Me and Scout

Me and Scout

24 December 2010

24 December 2010, 1649, Friday, Home Patch

Tuesday, we took a trip out to Clear Lake to check on the house and stopped at Star Cinema Grill for a movie.  I miss that place, but other than that, the area doesn’t hold much charm for me anymore.  Wednesday, we put out some hay, and piddled around.  We had lunch at Grandmother’s with my Aunt, Uncle, and a couple of cousins.  That was nice.  They also came over to take a look at the house.  Oh yeah, we saw the crazy sorrel mare and the stallion I’ve been calling Brego in the pasture.  These are the horses that I thought may have gone into the deer lease.  So, they are in the right place and I can patch that hole.  Although it’s not super urgent because the horses are not going to leave the where the good feed is.
Thursday was a Santa and elf day.  We did some more grocery shopping.  On that, we have not been doing well about the groceries.  Whenever we get back from the store, we always think of something else that we need.  Back in Clear Lake that was not a problem, but here, it’s kind of an ordeal.  Even during the week, when I am doing a lot of subbing, I can stop off at the store, but during the break, it’s an extra trip.  Anyway, we went to the store, wrapped presents and that kind of thing.
This morning, we slept in a bit, but I got up and rode Sarge some.  I had put an even better set of reins on his bridle, but hadn’t put them in a knot yet.  I got him bridled, then led him out to the stall that the gray mare and colt are at.  I almost tied his reins in a knot on a little half post on that stall, but decided against it.  Instead, I knotted his reins in a loop to throw over his head like normal, then looped the reins on the post.  Good thing, too.  When I was coming out of the saddle house with the saddle, he got spooked at something.  I think it was the dogs, or maybe he didn’t know he was tied.  He pulled back and broke that little post.  Like I said, it was a good thing that I just looped his reins over that post, because if I hadn’t that post would have been chasing him across the pasture.  Not a pretty picture, I’ve seen it before.  To his credit, it did not take me long to catch him.  He really is pretty gentle, just young and green.  I led over to the saddle and finished saddling him while holding the reins myself.  No problem.  I led him around to the front yard and rode him in the horse pasture some, but the dogs tended to spook him a bit.  I took him out to the rode and there was something by one of the barns that he didn’t care for.  It took some convincing, but I got him past it.  He never tried to jump or buck, or even really shy away.  He just kept turning away from it.  I kept turning him back and we did fine.  We went to the double gates and turned around.  I trotted him most of the way back and did a couple of turns by the trailers parked in front of the horse barn.  He did good.  Like a reenacting friend of mine says, “It takes wet saddle blankets.”  Well, they’re not wet yet, but we’re getting there.
Came back and did some stuff in the office, ate lunch and then Anna and I put out some more hay, brought the tractor back and finished spreading the dirt on the culvert bridge.  My tractor started bucking with me while doing that.  I had a load of dirt and hit an uneven patch and the back left tire came up off the ground.  The engine stalled and everything just held motionless.  I got the engine started back up, dumped the dirt and she settled back down.  Can't be too careful.  One more lesson learned.  Then I stacked up all the hay in the hay storage place.
Tomorrow is Christmas, but it still feels like Thanksgiving.  I’m so happy to be here with a wonderful wife and doing the stuff that I love.  It’s not all perfect yet, but I was reminded by one of my faithful blog followers just how far we’ve come in the last 6 months.  Incredible!
So, Merry Christmas to all of you!  I hope your celebrations of the birth of our Savior and King are as joyous as mine have been and will be.

21 December 2010

21 December 2010, 0726, Tuesday, Home Patch

Friday night, we went to the new diner in town.  Pretty good food and well-priced (which is important).  We took Grandmother and saw some friends.  It is nice becoming part of the community.  Saturday, we finally got around to going on a ride.  We saddled up Scout and Sarge and took a brief ride down to the pens and back.  Sarge is pretty green and has not been ridden much.  He doesn’t neck rein very well, so I decided that I needed to put him on a limber curb bit.  That’s a bit that is hinged in the middle like a training or snaffle bit, but the reins attach on rings below the bit like a curb bit so you can brake by putting pressure on his chin.  He did fine, he just needs some experience.
We got back and then I saddled up Rebel and we went out again.  We rode out to the new hay field and counted the rolls out there and we have more than we thought.  Good because we won’t run short.  However, that is a lot to move.  I hope we can get that done before it gets wet, because I don’t want to have to put all that hay out from over there.
On the way back, the wild horses were standing somewhat near the gate out of the home side of the pasture, so I set the gates, put Anna dismounted on the road and made a couple of passes at the horses.  I got them separated from the other horses okay, but couldn’t get them through the gate.  I really didn’t open the right gate anyway.  Once I fixed that, I tried again, but they faded off into the patch of woods.  I haven’t seen them since.  There is a fence that’s low that goes into the deer lease to the east of us.  I will leave that open until I see them again.

