Monday, January 31, 2011

2011 - Day Thirty One; Monday...

First things first, just want to share this sunset from an hour ago.

So this is it, huh? The end of January already. Tomorrow is the first day of February, and traditionally the February posts all have a theme. The first year of this journal the February theme was 'Things I see between our house and the Highway'. Last years theme was the tiara; different folks posing with the tiara on. I have considered a theme of women's shoes and the pain they must (obviously) endure by wearing those mile-high heels. I am really not trying to cater to the prurient interests of my followers, but it probably could not hurt. I might get a whole new class of follower after all this. So, be on the lookout, the announcement will be made in tomorrows post.

Do you know what the coldest thing in the world is? This is a multiple choice question. Choose the one that best suits your needs; 1. a fart in a dead Eskimo (that is not meant to offend the indigenous peoples of the northwest, it is just an expression), 2. the roof of your mouth when you took too big of a gulp of your Slurpee, or 3. Austin on the day after tomorrow. I am going to go with number three. We are expecting the coldest weather we have seen in about the last 20 years, and I do not have fond memories of that cold spell. Not fun. The only people I know that are excited about it are the plumbers and the HVAC folks. AND I will be carrying our emergency pager starting tomorrow. WHOOPEE! The high temperature today was approaching 80 degrees, and on Wednesday it is supposed to be about 14 degrees, which means it will be about 8 degrees here. Highs are expected to be in the 30's for the next several days, and that will be with us until Saturday. I know old Rush is working on his spiel now, 'What's all this talk about global warming', blah-blah-blah!

I left the office about 3:30 and had an appointment to show a house at 5:30. When I got home, I went out and shut off the water in the back pastures in anticipation of the cold temperatures. The cattle will be getting their water from the tank for the duration, they have been getting it from there for the past month. Maybe this weekend I will move them over to the other pasture where the can enjoy city-fied water. They really prefer the piped-in water over the tank water. Sissy cows! BUT Orchid and her calf are doing just fine, thank you very much.

We got six eggs from the girls today, and I expect production to plummet for the rest of the week.

Strategic Planning meeting tomorrow, along with trying to stay warm!

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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

2011 - Day Thirty; Sunday...

Okay, and now for something completely different. Let's talk about this dream that I had Friday night/Saturday morning. I can visualize many of you drooling at the thought of figuring out what is REALLY going on inside my little pea-brain. If you can figure it out, I hope you will at least share it with me before you decide that it is time for the men in the little white coats to come a-calling! Okay, here we go...

I dreamed that I was on an airplane, and we were flying along, and it was really kind of rough, but there was no panic or fear by me or anyone else on the plane. I was having a nice conversation with the pilot and we were all calm. The next thing I knew, we had crashed 'softly' and I can remember seeing from the cockpit the nose of the plane going through bamboo and finally breaking out of the bamboo and stopping in kind of a cleared area of red clay. It was a tropical kind of area, and I could hear water falls around, but the plane came to a rest and that was it. No trauma. I seemed to think we were in an area that I would think looked like Vietnam, but it turned out we had actually landed in China.

We (I do not think I knew any of the other passengers) were arrested as something like spies or terrorists for invading the border, and we were put into a multi-story jail of some sort, but it was not a harsh environment. After a little while, it turned out that the 'jail' was really a multi-storied atrium kind of shopping district; not new and fancy but rather kind of old and in desperate need of repair. AND, I was dressed in one of my bee-keeping suits, complete with the veil and gloves, the whole thing. I was just sort of this 'vision-in-white', and it seemed to me that I was looked upon as a 'holy-figure', maybe a priest or religious kind of person. That is kind of when I woke up. Putting this down into words is now making me kind of embarrassed, but there it is. It sounds stupid not that I have written it. What do you think?

I have lots of interesting dreams. Back when I had just moved to Austin, I can remember having a dream that I was a 1958 Cadillac Coupe DeVille! The engine was in good shape, but the body needed a little bit of work! REALLY? Hmmm... Dreams are really fun, so I think I may share a few more as time goes on. Let me know your thoughts...

SO, I refused to open my eyes this morning until after Jody got up, and it was almost 7 o'clock. So far I have done the daily chores and even straightened up a little bit towards the front of the property. Yesterday we came home from our little trip to Granger Dam, and suddenly the front of the property looked a lot like a bad TV sketch on the Jeff Foxworthy show. It really looked kind of trashy. I am totally aware that there is a fine line between 'yard-art' and just a pile of crap thrown about. ANYWAY, things look a lot better now. The bees were pretty active today, and there were a couple 'scout bees' that were not that happy that I was hanging around. It got better when I took my red jacket off in favor of just wearing my t-shirt. Bees do not like red, purple or black, but they are not particularly bothered by white. Just one of the things you learn!

This must have been a really calm weekend, based on the fact that I cannot seem to find any NEW bruises. Generally speaking, I do not find bruises until when I am shaving (or otherwise grooming myself) on Monday mornings. I will wait and see what I find tomorrow morning!

Jody and I made our pilgrimage to Dairy Queen in Georgetown, and then we came home and took naps. Afterwards, we went BACK out to the front of the property and cleaned up some more stuff. We have lived here for over two years, and we just today hung stuff up on the barn that we took down from around the farm in Red Rock. I guess that in another couple years, we will have everything done and then it will be time to move. HOPE NOT! While we were out there, the chickens had to be right in the middle of everything we were doing. The girls decided it was 'bath time for chickens' and it is very interesting to watch then scratch up a big cloud of dust for them to take a 'dust bath'. Interesting things that happen in the country.

It is a really beautiful day today, I would not be surprised to hear that we hit 80 degrees this afternoon, and it is supposed to be down in the teens in a couple days. Highs in the 40's and the lowest predicted for next week is 14 degrees. How can that possibly happen?

Jody and I were sitting on the porch with really very few cares at all. A beautiful, quiet lovely day, the sky is a brilliant blue and the clouds are gorgeous. How can it be that, in a place called Egypt, thousands of people are rioting in the streets? How can it be that, in a place called Afghanistan, human beings are shooting real guns (with real bullets in them) at each other, each one hoping to kill the other? How can it be that, in a place called Tucson just a few weeks ago, a desperate and ill person murdered several people and wounded several more? How can it be that, in a place called Detroit, a gunman opened fire inside a Police station and was killed before it was all over. How can there be so much unhappiness in the world, when it is so beautiful and calm and peaceful here in a spot called JB Acres, somewhere on the 'edge of nowhere'. I say the edge of nowhere, because that is further than the 'middle of nowhere'.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, DUST BATHS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

2011 - Day Twenty Nine; Saturday...

I got all my chores done pretty early this morning; I got the cattle fed (and I have to tell you, the new calf 'Cool Breeze' is really a cute one), put fresh hay bales in both pastures (because I am anticipating the move from pasture-to-pasture in the next couple days), changed the filters in both HVAC units and cleaned out the wood stove. All these things were completed WAY before 11 o'clock. That is not even taking into account that I did not get out of bed until almost 7 o'clock and cooked a really good egg loaf for me and Jody. Oh yeah, I also flipped the mattresses, almost a month over due, but that is done.

Jody and I then took off for Georgetown for a spoiler at the Dairy Queen. YUM! After that, we made a quick stop at Beall's (I was hoping to buy some socks) and then to HEB where Jody was on a mission to get me some pop-sicles (gotta have 'em, the sugar-free kind). Then we came home and we both went down for naps, and we stayed down for about an hour.

