Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 - Day Ninety; Thursday...

Well, all I can say is, this strawberry is a goner. I have been meaning to eat it for the last several mornings, but when I go out to get the paper (and do my obsessive compulsive retentive chores) it is dark and I don't think about it. So, this afternoon when I was going out to give the chickens fresh water, I could not resist it. Such is the life of a strawberry. How SWEET it WAS!

I left the office about 3 o'clock this afternoon, and stopped at SUGAR MAMA's just down the street from our office. Tomorrow is Jody's birthday, so I am working up to it. These are small personal sized pies; one is Key Lime and the other is Chocolate Cream and we split them. Jody has already had his, and mine is sitting on the table beckoning to me. They are alluring 'sireens' just like in the required reading in college. Now I need to come up with something for tomorrow. I can do this!

I went out to check on the cattle after I watered the chickens, and Mimi is really boycotting me. I did not take the Mule into the pastures, I parked it outside, but when she saw me approaching, she hauled it to the back of the pasture and was taking her calf with her. This is a picture of the two calves and their mamas, heading AWAY from me. It is enough to give me a complex! In the picture, Monday's calf is on the left (mostly white) and Tuesday's calf is next (mostly black). Monday's calf is fair of face, Tuesday's calf is full of grace...

I am getting my car back tomorrow afternoon, and I am happy about that. I really do like that car, and all the things it stands for. The engineers from Detroit were not able to replicate the problem in another Volt, so they believe it may have been an issue with my car only. They have also reported that no other car has had that problem reported, so we shall see. I can tell you one thing, I am VERY HAPPY with Covert Chevrolet in Hutto. Thanks to all of the staff there for making this process as painless as they can, and for going out of their way to be accommodating to me. If you guys know me at all, you know that is not the easiest thing to do.

Tomorrow will be another day!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, ALMOST A BIRTHDAY, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2011 - Day Eighty Nine; Wednesday...

Be careful, this is expected to be another brief entry... I had a wonderful talk this afternoon with our friend Melody in Connecticut. She works wildlife rehab there, mostly reptiles, but she knew the answer to my question about the Owl. Ever since last week when we found the Owlet in the yard and took it to rescue, we had not seen the Owl, and we were concerned that something might have happened to it. Melody said if they don't have eggs in the nest or there are no other Owlets in the nest, they have no reason to stay in the nest. They might roost somewhere close-by, but the nest is only for laying and raising young. Makes perfect sense to me now that it has been 'spalined!

Okay, the chickens have demanded equal time, so this is a shot of the girls. They are really WAY AHEAD in the 'face-time' in this journal, but the calves are hands-down winners in the 'peoples-choice' for cutest things they have seen in the last couple of weeks. The girls are getting into their pens later and later as the days get longer and longer, and there may be a time when they will be needing to feed me and put me to bed. I have been accused of going-to-bed-with-the-chickens, but these girls are going to have to start going to bed earlier if they want me to feed them.

Here is another photo of the calf that was born on Monday. This calf is about 55-hours old, and it is just incredible how much it has grown. Oh, and we can forget about the 'it' part, this beautiful calf is a bull calf. Man I am just awed by how pretty this calf is. He will be a beautiful Bull, if we don't nip it in the bud! Not sure what to name him, but this picture is him with his mama Moo Unit. You can see the other black and white cow behind them, her name is Doodle Bug.

I met with the Chevrolet engineers this afternoon (they still have the car), and they said my car is the only one that has ever experienced this issue, but they know how they can prevent it from happening. The car is programmed with certain 'tolerances' to certain conditions, and they can raise the programmed 'tolerance' level, which will make the car go into its' 'safe-mode' after a higher level the event. Make sense? Well, it kind of does to me, and if you really want to know about it, I will try to explain more. It is kind of like a smoke detector might be programmed to sound after a little bit of smoke or a little bit more smoke. Which would you prefer? In the case of this car, do you want your power steering (an electric function, no longer a hydraulic function) to go out after a little bit of vibration or after a lot of vibration? Who knows?

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 - Day Eighty Eight; Tuesday...

Okay, as the old saying goes, another day - another dollar. In this case it is another day - another calf. I got home from the office this afternoon and Jody and I got into the Mule and headed out to go check on yesterdays Cow and calf. As we were getting closer to the pasture, I told Jody that it looked like Mimi was in the far pasture with ANOTHER new calf, and sure enough she was. Moo Unit was doing wonderfully well (her retained placenta was gone, good job!) and her new calf (remember, just a day old) was doing wonderfully well also.

But there in the far pasture was Mimi with another new calf, just maybe an hour old, and still not properly cleaned up. Really, really shaky, but doing well. Mama was really nervous with us being as close as we were, and I did not want her to charge me, so we decided that discretion was the better part of valor, so we backed up and let her have some room with her calf. As we were leaving, she was paying less attention to us, and more attention to her calf, so I am comfortable. We got back to the house, and I took the binoculars out with me and went beyond the pool where I could spy on both Mamas and calves, and the newest one was still shaky but it looked like it was nursing (or at least trying to) and Mama Mimi was being patient with her. The country is a happy place to live.

On the way into the office this morning there was a little bit of traffic, but nothing really terrible. There was this instance of 'twinkly lights' which could possibly remind some of us of life back in the late '60's. Really, that was all such a long time ago, all it really reminds me of right now is more traffic congestion. There is really nothing recreational about it, just more time spent listening to my books on CD's.

Have you ever had one of those moments? Our 'Administrative Goddess' Karla had one of those moments today. She was getting one of her frozen lunch entrees out of the freezer today at lunch time and discovered a very stylish pair of children's sunglasses in the bag with the entree. She had sworn that she purchased the sunglasses but she had no idea what had happened to them. I do stuff like that all the time, but it usually has to do with putting the water measuring container for the coffee pot in the refrigerator, and putting the coffee in the cabinet. OR I will find the keys to the car in the refrigerator or something else stupid like that. It was really interesting to see (and mainly hear) Karla's reaction when she found the sunglasses in the freezer! Fun!