We had had a busy week, so when we got back, we took a nap and brought the gator over from Grandmother’s.
Yesterday, we fed and I fixed up the new bridle and bit.  Well, it was all old, but I put the limber bit into a relatively new headstall and some old leather reins.  I got Sarge saddled up and was going to tie him in the empty stall in the barn while I helped Anna saddle up and he just went ape all of a sudden.  Anna was standing in the breezeway with a gate between her and the horse.  I don’t know why, but Sarge started bucking.  He kicked the gate, which hit Anna in the chest, then he bucked his way into the stall with me.  I figured that he would jump a couple of times and then settle down, but whenever he looked like he was going to quit, he just started up again.  I had the reins and tried to maneuver him into the stall with me, away from Anna and she got clear to the other side of the breezeway and then the reins broke and he bucked right toward her again.  I advised her to climb out, but I don’t think she really needed my encouragement.  Then, Sarge bucked his way back into my stall and I went over the fence into the next stall and he tore that partition down right after I climbed over.  Then, he finally quit.
I ran around the barn to check on Anna and she was fine, but a little sore and she is carrying a couple of bruises today.  Sarge was now locked up in the barn, standing, but shaky.  I gave him some feed, attached some new reins (good ones this time) and soberly pondered what I would have done had he started bucking and my reins broke while I was riding him.
Ten or even 5 years ago, I’d have gotten right aboard and ask for the worst, but going to war and turning 40 helps you realize that you are not as invincible as you once were.  However, I’m not going to just sell the horse because he bucked a couple of times.  I rebuilt the barn, then led him down to the pens and by that time he was pretty settled.  I rode him back and used the new bit to reinforce his neck reining.  He did fine.
I came to the conclusion that I would much rather have a horse just start bucking with me, than to have the premonition that he might buck.  To have a horse just start bucking is a bit startling, but the adrenalin kicks in and you want to ride him to the ground.  “Buck with ME, I don’t think so!!”  But knowing that a horse is goofy or crazy makes it all the harder.  You’re nervous and he can tell.
I was at a reenactment about 3 years ago and we were all standing in formation with our horses and the colonel asked for a volunteer.  Crickets chirped and tumbleweeds rolled by.  I realized that I was trying to be a leader in the unit and that I was younger than most of them, plus I had been in the army and all, so I stepped forward.  At that very instant, I realized that I had been in the army and should have known better than to volunteer.  The assignment was to ride a staff horse to “warm him up”.  Mr. Jitters was his name and that branding didn’t cover his disposition by a long shot.  This horse was crazy.  I had ridden him before and he gave me a little trouble, but he was put on very skimpy rations at the time.  Now, he was nuts.  I clambered aboard and rode him around the formation a couple of times and every step, he bowed up his back like he was about to explode.  Finally, I let my weight shift ever so slightly and he chose to start.  Don’t think that he didn’t know what he was doing.  That first jump put me off center even more, but I got over him and tried to tuck his head under him and everyone started yelling at me.  They had left out that this horse had a habit of rearing up and tipping over backwards so pulling on his head wasn’t a good thing to do.  Thanks for the information, guys.  Anyway, he didn’t tip, I rode him down and he went back to the picket line.  I guess the staff officer rode in the wagon.  I had put on a show for the whole regiment and thanked God that I didn’t spill in front of them all.  Anyway, like I said.  It’s worse when you know they’re going to buck.

15 December 2010

15 December 2010, 2204, Wednesday, Home Patch

I did not have time to mention this morning my attempt to herd wild horses on foot in a coat and tie.  Well, I guess that about sums it up.  Yesterday, when Dad was here, the gate to the main pasture got left open and two of the wild horses jumped the cattle guard (not much of a cattle guard, I suppose) and ended up in here.  They’re not really hurting anything, but I’d rather not have to deal with them.  So, I’m feeding horses this morning.  Normally, when I work, I dress pretty nice.  Anything that gives me an edge as a substitute will help.  I had on my tweed coat, fedora, nice pants and a tie.  I was also wearing my boots with my pants shoved into the tops.  This is so I can feed, I put my regular shoes on when I get to where I am going.  Anyway, I fed all the horses and these two wild ones are hanging around, so I figure I’d give them a go.  I drive down the quarter mile or so to the double gates that are on the side of the road that give access to the main pasture and open them up.  Then I drive back to the barn.  The horses already start to move in the right direction so I follow.  Now herding wild horses is a lot of luck and a little about knowing where to be.  When you herd cows you herd them from a couple of feet to several yards away.  Horses or more like 50-100 yards.  So, they start moving south and I follow.  They then cut into the area between the horse pasture and the main pasture called “Between the Tanks”.  (Okay, not a very fancy name, but I’m not J.R.R. Tolkien)  They turn into there and I follow and then they go west, but I need them to keep south.  I can’t get around them, so just follow them until they get to the end and have to turn back around.  They do, turn back to the east, go out to the road and then turn south….but pass the gate right up.  They turn back to the east into the woods.  I follow a little bit, but then realize that I have to go to work and it would be better if I’m not dripping sweat and have blackberry briars dragging from my breeches.
In the end, we will have to get a little fancier than Sunday go to meeting wear.  I may even try to use a horse, but luck will be what really works.
Okay, here is a map.  This is very crude, not to scale or anything like that, but it may help anyone who is following along to know where things are.  It is intentionally vague in regards to size, location, etc. just because ranchers like to play it close to the vest.  Example:  I get asked a lot how big the place is.  I know no one means anything by this, they are just interested, but it is the same thing as asking someone how much money they have in the bank.  So, the pastures are bigger or smaller, then what the map says, but it will help you get an idea.

15 December 2010, 0749, Wednesday, Gulf Coast Educational Consortium

Two whole days as a bona fide civilian.  It is a little strange, perhaps even a little melancholy, but I figure it would be melancholy 12 years from now too, so I won't fret it.  Anna and I went to Beaumont on Monday night to celebrate and I'm still trying to decide what kind of nonregulation facial hair to grow.  (Provided I get permission, of course).

Dad came out yesterday morning to move the hay that my truck could not.  Anna followed him in the car as he took the tractor to the field.  Here's a summary of how equipment and assets are currently disposed.  Dad got all of the hay moved out of the old hay field except for 12 rolls.  5 will be reserved for a guy who lives down the road from the hay field.  We sold them at well below price, but he's a neighbor and a friend.  Community relations are important in our business.  There are a good 100 rolls in the new hay field.  This hay field is in the pasture, but can still only be accessed by truck and trailer by going through town.  40 some odd rolls are scattered in the hay storage place at the end of our camp road.  The Kubota is in their, but the bucket doesn't work because it is low on transmission fluid.  The John Deere is still in the hay field.  So, we have to put fluid in the Kubota, move it, and at some point spread the dirt on the culvert bridge so vehicles can cross.  We have to move 5 rolls of hay to the farmer down the road, put out the rest of the hay from the hay field, then start putting hay out from the new hay field while trying to figure out a way to move the new hay field hay to the hay storage place.  I am wondering if my truck can pull 3 rolls or so on the flat bed trailer.  The question then is can it get through the Bobcat Woods with a trailer attached.

We have a lot to do and figure out.  It is one of the things that I like about ranching.  It is a combined lateral thinking puzzle and Leadership Reaction Course.  Leadership Reaction Courses are the training tools used in the Army to train thinking outside the box.  Example:  "Take this rope, this barrel, and this paper clip and transport this ammo box full of radioactive material across this pond of water."  Ranching is one giant Leadership Reaction Course.

I still have to do a lot of home stuff the next couple of days, but after that we will begin putting out hay.  Probably at the end of this week.  I will, of course, start a spreadsheet keeping track of what we put out and how fast it is getting eaten.

I will try to post some pictures and maybe a map.

