Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Thirty Four...

Alright (I am still on the alright schtick instead of okay), today is kind of a big deal to me...a momentous occasion...kind of like saying that I am a legend in my own time...but whatever. Today marks the 700th entry I have made to this on-line journal, nee blog. Seven Hundred Days of entries without missing a single day. There was really only one day that I ALMOST (but that only counts in horse shoes) forgot to make my entry, but I didn't, so there! I am baffled that I have kept this thing going, and I am even more baffled of the people who say things to me that they could only know because of these entries. It has been fun, and it will be interesting to see how long I can keep it going. You never can tell, it may be the only thing that survives the next melt-down, and that would really make us all look pathetic! SCARY!

Alright, I pretty much stayed in the office all day today except for about 30 minutes around lunch-time when I went to the office supply store. I left the office about 2:45 and went to St. David's Rehab Hospital on 32nd Street. A friend of mine (Deb) was in a really bad car accident before Thanksgiving; she and a colleague were driving back from Marble Falls and the driver of an on-coming truck had a seizure, was unconscious, and hit them head-on. Deb sustained some broken bones and bruises, but is doing much better than her colleague, but both are making good progress. ANYWAY, I went to visit Deb this afternoon on my way home, and I was very happy to see she is doing very well. A friend and colleague of both of ours (Sally) was also there, and we all enjoyed a very nice visit. She (Deb) has a great attitude, and is keeping everything in perspective. She is also doing some work from her hospital bed! She expects to be in the hospital for another few days, and then home for more rehab.

Made it home with no trouble, went out and fed the girls, and Jody reported that he retrieved five eggs this afternoon. Not too bad! I realize that I have been lax (not the airport) in providing you with chicken photos, so this is an interesting one I took this afternoon. I like it a lot!

Tomorrow I will have about three meetings, so it will be a busy day!

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

Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Thirty Three...

Back to work this morning and life remains good! No real traumas or tragedies, so that (I believe) says something about our business. It can run in spite of us all being away for four or five days.

Last night I took a few photos of some of the things happening around the place, and this photo is of the morning glories, they may be down but they are not out. We had pretty clear skies today with high temperatures near 80 degrees, but there is another cold front supposedly coming in tonight, and the temperature on Wednesday morning is supposed to be in the lower 30's. That means the temperature here will be in the 20's. We will see how the plants do after that, but it is inevitable that everything will die off and come back in the spring.

Spring is a wonderful season around here, particularly at this property. Since the property was n Iris farm in a previous life, there are lots of interesting plantings around. Even though we are going to downsize the plantings, there will still be lots of wonderful sights for many years to come. This is a photo of an Iris that is kind of confused about the season, and it is a lovely yellow with markings very similar to an orchid. I got too close for the real details to be evident, but I think you can get the general idea of this beauty.

I stayed pretty much in the office all morning, and left to go to a meeting about 1:15. En route, I stopped and got gas, and I think my car has pretty much overcome whatever it did not like about its service call last Friday. My mileage is back up to acceptable levels, and my odometer clicked over to 120,000 miles on the way back to the office. How dangerous do you think it is for me to be taking photos while travelling down MoPac at about 65 miles per hour? Not sure...

Jody got five eggs from the girls this afternoon, and they were all happy to see me when I went out there and fed them after I got home. I will go out and put them to bed in just a little while. Jody is fixing turkey, spinach and salad for dinner tonight. YUM! I am not shy about leftovers, happy (and thankful) to have them! I am not sure they are leftovers, though. We shall see.

Tomorrow will be a day of mostly office, nothing planned at this time.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, SPRING BLOOMS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Thirty Two...

All good things must come to an end; I have tremendously enjoyed my five-day mini-vacation/extended Holiday Weekend. I am getting things in order to go back to work tomorrow, thankful for even more now than when the days-off began. This morning I was honored to see a beautiful sunrise, and it was a pretty darn glorious day. Okay, except maybe for the morning glories, that have suffered from the cooler weather, but they may be down, but they are not yet out!

It was a really lazy day for both of us; we read the morning paper and I cleaned off my desk in the office, trying to get it coordinated for the end of the year things that need to be done. Once that was somewhat accomplished, I made a nice egg loaf and we enjoyed that.

We drove in to Georgetown very late in the morning, and went by the Collector's Market where we retrieved a micro-wave egg poacher from our booth. We are starting Atkins today or tomorrow, and the egg poacher will go with me to the office so I will not be so discombobulated at lunch times. Atkins is not really that hard to follow, just no bread or dairy (did I mention that I really love breads and dairy?) and starches, but I get pretty much all the meat and fats I can ingest. I think my real killer is the fast foods, so I need a good excuse to stay away from the dollar menus and the fries and the sodas. I am kind of looking forward to it, because I really need to lose some weight and the discipline will be good for me! YES, SIR! Whatever...

We also stopped by the Dairy Queen in Georgetown and had a spoiler. There is a tremendous difference between this DQ and the one in Salado. The folks in Georgetown and friendly, the place is clean and modern and they pretty much know us on sight. Not sure if that is a good thing or not. Anyway...

On the way home I stopped in the middle of the road to take this picture of the clouds. This lonely looking road is about a half-mile from our house. It looks worse than it really is (as far as the loneliness is concerned). We have really great neighbors, and we love living out here. After I took this photo, the skies continued to cloud up, and right now it is totally cloudy. The winds really picked up this afternoon, and they are coming from the south, so we do not expect it to be anywhere as cool overnight as it has been the last two nights. It may not even be cool enough for a fire tonight, but we are ready just in case.

