Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Fifty One; Tuesday...

The last day of May already. We will never have this day again. Sad.

It was a busy day at the office after a three day weekend. It is the end of one month and the beginning of a new month, all combined. People moving out, people moving in, everything needs to be done RIGHT NOW, and we are trying our best to accomplish that.

This is a stepping stone that our friend Melody (of Bruce and Melody fame) our friend in Connecticut made for us several years ago. No Stress-Passing. Good advice. AND Bruce and Melody will be coming to visit us about ten days from now. I can vividly remember first meeting them; we were in LaPaz, on our first Smithsonian trip, maybe in about 1996 or 1997, and we were going whale watching. Bruce and Melody were on the same trip, and we met at the welcome dinner. Melody came up, started talking to us, and she was wearing a red (rhinestones as I recall) AIDS Awareness pin. It was a match made in heaven. We have taken another trip or two with them since then, and have become fast friends. Many of the trips we have taken have resulted in good friendships. They were on the Alaska trip where we met Jim and Peg, who we will travel to Waco to have lunch with on Friday. Jim and Peg have kids in Dallas, so we are meeting them 'half-way' although they live in New Jersey, so I think they got the bad end of this 'half-way'. ANYWAY, it is fun to remember back on those trips. I remember we were walking through the woods in Alaska, making silly noises and ringing little bells so we did not startle and black bears. The things you remember...

I did not have time to actually observe my day today, so I did not take photos of interesting things. When you have nothing to post, take a picture of a chicken, those are always winners. This is a photo of one of the Vera's, not sure which one unless we see them both together. We got five eggs from the girls this afternoon, and they are not going into their coop until almost 9 o'clock, WAY past the time that I should be laying in bed watching the television. Still not sure if I will endure with the challenge of getting one of the chickens to break its' broody habit. Maybe, maybe not. The challenge goes on.

I learned an interesting thing about my bees today, after speaking with Konrad of the Round Rock Honey Company. I may well have lost two HIVES but probably did not lose the bees. Konrad said when the hives are invaded or get weak, the bees (for the most part) will migrate and join other hives. I also have instructions on how to clean and prepare the lost hives so they can become habitable again, and that they may become populated again this summer. Time will tell...

Interesting stuff...

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

Monday, May 30, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Fifty; Monday...

No really, it really is Monday, although all day long I have been believing it was Sunday. I think we should go from Sunday to Tuesday more often, let's just forget about Mondays for a while, what do you say?

Today is Memorial Day, and I do not want us to forget why we have this Holiday, so please take a few seconds to think about those who have given everything; some for better reasons than others, but still, for the values we hold dear...

Today was the perfect ending to the Holiday Weekend. I got everything checked off my To-Done list, and I have started a new list for next weekend. Perfect! After a delicious egg-loaf breakfast, I went out and watered everything, front and back. Even though we have not had enough rain to speak of here, certain flowering shrubs and plants and bushes are doing their job and making a nice show for us. I think the contract of the Crepe Myrtles and the variegated cannas was particularly attractive this morning, so I wanted to share it with you.

I am the source of never-ending entertainment and discussion of the folks in and around the farm. I am probably the only person within a fifty mile radius that gets dressed up in full bee-keeper drag to mow certain sections of the yard, much to the delight of ANYONE that drives down the road (and turns around to take another look just to make sure). Well, the area up towards the road where the bees live does not need to be maintained as regularly as the other sections of the yard, but when it does, there is no reason to tempt fate. AND as long as I am already on the mower, there is no reason not to just keep going and cut (at) more of the yard. Yes, it is warm inside the suit, but stopping to take it off might break the rhythm of the moment. Jody took this photo for me, strictly as a means of documenting the moment. Whatever... It is my journal and I will publish photos of whatever I want...

We took a drive into Taylor this morning after I finished cutting (at) most of the grass and Jody and the dog-boy took their little ritual drive. Really, the ride in the truck is nothing more than a prelude to him getting a dog treat, and I think the whole thing could be circumvented with Jody going straight to the dog-treat, but they both are happy with the ritual they have. Sometimes the dog-boy is ready for his ride a little bit earlier than Jody is ready, but they have it all worked out. ANYWAY, in Taylor we stopped at the Dairy Queen and I have to tell you, our home-base Dairy Queen is by far superior to the one in Taylor. I think I will start a new blog and see if I can visit ALL the Dairy Queens in Texas. How long do you think that will take me, and how much will cost, just factoring in the cost of the hot fudge sundaes alone (forget about the price of gasoline and any thing else).

When we got home from Taylor, I went out and worked the bees. Sadly, just as I had suspected, I have lost two hives. One was invaded by moths (maybe wax moths) and the other was most likely just a victim of a weak queen and my poorly planned attempt to introduce a new queen to the hive. Of the remaining three hives, two of them are seemingly strong hives but they are not producing any honey. The third hive is strong AND is making a LOT of honey. I added another super to that hive this afternoon, giving them a little room to expand. I probably have about 80 pounds of honey in that one hive, so that will be fun to harvest later this year, maybe in a couple weeks. We shall see...

