Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Present Giving

I love mine because it is so's mine so I can do whatever I want with it."

"I'm going to make sure to never make it dirty so it never has to go in the laundry."

"My blanket."

Quotes from the weasels (Winter, Sterling, then Ginger) after opening their "Quillows" (quilt + pillow) from Aunt Angela & family. The kids were stoked and they could tell that each of their fabrics were chosen with care. I think the presents were intended for tomorrow morning, but Grandma figured they would be better for tonight to help the kids get to bed better. Thanks Ashurst-McGees!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cookie's New Friend

Christmas came a bit early at the farm for Jessica. She has been wanting a horse to ride for some time now, and we finally got around to procrastinating the rest of the stuff around here so we could get her one tonight. It was a cold run from Terrell (E. of Dallas and prolly 50-60 miles south of here) to Leonard, but the new horse, "Believe the Power" (I know - what kinda name is that) seems to have made it OK. We put her up in the stalls by ol' bessie (the cow) for the night and while we were fussing about the horse, ol' Bessie gave us a real treat - her first words! That's right, Bessie moooooo-ed tonight. It was actually pretty funny to hear that big, low moo coming out of that little calf. Jessica's going to see if she can borrow a saddle tomorrow to actually put in some saddle time. The pic is from the seller's barn - not ours.
"Believe the Power" seems to be a pretty solid horse. The weasels tend to do a lot of yelling, jumping, sand-throwing, arm-waving, twitching and other general non-horse-friendly type of stuff and she took it all in stride. Hopefully she will act the same on our farm and will be a good all-around horse for Jessica and the kids.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's a cold day in Texas

Check out the ice on the pond!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Cuz that's the way we roll!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Workjing from home has its advantages and I have been enjoying it. Of course, it is also easy to let the day go by without even stepping out of the house, so I have to watch out for that. The other day, if I hadn't taken a few minutes to cast a couple lines, I wouldn't have gotten out all day. One of the cool things is that I was sitting in the kitchen nook working on the computer when I picked up the binoculars to check out some ducks on the pond. Something on the other side caught my eye and it wasn't long before I was watching a trio of coyotes sniffing around the field over there (in broad daylight.) It was tough to keep from grabbing the scoped 30-06 and making a sniper out of myself, but they weren't on my property, so I kept my cool and just watched them for a bit hoping they would cross over the fenceline onto my side (they never did and eventually melted into the woods.) One of them had kind of a "tripod" thing going on - like he had an injured foot or something. He was kinda bouncing around alot.
You can tell there are coyotes all over out here once it starts to get dark. When they get to howling, it feels like you are surrounded by them. I figure once the weather gets a bit better, I might just have to make a perch on top of one of our sheds and take care of a few of them. Jessica is aiming for chickens these days (paying $3 for 18 eggs really gets her going) and coyotes roaming around in broad daylight could be bad for free range chickens.

By the way, did you know that "the whole nine yards" refers to the 27 feet in length that WWII machine gun ammo came bundled in? I guess giving the Germans the whole nine yards meant to keep the guns rolling till they ran out of ammo.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our Nation's Security...Diagnosis: Semi-Secure

Many readers are familiar with the story of how I illegally emmigrated
to Mexico a few years back. That was nothing.
Both Monday and again today, I was passed through security at our
nations airports with no more than a wave of a PHOTOCOPIED driver's
license! What does it take to get them to require a 'real' piece of
FYI, I have a photocopy of my DL because the great republic of TX, in
their infinite wisdom, saw fit to confiscate my valid Idaho DL when
they gave me my temporary license to cover the interim while I wait
for an official TX DL. The temp license is no more than a slip of
paper with a red stamp on it.
I have decided that maybe the next time I fly, I will see if I can get
through security with a bogus DL copy with some Photoshopped changes
on it. Why? Because, apparently, I can...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


It was hot and kinda muggy on, I endured freezing rain and threw a few snowballs (just because I could.) Can someone remind me why people live in Chicago?

Tomorrow, I go back home to the farm...I think I won't miss this place much....