Tomorrow I go and drop my car off again at the dealership. I got a call today to tell me that the loaner car would not be the Volt, but a Chevy Cruze. That is okay with me, since both cars are 'built on the same platform', which to me means they share the same chassis. AND, since I complained about the gas usage with the last loaner, I was told I will not be responsible for refilling the car when I return it. GOOD DEAL! So, I will be stopping to put gas in the Volt tomorrow on the way, since the cheapest gas in the area is in Taylor (HEB and WalMart are right across the street from each other), so I always try to get gas there. On my current tank of gas, I have gone over 750 miles, and I am averaging OVER 100 MILES PER GALLON. I expect that by the time I get gas tomorrow, I will be averaging 102 miles per gallon, my best showing yet. That is really pretty cool to me.

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

Monday, March 28, 2011

2011 - Day Eighty Seven; Monday...

Well, this entry had intended to be about chickens and their growing orneryness since the time has changed and the days are getting longer BUT I will save that for another day.

I got home kind of early this afternoon, and immediately sat down in front of the tv to watch Jeopardy with Jody. And that generally puts me into nap-mode, which it did today. Once I regained consciousness, Jody and I watched some of the news (until I determined I had had enough), and I got up to check my e-mail. There were five chickens on the porch looking in the door, so I thought I would see if they could be lured into their pen with some food, but that was a no-go. I came back in and looked out the back window towards the pastures, and I saw what looked like a smaller and whiter speck back there than what I am used to seeing. I asked Jody if I had time before dinner and he said I did, so I bundled up (it is in the 60's here today, kind of chilly) and headed toward the back pasture.

Sure enough along the way I counted twelve cattle instead of the eleven that I counted yesterday. It seems my note of the 'waxy-residue' and 'big bags' was true, and Moo Unit (daughter of Mimi's Moonbeam) had a calf just a few hours ago. Not sure if it is a bull or heifer calf (hoping for a heifer) but I will tell you this; IT SHORE IS PURTY! Almost solid white and just beautiful. There is nothing whiter than the white of a new calf, just beautiful. I hope you enjoy these two photos, and tomorrow we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2011 - Day Eighty Six; Sunday...

Waiter, what is that mouse doing in my pool? The backstroke? Well, not really, it was more like the Australian crawl, and there is no telling how long he had been in there struggling for his life. I scooped him out, and he was totally exhausted. He rested in the flower beds for several hours, then he decided the better part of continuing to breathe would be to skeedaddle under the gazebo deck. Pretty much the same scenario when we rescued a skunk out of the pool (except I used a net and not a strainer, and there was no poking involved). We had a bit more organized day today, no emergency runs about anything (if you don't count Dairy Queen).

We got almost all the gazebo stained, some of the decking stained, and we will finish it up next week. I swear I stained the same piece of lattice for about five hours today. I know I was actually making progress, but it seemed like I was the lattice would never end. I was occasionally cursing the person that invented lattice, and at the same time I was amazed at the kind of slapped together construction of the gazebo and deck. That is what happens when you pay attention to the details of something while you are painting. I was somewhat concerned while we were actually painting, but the stain dried very nicely and very evenly, so my primary concerns were not necessary.

In the middle of everything, we did go to Georgetown for a spoiler, and it was a quick trip because I really just needed to sit down for a while. After we got back, I watered all the trees that can't be easily reached with hoses. The water tank and trailer are working out very nicely, but I think I want to get a longer piece of hose for that. I an connecting a couple pieces of PVC pipe into the hose to actually get the trees watered, but a longer piece of two inch hose will work much better. The chickens were not loosed until about 3 o'clock this afternoon, because I did not want them tracking redwood stain all across the pool deck. So far, the plan went well. We did get five eggs from the girls today, and they all seem to be pretty content. I am considering getting four more chicks, something exotic, but I am not sure what I will do. We shall see...

Got the cattle fed today, and took a fresh bale of hay out to them. WARNING - If you are offended by graphic descriptions of farm animals you should skip directly to the beginning of the next paragraph! You have been warned... I keep expecting new calves but so far it is all just in my imagination. BUT, at least two of the cows (Minnie and her daughter) have that obvious waxy residue on their teets (spell check says teets is not a word) and their bags are really getting big. I told you you should have gone to the next paragraph. Don't blame me! Anyway, that is supposed to be a sign that somebody is about to drop a calf. I will let you know. This is a picture of Orchid and her bull calf Cool Breeze.

That is just about it for today. There was lots of other stuff done, but mainly I am just achy. Jody said it is because I have used muscles I have not used for a while today, and I responded that I DO NOT HAVE ANY MUSCLES, but he said I was just being pishy (spell check says pishy is not a word, but I know for sure I can be pishy) , and go lay down. Whatever. The wildflowers are starting to bloom a bit more, and we are getting more Iris blooms, and I have always liked primrose. They are just about the prettiest and most delicate things you can imagine, and they take hold in the harshest of climates.

I hope you all have a nice week!

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

Saturday, March 26, 2011

2011 - Day Eighty Five; Saturday...

Okay, I hope you are all settled in and comfy, this entry has all the earmarks of being a double-issue. If you know how chatty I get when I say I am going to be brief, I would beware since I am already making a disclaimer.

Actually, nothing much went as planned today. I am always pretty pleased that I can be flexible, but it was a little bit crazy today. Yesterday my friend Konrad (who owns Round Rock Honey Company) called and said he would be by this morning and we would work the hives. We got five of them worked, and I only got stung three times, which is not even close to a record number of stings for me in one day. I have to tell you, those hives were not happy, and it was not even the hive that we dropped. Anyway, we took a look at four of the hives, and there were no major issues with any of them, so that is a really good thing. This is a picture of me holding one of the frames from one of the haves, and it is COVERED with honey. I think Konrad actually took this frame to have the honey tested, and he will report back when he gets the word from A&M.

