Me and Scout

Me and Scout

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.