Before I finished cutting the grass (there was grass in two small planes that still needed to be cut), I jumped in the pool. Okay, maybe 'jumped' is not the right word. I walked into the pool. I usually dive into the pool, but recently I have been having issues with water getting into my ears. Last night, I had to get up out of bed to drain water out of BOTH ears, and that was the first time EVER IN MY LIFE that I had to do that. SO, I did not want a repeat of that, so I stepped graciously (NOT) into the pool and had a lovely time.

Got out of the pool, finished cutting the grass and decided to try doing NOTHING for the rest of the day. That has not worked, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Forty Nine; Sunday...

Today has been a really productive day. I am very happy to have gotten so much work done at the farm. The work will never really EVER be done, but at least I can see that I have made progress. Lots of weed pulling, grass cutting 'at', brush hauling, stump grinding, cattle feeding, and lots of this-and-thatting.

In the middle of all of it, there was a trip to Dairy Queen. Hot fudge sundaes all around. We are still working on the Gift Certificate a friend gave me, so we have several more trips to the DQ before that will be gone. Made a stop at Home Depot while we were in Georgetown, so I could get more dowels for the bottle tree out front, and then we went to HEB where I got a NOAA Weather Radio, in case of alarming weather possibilities while we are sleeping. I expect any day now we will find the TWO NOAA Radios we have somewhere in a box. I also expect they will both be in the NEXT box we open.

Very proud of the accomplishments, and this is a photo of my 'To-Done' list. I got most everything checked off the list. Happy camper here, that is for sure.

Tomorrow I will give you my new theory on weeds, today I am too tired.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, TO-DONE, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Forty Eight; Saturday...

This is a photo of the brooder, taken last night. Brood, brood, brood, that is pretty much all she wants to do. She and I are in a battle of the wills, and she is most likely going to win this one, BUT you never know, I could stay strong and see this one through til the end. I cannot keep the coop closed up all day long, since the other girls are still wanting to lay their eggs in there, so I have taken her out of her nest three times today. It is almost 8 o'clock, so I will be letting them back in the coop in a little while, but I will drag this out for a little while longer.

Let me tell you my theory of the evolution of weeds. I naturally go for the tallest of the weeds, and the tallest should be the heartiest, right? So I get the tallest weeds, which gives the puny little weeds more sunlight, but they still started out puny, so they should not thrive, and when the time comes for them to be pulled, they should be 'easy-pickins', right? RIGHT? Well, that is my theory, anyway. Not only am I stopping the disbursement of seed (even if I am not getting the weeds out by the roots) I am altering the gene pool of the weeds, and causing them great disruption in their reproduction. That is the theory, sounds good to me, right? RIGHT?

There was another morning glory blooming this morning, not on the trellis that I paid bid bucks to protect from the chickens, but in the middle of the decomposed granite path, where they are not supposed to be blooming. See my theory of weed evolution, and tell me if you think there is a trend here? I hope not. I wonder if the puny morning glories will be the ones that I have protected from harm, and the morning glories that are blooming in the middle of the path are the hardiest of the group? I gave the morning glories that are protected all the easy life, and the little scrappers in the path are the best of the bunch. CRAP!

How do you replace a light fixture that was professionally installed several months ago, but quit working? Well, in this case, you back the pick-up up to the tree it is in, put a ladder in the bed of the truck, and hold on for dear life. It was complicated by the fact that we are having 60 mile an hour winds, okay, maybe 50 mile an hour winds) and the tree was swaying and causing me to have the illusion that I was falling off the ladder. Anyway, I spent most of the day putting this light fixture up today. I do not think it is pointed exactly where I want it yet, but we will give it a critical look after dark.

So far we have four eggs from the girls today, and tomorrow (or maybe Monday) I am going to take the bee hives apart and see how they are doing. Should be interesting... Two more days of the long-weekend left...

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

Friday, May 27, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Forty Seven; Friday...

I love Friday, but Friday is fickle. I have this on-again-off-again thing working with Friday. I am in love with Friday, and then you wake up and Friday is gone. Friday really never sticks around long enough for you to tire or become bored, maybe that is really the answer to a long-term relationship. Not sure. All I know for sure is, I keep opening myself up and taking the big chance with Friday, and I get dumped time-and-time again. Kind of like Charlie Brown, Lucy and the football. Never gonna happen...

A good day at the office today, getting things done and caught up for the long weekend. Try your best to remember what Memorial Day is all about, not just another reason for another hot dog and beans.

We went to lunch today at Red's Porch, very good as always. I had a burger (no top bun, just the bottom bun) and fries. I probably could have done without the fries, but they were dee-lish! It was me, Carrie, Tom and Karla. A good time was had by all, and it is really nice that we all like each other and get along with each other. Everyone is looking forward to the long weekend, and next week will start a couple months of chaos. Busy Season!