As we were working the hives, I had to go back to the barn for something, and I saw on the ground what I thought was a partially eaten opossum corpse, but it turned out to be an Owlet. So, that kind of changed my plans for the day in a big way. While Konrad and I were wrapping up the hives, I asked Jody to see if he could find a raptor rescue in the phone book. Well, the phone books do not really provide as much information as we would like (or have been trained to require lately) so once I had a chance to settle, I looked on the Internet and found a rescue guy, and called him and we had a nice talk. At that time, I had not really studied the Owlet, because I did not really want to disturb it. Anyway, I was directed to go back and get more information, including a more accurate estimate of its' size. I did all that, and picked it up to see if it was relatively healthy. I really thought it was a young bird, maybe just a day or two old. I sent the guy an e-mail with four photos, and we talked again on the phone.

Well, the next thing you know, Jody and I are both in the car with the Owlet in a shoe box. The rehab place (the guys home in Cedar Park) was about 35 miles away from us, but when we got there, we found out that this little one was most likely about four weeks old. The guy met us at the door with his wife and two dogs. Once inside, he weighed the Owlet, and offered it some 'diced mice' with a really long pair of industrial tweezers. Well, that brought some life into the little one, and we all breathed a sign of relief. We talked for a while, and made plans to communicate back and forth, and keep up with the progress of the Owlet. They need to get it somewhere there is another owl, so it will not 'imprint' with humans; an Owl that is not afraid of humans is a danger to itself.

SO, after we left there, I stopped at a nearby Target to see if I could find one particular thing (I could not, and Jody stayed in the car to listen to 'Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me), but I did run into Keith, the manager of the Dairy Queen in Georgetown. He was there with his daughter, and we talked for a few minutes, and I told him of our adventures so far that day. It was about 10:30 by this time, and I told him that we were on our way to Dairy Queen.

When we got to Dairy Queen, we found out that Keith had called ahead and the hot fudge sundae I had and the Mint Oreo Blizzard that Jody ordered were 'on the house'. It is nice to have friends at ice cream places!

While we were driving to the rehab place, I got a call from the service manager at the Chevrolet dealer where I purchased the car. It seems they are STILL talking to engineers in Detroit, and that they are taking 'several parts' off the assembly lines in Detroit, flying three engineers into Austin, and I have an appointment to leave my car with them for a few days starting Wednesday of this week. AND, instead of a gas guzzler, I will be given their other VOLT as a loaner while mine is in the shop. I told they guy that I intended to do some bonding with the engineers and would like to spend two or three hours with them, and he said that would be fine. So I think that is pretty cool. I will let you know how that goes.

Once we got home, we both went down for naps, and I finally got up and went out and checked the pool. In our haste, the pool woman had been here but we had to leave to go to the rehab place. When we got back the pool was doing really well, and I went out and started cleaning off the deck so it can be cleaned and stained tomorrow. My goal for today had been to scrape the cedar columns in front of the house and seal them with a latex polyurethane, but all I managed to get done was the scraping part. Tomorrow is another day.

We did get six eggs from the girls today, and we will keep them in their pen tomorrow while we are staining the decks. They will not be happy about that. While I was scraping the last of the columns, Jody and the dog went for a ride. Jody and the dog go for a ride just about every day, and Jody has found that it is much easier for the dog to get in and out of the car with the help of an ottoman. I am not saying anything here, but I think this is really cute. We know some other folks who have stories about their pets, but I think this one is really cute. They do not go anywhere, but they just kind of go around the block...and out here that means about a six or seven mile drive. It usually takes them about twenty minutes, and when it is all over, the dog gets a nice dog biscuit. I think this whole thing started when Jody took the dog with him to the drive-thru, and the dog trained Jody that it would be a good thing to take him for a ride every day.

The next thing on the list was to go into Austin and attend the Elks Lodge 2011-2012 Installation of Lodge Officers. One of our agents (Pat) was installed today at the Esteemed Loyal Knight of the Lodge, and my business partner (Carrie) was installed as the Lodge Inner Guard. They have both worked really hard on behalf of the Lodge, and it was really fun and interesting to see them Installed, and to listen to all the tradition and ceremony behind the Installation. Congratulations to both of them. This is a photo of Pat and Carrie after the Installation.

On the way home, clouds were developing, and I took this photo just to remind myself of how much I really enjoy clouds. Seeing these clouds reminds me that it has been a while since we have seen any clouds, let alone seen any rain. BUT, I have faith in the sage that is blooming up by the road. We really need some rain.

SO, that is about it for today. Tomorrow I will get some work done. Or not; I can be flexible.

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

Friday, March 25, 2011

2011 - Day Eighty Four; Friday...

Today was a most wonderful day. A very god and productive meeting in the morning, an office luncheon mid-day celebrating (I think) four spring birthdays for our crew, a nice bit of accomplishments in the afternoon, than coming home, going out to dinner, having a glass (or two) of wine out on the front porch while I product this entry AND the UPS guy just delivered my honey jars. SO, I am pretty much ready to go. This is a photo of the lunch crowd, starting with Tom in the pink shirt and going clock-wise; Tom, Toni, Sytha, Chris, Margaret, Ed, Pat, Carrie, Karla and me.

Konrad (the Round Rock Honey guy) called me this morning to ask if he could bring a class out to the farm tomorrow morning, which I was all in favor of. He called back later and asked if I could just take a couple honey frames over to his warehouse in the morning to show his class. That was not going to work because I am scheduled to be scraping and painting the front columns of the house about that time. SO, Konrad is now scheduled to be here in the morning about 7:30 to pull a couple of frames of honey to take and show his class.

I took home a to-go box from the luncheon today, and I brought back a to-go box from dinner tonight. I have no issues with left-overs, as you will know if you are long time readers of this journal. Left-overs are very good, and I don't understand folks who refuse to eat left-overs. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

This is a picture of our Owl. If you look at the horizon in the photo (kind of where the weather vane is pointing, that is the Owl in a picture I took last night. Jody had a close encounter with the Owl this morning; he was probably 25 feet away from the Owl when it flew up in a tree while he was watering, and then the Owl was dive-bombed by a couple Mocking Birds. Interesting the things that go on out here on the edge of nowhere.