Monday, December 10, 2007

Learning Responsibility

As regular readers already know, we have already lost a kitten at the farm. Whether that cat rode into town (& freedom) under the hood of the Suburban or ended up coyote poop is anybody's guess, but one thing is for sure....that loss got the kid's attention.
From that time, they are extremely concerned with the day to day welfare of the animals and it is clear they do not want to lose another of their cats. They won't let the cats get too far away from them and once, when we ended up leaving a cat up by the calf pens, they were freaking out and there was no convincing them that the cats could figure out how to get home (even though it was within sight of the house.)
The other day when we took that family photo with the livestock (see Jessica's blog) Sterling was complaining about having to carry the cat all the way home so I told him to just put it down. He wouldn't do it because he was afraid it would get eaten. We then informed him that Coyotes are mostly nocturnal so he was safe putting the kitten down as long as it was daytime. His response? "But what if the coyote hasn't had breakfast yet?" Priceless.
At any rate, it is kinda cool to see that the kids are starting to learn a bit of responsibility for things.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Who knew there was so much duck-variety in TX? I guess when they say they fly south for the winter, this must be one of the destinations. I figure there were at least 4 species of ducks on the lake today. Now, I don't really know a whole lot about ducks, so it was kinda fun to watch them for a bit with the binoculars as they went about their business. Right away, I noted that there are two types: the bobbers and the divers. The Mallards (green head) are bobbers - they stick their heads in the water and let their rumps remain above water. The divers actually disappear as they swim around underwater searching out whatever it is they eat. From what I can tell, there appear to be two types of bobbers that were visiting today and two types of divers. One other thing I noticed is that you can easily distinguish the two types apart even when they are not diving because the divers ride so much lower in the water (see the pics - can you tell the difference?) By the way, for those of you who are astute enough to have been asking yourselves why you have only been able to identify 3 species of ducks in the photos, it is because I never was able to get a photo of the last type. Heck, after consorting the duck ID charts I see online, I am now wondering if it is some new or rare species? It had this crazy black and white beak that was very distinguishing...I dunno.

These ducks sure are wary of humans. As soon as anyone goes into the yard, they start swimming away and if you make any sudden motions or noise, they fly off. You can tell the photos I took from inside the kitchen from the ones I took after going outside because in the ones shot from outside, all the ducks are swimming away to the other side of the lake.

By the way, I was called as the assistant ward clerk today. As brother Huber noted, it must "run in the family."

Friday, December 7, 2007

What....You Wanna Cookie?

This "blog" is becoming more of a journal of everyday haps....I don't know if that is a good thing or not. You the readers have to let me know. If you want to hear about what is going on in our lives and the farm, then fine. Or, I could delve into the intricacies of my feeble understanding of politics or even try to recollect interesting anecdotes from the days of my troubled's all up to you!

But for the meantime, here's what's new on the farm:

Yesterday, Sterling, Ginger and I finally got over to pick up our new horse. For those that don't know, horses are fairly expensive to maintain, but simultaneously seem to attract owners who are not "in tune" with that fact and thereby frequently end up in neglectful situations. Neglected horses are often "rescued" by folks who collect them, bring them back to health and then "adopt" or "rehome" them to good homes. Cookie (a 22? year old appaloosa mare) has had a long life of who knows what, was eventually rescued and has now come to live with us. She had a broken leg at one point that did not heal properly, so she is suitable only for short rides under small people (like less than 50 lbs or so small.) That fact makes her undesirable to some, but we happen to have several very small riders around here, so we think she will be a great addition to the farm. Those oats that Grandma gave me as a Sinterklaus present are a big hit with cookie.

And now for Mark's stats project, here is the latest:

Total cats = 2
Total sheep = 4
Total cattle =1
Total horses = 1
Total goats = 0
Total foul = 0 (well actually, every morning there is a huge flock of ducks and cormorants on the lake, but they don't really count till I shoot one of them I figure.)
Beehives = 3
Wasp stings = 2
Trucks = 1

Thursday, December 6, 2007


December 5th is the Dutch quasi-equivalent of Christmas, so we had the grandparents over for the festivities and a toned-down gift giving/party. It was good times since we just had a $5.00 limit on gifts and each person drew one other person's name from a hat. We had a big cook-it-in-front-of-you dinner and then special treats that the swarte-Pete's (black Pete) threw in the front door for the kids.
After all that, we convinced Grandma to come out to the back pasture to see the calf and Sterling really impressed the grandparents with his driving skills on the way out and Winter did the same on the way back. They have been practicing each night. It really is funny to see them concentrating so hard on something. They TOTALLY over-correct just about all the time, but they are getting better each day. Now if they could just reach the pedals we could send them out to get jobs....