The phone woke us both up, and once we regained our consciousness, it was about 3 o'clock, and seemed to be a really pretty afternoon. We decided to go for a drive, and we ended up at Granger Dam (in Granger, Texas) and it turns out it is a really good sized lake, and before we got to the dam we went through 'Friendship Park' which is also a really nice park with LOTS of pic-nic tables and campsites and places for bar-b-cues. Really pretty nice, and we had never heard of this park. It would be really nice for a spring time gathering...we shall see.

On the way home, we went through Taylor, and as long as were were there, we stopped at the Taylor Cafe and picked up a couple pounds of ribs for dinner tonight. Actually, it was in deference of the dog, he has been almost a week without a bone of any kind, so we made the sacrifice of ribs for dinner, just so we could let the dog know we had abandoned him totally!

It is supposed to rain tonight, but it certainly does not look like it right now. Once we got home, it was time to feed the chickens, and they are certainly creatures of habit, just like me and Jody, so there must be some genetic link to us and them. We got four eggs from them today, and we really are happy about that. We loves our eggs! This is a picture of one of the Ruby's (not sure if it is Ruby or Mini-Ruby, they look alike) taken from INSIDE the house looking out onto the front porch. She is standing on a table outside the front door, wondering where in the hell is dinner. Yep, it definitely was time for dinner!

Oh, by the way, are you aware the world is going to hell in a hand basket. I should probably not write these journal entries while I am watching the national news on television. Kind of dis-spiriting.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, CHORES DONE, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, January 28, 2011

2011 - Day Twenty Eight; Friday...

A really beautiful day in central Texas. I actually slept a little bit later than usual, so I did not leave the house until almost 7 o'clock. I was still feeling kind of full from dinner last night so I did not have any breakfast. Unfortunately, the way things went, I did not have any lunch, either. So, I am a little bit hungry right now.

I got into the office and got a good bit of work done. I actually put files from last year into file boxes in anticipation to taking them to storage. I am making some good progress in getting things cleared away from last year, and getting things organized for this year. Organization makes things all simpler.

At 10 o'clock, a friend and colleague Ryan came by and we headed out to the Clayton Homes lot on what used to be Ben White Boulevard. They have two or three modular construction homes on the lot there, and they were really interesting to see. Green building principles are really going to become more important to all of us in the very near future, and sustainability is really going to become more and more important. There are all sorts of configurations for these homes, and I think it is interesting that Clayton Homes seems to be taking the lead to make this product available to consumers. Their sales rep there said they sell every home they get. Interesting...

After that, I went out and previewed a small condo complex and sent an Association Management draft to one of the owners. A very nice small complex, and it was referred to me by another colleague Jeanne (say hi to Mr. Buns for me, I saw his photo on you page today). One of our agents (Chris) went with me to preview that property, and then we went out to another condominium project in Northwest Austin and met with the owner of one of the units there. We were hired to lease and manage her unit there, and that will be a nice transaction for all involved.

Overall, a really nice day. I had intended to leave the office early but it just did not happen. Traffic was not TOTALLY TERRIBLE today, so that was a bit of relief. I made it home, got the binoculars out and could easily see Orchid and Cool Breeze in the pasture, so there seems to be nothing to worry about.

Jody got four eggs from the girls today, and when I went out to feed them, one of the Plymouth Rocks was missing. Jody found her on the back patio and he carried her around to the front where she finally decided she could make it on her own to share in the bounty with the other girls.

Tomorrow is another day, and I will happily report its outcome to you when the time is right!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, MODULAR STUFF, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 - Day Twenty Seven; Thursday...

Crazy! Left the house this morning at about 5:45 to get to the Convention Center before the start of a 7 o'clock meeting. Very good and informative Economic Forecast (the last of the season, I think). Had a great time socializing before the function with colleagues and friends. I think there were about 700 attendees @ $165 a head; now there is an economic forecast for you! ANYWAY...

After that, I headed north to attend the Austin Chapter Women's Council of REALTORS business luncheon. There were over 100 members at the luncheon, and there were several speakers (myself included). Another good and informative meeting. Here is something you do not often see; the photographer as the photographed. This is a copy of me and my friend Doren. Doren and his lively bride Tawanna own the Realty Line, a monthly newspaper that covers real estate related events in the Austin MSA, and he is usually the one taking the photographs!

Here are a few things I learned today; the population of the Austin/Round Rock statistical area in now about 1.8 MILLION people and growing. Austin is the 15th largest city in the United States. The population of Austin itself is (I think) just a little bit over a million (I know that does not sound possible, but I am pretty sure that is what I heard). I may need to check those facts, I will get back to you.

Left the office about 4:30 this afternoon, made it home just a little bit before 6 o'clock. I went out and fed the chickens (Jody got six eggs today), and then we headed out to Georgetown for dinner at the Catfish Parlor. I am stuffed. I had the all-you-can-eat catfish and popcorn shrimp; not because I was that hungry, it was because it was a dollar cheaper than the regular catfish and shrimp dinner. I asked for 'just a few more shrimp' and the server brought me a whole bowl of them. I was doomed. There was nothing to do but eat them. I was doomed. DOOMED! By the way, this is a photograph of a very rare and seldom photographed POLLO DE ALPS, commonly referred to as a 'Mountain Chicken'. Just thought I would explain that.

Home and blogging and going to bed.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, DOOMED I TELL YOU, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 - Day Twenty Six; Wednesday...

I got home from my bee keeping meeting pretty late (for me) last night. I am not usually out after dark, we old guys have to be home before the street lights come on, too bad we don't have street lights out here! ANYWAY, ordinarily I would have been unable to go right to sleep, but I have no recollection of laying awake, so that is a good thing! The meeting was fun and informative, and that is an extra plus. I do not think I will be needing to order any bees this spring, my colonies (hives) are doing very nicely from what I can tell. I am a happy guy in that (and all other) regard. You do know that I am the luckiest man in the world, right?

NEWS FLASH: I just found out that what I learned in my high school typing class was all wrong. You are no longer supposed to leave two-spaces after a period in your correspondence (and I assume that is the case with colons also). The reasoning behind this is that old style typewriters used mono-spacing (that is not the correct term) but what it means is that every character, number and symbol on old typewriters were evenly spaced. Today, with word processing, each character takes up only the space it needs, therefore, no need for double spacing after a period. I am not sure I will be able to follow this new rationale, but I will do my best.

We had our first Board Meeting of the New Year today, and it was a VERY GOOD MEETING. Kudos to incoming chair Judith, and big thanks as well to outgoing Chair John. These folks make it look really easy, and I can tell you it is NOT easy.

After the meeting, I made it to the office for some power real estate, and that was all good. I had intended to leave the office kind of early, but either I didn't or traffic was such that I still did not arrive at the house earlier than usual. Not sure exactly what happened there.

I did not go out to check on the cattle this afternoon, I did use the binoculars to check that Orchid was doing well, so I am making the assumption that everyone else is doing well also. The chickens gave up five eggs today (and six yesterday), and they were ready for me to feed them. After I fed them, I was sitting at my desk and saw seven bunnies crossing the porch. Must have been a family on the move.

