Thursday, September 30, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred eventy Three...

Another day, another egg; or two, or three...the jury is still out. BUT, for sure, the chickens started laying one week ago today, and we have gathered 13 eggs. I still think there are only three chickens (out of six) that are laying right now, but you never can tell. I need to put a web cam in the coop with them so I can see for sure what is going on out there in that coop.

Another busy day at the Board; a very good meeting from 9 until 2; good work being done for the future of the members. I am very pleased with what we are accomplishing. I made it to the office by (close to) 3 o'clock, and got some power real estate done. Can you believe this is the last day of September? Tomorrow is the beginning of another month, and the year has just flown by. I am really looking forward to the weekend.

Next week, I will be making visits to the Austin City Council members along with the Government Affairs committee at the Board. AND, it will be a busy week. The following week I will be in Seattle for the annual NARPM Convention. Always a lot of good information shared at those meetings.

Another piece of evidence that cool weather is here. The flowers are showing new vitality, and this rose is a particularly pretty one. Very nice.

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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Seventy Two...

I think the flora in the area may be just a little bit confused with the cooler weather we have been experiencing. Down on FM 972, there is a whole row of Bradford Pear Trees that are blooming as if it were spring. The crab-apple tree in our front yard has blooms on it. We do not have any Irises blooming that I am aware of, but the Cannas have a new vitality to them. This is one that is just off the front porch. I walked out on the porch this evening and Jody was out there with the dog. I told him I could not do my blog yet, because I had no current photos for the entry. He said I should try something new and not have any photos in today's entry; well, that was really nothing I could consider. I like having photos accompanying the entries! So, here are photos of a really pretty Canna and one of our dog 'Bear', whom I affectionately refer to as 'Bo-Bo'. He is a really good boy!

It was a long Directors meeting at the Board today, but a very productive one and a very good one. We all do a lot of hard work at those meetings, and there is a lot of thoughtful participation on the part of all the Directors. I am proud to be a member of such a good and diverse group of people. Tomorrow some of us will meet to continue the revisions of the Board policies. Being a Director is really a rewarding and enlightening experience and I am proud to be a part of it. It is an interesting business...

I made it to the office about 2:45 this afternoon, and I did some power-real-estate. It is the end of the month, and that is always a busy time. The beginning of the month is always busy as well, and the end and the beginning of the month should not be so close together. Those two events should be spaced out a little bit if you ask me!

I left the office shortly after 4 o'clock, and spent my drive time listening to my most recent book selection ('The Pillars of the Earth') and making and taking telephone calls. No texting today...

As I was driving down the road to the house, I could see the chickens outside the gate and in the bar ditch in front of the property. Every day those chickens get a little bit braver. CRAZY! Anyway, they are all well and happy, and we got two more eggs today. We got our first egg a week ago tomorrow, and so far we have 11 eggs. I hope to be able to show you a photo of our 'first dozen' tomorrow. I kind of thought I might retrieve three eggs today, but only two. Oh well, they are doing their best!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BO-BO, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Seventy One...

Today started nicely, and ended nicely, but the middles were sort of concerning. On my way to work this morning, traffic began to slow, and an ambulance passed on the right shoulder; then five or six motorcycle policemen passed on both shoulders, and then a couple fire trucks passed wherever they could pass. I could see the twinkling lights not too far up ahead, and eventually all the traffic was being squeezed into the right lane and the shoulder of the Interstate. It seems an 18-wheeler ran OVER a small red car, and pushed it into the car in front of it, and into the truck in front of that. I do not think anyone was badly hurt. It is very amazing how automobiles are engineered today, they are involved in wrecks that you would not think anyone could survive, and the passengers (many times) just walk away from it. I think that is the case of this wreck. In this photo, you cannot see the car underneath the big truck, you can see the car that was in front of it, but not the truck that was in front of that. But, what I believe to be all the passengers looked remarkably unhurt. Who knows.

Then I made it to the office to be greeted by the news of the Sophomore Mathematics major at the University of Texas-Austin who had an AK-47 and decided to take some target practice. I do not think anyone (except the shooter who it is believed committed suicide) was hurt. It seems the notification systems in place at UT worked well, and kept the rest of the students and staff informed and updated. What is the world coming to.

Then we had a meeting of the owners at the office where we work, to discuss parking problems. AND of course, nothing was worked out, and it will only lead to more meetings. We shall see how this all ends up.

Why is it that people in the United States have chosen not to be civil to one another? No one wants to be nice, we only want to be combative and it seems the belief if that the person who can yell and scream the loudest will always win. Who said the meek shall inherit the earth? Will there be anything left to inherit when all the crazies are finished with it?

BUT, now for something completely different. I got home (Jody always says that when he gets to Westinghouse Road heading North, he can breathe a sign of relief) and took several deep breaths and was very happy to be there. We love living in the country, and even though we are just minutes away from most necessities, it is nice to be here where there is no one around us. Very few cars go past our house, I expect we could count the daily traffic on both hands if we wanted to, and there is NO NOISE out here. An occasional coyote cry, a cow bellowing or something like that, but nothing like the sensory overload in the city. But I digress...

I got home and piled up in my big blue chair, and took a quick nap during the national news. I got up and put on a pair of socks and got ready to feed the chickens. When I walked out the front door, all six of them were there in the canna beds to the left of the porch waiting for me, and I went out just a little ways from the porch and sat on one of the benches, and several of them decided to get up in my lap and peck for food. They like to be petted and rubbed, and they especially like their necks rubbed, and they also like their 'waddles' to be played with. Who can blame them, I think if I were a chicken, I would most likely be fond of having my 'waddle' rubbed as well. The mind boggles! But I digress...

