Saturday, July 31, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Twelve...

Chasing two head of cattle that got loose when I left the pasture gate open was not one of the things I had on my 'To-Do-List' for today. BUT, I am nothing if not flexible. The two culprits were Doodle Bug and Minnie Moonbeam, and there was not too much incentive for them to go back in the pasture. They made it all the way up to the house and turned back, but there was still some herding to do. I finally got Minnie back in the pasture, and finally Doodle Bug decided she would like to see what it was I had in the feed bucket. So all is well that ends well.

OH, and it seems Doodle Bug had a new heifer calf last night, so that could explain some of her incentive for fleeing the premises. I had moved the cattle from one pasture to the other, and that is when the great escape occurred. After everyone was back in the confines of the fenced pasture, I went to move the hay ring to the fresh bale of hay I put out last week. I was heading for the far back pasture when I noticed Doodle Bug wandering towards the pasture I had just moved them from...AND...there was the new calf. I guess she had been taking a little schnooze when I moved them (then chased them) and the youngest of them all slept through the whole thing. I had thought of calling her 'Lonesome Bug' but I think I will change that to 'Sleepy Bug'. I don't really want to give her a complex this early in life. She is certainly a cutie!

Oh, and now the chickens are roaming free during the day. They did not hesitate to venture out when I propped open their chicken gate from the screened area they have been roaming in. I am pretty confident they will be easy to herd back into their confined area with a little bot of food in the evenings. I think the first several days will be the most angst ridden for me. We shall see. I will go and check on them in a little while.

Jody just got up from a quick little snooze, so I think we are going to head off to Georgetown for a spoiler. I will let you know how that all works out later.

Once Jody and I got home from our adventure at the Georgetown Dairy Queen, I went out to make sure the chickens were okay, but there was not a chicken in sight. I called them (yes, I can call the chickens and they respond), but there was no response. I looked all around, and there was no sign of any chickens, but there were also no signs of feathers anywhere, either. Upon further investigation, all six of the chickens were hunkered down in the bamboo between the house and the coop, and they seemed to be very comfortable. Were you looking for us? Whatever...

Later on I went out and cut the grass in the front, and they decided they did not really care for all the commotion the riding lawn mower made, and they decided they would go back into their fenced in area. Smart chickens! Later on, they again decided to go out and investigate, but when they saw me coming out with their evening snacks, they headed into their pen, and that was the end of their adventures for this day.

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

Friday, July 30, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Eleven...

The drive in to the office this morning was met with this view of the sun coming up as seen from my side view mirror. GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!

A great day for getting things done. I actually can see the top of my desk now. I did not leave the office from the time I got in this morning, until the time I left this afternoon. Other than the fact that I had no lunch, it was all good.

No issues other than those that you usually expect on a Friday, but overall it was a pretty darn good day. Tomorrow looks like it will be a busy one, and not too sure what Sunday will bring. I think I might try and talk Jody into going on an excursion, but a lot will depend on how much stuff I get done. There are things to do with the cattle, grass to cut, this-and-that!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BALLS OF FIRE, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Ten...

Meetings are done for this week, and I think I may only have meeting next week (outside the regular office type things) and on Friday I am teaching one class. SO, it looks like I will have a relatively calm week. I say that now, but things have a tendency to change rather quickly.

I was happy with the meeting today at the Board, more very interesting stuff, and I am happy to be involved and to be able to learn about our Association and how difficult it is to keep it moving forward. Lots of thinking and planning, and lots of dedication from lots of people.

Made it into the office this afternoon, and did a bit more power real estate. No real traffic problems on the way home, either. Pretty darn smooth sailing. Once I got home, I sat down to watch the news with Jody, and pretty soon I was out like a light. That is pretty typical of me, I almost always take a 10 or 15 minute nap if I am watching the evening news. My dad used to do the same thing!

Jody and I went into Taylor for dinner this evening. We tried out a new restaurant (at least it is new to us) called Mimosa, and it was very nice. I had the chicken fried steak, and Jody had a small portion of trout. Both were very good. There is also a restaurant in Taylor that we want to try called Ricoco's. Maybe next week.

A full day in the office tomorrow, that will be a change. Then not too sure what the weekend will bring quite yet.

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Nine...

Rain again last night, after I published yesterdays entry. It came in just as we were finishing dinner, so we sat at the table for a long time just watching the clouds roll in, watching the rain, watching the wind speeds register on the nuclear weather station. Oh, and we spent a good deal of time assuring the dog that nothing terrible was going to happen, and that thunder and lightning is a natural occurrence during a storm, and that he had survived several in his lifetime, and the odds were pretty good that he would survive this one as well. After the storm was over (we got a little over an inch of rain) the skies cleared up a bit, and I went out to see the clouds, and they were once again grand. There was also a cow in distress across the road from us, so I went to make sure that it had not been swept away somehow in one of the arroyos and was stuck somewhere. So, there was no evidence of cows in distress, obviously just a young cow that enjoyed the sound of its own MOO!

Spent a long day at the Board today, the more I get involved, the more I enjoy it. Again, Associations are complicated animals, and I really enjoy the work that it takes to keep them running smoothly. Rewarding!

I did finally make it in to the office around 3 o'clock this afternoon. Well, let me correct that...I actually got into the office this morning about 6:30, and did some power real estate before I headed off to the Board, and then I got back to the office about 3 for more power real estate. My desk is relatively clear at this moment, but that is not likely to last very long.