I have a meeting beginning tomorrow morning at 7AM, so that means I need to leave here between 5:30 and 5:345. Over and out!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BUN FAMILIES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2011 - Day Twenty Five; Tuesday...

This should be a short entry tonight (I know Cliff, you have all heard that one before), but really, I have to get this done early so I can go to my Williamson County Area Beekeepers Association (WCABA) meeting. I need to pay my annual dues tonight!

I was in the office ALMOST all day today, just left for one property inspection early this morning, and then I did not leave again until it was time for me to leave for home. I need to mention that I had to come to a DEAD STOP several times this morning on the way into the office, and my fancy new car told me (verbally) that there was a wreck five miles ahead. Never saw it, don't really know the reason for the stoppage, it was early enough that it should not have happened.

Jody had a couple appointments in Austin this morning, so he got in early and did not have any traffic problems. He got all his errands done, took care of his appointments and had lunch with our friend Lynda at the Blue Star Cafeteria (not really a cafeteria, but whatever...) on Burnet. While he was there, he also saw our friend Teresa, so he had a fine time seeing friends in Austin today.

Once I got home from work, I went out to check on Orchid and her new calf. All seem to be doing pretty well, nothing too alarming that I think needs to be taken care of. This is not the best photo of the two of them I took today, but I really like the attentive look on the calf's face. Hope you like it too. AND, while I was out there taking this photo, THE CAMERA BROKE. It is not working...CRAP! This is the camera I just bought at Target on the day after Thanksgiving. GIVE ME A BREAK!

Gonna have a quick dinner tonight, and then I have to leave!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BROKEN TECHNOLOGY, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 - Day Twenty Four; Monday...

The evening news tonight says that sunset will be after 6PM tonight, and the sun is actually out right now, so we might actually get a chance to see it. This particular photograph (are they still called 'photographs' is they are digital images? Discuss among yourselves and report back to me.) was taken last night as we were sitting down for dinner. It was one of those things that, if you blinked, you missed it. It is really surprising how quickly beauty will escape us. Just another reminder that we need to stop and appreciate things as they come our way, don't wait!

I made it into the office at about the usual time, and I was playing a little bit of catch up from the weekend. Shortly after 8 o'clock, Carrie called and asked if I would go turn her computer on. We both do a lot of work from home, and we use 'GO TO MY PC' to access our office computers. Well, when I went into her office, this squirrel was checking things out, so I went to grab the camera. When we used to be in the other office suite, there was a squirrel that frequented the fence outside my window. He (whatever) would always let me know he was outside, and I would pay attention to him. He was not the least bit shy, and neither was this one. Interesting the things you see in urban settings; little bit different than things we see in the country. One interesting thing; we don't have squirrels out here, there are just not that many trees. Every now and then we will see two squirrels (only two) playing in the trees in the front of the property. Then they are gone, and we will see them again in a couple months.

There are a lot of things I am not as cool as; the mind actually boggles at that statement. Where shall I begin? Well, I went to Whole Foods on Lamar for lunch today, I was going to check out their charging station to see if it had been repaired or not and it was! Yippee! I was meeting Carrie for lunch there, we each needed to go separate ways after lunch. I walked in to the market for the first time in quite a while, and I realized just how 'un-cool' I am. There are lots of really cool people in Austin, and lots of really cool things going in the city, and I guess I forfeited a goodly portion of my coolness when we moved to the country. I think plugging my car in to charge while I am having lunch is 'somewhat cool' but I do not think it puts ME in the 'COOL' class of folks. That is okay with me, though, and I would not change it for money. I am REALLY COOL out in the country (I think).

Okay, almost done... When I got home this afternoon I went out to check on the new (again) mama cow and her calf. I am 99% certain that the new calf is a bull calf. There may be a small (I hope) continuing complication with the mama, but I am checking with my sources to see if I need to take any action or just keep watch and make sure things do not get any worse. This is a picture of the happy family; mama (Orchid) baby (Cool Breeze) and proud papa (Mr. Speckles.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, SQUIRRELLY SQUIRRELS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2011 - Day Twenty Three; Sunday...

Today has been a day filled with triumphs and frustrations and then more triumphs!

I slept fitfully last night because I was worried about Orchid and her calf. I read up on 'retained placentas' and it is not really as bad as it could be, as long as the situation is addressed early on. The challenge is, if the placenta is dragging on the ground (which it was) and the cow steps on it or drags it through manure, it will allow infections to get into the cows bloodstream, and then it gets serious. It becomes toxic. SO, I went out this morning and walked back to the pasture. I did not want to take the Mule, because I wanted to 'sneak up' on the cattle. Luckily, Orchid and the calf were in the barn, so I quickly got them segregated and closed the gate to the barn. I was really surprised that Orchid did not offer any resistance, and I calmly walked behind her, grabbed the placenta and pulled. A little pull on my part, a little walking on Orchids' part, and the placenta was in the dirt. No tearing, everything went well. Stinky, but all okay. I put the placenta in one of the adjacent pastures, and the vultures had a nice time later in the morning. This photo was taken just a few minutes after the 'extraction'.

Then I decided to hook the shredder up to the tractor, and shred some of the tall grasses in the far back pasture, so when the sun comes out again, it will be able to get to the ground and let the grass grow. I struggled, strained, heaved, cussed, practically herniated myself, cussed some more and was almost reduced to tears of frustration. That is when I wondered if real farmers do (or don't) cry. I did not have a full breakdown, but I was close. I could not get the shaft onto the rotor of the tractor securely, and I knew that if it was not secure, it could fly off and really damage the shredder and possibly even cause the whole rig to jack-knife, and that would not be good. Come to find out (hours later when I took everything over to Hubert and Paulines' house) the part I was trying to attach needs to be pulled back, not pushed forward. It is a long story, but for the sake of this entry, believe me when I say I have hooked that part together dozens of times and why I was doing it the wrong way this time, I will never know. Maybe I have no business trying to operate heavy machinery.

After messing with that for a while, I decided to sit out on the porch in the cloudy cold weather. I was happy about the cow and calf, frustrated about the tractor and shredder, so I thought I would just sit out on the porch and pout for a while. Three or four of the chickens decided to come and visit me, and Vera decided that my lap looked really inviting, so she jumped up and stayed for a series of photographs. I never would have ever dreamed that chickens were as friendly as they are. AND they are really curious, too! We got five eggs today, and all is well on the chicken front. I have just fed them, and they will be put to bed as soon as it gets dark.

Jody and I went into Georgetown this afternoon and had spoilers at the Dairy Queen. We also had a nice chat with the manager of the store, who gave us coupons from free sundaes the next time we go in. I asked him how the store in Salado got away with being such a crappy store and that their soft-serve even tasted different. Did you know there are three different categories of soft-serve that Dairy Queen allows their franchises to serve? Neither did I, but now I do. After being in the Hotel and Restaurant business for such a long time, all this stuff still interests me. ANYWAY, as we were leaving, two friends of our (Elaine and Reagan) were coming in, so we turned around and talked with hem while they had lunch. We have not seen them in a pretty good while, so that was a lot of fun to sit there and catch up.