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

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 - Day Eighty Three; Thursday...

Today really just confirmed a few things that I was already aware of, but not always conscious of. I am the luckiest man in the world. I have a wonderful partner, significant other, soul-mate, whatever label you would like to put on him, feel free. I am also surrounded by wonderful and caring people in my office no matter if it is staff or colleagues, they are all the best. Not second best, or third best, they are ALL the BEST. They make my life easy, and make me feel important. I hope they think I make them feel appreciated, because they are all very much appreciated. I would be nothing without all the people that I have surrounded myself with, and i hope they are all aware.
I had a few calls today from my Chevrolet dealer (they are very nice). The first call said that they had continued the conversations with Detroit, and that Detroit (they entire city, obviously) had decided to replace the electric power steering motor in my car. BUT, there are no spare parts for these cars, and it would be just a couple weeks before we would schedule that appointment. No problem. The next call I had said that the engineers of the car from Detroit will be driving down to Texas with the part and that they will be personally replacing the part on my car. So, I think I will be there for the installation, and to use this as a bonding experience with the engineers from General Motors. I actually think that is pretty cool, and I will let you know how this whole thing works out. I also told the service man at the dealership that I was really not in the mood to pay for gasoline in a 'guzzler' loaner, and that I think Chevrolet needs to rethink that. I purchased the car (and took on a car payment for the first time in MANY years) so I would not have to put hundreds of dollars worth of fossil fuels in my vehicle of choice on a regular basis. That is my story and I am stickin' to it.

This is a photo of the wisteria plant that I found up by the road yesterday. Interestingly neither Jody or I were aware that the plant was there, but now that we know it, we will do our best to nurture it. We have big plans for this plant over the weekend, and I will provide you with photographic documentation of the proceedings in the Saturday edition of this journal.

Last night while Jody and I were sitting out on the porch, we had several fun observations of our Owl that is nesting in one of the trees between the house and the road. Once he/she (we still imagine that it is a female) went and caught some sort of varmint in the neighbors pasture, and then he/she came down for water in one of the troughs I have out for the bees. Really beautiful, and we are very pleased that she is comfortable around us and know that we are not interested in harming her.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, WISTERIA, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!~

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2011 - Day Eighty Two; Wednesday...

Another wreck. How do these things happen. It looks like the light colored car was heading in the same direction as me, and it looks like it hit the dark colored car, but I am not sure how that could have happened. Maybe if the light colored car was making a left turn and hit the dark colored car, BUT, even though it looks like the light colored car could have been turning into a driveway (on the University of Texas Campus), it is a driveway for maintenance vehicles (like golf carts). Anyway, it amazes me how these wrecks can happen when they are just not logical. That was the first of two wrecks I saw today, the other involved a motor vehicle and a bicyclist. No photos of that one, but it did not look good. AND, neither of the wrecks were during my commute to or from Austin, but regardless, a wreck is a wreck, and it is not ever a good thing.

The above photo was taken after I had picked up my client Barry and his partner Luke and headed them off to their closing. The second wreck was after the closing, and I was heading the back to their apartment. It was kind of like a Twilight Zone episode, except instead of us being witnesses to things that would happen in the future, we were witnessing a series of events that had already happened and wished we could have prevented. Okay, so the more I think of it, maybe it really was not like the Twilight Zone. Whatever. ANYWAY, this is a photo of Luke and Barry after the closing. Not only did they get to walk away with keys to their new home, but they got to load up on candy and chips courtesy of the Title Company. I personally restrained myself from taking more than a half-dozen packets of M&M's. Considerable restraint on my part!

I stopped on my way into town this morning to pick up my car. I AM SO HAPPY TO HAVE MY CAR BACK, even though they could not replicate the problem, and the service order they gave me is kind of vague. Maybe it is only vague because I don't speak 'service repair orders', but I have it back, but I will always be a little wary that the problem could resurface. I ended up putting $40 worth of gas in the loaner car to travel LESS than 250 miles. That is only one of the reasons that I am happy to have my car back.

Made it home with no extraordinary issues, and as I was about to turn into the driveway, I noticed a purple place in the beds near the road. I assumed that there must be the first blooms of Iris, and decided I would go out later and take a picture. I also noticed there is some bloom on the sage bushes by the drive, which is an indicator that we will have rain soon. That will be wonderful. SO, after the news and catching up on e-mails, I walked out to the road and there was indeed ONE Iris blooming, but as I walked down the fence-line, there is also a wisteria bush blooming that I did not even know was there. Weird! But really pretty and I love the scent of the wisteria. That and Mountain Laurel make me thing of Grape Soda and bubble-gum. Two of my favorites. Imagine that.

My horoscope today says (in part) that I should 'come out of hiding and bring your quirks into the light'. I don't know about you, but I think that could be dangerous!

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 - Day Eighty One...

So, this is why I am ALMOST always early to get places. Okay, well, this is why I almost ALWAYS LEAVE early so I can hopefully get somewhere on time. Traffic was kind of interesting. This was the third 'incident' on the way in this morning, and after this, it was pretty darn smooth sailing! By the time I passed this wreck, the traffic going my way had thinned enough that we hardly slowed down the rest of the way into the city.

Lots of activity today, and I also had my bi-monthly MasterMind meeting today as well, and that is always a treat. I am privileged to be associated with a great group of colleagues, and it is wonderful to be able to sit down, be calm, and discuss what it going on with our markets, what is happening here and there, and getting great ideas for marketing ourselves and getting more business and being more productive. Let's hear it for TeamHope Masterminds, thanks for everything you do for me.