I 'pied-pipered' them to their enclosed area, and fed them. I went into the coop to check the egg production, and found only one egg, BUT it was in a different nesting box than the other eggs we have been collecting. SO, I think one of the other four chickens may have started laying, only time will tell. Last night when I went to put them up for the night, there was another egg in the nest, which makes two eggs each day for the last three days. They are not expected to each lay an egg every day...the girls need a rest every now and then, but I would not be surprised to be getting three or four eggs per day when they all start laying. We shall see...

Deeds, Actions, Changes, PEACE AND QUIET, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, September 27, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Seventy...

Take my advice, eat the chimichanga for lunch, not for dinner. Although it was good (I even thought it was kind of bland) last night at dinner, I had a very bad case of heartburn (acid reflux) and that is not something I am used to. Name a malady, and I may have experienced it, but I have never had an issue with heartburn. Well, I have now! And it was not fun. It would most likely have been lessened if I had propped myself up or gone to sleep in my big blue chair, but I was too comfortable (okay, except for the heartburn part) to get up and change. I hope to catch up on the sleep I missed tonight.

I left for the office early, I needed to get into the office and then head for an early meeting at the Board. I finished my book on CD ('The Girl Who Played with Fire') and enjoyed it very much. I look forward to the other two I have ordered in that series. I began 'The Pillars of the Earth' by Ken Follett which is 32 CD's. I hope to finish that in a couple weeks. 32 CD's is kind of overwhelming to think about, but the book has been highly recommended, and I look forward to it. Have not yet finished the first CD, and it is pretty interesting, for a book about architecture that starts in 1120 AD.

When I got home, I went back to look at the cattle, to make sure they were all there and accounted for. I stopped at Tractor Supply on the way home and got some 'fence stays'; they are little twisty wires that go between the barbed wires to make them more stable and less pliable for little bull calfs that are stubborn and hard-headed and think the grass is greener on the other side. I continue to wonder if I am truly smarter than the cattle, or if they are just humoring me from day to day. Not really sure. This is a photo of Mr. Speckles and one of his girlfriends.

The chickens are doing well, got one egg today so far, but there may be another later. They are really fin, and they like the attention they get, and they like to be petted. One of them likes to be carried around. Interesting.

Tomorrow will be a day of meetings in the office; strategic planning and then meeting with the condo owners where our office is. Parking issues, what could be more fun than that?

Deeds, Actions, Changes, FENCE STAYS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Sixty Nine...

Here is yet another argument for castration (and the list keeps growing). Our newly discovered bull (headed) calf, yes the one I mistakenly thought was a heifer calf, continues to break through the barbed wire fencing. Today, he was outside the pastures into the front of the property. I got him back into the fenced pastures, and closed one of the gates so he could not escape the fences (I think) but I could not get him back into the pasture with the other cattle and his mama. No big deal, I will deal with it later (I thought), and off Jody and I went to do some adventuring in Georgetown.

We got home, and I decided I would go out and give the chickens some fresh water and then go back and try to corral the calf again. When I got back to the pastures, I discovered that his mama had jumped the gate (not an easy task) and practically destroyed the gate (again, not an easy task) while doing it. It took some doing, but I was finally able to get both mother and child back with the other cattle. Once that was accomplished, I set about securing sections of the barbed wire that I believe are the calf's escape routes. We shall see. I also got a 2 x 4 to use as a lever to straighted up the fence. It took a good bit of doing, but except for a couple dings, the gate looks pretty good.

Then Jody and I took a fresh bale of hay out to the cattle, and I hope all will be quiet for at least a couple of days. I am tired of cattle right now, but this too shall pass.

I am not tired of chickens, however. Got another egg today, and I really expect to get one more today, but you can never tell. That makes five so far, and as soon as we have a dozen, I will post a photo of them. We are still eating on store-bought eggs, so I will let you know as soon as we try the fresh eggs. This is a picture of Vera, named because she gives me that 'Well STARE' look when I am checking on them. She is one of the blond sex-links, and her waddle is bigger than her sisters, but I really not not named them all yet. Vera is good, I need a name for the other layer, and then I will study on the rest of their names.

I am off in a bit to get a hair cut, and then Jody and I are going to have dinner at El Patron in Georgetown. I will finish this entry when we return.

Back from hair cut and dinner. I got my hair cut a little bit shorter than usual, just in time for the cooler weather. I am right on top of it all! Anyway, I tried to describe that I wanted it more layered, not all the same length, and I think it looks pretty good for hair!

Jody had spinach enchiladas for dinner, and I ordered chicken chile relleno. That is what I ordered, but I got a chicken chimichanga, or something like that. Anyway, it was good, and Jody and I are both stuffed to the limit. We are opting out of the apple pie for dessert, but we will still have a little something to get us through until morning.

I went out to feed the chickens, and found another egg, so that makes two today; six eggs in four days, and that is only with two of the six chickens laying. This is all getting really interesting and fun. I think once they all start laying, they will cut back some when it starts getting cooler.

Which is now! It is down to about 70 degrees right now. We have turned off the air conditioner and opened three windows in the house. It will be very nice to have the windows open, and I hope we can do that for at least a couple weeks before it gets too cold for it. We have our wood burning stove installed, and next week I am getting a couple cords of firewood delivered, so it should be all comfy and cozy without spending a lot of energy. We shall see.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, CRAZY CATTLE, Kindnesses, WHirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Sixty Eight...