When we got home, Jody and I both went down for naps, me in front of the television and Jody in the bedroom with a pillow on his face because the sun was so bright. Once I got up, I went back to check on the cattle, and I am happy to report that everyone is doing as well as can be expected! The calf is nursing nicely, Orchid is eating, and everything looks to be just fine. I will just keep an eye on them. I think the new calf is a bull calf, and if that is the case, he will be named 'Cool Breeze'. I also think that Minnie and Daphne will be the next ones to drop, and that should not be to far in the future.

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

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2011 - Day Twenty Two; Saturday...

This has been one of the better Saturdays, but I have just a little bit of anxiety to go along with it.

I stayed in bed LATE today, did not make it out of bed until about 6:45, and got things started for the day. When I came in from reading meters and picking up the newspaper and letting the chickens out of their coop, Jody was up and feeding the dog and cat. We both read the paper and drank our coffee, and then I made a lovely egg loaf (see the entry from a couple days ago). After that, I decided to start my day, and I headed out to feed the cattle. True to my anal-OCD traits, I counted what I at first thought were two extra cattle. I am not startled any more when one of the cows gives birth, but I thought for a minute that we had two new calves. It is about time for them to start dropping calves, and I was ready for it. BUT, it ended up that there was just one new calf, and NEW is the key word.

When I got out there, I think the calf was perhaps less than an hour old, still shaky but really cleaned up very nicely by its mother Orchid. Orchid still had a trail of placenta evident, and that is where the concern and anxiety comes from. It is now almost twelve hours later and the 'braid' of placenta has still not been discharged. I have read up on 'retained placenta' on the Internet, and it is not as bad as it might be, but if Orchid does not get it discharged there are two possibilities (or more); the first will be I can give it a gentle tug and see if it will discharge and the second will be she will need to be taken to the vet for treatment. The more serious side of it will be it may become toxic and could end up killing her, so we do not want that to happen. I will watch her closely tomorrow and make a few more phone calls tomorrow if she does not discharge it soon.

In the meantime, you can enjoy these photos of the new member of the family. They are in chronological order starting from the top and going down. The first two photos cover a period of about an hours time, and the last photo was taken about five or six hours after birth. Not at all certain of the gender of the newest calf, but they all look like heifers to me. I learned a lesson a while back, and that is not to call the gender until you see it pee. And then I have been known to be wrong! So, I will let you know when I know more. Since it was an extra cold morning, I am thinking of an appropriate name for the calf, something like Frostee or Cool Breeze. Any ideas? We could have a contest!

I got some paver stones put down in front of the doors to the red barn out in front, and if I keep buying pavers, I will soon have the entire front of the property covered and that will cut down considerably on the maintenance. I let the chickens loose pretty early today, probably about 10 o'clock, and that made them happy. We got four eggs from them today, so that was nice. Tomorrow I will be cleaning the coop, and that is gonna take a little bit extra time this go-round.

It was a really pretty day, and another nice thing was to see some activity at the bee hives. Bee season will be upon us before you know it, and the cold weather has kept the bees pretty sedate, but they were busy (as you know what) in the sunshine of the afternoon. I will be going to the Williamson County Area Beekeepers Association meeting in Georgetown on Tuesday night, and I will be ordering some supplies for this season soon. We are expecting a lot of honey this season, our second year for keeping the bees. It is going to be a great year!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, NEW CALF, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 - Day Twenty One; Friday...

Okay, a good day was had by most. I spent almost the entire day (except for lunch) in the office. Lots of good accomplishments. Around 11 o'clock, Chris came into the office, and I/we/he spent most of the rest of the afternoon (except for lunch) trying to get me up to speed with some new and some not-so-new technology. I most likely should not have gone to the iPad class yesterday, but since I have an iPad, I figured it was time to try and do more with it than just holding down papers on the bookcase. SO, I got some good insight to the iPad, hopefully got one of my older laptops working better (have not tried it out yet), god some new programs on my newer home laptop (the one I am using right now) got some things fixed (down-load wise) on my iPhone, AND got the little NANO downloaded with some music and a book on CD. Pretty much happy with the days events, I just hope I can now remember how to work everything.

I left the office about 3:30 and had an errand to do, so I made it home about 5 o'clock. It is still bitterly cold here, but I am certain we are no where near as miserable as other folks in the country. The temperature today in International Falls, Minnesota was FORTY SIX DEGREES BELOW ZERO. Now, I don't care who you are, that is just not right. Why do people live there? This kind of thing happens a lot, from what I understand. AND, I don't care if it is only 10 degrees below zero, I don't think there is really that much difference. You do not want to go out in it, no matter what it is. This is not something where you hear a lot of people say 'It feels good outside'. I think when it is that cold, you need to keep it inside, where it won't break off. IDIOTS!

We now return to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

What was I talking about? I am not sure, but let's go with this. Oh yeah...when I got home, I went out to feed the chickens, and I refused to pick Ruby up and carry her to the pen. I kind of nudged her along with my foot, and when the other chickens saw this, they thought that looked like fun, so they all got out of the pen to come and join the playtime. Finally got them all back in the pen, and fed them. Jody got four eggs today, and there was another 'egg casualty', this one looked like they laid it while they were on the roost. I guess every now and then an egg will take you by surprise, but when you gotta lay, you gotta lay and there is no getting around it.

We decided to go to dinner tonight at the Denny's in Jarrell. OMG, they just kept bringing more and more food to us. I ordered a salad with chicken fingers and a bowl of clam chowder. The bowl of chowder was enough for a meal in and of itself. Jody ordered the talapia and a bowl of chowder and a side salad. The salad was HUGE and then they brought us four pieces of (I think) cornbread. Whatever. We brought two carry-out packages home with us. We just really do not eat as much as a lot of folks. I think we must be big-boned or something!

Tomorrow morning should be our last REALLY cold day for a week or so...not really expecting any 20 degree low temperatures on the seven-day forecast, anyway.

One more thing before I forget. Today is our friend Bruce's birthday. Bruce and his wonderful bride Melody (but this is about Bruce, not Melody) live in Connecticut where Melody loves the weather they are having and Bruce spends his days in front of a light box. We have not called him to wish him a great day, we will do that tomorrow, but we wanted to make sure we acknowledged his special day. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRUCE! We love you both!

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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 - Day Twenty; Thursday...

egg loaf \eg lof\ n [fr loaffe] 1971 - variant of food dish made from the reproductive produce of a common chicken - somewhere between 'scrambled eggs' and the more up-scale and omelet - also known as the 'hoity-toity' scrambled egg.

egg loaf \eg lof\ v 2011 - what happens when an egg does not get enough exercise

I never cease to be amazed when people e-mail me or ask me about things that I write in these journals. An egg loaf is really just scrambled eggs, and in my case I put whatever I can find that sounds good into the mix; hot dogs (sliced), cheeses of various sorts, mushrooms, salsa, whatever I can find. Nothing fancy BUT DELICIOUS! I started this back in the REALLY early 70's when I was still living in Memphis and the bars were closing but I was not ready to shut down. I would announce to selected folks that the egg loaf was going to be prepared at 'my place' and it was open to pretty much everyone. Memphis was really a sad little place back then, and the years have not been kind to it, so I fear it is even worse now. BUT, that is what an egg loaf is. You are welcome...

Had a couple meetings today, and then I actually did some speed real estate in the office for a couple hours this afternoon. I even squeezed in a iPad class, and that was pretty darn good. Carrie and I have had the iPad's since about October of last year, and the class today was really good. Big plans for that dude starting tomorrow.