I will be getting my car back tomorrow, and I have to tell you I am in shock about the amount of gas this loaner drinks. I have to take it back tomorrow morning with the same amount of gas that it had in it when I checked it out. So far I have driven just about 215 miles, and I put 25 dollars worth of gas in it today, and I am going to have to put another $15 (at least) in it tomorrow when I return it. I have been using $30 a week in gas with the VOLT, and the VOLT takes premium, too. I am spoiled to have a car with a 9 gallon gas tank. I have no idea how big the tank is on the loaner but it has to be HUGE. I do not know how people cannot be more conservative with their fossil-fuel consumption. There is a lesson to be learned here.

Just got home from the Williamson County Area Beekeepers Association monthy meeting. Good interesting information. I am looking forward to harvesting a good bit of honey this year, hopefully at least 200 pounds in a few weeks or so, and another pull in the fall. We shall see.

FYI: It seems the spell-check function is not working tonight, so if there are spelling or grammar errors, it is not because I did not try to fix it.

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

Monday, March 21, 2011

2011 - Day Eighty; Monday...

im·per·ti·nent - [im-pur-tn-uhnt]– adjective
1. intrusive or presumptuous, as persons or their actions; insolently rude; uncivil: a brash, impertinent youth.
2. see also chicken.

Yep, the chickens are getting more and more impertinent by the day. I think it is the time of year, and with Daylight Savings Time, I have having to adjust MY schedule (which is ruled by the clock) to fit their schedule (which is ruled TOTALLY by the sun. If it is still pretty light outside, they want to stay outside, no matter what we bribe them with. Jody got four eggs today, and after I got home, I was out watering plants, and I had a cell phone call. I was sitting on the bench by the path, and one of the Vera's came up and was wanting to talk. I tried to ignore her, and the next thing I knew she flew up on my shoulder demanding attention. Later on, I thought I would try to feed them, but one of the black and whites would have no part of it, so I gave up and waited until after dinner.

Here is the update on the car; this morning when I got in the car to take it into the dealer for service, the power steering was back. BUT, I took it any way, and I am now driving this behemoth called a Chevrolet Traverse. I actually got a loaner car, and they offered it, I did not have to pout or anything. It is big, it is nice, but it is not getting 90+ miles to the gallon that the Volt achieves. I got gas in the Volt this morning, and that was my MPG for the last tank of gas. Hopefully, I will get it back tomorrow; they said they had been consulting with Detroit about all the computer codes that had been generated since yesterday on the car. Very interesting. I can certainly tell you that I am totally happy with the customer service that has been provided by COVERT CHEVROLET IN HUTTO. Good job. Just remember to plug the car in when you finish.

This is our first rose of the season, we planted this bush last year from Home Depot, and it flourished nicely, and is putting up new shoots and buds. I think our new theory of watering things ONLY up close to the house will be a good one, and transplanting or giving away things up by the road. We shall see. There are lots of plants blooming in Austin, but the temperatures there are a pretty good bit higher than out here, and our winter was several degrees more frigid than they experienced with all the traffic and such. Whatever...

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2011 - Day Seventy Nine; Sunday...

Before...this is what this particular area up by the road looked like this morning when Miguel and I started working on it. About two hours later, it looked (to me) much better. I know everyone does not like things to have a manicured look, and that is certainly not what I am trying to achieve, but I do like things around the farm to at least look as if they are 'looked after' and not just left to grow wild. We also trimmed under the willow tree up by the road (another instance of a planting that is not native to this area) and we also dug reservoirs around the four fruit trees at the road (planted in a really awful spot if you are trying to maintain them) and reservoirs around all the pecan trees (six more examples of being planted in a place that is not the greatest). Then we (okay Miguel) cleaned out the water tank and got it flowing nicely, and we watered all the trees.

This is what the area looks like after the work. In between times, Jody and I headed to Georgetown for hot-fudge sundaes, and then back. Miguel and I fed the cattle and started to clean out the feed shed, but we really did not make a lot of progress on that. I was out there pretty steady from 8 in the morning until after four o'clock this afternoon (except for the hot-fudge break), and I know we did a lot of work, but it does not look like it. There is a lot of stuff that 'needs-done' around here!

The chickens were in a disagreeable mood most of the day. Jody and I were heading off to Thorndale for dinner tonight, and I tried to get them in their pen about five, and they were not at all interested, so I left them to their own devices, and when we got home, they were all on their roost. I had no question that they would go in their coop when they were ready, I was just concerned about predators having them trapped in their coops. But everything turned out just fine.

We had a nice dinner in Thorndale, and we were joined by Chris ( one of our agents) and we all had a nice visit. On the way home, I was looking at a wisteria vine in front of a house on Highway 79 and drifted over onto the shoulder. I hit those little divot things in the pavement that is to warn you that you are crossing over onto the shoulder, and steered back onto the road. AND MY POWER STEERING WENT OUT! Crazy! So, instead of doing the chores I was intending to do tomorrow morning, I will be visiting the dealer and getting that fixed. I assume a hose vibrated off and lost the hydraulic fluid for the power steering. Not a good sign, does not make me feel comfortable that if you roll over that 'vibrating thing' on the side of the road, things fall apart or come loose on your car. We will see what the have to say in the morning.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, POWER STEERING ISSUES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

2011 - Day Seventy Eight; Saturday...

Another day of pseudo-accomplishments. I taught a class of six this morning in the finer arts of TREC Ethics, and even though the number of attendees was small, we are making progress. These folks were really interested in the topics I was sharing with them, and we all walked away from the class with new information and insight into what it takes to really represent our clients in a real estate transaction. On the third Saturday of April, I will be teaching the TREC Legal Update, which will also be held benefiting TREPAC, so if you need those MCE credits to renew your license, please let me know, and I will fill you in on all the details.