I have a meeting tomorrow that will go from about 9 until 1, and then back to the office. At least tomorrow I have nothing pressing at the office so I will not need to go into the office first. Then I will be in the office in the afternoon, and all day on Friday, finishing up end-of-the-month things. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful business partner and two staff members that are totally competent in their jobs. It allows me to be absent for long periods without feeling like something is being neglected. Thanks to Carrie, Tom and Karla!

The chickens survived the storm as well, and seem to be happily putzing around in the little world. They seem to be contented (as contented as a chicken can be). We have a friend that sometimes 'house-sits' for some chickens (when the chicken owners have to be out of town). Anyway, he told Jody that when he takes care of the chickens, there is one chicken in particular that, when they are let loose from their run, it RUNS to a particular flower pot on the porch, lays a nice sized egg, and then wants to be petted and held and told what a good chicken she is. I am not sure if that could be considered 'enabling' or not, but I definitely think it is borderline.

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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Eight...

Rain! We got rain! Last night as I was laying in bed (about 8:30, just more proof that I am not young) I thought I heard it raining outside. I asked Jody if it was raining, and he said no. I waited for the commercial break (I was watching 'Big Bang Theory' and it was a really good repeat) and got up to go see for myself, and sure enough it was raining up a storm. It rained until about 9:45 and it was lovely. When I got up for morning chores, we had about 1.15 inches in the rain gauge, but our fancy-schmancy nuclear weather station reported we had 1.55 inches of rain, so I am going with that measurement. The fancy-schmancy always has a higher reading than the rain gauge with large print, so since we bought the fancy-schmancy, we may as well take advantage of it!

There is no way that the little digital camera I use for taking photographs can come even close to capturing the beauty of the clouds we have been fortunate enough to observe in the last several days. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Did I mention that the clouds have been really interesting and beautiful?

School is not even back in session yet, and two-days-in-a-row there have been traffic jams caused by accidents on the Interstate. I have been lulled into a false sense of security with the better-than-normal traffic flows lately, and I know it is just a matter of time before I am back to stopping on the Interstate on a daily basis. Whatever... This morning, the wreck was between a CapMetro bus and an 18-Wheeler. Not sure, but it was not a pretty sight. And the traffic on my side only slowed to a crawl so we could all gawk. Again, whatever...

Board of Directors meeting tomorrow morning, and then back to the office. We are all working towards the end of the month and the beginning of the next one. There does not seem to be much time in the middle, but we do the best we can.

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

Monday, July 26, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Seven...

Something like this can have a tendency towards slowing your homeward commute. Traffic was STOPPED on the Interstate even before I got on it. There is really not that much you can do, even a stopped Interstate is often the quickest way to go for many folks, and it is definitely quicker for me. There is really no other choice for me, unless I want to drive about 80 miles home instead of 50 miles home. Luckily for me (not for the folks in the silver car) the back up was not far from where I entered the highway, and it was relatively smooth sailing once I made it a mile or so. AND, there was no sign of any other vehicles involved in the wreck; plenty of police and fire department vehicles, and one tow truck, but nothing else.

Once I made it about ten miles or so, it began raining, and I called Jody to see if it was raining at the farm. NOPE. Raining all around us, but again, nothing at the farm. We have a 60% chance of rain tomorrow, and a 40% or 50% chance of rain on Wednesday. There is even a pretty good chance of rain on Thursday and Friday. Surely (don't call me Shirley) we will get a little bit of rain out of this. Even if we do not get any rain, we are really happy that the cloud cover is keeping our temperatures lower than average. When I got on the Interstate this afternoon, the temperature outside was 97 degrees. Once the rain hit, the temperature went down to about 75 degrees, and by the time I got home, it was back up to 84 degrees. There is plenty of wind outside, and lots of clouds and thunder, but so far no rain. I will keep you informed.

This just in from the chicken cam...the chickens are pretty well trained to know when there are about to be fed in the afternoons. I think pretty soon we will experiment with letting them loose from the fenced area during the day time, and see how that will work out. I am pretty confident that they will come a running when I feed them in the afternoons. I am a little bit scared of them being victimized by hawks or owls or coyotes, but I guess that is just part of life on the farm. I hope they will all be okay.

Today was a pretty good day for accomplishments, and tomorrow will be a good day as well. Only one meeting tomorrow, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday (not including Meals-on-Wheels). Nothing scheduled on Friday, so that may mean another day off for me! Woo-Hoo!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, RAIN OR WHAT?, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Six...

Today was not nearly as busy as yesterday, and that is a good thing since I accomplished absolutely nothing! Jody and I did go down to Red Rock after breakfast (Jody made blueberry pancakes) to make sure the air conditioner filter was clean. I know that sounds like a long way to go for such a thing, but there is really no good time to make that trip. ANYWAY, I will most likely make another trip down there this week to put salt in the water softener. Let's just leave it at, my tenant was not the best, and I should have been paying more attention.

We did manage to stop in Taylor on the way home for spoilers, and then naps all around. After naps, I finally took a shower and we went to Round Rock for dinner at Fire Bowl. We both had Pad Thai and it was delicious. This is a photo of my fortune, and Jody has put it up on the refrigerator. I wonder if there is another message there?

