Sunday, June 21, 2015

First Day of Summer and Another Surprise

Happy Father's day, everyone! The herd gave me this as a Father's Day present - three more kids. This was the first pair:

Unfortunately, their mother has mastitis on one side. This is an infection of the nipple that curtails milk production and, some of my female co-workers tell me, can be very painful.

And here is the third, along with their proud mother!

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It's Kidding Season, Again!

And here is the proud momma! This doe just delivered these two new kids. Both kids are doing fine, is spite of the fact that the dow will not feed them. Every time they try to nurse, she pushes them away. The kids will be bottle fed for the next ten to twelve weeks.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Some New Growth

Right after the rain today, we did a walk-around to check for storm damage. The weather has been a little wild recently and falling limbs can easily knock down a fence. We did not find any damage, just some large puddles. We did see this tree, all decked out with new leaves and small branches:

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

New E-Mail Address

We got ourselves a new e-mail address. In fact, we got our own domain!

Among the new Top Level Domains (TLD), we found .farm (.ranch would have been better, but beggars cannot be choosers, if you know what I mean!) We jumped on it! We selected a hosting service, based on price and the few services we need, and signed up. The registration price for .farm is $33 per year plus the hosting service at less then $4 per month. Very reasonable for a small operation, like ours!

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Something Nice for a Change!

With all of the recent problems, finally, we get something nice......


Saturday, June 13, 2015

The "Weather Edge"

Today, the City of Killeen was doing some sort of a street fair. We stumbled upon it as they were cleaning up.

KWTX television was there, showing off Rusty Garrett's newest play toy - a "state of the art mobile weather station." They call it the Weather Edge.

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Sunday, June 07, 2015

Just Another Day in Paradise, Day 2

By the time we dug up the shut-off valve and a stretch of water line on each side, it was well into the afternoon. Thankfully, our favorite local "big box" home improvement center, Lowe's, is open on Sunday. We drove into the neighboring town (our little town only has an Ace Hardware and they are closed on Sunday) to get the parts we needed. By the time we got back, we were losing daylight. My wife got down into the hole, cut out the failed valve and installed the new one while I and our children started the nightly chores of feeding and watering the livestock, putting up the chickens and then going on the daily "Easter Egg Hunt".

During the day, we let our chickens range freely. They wander all over the place, hunting insects and other things they like to eat. When the urge comes to lay an egg, they lay it wherever they are at the time. It is up to us to find the eggs. Hence, the "daily Easter Egg hunt." At the end of the week, the eggs we did not use, we take to the farmer's market and sell. Yesterday, in eggs alone, we pulled in $25. Not much, I know, but the chickens supply us with farm-fresh eggs to eat and bring in enough money to pay all of their own expenses and leave some left over for us.

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Saturday, June 06, 2015

Just Another Day in Paradise - Water Line Version

Just as we were rounding up the chickens for the night, liquid began bubbling up through the ground. No, it was not the "bubbling crude" of The Beverly Hillbillies. It was water. One of our water lines had sprung a leak. We very quickly determined that the line was completely severed.

Oh, well, time the turn off the shut-off. Murphy's <censored> Law strikes! Turn the shut-off and the water only diminishes. It does not stop. The shut-off valve has failed. Time to put up some water and shut off all the water at the meter. We put up fifty gallons for the livestock and eight gallons for us to drink and cook with.

Tomorrow will be lots of fun! First, dig up the shut-off valve and replace it. This will allow us to turn on the water to the house. Then, we can fix the failed line in front of the barn. If we don't get the line in front of the barn fixed tomorrow, we can at least run hoses from the outside spigots at the house to ensure that the livestock has water to drink.

When you live on a ranch, as long as no person is in jeopardy, the rule must always be "care for the livestock first" Staff comfort is always second to that rule.

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Monday, June 01, 2015

A Really Crappy Headache

Last week, our tenant complained that the toilets were not flushing properly. We went to the trailer and pulled up the clean out cover. The tank was full. It has been eight or ten years since we last had it pumped, so this was not unexpected.

We called in an outfit to pump the tank. That is when we found that the tank has a crack. Apparently, during the drought, the ground around the tank dried out and shrank. The internal pressure of the stuff in the tank caused the concrete, which is at least twenty and probally closer th thirty years old, to crack in one of the segments near the top. As soon as the tank was empty, ground water from the recent rains started flowing in through the crack.

The toilets still did not work.

We called in Roto-Router. They replaced an in-line clean out and tried to run a snake toward the tank. They failed. They dug up the line and found that the PVC pipe had collapsed and had detached from the tank. They informed us that the scope of the job is beyond their license.

Now, we are dealing with septic tank companies.

When the septic system was installed, the standard practice was a single tank system with a leach field to distribute the effluent. The laws have changed. Now, the requirement is a two tank system with either a leach field or a pressure sprayer system. Ka-Ching! The County Environmental Officer dropped by and gave us a list of three "recommended" septic tank companies. We called all three.

The first company we called came out and took notes and pictures. Their technician will take the information back to the office and give it to their engineer. The charge for coming out: 89.00

The second company we called came out, took some notes and pictures, and did a quick soil test. The verdict: the soil does not drain well and, for that reason, the standard two-tank solution will not work. They are saying that the "aerobic" (or pressure spray system) is the only choice.

The third firm...The technician "didn't have anything to write on" and asked us to text the address and a brief description of the problem to his cell phone. Note the presumption that we have cell phones. They will stop by tomorrow and give us their opinion.

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