I got home from class just shortly after 1 o'clock, and Jody was still out running errands. He got home about a half-hour later, and we headed off to Georgetown where we both (again, I am SO predictable) enjoyed hot fudge sundaes at the Dairy Queen. After that, we were off to pick up this years bee keeping supplies. I purchased an extractor this year, so I am ready for the spring honey harvest. We are expecting about 250 pounds of honey to be harvested this spring, and more in the fall, so that will be really exciting. This morning (in the dark, about 6 o'clock) as I was doing my morning chores (meter reading rituals and those types of things), I went into the front barn and suited up to remove the entry reducers on the hives. Yesterday, one of the hives was 'bearding' which basically means it is too hot inside the hives, so I took the reducers away from their entrances, so they will have more circulation inside the hives. When I extract honey from the hives (probably in two to three weeks) I will also change the bottom boards to 'screened' bottom boards, which will also help the circulation, and will also help to rid the hives of 'Verona mites'. It's a bee thing...

Speaking of bees, if you look closely in this picture, you will see one of my precious little darlings. This is a type of pear tree (that's what we think, anyway) in the front yard, and the bees find it particularly attractive. They are also very fond of the Loquat out in the yard too, but it has not started blooming yet. You would be surprised...if there is a bloom, there will most likely be scores of bees too.

Jody and I have finished dinner, the kitchen is clean (whatever) and we are sitting out on the front porch waiting to see the moon. The moon is supposed to be the closest it has been to us in the past twenty years, and since we have an unobstructed view, we are looking forward to it. Also, while I was typing just a few minutes ago, Jody told me to look up, and the Owl was just flying into its' nest. It is truly a majestic creature, HUGE but very beautiful and dignified. Very nice.

Okay, I have a totally new opinion on why we find broken eggs in the chicken coop, and I am now leaning towards blaming it all on the chicken snakes. I need to do some research on chicken snakes, but I am now of the opinion that the chicken snakes get in the hen house and and try to get an egg in their mouths, and are incapable of getting it out of the nesting box, but they crush the egg while trying to remove it (eat it?). SO, some research is in order, and I will report back to you subsequently.

Have a nice night, and go take a look at the moon. You will be glad you did!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, GREAT HORNED OWLS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, March 18, 2011

2011 - Day Seventy Seven; Friday...

That high pitched shriek you undoubtedly heard last night was just me screaming like a girl when I came upon this snake out in the front year. Not a poisonous snake or anything, just a chicken snake. They don't really bother the chickens, they are just after their eggs. SO, this afternoon (I took the day off) I went out to let the chickens loose, and there was the snake in the chickens pen. I have given new thoughts to the broken eggs we occasionally have in the coop, and now I think it might be the result of this or that chicken snake (I am certain where there is one there is most likely more) getting into the coop and pulling eggs out of the nesting boxes. Not certain of this, but it is just another theory.

This is a photo of the flags and the nearly full moon last night. If the photograph is not the best, it is because I use a camera that is no where near the best, and of course there is me; I am no where near being a good photographer. I like to crop the photos before I take the picture, and whatever I get is what I get. No editing for me, just point, get closer, and shoot. Usually it does not come out too badly and if they turn out really badly, no one sees them, so what is the big deal?

Jody and I went off to run errands and we returned six hours later having accomplished little of nothing. We put a lot of miles on Jody's truck, and really made practically no progress on anything we had intended. BUT, we did get a few things accomplished; we went to the Dairy Queen in Georgetown and had hot fudge sundaes (there is a totally different crew working the week days) and we made it to Home Depot where we got some callas and some geraniums, and we went to Tractor Supply where I got some suspenders, AND we went to Taylor twice (don't ask), but anyway, we are home and life is good.

I did get the sign from the old farm put up here at the new farm, it has only been two and a half years to get it put up. We (okay I) decided today we need to pace ourselves, because if we ever get everything done around here that needs to be done, one of us will decide it is time to move, and we don't really want that. BUT, I am proud that the sign is up, and it looks great.

Tomorrow I will be teaching a quick class at the Board of REALTORS and that will be fun. Later in the afternoon we will go BACK to the Dairy Queen (it is the weekend FGS), and then we will go off to retrieve some beekeeping supplies that I ordered a while back. The Williamson County Area Beekeepers Association members all placed separate orders, and then a couple of the members went to Paris, Texas to pick it all up, to save us all a good bit in shipping. Yippee!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, J B ACRES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2011 - Day Seventy Six; Thursday...

On this St. Patrick's day, I am not so much participating in driving the snakes out of anywhere as much as I am herding chickens from one pace to another. This is a photo of the patio chickens, taking refuge in the shade, and it is still March. Okay, it is March AND it is 80 degrees outside (with a wind-chill of 78*). We got them a little less than a year ago, and they have been through one Texas summer, but just like everything else, the older you get the tougher it is to survive a Texas summer. I am still trying to cope with consequences of 'springing-forward' last week.

BUT, my solution to that is to take the day off tomorrow. Austin is a ZOO right now, with South By Southwest, March Madness, Spring Break and (probably) dozens of other things going on. Streets are closed or blocked, traffic is grid-locked, and many of us (and many of us are not) are complaining about everything EXPECT the millions and millions of dollars that these folks are dropping into our economy. Thanks a million!

So, I have all kinds of chores scheduled for tomorrow, much of them depending on power tools and extension cords. Over the weekend, I plan on cleaning out the feed shed, cutting down some brush in the front field, MAYBE removing the entrance reducers on the bee hives, planting some Amaryllis, weeding (oh help me), cutting grass, planting some more cantaloupe seeds, and generally just doing all kinds of things that need to be done around the farm. Manna from heaven!

There will also be trips to Tractor Supply (suspenders), Home Depot (for geraniums) and Warehouse Pool Supply (parts, you always need parts). I am TOTALLY looking forward to it.

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2011 - Day Seventy Five; Wednesday...

An ordinary day in the office, nothing to really write home about and really nothing to relay to you in this journal. Okay, we did have an office meeting and we did have pizza, so that was pretty good.