13 December 2010

13 December 2010, 0612, Monday, Home Patch

Okay, it has been a few days, and I am more cognizant of that fact due to the happy development that people are actually reading my blog.  So, I tip my hat in gratitude to those folks who have said that they are enjoying reading it every day.  I offer my apologies for not posting every day which will make it abundantly more interesting.
Friday, was uneventful.  Really uneventful.  The sub job I am doing is good because I get to do a lot of reading while monitoring the class, but as much as I love to read, 8 hours straight of it can get old.  Friday night we went to Clear Lake for a Christmas part with the old singles group and that was fun.  Anna brought a cake for the gift exchange.  We got back pretty late.
We ended up sleeping in on Saturday.  Here is where blogging can help us to good works.  I am now committed to telling the story and when I have to say things like, “we slept in” I have to justify it, at least in my own head.  However, we were very tired.  It had been a rough week and we were trying to catch a bug.  So, we finally got up, got situated, found the tractor key over at Grandmother’s, then began.  Everything was difficult.  Neither of us were in the mood to tackle this job and we were both apprehensive about Anna taking the tractor through town when she had no experience on it.  I even had trouble hooking up the hay trailer to my truck.  It had been attached to Dad’s truck, which is much higher so the jack stand was set in such a way that I had to lower it onto blocks in the back of my truck, raise the stand, adjust it, then, put it back down, and finally hook it up to my truck.  Of course, I will have to do the same procedure in reverse so Dad can hook back up to it.  It is still attached this morning.
Getting through town was not as bad as we thought and Anna did well handling the tractor.  I managed to pull the long trailer into the hay field, and we got the five rolls on the tractor.  We decided that the tractor was so slow that it would be better to leave it there.  We can dump the rolls from the trailer without the tractor, bring it back at the end of the day, then stack the hay in the hay storage place.
Here is where we started to get nervous.  Strange smells began emanating from my truck.  The extra 5.5 tons of hay was too much for my truck and I was burning out the clutch.  We managed to get the one load dumped, but we called Dad to let him know and he waved us off.  Neither of us minded.  Later in the day, Anna hauled me to the hay field in the car and I brought back another two rolls on the tractor.  So, we now have 9 rolls of hay in the hay storage place.  There are 150 or so to be moved.  We will have to work something else out.  I can maybe haul 4 by pulling the flatbed with the tractor, but not only will I not be able to haul as much, I will have to unhook and rehook the trailer to put the hay on and off.  Plus, the tractor is just slow.  Probably what we will do is end up trading vehicles with Dad for a spell.  It just needs to happen before the roads and ground get too wet.
So, other than discovering a new reason that I need a new truck that I can’t afford, the weekend was a failure.  We did get a good amount of rest on Sunday, so I think the bug that attacked us was defeated.
I will keep you posted on what we come up with.  For the rest of the week, I will concentrate on tidying up the house, unloading reenacting stuff, cleaning my guns, etc.  I will try to get a ride in with Sarge.  That will be something.
Anna took some horse pictures on Sunday, here they are.

Thanks to everyone who is following the blog.  I am enjoying having an audience.

09 December 2010

09 December 2010, 1739, Home Patch

Finally got the burn barrel set up, so I just burned some trash.  I like fire, but I forgot how much they smell.  It is that chemically, Styrofoam cup burning smell.  We need feed so we will go to the store in a couple of minutes.  Other than that, things are pretty quiet.
On Saturday, we need to try to move hay.  I need to get Anna checked out on the tractor to drive down the road.  I am a little nervous about that.  However, I don’t know how else to do it.
Started a sub gig today that will last until next Friday.  Pretty easy.  I actually get to do some reading.
08 December 2010, 0943, Wednesday, Army Reserve Center #3
I was kidding about the weekly blog, but it looks like it may be coming to pass.  I am spending my last day in the reserve center and in uniform.  I find myself quite unemotional about it.  I’m thinking about where to store my uniforms that will maintain them, but not get in the way.  Friday night was the Dining Out and it was pretty successful.  Mr. Vice (for information on that, you should google it) wore my Yankee Cav uniform.  I wore mess dress and Anna had on a beautiful red dress.  We looked nice, I might say.  The rest of the weekend was spent at Dickens on the Strand doing reenacting stuff.  Nothing really worth mentioning there other than meetings and planning about how to work Co. K back into the mix.  Until I get a large enough group we will just fall into Co. F out of Austin.
Monday, Dad and I penned the cows for the last time of the year.  We didn’t get them all, but we sold everything we were going to except for one open cow and a calf.  We can carry them without a problem.
It rained this morning so it may not be possible to move hay this weekend, but that’s the goal right now.  The priority is to move hay out of the hay fields and into the hay storage place, then to spread the dirt on the culvert bridge, then to mow.  The weather could play havoc with this, but there will be plenty else to do if the weather is bad.
Anna called this morning and said that the gray mare and colt were outside the home pasture.  I don’t know how they got out, so that will be investigated this afternoon.  I’m not too worried about them, but I don’t want to have to hunt the saddle horses.

08 December 2010

08 December 2010, 0943, Wednesday, Army Reserve Center #3

I was kidding about the weekly blog, but it looks like it may be coming to pass.  I am spending my last day in the reserve center and in uniform.  I find myself quite unemotional about it.  I’m thinking about where to store my uniforms that will maintain them, but not get in the way.  Friday night was the Dining Out and it was pretty successful.  Mr. Vice (for information on that, you should google it) wore my Yankee Cav uniform.  I wore mess dress and Anna had on a beautiful red dress.  We looked nice, I might say.  The rest of the weekend was spent at Dickens on the Strand doing reenacting stuff.  Nothing really worth mentioning there other than meetings and planning about how to work Co. K back into the mix.  Until I get a large enough group we will just fall into Co. F out of Austin.
Monday, Dad and I penned the cows for the last time of the year.  We didn’t get them all, but we sold everything we were going to except for one open cow and a calf.  We can carry them without a problem.
It rained this morning so it may not be possible to move hay this weekend, but that’s the goal right now.  The priority is to move hay out of the hay fields and into the hay storage place, then to spread the dirt on the culvert bridge, then to mow.  The weather could play havoc with this, but there will be plenty else to do if the weather is bad.
Anna called this morning and said that the gray mare and colt were outside the home pasture.  I don’t know how they got out, so that will be investigated this afternoon.  I’m not too worried about the, but I don’t want to have to hunt the saddle horses.