We got six eggs from the girls this afternoon, and they got fresh organic layer mash and fresh water in their dispensers. That makes 39 eggs for the week, which we think is a lot of eggs from six chickens. They should start slowing down the production pretty soon, but they do not seem to be cutting back. Maybe it has to get cold and stay cold for a while, this is one of those 'learn-as-you-go' projects, so we will just have to see. When we got started with the chickens, we expected each girl would want their own nesting box, but it is pretty typical for four of them to lay in one box, and two in another. I do not think they have ever laid in the bottom three boxes. Interesting...

My car seems to be running better, so I am still not sure if I will take it in to the dealer tomorrow on my way to work or not; I will just play it by ear for now. Tomorrow starts the 'end-of-the-month' routine and the 'begin-the-new-month' routine, so I expect it will be a pretty darn busy week. Gonna spend some time playing catch-up.

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

Saturday, November 27, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Thirty One...

Another relatively busy day, but it was busy doing stuff in and around the house. Our friends Joe Mac and Carolyn got up and headed for home, leaving here at about 9 o'clock. Hopefully, they had an uneventful trip back to Gautier, and they should be cooling their jets in their own home by now. We had a really nice time with them during their visit, and miss them already.

We had our first honest-to-goodness freeze last night, and it took out some of the vegetation around the house. A lot of the cannas have been burned and the morning glories may have been burned a little bit, but they looked pretty good this morning. The next day or two will tell how badly they did overnight. BUT, they were GLORIOUS when they were blooming, I really enjoyed their beauty this year, and already look forward to next year.

Not too long after they left, I headed over to one of the neighbors and bought some square bales of hay to use as a wind break around the chickens outside pen. I think I most likely did not need to do that, but these are pampered chickens to say the very least. We got another six eggs from them today, so we need to keep them as happy as possible! Now they will have a little outside shelter from the harsh north winds that are becoming more frequent. AND, in the spring, I can make a hole in the bales and put some good dirt in the holes in the bales and plant tomatoes or peppers or something. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

I had my car serviced yesterday, and it was a pretty major service job. AND of course, there is something not right about the car right now. It idles very fast now, and it idles when it should not be running, that is the whole deal with a hybrid. The motor is not supposed to be running all the time. I called my service person (Sally, bless her heart) at the dealership and even though she was not working today, she called me back and said they would take care of it. Something is probably just sticking somewhere, and it will not be a really hard thing to fix, she does not believe. My mileage has really taken a hit with this new development, my MPG has been reduced by about 7 miles per gallon. That is HUGE!

Anyway, Jody and I ventured out to Salado this morning to explore what is really available up there. Even though we have lived here for two years, we have always drifted southerly for groceries and things, but we are thinking we can get the needs met north; it is closer and less congested.

We started out a Ace Hardware, which is a relatively new addition to the area. A very nice store, and we bought a pecan picker-upper. Then we went over to the Brookshire Brothers grocery store, which is a VERY NICE place. The produce and meats and vegetables are all lovely, and it will be a very nice place to shop. It was not at all crowded, and we did not expect it to be too busy, since it is the weekend after Thanksgiving. Most everyone is existing on leftovers right now, we expect.

After the grocery, we went to the Salado Dairy Queen. Well, what can I say...there is no comparison between this store and the ones in either Taylor or Georgetown, so we will most likely have to pass us the temptations to go to Salado for spoilers. The staff person who seemed to be in charge was not at all friendly, so that is the main reason we will not be regulars there. We could overlook the rest, but we want our spoiler vendors to be happy. Whatever...

Home now, fire going, dinner finished and pretty soon it will be bedtime for me (just getting started time for most) and falling asleep with the television on. Heaven!

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

Friday, November 26, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Thirty...

Most likely this will be a short post. I admit it, I am less than intelligent. I was up at 3 AM and off to fight the madding crowds (the great unwashed) when the stores opened at 4 AM. I have only done that one other time, and that was two or three years ago. Jody and I found a real bargain in the major appliance arena, and as long as I was up...

SO, I hit Target first, and bought a new digital camera. In today's mail, we had an advertisement from Costco, and the camera I bought was $20 more in the Costco ad, so I am pretty happy with that purchase.

Then I was off to Best Buy, and that took me until about 6:15 to complete that transaction. Then I was off to Toyota to have my car serviced (120K service, which was a big one). One of the service items was to change the spark plugs in my car. I am going on the record right now, my car is not right. How can I tell? Because I have driven the car for 120,000 miles, that's how. Anyway, I am going to run a tank full of gas through it before I make a final judgment, but there is something odd about the performance of the car after this service. We shall see...

Jody and Joe Mac and Carolyn came to pick me up while my car was being serviced, and we headed off to Red Rock. Joe Mac and Carolyn had never seen that house, and we needed to go down there anyway just to check to make sure everything was okay. The place looks pretty good for not having been occupied since May, and it really needs some loving. I hope we can find some buyers for the property soon.

On the way back, we stopped in Elgin for bar-b-que. Of course, I had to have pork ribs (I always have something with bones in it so I can bring the bones back for the dog). We got there about 11:30, and had a very nice lunch. All was good, and we all enjoyed it. Interestingly, it took until I was at the Toyota dealer for me to figure out who won the UT vs A&M game; no one in line at Target OR Best Buy knew who had won the game. I think they were all in bed really early to get up in the middle of the night. HOWEVER, once we were in Elgin, it was REALLY evident who won the game. I guess the best team won! As fr as I could tell, the A&M folks were very gracious about the win, but there was a lot of chatter in Elgin about it. I am not sure who was the favored team, but the game turned out pretty much the way I expected it would.

Once we got home, Joe Mac and I went out to feed the cattle, and we put fresh hay out in two pastures. Now, when I move the cattle next week, the hay will already be out in that pasture, so I will not have to deal with that. Life is good.

We got six eggs from the girls today, so that is really nice. It is supposed to be below freezing tonight, and be below freezing for several hours, so this will be the girls first real cold spell. I expect they will make it through just fine, at least I hope so.