I left the office at about three o'clock this afternoon. It was not a good start to my commute home to encounter a wreck just about four blocks from the office. It only took me about ten minutes to get through it, so that was not terrible, and I do not think anyone was hurt, at least it did not look like it. Once I got onto the Interstate, the thermometer in my car was displaying 106 degrees. And the weather prognosticator was saying we would have a couple of cool days. I think he missed his mark.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, HOT ALREADY, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Forty Six; Thursday...

This post will be short and sweet because I am tired. I am tired because I am old and I do not know when to say enough. It seems I can spell it, I just can't say it.

A pretty busy day today, but before I talk about that, let's talk about these cool clouds that I photographed last night. They were really interesting, especially with the sun hitting the tops. We think these clouds were actually about sixty or more miles away, around Bastrop and Smithville. That is where the storms were last night, and we think these clouds were causing all the trouble they had. Pretty from here, not so much if you were under them.

One of the things I did today was to attend a reception for the ABoR Foundation. I was not really aware of the intent of the reception, but they actually awarded the scholarships to several area high school seniors. Our company provided two scholarships, so it was a real treat to be there and see the certificates awarded. This is a picture of Kate that takes many of the photographs for the Board of REALTORS. The worm has turned on this one, and she is the subject of the digital lens this time. Thanks Kate, for all you do for us and our Association.

There is a lot more I could talk about, but I will wait till another day.

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Forty Five; Wednesday...

Okay well, this just ain't right. At three o'clock this morning we were awakened by hail pounding down on the house and the windows. The dog was totally freaking out (it really does not take much) and the wind and rain was really ferocious. We turned on the Austin station we usually watch, and they were reporting 60 mile per hour winds right on top of us. Nothing damaged that we can see, we did get 8/10" of rain and all is well right now. I stayed up, did not even try to go back to sleep. By the time the storm was over it was 3:45, and almost time for me to get up anyway. So, I stayed up and had a (really) leisurely morning of usual chores, jut earlier.

Even though I really believe I could have gone another day (and probably another 80 miles) before I REALLY needed to put gas in the car, I went ahead today and filled up the tank. Remember, the manual calls for PREMIUM gasoline in the car, and that is okay with me. I filed up my tank today ($4.04 per gallon) and between fill-ups, I travelled 1229.2 miles and averaged 143.3 miles per gallon. My new all time personal best, and (just like the last personal best) I am not sure I will be able to break that mark. I love trying to see how far and how efficiently I can go with this car. It is not just an 'errands' car for me, and I put a lot of miles on a car, so I am happy with my performance so far.


The February women's shoe theme will not die. A friend of mine that attended the NAR Mid-Term along with me in DC had told me about her side trip to Filene's Basement, where she got bargain upon bargain. I think she paid about three dollars for these shoes, but she had to make sure I noticed them today. Truly, she is all about the shoes. I too like the look, I am just really proud that WE (He-Man-Types) are not the ones that are pressured by society to wear them. Whew!

After a long day of meetings, I got home and found that the cattle were in the front pasture where I could easily confine them and take them a fresh bale of hay. I am now putting out two bales a week (this is the first week for that) but in a couple weeks (the first week of June) I will move them to another pasture and they will have lots of green grass to chow-down on, and won't need the hay for a while. AND, since we have had a little bit of rain twice in the past three weeks, we may actually get a cutting or two of hay this year. That will make us all VERY HAPPY. Can you see me smiling?

It was a hundred degrees here today, and really humid, so I was in and out of the pasture as quickly as possible. It is not even June. HOT, HUMID, AARRRGHHH!

I evicted the broody chicken from her nesting box this afternoon as well. She did not put up any resistance, we will see how long it takes her to 1). Break that bad habit or, 2). Wear down my drive to break her of the habit. Smart money at this minute is on the chicken. We shall see. May the best species win.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, 100 DEGREES IN MAY ALREADY, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Forty Four; Tuesday...

Okay, this probably classifies as too much information. As a result of various invitations to the farm for this or that, I have ended up with beer in the garage refrigerator that has been in there for a while. AND, it is time to get rid of it, so instead of my two glasses of wine per night (I went out and bought a bigger wine glass just so I could keep it to two glasses per night), I have decided to go through the beer in the garage refrigerator until it is all gone. I expect it will take me a couple of weeks to do it, but what you have now is a middle-class-white-guy-sitting-in-the-living-room-in-his-underwear-drinking-beer-and-blogging. See, I told you wit would be too much information. Never doubt me when I tell you something.

I took this photo of the four o'clocks last night. Jody came in and told me the perfume was just magnificent and indeed it was. Since we put up the pickets around the beds in the front, the chickens have been deterred from scratching, and the four o'clocks have flourished. AND, they are coming up all around, here and there. Very nice. If you need any seed or you have any seed to share, just let me know and we will arrange a rendezvous.

I called my friend (I wonder if he even knows my name) and resident chicken psychologist Jon at Buck Moore Feeds this afternoon with my query about the chicken that seems unwilling to leave the nesting box. I described the behavior and he stated (matter of factly) 'Oh, she's just broody. You need to put her out of the coop during the day, not let her back in until evening, and she'll get over it in a week or two. She's just broody.' Well, there you have it, she's just broody. I did not know chickens got broody but I guess they do. It will be interesting to evict her from the coop and see how she reacts to that. Another piece of information you read here first.