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Eating Oneself Out Of House & Home

The kids and I started the day with a trip up into Bonham to get some hay bales. We wanted them in order to make strawbale shelters for the sheep (to get them out of the cold, wind and rain,) so we didn't need super-high quality, but these were about the only ones I could find out near us (just about everyone bales into those big round bales these days) and so we got them (even though they were "horse quality".) The bad part about getting such good hay to build shelters out of (aside from wasting it as it weathers) is that there is a good chance that the sheep may eat themselves out of house and home.
After we got the hay home, we continued with hauling in furniture out of the shop and into the house (wahooooooo!) and after dad arrived, we spent forever trying to get my trailer lights working again so we could pick up that free horse & goat that we have been trying to get for the last week. Dad also got some time in on the tractor and pulled a big rake around behind the tractor while broadcast seeding clover into the upper pasture.
It ended up being too late to get the horse/goat by the time we got done with the trailer lights, but we ended up taking the trailer down to Tyson Rigg's house anyway where (with the assistance of his friends) we (somehow) successfully rolled three 1,000+ pound round bales up into the trailer by hand. By the end of the day, it felt like we had actually put in a hard days work - I think I must be getting old.

Per request - Sterling in cowboy hat (in our kitchen nook which is partially painted and waiting for a wood floor and real furniture):

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Flying Cow Puckey

Neil gave Sterling an old black felt Resistol cowboy hat, which he
wears w/ pride.

Last night, Winter pegged me in the face w/ a big ol' petrified horse turd.

Ginger loves to go out w/ the big kids to feed the calf each night.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Close to Home

Yep, carpet was installed today. It was the catalyst that allowed us
to start to actually live in our home. Heretofore, we've been doing
something that more closely resembles camping out. Tonight, we're all
in our assigned rooms (with N. Rugg as a guest in the spare room) and
some of us are even sleeping in beds!
In other news, we got some feed for the calf and got her eating to the
point where she actually started to look like she had hit the point
where she was satisfied. Hopefully, we got her the grubbin' in time
so we won't have stunted her growth or anything.

A Little Bit of Cute

We now interrupt our normal programming for a brief cute:

SBF Seeking Muscular SBM

Single dark-skinned, blond, 185 lbs, 3' 11", seeking male for companionship, sharing meals and frolicking in the field.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Love is in the air

I had been starting to wonder if my ram was gay or something. He
really hadn't shown much interest in the ewes...until yesterday....
Let's just say this - it looks like we'll be having spring lambs.
Yep, I think it is 140 or 150 days from today, and we should seeing
fleece-balls bounding around the field.
On another note, the calf seemed to not be showing much interest in
the hay, so we brought out some feed that the previous owners had left
(not sure if it is horse food or what) and the calf tore into it like
she was starved. Seeing as how she looks like she is starved too, we
figure we need to buy some feed for her tomorrow. We don't know how
old she is, but maybe she isn't ready for a 100 percent pasture diet
just yet. Hopefully she makes it through...weaning is a tough time in
a calf's life. Heck, she was even nosing around our legs looking for
udders till we pushed her off (which she accepteed as very cow-like
behavior and immediately ceased the aggressive nosing.)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holy Cow II

It's on! Winter & I picked up a "Brown Swiss" heifer calf today. She
came from the herd of some guy who died, so it looks like she may be
half Angus, but there is no telling for sure. She resembles the cow
we photoed in Switzerland (long bangs and round ears) but the coloring
is more brown and black. She is destined to be our milk cow if all
goes well. Pics to come soon...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fun Pics

We still don't have internet at the farm (except via my mobile phone) and we still live in a single room of the house, so it has been tough to get images posted to the blog, but here a few of my favorite from the last week or two:

Click for full-size images

Sorry they are so dark, but when I tried to lighten them in Photoshop, it kinda ruined the effect....

Grandma Mows

I guess I was kinda hoping mom would not find out about this, but apparently Grandma told just about everyone, so the cat is out of the bag. While Aunt Sue was visiting the farm a week or so ago, we invited her to drive the tractor. She declined, but Grandma immediately chimed in that she would like to try it. Surprise Surprise!