Earlier today, I also did a little bit more wasp killing, so now I think I have addressed all the wasps in the immediate vicinity of the house. My finger (where I got stung yesterday while picking figs) is really sore and swollen today, and of course it is my middle finger. Just let me know if you want to see it, no volunteering from me!

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

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Five...

Change AC Filters - Check.
Put up peg boards in garage - Check.
Pick figs to take to Pauline - Check.
Get some canning jars for Pauline - Check.
Go buy cattle feed in Taylor - Check.
Feed the cattle - Check.
Move the last of the baled hay - Check.
Water the front flower beds - Check.
Begin reorganizing the garage - Check.
Cut the grass - OOPS!
Check CraigsList for firewood - Maybe tomorrow.

It was a busy day, and there were lots of good accomplishments. The day started out nicely, and I am getting to where I can actually stay in bed a little bit longer on the weekends. I really like the morning glories, and they are doing really well. I am having to nurture the four o'clocks a little more than I was expecting to, but once they get all settled, I think everything will be just fine.

The cattle all got fed, moved the freshly baled hay out of the pasture, and now we could do with a little bit of rain. The television meteorologists are prognosticating that our rain chances will increase a little bit this week coming, but nothing over 40%. We could really use the rain, and that would make the pastures all green up nicely. Just about an inch will do, thank you very much.

Earlier this morning, Jody opened the door to the dogs yard and got stung by a wasp. It left a nice big red mark on his back. This afternoon while I was out picking figs, I got stung by a wasp, so I guess we are even. There are always wasps out there at the fig tree doing whatever it is wasps do with figs, and they have never bothered me before, but I apparently may this particular wasp particularly unhappy. Oh well, his loss, LITERALLY! Nothing I can do about wasps around the fig tree, so I kept on picking. I did get the wasp spray out though, and gave the wasps by the dogs door a good dose. Those are most likely gone now!

Tomorrow I think Jody and I are going to go back down to Red Rock, I need to get AC filters for the system down there, and get some salt for the water softener. And, while I am at it, I will get some salt for our system.

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

Friday, July 23, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Four...

The two photos in today's entry were taken within 30 seconds of each other, just two different views achieved with a turn of the head. These shots were taken this morning as the sun was coming up and Jody and I were getting the car packed to head down to Red Rock. It was quite a sunrise, and there was a brief shower (I am talking four minutes) and we recorded 2/100 of an inch of rain in our fancy new atomic rain gauge. Hardly worth even mentioning. But the colors of the sunrise were well worth documenting.

We had appointments in Red Rock with the well guy and the HVAC guy. Both were pretty darn quick fixes, and they were finished within an hour of their arrivals. Jody (of Tonya and Patric fame) has been down there with his shredder and gotten the place looking pretty darn good, and now all we meed is some detail work around the house and it will be once more presentable. He has also put four calfs down there, and I saw three of them, he says the brown one is pretty much a loner.

We came home by way of a couple stops in Bastrop, and then stopped in Elgin for lunch. Of course, I had pork ribs (gotta have bones for the dog), and Jody had a shredded pork sandwich. VERY GOOD. We choose Myers over Southside. If you are from the area, you will know what I mean.

When we got home, I crawled in my big blue chair and stretched back for a nap that lasted two hours. When I awoke, I was still tired, and stayed there for several minutes. I got up and checked e-mails and a little bit of this-and-that. Then it was off to feed the chickens, and I cleaned their water supplies and gave them fresh water. They are growing and really like their new organic 'tween' feed. It is called 'organic developer'. WOW!

Chicken salads for dinner tonight, and a busy day tomorrow.

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

Thursday, July 22, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Three...

Lovely clouds, no rain. Same song, different verse. It rained nicely in Austin this afternoon, but it seems we just cannot get a break. That is probably my fault, since I bragged and bragged about how we ALWAYS got more rain here in the country than the did in Austin. I will never say that again, never ever.

A very nice Breakfast meeting this morning at the Board, and many of the elected State officials were in attendance. Very informative, very well done. Congratulations to all the folks that work so hard to get these events planned and produced!

Meals-on-Wheels today, and that is always fun. My client load seems to have leveled out at four clients, it has been that way for about the last five or six weeks. The number of clients goes up and down, so you never know what it will be from one week to the next.

My appointment last night was successful, and we now have a new lease and property management account. We put the sign out this afternoon, and we will get the property on the market. Very nice place, and nice clients to work with as well.

After dinner tonight, I went out and picked figs...I'm a fig picker. Say that fast several times and see if anyone slaps you! Go ahead...

Deeds, Actions, Changes, FIG PICKIN', Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Two...

Today was a great day. I got into the office just a little bit late this morning, just at 8 o'clock, and got a few things on my desk tidied up. At about 9:15 I headed off to our first Austin Leader's Master Mind meeting. A group of us that were all on the same team in the Leader's Choice Program decided to continue our camaraderie and learning by forming a Master Mind group. We are going to meet every other month and exchange ideas and information that can help us all in our careers. The free exchange of information; the best kind of peer sharing!

After that, I was headed off to the Board of REALTORS for a luncheon meeting with an unnamed State Senator that seems to have had a scheduling conflict, so the good Senator did not attend. I expect we will try to get his office to reschedule that one.

Then it was back to the office, and more work to get done. I had a 5 o'clock appointment, and that appointment went well, and hopefully it will bring another piece of business our company way.

Tomorrow is a breakfast meeting at the Board and then it is my day to do Meals-on-Wheels. I always enjoy that, and look forward to it.