We finished that, and pretty much sat around for the rest of the afternoon. We all headed back into Walburg for dinner tonight at the Walburg Restaurant. Joe Mac and I had the buffet, Jody and Carolyn both had the grilled salmon. There was an incredible number of people coming and going from that place, and it stays busy LATE into the night on the weekends.

Early to rise, early to bed.

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

Thursday, November 25, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Twenty Nine...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and I hope this day of giving thanks was truly rewarding.

We took a little side trip this morning into Salado, just to show our friends Joe Mac and Carolyn the sights between here and there. We were also looking for the new Ace Hardware that has recently opened in Salado. While we were there, the Brookshire Brothers grocery was opened, and Jody went inside and got two loaves of chicken bread for a dollar. A great buy, and Jody was very happy with the grocery, AND it is closer than going to either Georgetown OR Taylor, and the traffic is not as much of a problem. A good discovery!

Got home and started heating the dinner, and pretty much just messing around. The cold front came in between 2 and 3, and the temperature dropped about 30 degrees in about 15 minutes. Quite a noticeable change for sure.

Dinner was on the table and we all sat down and had a wonderful meal, after which we were too full to get up, so we just sat around and talked for a long time. I finally got up and started cleaning up, and once that was all done, we all went down for naps.

We got up from naps, I started a fire in the wood stove and went out to feed the chickens. We got four eggs from the girls today, and that is not too bad. A couple of the chickens are obviously from the United States and have taken the day off. We are now all sitting around in the living room, enjoying good conversation and the fire.

Have a great evening!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, COLD FRONTS (and cold backs too), Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Twenty Eight...

All the news that's fit to blog...and then some! Stayed in bed extra long this morning, since I was planning to take the day off and enjoy the company of our friends from out of town. I finally got up around 7, and Jody was actually up before me! We did our morning ritual things, made coffee, got the paper, read the meters. While I was out, there was evidence of what was trying to be a really pretty sunrise, but it never really materialized. Too many clouds, but it was pretty!

I watered the morning glories and then changed the contents of the outside water source for the chickens. The outside water container needs about twice the attention that the one inside their coop needs. Evaporation!

I also changed the flags, even though the winds were really high. I love the flags, and I love that we have a proper place to display them. They are all fresh and lovely.

And, by the way, our friends brought us this piece of yard art, we love it. HOWEVER, we are kind of the mind that this one guy is kind of lonely, and we may need to develop a herd of these guys, since we already have the space!

Before long, Joe Mac and Carolyn were out in the front of the property, up by the road digging cannas, iris and lillies to take back to Mississippi with them. After they had a couple large bags of bulbs, we got in the Mule and went to the back pasture and checked on the cattle. All was well, and we went even further back in the pastures, just for the heck of it. All was still well!

We all piled up in the car and headed for Georgetown, where we had lunch at the Down the Alley Bistro. Very nice! Once that was finished, we headed off to Round Rock with the intention of picking up our dinner for tomorrow at Sprouts; but we were sidetracked to the Round Rock Honey Warehouse, where Konrad gave Joe Mac and Carolyn a five minute tour of the facility. That was really nice of Konrad to take his time, and it was a lot of fun.

We finally got the turkey, made one more stop before we went home, and we were all pretty tired of doing nothing. We went and let the girls out of their pen and collected six eggs. Today is the nine week anniversary of us getting eggs from the girls, and they area averaging about thirty eggs per week overall! We love that!

We went back into Georgetown for dinner tonight at El Patron. It got off to kind of a shaky start, but it all worked out fine in the long term.

Tomorrow is Giving Thanks day, and I know that I have plenty to be thankful for.

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Twenty Seven...

Alright, I actually think I may be able to work out a five-day weekend instead of a four-day weekend. I am going to cross my fingers. I am planning on not going in to the office tomorrow, but I have to make some phone calls from the house, and do a little bit of business. AND, I may try to make a trip in to town to visit a friend. We will just have to play it by ear.

I got a lot of little chores done today; went to buy new flags for the flag pole and then to the post office, and a variety of other little chores. A good feeling of accomplishment. I also picked up pies for the folks out here in the country and found out the pies were not baked long enough, so we needed to make calls to tell the recipients to BAKE THE PIES FOR A WHILE before eating. What a deal...free pie almost cooked!

Our friends Joe Mac and Carolyn arrived this afternoon, and we have been having a fun time visiting with them. We just got back from dinner at the Catfish Parlour in Georgetown, and we took a little side trip through the courthouse square in Georgetown. Fun! We are going to have lots of fun with them while they are here.

Alright, I am kind of tired, and looking forward to sleeping late tomorrow morning.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, FRIENDS WITH PIES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Twenty Six...

Alright (it's alright, alright?), I have been driving past this car for the last four or five days, and the whole time I thought it was an Oldsmobile. When I was a little kid, we had an Oldsmobile that looked A LOT like this one, except it was kind of a creme beige color with mint green color. I decided to stop and look at this car today, and found out it was a BUICK. I am totally out of touch with reality. I remember that Oldsmobile had a relief of the world on the back trunk lid with a rocket zooming around the world. It was really cool to a five or six year old kid. I remember that car being parked in the driveway of our house in Balsam Street in Southgate, Michigan. I also know we paid $10,700 for that house (because the sign stayed up on Eureka Street until they 'sold-out' the subdivision. Three bedrooms, one hath, living/dining L, and a full basement for a family of four. Memories.

Good meeting at the Board today, and then back to the office before a meeting with a potential client in Cedar Park. A really nice potential client, and they have a really nice home that I hope we will put into our Property Management portfolio.

Tomorrow is an uncomplicated day at this point. Winding down to the Holiday which I am really looking forward to.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, OLD CARS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Twenty FIve...