She was totally awesome and we took it out and actually did some mowing on the back pasture. She said it was the first time she had been on a tractor and she was excited to finally be back behind the wheel (of any motorized vehicle) since she doesn't drive any more. It was good times. Oh yeah, and Catherine B. was there with her kids and thought it would be a good idea for Max to ride on the mower, so there he is. We finally got her convinced it was a bad idea shortly after this pic was taken and luckily he never fell off or anything. The pic to the left is Grandma headed out to pasture.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Green Snitch

No, it's not a new tree-huggin' Harry Potter book - it's me. I have mixed emotions about what I did today. I responded to a CL ad to pickup some free 55 gallon drums and when I got there they were all partially full w/ various industrial chemicals - up to 4-5 gallons in one. None were labeled. I figured the only possible outcome to this situation is someone dumps these unknown chemicals into the storm drains.
So, I got on the EPA website & reported them. On one hand, I feel bad for crucifying the one who offered the free stuff, but on the other, it's a dirty trick to foist toxic
waste on people looking for an empty drum or two.

Everyone's Favorite Rugg

As of around 6:30am this morning, Neil and I have entered a business enterprise together. I funded the purchase of a 1994 Pontiac Grand Prix with just shy of 190,000 miles on it for $500. I actually told him if he could get it for less than the $500, then he could keep the difference. Anyway, it is in pretty good shape with a good interior and a decent exterior. It drives pretty good and has a blown headgasket. The plan is to have Neil fix the headgasket (he has been dabbling in auto mechanics for years) and then use his mega-supa-amazing sales skillz to sell it for an otherworldly profit (which we would then split.) Hopefully Neil can get the headgasket done in less than 3 months (how long it took me to change the one on my Toyota) and hopefully, he can make the headgasket actually seal (something my 3 months of labor failed to do to the Toyota.)
If we manage to successfully navigate the wide world of financial investment in used cars without someone getting screwed or losing all the money to the whims of the moment, the plan is to reinvest the profits into the next big project and continue on towards the quest to worldwide domination of the used car market.

Wish us luck.

Monday, November 19, 2007

More Than Manure

Country living sure has its upsides, but there are negatives too. Aside from the longer drives for just about anything, and contrary to what might seem logical, rural US cities have a significant problem with drugs and other societal ills. It's kind of hard to imagine, but I guess it makes sense that the country is an ideal place to get away from prying neighbors (who might report you) and it is cheap to live, so it kind of attracts some evildoers. You don't really see it, but the folks who live here know it is going on and casually mention the problems in conversations.
Yesterday our new bishop mentioned how he knows all this is out there, but it never affects him. We also have some members of our ward who are obvious reformed lawbreakers, so that is a small reminder too. Yesterday on the way home from church, we drove up a gravel road near our home and unfortunately, there were some homes back in there that seemed like they were the types of place where that sort of thing might take place. You don't want to paint with too broad a brush, but I believe there is some validity in the stereotype attached to the mobile home in the front yard of the old mobile home which is in the front yard of the older mobile home which is in front of the old-older mobile home and surrounded by a wagon-circle of trash and inoperable vehicles and assorted trash.
I guess it is just a lesson to be learned for when we get the compound going - either buy a large-enough tract that you can completely isolate yourself, or pony up to get into a nicer neighborhood where the neighbors isolate you from it. It's also making me rethink the issue of whether we need a gigantic big mean dog to keep around our place. I am not a big fan of steaming dooky piles left akimbo throughout the yard, but they might make me feel more comfortable leaving the family out there alone. Plus, my brother Mark seems to think that stinky dog poo is a product of the cheap processed dog food folks buy these days. Maybe a dog which were to eat purely chicken/fish and assorted table scraps would produce a more olfactory neutral offal?

PS - you might want to reread this entire post pronouncing "dog" with an sharp and hard Scottish "o" so it sounds more like "doeg" - it will make the reading more enjoyable and will serve to preserve the true essence of my intentions.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Minus One Cat - Plus One Truck

Well, since one of the kittens is (apparently) coyote poop right about now, and since I got my "new" truck I figured I'd update the numbers:

Total cats = 2
Total sheep = 4
Total cattle = 0
Total horses = 0
Total goats = 0
Total foul = 0 (well actually, every morning there is a huge flock of ducks and cormorants on the lake, but they don't really count till I shoot one of them I figure.)
Beehives = 2
Wasp stings = 2
Trucks = 1

My New Favorite Country Song

"I Got It Honest" by Aaron Tippin

" It ain't nothin' but a small frame house on an acre lot
It ain't that much diff'rent from any other house on the block
And it may not look like we got all our share of the promise
But at least one thing's for sure, I got it honest