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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred One...

The saga of the fireplace insert/hearth mount wood stove continues. The installers came back out this afternoon to install the second choice of product (most likely this is a better choice than the first one we made) and of course there were some challenges in the installation. First, one of the screw for the legs was 'sheared off' in transit, and there was not an extra screw to be had. SO, the installers will need to make a separate trip back out here at some point with a screw for the leg. In the meantime, I am thinking they are going to put a 2 x 4 under the heater where the leg is supposed to be, but I am not sure about this yet. They are still working, but I will provide you with a photo of the finished (temporarily) product before I post this entry. At this particular moment, the three installers seem to be arguing about some finer point of the appliance installation, and I think one of them just stormed out and is most likely outside somewhere pouting. Not sure...

Lots of good accomplishments at work today, three meetings attended, and good work done at most of them. Two out of three ain't bad! Tomorrow will be a short kind of day, only two meetings and one appointment, so that will be good. And on Thursday, I am only scheduled for three meetings, but I am not sure I will be able to attend one of them. AND, Thursday is my Meals-on-Wheels day.

Hubert is out in the front pasture right now raking the hay, and he may come back and bale it all later. The front pasture is kind of small, only about seven acres, so it should not take too long to bale that. I hope to get at least one round bale per acre. NEWS FLASH: We got 15 bales (okay, 14-and-a half) from the front pasture, which is much more than I thought we would get. That means we got 36 bales on this cut, and 35 from the earlier cut this year, six weeks ago. Very nice!

I am scheduled to go to the Red Rock farm on Friday, so I will not be going into the office that day. I have HVAC and water well service men scheduled, and I may try to get the termite and pest control guy to get down there on Friday as well. I am planning to take the tractor and shredder down there, but it would be nice if I could find someone to do that for me, but I will go with whatever the flow turns out to be come Friday.

Chickens like grapes. I just thought I would mention that. I took them some cole slaw mix and some bread, and cut up a few grapes just for variety. They went crazy for the grapes, but grapes may not be a cost effective something for chickens. We shall see...

Deeds, Actions, Changes, INSERTS(!), Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, July 19, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred...

Sunrise, sunset; Sunrise, sunset, Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another, Laiden with happiness and tears.

- from Fiddler on the Roof

Well, just to relieve the suspense, I will start out with a photo of last nights sunset, then one of this mornings sunrise, and finally one in the middle! A beautiful day in central Texas, and they are predicting a 40% chance of rain tomorrow. That will be nice, except Hubert came and cut the front hay field this afternoon, so I hope he will have a chance to get it raked and baled before it rains. We are benefiting from the sea-breezes coming off the Gulf Coast, and our usually stationary High Pressure system has moved off to the east a little bit, so our chances of rain are increasing ever-so-slightly.

I got my car washed today and it is amazing what a clearer perspective you get when you are looking at the world through a clear windshield. My windshield was horribly fogged from the VOC's that are emitted from almost every component of an automobile. But, that is all taken care of now, and I am a happy driver once again. That is an important thing, since I spend a considerable part (a minimum of 8.3% of every 24 hour period) in my car. Not complaining...I love where I live and I love where I work, they just do not happen to be side-by-side.

Our back neighbor Alan cut and baled hay this weekend on his property, although it was unusual for them to be back there at 11 o'clock at night baling hay. Alan has about thirty acres, and it looks like he will be getting at least 40 bales of hay from his cutting. We got our first cut about 6 weeks ago, and hopefully we will get a third cutting this year. If we get a third cutting, I may sell some of that hay. I just want to make darn sure I have hay for our cattle! If it gets to the point that we have to buy hay, it will most likely be about $90 a bale, and that is crazy!

When I got home from work this afternoon, I went and picked more figs, and I am going to take them over to Pauline's a little later on. I am also going to make sure the chickens have feed so I don't have to do that in the morning. We are finishing off the peach cobbler tonight, and all the other peaches we have are frozen, so I think we will be over the peaches for at least a couple weeks.

The rest of the week will be moderately busy. I have a luncheon tomorrow, a luncheon on Wednesday, and a breakfast on Thursday. I am planning to take the day off on Friday, so I can get some work done down at the other farm in Red Rock.

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

Sunday, July 18, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Ninety Nine...

Wow! Day One Hundred Ninety Nine already! Where are the days going? I slept really late this morning, and got up and gave the chickens fresh water and feed, and they are set for a while now. I also went out and fed the cattle, not that they needed to be fed (they have plenty of grass in the fields) but they like the cubes every now and then. In the winter time, we need to feed them twice a week, and they go through a bale of hay every week as well. The summer (well, this summer anyway) is a great time for economies. This is a photo of Violet (our first born) and her calf Violet's Fawn. Violet is a very small heifer but she seemingly had no trouble with her calf, both are happy and healthy.

I went into Austin for a while today, and tried meeting with a couple clients from Washington State, but they were not available when I went by their sons home. I then went into the office, got some work done, and then headed off to Red Rock to make another survey of the farm there. The second visit was worse than the first, and I realize there is a lot of work to do down there before it will sell, so I have my work cut out for me.

I made it home about 2:30, and went down for a nap for a few minutes. When I got up, I went out and cut the grass in the front, and then came in to do a little bit of work in the office, and then we watched the news. We just got home from Georgetown, where we went to dinner at Souper Salads (we had a coupon).

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

Saturday, July 17, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Ninety Eight...

