. They are really just blooming up a storm, and we have four of five different colors of them, along with about six (allegedly rare) single trunk crepe myrtle trees. We have several snow-white ones at the front of the property that are just gorgeous. I may show you some of them in tomorrows post. I am also looking forward to the passion vine blooming this year. It had a really good year last year, so I hope it does as well this year. We also have lots of little pecans on the trees, so that will be wonderful if we get some pecans in the fall. I will let you know.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, GRASS CUTTING, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Seventy...

I slept late (for me) this morning, but I still had a couple hours to putz around the house before I had to seriously start getting ready to head into town for a couple appointments. It was a wonderful morning, and I left at about 8 o'clock to get started. My first appointment was to take photos of a new listing, I will get that property active on the market probably Thursday or Friday of next week. My second appointment was in the office and was a 'meet and greet' with a probable (possible) new client. The client was referred to me, so I expect everything will work out. Very nice man with good boundaries of what he is looking for in a home. He expects to be in the property for about four years, and is interested in some appreciation of the property within that time. Should be easy, but there are never any guarantees.

I got back home about 12:30, so Jody and I headed off to Hutto (that is the location of the closest Lowe's) to pick up some more red paint for the two storage sheds, and then we were off to Georgetown to stop at the Georgetown Fireplace and Patio Shop. We are shopping for a fireplace insert to take the place of the inefficient fireplace we have. We both love a fire, but the fireplace that is in the house is really nothing more than something that sucks all the heat out of the house and up the chimney. The new fireplace inserts are really a great heat source, and you can see the flames of the fire as well, so all the good things of a fireplace. You load the thing up with wood and it burns for 8 to 10 hours before you have to add more wood, and it heats a nice sized home. We do not expect that it will heat the whole house, but it will certainly go a long ways towards it. PLUS, the ones we are looking at have cook top surfaces, so we can 'cook and warm food or beverages'. I can smell the bacon already!

Whatever... Once we got home (we had to make a side trip to Dairy Queen for a spoiler), Jody went and took a nap, and I started working on some office stuff. We had a man over for the day pulling weeds, and his wife could not find her way back to pick him up, so I took him back into Walburg. On the way back from there, I stopped at our neighbors Randy & Irene's and picked some fresh corn for dinner. In this photo you can just see the wind turbines of our house over the corn stalks. The corn was DEE-LICIOUS!

This just in from the chicken cam...chickens like fresh corn too. Jody and I shucked the corn and got it ready to cook for dinner (corn on the cob) and some of the bad pieces of corn, etc., we took to the chickens. They wolfed that stuff down like it was the last food they would ever have. I was pretty darn surprised at how quickly they ate it. I think I will go back and get some of the 'bad' corn from Randy and feed it to the chickens.

Tomorrow is expected to be a pretty calm day of doing nothing but hanging around the house and working on office stuff. I am in serious need of playing 'catch-up' so I am looking forward to that. Miguel is supposed to come out and do more work on the chicken-coop and general stuff around the property, so that will be a good break of routine from time to time.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, FRESH CORN, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, June 18, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Sixty Nine...

This is the end (I thought it would never arrive) of a really hectic (which means, literally over-scheduled) week. Good riddance. That is not to insinuate that there were not lots and lots of positive things that happened this week, there was just A LOT of stuff happening this week, and I am looking forward to being able to slow down just a little bit. Of course, I have two appointments scheduled for tomorrow, and lots of work to catch up on, but that will all resolve itself with time...

I have to tell you, I have always thought Marcie was one of the prettiest women around, and here is just another piece of evidence to support that theory. Marcie was in town today with the Leader's Choice group, and as always, it was a pleasure seeing her. I ALWAYS learn great stuff (a technical term) whenever I am around her, and I welcome every single visit!

Another great class today at Leader's Choice. Eight weeks already, one more week to go, and then I will have to put all the wonderful information I have garnered into practice. That will be the tricky part. The Leader's Elite package is another thing I need to concentrate on, so I will have more time for going out and making the highest and best use of my time! All in good time...