Roll out of the sack every mornin', head on down to the mill
Give 'em all I got for eight, 'cause that's the deal
If you'll check out my paycheck
Well, you'll see that there ain't that much on it
But ev'ry single penny I'm paid, I got it honest

I never had to hang my head in shame
For puttin' a price tag on my name
Never turned my back on what I believe
Or let my heart be ruled by greed
'Cause buddy if I didn't earn it, I don't want it
That way I can always say, I got it honest

Now you ain't looking at some dude
That was born with a Silver spoon in his mouth

And I might seem like some kind of low-life
To that high-falutin' crowd
But I'm plain spoken, straight talkin'
And damn proud of what I have acomplished
Some folks appreciate that and some don't
But, I got it honest

Now when I die, I may not leave my kids a fortune
But I hope they know'd my life stood for things that were important
And I'll hand out the same sturdy old values of my daddy and my momma
It made me every ounce of what I am and I got it honest

I never had to hang my head in shame
For puttin' a price tag on my name
Never turned my back on what I believe
Or let my heart be ruled by greed
'Cause brother if I didn't earn it, I don't want it
That way I can always say, I got it honest
Friend there ain't no doubt about it, I got it honest"

It really rings true with me since as a maintenance contractor, I am right down there with used car salesman as far as being in an industry full of liars and cheats.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Battering Rams

It was late last night and I was typing on my cellphone to make that post, but I thought I'd speak a bit more on the battering ram action we had at the farm last night. It really was amazing. The power, the speed, the precision....I wish you could have seen it. At first, it was comical, they just kept doing it over and over and over...then it got to be a bit worrisome....they just wouldn't quit and were starting to ruin the fence. I tried to stop them, but they could have cared less about me. As soon as I released them, they would get right back to it.
The precision was amazing. They really had to time it just right so that the collision was coordinated so that they each approached the fence at the exact same moment so they could really hit each other. They were (for the most part) always right on with it even in the low light. Of course, on the few occasions when one or the other arrived early/late, the fence took up the brunt of the collision.
Anyway, it looks like the one with the gash on his head made it through the night. Hopefully, I'll get some decent pics of em today so y'all can see the damage.

The Sheep That Got My Goat

I drove way over to the far side of Ft Worth tonight and bought an
ex-drilling rig Dodge diesel pickup (not 4wd, not manual
and then proceeded directly to the tractor supply store to buy the
fixins for a sheep pen for the bed. I built the pen in their parking
lot and then picked up the sheep I bought last week which happened to
be within a few miles of where the truck was at.
I got the sheep home and introduced the best ram to the two ewes. He
made no fuss about sniffing them over and then immediately proceeding
to bash the living snot out of his former buddy (the other ram) so now
the other ram has a 1.5" gash down to the bone on his forehead. They
were ramming each other through the fence (which just barely eeked
through still standing) and on one of their hits, the morons aligned
right on a "T-post" (steel fence post w/ a cross-section like a "T")
and you can imagine that the one on the pointy end of the "T" got the
short end of the stick, while the one hitting the flat of the "T" was
relatively unscathed. 1 of owning land maggots....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Moved in

We're finally room.

We are officially living there, but it is kinda like camping since we
can't really 'move in' until we get the paint done. Catherine & Matt
came out and helped a ton w/ the painting over the weekend, so that
was great. Aunt Sue also is out visiting G-ma, so she came out for a
short visit too.
We also went to church in our new ward for the first time. It was
very friendly and Jessica was excited to find a couple with kids that
match our kids ages just down the street. Good times.
Total cats = 3
Beehives = 2
Wasp stings = 2
Trucks = 0

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hauling Bees

So dad cut out a huge hive tonight and I agreed to drive out to the farm with him to deposit them near his other hive. Yikes! They were crawling/flying all over the Jeep and my skin was crawling while my nerves were balking the whole way out there. Luckily it went without incident, but I was not very comfortable. Dad drove out to place the hive while I got to work on some drywall. He scared up a skunk and then came in and installed some LED permanent nightlight receptacle replacement thingies in the hallway for the kids. As we were leaving, we drove his Jeep around the lake (or is it a tank, or a pond, or a reservoir? I dunno...) for the first time checking the fence and gate situation. Good times :)

Read about my new truck

You must read this all the way through:

Craigslist ad

Don't forget to read the whole ad! It really describes the full beauty of this truck.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Did you know that you can click on images in Blogger and see the fullsize versions? I just found that out today.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Better Pics

There have been a few requests for better pics, so here are a few from Saturday:

I'm not really sure what to take pics of...pasture is, if you have any special requests, just let them be known...