Okay, I am still on the same tank of gas, but tomorrow will be the day I have to break down and buy gas. May 6th was the last time I bought gas, it was a while ago because I went to DC for five days during that time. This photo shows my reading when I arrived at work this morning, and I am now at 1190.8 miles averaging 139.3 miles per gallon. Before I get gas tomorrow, I expect I will drive 38 miles (to the Board) and I hope to be over 140 miles per gallon. I should get all the way to the Board easily on all electric. Right near the Board offices is a gas station, and I will fill up there, and when I get to the Board I will plug into one of my 'secret plug-in spots' and be charging again. I will let you all know how it works out. I do not know if I will ever be able to do better than that, but I will keep trying. I think once there are more charging stations around, it will only keep getting better and better. Whole Foods has a new customer since I can charge there for free. Hear that retailers?

Speaking of efficient transportation systems, this cool VW was in our parking lot this afternoon. I don't know exactly, but I think it is a '65 and it is in beautiful condition. I don't remember this color being a stock color back then, though. It seems kind of drab. Maybe it was, who knows?

I got a call this afternoon at the office, and I have been asked to be one of the Instructors for the Texas Association of REALTORS Core Classes. The program will debut on June 16th at the Austin Board of REALTORS, but my first teaching assignment will be July 26th (I think). So that will be interesting and fun. Folks who are trying to get their Real Estate License will get a feeling of what the business is really like while they are attending classes, what a concept! I am looking forward to it.

This final photo (I am limited to five per day) is of a day Lillie that was blooming this afternoon. I planted these Lillie's a couple years ago, and they really did not do anything, but they finally seem to be taking hold this year. I am glad of that. You never know what will happen around here, or what you will see.

Every day is different.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BROODY CHICKEN, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, May 23, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Forty Three; Monday...

There is plenty of tragedy to go around. Wars, tornadoes, earthquakes, applying for a new mortgage. Painful each in their own individual ways. SO, I am not going to tell you what PROBABLY happened to this little fledgling, but what I can prove happened. We have lots of Barn Swallows around here, and we are not really bothered by them. I know when I show homes and they have nests by the front door, some folks are put off by the poop that results. BUT we live on the edge of nowhere (that is further than the middle of nowhere) and a little poop is just to be expected. If it is not cow poop or chicken poop, it might just was well be Barn Swallow poop. There is plenty of poop. ANYWAY, there have been a few fledglings that have left the nests a bit prematurely, and I hope this one made it. I know for certain that it was capable of moving around on its own for short distances, so we will hope for the best.

Jody reports that he got five eggs from the girls this afternoon, and he also reported that this one barred rock can indeed get out of the nesting box and go outside. She has been sticking pretty darn close to the nesting box for the last couple days, and has not been too happy when I would reach underneath her to see if she was concealing something that I should know about. I meant to call my friend at Buck Moore Feeds to see if I should be paying better attention, but I did not do it (I need to add that to my to-do list). Anyway, if she keeps it up, I will make the call in the next day or so.

I think I am on my way to another personal best, the final results will be known tomorrow. I have already broken my mileage record for a single (9.2 gallon) tank of gas, and I am somewhere over 130 miles per gallon for this tank. On my commute tomorrow morning, I will go over 1,100 miles on the one tank, and I will probably end up around 1,175 miles, maybe 1,200, who knows. As I neared my office this morning on IH-35, I was at 140 miles per gallon. I am learning each day how to get the most out of a charge, and how to get the most mileage. Fun stuff...

Deeds, Actions, Changes, HYPER-MILING, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Forty Two; Sunday...

Well, since we live FAR OUT in the country, it was touch and go for a while. For all we knew, we could have been the only ones left, and the world as we knew it actually could have ended yesterday, and we might just not have been aware of it yet. We got up this morning, and after my chores, I went into Schwertner and got a couple bags of ice. There were a couple people at the Crossroads, and then a little later, I went into Round Rock and picked up Bar-B-Cue and there was evidence of more people. I was a little concerned because traffic on IH-35 was not really bad, so I still had some thoughts that all the good drivers had been called home. Still not sure, I will let you know what I think after I drive into Austin tomorrow.

A nice day today, although it is VERY WARM and VERY HUMID. We had some friends out to the house this afternoon, and it was a really nice time for all of us. It was the first time we had seen Shane in a good long while, and the first time I got me meet his wife and children. The cattle all got fed, and many of us got cow-slobbered on, so that was good. It entertains me that many people have never had an up-close-and-personal experience with cows and bulls. I am by no means an expert, but I had cousins when I was a kid and we used to visit them at their farms.

We did get a little bit of rain last night, about 3/10 of an inch, but we will take what we can get. I went through 16 pounds of sugar this morning making bee juice, and that should hold me through Tuesday. I hope HEB has sugar on sale this week, I will stock up.