Today is Jody and I's anniversary spell check says I's is not a word, but I don't know what to substitute)...18 years, and it has been a wonderful 18 years, too. We are really not too fancy about most things...we went to Catfish Parlor for dinner...not fancy but we like it. We have had tons of fun, excitement and adventure in those 18 years, and I should not forget all the love that we share. We are both very lucky people!

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

Thursday, June 17, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Sixty Eight...

Well, so far the sage bush at the driveway by the road if a BIG FAT LIAR. Allegedly, when a sage bush is blooming, it is an indication of rain. I have to tell you I was very surprised this afternoon while I was teaching class at the Board of REALTORS that the sky opened up and it began to rain...not just a little bit, either. It rained very nicely, thank you very much, but there was NOT A DROP OF RAIN at the house. Doggone it! Maybe tomorrow, there is always a chance!

It seems today is a day for yesterdays photos. I took the photo of the sage last night, and I took this photo of the sunset last night as well. What a pretty sight this was. I actually got out of the pool two or three times to take various photos of the sunset, and this is the one I chose. I go NOWHERE without a camera anymore, because there are always such interesting things to photograph and share.

Tomorrow will be another day of class for me, the 8th of 9 in the Leader's Choice class that I signed up for. A very good class, and you have to work the program so the program will work.

Tomorrow is also our anniversary (18 years) and it is Juneteenth too. Lots of things worthy of celebration. AND, the annual corn-fest is happening up the road in Holland, so that might be a fun thing to do. You never know!

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

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Sixty Seven...

I took this photograph last night after I went out to put the chickens to bed. You really cannot get the full effect of the sun shining behind the clouds, but it was magnificent. It was a wonderful evening, and calm and peaceful AND HOT. Did I mention it is really hot and we really need more rain? Did I mention we may well get another cutting of hay in another couple weeks? Did I mention that the sage bushes at the front of the property by the road are blooming up a storm and that the old-timers (be very careful) say the sage will bloom before a rain? I'm just saying... Anyway, the sage is full of blooms, and I will show you that photo tomorrow.

Michael was back today, and installed a gate from the front pasture to one of the middle pastures. He will install another get in the pasture next to it (maybe) tomorrow, we will see. Soon, I expect we will have no fences around the pastures, just a series of gates. What do I say about convenience? We invented it!

Here is another thing I used to say. Cows are difficult people to photograph. I have a new saying. Chickens take the place of cows in the people picture taking category. Chickens are really difficult to photograph. According to almost ALL the photographs I have taken of our chickens, they are made up entirely of chicken-butts. Nothing else, just butts. Chickens are actually living, breathing, walking chicken butts. I am not sure where the cackling comes from, but it must come from their butts. I cannot explain it any clearer!

Today was a good day. The office had an 'off-site-in-service' day, and it was all about team building, strategic planning and goal setting. Very interesting information, and we all enjoyed it very much. Now we are all charged with implementing the stuff we learned.

Tomorrow is a day of teaching for me, and Friday I will be attending another class. Two more classes (including tomorrow) of the Leader's Choice program. Another great series of learning experiences, but I am just on the verge of being 'classed out'.

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

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Sixty Six...

Michael (our neighbor) was out yesterday and dug a hole and installed the first piece of the 'air show', Jody's Anniversary present. He came back this evening to finish up. He arrived at the door with squash and at least one cucumber. I think there is some cucumber left, but we had some of each for dinner tonight. We love it in the country. ANYWAY, Michael and I got the 'air show' installed just in time for the actual date (Friday), and I think it is pretty darn cool. Jody likes it, Michael likes it, everybody that sees it likes it. It is a neat piece of home-style art, and I like it very much.

Another busy day today, and it will be that way for the rest of the week. I will be (mostly) out of the office for the rest of the week, and that is not a comfortable thing for me. After that, I will need to play catch-up, but next week ought to be just a little bit more calm. I hope so.

Tomorrow will be an all day class, from 9:30 until 3:30, and then I have (at least) one appointment at 4 or 4:30. There is a possibility I have two appointments scheduled for the same time tomorrow afternoon. After that, I have an appointment to stop and take photos of a new listing, so I can get it in the MLS. Then I will head home, and I hope to be home by about 6:30 or so. We shall see.

It is very hot here, and we need rain. Same song, different verse.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, AIR SHOWS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, June 14, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Sixty FIve...