Alright (I am kind of tired of saying 'Okay', so I am changing it to 'alright). ALRIGHT, this entry is going to be entirely devoted (okay, almost all of it) to the 14th Annual Austin Empty Bowl Project. Let me clarify that; all of it except for the parts that aren't will be devoted to the Empty Bowl Project. Let us begin...

I headed into Austin relatively early this morning, and arrived at the Mexican American Cultural Center at about 9:45 for the event that began at 11. The parking lot was already filled, and I was directed to another lot about three blocks away. IMMEDIATELY I needed to get my attitude checked, and before long I was much better. Why was I so crabby about having to walk? Because I could be, I guess. Anyway... I got the the volunteer check-in, and found my appointed duty station and got pretty much settled in. Full disclosure would require that I admit I had way too much coffee, and there was a chance things could get ugly. I was selling raffle tickets for a beautifully done hand-made quilt, and I expected the tickets to go like wildfire. But I was a little bit disappointed in the sales, so I had to start making a better effort to get attention. Needless to say, I can be loud, and I actually got a lot of people to give me a dollar just so I would shut up. I expect a pretty good bit of money was raised just from the raffle ticket sales. I hope so. This is a photo of the group from our company at the function; Pat, Carrie, Me and Karla. I hope everyone had a good and rewarding time today.

I was/am totally smitten with Quita, who is one of our local television news personalities. She is as tiny as a bitty-bit, and that always surprises me. I asked her if she would consent to having her photo taken with me, and she was very gracious and tolerant. Ten points for Quita, she is a delightful person (did I mention she is not as big as a minute), and a pleasure to watch on the television news (usually in the mornings on the weekends.

OKAY (I mean alright), I got home about 2:30 from my volunteer shift, and Jody and I headed into Georgetown, where we hit the Dairy Queen and then HEB to do a little bit of shopping. I stayed in the car, since I have just started listening to a new book by Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Ponies) and I am on the second of seven CD's and I still have not figured out the point of the book, although it is pretty interesting.

Once we made it home, I needed to clean the chicken coop, and gathered eggs, etc. Another six eggs today, and that is a great thing. That ends the week with 37 eggs, and I think that is swell.

Tomorrow is the beginning of a short work week, and I am looking forward to the long weekend, and our visit with friends from out-of-town. I am also grateful that we are not doing any air-travel this week, it does not look like any fun at all, but then again, air-travel quite being fun about nine years ago.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, EMPTY BOWL, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Twenty Four...

Early post today, because we are actually going to be out after dark this evening! At least now we will know if the headlights work on the car or not!

This morning was a typical weekend morning; slept (okay, stayed in bed) a little later than usual, and got up and did morning chores. After a while, I made a nice egg loaf. We are using fewer eggs because the girls eggs are getting bigger as they get this egg-laying thing down pat! Did some laundry, cleaned the ashes out of the wood stove and a few other things. We went over to Hubert and Pauline's and left them a dozen-and-a-half eggs, and then we were off to Taylor.

We needed to go to Taylor Feed to get some feed for the cattle, and as long as we were there, we might just as well stop at Dairy Queen, and then we stopped at Tractor Supply, where I got a pair of welders gloves (for putting logs in the stove and moving them around) and a pair of winter fleece lined work gloves. This is a picture of the 'cow-chow'; during the winter (okay, the cooler times of the year) they get their regular 'creep feed' and another feed mixed in with it that contains molasses and cotton seed. That feed keeps them warmer when it is colder weather.

Once we got home, I moved the feed into the feed shed, fed the cattle the last of the older creep, and put a fresh bale of hay out for them. When that was finished, Jody and I sat down and watched a mini-marathon of 'Big Bang Theory', several of the episodes that we had recorded. It fouls everything up when the change the television schedules. I have not watched a single episode of 'Glee' this year, since it is not on at a very inconvenient time for us. Oh well, we will one day have a 'Glee' marathon and get all caught up.

I went outside and let the chickens out of their pen, and changed their water. Tomorrow I will get their coop cleaned, but it will be later in the afternoon.

Tonight we are going to the Austin Empty Bowl Project Preview Party, and tomorrow I am volunteering for the function. It is always fun and it is a very worthwhile project, benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank. I would like to see all of you there.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, COW-CHOW, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, November 19, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Twenty Three...

Today was another busy day at the office (I guess office days are supposed to be busy) but there were lots of accomplishments, and I am in really good shape for the weekend. We had our property management meeting today (generally held on Thursday) and then I had lunch with very good friends and clients Virginia and Bryan. This is a photo of their home, and I had not been there since they moved in a few months ago. They have decorated it wonderfully, and they are very happy, and I am happy for them. We had a terrific lunch, and it was fun to visit with them and they are easy to laugh with. There were lots of stories going back and forth, and I think we all had a fun time.

After that, Tom and I went to north Austin to visit with a former client. They are considering putting their property back on the lease/management market, and we did a property survey and talked about the market in general. On the way to that appointment, we were going down MoPac, and there was an SUV (I think) upside down on the shoulder of the road. Not sure how that happened, but it looked like it happened and then the SUV slid (while it was upside down) for quite a ways. It was very interesting to see. I did not have my camera ready in time, but it would have been a good picture. I asked Tom how he thought those kinds of wrecks (it looked like there were no other vehicles involved) happened, and I decided it was caused by texting. Tom volunteered that it could also happen when other drivers were trying to take photographs of other wrecks while they were driving down MoPac at 75 miles per hour. I will have to think about that one.

When we left the appointment, we came to a traffic light and I saw this giant Oak Farms cow in the parking lot of a Walgreen's. I think I need that cow, just not sure how I can get it in the back of the car. I have had a lot of cargo in that little car, but I am still not sure how I could get that back to the house. There has to be a way!