Wool for Kelly

Jessica's been running all over town picking up stray kittens for the farm so I figured I'd jump on the band wagon. I just bought a set of 2 unrelated rams and 2 unrelated ewes of the Shetland variety. I'm pretty excited about having the start of a small herd of woolies. For those who don't know much about the Shetland sheep, Wikipedia has this to say about them:

"The Shetland is one of the smallest British breeds. The ewes are usually hornless (polled) but the rams usually, but not always, have horns. The breed is noted for its fine, soft wool and the quality of its meat. They are small bodied animals with no wool on the face and nose, bright eyes and small erect ears. The legs are of medium length and finely boned. A distinguishing feature is the fluke-shaped tail, broad at the base and tapering to the point."

This is another quote from a breeder's site:

"Shetlands are one of the smallest of the British sheep. Rams usually weigh 90 to 125 pounds and ewes about 75 to 100 pounds. Rams usually have beautiful spiral horns, whereas the ewes are typically polled. They are fine-boned and agile and their naturally short, fluke-shaped tails do not require docking.
They are a calm, docile and easy-to-manage breed. Most respond well to attention and some even wag their tails when petted!
Although Shetlands are small and relatively slow growing, they maintain natural hardiness, thriftiness, easy lambing, adaptability and longevity. Shetlands survived for centuries under harsh conditions and on a meager diet, although they do very well under less rigorous conditions. Having retained many of their primitive survival instincts, they are easier to care for than many of today's commercial breeds."

Here's some actual pics of the new additions:

Kelly, you better get your knitters warmed up cause there is gonna be some fleece baby!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Used Car Salesman

I found a place in Bonham that has several Dodge Diesel trucks in my price range so we went out there tonight. I guess I had forgotten how much I hate used car dealers. This one was a bit different, but there were still things that show through that are classic used car salesman tactics:

1. The answer to any question is whatever they think you want to hear
2. They have no respect for your time and will try to keep you sitting around as long as possible
3. They always have to bring out their manager to "meet" you before you can leave

Anyway, when we were ready to leave Ginger was having a meltdown so I think they cracked out of their cockroach shells and realized I needed to leave and got their spiel over quickly, but I still have the taste of crusty underwear in my mouth from the whole experience.
They do have a 2000 4x4 3/4 diesel that I really liked, and if they will knock a grand or so off the price I will prolly buy it. Anyway, stay tuned.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ruth's Brant

I had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time this morning. He
seems like a good guy with a great sense of humor. Nice work Ruth!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Fish On!

I'm in the hot tub right now, so this will be short. Sterling, Ginger & I spent Fri. night @ the farm. We got a lot done, but most importantly, Sterling caught 4 fish! He was on fire! He caught a big crappy, a small bass, an 18" catfish and a small 10" perch. I couldn't hardly get them to bite. Yes, there was time for a tractor ride. Dad hooked up the brush hog and cut down the weeds around his beehives.

We're exhausted, but it has been a fun day. Visitors included:
Grandma (mom) & G-pa (dad)
Great Grandma
Aunt Ruth
Marty & Keith Taylor

PS - thanks to ma/Ruth for bringing dinner.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Holy Cow

This is a cow we photoed in Switzer-land. Where can I get me one of these?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oh Snap!!


Jessica just gave me approval to buy this bad boy. I'm practically stealing it off this dude on Craigslist.

Can You Wanna Say "Finances?"

Bloomberg News recently reported that former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan is predicting an impending 'burst bubble' in terms of the Chinese stock market which has surged 170 percent this year. Interesting.

I've often pondered the potential to capitalize on fallen markets since the post 9/11 stock decline in which the markets took a sharp (but decidedly temporary) dip.

It seems in stock investing, the prevailing wisdom is to ride out the storms, ignoring short-term fluctuations, to capitalize on the long term growth of the economy. That may be sage advice for those seeking a safe return and a place to park their assets, but is it the best advice in terms of making money from your money?