More sturdy stands the bowing reed than doth the mighty oak. - Shakespeare (Maybe).

Whatever... I cannot believe how schedules and lists of things to accomplish today just all went to hell. Nothing went as it was planned. Okay, well some of it really was not that important, BUT I had intended to accomplish a lot more today than actually got accomplished.

After the morning routines, I went outside and started picking figs. By the time I got out there, the lawn maintenance folks were here and were happily pulling (PULL THEM don't just cut them off with a shovel) weeds. Okay, maybe not happily, but they were doing it anyway. I took the figs over to Pauline, and she went right to work separating the figs from REALLY ripe to just plain ripe. She asked how many jars of fig jelly and fig preserves we wanted, and I told her a couple of each would do, and she doesn't think that is enough. ANYWAY, she and Hubert and I talked for a while, and then I was back to the house.

I started cutting the grass, and that got stopped because Hubert had come over to help me with the tractor. Since he had cut and baled hay yesterday, I needed to get the bales moved out of the pasture and put into storage. ANYWAY, that was all taken care of and so I started moving bales of hay.

BUT, before that could happen, the guys showed up to install our fireplace insert. Which did not work, and it was kind of a comedy of errors. ANYWAY, after four to five hours of doing stuff (during which time I moved half of the hay and was tired) they took the insert we had purchased back to the store, and we went in to figure out exactly what kind of insert of 'hearth mounted' wood heater would work for us. I will show you photos when it finally gets installed (no target date yet), but it should be in the next week or so. This is the photo of how things look in the living room right now. What do you think? Kind of more contemporary than what we really had in mind. Whatever.

As long as we were in Georgetown at the Fireplace place, we decided to stop at Dairy Queen for a spoiler, and when we got home, I moved the rest of the hay, closed off the FAR BACK pasture so the cows cannot escape, and opened up the gates so they can once again access the back pasture. If you open a gate, they will come. There is not really that much difference from one pasture to another, but they had not been back in that pasture all day, so it was like a new experience for them. When I was in third grade, our teacher wrote on every single students report card that the child in question was 'very curious' about most things. Throughout the day, she would tell us repeatedly that what that really meant was that we were all 'just too darn nosey for our own goods'. That was back in the late 50's, before Xanax and Valium were the wonder drugs of elementary school teachers everywhere. I only bring this up because I have discovered that our cattle are 'very curious' as well. I knew I would finally make a point if I was just given enough time.

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

Friday, July 16, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Ninety Seven...

Another very nice day. I woke up this morning and an old friend Derek had found me and friended me on FaceBook, which prompted me to find another couple friends through his network. Interesting times in which we live. Kind of a busy day at work, in meetings for the best part of the day, but did manage to accomplish a few things in spite of all that.

I got home this afternoon, and Hubert was out in the back pasture raking the hay that he had cut yesterday. Then a while later, he was back with the baler and baled 21 bales. He will be back on Monday to cut and rake and bale the front pasture. Here is one photo of the hay field after it has been cut and raked, and the other photo is after they are baled. The bales probably weigh about 1200 pounds each (at least I would think), and sometimes my tractor has a hard time lifting them. Once they are lifted off the ground it is no big deal, but they are heavy! I will try to get the bales moved this weekend, but it is going to be a REALLY BUSY weekend. Things to do here at the house, things to do in the office, clients to meet with from out of town, and then on Sunday, I am going to the other farm in Red Rock to shred some of those pastures. Interesting...

Jody and I went into Georgetown to have dinner tonight at Chipotle's, and I am totally stuffed right now! After I finish this entry, I will need to go outside and put the girls to bed. They are doing better about eating out of my hand, so that is good. When I was going out to the back pasture this evening, there was a single coyote running the fields, and that is the first time I have seen any coyotes for a while. I also talked with our other neighbor Randy for a while, and he had seen the coyote as well. I am surprised Randy did not have his rifle with him.

Sunflowers, sunflowers, sunflowers. I know I showed a photo of this batch of sunflowers already one day this week, but they are so nice, I needed to give you all another look. Soon they will be gone, but you can always refer back.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, HAY BALES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Ninety Six...

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word...
- Cat Stevens

It was a wonderful morning to a wonderful day, even though there were some issues along the way. The morning glories are really coming along, and things are really just beautiful at the farm, even though we would like a little bit more rain. A nice inch or so every week to ten days would be wonderful, but beggars cannot be choosers. The chickens are happy, the cattle are happy, the bees are happy (if not particularly productive), Jody is happy, and all that makes me happy. What more can I say?

We had our property management meeting this morning, and then we all went on about our 'business'. Here is the weird part...after the meeting this morning, I had an unusual experience in the bathroom. Remember now, I am going to be 59 years old on my birthday, and this is the FIRST TIME this has ever happened to me. After a good deal of excavation and investigation, I determined that I had stepped into my boxers BACKWARDS this morning. I am not sure exactly what was backwards, me or the boxers, but nonetheless the front part was in the back and vice-versa. That unhappy realization has a tendency to make the rest of the day somewhat suspect, and brings to question the theory that perhaps I am a little bit stressed out. I don't feel particularly stressed out, but who am I to judge? I can't even get my boxers on right, so I think I will try to avoid operating heavy machinery for a while. It gives a whole new meaning (to me anyway) about getting your panties all in a wad. AND I shall never again ask anyone to walk a mile in my boxers. You won't know if you are coming or going! Whatever...