01 December 2010

01 December 2010, 1126, Wednesday, Army Reserve Center #3, Houston

Once again the journal irony has struck.  Whenever nothing is happening you have time to write.  Whenever there is something to write about, there is no time.  Last week was Thanksgiving.  I worked on Monday at Liberty Middle School and spent Tuesday and Wednesday preparing for all the activities.  Can’t remember at all what I did.  We took a bunch of trash to the dump, I think and bought groceries.  Melissa spent the weekend with us and we had a lot of fun.  On Friday we went to the Renaissance Fair and even dressed up.  I had somewhat of a costume, but most of what we had was rented from a great costume shop in Sour Lake of all places.  You never know what you will find in the country.  It’s not all gas stations and corner stores.
Saturday, Scott, Chaundra, Darlene, and Val came over.  Scott works in construction and he helped me put in a device at the foot of the blocking gate that will keep cows from stepping in the track and breaking their foot.  The device looks great and will hold up well.  It was a new experience for him.  “Ranching is not the same as construction,” he said.  We kept using scrap lumber and straightening out 50 year old nails for reuse.  He had trouble getting used to not just going to the nail pouch.  We had a lot of fun with the comparisons.  The girls did a lot of straightening up around the pens and cleaned a lot of brush away to make it easier to get around.
Sunday, we took a good rest.  Dad and Linda showed up on Monday afternoon and I was not satisfied with what we had gotten done to that point.  Nevertheless, we managed to make the necessary pen repairs before dark.  We were ready to round up the cows and have them ready for the doc on Tuesday.
Tuesday morning we started early.  The cows were completely uninterested in the gator and the cubes so it started out as kind of a rodeo.  There was a small bunch just inside the savanna so we went ahead and penned those.  The dogs made it difficult.  They don’t know what to do and at first they have try to just chase the cows.  This splits them up, so we had to work against the dogs for awhile.  After we got them moving, however, they started to get it.  Dixie especially was working the front of the herd and keeping them bunched up.  Once they almost got away from us while crossing the gully, but Dixie set ‘em on course.  When she knows what to do, she can be a good cow dog.  I think they’ll get better.
We went back for the second bunch and it was the same way.  Tough at first, but after the dogs got lined out, things went pretty smoothly.  There were about 10-15 head that we never got.  We saw them when we came back after lunch, but they just ran off and we didn’t have the horses, so it was no go.
The vet got there around 2:30.  We worked them pretty smoothly and the blocking gate worked well.  I kept the cows qued up in the chute while Dad worked the headgate, Linda vaccinated, and Anna kept notes on what was pregnant and what wasn’t.  She also worked the squeeze chute and the back gate.  I kept thinking that I should run forward and do that for her, but every time I did she had a handle on it, so I let her continue.  She did great!
The vet checked 38 cows and 31 were pregnant!  This is a far cry from what we had before.  Hopefully we have turned the corner on our glut.  For what we checked we had an 86% pregnancy rate.  What we sold so far was about 15%.  So, Dad and I culled pretty good based on a visual inspection.  Plus, a lot of what we sold we knew were pregnant, just really old.
We also tagged a bunch.  The next step in our cattle management will be to go out and take notes on the color, brand, description of all the cows that are tagged and enter it into the management software that I bought years ago.  I get to manage cows.  I’m very excited.  All that college training will go to good work.

20 November 2010

20 November 2010, 0702, Saturday, Home Patch

Living in the country is great.  Teachers openly talk about God in classrooms.  Men giving a special music in church wear the best coveralls and coyotes can be heard close to the house at night.
Thursday, Dad came out to put in the blocking gate so we can palpate the cows.  It turned out to be quite a job.  The thing was pretty heavy, so we used 6” x 6” posts to attach to it.  Half the job was figuring out the procedure.  We both slipped back into NASA mode a little bit and it worked out.  We had to cut some of the boards, then plant the two posts on one side, slide the gate in, hook to it, then plant the posts on the inside.  Not the way either of us imagined how it would go, but it was the best way to do it.  It is one of the joys of ranching to use your head and your back in the same job.  We also talked about how much fun it was working together.  Doing a lot of jobs by yourself can be very tedious and dull, but with someone you care about helping, it becomes more fun.  I suppose that’s why God didn’t let me come out here until I got married.
Not much else happened yesterday.  I subbed at the alternative school and arranged for the vet to come out to palpate on the 30th.  Today, we are going to Schulenburg to meet Buddy and Betty for lunch.  Anna’s folks will be there as well.

17 November 2010

17 November 2010, 1717, Wednesday, Home Patch

Went to my first Civil War Reenactment in many years and got back on Monday.  I had a heck of a time.  I remember how to do everything, but still need to learn how to move troops on the field and the finer points of tactics.  Reenacting is like a big chess game.  I look forward to getting back into it.  I would like to train horses for cavalry, but I have a lot to learn about that as well.
Yesterday, we started some actual ranching.  We dug out some usable wood from the old barn and rearranged the stalls in the horse barn.  We can now feed all three of our saddle horses without having to get in amongst them and all of the stalls are now roughly the same size.  We still need to do more construction in order to sustain more horses and also to feed new horses.  The scrawny gray mare and her gray colt have been coming up regularly.  Now that we are set up to feed them in Sarge’s stall, we are in good shape.  However, another horse has started to come up.  This one is a gray stallion, probably two or three.  He might be a good one to break for reenacting, although he seems pretty wild still.
Tomorrow, Dad is coming with the blocking gate for the chute.  If I don’t work tomorrow, I will help him put that in.

08 November 2010

08 November 2010, 0947, Monday, Hull-Daisetta Ag Class, Daisetta

I had my last full drill this weekend.  I still have some work to do with them during the week and next month we will have the Dining Out, but basically, I’m done.  I feel a little sad, but mostly relieved.  A guy I served with in Iraq is thinking about taking over the command.  He is an excellent man and a fine officer.  I would be happy if I could leave my people in good hands.
Tomorrow, I am going to MS for the first reenactment in a very long time.  I am a little nervous.  I’m out of shape and unaccustomed to all of the military encumbrances on person and saddle, but I’ll be all right, I reckon.
There is still a lot of work to do on the actual ranch.  I feel a little guilty running off to play, but hopefully some good will come out of it.  Maybe it will help develop the horse end of the business, who knows?
Finally, I got the details on the Post 9/11 GI Bill.  As long as I take 7 hours a semester, I can get over 1500 dollars a month.  History would be my choice, but when I get the degree, then what?  It won’t make me any money, just help support me now.