History has shown time and again that the stock market is a fickle beast with a propensity to twitch and overreact to every tidbit of bad news. A sparrow contemplating a visit to a feeder in a room full of hungry cats has calmer nerves. From a slight reduction in anticipated profits to a suspected terrorist plot, the market reacts like a turtle on it's seventh can of Red Bull, pulling its head in so fast it gets whiplash. Time after time, history shows that the sky was falling and the dips in the market were temporary.

You may be asking yourself what this has to do with the price of rice in China? Well, maybe we all ought to be working real hard to increase our liquid reserves right now. Maybe, when the Chinese market bubble bursts, we ought to be ready (with cash in hand) to buy out the timid investors who sell out at the first sign of trouble?

Would you rather invest in the market at the peak or at the 'height' of a slump? What's that you say? You aren't comfortable investing in foreign markets? How about saving your liquid assets for the next post-9/11 slump? According to Edna Moog, "Luck favors the prepared."

Lost Days

I just realized that while the last few days in chicago on business
(while productive from a business standpoint) have been essentially
two days lost from my life. I just got the feeling that they have
been the same as when our flight was cancelled in London the other day
and we had to sit in a hotel room for 24 hours. It is just days that
I can never get back, and have served no purpose in the achieving my
personal goals. It's like putting your life on hold for a few days.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Yeah, I'm in Chicago. Yeah, I have my computer. Heck, it even worked
great while I was driving (as passenger) between sites. What is the
problem? Yeah, I left the power cord at home, so when I went to fire
it up this evening,
...nada. :(

On the plane last night I was victim of a bout of baseless ambition.
Inc. Magazine has a tendency to engender a sort of entrepreneurial
wanderlust and creative longing. The result was that I (naively?)
brainstormed a couple of tactics for facilitating a PR campaign and
threw myself out as volunteer PR manager of the pre-fledgling
RedRocketResume. Let the PR commence!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Paki Taxi

After a quick trip out to the farm (to grab my wallet, which I had
left there) I got ready to hurry up and wait for my taxi. The doggone
dispatcher had given the driver the wrong address and between him
calling and trying to get me to direct him to the house via landmarks
(not streets & compass directions,) the thick accents and apparent low
intelligence level, it was needless to say I was a bit frustrated when
my driver finally arrived. Long story short; I at phase II of
hurry-up-and-wait...I am sitting at the airport waiting on a plane to
Chicago. Watchagunnado?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Apiaristic Interude

Dad put his name out as Plano's Apiarist expert (bee expert) and
charges a princely sum per hour to remove bee colonies from peoples
houses. Tonight Sterling and I accompanied him into a gated
community of Cinderella-style mansions in Frisco where a colony had
moved into the floor of a balcony in a under-construction home.
Sterling & I talked with Angela's family on the phone and did some
bonding while dad went up to the balcony and scooped hatfuls of bees
from the balcony and dumped them into the box. The night went well
with all the stings being received by dad and none by Sterling (who is
highly allergic to insect bites/stings of all sorts.)
It was refreshing to take a day of rest from the labors of the farm.

The POs Are Finally Out!

That's right, the previous owners of the farm FINALLY got all their junk moved out today. At this point, anything that is left is ours. They have really been dragging their feet about cleaning out the junk out of the shop. We have been trying to be patient with them. In fact, I think their horses may even still be ranging on our pasture.
Anyway, I didn't post last night because we were at the farm camping out in one of our bedrooms. We woke up early and worked till 11:30pm tonight chipping up the kitchen floor, de-caulking windows and (best of all) dad and I started framing in the wall to break the entry room area into an office area.
Grandma Helen came out to bring us dinner and stayed to watch the kids play in the pool. Keith Taylor also stopped by at dad's request to take me into Bonham to buy lumber and sheetrock at the local hick store. We were in a state of 'shock and awe' at the amazing sights of seemingly endless crack that was being displayed by the lumber-yard workers.
The highlight of the day? Jessica found a dead mouse and a five dollar bill in one of the air return registers.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bombs away!

We didn't accomplish anything extremely noteworthy today, but we did finish off several small projects and we had some good times hanging with everybody's favorite Rugg; my man Neil.
As a matter of fact, Neil is a former Boy Scout and (in harmony with the boy scout motto) he just "happened" to have a fishing pole in his trunk. So today was the first day anyone cast a line at the farm (no one caught anything, but it is just a minor setback.)
For those who are wondering, yes, there was time for a tractor ride today.
To close the day up, we set off an insect bomb in every single room in the house. I pity the fool that breaks into our house tonight!