The morning glories are doing nicely, and they may well be th emost expensive morning glories of all time. At least I was able to finally outsmart the chickens and keep them from scratching them up. I even have some blooms on a couple cantaloupe and watermelon plants. That will be nice if we get a few melons off those this season. The grape vines are doing nicely, but I do not expect them to fruit this year. The four o'clocks are also thriving this year, after having done pretty much nothing last year. I love the perfume that wafts from the four o'clocks, wonderful!

The chickens area all happy, and they got an extra portion of petting this afternoon with our friends visiting. We have one black and white that has decided to live the rest of its' life in the nesting box. Not sure if I should be worried about it on not. Nothing seems to be wrong with it, it is just staying in the box. I will call my friend at Buck Moore Feeds tomorrow and see if that is any kind of a symptom. This is a photo of one of the Vera's just in from the chicken cam. I love the chicken cam photos, they are always a lot of fun.

I am really looking forward to the three day weekend next weekend. Three days of working around the farm, I hope. There is plenty to get done, and that will be as good a time to do it as any.

My schedule in the office is pretty open this week, that is a great thing as well.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, CHICKEN CAM, Kindnesses, World Peas, FUN!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Forty One; Saturday...

Well, um...that was anti-climactic...

BUT, the show must go on. I got up earlier than I would have preferred this morning, it being Saturday and the end of the world and all, and got my chores done and made an egg loaf for me and Jody. Got dressed and headed into Austin to give a TREC Ethics class to benefit TREPAC. And, well, there were only three folks in the class, but it was a really good class. I am hoping these classes will catch on in the NEAR future, but even three folks making an investment in TREPAC is a good thing.

I got home and took advantage of the cattle all being in the front pasture, and I high-tailed it out there and closed the gate so they were confined to the front pasture. I put out a fresh bale of hay for them, and brought their troughs from the other pasture to the east side, and I will give them some feed tomorrow. We are having friends and folks from our office out tomorrow, so there will be a two-o'clock-show, and feeding them is always a crowd-pleaser.

After that, I had a two-o'clock showing of a property I have listed in Schwertner, and the prospect did not show up. I called him, and he TOTALLY FORGOT, but he may make arrangements next week for another showing.

Jody and I went into Georgetown, had to make a Dairy Queen run, and a friend of mine had sent me a Gift Certificate to Dairy Queen in the mail, and that was SWEET. We got to the Dairy Queen, ordered out two-medium-hot-fudge-sundaes (please) and I plopped down the gift certificate. The manager looked at us, said 'put that back in your pocket' and comped the hot fudge sundaes. That is the second or third time he has done that. EVEN SWEETER!

When we lived in Austin, we used to go to Luby's all the time. Luby's does in fact have the BEST fried shrimp platter in town, along with the best liver an onions, and a couple other 'best things' to be found in Austin. Folks used to give us Gift Certificates to Luby's. PERFECT. Now, we live on the edge of nowhere, not a Luby's to be found, and the one in Georgetown closed up. What does that say? A Luby's in a community that has a Sun City, full of old people, and the Luby's closes up. Gotta be something there... I'm just sayin...

After DQ, we stopped at HEB and Tractor Supply and come home. We both crashed on the couch, and then watched the news, and Jody made grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. I have been craving grilled cheese sandwiches. While we were having dinner, Pauline called and she brought over a fresh batch of black-eyed peas, fresh off the vine. She even shelled them for us. What could be better than neighbors that bring you fresh vegetables? Well, maybe a DQ GC...

Rain is all around us, but we are not getting any. We are just on the cusp of the rain activity, but the front of the house has become really kind of lush with the vegetation. Of course, that is including the weeds, but green is green.

Tomorrow will be a more relaxed day, and it will be nice to chill out for a while.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, FRESH BLACK EYES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, May 20, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Forty; Friday...

Well, this could be it. Tomorrow is allegedly the end of it all. If you don't hear any thing more from me, you will know what happened. BUT, I expect I will not be one of those raptured, I am no where near that good of a person. I expect I will be left behind, not as in the 'meek' inheriting the earth or anything like that. I am just an ordinary guy, doing ordinary things.

AND, if tomorrow will be the end of it all, why was everyone so 'hell-bent' (is that a poor choice of words) on getting their own way about things today. No one really seemed to be paying attention, and all the long-term planning seemed to be continuing. The television weather prognosticators were still providing us with a seven-day-forecast, so you can understand my concern. Whatever... BUT still, just in case, maybe I need to be hedging my bets.

After those previous paragraphs, everything else I could possibly say in this journal entry will sound somewhat anti-climactic. But, I will try to keep this brief and to the point.

Work, work, meeting. Meeting, work, work, meeting. Work, meeting, meeting. That pretty much sums it up for today.

My last meeting of the day included these lovely cupcakes that were hand-made by Jennifer. Lovely. It was not only cup cakes, but brownies (I think) and some cobbler kinds of things (I had the peach one), and it was VERY good. Jennifer reported that she thought it was her personal best to date.

When I got home, I got outside and cut (at) the grass. Front and back. THEN it rained 57 drops on two separate occasions. There is still some thunder around, but I am disappointed that we did not get any rain from this system. Life is full of disappointments.