05 November 2010

05 November 2010, 1034, Friday, Home Patch

A little overwhelmed by all the tasks that need to happen.  Getting reenacting stuff squared away yesterday took pretty much all day.  I also discovered that it is a lot harder to climb aboard a military saddle than it used to be.  I need to get in shape.  I think we are doing better in that regard, but it’s slow going.  I also still need to make cartridges.  However, I am working fairly steady if not 5 days a week.  Once the reenactment is over things will start settling down again.
This weekend is my last full up drill.  There is one more in December, but it will be half a day and then the Dining Out.  I do need to get in as much work as possible in for the Army while I still can.
Every walk I take and every time we walk out the front door, I see things that need to happen on the ranch.  I’m here and that’s a start, but how great it would be to not be enslaved to the need for cash for insurance, groceries, and utilities.

02 November 2010

02 November 2010, 2137, Tuesday, Home Patch

Way too much has happened for a blow by blow, so here is a summary.

The party last Saturday for my birthday was a big success.  We shot some guns, drove around the place, ate a lot and I offered horse rides to kids, also taking one myself as we toured the place.  I got a pony ride for my birthday!  Later that weekend and this weekend as well, we continued on the press to sell cows.  We have probably sold 20 or 25 and will do another 30 or so.  We will be palpating in a couple of weeks when I get back from my first Civil War Reenactment in years.  After that, we will be able to see what is really worth selling or not.  It is hard for Dad and me to do this, but it makes sense.
The list of things to do just keeps getting bigger.  Our dogs have a lot of good instinct, but are really no help.  They really got the cows stirred up when we were trying to pen them on Sunday.  I need to figure out how to train cow dogs.  We got some good rides in, though.  Rebel is really quite the woods horse.  I know that the modern ranch has little use for a cowboy, but Rebel is a cow pony from the Big Thicket.  I can look at a space between two trees, give a slight flick of the wrist and he’ll head for it, sparing my knees in the process.  He’s a joy to ride in those circumstances.  He’s not quite as rambunctious as he used to be either.  I intend to saddle him in military style on Thursday and run him through some jumps and saber work.

01 November 2010

22 October 2010, 0946, Friday, Hull-Daisetta High School Ag Class, Daisetta

Got the shed built yesterday and got a lot of stuff out of the house.  It is fun to get the house straightened up and lived in.  However, I’m looking forward to beginning doing ranch stuff.  We will be hauling some old tin off today and probably trying to find a place to take our trash as well.  Tomorrow is the party.  That will be fun.

21 October 2010, 1000, Thursday, Hull-Daisetta High School Ag Class, Daisetta

It is my 40th Birthday today.  One of my recent goals has been to get out to the ranch by the time I am 40 and I guess I did it.  I’m not exactly ranching, but I suppose I’m closer than I ever have been.  We’ve had some discouraging days.  Money is tight and we are accepting the fact that we are going to have to get full-time jobs, at least until the house sells.  That is disappointing, but I am trying to stay encouraged and trusting.  Frankly, it’s not easy.  Anna is very helpful in this regard.  What I am discovering is that even though I manage to maintain my composure, I am nursing a strain of doubt under the surface.  Every now and then it comes out.  So, my new task is to war against the doubt that still exists.
Watching “Silverado” in class.  The teacher doesn’t care much what we do while he is gone.  He gave me a movie to watch, but to keep from watching the same thing over and over I brought a couple of mine in.  I was up kind of late last night and I don’t have much patience for a bunch of knuckle-head sophomores who think they are something special.
With everything else that is going on I haven’t mentioned the grass fire.  I won’t say much other than that someone stole the signs from downtown and we thought the burn ban was off.  A brush fire got away from us and I had to rush home.  I beat the Saratoga VFD by about a minute.  We got everything put out and there was no fine.  God spared us in that.  As a matter of fact, he spared us in the fire itself.  The wind was blowing away from the house, so it didn’t even get close.
We also cleaned up the old pile of barn that was stacked up in our backyard.  It looks a lot better and it also looks like we will have enough lumber to replace the gates and bullwire in the barn with real wood.  This will also let us split Scout’s stall in two and move Sarge under the barn.  We should be able to feed all three horses without leaving the barn.
Getting excited about the big party this weekend.  We still have a lot to do in the house, but I am looking forward to my birthday dinner and movie.  However, we’ll still have a lot to do today.

13 October 2010

13 October 2010, 1008, Wednesday, Hull-Daisetta HS, Daisetta

It never amazes me that no matter how much time you figure something will take, it always takes more than that.  Yesterday was one of those days where every job I tackled yielded two other tasks.  However, I did get the washer and dryer hooked up, and we got the shed mostly completed.  Anna's mother, Peggy came over and helped with unpacking a lot.  I did plumbing and appliances mostly.
At one point, I was crossing over to Grandmother's to borrow a screwdriver for the shed.  Belle and Tye became very interested in something, so I approached cautiously.  Sure enough, it was a rattlesnake.  It was copper colored, not like a timber rattler, at least 4 feet long, and as fat as my closed fist.  It was also eating a squirell.  It had managed to get the head down, but everything else was still sticking out.  Now, this is evolution at work.  Any snake that gets caught in the open with it's mouth full is not going to last long.  I ran back, got Anna and Peggy, then Grandmother, and we cut it's head and rattles off with a brush knife.  Took some video and pictures too.  We have lived in town for three days and killed two poisonous animals.  Anna found a black widow roaming around in the pasture on Sunday.  Welcome to the country!

12 October 2010

12 October 2010, 0937, Tuesday, Home Patch

Tim decided to stay another night, and he suggested that we actually go for a ride.  Boxes are piled everywhere, bookcases are in the middle of the living room floor, the pipes are leaking, and that’s the list that doesn’t include the ranch chores.  So, I thought it was a great idea and we went for a ride.  First we had to get fixin’ to ride.  Now, that means that we had to go find the horses.  I will talk about the fence issues later.  We had a nice ride.  We went through the Mineral Box Field and talked about how I want to use that as a trap for the wild horses.  We tried pushing through the woods between the Mineral Box Field 2 and Bobcat Woods, but didn’t have much luck.  We had to even dismount at one point.  In the Savanna, we came upon the horses.  Since we were just riding for fun, we decided just this once, to run the horses, Gus McCrae style.  When they turned slightly toward the house, we made a faint-hearted attempt to take them that way, but they turned on us.  The trap will be the way to go.
I know that anybody who reads this blog that is not related to me won’t know what a Mineral Box Field is, but I’ll go into that later.  I will explain what I mean by a trap.  All I’m talking about is a series of pastures, decreasing in size and leading up to a point where stock can be driven to the pens.  The Mineral Box Field has traditionally been part of our horse trap.
I am going to have to start riding Sarge pretty soon.  He followed us for awhile, but broke off to go to Grandmother’s to try and get some more food.  When we went through the Mineral Box Field, he must have lost us, but saw us again in the Savanna.  He ran up to us like he was a puppy dog and we had just gotten home.
Nothing interesting happened the rest of the day.  We took Tim home and got some more stuff out of the house.  Met with the realtor and talked prices.