It was chicken roulette day today. We got four eggs from the girls today, and of course when I went out to feed them, all but one of them were hiding in back of the house. I finally found all of them, but Ruby is the lagger, and she is quite happy to be carried and put into their pen. This, I am afraid, is going to be a really bad habit, but it was so cold this afternoon, I did not feel like fooling around with her. She is pretty much finished getting me trained, and I will be the one to pay that price. By the way, Ruby is the red chicken (known as a 'production red') on the far right in this photo.

A cold front came through this morning, and we have been having really strong north winds today. Jody said the gauge was showing wind gusts of 24 miles per hour, and that particular gauge is not in the optimal spot, so I expect the gusts were even higher. We have produced a good bit of energy and returned it to the grid today, so that is a good thing...the bad thing is the low temperature tonight will be about 24 degrees, and we all thought this CRAP was over with for the season. We are too confused...

Tomorrow will be a good day of getting work done in the office, and it is going to be a bit of a 'technology' day for me. I am very happy about that. Woo-Hoo!

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2011 - Day Nineteen; Wednesday...

I did not check my e-mail from 6:30 this morning until about 3 o'clock this afternoon. I had 104 new e-mails, and about seven or eight of them were legitimate e-mails, sent to me with an actual purpose. Most of the other e-mails wanted to make a part of me bigger, a part of me smaller, a part of me harder or a part of me softer Most of the rest of them were informing me of a vast inheritance that I was due, and boy were they ever glad they had FINALLY found me.

I did not mention that, yesterday while I was surfing FaceBook in the office (it was work related), I got an instant message from a friend of my (Karen) that said she had just been mugged at gunpoint in London, and...well, you know the rest. I called Karen in her office and we talked as I massaged back and forth with the scammers, and they thought they had me for a while there. It was just awful, and of course I would go right now and wire her money, lucky thing her passport had not been stolen, etc., etc., etc!

This morning I attended a TREPAC Investors Breakfast at the Westwood Country Club...very nice indeed...and one of my duties was to introduce our Texas State Representative Donna Howard. I had briefly met Representative Howard last year at another TREPAC function, and I was very honored to introduce her. Interestingly, Representative Howard is very good and close friends with our very good and close friends Michael and Lynda, so I had previously called upon Lynda to give me some anecdotal information to go along with the standard bio for my introduction. Representative Howard is a very warm and caring person, and I hope very much to become better acquainted with her in the very near future. I have invited her out to the farm to 'dig Iris', so one of these days if the stresses of State Politics gets too overwhelming and she has a few hours to herself, we may just see her. This photo if of me with Representative Howard and Susan Horton, the 2011 Chair of the ABoR PAC Committee.

After the breakfast, I stopped in (briefly) to attend a meeting at the Board, then I was off to speak (on behalf of TREPAC) at the Austin Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. It was a great luncheon meeting, and the big joke was (since many of us had also been at the breakfast earlier) WHAT ARE WE DOING FOR DINNER?

Then it was back to the Board for an Professional Development and Education Meeting, and THEN I went to the office to do a little bit of power real estate. Tomorrow will be another day of meetings. Isn't it interesting how meetings and things get all clustered together? Friday and the first few days of next week are really pretty open, so that will be nice, I am really looking forward to some office time, and hopefully showing some property and making a few dollars.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, OVER SCHEDULING, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011 - Day Eighteen; Tuesday...

So, we are back to this...even though I really enjoy the activities I participate in, sometimes the scheduling is just a little bit crazy. I am complaining now, but this is not really to be considered a complaint, it should be looked upon more as an explanation or just a re-hashing of a days events! I love my life, and I am the luckiest person in the world. Lather, Rinse, Repeat!

The day started out just as most other days. I got up, did my chores, had a piece of quiche for breakfast and headed to the office. I got to the office about 7:30 and did a little bit of power real-estate. Then it was off to my first appointment.

Our office was sponsoring a break for the new contracts class that was being held by a friend and colleague of mine, Gordon. There were about fifty folks in the class, and we were selling our property management services to them. These have proven to be really good opportunities, and we try to do one sponsorship per month. After that event, I stayed for a little bit longer, and gave a very brief presentation about TREPAC, and that is really timely since our Legislative Session for this biennium has just begun. There is just no telling what our sneaky Legislators might be cooking up, we just have to watch and see! This is a photo of me, Carrie, Pat and Chris from our office. Need any good REALTORS? Here is a whole flock of them!

It seems I am having technical difficulties with this journal post...I keep losing text, it is not saving properly, and I keep writing paragraph after paragraph, and I have to write it all again. That is not a happy thing.

Okay, the next thing was to go to a NARPM meeting in the new location, Balcones Country Club. BUT, first I needed to stop and complete an errand. SO, after the errand (was not completed successfully) I pressed my On-Star button for directions to this country club. I had a general idea where it was, but what the heck, I can use the On-Star feature. Works perfectly until you end up somewhere other than where you are supposed to be. But it did give me the opportunity to take a picture of this poor pale little Longhorn along the way. Why yes, there is always time to stop and take a photo of something interesting (or not) for this journal, why do you ask? Here is another interesting and little known fact...the more times I have to try and recreate this entry, the less scathing it becomes about the challenges I had getting to the country club. Good for everyone!

Next up was my MasterMind meeting, and I was in search of something sweet and interesting for a little snacky-poo. I got the great advice from Carrie that the trailer park across from the office sells 'cake-balls' and that is what I ended up with. There is a place in the trailer park (the kind with food trailers, not the kind I used to live in in Hattiesburg) called 'Holy Cacao' and they make cake balls, which it turns are cake balls (well, DUH) that are stuck on a pop-sicle stick, dipped in icing and then have nuts or sprinkles or other stuff added. Cool idea that encompasses two of my favorite things; cake and pop-sicles, what could be better. I have not tried one yet, but everyone that has says they are really good. Maybe later...but the MasterMind group was really a good meeting (we do it every two months) and it all turned out well.

Home now, did some business on the way home and a little bit more power real estate. Jody made a wonderful dinner, and I have just put the girls to bed. We only got two eggs from them today, but that is okay, no need for them to be all stressed out over laying eggs in the cooler weather. No reason for us all to be totally stressed about over-scheduling ourselves!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, HOLY CACAO, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 - Day Seventeen; Monday, MLK, Jr. Day...

Well, the sun indeed did come out tomorrow (if you were singing that song yesterday, and it was lovely today. It took it until (I think) the afternoon for it to happen, but it did. Someone in the office remarked about it, so I started screaming 'MY EYES' like Igor in the Young Frankenstein movie. No one got the reference, so it was just another instance of me acting like an idiot. AND, it was not one of those things that 'You just had to be there' either. NO, YOU DID NOT have to be there, it was pretty lame no matter how it is related to you. Whatever...this photo is proof that we had clear skies today, I am not just making the whole thing up!

BUT, we did have a nice day in the office today. We had out bi-weekly Strategic Planning meeting, and that was really nice. A lot of good planning and also MAKING SURE the plans get implemented. Lots of good work accomplished on my part, and this year is really getting off to a good start.

A nice lunch with Pat and Chris, and then back to tracking down clients, and getting ready for this week. I have the feeling that I have something scheduled that is not on my calendar. I am pretty sure I have everything on my calendar, but I just have this anxiety that something is going to be overlooked. We shall see..