Tomorrow will be the preview reception for the Austin Empty Bowl Project. If you do not know about this very worthwhile event, you really need to do an Internet search and come out on Sunday to get a few handmade pieces of art, some gourmet soup and bread, and just have an overall good time. We need and appreciate your support!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BIG GIANT COWS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Twenty Two...

I think trains are really underrated. Several years ago, Jody and I took a trip on the American Orient Express and it was wonderful. Really a wonderful trip. We started in Salt Lake City and ended up in Los Angeles visiting Teton National Park, Yellowstone, Zion and the Grand Canyon. The only challenge with passenger trains (at least right now) is that they run on the same lines as the freight trains, and all the folks on the passenger trains may as well be spuds. The roads are a little rough. AND, they really have to make up for lost time during the overnights! The freight trains have precedence over the passenger trains, and so the passenger trains frequently get (literally) 'side-tracked' while the freight goes by. SO, during the overnights, it is full steam ahead! I remember dreaming that I needed to call '911' because I thought the train was a 'run-away' and we were all going to be killed. Isn't it interesting what memories you can come up with just by watching a train go by? It was great fun, and we met lovely comrades on that trip!

I had intended to stop and get my hair cut on the way home from work, but I called ahead and found out my favorite (Irene) would not be in until 5 o'clock. So, I went home and read the Bartlett paper and went out to feed the chickens. That is when I found out one of the girls had (probably) gotten up on the stacked firewood and jumped the fence into the neighbors pasture. Of course, she could not figure out how to get back, but that was mine and Jody's job. It was really not that much trouble, and a little coaxing with the chicken (evening) food and she was back on her home turf. The bugs are always tastier on the other side! Six more eggs today, and we had four-and-a-half-dozen eggs. We are in the egg giving away business. The egg fairy may be visiting you soon.

After that, we went back into Georgetown and I got my hair cut and we had dinner at the Fish City Grill. Very nice, but they had a musician there tonight, and it is not a large place (and not acoustically correct by any measure) and this one guy had FOUR SPEAKERS and a really glaring spotlight (about two feet away from his face). He was a really talented performer, but it was too loud, AND the ordinary music was still playing through the speakers and they could not figure out how to turn it off. Whatever...

When we got home, I built a fire in the stove, put the girls to bed, and noticed we had a message on the phone. Pauline had been by and left us a cheese-braid in the tool box of the truck. YUMMY! That is just one of the things we love about living in the country. We are lucky, lucky, lucky!

We are getting ready for our friends visit next week, and I am really looking forward to the weekend. I hope you all have a great evening!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, CHEESE-BRAIDS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Twenty One...

It was another slow day in picture-ville, BUT I got a lot of work done, and played catch-up in the office. I did manage to clean most of my e-mail messages from the last couple days, and DID get two or three client requests done, AND participated in a break sponsorship at the Board AND attended my MasterMind group this afternoon. Not bad for a days work if I do say so myself. Our MasterMind group will meet at our office in January (we do it every two months) and I am looking forward to that.

This is a photo of the Walburg Restaurant about seven miles from our house. We are having friends visit us next week for Thanksgiving, they are coming from the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Joe and Carolyn). AND I think they both pretty much enjoy going to the Walburg Restaurant, so that is a treat for us as well. I need to call and see what their hours will be next week, and we will then determine if we will go on Wednesday or Friday. FUN, and we are looking forward to their visit.

Jody collected four eggs from the girls this afternoon, I think I will need to have a stern talking-to-them. He also reported that one of the blond-sex-links was hanging out around the back patio and was kind of raising a ruckus until he went outside and at down. Then she came over to him and enjoyed a couple of little petting sessions and she was satisfied and went on about her business. Chickens are interesting people.

Tomorrow is my Meals-On-Wheels day, and a relatively quiet day otherwise. We usually have our Property Management meetings on Thursday, but we rescheduled that for Friday this week, and probably Wednesday the week of Thanksgiving. Everything is flexible, and that is good.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, GERMAN FOOD, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Twenty...

Alright, I spent another day as an Instructor at the Board, and I really learned something today. I learned about Reverse Offers, and if you do not know what those are, let me know and I will tell you. Very interesting stuff!

HOWEVER, I totally flaked out on getting a photo for this entry; so I did an Internet search with just today's date, and these are a couple photos I found. I think they are pretty interesting. The first one is a photo of an abandoned building in Detroit. Interestingly, this weekend I watched a NetFlix video of the HBO series 'HUNG' and this building is also one of the photographs that is used in the opening sequence of that series, based in Detroit. What a shame! BLOGGER NOTE: There was an error in trying to upload that photo, and it will not let me upload. Oh, Crap! And yes, I have been watching 'Everybody Loves Raymond' reruns.

This photo is just an amusing thing that someone captured. Cute. If necessary, I will be open to providing full photo credit, just let me know who took the photos.

Tired, finished for the day, going to bed. BUT, there is a program on PBS tonight at 9 o'clock about the history of the Chicken. A must see, if you know what I mean!

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

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Nineteen...

Okay, I am a bad chicken-daddy. I did not secure the girls in their coop last night, and the spent the night with their door open. Other animals cannot really get to them without first getting through the screened area, but it is the first time I totally forgot to close them in their coop. There have been a couple times that I forgot and had to get up from being comfortable and close their coop door (their chicken-size door), but last night I just totally forgot. It seems the girls really did not pay too much attention to that fact, and Jody collected six eggs today. Not too bad, if we do say so ourselves!

I taught class all day today, and will do that again tomorrow. I really enjoy teaching, and it is really rewarding to me. I learn just as much (if not more) from the students as they learn from me. There were about 45 people in the class today, and there was a really good turnout from the San Antonio Board of REALTORS. I think that is great when agents from other Boards come to take advantage of what we provide at our Board.