I AM NOT COMPLAINING. I am just really, really busy. I have a very full week this week, and next week is relatively open. I just need to make it through this week.

Very busy day at the office, and tomorrow will be much of the same. I need to work on time management. My challenge is, long term planning is fine; everything is under control. It is the last minute things that cause me challenges. Things come up, and they need to be handled/addressed. And I am not really that good at saying no to people or business opportunities.

I achieved my goal for getting work done at home today, so Jody and I took a jump into the pool just to cool off. It is miserably hot here in central Texas. I went into a Subway Sandwich Shop for lunch today, and I swear it was about 150 degrees in there. No wonder the lettuce was wilted. After we had a bit in the pool, we went to the pastures to make sure the cattle had water, I am still a bit nervous about the water situation, after the leak last weekend. But all was good. We also went out and put the chickens up for the night, and went out to look at our peach tree. Lots of little peaches on the tree, all hard a rocks right now. Hopefully they will ripen before too long.

Annual things are blooming right about now. The Crepe Myrtle are really blooming nicely, and we have all colors. The solid white ones at the roadside are really pretty, and we have many different colors of red, pink, purple and lavender. Beautiful. The Roses of Sharon are also blooming now, and the blooms remind me of peonies from when I used to live up north. There are really a lot of northern plants and flowers that I kind of miss, but there is no way they would survive even one season down here. I miss Hollyhocks, too.

All is well, and it is not time to crash for the night.

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

Sunday, June 13, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Sixty Four...

By the time I had a chance to stop and look at this sunset, pretty much most of my day had been laid out FOR me, not really BY me. It seems that when I was shredding the grass in the fields yesterday, I ran over a water connection guard and broke the water pipe that provides water for the cattle. I check the gauges and meters every morning, and when I did it this morning, the water meter was spinning fast enough that I was wishing I had it hooked up to an electric generator. To make a long story less boring, we lost over 16,000 gallons of water overnight, and I hate that! I really hate it. It took until about 1 o'clock in the afternoon to get it fixed, and you would be surprised how many times you wish you had water flowing in the house during the day. We have some big bottles of water (3 gallon sizes) so we were not out of water, we were just out of the convenience.

I had a 10 o'clock appointment this morning, so I took a bath in the pool. Lovely! AND, my hair was stunning (at least that is the impression I had when the folks saw me; STUNNED). Anyway, everything worked out just fine, and everything is back to normal now. We still have a slight leak in the line (just a drip, really), and that will be taken care of later in the week. For now, though, all is good.

Before I took off for my appointment, I fed the cattle and took them a fresh bale of hay. They all seem to be doing well, but they were not really that happy that their supply of water was seemingly disappearing. Worst case scenario, I would have had to move them to the other pasture where the tank is, so they would have water. BUT, again, all is good now. This is a photo of 'Bambi', the heifer calf of Violet. She is a cutie-patootey!

Jody and I went into Georgetown and had a spoiler, and then we went to the Filling Station for dinner tonight. I am working to try and get some things caught up for the coming week; it is going to be a busy one! My real estate business is really taking off!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Sixty Three...

Today has been a busy day, and much has been accomplished. I don't remember if I told you yesterday that Jody had a flat tire on his truck. We got up this morning and put air in his tire, and decided we would wait until about 9 o'clock and call the tire place in Bartlett to see if they were open to fix the tire. In the meantime, I went and got the tractor and installed the 'quick hitch' to the tractor, hoping that it would make it possible to change the tractor implements in less than a day-and-a-half. I got the 'quick hitch' installed with Jody's help, and then attached the hay fork to it with very little trouble. Big my opinion, the proof would be trying to hook up the shredder. I took the tractor to the back and unhooked the hay fork with relative ease, and hooked the shredder with no problems at all. I am amazed! It works just like it is supposed to. No longer will I have to accuse myself of being unworthy of my farm boots and tractor because it takes me hours and lots of perspiration to change the implements. It works, and I can do it. Joy!