Here is more validation that the batteries in my car are more efficient when the outside temperatures are higher. I got to the office this morning and plugged the car in. I did not drive ANYWHERE today during the day (that will not be the case tomorrow), and when I got into the car to come home this afternoon, it said I had a 32 mile charge. Well, I made it almost 45 miles before it switched to the generator. I think that is great! AND, I was charging on 110 volts, not the 240 volt charging capability I have at home. Very pleased. I can only imaging how far I will be able to go when it is 100 degrees outside. Not really; I expect I will run the batteries down with air conditioning and those types of things, but it will be an interesting learning experience.

We got five eggs from the girls today, and we have turned off their infra-red heat lamp for the next several days. It is not supposed to be REALLY cold here for at least a few days, and I think they will appreciate the dark so they can sleep better. Do you think they really care about sleeping with a light on? I am not sure, and that is not something I have ever encountered when researching chickens. BUT, with our egg collecting today, we have collected over 500 eggs in the less than seventeen weeks we have been getting the eggs from them. I think they are very happy girls. If the are not, they can file a class-action-chicken-suit against us, and see if we ever worry that they are too cold again!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, EGGS, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 - Day Sixteen; Sunday...

'It's raining, it's pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed and he bumped his head
And couldn't get up in the morning'

The rhyme is believed to have originated from Ireland during the commonwealth period (1649-1660) and the dictatorial conditions in the country at that time.

The poor weather conditions in line one reflect the genocide committed against Irish Catholics whilst the last three lines are most likely a wish that Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector of England, will die in his sleep.

I have always been a little bit suspicious of nursery rhymes and their underlying meanings. You never know what you will find out when you are looking for rain facts on the Internet. It is STILL raining here, but I think it may actually stop in the next month or so. One of my FaceBook friends is hoping it will rain forever, since the rain seems to be helping her 'cedar-fever' issues. BUT, as I look out the office window at home, I am watching chickens with feet several times their normal sizes, and pretty much everything we try to do around the house ends up with more stuff covered in mud. It is a little bit brighter today than it was yesterday, but I am truly looking forward to seeing the sun sooner than later.

After egg-loaf this morning, I got all industrial and decided to vacuum (part) of the house. Our housekeeper was sick this week, and we tend to track a lot of 'stuff' into the house, so vacuuming was in order. I did the parts we inhabit mostly, and I am pretty impressed with my efforts. I even arranged the pillows on the back of the couch into a very uncomfortable and impractical design, which is what Sara likes to do every time she visits. I did not however, hide personal grooming items from ourselves in the bathroom, which is another thing she likes to do. I did not want to get too carried away with the whole thing. Jody may make a determination that Sara is no longer necessary, and we cannot have that! I am really not that good at vacuuming!

Jody and I decided to go into Salado to give the Dairy Queen there another chance. The lady that seems to be running the place has obviously not smiled since the last time we were there, and I am starting to think she is working on a Guinness Book of World Records entry. How can you work at a Dairy Queen and not smile? That really seems to me to be the good life. Did you know that one of my first real jobs was at a Baskin-Robbins store in Southgate, Michigan? My love affair with ice cream began long before that, but that job did not help matters at all.

Jody is outside with the dog right now, and the chickens are surrounding him, expecting they are going to be fed sooner than later. AND, he just picked up a dead Meadow Lark off the table on the porch. It obviously crashed into the window and some point and that was the end of that bird. It happens more often than you would expect.

I collected four eggs from the girls this afternoon, and interestingly, their large water reservoir was laying (upright) on the floor of their coop. I have no idea how that happened, the container is suspended from a chain up off the floor, but it has not been re-installed and all is good. This week, either Monday or Tuesday, we will have collected our 500th egg from the girls in just under seventeen weeks of egg production. That will make an average of close to thirty eggs per week, more in the warm weather, less in the cold weather. Incredible. Talk about your basic sustainable resources!

We are heading to Mimi's Cafe tonight in Round Rock for dinner. I checked out their menu on line, and they have a Prix Fixe menu that sounds good, but I am also kind of interested in a great big slab of dead meat. Hmmm...

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BIG SLABS O MEAT, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 - Day Fifteen; Saturday...

The locusts and the plague should hit town before mid-night. Before that, however, we are expecting snow, ice and (during the intermission) a little bit of fire and brimstone. That is it, I have had it with this weather. It has been cold for AT LEAST five days, now it is gray, gloomy, overcast, raining AND COLD. It has not been more than the mid-40's for the last two days, and I am on a short-fuse. I don't care what it is doing up north in those square (and otherwise unrecognizable states) those folks have made a CONSCIOUS decision to live there, and they know the odds of having freakish weather are AT LEAST 50/50. That is why WE live in Texas. The really only freakish things we endure on a consistent basis is the HEAT, and at least them we can take off all our clothes and jump in the pool. I am not sure that I own enough clothes to keep me warm during this period of meteorological mayhem. I SURRENDER. Tell me what I have done, and (maybe) I will consider repenting for my mis-givings. The Sun Will Come Out TOMORROW, MY AS*! It is almost 8 o'clock in the evening, and I want to see some sunshine NOW! Whatever...

So, I got up this morning and made made Jody and myself a nice egg-loaf. Then it was off to the Board to teach an Ethics class which will be for the benefit of TREPAC. I am going to teach a TREPAC benefiting class on the third Saturday of every month. I new idea to gain participation and investment in TREPAC. If you need more information, let me know.

When I got home from the class, Jody and I were pretty non-committal about what we wanted to do, but I finally got us both up and we headed in to Georgetown. It is Saturday after all, and that means spoilers at the Dairy Queen. Jody then wanted to go to HEB, and I went to Tractor Supply, and we came back home. MISERABLE weather for driving, although it is a fine day if you are a duck.

Not s much if you are a chicken. When we got home, I went an let the girls loose, collected five eggs from their nesting boxes, and I came back in and started reading my newest copy of PEOPLE magazine and promptly decided it was a great time for a TWO-HOUR-NAP! It kind of took the edge off things, but it may also have made me just a little bit grumpy.


When I woke up, we watched the news, and Jody made a lovely dinner of salad, salmon and some cheesy rice and veggies. A glass or Merlot, I will finish this entry, and I will be done for the night.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, YUMMY DINNER, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, January 14, 2011

2011 - Day Fourteen; Friday...

Cattle, Firewood, Chickens. Those were the priorities when I got home from the office this afternoon. Cattle, because it is supposed to get rainy this weekend, and I needed to feed the cattle and take them a fresh bale of hay before (not while) it was raining. Even feeding them AFTER it rains is no good, since everything will be muddy-mucky and I personally will be miserable doing it. I got that done, and went on to the next chore. Actually, I went on to the chickens next. Jody had already fed the girls and put them in their pen before I got home. NOTE TO READERS: I left the office today around 3 o'clock, and did not get home until after 5 o'clock. Traffic was a bit of a challenge. ANYWAY, since I was on the Mule, I went out and put the girls to bed for the night, and thanked them for the 5 eggs they produced for us today. A lot better than the ONE we got yesterday. Finally, I got the Mule parked, and I loaded up the wagon with firewood and brought it back into the garage, so we will not have to deal with gathering firewood in the rain. NOW, having accomplished all the tasks I had given myself, that pretty much seals-the-deal that I will not rain as all the local televised prognosticators are reporting. It never fails. It really only bothers to rain about 25 hours after the last car wash (where you get a rain-check if it rains within 24 hours after your car wash. Whatever...