Tomorrow I will go in and teach a class at the Board, then I have an appointment in the afternoon, then it will be time for spoilers at the DQ. Sunday we are having friends over, and that will be lovely. I will order the food after 11:30 (time of said end), but I do not know if that is Central time or Greenwich Mean Time. I will have to play that one by ear.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, CUP CAKES, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Thirty Nine; Thursday...

The days go by and some of them are like a fog, they are all running together. I got to the office a little bit before 8 o'clock this morning. Did a little bit of power real-estate before our AM PM meeting (that is a PM meeting in the AM). Sat back down and did a bit more power real-estate before I headed out and delivered my Meals-On-wheels route. It rained off and on while I was making my deliveries, and it rained off and on throughout the day. This is a photo I took through the windshield on my way home from work. Is it illegal to take photos while you are driving down the Interstate? You never hear anything about that on the news, so I am figuring it must be okay. AND it distracts the other drivers who are texting...

I met a friend for lunch today at Whole Foods. Whole Foods is my new lunch destination of choice, because they have a charging station there, I pretty much ALWAYS have a convenient parking place, and they give away the electricity for free. AND, my friend Ryan picked up the tab for lunch. What could be better? The retailers in the Austin area need to figure this out; those of us who have electric vehicles will happily come and stay awhile if they will put in charging stations. I will go (a little bit) out of my way to go someplace if I can shop, eat and charge (not with my Visa) at the same time. It is a no brainer.

I left the office just before 4 o'clock this afternoon, and actually got home shortly after five, and even though there were (somewhat) rain-slick streets, I do not recall any traffic delays on the way home. When I was on my way to Whole Foods this morning, I just about slid into the back of the car in front of me, it had rained just enough that the streets were slick.

ANYWAY, once I got home, I went into the lab (that is what Jody calls it, because I sing 'Monster Mash' when I am doing this) and made some bee juice. The bees are going through six or seven pounds of sugar a day now, and I bottled up enough that I used twenty pounds of sugar, and that will last ALMOST three days. Four pounds of sugar mixed with two quarts of water makes just a little bit more than three quarts of bee juice, and I need five quarts of juice per day. Go do the math, it was not one of my strong subjects in high school or college.

After I concocted the bee juice, I was sitting in the office and Jody and I were talking, and I had a call from our neighbor Pauline, wanted to know if we likes beets and beet greens. Sure do (Jody makes a really good borscht) and so she brought us over some. That is really one of the things we like about being in the country, we all share if we have a bounty of something. Generally we are distributing eggs, and everyone shares what they have plenty of. Pauline is also getting ready to pick black-eyed peas, and she said this years crop has produced the biggest peas she has ever seen. I am ready for some fresh black-eyes.

I think I had better quit while I am ahead. I just got up to answer a call on my cell phone, and when I returned to the computer, I got a 'fatal error' message. Whatever...

Deeds, Actions, Changes, RAPTURE?, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Thirty Eight; Wednesday...

I am glad today is Wednesday, because if it was Thursday, I would be in deep do-do. There are a few things I still need to accomplish before Friday, so that gives me all day (okay, it gives me some time on) Thursday to get that stuff done. You remember my to-do lists from yesterday, I am down to only a couple things left, and I am pretty much managing to keep current stuff current. Of course, along with a lot of help from Tom and Karla in the office. Let's make that perfectly clear...

This is what a chicken with no head looks like. Actually, the chicken has a head, it just had its head in the dogs' water bowl, and from my vantage point it looked pretty interesting, so I thought I would share.

I had a meeting first thing this morning at the Board, and I made it to the office in time to see MOST of a webinar from the Texas Association of REALTORS. Good work from the association, and that is always appreciated.

Had lunch with an attorney friend (Hi Tom) and we talked about a couple things we can help each other with, and that was very nice. Freddie's on South First is the best place I know that serves Sweet Potato Fries - DELICIOUS!

Got back to the office, worked a couple lease applications, got one sale contract completed, and life continues to be approaching a loftier plane. WHAT? Whatever...

I left the office today at about 20 minutes after four, and it was not too terrible until I came upon this un-wreck just south of Georgetown. There were two police cars and cones in the road for (what appeared to be nothing more than) a stalled car. The guy driving the car looked like he had on a USPS uniform, so that could explain a lot. ANYWAY, there was a HUGE back-up of traffic, and it is really extraordinary for traffic to back up that far north. Generally, once you get past Round Rock, it is pretty smooth sailing.

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Thirty Seven; Tuesday...

Well, well, well. Another day and plenty of stuff accomplished, but there is still a lot of stuff to get done. I have too many 'to-do' lists, and too many things on the lists 'to-do'. That is the problem with leaving town for a week, I am trying to get everything done that I put off from last week, and keep up with the stuff from this week at the same time. BUT, I am making progress, and by tomorrow I hope to have everything from last week completed. Only time will tell...

I did get close to getting two properties (listings yet) under contract today, so that is pretty sweet. Both are set for July closings, so I need a June paycheck right at the moment. Okay, how about just a paycheck. I would settle for that.