Okay, whatever. Jody and I called the tire place and kept calling them until about 9:30 and we decided to just drive into Bartlett to see if they were open. They weren't. We decided to go on into Round Rock where he could get the tire fixed and have the truck serviced at the same time. His car is a year older than mine and has just turned over 40,000 miles. Anyway, this photo kind of falls into the 'things you see when you haven't got a gun' category. We were pulling in to the Toyota Dealer parking lot when I saw the back end of this car. I will show you that photo sometime in the future. Anyway, this is the front end, and we can only assume that the owner is a citizen of Hutto, Texas, home of the Hutto Hippos. Whatever.

After we got his truck serviced, we went into Georgetown and went to have lunch at Chick-Fil-A's, which could well be the start of a new habit for us. We may well forgo the Dairy Queen on Saturdays, and go directly to the Chick-Fil-A for a chicken salad sandwich and a large milk shake. Very good. We then made a quick stop at the HEB and then home.

Jody went down for a nap, and I spent several hours cutting grass (some of it over my head) in the front fields and just putzing around. When I finished, I jumped in the pool and cooled off, and now it is just about time for dinner.

Deeds, Changes, Actions, TALL GRASS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, June 11, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Sixty Two...

Okay, so last nights post was perhaps (and only perhaps) not 100% accurate when it comes to the comparisons of the GIANT MALLO that I used for the photograph and the smaller yet just as lovely hibiscus that Jody bought yesterday. There was (perhaps) a slight error in the description of the color of the Hibiscus, and therefore I am making the necessary correction here. It seems the Hibiscus Jody bought is identical in color to the Mallo that I photographed, just a smaller version. I like to think of it as 'Mini-Mallo'. Whatever.

Another day of class, and there are two more classes to go before the graduation from the Leader's Choice program that I have been attending. Very good classes, and very good ideas and programs put forth. Overall, I am delighted that I took the class, and I have learned a lot, and I have made some really good friends from my Team Members.

It is the beginning of the weekend, and it will be a busy one. Jody has a flat tire, so that will be the first order of business tomorrow. Then, I bought a 'quick-hitch' on my way home this afternoon, and I am hoping that will help me be able to go from one implement to another on the tractor. I understand it to be right up there with penicillin as far as convenience and tractors are concerned. I am certain there will be photos of that process tomorrow.

Getting ready for dinner, and it is very warm and humid outside. It is not the heat, it's the stupidity! Whatever!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, FLAT TIRES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Sixty One...

Interestingly, I spotted this giant Mallo when I was on my way to deliver my Meals-On-Wheels route this morning. I saw it as I passsed, so I decided to come back that way just so I could take this photograph. I thought I could do it from the confines of my car, but not so. I parked, got out of the car, and took the photo. Passers-by agreed with me that it was photo worthy. The interesting part of the story is, Jody was at HEB today, and he bought a pink Mallo for the garden, although it is kind of opposite this one. The one he bought is more pink on the edges and a lighter pink in the center. ANYWAY, this one is simply beautiful, and the size of a giant dinner plate from Olive Garden!

It was a busy day, and I got a lot accomplished and hardly anything accomplished at the same time. It will all work out. I got home late, and had dinner, put the girls to bed, and now I am taking a few minutes to compose this entry.

Life is good!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, MALLO's, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Sixty...

Yesterday was the chicks birthdays (as far as we know). They were five days old yesterday. Last night Hubert & Pauline came over and brought us a loaf of squash bread and some apricots off their tree (not the bread). We also picked some figs off the tree and then we walked out to look at the chicks. I had assumed that my favorite chick had some sort of growth on its breast, but Pauline and Hubert both said that was the chicks 'craw', and that when they eat the food goes into the 'craw' and (I guess) it stays there for a while. I had always heard the expression 'stuck in your craw' but I never really questioned what a 'craw' was. I will look that up later and report back. Okay, why wait? The dictionary says a 'craw' is 'the stomach, especially of a lower animal'. So, there you have it!

We got rain, YIPPEE! It started raining here about 3 o'clock this morning, and it included quite a light show and sound effects. Very nice. By the time I went out to get the paper and conduct my morning rituals, we had received about 1.1 inches, and it kept raining most of the morning. So far, we have had 1.79 inches of rain since my last report, and there may be just a teensy bit more overnight. So far, so good. Now, it could quit raining for about a week or two, and start over again, that would be very nice, thank you very much!