A GREAT day in the office today, pretty much got to spend the whole day in the office and got a lot accomplished.

Teaching an Ethics class tomorrow morning, and then I hope Jody and I will go and get a few things accomplished.

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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 - Day Thirteen; Thursday...

Went this morning to a Housing Forecast presented by the Board of REALTORS. This is not my hand, this is Leonard's hand, and to his left is John, Susan and Cathy. I actually think it is a fun photo, and I was ill-prepared for Leonard's act of spontaneity. Woo-Hoo...

So, as with forecasts for the past several years, all things the colors of pink and rose are forecast for the Greater Austin Area. HOWEVER, this time it feels 'for real' and if our office and the offices of our colleagues are any indication, it is indeed 'turning around'. There really really is no better place to be in the real estate business right now than Austin, Texas. This is a photo of my dear friend Sytha and me at the meeting this morning. I like it very much!

One interesting thing from the forecast was from IBM and quoted by one of the speakers. Since my notes from the meeting are in the office, and I don't have that good of a memory any more, I went online to see if I could find the information, and by golly there is was. It seems it was in the December 29, 2010 edition of the Austin Business Journal...

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, which has a significant Austin presence, predicts that technology will evolve in the following ways:

You'll beam up your friends in 3-D
In the next five years, 3-D interfaces — like those in the movies — will let people interact with 3-D holograms of your friends in real time, IBM predicts.

Scientists at IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose are working on new ways to visualize 3-D data and on technology that would allow engineers to step inside designs of everything from buildings to software programs, running simulations of how diseases spread across an interactive 3-D globe.

Batteries will breathe air to power our devices
In the next five years, IBM said, scientific advances in transistors and battery technology will allow devices to last about 10 times longer than they do today. And better yet, in some cases, batteries may disappear altogether in smaller devices.

Instead of the heavy lithium-ion batteries used today, scientists are working on batteries that use air to react with energy-dense metal, eliminating a key inhibitor to longer lasting batteries.

You won't need to be a scientist to save the planet
In five years, IBM said, sensors in your phone, your car, your wallet and even your tweets will collect data that will give scientists a real-time picture of your environment. You'll be able to contribute this data to fight global warming, save endangered species or track invasive plants or animals that threaten ecosystems around the world. In the next five years, a whole class of "citizen scientists" will emerge, using simple sensors that already exist to create massive data sets for research.

Your commute will be personalized
IBM said that in the next five years, advanced analytics technologies will provide personalized recommendations that get commuters where they need to go in the fastest time. Adaptive traffic systems will intuitively learn traveler patterns and behavior to provide more dynamic travel safety and route information to travelers than is available today.

Computers will help energize your city
Up to 50 percent of the energy consumed by a modern data center goes toward air cooling. Most of the heat is then wasted because it is just dumped into the atmosphere. With new technologies such as on-chip water-cooling systems developed by IBM, the thermal energy from a cluster of computer processors could be recycled to provide hot water for an office or house.

Okay, well, I will wait and see, but I am still waiting for my flying car to arrive.

We only got one egg from the girls today, so it must be the cold weather. It is not supposed to warm up THAT much in the next several days, but it is supposed to be warmer AND we are supposed to get some rain. Cold and rain, a great combination, but I am not (yet) complaining. I will be needing to feed the cattle tomorrow or the next day, and I hope I can get it done before it rains (or at least not WHILE it is raining.

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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 - Day Twelve; Wednesday...

We give up. We surrender. Just tell us what you want. Unmarked bills? No problem. First born children? Easier than cash, that is for sure. JUST TELL US WHAT YOU WANT and we will do it. We are tired of it, we want to cold weather away. The other day (Monday) when we were on our way to College Station, we made a pit-stop at McDonald's, and when the doors to the Suburban opened, I said something about how cold it was outside, and our friend Marcy could hardly stifle a chuckle. Of course, Marcy is from Sioux Falls or one of those 'cold places', one of those kind of 'square states' that are hardly recognizable! IT IS COLD THERE, we choose to live here where it is VERY SELDOM cold. Okay, I will quit now! But I do like this photograph that I borrowed...Whatever...

Great day today, a couple of really good meetings, and very nice lunch, and a lot of productive activities. I am a happy (but cold) boy, and life is good. At one of the meetings I attended this afternoon, there was a drawing and I WON an iPod Nano 8GB something or other. I am sure I will figure it out soon, it is pretty cool looking, and it was fun to win it.

Four eggs from the girls today, and I am not even sure if they know it is cold outside, or if they are just going with the flow.

This is Economic Forecast season; attended one on Monday, will attend one tomorrow and I think there are two more on the schedule.

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

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 - Day Eleven; Tuesday...

Today is 1.11.11. And November 11th will be 11.11.11. I'm just sayin'...

I have determined that in my old age I will be a counter and a reader; counting things (like eggs) and reading things (like electric meters and water meters. If I could be paid for the things that I (obsessively) count, read and record, my future would be made. I 'track' things; eggs, gasoline mileage, KwH's, gallons consumed, the numbers of people in classes I attend, the number of seats that a theatre auditorium can accommodate. I am doomed. How did this happen. Ultimately, I guess I really don't care. I am happy with my routines (one of which includes this journal), and therefore I see no reason to change. Again, I am just sayin'!

I had a really good day at the office and beyond today. Made a TREPAC presentation at one of the Keller-Williams offices with my subcommittee co-chair Karen, and that was a lot of fun. I really enjoy passing on the word about TREPAC.

When I got back to the office, Carrie and I went to the South Austin Cafe (I think that is the name of it), it used to be called Vinnie's. Totally UNDERWHELMED! How can you really screw up a Cesar Salad? Well, I will tell you. It all starts with the indifference of the wait staff and it goes downhill from there. Carrie said she and Marshall had been there before and were not at all impressed. Here is the kicker, I gave the waiter a five-dollar tip. Now that I am at home, I am wondering why I did that. Five Bucks for crappy service, crappy food and nothing else. If I had been asked how I enjoyed my food, I would have offered some constructive criticism, but it was not important to the staff or management. No one cared. I do not believe I care to return, and I will be happy to get that word out as well.

WELL, I am glad that little rant is over!

Once I got home this afternoon, I cleaned the wood stove out and got another fire going. It is supposed to be kind of chilly tonight (Chili Today, Hot Tamale!), but I have every confidence that we will (for the most part) all survive the ordeal. One more night of really cold (for us) weather, and then we will be back to some semblance of normal.

Four eggs from the girls today, and they were not ready to be 'cooped-up', but I got them in anyway.

Tomorrow WILL be another day!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, NICE FIRES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 - Day Ten; Monday...

Let's see...what shall today's entry be about? I know, let's start talking about stuff that happened yesterday, and go from there! This photo is of the chickens as seen from the breakfast room window yesterday afternoon as I was writing the entry for yesterday. See how I am working that 'yesterday' theme into this entry? Work with me here. ANYWAY, I was too far gone YESTERDAY to take the time to include anything MORE about the chickens, so I decided to leave it be, and try to remember it for today, which will be yesterday TOMORROW. Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away... Whatever...