11 October 2010, 0743, Monday, Home Patch

Thursday, I did not do much other than get organized and catch up on email.  Friday, Anna and I spent packing.  We did not get done, but accomplished a lot.  We called it quits around 2300 after a trip to Walmart for boxes.  We needed to be some rested when the big day came.
We got up early on Saturday, started packing, and then went to pick up the truck.  We had great help during the day from Melissa, Tim, Scott and Steven.  We got word that there was to be a showing at 1530.  So, we started scrambling in the afternoon to make things at least slightly presentable.  Most of our stuff got packed, loaded, and moved.  We arrived around 1730 on Saturday, and proceeded to unload.  Tim and Melissa came with us and we are very thankful for their help.  Grandmother came over and the women began unloading, and I mean unloading.  They didn’t shy away from anything heavy, other than the fridge.  The reason they did this is because Tim and I were busy working on the septic system.  We finally got it hooked up around 2040 and then proceeded to unload the rest of the stuff.  We cleared paths for us to get to the bathroom, (which worked!) and then went to bed.
We got up pretty early the next day and had a lot of frustration.  I won’t go into all of it, but many of the things I tried to do just wouldn’t do.  We had three showings in two days, and none of those worked out.  I spent three hours on fixing the ice dispenser on the refrigerator door and still could not hook it up.  We tried to build the shed and did not have all of the pieces.  It was a rough day.  However, we did our best to make the most of it.  Melissa had left that morning.  Anna made a fantastic breakfast on the new stove.  Okay, that’s one thing that went pretty trouble free, that is, installing the stove.  It occurs to me, that when you have some frustration you (or rather, I) tend to forget about what has gone right.  In any event, we went to town to turn in our moving truck and had a nice dinner with Tim, who decided to stay another night, because he loves to be worked like a Roman galley slave.
The important thing is that we are in!  We have our stuff in Batson, we are living, cooking, working out of (some), and going to the bathroom in our new home.  The place in Clear Lake now is just a financial responsibility to bear.  Soon it will be a memory.  My memories of it will be good.  My first house.  The place where I had my own dedicated library.  The place where I brought home my bride.  It was a nice house and Anna made it even nicer.  I’ll remember it fondly, and while we live in a mobile home, I may even miss it some, but for now, I JUST WANT TO SELL IT!!!

06 October 2010

06 October 2010, 1756, Wednesday, Clear Lake

Skipped church on Sunday, but didn’t feel like we did the wrong thing.  We were tired, but we did mow the horse patch.  I mowed some, then Anna.  She is really cute on the tractor and does a nice job.  I gathered up the trash from when I cleaned up the old collapsed barn section where I am going to put the tool shed.  I also gathered up all the old limbs and branches from the back yard and brought them to the burn pile.  I waited for the Septic guy to come all afternoon.  I should have called him, but didn’t.  He showed up around 1800 and we hashed out the plan.  Dad pulled up when we were talking to him.  If I had called and gotten a better time estimate than “after church”, then I could have gone over to mow a path between the hay fields like Dad asked.  However, I dawdled and it didn’t get done.  Dad mentioned that it wasn’t a big deal, but I should have made it happen.
On Monday, I was on the way to feed the horses, and meet Dad to mow the road, but got a sub call for West Hardin.  I had 7th and 8th grade English classes.  No problems.  Anna pulled out a lot of the old fence in the back yard; Grandmother helped her.  After work, I went to Kountze to pick up the CD for their sub training and registered to vote in Hardin County.  When I got back, I was about to burn, but Grandmother came over and said there was a ban in effect.  She also noticed a leak.
It turns out we had two leaks.  A small one at a t-junction.  I had to rip open the insulation to find it.  There is also a leak from the drain for the master shower.  That one was bad, but, of course does not affect our water bill.  We decided to go to get supplies to fix everything the next morning.  Dad came by that evening on his way in.  I thought he had left already, but he had had lots of trouble with the baler.  I should have checked on him when I got in.  More should’ve’s.  Anyway, he was leaving on Tuesday morning.
Tuesday morning, we rolled out around 0900 and saw Dad pulling out at the same time.  Our simple trip to get plumbing repair supplies took all morning, but we had fun.  We went to Potetz Lumber and got what we needed (I thought).  Then we found a great donut and taco shop.  We went to TSC and got some gloves and then to Wal-Mart.  When we got back, I realized that I had indeed gotten the wrong size pipes.  So, I will get the right stuff down here and replace it later.  It’s not a heavy leak, so if we don’t run the water recklessly, we’ll be fine.  I also tried to hook up the septic offshoot pipes, but still need some different stuff for that.  So, I have my work cut out for me next time we come.
Which, will be interesting, because we decided to go ahead and move on Saturday.  We put out an invite for help, but we will be okay without it.  I may have to do some plumbing when I get there.
God showed his provision today.  Last night, on the way home, we noticed a pile of something on the street.  I joked that maybe it was mobile home skirting.  So, on the way to the store today, I looked at it more closely.  It was a shed!  I knocked on the guy’s door and he was sure enough giving it away.  Some of the doors are busted so I will have to jury rig it, but it will be great for until I can build a proper wooden shed.  Thank you, God!

02 October 2010

02 October 2010, 2306, Saturday, Home Patch

Up around 0700 and over to the white house (Grandmother’s) for breakfast.  Nathan, Duncan, and I started on replacing the door to Grandmother’s laundry room when the AC guy pulled up.  The condenser outside was not deactivating when the compressor went off.  It turns out it was just our install of the new thermostat.  However, we discovered that the heating elements need to be replaced.  It will cost some money to order them, but I will do it myself, which will save some money.
After dinner, we ended up taking an extended nap.  Nathan and Duncan came over after their nap and we went to hook up the mower to the tractor.  The plan was that they would go mow a path from the old hay field to the new hay field so the guy that is helping Dad do hay would know where to go.  In any event, by the time we got the mower hooked up, it was too late to do anything else, so they came back and mowed around the brush pile in the front.  Nathan did a good job, mowing up to the front of the house, so we have kind of a yard.  I repaired the crossover ducting that had been damaged by Tye.  I decided not to fence it off since it was so easy to fix.
I pulled some bigger brush and logs over to our burn pile while Nathan bunched it up nicely.  We will burn tomorrow.  After supper everyone came over to our place for games.  It was a nice night.