Nice day in the office today, although I was not there for too much, I had two meetings in the morning, and then met my friend Bryan for lunch. Then it was forecasted that we would have some good downpours this afternoon, so I left the office early in anticipation of that. But, so far no more rain, but I will sleep happily tonight. I may even get another cutting of hay within a month, the fields look LOVELY and GREEN, so that is very nice.

On my drive home this afternoon, I also had a nice long talk with my friend and colleague Deb, and it has been way too long since we last had a chance to talk. We are busy plotting and planning, so that is always fun. Stay tuned!

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

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Fifty Nine...

Okay, well, this pretty much says it all. How are we ever going to stop all the oil in the Gulf from consuming US. We had been the hunters, now it seems we are the hunted. It will find us where ever we are, and we cannot do anything about it. I can't help but have this feeling of helplessness. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a bird or other animal stuck in all that goo and crap. A slow and unnatural death. SHIT! Well, oil anyway. The President says he wants to 'kick some ass' and the chairman of BP says he is 'tired'. Well, who knows? All I know is, it is not getting any better, nobody knows how to fix this, and nobody is happy about it. The public says our national response is worse than when Katrina hit, but I do not know the answer. Hell, I am not even sure if I know the questions!

On a brighter note...the cannas out by the road this morning were looking especially pretty when I headed off to work, and I am glad that I took a second to stop and take a photo. We are still keeping our fingers crossed for some rain today and tomorrow, although the rain we were hoping for in early afternoon seems to have dissipated. There is always tonight and tomorrow to hope for. We allegedly had a 60% chance for both today and tomorrow, so I am still hopeful.

Just exactly do you say lazy, or I guess more to the point, how do you SPELL lazy? Well, I think if you are a meter reader in Austin, you spell it 'j-u-m-p-t-h-e-c-u-r-b'. The guy was in a really big hurry, and obviously thought that was his own reserved parking space. It kind of reminds me of the old-time bumper sticker 'AS A MATTER OF FACT, I DO OWN THE ROAD'. Anyway, when he got back in the truck, he drove on down the sidewalk, flew off the curb at the corner, made a right and stopped at the cleaners and read their meter. Whatever!

Okay, here is something in the 'Keep Austin Weird' category, even though this is not really that weird when you think about it, since I have seen this goat at this house for years and years. If anyone knows anything about Austin, you pretty much know that anything is possible. Given a choice, I would most likely put up with the goat easier than I could put up with Leslie. If you don't know who Leslie is, well, that is another story. Anyway, goats are good, and this particular goat lives a half-block off Congress Avenue in the middle of central Austin! AN URBAN GOAT if I ever saw one.

Our chicks are five weeks old today, and that is a happy occasion. They are really getting big, too. Maybe there will be a photo opportunity later, and I will post something tomorrow. When I go to put them up in the evenings, they think it is time to play, one of the blond ones, especially! I put her in the coop, and she runs back out...put her in, she runs back out. They all think this is a really fun game!

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

Monday, June 7, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Fifty Eight...

AND...another Monday bites the dust. I have come to the conclusion that I need to change my diet...not because I am gaining weight (it would not hurt for me to lose some weight) but I think the food I consume during my work day affects my metabolism and makes me lethargic and, not really sad or anything like that, it just makes me tired. Years ago, I determined I could no longer go to the Chinese Buffet that I loved, and I thought maybe it was the MSG that they used in everything. Now, I have finally come to the conclusion that I need to be more careful with my diet, and that will make me a happier person. I wonder how I will figure out what I should and should not consume during the day. It will be a work in progress!

New things are continuing to bloom around the house, and the cannas are just exquisite. Tomorrow I will try to remember to take a picture of some of the really pretty yellow ones that are blooming up by the road. Wonderful!

The weather prognosticators are prognosticating that we will have some good chances of rain this week. About a 40% chance tomorrow and a 70% chance on Wednesday. I hope they are not just toying with me, I am in a fragile state where rain is concerned. I am not one to have my affections trifled with. It can get ugly quickly!

Working towards getting a class I am writing finished up for its' debut next month. It will be a good class, an advanced class in Property Management. It will be fun, and the classes you write are always easier to teach than when you are teaching someone elses content.

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