This is a photo I took this morning also of the sage bush (one of them) out at the driveway by the road. Sage bushes are believed to bloom BEFORE a rain, and ours are just a-blooming up a storm, and all the sages around Georgetown are blooming. BUT, the televised weather prognosticators are giving us (basically) a zero-percent change of any precipitation for the next seven days. CRAP!

GOODY-GOODY! I came home this afternoon, and Hubert (I think) was out in the far back pasture cutting hay. I am certain someone was cutting hay, I am pretty sure it was/is Hubert. He has been out there for a while, and I guess he will come up and do the front pasture this evening as well. It takes a long time to cut hay, it takes a long time to cut the grass (or cut at it as I like to do). Anyway, I am very happy that we are getting a full second cut on the hay this year, and I think it is really quite possible that we will be getting a third cutting. It is only the middle of July, and if we get a little bit more rain, I expect we will. YIPPEE!

This is a picture of the peach cobbler Jody made yesterday, and we dug into last night. Very good! I had a concern that there would be a lot of sugar in it, and it might keep me awake, but I did not query Jody about it, and I slept very nicely, thank you very much. There is another episode of 'Big Brother' on this evening, and even I am embarrassed for myself that I am watching this program. It is not rocket science, for sure, but it is like a train wreck.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, FRESH CUT HAY, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Ninety Five...

Crazy busy day, but all is well that ends well. Meetings began at 9 o'clock this morning, and I had already been in the office. Three sets of meetings before noon, and then an appointment in Kyle, which is about 30 or 35 miles south of where I was. Interestingly, I used to ride my bike all around Kyle and Buda (about 10 or 11 years ago when I was doing long-distance rides), and lots has changed in what was that VERY RURAL area of central Texas. Population growth has probably added 50,000 people to those two places and all the infrastructure and support services followed. Crazy crowded. BUT, there are still some very charming places to frequent, and I would imagine those two 'small towns' are wonderful places to raise kids (for now).

I finally made it in to the office about 2 o'clock, and managed to get a little bit of office work done. It is that crazy time of year for leasing and property management, and it is kind of stressful for all of us. Properties listed, applications coming in, lots and lots of telephone calls from prospective tenants and other agents. Just kind of BUSY!

Once I got home, I found that Jody had made a peach cobbler, and it looks and smells delicious. I will give you all a full report later. Oh, when I was at the office, Tonya (who we met when we first started breeding the cattle) sent me a picture that she took about three years ago of her son Patrick and Mr. Speckles when he was a calf. It is hard to believe that Mr. Speckles has grown up (and still growing) to be the big-daddy breeder that he is! He (and Patrick) were both really young and really innocent at the time the photo was taken.

In case you did not know this, I am a BIG FAN of 'Big Brother' on television. It is really the only one of the 'reality' shows that I try to watch consistently. None of the others really holds my interest, and I am having my doubts about the program that just began another season a few weeks ago. Right now, I am working on this entry during commercials, even though O am also recording it. Just to be sure!

Deeds, Changes, Actions, BABY MR. SPECKLES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, Fun!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Ninety Four...

Well, goodness gracious. Today was just filled with ups and downs, conveniently there were more up, but you need to remember, for every peak there is a valley! I did not sleep very comfortably last night, I am having a bit of back pain, just another condition of advancing years. It took a long time for me to find a comfortable position for sleeping, and I am not sure I ever did actually find that 'sweet spot'. Hopefully tonight will be better, and a day is always better ofter a good nights sleep.

Last night after I posted my entry, Pauline called and we met out at the peach tree to see how they were doing. They were actually doing very well, so we picked about four of them, and I washed and ate the one that had been partially eaten by something, not sure what. It was very sweet, just about the most delicious peach I have ever eaten, at least since those last peaches that Pauline gave us. So, tonight after dinner, I went out and checked on the peaches again, and picked them all off the tree. I had picked several, and left a few that I felt might not be entirely ripe, but then I changed my mind and picked them all. No sense leaving a few for the next day when something (raccoons?) might come in the dark of the night and make off with them. We ended up with about thirty peaches off that small tree, and we had given that tree up for dead after the drought of the past few years. BUT IT FOOLED US! I think this is the first time I have ever had peaches from our own trees. I can remember as a little kid growing up in Michigan, we had a plum tree in the backyard of one of our houses, and we would get fresh plums in the summer. No peaches though. I hope this is the start of a wonderful trend!

After I went out to look at the peaches, I went back to check on the cattle. All is good in the cattle word at JB Acres. No challenges, and no new calfs either.

The chickens are doing well also, I went out earlier and fed them, and took this photo with the chicken-cam. They are about ten weeks old today, about half way to their calling (which is really laying). I am looking forward to really good fresh brown eggs from our own chickens. Wonderful! They will also come pretty close to eating out of my hand, and I am sure it is just a matter of time, and not much time either. They are really pretty amenable to doing just about anything if it means there might be a piece of bread in it for them. Easily swayed!

I also think these sunflowers next to the pool are quite attractive. Sometimes just the simplest things are the best. When you see a patch of sunflowers or daisies in a field (and even dandelions for that matter), the ebb and flow of the sea of yellow is just incredible. Very pretty.

Tomorrow is another full day.

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

Monday, July 12, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Ninety Three...

