Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I never thought I would have been able to say this. In fact, if you told me ten years ago (or even just five) that I would be able to say this, I would have said you were crazy. Yet, here I am and forevermore I can claim that I sold my cattle to help fund my education.

Speaking of real funding though, our house "closed" today. Supposing we wake up tomorrow with some funds in our bank account (as we expect to do) the chapter of our lives entitled Country Life In Texas will have come to an abrupt ending. We're pleased with the sale and we are pleased with the new direction of our lives. We will, however, (and despite the heat, chiggers and poison ivy) forever have fond memories of this place. It has been great. Great for us, and great for the kids.

This new chapter in our lives is called "Terrorizing and otherwise disrupting the peaceful life of my parents in the city." Hopefully they (my parents) can make it through the next few months - it will certainly be a trial for them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

El Gato Prieto

Summer left suddenly and I did not mourn it today. This morning 10 yards of dirt/sand mix were delivered by a friend of mine to back fill around our foundation (a lender-required repair) and Luis and I spent hour after hour hauling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of dirt. It was hot and sweaty, but at 80 or 90 degrees, it was so very much more pleasant than the work we were doing out there in the 107 degree heat just a few days earlier.

The second best part of the day (aside from the cooler weather) was that the guy who sold/delivered the dirt was interested in all our garage sale leftovers so I offered them all to him (along with the trampoline.) In return, he offered to bring over his "gato prieto" for me to use for a few hours. Behold the gato prieto in all its glory!

And...the glory shot!

So anyway, check one off the bucket list. I have now operated a bobcat (or as Luis calls it, the black cat or the gato prieto.)

The bad news is that there is still a yard or two of dirt in the front yard, the bobcat is gone, the job is done, and now I have a problem.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mystery Cat

A couple of weeks ago upon our return from a trip to San Antonio, we noticed that our black/white cat was missing. It wasn't unexpected since we seem to go through cats fairly regularly around here. What was interesting though was that the disappearance of the cat seemed to coincide with an atrocious smell emanating from the general area of the chicken coop. We searched all around the chicken coop to no avail and I had pretty much decided that whatever was dead and decaying must have been under it.

While working out there today to replace some siding on the coop (as required by the bank?) we found the source of the odiferocity (yes, I realize that is not a real word.) But before we go there, let's take a step back.

I love Ginger. She is 4 years old now and is a real precious little angel. She loves to go out and play with the animals on the back porch, search around the bushes for eggs, catch crickets, watch spiders, etc. Here's a few of her other endearing traits/habits:
  • Whenever she is playing around me, she uses her highly sophisticated play voice and calls me "Joe"
  • She dances to church music (in church) and pretty much to any other music available
  • She loves her "widow wanky" (translation: little blanky) more than life itself. In fact, she often refers to it as an individual (imagine her searching through the house calling out, "where are you widow wanky?) Still though, she loves me so much, she offers, "do you want to smell my widow wanky." (apparently, this is a great honor and privilege)
  • She almost always just says, "ouch" and shakes it off - even when she really gets hurt
  • She went through a phase where she was always talking about her "vampire eyes" and affirmed to all her ability to use them to see in the dark.
  • She used to sit next to me in my office with a "computer" (made from a piece of paper), an old mouse, and an old cellphone to imitate me while I worked - some of the conversations she had on that phone were priceless
  • Overall, she is super soft and affectionate (more than any of our other kids have been) yyet she is as tough as a hardened criminal. I think that's a good combination
So I mentioned how Ginger likes to play with the animals (mostly the cats) on the back porch. I've seen her put them in cages, tie ropes around their necks for leashes, etc. Normally the cats are pretty cool with it and it seems like they enjoy the arrangement. Well, I guess one day (right before we went to San Antonio) she must have tied a rope onto that black/white cat and for some reason, she left it on him. Cause today we found that cat out about 10' away from the chicken coop with the rope caught in the bushes. I guess he probably died of thirst. Poor little kitty. I probably won't ever tell Ginger what she has done.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Back when we were certifying as foster parents, our "qualification" paperwork required a lot of responses regarding any "losses" that we may have felt over the years. The concept of a "loss" was new to me at the time and though I feel a bit lame saying it, I really had to stretch to think of any loss that I had experienced in my life that had left sufficient impression to warrant documentation (I guess I am lucky.) In fact, thinking back at what I must have listed, the only item I can actually recall at this particular moment is the passing of two of my grandparents.

I feel compelled to return from an inadvertent blog hiatus today to record an old and atrophied, seldom-used and mostly forgotten feeling that has gradually settled on me in the way a silent cloud of ash first dusts, then coats, then covers. It is loss.

A faithful friend of 3 years is gone. Gone forever I'd guess. Justin, the livestock guard dog and the best dog we've ever had (by a long shot) went today to a new home with some lady who promised him a good home in the country East of Dallas. Now, I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is. At least that is what they say. What do I say? I loved that dog. Today, this ranch/house is no longer our home. That's all I have to say about that.

In other news, I have to give props to Jessica. As I walk around this house (which is rapidly becoming more and more empty as each and every day progresses) I realize how much work this woman has been doing. I mean, this move (which was feared by me to be the worst of any move thus far in our short lives) is rapidly becoming a 2-3 hour job. Over the last month or so, she has worked tirelessly to sell/donate/clean/organize/consolidate and pack our things to a uber-condensed version of our former clutter. It really is amazing - this girl is a worker, and I do love her - even more than the dog....like a lot more...it's hard to describe....I am gonna stop now.