Well, today has been a different kind of day. I got up about 6 and messed around, doing my routine (habitual) things; making coffee, checking the meters, opening the coop door for the chickens, reading the paper, just the normal (normal?) things I do. Jody let the dog out in his run, and after a while, he was barking and would not quit. I went and let him in, and did not pay any attention to why he was barking; usually he just likes to hear himself bark. He came in and went and laid down in the breakfast room, waiting for handouts. I went and sat down in front of the computer in the office, and was doing a little bit of work. The next thing I new, I looked out in the yard and there was a rush of cattle in the front yard, heading for the front gate to the road. I went outside to survey the situation, and all the cattle were out of their pastures, and two of them were heading for Taylor! Jody remembered we have a front gate (we have NEVER used that gate) and I closed it which kept the other cattle inside the confines of the property.

I called our neighbors Hubert and Pauline and they came to help. By then, I was coaxing the two escapees back towards our place. They (Orchid and Minnie Moonbeam) had made it about a half-mile down the road into a freshly plowed field. They would not come back with just the enticement of the cattle cubes, so I had to traipse out into the muddy field and let them get a good sniff of the cubes, and they decided they might just as well go home. We got them back on the property and into the yard, so at least all the cattle were on our land once again. It took us all about another 20 minutes to get them back in the confines of one of the pastures, Mr. Speckles being the most ornery of them all, but it all ended up okay, and all the cattle were accounted for. This is a photo that was taken after they were all back and in the pasture they escaped from. Do they all look like they just got back from a road trip? They seem to have smug expressions on their faces, if you ask me! We have been having some work done at the property, and all we can figure is that one of the crucial gates was left open, and it took them a while to figure out they could escape if they took the right turns through the series of gates. Whatever! All is well, but I definitely got some exercise. AND, I guess I should pay more attention to what the dog is barking at next time.

We got two eggs today, and we know for sure that each of the blond sex-link chickens are the ones that are laying. So, that is more eggs than we had been expecting so far, and if the other four start laying, we will be 'in the eggs', and let the giant egg farmers be damned! I was very curious to see if we could figure out which of the chickens were laying, and I kept walking in on them while they were nesting. It reminds me of Jaston Williams in Greater Tuna...JUST STARE! What does a chicken have to do around here to get a little privacy?

Jody and I went into Georgetown for a spoiler at the Dairy Queen, then to Home Depot where I bought an edger and a few other items. We also stopped by HEB and got Hubert and Pauline an apple pie and some ice cream. They are always willing to come by and help when I do something stupid, and we are always grateful for them. When we got home, we both went down for naps, and while we were napping, we got about a quarter-inch of rain. Pretty good!

I wonder what will happen tomorrow?

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

Friday, September 24, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Sixty Seven...

Another day, another egg! Got home from work, fell asleep in my big blue chair watching the news with Jody, and when I regained consciousness, we both went outside to feed the chickens and check on the egg production. We walked out the front door and were greeted by a herd of chickens. We walked to the coop and were (somewhat) followed by the chickens. Jody held the food for me, and I went back to pick up the lone hold-out, one of the browns that likes to be carried around. ANYWAY, the chickens were pretty much ready to go into their pen, and that was gratifying. Once we secured them in the pen, we walked into the coop to check if there were any other eggs (I was not really expecting any more today) and there was one egg, in the same nesting box as the one yesterday. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts. I really think it is just one chicken laying right now, and we have six, so production should increase at least until cold weather sets in.

It was a pretty nice day at work today. It is really dark when I leave for the office, and it does not really get light until about 7:45. Traffic was not too bad this morning, and it is really not a big concern since I am enjoying the book I am listening to; 'The Girl Who Played with Fire' by Steig Larsson. I have 3-and-a-half more CD's to go on this book, and next up is 'The Pillars of the Earth' by Ken Follett. 32 CD's. OMG! What was I thinking? Whatever...

More clouds today, and Jody said it rained here a little bit. We have about .15 of an inch in the gauge. Very nice, not too much, just right. The pastures are all wonderfully green, and we should do well for the rest of this year. Now we can set our sights on next year, and hope we do as well. I showed some property (five houses) to a client this morning, and he was paying attention to the clouds as well. It is interesting to find other folks that find beauty in everyday things; I understand that clouds like we have been seeing are not 'everyday' but, on the other hand, it is also interesting to find someone who finds them interesting enough to look up.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, MORE CLOUDS & EGGS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Sixty Six...

NEWS FLASH - This just in from the chicken coop...right on schedule we got our first egg from these girls. They turned (about) five months old on Tuesday, and that is the age that they are supposed to start laying. Well, one of them did...the others must be laggards. It is hard to imagine that this egg came from some hole in one of those chickens. That must be some hole, that is all I can say. That is all I can say, because I have certainly not seen where that comes from on a chicken, not even a chart in a National Geographic! And goodness knows, I have seen plenty of charts in the National Geographic! (Insert joke about goodness having nothing to do with it here.)

I was in San Antonio today for a NARPM class. Lots of fun. My friend Leola met me at my office around 7 o'clock, and we drove down there together. Good and interesting class, and there was a lot of sharing of really good ideas. After the class, we had lunch, and stayed for the San Antonio Chapter meeting. Interestingly, the meeting was held in a place called 'The Aggie Hall' and they had a brick sidewalk, you know, the kind that you can buy a brick and have your name put on it... Well, I need to know what class this Aggie was from. I have heard the name, but I really can't place the face!