Tomorrow is another day of teaching.

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

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Eighteen...

Another day, another half-dozen eggs! Speaking of chickens...it was a pretty gloomy day here in the country, and the sun was trying to break through, but never quite made it. The girls were not very active, and they stayed inside their coop most of the morning. We did let them out about 2 o'clock, and I gathered six more eggs from them. That made thirty-nine eggs for this calendar week. I know you are all most likely bored to tears with chicken stories, but chickens are going mainstream, and there is nothing you can do about it. There was even an article about chickens in the Parade Magazine that was delivered this morning. So, get over it!

Early this morning I went out and fed the cattle and took them a fresh bale of hay. All is well on the cattle front. I need to shred the very back pasture, the grass is so high the sun (when it is out) cannot get to the ground so the grazing grass can grow. I think I will put that on my schedule for next week. Otherwise, all is well. I will need to go into Taylor as well next week, and get them some more feed; and they will get some of the winter feed that has molasses and cotton seed in it. It helps them keep warmer in the winter weather. They may even go to getting fed twice per week, it just depends on how bad the winter is.

Nature Happens! I think this is an opossum (it looks to have a tail like an opossum). I passed by this this morning when I was finished feeding the cattle, and turned around. I did not see the skeletal remains to begin with, I saw what I thought was a bunch of feathers, and it turned out to the the fur of this whatever-it-is. Just part of the life out here in the country. We have all been seeing some really big coyotes, and every now and then we will see a fox. So far we have been pretty lucky; nothing has messed with the cattle, and so far the chickens have done okay. We know things will happen, we just hate it when things do go wrong.

Okay, here is another photo of the morning glories. They have really done well this year, and this is the fourth or fifth year I have tried to get morning glories to grow. It all started with the farm in Red Rock, and the bunnies would eat the tender shoots before they would get started well. I tried that for two years before we moved here. I had a good start of morning glories going, and then one of the gardener guys could not tell the difference between a weed and morning glories, and that was the end of that. This year I have been very conscientious with these morning glories, and it has paid off nicely. I hope you like them as much as I do.

FINALLY, this is what the equipment looks like to extract honey from the comb, and to bottle it. Jody and I headed off to Konrad's warehouse this afternoon, and we bottled another thirty bottles of honey. That makes thirty-three bottles (a half-pound each) of honey from our hives. We only took about 10% of the combs from each hive, so they will have plenty of food to get them through the winter. We will probably do another pull in January, and then another later in the spring. We expect to get about two-hundred-pounds of honey out of the hives before May of next year, and then we should get more in the fall. Incredible!

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

Saturday, November 13, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Seventeen...

Great day for accomplishments! When I got up this morning (late) there was an e-mail from Konrad with the Round Rock Honey Company. I had asked him some questions earlier in the week, and he asked if he could bring his class out this morning to extract honey from our hives. OF COURSE! That would be perfect! So, the class arrived about 10:30 or so, and off they went to work the hives. I did not suit up because Jody and I were scheduled to go and celebrate Michael's birthday (more about that later).

ANYWAY, I was very happy to learn that (per Konrad) our hives were very healthy and were 'text-book cases' of bee and honey perfection. On Konrad's' site, he noted that it was the best day of honey extraction he had in five years. I am blushing over those compliments, especially since I did NOTHING as far as hive maintenance this year. I always felt that the hives were kind of puny, so I did not want to mess with them or cause them any distress. SO, I just pretty much left them alone, and they seem to have done just wonderfully on their own. It is a very light and VERY sweet honey, as a result of the flowers and grasses in the area that they have been busily working all summer. This is a photo of the beautiful comb and you can see droplets of honey towards the bottom.

Jody and I did take off and head to Michael & Lynda's for the birthday celebration. Micheal and Lynda are both very much loved persons, and there was a house full of celebrants. Jody and I pretty much stayed off in one corner, the corner 'less travelled', and we were happy to re-acquaint ourselves with many of their friends whom we had met in the past, and to meet several of their friends we had never met. We were VERY happy to have a lengthy discussion with one of their very close neighbors who also raises chickens, so that got us started on a really happy discussion. This is a photo of Lynda and Jody, and a wonderful time was had by all.

On our way home, we had a call from Konrad who said the honey would not be sifted until tomorrow, so we would need to touch base with each other then. We stopped at Sprouts in Round Rock, and put in our order for Thanksgiving dinner. Once we finished there, we stopped at the Round Rock Honey Company office, just to take a chance and see if Konrad happened to be there. He was there, and we picked up the first two bottles of our honey (fresh off the extractor) and we are very happy to have it. We will get more tomorrow or the next day. Konrad said he only took about ten percent of the honey, to make sure the bees will make it through the winter. He also added a super to each hive, so they can be busy over the winter. Konrad says we will need to extract the honey in early spring, and he expects we will have about two hundred pounds of honey to harvest in the spring of 2011. That is a lot of honey, I don't care who you are!

SO, tomorrow is another day. I will be feeding cattle and taking fresh hay out to them. We are building a fire in the stove tonight, and gonna just enjoy a peaceful and uneventful evening. STAY TUNED!

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

Friday, November 12, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Sixteen...

My love affair with clouds has not abated, and I continue to marvel at their beauty. This is not a particularly stunning example, but I am driving and photographing at the same time, so I expect a little bit of a break. Since I have been home this evening, the wind has increased markedly, and the temperature has dropped precipitously. I slept through the local weather report, but Jody reports it is supposed to go down into the 40's tonight. HOWEVER, the local prognosticators have been leading us down that path for quite some time, so you really hesitate to believe what you are told. It is the middle of November, we have had temperatures in the 80's with lows about 65 degrees. GIVE US A BREAK! I say that now, but as soon as it gets cool here for more than three days in a row, we will all be complaining about that. Never satisfied...