Today was out NARPM Austin-Chapter monthly luncheon, and we met at Dart Bowl to raise money for Habitat-For-Humanity. A good lunch (I was hungry an hour after I finished lunch) of a club sandwich and REALLY greasy french fries, and we bowled two games. I bowled a 98 and a 104, which I am neither proud or ashamed of. What I am really proud of, it is now six hours post bowling, and I have yet to discover that I pulled or maimed anything from the experience. That is the thing with bowling, the pains and aches don't really present themselves for a couple of hours. This is a photo of Carrie, Me, Tom and Karla. Tom actually bowled a 185, he is our ringer, and Karla is good too. Carrie is not great, and I am just old. Whatever...

We got five eggs from the girls today, and all is good there. Still not sure if I will get my new chicks this weekend or not, I need to put that on my to-do list and make a phone call tomorrow.

Life is good, I am a lucky guy and the dog just tried to eat a bee and I bet he got stung on his tongue. We may be going to the vet in a few minutes.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, THAT WILL TEACH HIM, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Thirty Six; Monday...

I was back in the office today for the first time in 10 days. There was quite a bit to catch up on. This was also the first time in 10 days that I was up at 4 o'clock in the morning, doing stuff. On my way into the office, there was a pretty sunrise, but as we all know, the sun rises int he east and I was heading west. So this was the theme of a few photos several months back, and it has taken until now to have something to look at in my rear view mirror. Not the best but something interesting anyway.

I was BUSY BUSY BUSY all day long, but I did get a pretty good amount of work done. I don't want to bore you with details, but the market is picking up, and we are just on the cusp of the summer season, and that is a hot time, especially for leasing and property management business. We are seeing nice increases in rental rates, sometimes $300 or $400 over the last rental rate. SWEET. Our Landlords think we are heroes, but we are just responding to the market. Lots of folks are moving to Austin, and they are not all ready to buy a property right now, so they will lease first.

Once I got home, I decided to make a batch of bee juice, so I will have something for the ladies tomorrow. I refer to the bees as ladies (because they can sting) and the chickens as girls (because they can't). So, make a note of that for future reference. We are going through about seven pounds of sugar a day (A DAY) to keep the bees in simple syrup. When you go to HEB with a basket full of four pound sugar bags, they make for a good conversation starter. The syrup is four pounds of sugar to two quarts of water. Stir well, dissolve, pour into quart jars.

After dinner, I had to make a call to a client prospect in San Diego, so I did not get to sit out on the porch for a very long time, but it was a good call, and I hope it will have a good result. Once I did get out on the porch, Mini Vera (the mean girl...maybe aggressive is a better word) was up on the porch, and she very frequently gives the dog a hard time. She likes to sneak up on him and peck at him, and the dog pretty much freaks out. He gets disciplined if he is aggressive towards the chickens, but he claims self-defense, and who could blame him? Anyway, Mini Vera was bothering the dog, and I banished her to the yard. This is a chicken-cam photo of her looking at me like I am an idiot, and she is probably not too far off.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, HOT MARKETS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Thirty Five; Sunday...

I got ALMOST everything that was on my chore list done; I did not pull weeds (they will still be there tomorrow, and the day after that), and I did not cut back the volunteer Mulberry tree. I have cut it down once this year already and I hope it will get the message that we don't want it there and will die of its' own volition.

I spent a lot of time cleaning out the front barn today, and it is very roomy and clutter free right at the moment. Jody says it will be all cluttered up again in a few months, I am not sure it will take that long. I keep moving CRAP from one barn to another and then to the garage, it is a never ending cycle. In the meantime, every now and then, we would take a break. This is a great picture of Jody and the boy dog relaxing on the porch. Beautiful weather for working outside. Moderate temperatures, and low humidity. Lovely...

We took a small load of usable stuff to the Goodwill store in Georgetown this afternoon, and since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped at Dairy Queen. This time, we both had hot fudge sundaes, and all is good. We both took naps when we got home, and I got up and cleaned the chicken coop. We passed a milestone yesterday, and I failed to report it. Yesterday, we broke out THOUSAND egg mark, and actually recorded 1,002 and two eggs as of yesterday. So far we have gathered four eggs today, and we just keep adding to the number.

Our little potted plants are doing nicely. We continue to get a strawberry here and there, and Jody picked some chard for dinner tonight. He also got two cherry tomatoes, I am glad we are not surviving on the bounty of the garden. I think we will be better at it next year, we are learning as we go. We are also getting some larger tomatoes, and we have some lovely bell peppers. Some of the things that are the easiest to grow are some of the things that we would never buy in the store, so that is a challenge.

Hubert and Pauline were driving down the road this afternoon, they were looking at the pastures to see if the rain had done any good to the coastal and Tifton that they fertilized a couple weeks ago. They turned around in the driveway and were heading home, and we called them on their cell phone and told them to turn around and come visit for a while. We all sat on the porch and visited for a while, and we gave them some eggs to take with them. Pauline said she will be making cookies this week, so the eggs will be good for that. This photo has nothing at all to do with Hubert and Pauline, it was just a pretty picture of the bell peppers.