Made it back to Austin about 2:30, and got some stuff done in the office. Left the office just before 4, and got home before 5. Michael had come by to shred the pastures that he had put weed killer on earlier in the year. I went back there to talk with him for a while, and while I was back there, I noticed one of the calves was on the wrong side of the fence. So, Michael and I got the calf back with the other cattle, and I made a startling discovery. She is a He. Hmmmm. I need to become a little bit more observant!

Tomorrow is a pretty quiet day at the office, so far. I have an appointment to show a client some homes to purchase, and that will be a couple hours. Otherwise, just kind of winding down towards the weekend.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, HE vs SHE COWS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Sixty Five...

Hump day! Tomorrow I will be heading out to San Antonio for a class, so I want to get to be even earlier than normal (for us). I hope to leave the house before 6 o'clock in the morning, be at the office a little bit before 7, and head out to San Antonio just a little bit after 7. It should only take about an hour and fifteen minutes to get to San Antonio, but I would rather have time on my side. You never know what might happen with traffic.

Not a bad day today, I was actually able to get a lot of work done, and even got some things on my desk (and in-box and cubby holes) sorted and filed away. That was a pretty darn good accomplishment.

I had a luncheon meeting at the Board this afternoon (Professional Development and Education) and I left the office a little bit early to go buy some new shirts. I went to two different Stein Marts, and finally found what I was looking for at the second one. $20 each for nice shirts, even cheaper than I can buy at Second Looks. I think that is a pretty darn good deal. The lunch sponsor today was Greg P who is a tireless worker for the Pancreatic Cancer foundation. Greg's mom died with that, and he catered the luncheon today (he is a wonderful chef) and asked for voluntary donations for lunch that would be passed on to the Pancreatic Cancer group. It was a great luncheon, and great meeting, and contributions were made to a very worthwhile cause. This is a photo taken after the meeting had started, and that is Greg P at the podium.

More clouds, more beauty, not so much rain. Austin seems to be getting all of the rain these days, but that is okay. We had a brief shower this afternoon according to Jody, and our fields are looking wonderful. I have no doubt that we will get another cutting of hay before the season is over, that will make three cuttings this year, so that will be terrific. While we were sitting at the table having dinner, we could see rain off in the distance, maybe six or seven miles, it is really hard to tell. But the clouds are worth noting, anyway.

When I got home this afternoon, the chickens were up on the front porch of the house. They are getting really brave, and I hope that does not lead to their demise! The porch of the house is at least 50 yards from the coop, and a good bit of that is open grass, no trees to protect them from predators. So, I just hope they know what they are doing. They are pretty good sized, and I am not sure if a hawk could grab them up, but I think they could sure try. We shall see.

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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Sixty Four...

I am sure there will come a time in my life when I think this is just totally expected, but I still remain just a little bit startled when I look up from whatever it is I am doing while driving, and see the front end of a vehicle when I am supposed to be seeing the back end of a vehicle. It does get your attention. I was minding my own business on the afternoon drive home, and out of nowhere, there is this big blue truck bearing down on me. After that, I paid attention for another few miles before I settled back in to not really paying that much attention, and getting home without really thinking. I know we all do it, but I can go for miles and then realize I do not remember stopping for stop signs or traffic signals. I think we are all just kind of programmed to go on 'auto-steer' after a certain amount of time. Outline and discuss, and I will revisit the topic at another time.

Mostly in the office today, I did go out to the NARPM luncheon, and that was nice. Lots of good information to be shared by the membership.

Back in the office, my friend Chris came by to visit, and we had a nice talk. He had never been to the office before, and we all hope he will come back again soon.

More clouds on the horizon, but the prognosticators are not as generous this evening as they were yesterday. By this time yesterday, we had received a quarter-inch of rain, and I do not think we will get anything today. And the chances of rain for the rest of the week are diminishing. HOWEVER, there is another storm brewing and it may head for the Gulf, so there is always more chances of rain in the next week or so. The fields are looking really good, and the possibilities of another cutting of hay this year look excellent. The grasses all look very nice. In this photo, the middle set of trees on the horizon is where we live. We are pretty much surrounded by fields and cattle. Not too many goats in the immediate area, but there are some around.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, SEMI-TRUCKS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Sixty Three...

I don't mind a bit stopping for school buses on my morning drive to the office. I kind of feel sorry for these kids that have to be getting on a bus at 6:30 in the morning, especially as dark as it is lately. Sometimes on the way home from work, I will see the buses letting kids off, and that means they have been gone from their homes for over eleven hours. That is crazy. I sometimes work that long, but it is not a Monday through Friday thing for me. BUT, in the dark, the flashing red lights make for interesting photos. Almost like my 'photos in the rain' but sans the rain!

Today was a day that was spent entirely at the Board of REALTORS. It was a day full of Spokesperson training. This is the second training class I have had for this purpose; the first was last year for the Texas REALTOR Leadership Program. Very good class held by representatives of the Texas Board of REALTORS. There were fourteen of us in the class, all members of the Austin Board, and all members of the Government Affairs and/or TREPAC (Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee). We all had interviews videoed and/or recorded and critiqued. We all did Impromptu and then Extemporaneous video presentations on a variety of subjects. Some of us then did radio style interviews or Press Conference type deliveries. Overall, it was a lot of fun, and it was a very good learning experience.