Two meetings today, and other than that it was an opportunity to get a good bit of office work done. Karla had an ill child this morning and did not make it into the office until mid-day, and Carrie is plagued with a stomach virus. I hope all involved are recovered soon.

Looking forward to sleeping late tomorrow (something I was opposed to until recently). We will be going to a birthday party for a friend late morning, and back home early afternoon. We may even stop at Sprouts in Round Rock and order our Thanksgiving Dinner. YUM!

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

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fifteen...

On the way home from work this afternoon, I stopped at FireBowl and got our dinner to go. Jody had a Stir Fry Bowl and I had the Fired Rice. We both have enough left over for another meal. I am plenty big for as little as I eat. I guess (well, duh) that it makes more difference about what you eat even if you do not think you eat very much. I am not a particularly healthy eater, I admit that. While I was in New Orleans, I admitted to my friends Tony, Michael and Rusty that I was well aware of the concept of eating less and exercising more, but that was of no real particular interest to me. Whatever...

Among other things today was my Meals-On-Wheels delivery day. I had six clients on my route today, and Some of them I have not seen for a while. One client is back on my route, and she has a very sweet little dog that I love on for a while when I deliver to them. She (the client, not the dog) has not been on my route for a while, and we never know why folks are dropped or added. Generally, I believe if someone is dropped from my route, they must have gotten better. So, it was with happiness and sadness at the same time that this particular client was back on my route. In reality, I guess it is a better than even chance that clients are added and dropped from the services that Meals-On-Wheels provides due to bureaucratic or governmental red-tape; maybe they have used up their allotments or something like that. Kind of like the Medi-Care donut hole. See, I am getting old, I am starting to pay attention to these things.

Once I got home, I was just about time to feed the girls. They are totally unaware of the time change, their lives are ruled by the placement of the sun, not of the clock (Standard of Daylight Savings is not important). They were happily led into their caged area, and they unashamedly posed for photos. This one might be Vera, it is hard to tell from a photograph. It is much easier to tell them apart when you can see them with the others. Four eggs today, so that is almost two dozen so far this week.

Tomorrow will be a day of meetings, one at 9 and one at 3:30. Then it is the weekend, and I think there is a better than even chance that I will be showing property either Saturday or Sunday. Go with the flow...

Deeds, Actions, Changes, TAKEE-OUTEE, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fourteen...

I'll take northbound IH-35 for $2,000, Alex...

There is a whole story to that, but the bottom line is, how do you think an old Ford Pick-Up truck ends with its complete cab (back to the truck bed) UNDERNEATH an 18-wheeler on the SERVICE ROAD of the Interstate. I am not sure either, I have several ideas, and most of them include texting. Whatever... At least I was on the other side of the Interstate, but traffic was pretty well slowed in both directions.

I made it to the office in time to get a little bit of work done, and left to go to a meeting that was scheduled to last from 9 til 3. We finished the meeting a little bit early and I made it back to the office in time for a little more power-real estate before I took off for home.

I go past the Basset Hound house at least once a day. These folks have about five dogs, including a male and female Basset Hound. The Basset's are great car chasers, and a long time ago, I just decided to stop and see what happened if the actually caught the car they were chasing. The male Basset has become pretty good friends with me, and I think he kind of looks forward to me stopping and he gets a head-rub out of the deal. Of course, the whole thing could just be my imagination, but I am good with that!

Five eggs from the girls today, bless their hearts!

Tomorrow will be a day mostly in the office, and I am looking forward to that. It is also my Meals-On-Wheels day, so that is always fun and rewarding. Friday will be another day of meetings, and then the weekend. This year is really winding up quickly, and time (and days) is flying past.

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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Thirteen...

A lovely day back in the office, if I must say so myself. I was 'too tired' to sleep last night, but I expect I actually slept longer than I think I did. BUT, tonight will be a different story.

I made it in to the office before 8 o'clock, even though traffic was somewhat uncooperative. My desk was not overly-cluttered, and there were neat stacks of paperwork all ready for me to 'touch'. Got a lot of stuff touched before our strategic planning meeting that started at 10 o'clock. After that meeting, there was more stuff to touch, and then it was lunch time.

After lunch, Tom and I went off to walk a property; tenants are breaking the lease, and it needed to be walked so we can begin marketing the property. Nothing terrible, just an unfortunate circumstance for all parties. It is just part of the realities of life that, sometimes bad things can happen to good people. Life goes on, and we all have to do what we have to do.

I stopped by the condominium complex that we manage on the way home; we had a pretty extensive tree-trimming job start there today, and we have been having some problems with the pool at the complex, so I wanted to put my eyes of the situation, so I would know what I was talking about if asked.

I got home and went out to feed the chickens. This picture kind of reminds me of 'Chicken Roulette'. You can put your money on reds, blonds or black & whites. What will it be? When I was feeding the girls this afternoon, they all came screeching out to meet me, and there were six of them all gathered around. But once I got them all in their fenced area, there were only five. I was beginning to think that something had gotten one of the reds (it can happen in the blink of an eye) but I finally found her, she was in the coop in one of the nesting boxes. Jody got five eggs today, and when I went to close them up in their coop, there was another egg in the nest. I had a suspicion she was going to lay another egg. It will be interesting to see how many eggs Jody gets tomorrow.

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

Monday, November 8, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Twelve...

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig!

Yep, that's me, I am back home, and happy as a clam to be there. Maybe now I can get some sleep. I have come to believe that a sure sign of old age is the havoc that the time change wreaks on your body; okay, MY body. I did not pay much attention to it yesterday, but today I have been up since about three in the morning and I am looking forward to a good nights sleep.

