Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day 2007

Well, it was one hell of a Father's Day. The weather was wild! I had hoped that we could check out another Texas park, but when we woke up, it was already raining and the sky threatened worse.

My wife made breakfast for me. I know, that sounds normal, but in this house that is not the norm. I am usually up before she is, especailly on the weekends, and I am the one who makes breakfast. Of course, if one of the children gets up first, they never make breakfast. They just play on the computer or watch televsion. I got up when my wife brought me coffee in the bedroom.

It rained off and on all day. Some times it was heavy; sometimes light. Because of the weather, we did not get any outdoor work done. The weather really took a turn for the worse about 18:00. We were alerted to a tornado warning for our area. Between the wind and the rain, our lights flickered several times. Our tennant in the bunkhouse lost power entirely. I do not know how much rain fell. Check my wife's blog for that informaton.

Good thing we did not lose power. My wife made a ham dinner. If the power failed, it would be pretty difficult to bake a ham on the bar-be-que. Although we have propane for hot water and for the clothes drier, we have an electric stove and oven. We did not lose power and dinner turned out great! She even served an apple pie for desert!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Take a Hike! And a Swim...

Today, we decided to do something different. We grabbed our hiking shoes and our swim suits and headed out. Our destination today was one of Texas's state parks - Inks Lake State Park off of Texas 29, west of Burnet. Check it out at

The weather was beautiful! Laura Skirde, the meterologist on KXAN television in Austin, predicted great Texas hiking weather - mid 90's with clear skys and a 40% chance of "pop up" thunder storms. A quick look out of the door this morning indicated she nailed the forecast!

The first stop was Subway to pick up some sandwiches for lunch. Then, we headed to the park. Next stop was the fee at the entrance gate - ouch! The State Leislature raised the price! It used to be a flat fee for a car load. Now, they want $5.00 per PEROSON. We took the cheap route... The "Ledge" did not raise the price for a state park permit: it is still $60.00 and good in all state parks. With the new prices, however, the permit pays for itself after three visits - it used to take seven or eight visits.

After buying our permit and checking in, we headed down to a "day use" area for lunch. After lunch, we headed up to the trail head and hiked out along the green trail. We used this to link to the yellow trail, then the red trail to the blue trail loop. When the blue trail reached the road, we crossed the road and picked up the green trail and hiked back to the trailhead and our drink supply. Along the way, we passed the site where this photograph was taken by Earl Nottingham (© 2006).

After a few minutes rest and a long drink, we headed for the swim beach. I wish I could have said "a long, cold drink", but I cannot - all our ice melted. We had it stored in an small cooler, but the head in the cab of our truck melted the ice any way.

We swam until about 18:00. When we tried to get out of the water, we realized how really tired we were! Because of all the rain earlier this year, we have not had the chance to get out on the trail until today. It seams like we are a little out of shape! We had a good time, however, and it was good to get off of the ranch for a while.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Weather Becomes Normal, At Least for Now.

Normal weather for this time of year in central Texas is, in a word, warm. Usually, beautiful blue skys and lots of sun. Well, that is what is here. Up until now, it has been cool and rainy. Flooding has been a major problem. Even today, there are a few places where a stream was still up over the road.

With the warm weather, my wife turned on the air conditioner. Guess what? It did not work. A quick scan of the wiring revealed the reason. One of our gol-darned puppies chewed the control cable between the house and the compressor. A segment of wire, about a foot long, was totally missing.

Sounds simple, right? Not so! The dang-nab wire runs under the house to the heater/air conditioner! There was no way I could accomplish that. So, I bought thirty feet of two-wire 18-guage wire and ran it up into the attic from the heater/air conditioner, then along the attic, out through the south wall and finally, down to the compressor. The rest of the electrical connection was simple.

Did I say simple? Yes, the wiring was. My wife and I found another problem! Over the years, the fan has pulled dust, dirt, leaves and other debris into the cooling coil. We tried to vacuum it out, but the cooling coil runs all around the unit and to get at most of it, we would have to totally disassemble the compressor housing. This is a job for a professional. If we get a good crop of kids this year, we will be able to afford it next spring when the kids are ready to sell.

The air conditioning is running and cooling the house. That is enough for now.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away - For Now..

It rained again today. I know should count my blessings - the east pasture is over knee high, the stock tank is full, the trees are in full leaf and the main pasture is doing great. But it rained again today. I have a full time job off the ranch that keeps me busy five days each week. That means most of the outdoor work at the ranch has to be done on the weekends. But it is real hard to do it in the rain, especailly a thunder storm. Not only does the wind and rain make work difficult, but the lighening is downright dangerous to be out in.

I managed to change the oil, the oil filter and air filter on the truck. Started on the car, but only got the PCV valve changed before the weather turned. I ended up barbequing in the rain for dinner.

Good news! The price of gasoline is down to $2.859 per gallon at the local Valero station and at Wal*Mart's Murphy station. There is no excuse for the prices. I hope Congress clobbers both the oil companies and the credit card issuers for their policies that gouge the customers. Both are making record profits.