Where does all the time go? Today was a really busy day, and at one of my appointments, I was bitten by a German Shepherd. Nothing terrible, just something that does not happen every day. I got back to the office and had totally forgotten about it until I was leaving for the day, and happened to remark about it. It was kind of a hot topic around the office for 5 minutes, and that was the end of it. Kind of like when I was in Jamaica in February and participated in a drug deal (unbeknownst to me of course). Just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I am now reading (okay, listening to) a book called 'My Third Husband will be a Dog' or something like that, and it is an interesting and easy to listen to compilation of short stories. Along the way, the author passes out interesting bits of wisdom like, 'seize every opportunity, because you never know how many more opportunities you may have', that kind of stuff, and then tells a poignant story about something that happened to her in her life. Like when her dog Lucy died, and when her father died. When her father died, she was in his hospital room with her uncle and maybe one or two more relatives, and suddenly the room was filled with dozens of doctors and intern-types. She was told she had to live the room, that 'all unnecessary people needed to leave'. She told the doctor that she was his daughter and the doctor did not even know her fathers name, so she was not leaving. Those kind of things.

On a side note, today in 1968, my father died. I was 16 years old and the actual day was a Friday. I was working at Montgomery-Wards in Southgate, Michigan. On my dinner break, I called home and talked with my dad, told him I bought a pair of black wing-tipped shoes with my first pay check. He said he and my mom were goint to an auction that night, and they would pick me up when I got off work at 9 o'clock. They never came to pick me up. My dad was one of my 'necessary people'.

She (the author) has done lots of things including raising chickens. She knows about hawks killing chickens, and all kinds of chicken anecdotes. My kind of book to listen to. The chickens at our house were happy to see me this afternoon, and they were happier that I had brought them some greens and bread. The chickens that seem to be the most photographed are called 'blond sex links' I swear to God. Do an Internet search if you don't believe me. Anyway, those two of the six chicks seem to be the ones I favor most, they are the ones that are easiest for me to pick up and put in my lap, and they seem to be the friendliest as of right now. Tomorrow, we estimate, will be the chicks ten week birthday, and they are growing and maturing really quickly. Half-way to laying eggs, I think! We shall see.

Windy and warm, and the turbines are generating up a storm. More to do tomorrow, and I will report it all to you in good time.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, NECESSARY PEOPLE, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Ninety Two...

Today was a busy day, although it was not the most productive day I have ever had! I went down to Red Rock this morning, where our 'old farm' is. That property has been leased for a couple years, and the tenant moved out earlier this year. We have it on the sales market, and the land has become pretty grown up, lots of weeds, and just pretty much out of control. SO, I headed down there today with the lawn mower and the intention to at least make the place look somewhat presentable. It is about 75 miles or so from where we are now to the Red Rock farm, so it is a pretty good drive. I got down there and started cutting grass, and about 20 or 30 minutes into cutting, I caught the throttle spring on a piece of barbed wire, and that was the end of that. Oh well, darn. It was really hot too, but I had really wanted to get the stuff looking a little bit better.

Our friend Jody and his son Patrick came out, they live in Cedar Creek which is about 10 miles away from the Red Rock farm. Jody is going to put some calves on the land to help get the pastures under control, and then he will bring his shredded out and get the grass and weeds around the house under control. SO, all in all, it will not take too much to get things looking better, and that will be good. We would really like to get the place sold, and this can only help.

I got back home about 2 o'clock, and I sat in my big blue chair and took a nap. When I got back up, I went outside and cleaned out the chicken coop, and got the girls all set for the coming week. Not too much trouble keeping them happy, just the basics, and they are growing like weeds!

Once that was done, Jody and I both jumped in the pool to cool off. Nice, very nice. We then headed out to Georgetown to go to Fish City Grill for dinner. I had fried shrimp and sweet potato fries, and Jody had shrimp tacos. Very good indeed.

When we got home, we went out to check the peaches again. Still hard as a rock, but if you could eat pretty, these peaches would be delicious. We also checked out the pecan trees, and they are doing really well, we should have LOTS of pecans later this year, from the five trees we have out there.

Jody will be going into Austin tomorrow for a doctors appointment, and then he and our friend Lynda will meet for lunch at the Blue Moon Cafeteria. More fun!

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

Saturday, July 10, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Ninety One...

Okay, another great day in central Texas for the most part! I stayed in bed pretty late this morning, did not get out of the bed until 6:15. Went out and did morning ritual things, read the paper, had coffee, and decided to go and pick figs. We had been a little bit concerned that the figs were not ripening as we thought they should, but I was listening to John Dromgoole's on his weekly gardening show last week, and he said never fear, they would ripen. AND, sure enough they are beginning to ripen. I am sure we will be pretty much covered up with figs for the next several weeks. Do you want some figs? Let us know!

I took some figs over to Pauline and Hubert, and they sent me home with some fresh peaches and fig preserves from last year. Share the bounty! After that, a friend of ours (Jody)sent us some photos of the farm in Red Rock, which is looking to be in disrepair, so I will be going to Red Rock tomorrow to do a little bit of maintenance on that place. May be the reason the property has not sold, what do you think? I also think Jody is going to put some longhorn calves out on the property to get the pastures under control. Jody says the pastures are all pretty well overgrown, and you cannot really see the house from the road. Not a good sign. Everything will work out the way it is supposed to.