Opening Pandora's Box

Real quick here: I just realized that as a bona-fide blogger, I can now push my favorite websites on the world. You need to stop whatever you are doing, think of your favorite song and get onto right now! It absolutely rules! (or in my case, it rocks :) I used Pantera's Planet Caravan as my initial seed and listen to righteous tunes all day long while I am working.
Spoiler alert: It's a free internet radio station that allows you to custom-tailor the "channel" you listen to according to your own listening preferences. It's all done via crazy algorythms and based on 400 uniquely identified characteristics for each song. You tell it a song you like and based on that, it creates your channel and feeds you more music you're sure to love.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Carpet - It's A Nasty Place

Today's work at the farm was fruitful in some ways and beyond nasty in others. At the end of the day, Jessica is confident that we'll be able to meet our deadlines and actually be moved into this place by the 7th of November.

We finished getting the ceramic tile out of the entryway (I have the blisters to prove it.) Jessica also removed all the Pergo out of the family and living rooms as well as some carpet from several of the rooms and started hand-troweling texture onto the family room walls. Mom & dad came out for a few minutes to check things out and took the kids home early (thanks) and we also even unloaded some of my garage tools into the shop.

Did I mention that there was also some time for a tractor-ride. (I am finding that there always seems to be time for a tractor-ride.) Winter and Ginger today were the lucky participants and they were both pretty enthusiastic about it. Winter and I drove part of the fence line. It looked good.

I suppose I should also mention that I received my first (of many to come I am sure) wasp stings at the farm today. One got inside my glove somehow and nailed me twice. I always used to tell people that one of the reasons I didn't like TX is the biting/stinging bugs. Since I am consciously making an effort to make the best of this, I am going to do like my dad does and chalk up this latest sting to bee-sting therapy. Sound intriguing? Ask him about it sometime.

The piece de resistance came after Jessica had called it a day (she had already gone home) and I
decided to pull the odoriferous carpet from the master bedroom. It was basically stinking up the whole house. We knew it was bad (knowledge based on two clues: 1. the stench 2. It was brown everywhere...except where their bed was at - where it was white) but I had no clue a carpet could be as foul as this.

These are pictures of what was UNDER the carpet. Literal dirt traffic patterns that had sifted through the carpet and pad. The first one is the view of the entry into the room right after the carpet pad was pulled. The clean spot is where the bed was. The second shot is more of the same with the dirt paths leading into another room on the left and into the master bathroom on the right. You'll also want to note the miscellaneous urine stains throughout. The smell is actually worse now that the carpet is out. After the dirt is removed, we'll be bleaching the concrete for

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Regarding 'the farm'

On Monday, Jessica hauled Ginger & Sterling out to the farm for most of the day.
She spent most of the day ripping off the wallpaper in the master
b-room. The kids spent most of the day running around the unoccupied house yelling and screaming like wild animals. They also made a nest in the master bath tub out of wall paper scraps.
I showed up later with Winter and we then commenced tearing
out the built-in entertainment center and a bunch of wood trim from
above the fireplace. We got that done and started in on the ceramic tile in the front entryway and even made a few good sized holes in the drywall. It was good times, but gave us a real dose of
'what did we get ourselves into?'

Welcome Back!

It's funny how a hundred dollar welder can prevent you from ever owning a decent welder....

So, I created a Blog a year or so ago on blogspot and posted a few things and then promptly forgot to remember the address. That may seem like an insignificant event, but the fact remains that since I knew that I already had a blog (somewhere) I could not ever convince myself to start a new one. Since I never started a new one, you the reader have been forced to suffer with a small hole in your soul whilst you have been forced to continue on through life without being able to read my blog.

All dramatics aside, you can see that the hundred dollar welder (my existing blog) which does weld (in theory, but not good enough for most applications) has made it so I could not purchase a nice welder (a new blog) that would weld the way I want it to. I know - it is a stupid theory, but sometimes that stupid cheapo welder ruins your life.

Anyhoo, back on the ranch, the news around the barnyard is that we bought the farm yesterday, so I figured what better time to get over any misgivings and start chronicling life at the farm via blog. So, prepare yourselves for mindless drivel, updates, ranting and possibly even some occasionally entertaining content. I may even slip in some shots of the kids on the tractor or something. Stay tuned!