I got most everything watered that needed watering, so Jody will not have to do that tomorrow. The skies were mostly clear all day today, but when I was out watering plants in the back, there were some pretty clouds rolling in from the north. The winds are supposed to stay from the north for the next couple days, so we will be enjoying moderate temperatures and continued low humidity. The winds will shift from the south later in the week, and we have slight chances of rain from Wednesday on. You never can tell about rain, there was no rain predicted at all last week, and we got a nice little shower. A few more of those and we would be sitting pretty. Generally speaking, we get more rain here than they do in Austin, but that has not held true for the last couple of seasons. Hopefully, we will have a bit more rain.

Going to work tomorrow, back to it. Gotta try and make a living.

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

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2011 - Day One Hundred Thirty Four; Saturday...

Okay, we are back on schedule and all is well. Well, except for the fact that I got stung twice today while I was feeding the bees and these two stings are SERIOUS. My arm is really hurting. I am pretty sure I got the stingers out, but I will keep paying attention. Sometimes it takes a couple days for the stingers to appear and that is a bugger! AND, one of the fountains on the front porch is being problematic and I have had to work on it twice today. AND one of the GFCI breakers in the garage keeps tripping (which turned off the refrigerator in the garage and we lost all the food that was frozen out there). BUT, pretty much other than that, all is well.

Last night when we got home from the airport, there was a package from Chevrolet waiting for me. I really like surprises, and this was a pretty good one. It contained a nice card from GM thanking me for buying their new vehicle along with a note from some kahuna (maybe the President of GM or the Chevrolet division, I need to pay closer attention). Then there was a little brochure with further explanations of what the car is capable of (I spent weeks after I first got the car studying the owner's manual) and a nicely printed book about the evolution of the car itself. AND it also included an HD Flip Video. Pretty cool. It said something about how they know Chevrolet Volt owners like technology, so they sent alone a Flip Video for us to record different things about the Volt. Not too shabby. I have always said the car is like a rolling computer. It took me months to figure out how to set the radio pre-sets, and I never really did figure it out, Tom at our office did it and taught me how to do it.

Jody and I did our customary weekend visit to Georgetown and stopped at Dairy Queen (I had a hot fudge sundae and Jody had a German Chocolate Blizzard). Then we went to Wal-Mart and then by our space at Collector's Market, then a nice drive home.

Once we got home, Jody went down for a nap, and I caught up on e-mails and went out to check on the cattle and take them a fresh bale of hay. The rains we got this week along with the cooler weather make it nice to be a cow at JB Acres. It could definitely be a worse life. All the cattle were up in the small front pasture, so I closed the gate off to the bigger pasture and took a fresh bale of hay out. While they were nicely confined, they cannot get too anxious with the new bale of hay. It is really not the cows that I am worried about, it is Mr. Speckles. He has no fears, and he thinks that fresh bales of hay are pretty much the cats-meow, and he is right there in the middle of it, whether I am there trying to cut off the wrapping cords or not. It is just easier to do when the cattle are otherwise occupied.

I have often wondered why folks with farms or ranches or just lots of acreage don't cut down trees once they are dead, but now I know. The answer is, because there is really no need to cut them down, and usually if you will just wait long enough, they will probably blow over by themselves, and you can then just let them lay there and rot. Or let the cattle rub up against them. Cattle like to rub up against things. AND, sometimes the dead trees are kind of attractive in themselves, and it is easier to see hawks or owls or other birds in a dead tree (in the summer time) than it is to see them in a tree that has a bunch of leaves on them. We have a couple trees right now that need to be cut down, but I think I will wait a couple years and see how things work out. If it all goes as I have it planned, they will just blow over (hopefully the one in the front will not blow over on the barn), and then all we will have to do is wait for them to disintegrate. No problems!

Things have finally started to bloom out nicely now, and there are bees everywhere. They are not bothering anything or anyone (unless you are trying to feed them) so that is not a problem. Jody even got stung twice while I was gone, both times on the tip o the same finger. Tomorrow I am going to suit up before I feed them, it is just easier than getting stung. ANYWAY, this is a picture of one of our thorn less cactus, this one is in front of the house, and it was just covered with blossoms the last couple of days. Also, the small 'spreading roses' that we planted last week seem to have settled in nicely, and I should get some photos of them in the next several days. They are supposed to make a nice ground cover, so we hope that will work out the way they advertise them.

Late in the afternoon, we both went out to the front barn to start going through some more boxes that we have not looked at since we moved here almost three years ago. AND, while we were out there, I noticed the Magnolia that we gave up for dead two years ago was blooming, and it has beautiful blooms and several more buds on it. This tree has a really strong self-preservation drive, and it is doing better this year than it has since we lived here. Just another reason not to cut down dead trees, you never know, they may not really be dead. Tomorrow I will give it a little trim job, and see if I can't help it recover a little bit faster. Maybe I should just leave well enough alone. Maybe...

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