Now let's talk a little bit about today, which was tomorrow YESTERDAY. Today I got up even earlier than usual. I was scheduled to meet six other colleagues at one of their offices in Austin, and we were all going to car-pool up to Aggie-Land (College Station) for the annual Educators Conference. Everything went fine, I got there just a little after seven, and there was already one of our co-conspirators waiting. I actually got to plug my car in behind John's office, and that is the FIRST time I have ever plugged the car in ANYWHERE other than my home and my own office! Thanks John and Susan. So, we all piled into John's suburban and off we went to College Station. A fine time was had by all! John, Susan, Chad, Warren, Marcie, Rita and myself. Is that seven? Yep, and the Suburban was not even crowded. Very comfortable. As you can see from this picture, I am not a big fan of flash photography! We left A&M to head back to Austin about 3:45 or so, and just about five miles from John's office, my car texted me that the charge was complete. SWEET!

I got home about 6:30 tonight, and it is CHILLY outside. Supposed to be down (probably) in the mid-20's tonight. Rumor is we will get our week-of-winter this week, and we are pretty much over it already. We will be happier with highs in the 70's and lows in the 50's, thank you very much.

The chickens seem to be enjoying their heat lamp. They were all huddled up around it this evening when I went out there to shut them up in their coop. We got four eggs today, so that is a pretty good haul with the colder temperatures.

One meeting on the schedule for tomorrow, and that will be good. There is plenty of work to be done!

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

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2011- Day Nine; Sunday...

An early post today, just because that is the way I roll! AND, because it is chilly (46*) and drizzly outside, we have a nice fire in the stove, and I am going to go and lay on the couch once I have this finished.

In the last twenty-four hours, we have had ALMOST two-inches of rain. I took this photograph earlier this morning, and it has been rainy for most of the day. It is cloudy right now, not raining but not inviting either. It is 'raw' outside, so I have decided to put it back in. Figure it out for yourself! There used to be a joke about 'It feels good outside, so then you should leave it outside'. Whatever, that is one of those things where you 'had to be there'!

I decided to go out this morning and check on Minnie to make sure she had not taken a turn for the worse; the chickens has absolutely NO interest in going outside their coop and you could not blame them. When I walked back to the middle pasture (I walked instead of taking the Mule, I have learned what will get the Mule stuck in the mud and what won't) it was still raining pretty briskly, and when I got to the barn back there, the rain on the metal roof was really nice. If it had been a little warmer and did not smell like a barn, it would have been nice to take a nap.

All the cattle were doing well, Minnie MIGHT still be favoring her foot a little bit, I am pretty certain of that, but she is still up and around, so I am hoping she will recover with no problems. She and Orchid were out by themselves, and I did not really want to bother them, so she just stood there and they both stared at me. I have been reading a book (actually reading, not on CD) called 'The Longhorns' by J. Frank Dobie (a gift from Michael and Lynda), and it says that cattle (back in the day of 'driving herds' liked to be sung to. The old cowboys would sing to them at night to calm there I was in the rain, singing to Orchid and Minnie. I chose 'Unchained Melody' and took artistic license quite liberally since I would forget some of the words, but it seemed to work nicely. I kept singing, and finally all the cattle had moved from where they were to where I was singing to Orchid and Minnie. I thought that was pretty interesting, and I will keep doing it in my 'rich baritone'. Box office opens in the morning at 9AM! This is a picture of the Chairman (Chairman Moo) playing Peek-A-Boo. I like this picture a lot!

Later in the morning, Jody and I went into Georgetown (imagine that) and did several errands. We went to Home Depot to get a few things, then to Wal-Mart where I returned something that I bought yesterday. Then we went to the Georgetown Farm Supply store where I bought an infra-red light to keep the chickens warm for the next several nights. Supposed to be kind of cold, so there is no reason to take any chances. Then we stopped at (you know where) for a spoiler, and finally we stopped at Wendy's for take-home Chili for dinner tonight. YUMMY! On the way home, the clouds were breaking up a little bit, and we decided to go home by way of one of the low-water crossings. As we were going down this deserted road, I thought this photo of the clouds (Hi Jeanne!) was pretty interesting. It kind of reminds me of something that might have been in the movie "Giant'. Okay, maybe I give myself WAY TOO MUCH credit, but that is what it reminded me of.

Home now, the infra-red lamp has been installed, and I gathered up five eggs from the girls. They are out running loose right now, and if you could see them, you would not believe how much mud one chicken could have on their feet. It is their coop, they can muddy it up if they want to!

This is a picture of one of the Amaryllis blooms that our friends Joe Mac and Carolyn brought us over the Holidays. They brought us three, and this is the last one to bloom. They are just beautiful. We were planning to plant all the Amaryllis in one of the front beds (we actually transplanted three or four), but now we discover that chickens and loose dirt or mulch are not really a happy combination. I now know exactly what they are talking about when someone says 'chicken scratch'. They certainly do scratch up everything they can, the little scavengers!

Heading off to College Station tomorrow for a work shop, and then another week in the office. It is still looking to be an EXCELLENT YEAR, and that is not just my opinion!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, INTERESTING STUFF, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2011 - Day Eight; Saturday...

Excellent day today, and chances are tonight will be better (if we get the predicted rain), and tomorrow will be even better yet, because I can probably get all my working stuff done in the morning and have the afternoon so Jody and I can go and do something fun! We shall see...

I stayed in bed late this morning (for me anyway) and when I finally got up, I went and did my morning things, read the paper, had coffee. Ordinary stuff. Finally I made an egg loaf, and alternated doing real estate stuff (officey kind of things) and farm stuff. A little real estate, and then I went out and fed the cattle. A little bit of real estate stuff, and then I took a fresh bale of hay out to the cattle. That kind of thing.

Minnie has a hurt foot, I think. She is favoring her left front foot/leg. It does not seem to be swollen or anything, but she is favoring it a little bit, and kind of holding it up like a dog would if it had a hurt foot. I need to pay close attention to it. This is a picture of Minnie when I was feeding them this morning, she does not look terribly hurt, but I am still worried (okay, not worried yet) and I will keep a close watch on her. The photo below is of the two steer calves in from, that is 'Sleepy' on the left and 'Chairman Moo' on the right, with our first born calf 'Violet' in the background. Violet is a REALLY small cow, and she has already had her first calf. She is just genetically a small cow. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

After a little bit more real estate stuff, Jody and I went into Taylor to get some more cattle feed. Then we stopped at the Taylor Cafe and got some brisket and sausage for dinner tonight, then we went to Dairy Queen for spoilers, then we went to Walgreen's, then we went to Wal-Mart, then we came back home. Well, in between I got a call from Carrie, and so we drove past her property in Taylor just to see it. THEN we cam home.

Jody went down for a nap, I took the feed out to the feed shed, and then I took eggs to Pauline and Hubert and then some to Randy and Irene. And, all along the way I had to stop and gossip with everyone.

Let the chickens loose and we got five eggs from them today. Their production may really go down this week because it is supposed to be extremely cold and rainy the next several days. Maybe a good haul tomorrow, but the first part of the week is supposed to be bad.

We have a fire going in the stove, and Jody and I are playing Scrabble. This is the fourth time in a row that Jody has clobbered me at Scrabble. And, I can tell you truthfully, multi-tasking is not helping my game any at all, but it will help me call it a day quicker.

Tomorrow will be great!

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