01 October 2010

01 October 2010, 2330, Friday, Home Patch

Good day subbing today for an ag class in Daisetta.  I actually could help out and offer information at times.  One class was getting a little bit of an attitude, but we worked through it.
I got frustrated and worried about money again today.  I hate getting like that because it insults God.
Not much else happening.  The cousins from Austin are here and we visited with them this evening.  I went to Clear Lake, loaded up some more stuff, and picked up Anna.  The stars were nice tonight.  Nothing like West Texas, but when there is no moon and the lights are out, you can really see a lot of stars.  We had a nice walk from our place to Grandmother’s where everyone is staying.  I don’t like the road noise from the highway, but everything else is pretty secluded.
Will do some more house work and some ranching tomorrow.

30 September 2010

30 September 2010, 2331, Thursday, Home Patch

I’m trying out “Home Patch” for the name of our home site.  We settled behind the barn in the pasture traditionally known as the “Horse Patch” because that’s where our saddle horses would stay.  I’m not sure if I like “House Patch” or “Home Patch” better.
Spent the day at the Reserve Center doing Army stuff, but also some other business.  Got back to Clear Lake around 1630 and finished cleaning up the grout, packed the truck, had a brief supper with Anna, then headed off for Batson.  Dad was at Grandmother’s so we had a nice little visit and talked some business.  What kind of cows to get, how many, etc.  We pretty much decided that we should get them palpated before selling them off.  We need to know what the problem is so we can make sure that we don’t fall into any pitfalls.  For instance, if it is BVD, we might should sell off the whole herd.  If it is not, it would be good to keep several to maintain the herd consciousness.  It sounds silly, but cows will teach other cows where the fences are, the water, what to do in the pens.  Having some experienced cows would minimize the number of cows we will have to chase down in other people’s pastures, or worse yet, the road.
I turned down three substitute jobs today because I was either working for the Army or another school.  It looks like the substitute thing is picking up!
It took me longer than I thought to unload the truck, so it is kind of late and I have a sub job tomorrow.  I’m turnin’ in.

29 September 2010, 0540, Wednesday, USAR Center #3

I have been very remiss in my journaling, but allow me the time to go over some of the major events of the last three weeks.  We were supposed to get our AC and AC hookup done on Monday the 13th, but as we were on our way out there with preparations to spend our first night in the mobile home (including the cat), we got a call from our hookup guy saying that he was unable to be there and that he had not gotten in touch with the AC guy to be out there.  I had had enough of the delays, impunctuality, and unpreparedness, so I let him know my displeasure.  He agreed to come out that afternoon to finish what he had said and that we would not have to deal with him again.  I agreed to that.  It was not a pleasant afternoon with him and I felt bad, but apparently, after a call to the seller, I learned that this guy has a reputation for this kind of customer service.  Hopefully, he can learn from this and improve his business.
On the 14th, in the afternoon, the AC people came out and did an excellent job of getting the AC hooked up and we finally spent our first night in our new home.  It was great.  We had trouble sleeping because it was so cold!  That night I looked out the window and the almost full moon had illuminated a mist on the ground to the Southeast of our home.  It was beautiful.  A great way to start our living in the home God blessed us with.
We have made another trip out there since then and Anna’s parents came to visit on Sunday, the 19th.  We had a nice visit, showed them around and went to JAX that afternoon for lunch.  We went to church with Grandmother that morning at Batson Prairie, but the pastor was on vacation.  We will probably go back there this Sunday.
I subbed for the first time at Liberty High School on Wednesday, the 22nd.  Easy day, I hope they are all that easy.  I subbed for a coach who taught Economics to seniors, had a basketball class, and a cross country class.  For the athletics, I just basically observed, and for the economics, there was a worksheet that took about 10 minutes to do, so I when the class was finished, we went over it.  Fortunately, I could talk intelligently about economics so I felt that I did contribute.  We also talked about plans for when they got out of High School.
On the 23rd, I met my first sergeant at the reserve center at about 2200 and we drove in his rental to San Antonio for the Commander’s Conference of the 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command (a Brigadier General Command).  It was a good conference, but I had a hard time staying interested since I will be out soon.  I did make several notes about what needed to be done for the house and the ranch and drew up some sketches of the porch and shed that I need to build.  That Saturday night, there was a dining out, which was fun.
Monday, we were exhausted and spent much of the day sleeping.  Yesterday, Anna packed a lot of dishes and I caught up on clothes and ironing.  I reorganized my drawers to make room in the armoire which will be used as a coat closet and I got rid of some clothes that I don’t wear anymore.
Today and tomorrow I am at the reserve center, but I hope to get home early enough to work on more packing stuff.  Friday, I have a sub gig for an ag class in Daisetta and this weekend, Nathan’s crowd and Shannon and Dalton will be at the ranch.  I will work on fixing up and protecting the AC crossover which the dogs got into and tore some insulation up.  I’ll probably put some fencing around it, but leave the rest of the mobile home free until we get the septic hookup done.

We decided to go ahead and use some available funds for the septic tank.  With that, we will go ahead and move!  We still need to find Anna a job in Liberty or somewhere, but it will be a lot easier to not have to protect the house in Clear Lake from the dogs.
I will be better about journaling in the future.  You may hear from me tonight.

10 September 2010, 1907, Friday

Too much time has passed to give a blow by blow, but I did go out to the Camp Wednesday afternoon.  I unpacked some boxes and moved some stuff to the appropriate room.  I also got a mifi card for internet.  That works pretty good, so I think we will stick with it.  They got the power on today, but it turns out we need some more wire and a hook up which is not covered.  I will have it out with the mobile seller about that.  So, Monday we will go out there with our checkbook and get the AC up.  Now, the only thing left is the septic, which we are still waiting on until we sell the house.  Housing market is very bad, but we are hoping that it will sell soon.

02 September 2010, 2104, Wednesday

It has been a little frustrating not knowing what we are going to do.  We have the money to put in the septic system, but we are sitting on it to be sure that we can make mortgage payments indefinitely.  We are not making the income we need to support the payments.  So, the question is, get a job in Clear Lake, or spend the money for the septic and get a job in Batson area.  I would rather go and start the ranching and networking for the future, but it is hard to justify doing that at the cost of $3000.
Today, I fixed the toilet, did my travel voucher and other admin stuff.  I started to go the Batson with a load of boxes and to meet with the superintendent at LISD.  Apparently, I need to do this before starting work.  The problem is that I need to make an appointment.  No one told me this until I was all dressed up and on the way.  Fortunately, I called so I didn’t even get off of Bay Area Blvd.  I turned around, unloaded the truck and started running errands.
I don’t know if we will go out tomorrow.  It is hard to justify the $40 it costs to get out there when all we are going to do is unload some boxes and do some painting.  We’ll see.