We lost our strawberries in the really cold weather last year, but we put in another couple little plants this spring. The nice thing about strawberries is they keep delivering strawberries all year long here. Every now and then there will be a nice ripe strawberry to pick and eat. Lovely. This one will be ready in a day or two. It is windy out here again, and very nice...the temperature as we sit out here on the porch is in the middle 70's but the breeze is making it feel a little bit cooler. The flag pole is bowing in the wind, but nothing like it did a week or so ago.

I stopped at Papa Murphy's on the way home for pizza, one of the stuffed pizzas, the first time we ever tried a stuffed pizza. I liked it very much, but Jody did not particularly care for it. It will easily make two more meals for us. What is with people that do not care for left-overs? I generally think the left-overs are better than the first go-round. I think the flavors have time to permeate the rest of the food, and it just tastes better. There is no account for some folks can dress me up, but you really can't take me out.

Jody and the dog have gotten into the habit of going for a ride in the afternoons, and today, they took off went on two rides. Well, actually, one ride turned into two rides, but that is another story. ANYWAY, when they got home, the dog refused to get out of the truck. He was still in the back seat when I got home, so I told him that if he did not get out of the truck by himself (he is a HEAVY dog) he might be jeopardizing his future go-for-a-ride-ability! Whatever...he did not get out of the truck and I had to lift him out, not the easiest thing in the world. We will see if Jody has the discipline to 'just say no' tomorrow.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, STUFFED PIZZA, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2011 - Day Seventy Four; Tuesday...

A beautiful, lovely, wonderful spring day in Austin, Texas and its' environs. When you think of spring-time in Texas (or at least central Texas) you think of spring blossoms, wild-flowers and freaks. Yep, freaks. This is spring-break week which means South by Southwest (SXSW) and the city is crawling with freaks. I have heard the estimates of folks from all around the world who are here for this 10 day period, and they contribute MILLIONS AND MILLIONS to our economy, but unfortunately the roads are clogged and they are not really sure what the trash bins are for. We will all survive, and forget all about the bad parts. Kind of like past romantic relationships; there is a reason those things did not work out. BUT, here is something that I really enjoy, and I will be on this kick for a while to come. Photos of flowers blooming in and around the city. These trumpet vines are generally magnificent outside my office, and they are just beginning. Soon they will be a wall of orange blooms, and their beauty will be magnificent. Just wait...

A good day in the office, still making nice accomplishments. Got leases finalized on a couple management properties, and made some head way in my 'elective' (volunteer) endeavors. Interestingly, I never seem to be lacking in stuff to do, whether it is at home or in the office.

On the way home, I paid attention to some clouds. There were a variety of clouds available for inspiration, it just depended on which part of the sky you wanted to pay attention to. These little wispy clouds seemed to have caught my attention, and I thought I would share them with you. The cracker-jack meteorologist on the local news channel said we have no fear of frost for the rest of the season, so I guess we are out of the woods on that one. Time will tell.

Once I got home (Jody got five eggs from the girls this afternoon), I went out and watered the trees in the back that we just planted and my watermelon and cantaloupe seeds that I put in a week ago. Still no sign of them sprouting, but I am not dismayed. I think they will come up. The corn and everything else we put in the ground is coming up nicely. One of the grape vines has been molested by bunnies, but I think it will survive. Once it gets out of 'bunnie-reach' it should do okay. This is a picture of our bed of corn, we will need to thin it out some (maybe) or just let it grow and see what happens.

Jody is bar-b-cuing bacon-wrapped scallops for dinner tonight. Absolutely Fabulous! Tomorrow I am stopping at Papa Murphy's on the way home for a stuffed pizza. We have never tried that, so it will be a new experience. Not many of those left anymore!

Okay, I almost forgot; while I was outside watering the trees, I walked back to check on the cattle, and our friend Mike from Miami called. We are trying to coordinate a time for him to come up and visit. Anyway, I moved up to the pool and was sitting in a chair by the gazebo, and the chickens were over on the other side of the pool. I asked him if he remembered a photo in the blog a couple months ago of the chicken flying up into the tree and feeding out of the bird feeder. He did not recall it, but as I was sitting there, one of the Plymouth Rocks got up in the tree and was feeding. SO, this picture is for Mike in Miami!

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

Monday, March 14, 2011

2011 - Day Seventy Three; Monday...

It was dark when I went to work this morning, and it was dark when I came home tonight. What's all this talk about daylight savings time? How about (according to Jody) we just split the difference, move ahead a half-hour in the spring and call it quits. Everybody wins!

A full day in the office today, and I pretty much got my desk cleared off. Then it was onto elective work. Things that I am doing for this group or that group. I also had an appointment to show a home this evening late, which resulted in my getting home after dark.

On the way home, I took the tollway from around the airport, and it was interesting that, as I would sink into a low spot or crest a high spot in the road, I would see vapor trails highlighted against the sun setting in the west. At one point, I counted a dozen different vapor trails, it was really interesting to watch; some of them lower on the horizon that could only be seen from a higher vantage point. Very pretty.

Tomorrow will be another day in the office, and the NARPM Luncheon as well. Always fun, and good to see those folks.

This is a picture I took for Konrad the other day, he is a collector of (especially) old VW Buses. I am not sure what is going on with this one, but it looks to be in pretty good shape. Konrad is the guy that owns Round R0ck Honey, the guy I took beekeeping classes from. I need to ask his opinion of why I got stung twice yesterday while I was doing yard work. Hmmm...

We got five eggs from the girls today, so they are back to putting out!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, VEE-DUBS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

2011 - Day Seventy Two; Sunday...

Okay, well it could have been a lot worse. I was only stung twice, and I was not even messing with the bees. All I was doing was picking up limbs and branches that have fallen from the trees during the high winds. Some of the bees are are just a little bit more aggressive than others. Not really sure which of the hives they were from, but after the second sting, I just decided to move on.

ANYWAY, so today was the day that we were supposed to 'spring forward', and so of course that is exactly what we did. It will take a few days for us to all get used to getting up in the dark and, in my case, going to work in the dark. We will all survive, but I also read in the paper this morning that it has been documented that traffic accidents increase about 8% during the week following the time change. AND, when we 'fall back' traffic accidents decrease by the same amount. We obviously are all sleep deprived, and this just adds fuel to our plight. Interesting study. The newspaper called it a huge national experiment with no one really studying the consequences.