On my way home it rained on me a little bit, and the clouds were absolutely lovely. I took several photos of the clouds. Once I got home, I decided it was a good time to go out and clean the chicken coop. I don't know if I mentioned this to you before, but I recently spotted a red-tailed hawk scoping out the chickens while they were running around loose in the yard. They have become a little more brave, and they have started venturing into the more open areas, where there is no protection of the high tree canopy. I expect we may end up losing a chicken or two, but that is how it is in the country. I hope not, but there is always that possibility.

As long as I was out, I also went back to fill the cattle's water trough with water. I have not been keeping the water on in the trough, since the tank where they are it full of water from the recent rains. But, just as a treat, I fill the troughs so they can have some city water. They are a little spoiled!

Tomorrow will be kind of a quiet day. I have a luncheon and that is pretty much all I have actually scheduled. I am certain my schedule will find a way to fill itself without too much trouble. Wednesday, I have an afternoon meeting, Thursday I will be in San Antonio and Friday I am open all day. I wonder what will happen?

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

Sunday, September 19, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Sixty Two...

I got up this morning, and did some research for my listing appointments today, and Jody made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I left the house about 9:30 to go to my appointment, and it was a good appointment. The lady I met with is trying to get the estate of her father settled, one piece of property is a house with one acre of land, and there is another parcel that is close to 120 acres. Both of the properties are nice, and it will be interesting to work with her and her sister if everything works out alright.

After I got home, Jody and I went on our excursion. We first went to Georgetown where we had a spoiler (we missed last weekend because I was out of town), and then we set off to gather up signs and lock boxes from properties that have recently leased. We got back to the house about 4 o'clock, and I decided to go out and cut the grass in the dog run.

As long as I was out there, I decided to 'cut at' the grass in the front yard as well. It looks better than it did anyway. AND, we have a pomegranate on one of the bushes in the front as well. While we were out there looking at the pomegranate, the chickens decided they needed to come and see what we were up to, so they were on the wrong side of the fence for their liking, but they got some petting anyway through the fence. This photo is four of the six chickens we have; the two reds are always somewhere behind.

Tomorrow starts another week. It looks like it will be pretty busy, as most of them are. I think I am going to San Antonio on Thursday to take a class. Have not made my mind up 100% yet, but it is looking like I will make the trip.

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

Saturday, September 18, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Sixty One...

This is the other photo I took yesterday, and told you I would post today. I reported this to be a Lab Lab bean or a Hyacinth Bean plant, but I am not so sure about that anymore. I think the leaves of the plant look like a Hyacinth bean plant, but I am not sure about the bloom. It may well be just a native petunia or something like that, I am not sure. If you have any idea, let me know. Whatever it is, there are lots of them around the area this year.

This was a pretty nice day. I got up and read the paper and did my chores, and went into Austin to teach a TREC Ethics class at the Board. The class fees that the attendees paid all went to benefit TREPAC, so that was a good thing. The folks (four plus one no-show for a total of five paying souls) who attended the class said they really appreciated the Saturday class, and that they would even come to earlier classes if they were scheduled. Last month and this month are the first times we have ever tried classes outside normal Monday through Friday business hours. I think we should keep doing it at least ONCE PER MONTH for a minimum of TWELVE MONTHS so people will know there are weekend classes. I think it could be a great thing to do for the Board members and for TREPAC. I do not think you can judge the success of any new program until you give it a fair chance. Thank you. I will now step down from my soap box.

After the class, I had two appointments in my office, and then I headed home. I got home about 4:30, and sat down to read the new issue of Texas Monthly, and promptly fell asleep. I have two appointments tomorrow, so I got up and tried to get a little more prepared for those appointments, and then I went in to watch a little bit of news with Jody. After I saw about as much of the news as I could take, I went outside and fed the chickens. They really do like their big girl food (organic laying mash) but they also like me coming out there with scraps from the kitchen; usually cole slaw mix, too ripe tomatoes, figs and bread cubes. Even the chickens are spoiled out here.

After my appointments tomorrow, Jody and I are going on a tour of properties; I need to take signs and lock boxes off five properties that have recently leased. Weekends are the perfect time to do stuff like that. We will go from Round Rock to Manor to Central Austin and points in between. FUN!

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

Friday, September 17, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Sixty...

It was a very nice day of accomplishments at the office today. That is always nice. I did have a couple 'panicky' moments, but overall, everything went very well.

I showed some property this morning, and one of the houses I showed had a couple nice blooming plants. This Mallo was very pretty, and I took another photo of (what I think is) a hyacinth vine, also know as a lab lab bean plant. I will share that photo with you tomorrow.

I left the office just a little bit after 4 o'clock, and traffic was not really terrible; it was actually a pretty calm ride home. Along the way, I did actually get rained on a little bit, and the clouds were very interesting. I really like looking at the clouds. I don't see cocker spaniels or water Lillie recreations in them, but I do enjoy their beauty. I got home about 5:15 and I was actually surprised about that when I looked at the clock. I got to watch some of the news, before I went out to feed the chickens and give them some fresh water. I also gave them some of their big girl food this afternoon. I estimate they will be five months old next week, and they should start laying any time now. SO, I have started them on an organic 'laying' mash, which should help the process along.

Once we sat down to eat, the phone would not quit ringing, but it was people that I needed to speak with, so I had to take the calls. Finally, I sat down to eat, and it started raining pretty good here. We have about 35/100 of an inch in the gauge so far, and that is great. Nice little occasional rains are good for us.