01 September 2010, 1426, Wednesday

Okay, it’s less than a week since my last entry.  That still counts.  All I have really done up until Monday was work for the Army at the Reserve Center and at a conference in Little Rock.  Did not do anything useful except for making the extra money needed to hold things down while we are waiting for the house to sell.  So, I will skip to Monday.
We left for the camp early and arrived just after 0900 because we got some food and some cubes and horse feed.  Dad had come in the night before because Grandmother had not seen the horses in a while.  They were fine, just running with the wild bunch.  We will have to go back to segregating the horses from the rest of the herd.  That will also keep the cows away from the highway.  Dad had driven by the place a couple of times, but made a point not to look at it as he knew we would want to give him the tour.  I appreciate that.  He helped us unload some of the boxes that we had brought up and we gave him the tour.  It was fun.  He was very impressed with the size of the home and the views we had selected.
We saddled up and Anna rode the 4-wheeler with some cubes.  We did not do very good cowboying.  We were going to use the 4-wheeler to toll them up, but we did not get out there soon enough with the vehicle.  Once the cows saw mounted riders, they were skittish.  Once that happened we should have worked them like cowboys.  Instead, we faded back into Bobcat Woods and hoped they would follow.  They kind of did, but we never bunched them up.  Rebel and I had a great ride chasing down a pair.  They got south of me and started to head through Bobcat Woods back out to the Savannah, away from the pens.  It was thick enough that we couldn’t get ahead of them, but we stayed with them until they hit open ground, then Rebel poured on some speed and we got around them.  I wore Rebel out and that is not easy to do.  There were a lot of down trees so we got to practice our jumping a little bit.  I lost my hat, but found it later.  It reminded me of why I love this stuff so much.
It has been a long time since we went out to pen cows, but did not get anything.  Fortunately, there had been some up close to the pens the night before when Dad was looking for the horses so he got them in.  There were about 8 calves in there.  If they weren’t there, we probably would have gone back and penned what we lost, but we had plenty to work so we got to it.
What we failed at in rounding them up, we made up in cutting.  We cut the cows out in about 5 minutes.  They just all wanted to go.  The calves were a little harder to work, but we got them all in.  Anna was “Johnny on the spot” with the gate for the trailer.  The more we do the more of a hand she becomes.  I’m very proud of her.
We hauled them off to Raywood and ate lunch there.  We also watched the sale a little bit.  I will start going to the sale more often to try to find some good replacement cows.  The calves we brought to the sale were absolutely beautiful.  They were all the same size, color, etc.  If we had forty of them we could have sold them as a bunch.  However, we only have about 20.  Once again, I will start tagging them as soon as I can to see if I can figure out where the problem is.
Anna did some more painting in the afternoon.
Yesterday, was my day off.  Today, I did the yard.  I even got up and ran.  Now it’s just admin stuff.

26 August 2010, 0626, Thursday

Not much happened yesterday.  I was at the reserve center conducting command inventories so I can process out.  Made a lot of progress on property book items, but still have to do the OCIE, which is basically the helmets, web gear, canteens and other personal items issued to Soldiers.  Shouldn’t be too hard, just tedious.  I talked to Dad and we will be meeting out there on Monday to take some calves to the sale.  Unfortunately, my ranching hasn’t started yet, so I don’t know which calves belong to what cows.  Oh well, since we are only going to Raywood we might have time to match them up and record which cows are worth keeping.
The best news is that electricity will be scheduled sometime next week.  This means we could move soon.  It won’t be the weekend of the 4th because that will be too soon, and it won’t be the weekend after that because I have drill.  Maybe the next weekend.  I might move in before that in order to be available for subbing.  We’ll see.  Very exciting!

24 August 2010, 2022, Tuesday

We took most of the furniture out of storage on Saturday.  The ol’ truck could barely do it and we only had half of the trailer filled.  We had to run the heater some and never could run the AC.  That’s a little discouraging.  On top of everything, we need a new truck.  It’s okay.  I have to believe that God will provide.  I also have to be faithful to do my end.  My cousin Blake and his wife Brandi were there and they helped us unload, which was nice.  Anna painted and I checked on the cows.  They were making a lot of racket, but I think they just got on both sides of the fence and couldn’t figure out how to get back together.  It was nice to see the cows.  Reminds me what I am doing.  And that is to manage the ranch such that we can get better than a 10% calf crop.  Tagging the cows and calves is the only way.  We will have to use the old tags, but we will make it work.  If we keep eyes on them, then we can replace the tags accurately when they lose one.
When I got back to the trailer I finally decided to cut that tallow tree down that had a branch hanging over the road.  I was already soaking wet, so I didn’t want to change out of my uniform for the day which was shorts and a t-shirt.  Nevertheless, I cut the thing down.  While working on it, I realized that I had been sawing through a poison ivy vine.  Yep, I am covered on both arms and a little on my legs and some on my nose.  However, with prayer, a lot of vitamin C and a good tecnu srubbing shortly after exposure, I have been able to keep the seriousness of it down.
Sunday, was a lazy day and Monday was too somewhat.  We mowed and managed to get all of our stuff from storage to the garage.  Today, I went to the Reserve Center.  I got up early, but didn’t leave early as I had wasted too much time there.  Not tomorrow.

20 August 2010, 0808, Friday

My daily blog is occurring weekly and with no good excuse.  We got the water hooked up and it holds nicely.  I need to do the support for the pipe that goes from the home to the ground.  We also covered up the ditch.  The pipe is a little shallow in places, but I think it will be fine.  It never gets too terribly cold and we will run water through the pipes if it does.  After careful consideration we finally decided to use the chainsaw on the big dead tree.  It took some doing, but it came down.  That’s one more hard task out of the way.
This week was spent in Clear Lake.  I had some catch up to do here, but didn’t do a good job with it.  I was also waiting on Entergy to come up with the easement which we will use to get going on the power.  It is now ready.  I will pick it up today and take a load from storage.  When I come back, I’ll bring the stock trailer and we will see if my ol’ truck can haul a full load back to Batson tomorrow.