So, Miguel came out to help me get some stuff done today, and we started by planting the plum tree and the two grape vines we bought yesterday. Having gotten that done, we took the tractor, Mule and riding lawn mower out to the road and worked the fence row until we had that all cleaned up. It really looks nice, and it is another part of my trying to keep all this stuff under control and not letting it get totally out of hand. If you have ever seen or heard of the 'Grey Gardens' that is kind of what we think of the place around here. Lots of stuff to do, and you just have to keep after it. There are lots of things beginning to bloom, but so far none of the Iris are blooming, and the cannas are still looking pretty dormant. This is a bloom from an imported (and relatively invasive) tree that we think is called (something like) a Hawaiian Princess tree. It is really pretty, but it is not at all suited for this climate. It smells lovely but it is not for this climate.

After a while, Jody and headed off to Georgetown for a spoiler, and when we got back, Miguel and I decided to hook the Mule up to the portable water tank so we could go out and water the trees out by the road. This will be the year that we actually pay attention to those trees, and try to give them a boost. We had some lovely peaches from one of them last year, and are hoping for more this year and the years to come.

We trimmed around the pool and hauled more stuff off to the pasture where we will EVENTUALLY burn the stuff. I have been saying that for the last two years, but this may be the year. I need to go back to work to get some rest.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, HARD WORK, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011 - Day Seventy One; Saturday...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I stayed IN BED (not necessarily sleeping) until after 7 o'clock this morning. By 8 o'clock, I was making egg loaf and reading the paper (not necessarily at the same time), and by 9 o'clock, I had taken a fresh bale of hay out to the cattle and hooked the shredder up to the tractor and was shredding grass up by the road. That was pretty much finished by 11 o'clock, and Jody and I headed into Georgetown to hit the Dairy Queen. After that, I stopped at Wal-Mart to put gas in the truck ($75 gave me three quarters of a tank) and I filled up one of the cans with diesel for the tractor. Then we headed off to Home Depot where we got some decomposed granite (a couple bags) and a plum tree and two grape vines. We will plant those things tomorrow with the help of Miguel.

This is a picture of some of the cattle, and you can see Mr. Speckles is paying special attention to Orchid (who is obviously back in season). All you can see of Orchid is her brown butt, but believe me, Speckles is being very romantic (he is thinking there is some 'fonorky-toodling' in his future), and Orchid is really not seeming to be that interested in any of it right now. We shall see...

Once we got home from Georgetown I headed back out to the tractor and headed for the far back grazing pasture. I shredded the entire pasture so the sun can get to the ground and let some of the new grass get going. Interestingly, while I was out there, all the cattle decided to take a siesta (Orchid was trying, but Speckles would really not leave her alone), so I shredded around them until they finally moved and I got finished. It took about 2 or 3 hours to shred the pasture, and I figure that pasture is somewhere between 7 and 10 acres. BUT, it is done now, so that will be marked off the to-do list. There are a couple mesquites back there that I am going to have to poison later this spring once they bud out. I DO NOT want to get any mesquite started back there. I prefer to remain mesquite free.

We got six eggs out of the chickens today, so it was obviously a good day to be a chicken out here today. The owl is still up in the nest as well, and she is not nearly as skittish about us wandering back and forth as she used to be. I have not checked on the doves nest lately, but I will do that tomorrow. I took the pool cover off last weekend, and it has been CRAZY windy ever since then, and the pool filter has been working overtime. No big deal, but I am now back to skimming the pool on a daily basis.

One good thing about the wind is that the turbines are going crazy too, generating lots of electricity to send back to the grid. Perfect!

Lots of chores on tap for tomorrow.

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

Friday, March 11, 2011

2011 - Day Seventy; Friday...

Here is another blast from the past. This one is dated 1974. I had long hair and the beard, and a New York City Subway token around my neck. Again, this one was done in New Orleans on another trip. I had some fun when I was a kid, and I have interesting stories. Just ask.

Today was the last day of the GRI class I was instructing. A really good group of people in the class, 33 of them that, it they could all get together and form a company, they would be a dynamic group. It was really an enjoyable two days, and I learned a lot from them.

Jody and I went back into Georgetown tonight to have dinner at Montana Mike's. I was feeling the need for dead meat, and that certainly satisfied the craving. We both brought home enough food for at least one more dinner, maybe two!
Four eggs from the girls today, they are all tucked comfortably in their coop. I am looking forward to sleeping a little longer in the morning.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, DEAD MEAT, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

2011 - Day Sixty Nine; Thursday...

Can you say OMG? OMG! Today is the 800th post to this journal. 800! I can really not comprehend that I have not missed a day in 800 day posting to this journal. I have posted in the middle of the Caribbean on a boat, in several cities across these wonderful United States, and never missed a day. Even though the blog name is I have kept it going for a good while. I wonder if I have another 800 days in me? Only time will tell.

This is a photo of the class I was instructing today at the Board of REALTORS. Thirty-three really interesting folks; it was a great class, I enjoyed my time with them, and I think they enjoyed being there. I will be back tomorrow for the last day of their four day class. I hope they have learned some good stuff today, and that they will learn more tomorrow that will allow them to go off and make some money right now!

When I got home, Jody and I walked around our various 'gardens'. In the front, we have two different kinds of chard coming up, beets, and some lettuce. So far there is nothing coming up where we planted the okra. In the back, we have yellow squash coming up and CORN, but no signs of the zucchini yet. AND, there is no sign of the watermelon or cantaloupe, but we only planted those last Sunday. It will happen. We are (okay I am) very excited about the corn coming up. I think Jody is excited as well, maybe not as excited as I am. Now we just have to try and make sure that the chickens do not come along and eat the tender chutes.

Speaking of chickens, we got four eggs today, nice job!

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