This (so far) has been a really GREAT hurricane season...this makes twice this month that a hurricane has gone ashore in Mexico but has brought us nice rain. Not as much this time as last time, but the storm has just hit, so we can still wait and see. This photo is from the breakfast room, looking out onto the covered patio, to the pool and back to the pastures. Everything is lovely and green, so I hope we will still get another cutting of hay this year. That would be just swell, Andy!

Teaching a Saturday class at the Board tomorrow. Gotta go!

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

Thursday, September 16, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Fifty Nine...

Thursday. One more day until Friday (or in my case Saturday) and then one day off (I hope) and then we start all over again. It is really not as bad as it sounds. I am just a little tired, and probably could eat better and get a little bit more (okay, change that to any) exercise. It is really not as bad as this sounds.

I slept later this morning than usual, and still made it into the office before (but not by much) 8 o'clock. Being Thursday, it was our Property Management meeting, and everything there went pretty well. Some properties have more issues than others, and some Landlords have more issues than others, and many Landlords have time on their hands and know more than we do, so that makes it interesting. Whatever...

Today was my Meals-On-Wheels day, and I had five clients on my route, and one of them was not home, so I found someone on the streets to give that meal to. The folks that I give the meals to from the street are really appreciative for the food, and it is something they need. My favorite client has a new care giver, and when I got there, she had locked herself out of the house. Not really sure how that happened, she said she just went out of the house and the door closed itself behind her. The client could not get the door unlocked, but finally after about ten minutes, shouting instructions to her from outside, we got the door unlocked. I told her if the care giver was being mean to her, just to tell her to go home, she did not have to lock her out of the house!

I went to a THANK YOU function after I left the office this afternoon, hosted by Pam and Susan, the respective chairs of Government Affairs and TREPAC (if you need the definition of that, jut let me know) at the Austin Board. Very nice, I had some boiled shrimp, some cheese, some grapes and I had to leave. I stayed for about an hour, but I needed to get home.

Traffic was not too terrible, and I got home reasonably well with no major challenges. All over Austin today I noticed the sages are blooming again. Usually that means that we will get rain. The sages at the front of our driveway are blooming as well, so that will be good if we get a little bit of rain. The ten inches of rain we got last week did not cause flooding here like the 13 inches of rain we got last fall, I am very happy about that. I had no trouble taking the tractor into the pastures yesterday so I could take a fresh bale of hay to the cattle, so I am very happy about that.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BOILED SWIMPS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Fifty Eight...

A nice day of accomplishments at the office. I was able to get lots of things off my to-do list. I had not been in the office since last Thursday, and I am now pretty much caught up. That is something that can only be achieved because we have two of the best assistants in the world working with us, Tom and Karla. They are without a doubt the best! We are lucky to have them with us.

I had my MasterMind meeting this morning. We are just beginning our group, but I am really happy to be affiliated with them. Today was our second meeting, we meet every two months, and it is a good group. Today we discussed market trends, marketing, charitable endeavors and legal updates. A great group, and we all work really well together.

Afterwards, I made it back to the office, and was able to get my desk pretty well cleaned off before I left. Suddenly, there are good applications coming in for our managed properties, so I think we will be able to clear many vacancies before the end of the month.

I left the office about 4:15 and made it home with plenty of time to feed the cattle. I could have been finished feeding the cattle a lot earlier, but my phone would not stop ringing. It is amazing how much work you can do in a pasture! All the cattle are doing well, but the recent rains have really regenerated the flies. The cattle are ALL covered with flies, and it is very irritating to them all. I need to try and find something I can spray on them, to alleviate that issue. This is a picture of a 'herd of calves' for your looking enjoyment!

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Fifty Seven...

I'm Home!

I got up early this morning and packed up most of my stuff and put it in the car, so I could make a fast getaway from the Convention and get back home. Usually as my time away from home drags on, I begin to conjure up ways to leave early. I like being at home more than I like being somewhere else. SO...I went to my first class which was a Roundtable for Brokers, Managers, etc., and I decided it was not what I expected it was going to be, so I changed my mind and went to another class calls 'The Art of Effective Communication', which turned out to be a very enjoyable class. It was (again) mostly about interpreting peoples body language, and much of the information was in direct conflict with the class I had taken two days ago. Whatever! BUT, I did win this really cool ink pen...a boxing frog that lights up when you write with it. Definitely worth the cost of admission, and I think I will take it to my next closing!

So, after that class, I went back to the Hotel and checked out, went to my room and checked e-mails one last time, made a few phone calls, put my bags in the car, and went back to the Convention Center for the Education Luncheon, hosted by the Lone Star CRS Chapter.

After the luncheon, I decided to forfeit the next class and come on home. If I had stayed for the class, I would have left Galveston at about 3:15 and that would have put me in Houston traffic right at a time that I would prefer NOT to be in Houston traffic. SO, everything worked out for the best, I am home and happy. I have only been to Galveston once before this visit, but this time I saw a totally different part of the Island, and I would not be opposed to going back. When Jody and I were there before, neither of us had any interest in returning. I was driving past this cemetery on the way out of town, and thought it was worth a photo.

It will be a busy week (what is left of it) and I will be cramming lots of work into the next several days.

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

Monday, September 13, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Fifty Six...

Long day, short entry!TAR Convention in Galveston continues. The day started this morning at 9 o'clock with a guest speaker (Rick Rigsby) who spoke about The Essence of Greatness.Excellent! At 10:30 the Trade Expo began and that is always an interesting time. How many ink pens do you think I need for the next year? A quick box lunch, and then a class for graduates of the Texas REALTOR Leadership Program. That class was conducted by Randy G Pennington and dealt with Integrity Driven leadership. Another EXCELLENT class. My thanks to Deb with the Texas Association of REALTORS education department for putting this together for all of us. It was great!