It was a pretty darn uneventful travel day for me. If you believe that, well, you know. BUT there is really no reason to get all the stories from just one day documented in this journal entry. Suffice it to say, it was interesting to just sit back and watch the humanity passing by and not participating. It makes me embarrassed for all the times when I AM participating. You know what I mean.

Once I got home, Jody and I went out and fed the cattle, and took a fresh bale of hay out to them. They were all happy to get the hay, and I was happy to get it out there to them. The girls are all doing well, and we got six eggs today. Their production has been reduced a little bit, we are averaging about five eggs a day now, which is still plenty for us and plenty to give away.

That is it. Just happy to be home, and this will be a pretty busy week. A couple meetings Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, and probably showing property on Saturday. Teaching classes two days next week. Yippee!

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

Sunday, November 7, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Eleven...

spring forward...FALL BACK...I don't really feel like I got an extra hour of sleep, but I will take what I can get. I got up pretty early, time wise, and walked down to the Hilton where I had tickets for a gospel breakfast. It was pretty nice, but not nearly what I was expecting. I wonder why that is? Am I totally jaded, or simply not easily pleased? That will take much more than a daily entry in this journal to figure out. Posted here is a random shot of a lucky dog cart. Have you read 'A Confederacy of Dunces'? A good read, I recommend it. If you have, you will get the reference; if you haven't, I suggest you do!

After the breakfast, I walked back to my hotel, and hung out waiting for my friend Michael to call. We had made arrangements to Michael to come by and pick me up, and we were going to go to Tony and Rusty's house in the Garden District to have brunch and visit. I had not seen Tony or Michael since 1995 or so, and it was a great reunion. We spent about an hour or so at Tony and Rusty's home before we headed out for brunch. Rusty did not tag along, since he needed to get some sleep before heading to work.

We all had a nice brunch (Eggs Benedict) and then we headed off to visit haunts of our past. We drove past my old shotgun-double on Chartres (where I lived next door to Thomas) in the Fauberg Marigny, and then to places that had been hard hit by the hurricane. We went past the home I bought in New Orleans East (which is still there and occupied, much to my surprise) and then to an apartment complex where we all used to live (which is not completely standing, and kind of pitiful). We headed back to downtown, and said our good byes. I hope we can all try to keep in touch with one another, at least somewhat better than we have in the past 15 years. They are both good friends.

I got back to the hotel, and this place is a zoo of policemen of every ilk. Cops everywhere. Lots of stuff going on, and from my room on the 16th floor, it looked like Busby Berkley had choreographed the goings-on, but with not much intent. I have no idea what was going on, but hours later it is still going on.

I went down to print my boarding pass, and that took forever, but I met a really nice woman from Akron, Ohio (Hi Debbie) and we had a blast trying to get her boarding pass printed. It seems Debbie cannot tell the difference between an O (O) and a 0 (zero). There is a subtle difference, and subtlety loses something in a crowded lobby.

For dinner tonight I was heading back to Arby's, and I had my heart set on chicken fingers. They were out of chicken fingers. So, I went to McDonald's on Canal. I now know where the hinges of Hell are. They are through the portals of what is otherwise referred to as McDonald's on Canal Street. If you really want to know, ask and I will tell you, but there is not enough room here. Suffice it to say, there was a near uprising of customers versus employees, and I was not involved in it at all, except to point out that the cashier short changed me to the tune of $4.01. I expect she makes a pretty good living doing her little con, but that is another story completely.

I made it safely back to my hotel, and that is it for this trip. I will be up early in the morning, hoping to check out at 7 or 7:30 to get to the airport for a 10 o'clock flight, and make it back to Austin by 1 in the afternoon. NIRVANA!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, PURGATORY AT A MINIMUM, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Ten...

It has been a busy day, and I have the photo-documentation to prove it. In fact, I have photos that will carry my through most of next week as well.

The day began with education sessions at the NAR Conference, and two out of three of them were very good. One was just okay. After those classes, I went once again through the Expo, and I must confess; it was either very disappointing OR I have matured to the point that give-away-crap is just not that appealing to me anymore. I wonder what hidden subtext there is in that? Have I become more discriminating, or has the 'Hoarders - Buried Alive' television program hit an uncomfortable chord with me? Whichever one it is, there was really no need for me to plan my luggage so I would have plenty of room for schwag. Whatever, there will be very little schwag going home with me this trip. I am voting that it is just a lower quality of schwag that is available at this program. I am still good for free anythings.

After I finished my programs at the convention, I walked back into the French Quarter for a little while, and went once again to the hotel I used to work at, just to see if I would recognize anyone that still worked there. GET A GRIP Evens, is was 25 years ago, so most likely no one still works there. I do not know what the attraction to that place is, but I need to get over it.

After that, I went to the Krystal Burger place and had lunch; 3 Krystal Burgers, an order of fries and a small drink. I am still really overwhelmed by how expensive things are in the downtown area of New Orleans. ANYWAY... the little Krystal burgers were pretty much as I remembered them, really quite tasty with the steamed onions, but I forgot that I needed to ask them to 'add ketchup'. They were good, but I do not have the craving for more anytime soon.

THEN, I took the St. Charles streetcar for a round-trip, which is something I had never done. Never been on a New Orleans streetcar, even though I lived here for a good while. Just never got around to it. It was fun, and I would recommend it.

Got back to the hotel, and chilled out until my 6 o'clock cocktail function for RPAC at the World War II Memorial. A very nice function, and lovely venue, and worth a photo or two. This is the only place that I have ever been to that sells hand-grenades ($19.95) and a notice on the box that says that you cannot carry these items on commercial air craft. Whatever...

I am really looking forward to setting the clocks BACK one hour tonight, I need the sleep.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, HAND GRENADES, Kindness, Whirled Peas, FUN!