Jody and I also drove in to Austin, I had an appointment to show one property, and a new property came on the market that was just around the corner, so I showed that one as well. Interestingly, my client liked the one that just came on the market, so that was a good happenstance! We are still working to get her existing home sold, so all in good time, all in good time.

When we got home (we had to stop at the Dairy Queen in Georgetown) we both took a short nap, I did some more chores around the house, and went out and fed the chickens. It is amazing how big they are getting. They are getting a bit of lettuce and dry bread to supplement their chicken-feed. Seems to be working! There are very interesting little animals, and a bit pushy at times! Tomorrow I am going to need to clean their nesting boxes.

After that, I went out to check on the cattle. I was a little suspicious that there might be a new calf, but nope, just the same cattle back there. I do believe that Doodle Bug is pregnant, and she should be having a calf pretty darn soon. They were all very curious as well as to what I was up to, and they all thought they were going to get some feed, but I fooled them. I was just checking on things, and took the opportunity to take this photo of Violet, the first calf that was born to us. I can remember when she was born, I was totally in a state of hysteria. Sort of a common occurrence now!

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

Friday, July 9, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Ninety...

A wonderful day, even though I had little time for myself. I got a lot of work done in the office, and that was very nice. I am mostly caught up, but it is incredible how easily I can become distracted. Not much rain today, but I did empty 1.6 inches from the gauge this morning, so that puts us at just over 2.5 inches for the month, NICE! This sunflower is blooming out by the pool, so I thought that would be a nice image for an otherwise cloudy day!

Working tomorrow, showing property. Only one property, so Jody is going to go with me, and then we will stop at the Dairy Queen for spoilers on the way home.

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

Thursday, July 8, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Eighty Nine...

Okay, here is an interesting factoid. This entry in my journal marks the 555th day that I have kept this blog going. Not missed a day. I hope this does not put a pox on it, I'm just saying! I think that is a pretty good record. I cannot believe I have kept it up this long. This photo is of a nice looking cloud formation I saw last night was I was walking back inside after having put the chickens to bed. I like them.

You could have knocked me over with a feather this morning when I went outside to get the newspaper and take care of my chores. It was raining! I did not even know it, but I was certainly pleasantly surprised. By the time I left to go into town, we had received about a quarter-inch, so that was terrific. By the time I got back home this afternoon, we are just barley short of 1 inch. I am very happy about that.

Today was a day of instruction for me, and I think the class was very well received. The final decision will be in the class evaluations, but I am pretty confident it was a good class. I enjoyed it, and there were lots and lots of positive comments. This photo is how I get a class photo without having to go to all the trouble of getting permission from everyone to put the photo on my web-site. Whatever...

Jody and I went to dinner this evening at the Filling Station, and I had a patty melt and Jody had a Reuben sandwich. Both very good.

Tired, going to bed, but first I have to put the chickens to bed.

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

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Eighty Eight...

Today was a totally wonderful day. The downside is that I woke up at about 3:30 and could not get back to sleep, so I just got up and putzed around until it was time to go to the office. I had plenty of time to catch up on FaceBook, plenty of time to read the paper and do all my morning chores, and plenty of time to plan out the day.

I had two appointments in the afternoon, and was able to get caught up on my e-mails. I pretty much got my to-do list all accomplished, and I am down now to the things that I have REALLY been putting off for quite some time.

I got all the fine details completed on my class that I will be teaching tomorrow, and that is great. I really think it will be a good class. So, for a six hour course, I have worked about a hundred hours on writing, power-points and preparation. I really enjoy it, but I have to admit, I do my best work under pressure.

Oh, and one of my Team H.O.P.E. teammates, Drew, is working towards getting our first MasterMinds group together. I think we will be meeting every other month or maybe every quarter. It will be great.

I had a late appointment in the office, so I did not get home til about 7 o'clock. Jody reports that our two different nuclear weather stations reported high temperatures over 100 degrees today. The official high in Austin was 94, and 95 at the airport. The chickens were all happy to see me, and it is interesting how you can kind of train them to do things. Now they are climbing up on their gymboree to be the first ones for food. Interesting stuff.

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

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

2010 - Day One Hundred Eighty Seven...

Today is (what we believe to be) the chicks birthday. We estimated that they were about a week old when we got them, and we have had them for eight weeks, so we figure (let me see...1 + 8 = 9) that they are nine weeks old. And they are smart little chickens, too. They know exactly what is going on around them, and they are inquisitive little chickens. Very curious. It will be nice when they finally start laying, which should be in about another 2 or three months, just in time for the colder weather, at which time their egg laying production decreases. Perfect!

A busy day at the office, strategic planning, catching up from the long Holiday weekend, and just ordinary stuff to get done. This is the busy season for leasing and property management, and it will not quit until the end of August. So, make hay while the sun shines!

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that one of the calfs had been chosen by Patrick, and that he wanted to take the calf to 'camp' with him. His mom Tonya sent me a bunch of photos this afternoon, and this is a photo of Patrick working his new calf. I think he is going to show the calf in August, so he will be working her pretty well for the next couple months getting ready for the show.

When I went out to feed the chicks this afternoon, I decided to take this picture of the bees 'bearding' one of the hives. I am not sure why they do this, but I am pretty sure I could do an Internet search and discover the answer. Bees are interesting people, even though I am disappointed with the production of honey we will most likely get this year. There is always next year, though.

Tired this evening, so that will do it for today. Tomorrow will be a long day, and Thursday will be a fun day of instruction.

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