This is a photo of me with one of the trade show mascots. Just a quick pic with a Bison. Who knew?

Tomorrow is another early day. A three hour class beginning at 8 o'clock (Round table for Brokers, Managers, Assistants and Team Leaders), an education luncheon with guest speaker Pat Zaby, and then a two hour class beginning at 1 o'clock (Keeping it Fair - What Every Property Manager Should Know About Fair Housing). And then, I am out of here and heading home. I hope to be on the road by 3:30.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, FAKE BISON, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Fifty Five...

Another great day in Galveston at the Texas Association of REALTORS convention. But first...

Not that I am complaining or anything, simple making statements of fact!

Everything started out wonderfully this morning. I attended the Inspiration Breakfast at 7 o'clock, and afterwards, there was a great meeting with representatives from Region 15. Good information. After that there was a great class called 'Strictly Business Body Language'. I think you should do an Internet search for the Instructor, Jan Hargrave. Very interesting, and a very quick two hours. Learned lots of stuff about how to tell if people are being 'less than forthcoming' (which is code for how to tell if people are lying to you). Ms Hargrave is an expert witness on reading body language, and one of her specialties is interpreting body language of persons on television, to tell is they are trying to deceive with their answers. Really a great class. Not what I expected the class to be, but sometimes the most interesting stuff is taken from things I was not expecting.

After that I went back to the Hotel and took a nice little nap for about an hour. I had a 2:30 meeting, and I was conscious in time for lunch, which I could not have served in the Hotel...not that I did not try, I just could not get waited on, even though I was sitting in the middle of the room. They seemed eager to serve other tables that arrived after I was seated, but I was just not on their radar.

The same thing happened to me at the Kroger store next door. Everyone was too busy gossipping and doing other stuff to notice that I was trying to pay for a pimento cheese sandwich, a 20 ounce coke and a piece of Key Lime Pie. Eventually, I coerced someone to take my money, and sat and ate. Here is a shot of part of the Key Lime Pie. Not really worth all the trouble. Whatever...

The 2:30 Board of Directors meeting was very informative, and at 5:30 a group of us retired to the Hotel for a glass of wine before dinner.

Dinner was really a very nice function, and a lot of fun was had by all. There were lots of photo opportunities, and lots of giggles and really good laughs and great times. This is a photo of me and my friend and colleague Cathy.

There are lots of other photos, but too many to share as a part of this post, however, I will share one more with you. This is a photo of Susan and John, two people I have come to know pretty well over the past year. I look forward to working with them both for many years to come.

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

Saturday, September 11, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Fifty Four...

Life goes on...another very good day at the TAR Convention, and more reasons to be dissatisfied with the Hotel. Here is the deal, however...this is the ninth anniversary of 9/11, and I have taken a few minutes to watch the coverage from 2001 and I have to tell you, I am a very lucky man, and there is no reason for me to be particularly unhappy with ANYTHING in my life. We live in a very interesting time, and I need to remember (as we all do) just how lucky we are. I have many blessings in my life (Jody, my friends, colleagues...EVERYTHING). I am going to take a vow, but I am not sure how long I can keep it.


I had a great day today at the TAR Convention in Galveston. The day began at about 7 o'clock in the morning, which is actually pretty darn late for me. My first meeting was at 9, and I got downstairs for breakfast about 8 o'clock. I met Warren (who cares) for breakfast, and that was very nice! Thanks for joining me, Warren.

The first meeting was an MLS Forum, then a PAC Orientation Committee Meeting, then a PAC Education Committee Meeting, then a Professional Development Forum and finally a Governmental Affairs Forum. Needless to say, I kept busy.

Here is a photo of Deb and Pat at the Professional Development Forum. Very nice to hear from these two, as well as the others at the Forum.

And this is a photo of me and the TREC Administrator Doug Oldmixon, who spoke at the Education Forum as well as the Governmental Affairs Forum.

A good time was had by all!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, NO WHINING - NO COMPLAINING, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, September 10, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Fifty Three...

Well, here I am in Galveston, and I know you might find this hard to believe, but there are some things happening in this Hotel that perhaps I am being hyper-critical about. Let's see; first is the world's slowest Internet connection, for which I am paying $10 per day. Second, the desk chair is broken, so I am balancing this laptop on my generous stomach as I type this. Third, the soda machine will not accept dollar bills, so I have nothing to drink. Fourth, the television does not have the Home & Garden channel. What am I supposed to do if I cannot watch HGTV? I am sure I will think of others before I publish this post. Whatever...this is the view of the Gulf from my room. Pretty Sweet!

As I was leaving the house this morning on my way to Galveston, I noticed these blood lillies, also known as rain lillies. Very nice! I just wanted to share those with you.

I got to Galveston about 11:45, checked into the Hotel, and made it to my first meeting at 1 o'clock. In between meetings, I met some friends and had a glass of wine, and had lots of laughs. Before it over, I had attended four different meetings, and left to go back to the Hotel at about 6:45. I walked two doors down and had dinner with more friends, and it was a very nice evening meeting with trusted colleagues who I am very fortunate to also consider friends. I am a lucky, lucky person! This is as photo of Susan and Warren.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, so this is it for now.

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

Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Fifty Two...

I don't know about you, but I think if I were a chicken, this might look pretty darned tasty. What could be better than Cole slaw mix and fresh figs? Yes, we are still getting a few figs off the tree now and then, and the chickens really like them. Whatever it takes to bribe them back into their pen after an afternoon of gallivanting around the front of the property up by the road.

Today was a good day, got lots of office work done, and I only had three clients on my Meals-On-Wheels route. But, there is nothing that needs to be taken care of so I am free to head out for Galveston tomorrow for the Texas Association of REALTORS Conference/Convention in Galveston. I am really looking forward to it. It will be a great learning experience, and it is always a happy time!

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

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Fifty One...

Okay, well it has been a long night, and an equally long day. It REALLY rained last night, and then it rained a little more, and then it rained even more. When I left the house this morning, it was still dark and we had received over seven inches of rain in the last twenty four hours. And that was really nothing compared to the rainfall amounts other places (not that far from us) had received. There have been reports of 13 to 18 inches of rain in the past 24 hours. CRAZY. Oh, and did I mention that it was windy too? I am glad that I went out to the front of the house and went down the driveway before I headed off to work, so I was aware of the tree that fell over from the land adjacent to ours. It took me a while to move it enough to get out of the driveway, and I need to saw it up later this evening.

I was scheduled to take a tour of City Hall this morning, so I was to meet at the Board at 8 o'clock. Of course, since it was still raining, I left early and made EXCELLENT time. I got there at 7. After that tour, I was off to a couple meetings at the Texas Association of REALTORS, and I finally made it back to the office about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. ANYWAY...the tour of City Hall was pretty interesting, and since I had never been there, it was great. The new City Hall opened in 2004, and the tour provided lots of information about how the building was designed, etc. There is lots of art throughout the building, and the art rotates every twelve months. My friend Pam was particularly fond of this little 'piggy' sculpture! PERFECT!

I will add more to this post when I get home later...

Okay, I am better now. Getting home was pretty much of a breeze, although it rained on-and-off all the way. Once I got home, I cut the biggest limbs off the fallen HALF of the tree that was blocking the drive, so at least now we can go out the driveway without going across the grass. Those Hackberry trees are really brittle, so the sawing part was not as much trouble as I was expecting. When I was trying to do it this morning in the dark and the rain, it seemed like a much greater chore!

After that, Jody and I got in the Mule and drove back to check on the cattle. They are pretty much ankle-deep in mud, and the tank if FULL. All three of the tanks are full, so that is a good thing. Yesterday, this tank was BONE DRY! Not a drop of water in it, and now it is spilling over. Incredible. This is a picture of the big tank in the front west pasture. We are not pushing 9 inches of rain since yesterday, and it is still raining off-and-on. Supposed to get more rain tonight, but I do not think it will be as windy as it was last night.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, TROPICAL STORMS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

2010 - Day Two Hundred Fifty...

Okay, I am not going to do it...I WILL NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE RAIN. Go ahead, give it your best shot. There is no way I will complain about this wonderful precipitation that is falling from the sky. WE NEED THE RAIN! I will, however, relate several interesting (okay not so interesting maybe) stories about the unexpected consequences many of my fellow Austinites and I have suffered because WE CAN'T DRIVE IN THE RAIN!

Okay, first, there was my commute into Austin this morning. TWO HOURS! Two hours to traverse an otherwise 45 to 60 minute commute. The good part was, there was really very little stopping...just lots of slowness. SLOW, SLOW, SLOW. But it did give me an opportunity to take another of my famous wet-windshield photos. I love these things, it really makes me feel creative and artistic. Or just monotonous, you be the judge...

Okay, here is one you don't see or hear about that often. The basic quote I heard much of the morning was 'there is a house in the middle of MoPac'. For those of you who are not 'from here' MoPac stands for Missouri-Pacific, because the railroad track runs down the middle of this road, otherwise known as Loop 1 (not to be confused with Loop 360, which is further west by about 4 or 5 miles. ANYWAY, I could not really grasp what folks were trying to tell me about a 'house in the middle of MoPac' but it seems there was a 'house in the middle of MoPac', which pretty succinctly explained why traffic was total chaos all over the rest of the city. It seems this 'house' slid off its' trailer a couple times about 4:30 this morning, and it was kind of touch and go after that. Unfortunately, most people just wanted it to 'touch and went', but that did not happen. Whatever...

Okay, I am going to get this out of the way real quickly. If I am driving up (or down) the Interstate and it is raining (and if it was today and the wind gusts were coming at about 40 miles per hour) you will recognize me as the 'OLD GRANNY' driving down (or up) the road. C'MON GRAMMA, GET A MOVE ON! Yep, that will be me in the outside lane, just trying to keep it between the ditches, and making new marks in the steering wheel where I have a death grip on the stupid thing. Okay, so I do not do that well at high speeds with less than optimum visibility, with larger vehicles with more tires than me passing me and blinding me with their road-wash. SUE ME! But at least I got here, and it only took me a little over an hour.

It was raining so hard on the drive home, that I went to the creek not far from our house to see how high the water was...and it wasn't. Could not even tell we had any rain except the road was wet. So far, we have had about an inch-and-a-half in the last 24 hours, but there has been lots more than that in Austin. And I still expect we will get some more rain tonight.

The chickens have been fed, all is pretty much done for the night. I will go out later and put them to bed, and that will be it. A busy day tomorrow, having meetings at City Hall, and then a couple meetings at the Texas Association of REALTORS. Leaving for Galveston on Friday! Woo-Hoo!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, MANIACAL EIGHTEEN WHEELERS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!