Monday, June 30, 2008

Wonderful Summer Day

We had a great surprise on Sunday afternoon. A wonderful summer shower. We had a full two inches of rain averaging the two gauges. 1.9" at the house and 2.1" on the mountain. Good run off and all the water drainage features installed last year worked very well. I had actually just dumped a load of gravel Sunday morning to divert water away from main gate. I still try to do some tractor work on Sunday mornings to keep it charged up and in working order.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Welcome Tessie

We had some rain early Thursday morning. The gauge said .6 inches, but it seemed like more. It must have fallen quickly as there was run off. In fact I was surprised to see about a foot of water in the tank. About half of that is now gone though as it's continued to be hot.

The four new squirrel baffles were delivered yesterday. Very impressed as I only just ordered them on Tuesday afternoon from Tractor Supply. I installed them this morning and filled all the feeders.

There was another important delivery yesterday. We adopted a West Highland White Terrier from Scottie Kingdom Rescue and she was brought to us yesterday. Terry saw this dog at the Texas Scottish Festival and thought she needed a new home. Her name is Tessie and she's anywhere from 5-7 years old. She gets along well with Kenzie so far and will start to learn the ropes of life on the ranch very soon I'm sure. She's already learned to be lazy and stay inside during chores, just like Kenzie. I'm sure she will be more comfortable outdoors later. They aren't really ranch dogs anyway although Kenzie tries to help herd goats on occasion.

Cleaned flower beds today and took vines, grass, weeds, etc. down to the goats to enjoy. The three amigas (the three former then different neighbor donkeys) were came down to visit and brayed until they got our attention. They sure look good. They have plenty to eat now and seem to be very healthy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mountain Pinks

The Mountain Pinks are really out in full bloom this year. This is as prominent as I have seen them for many years. These flowers are unique to this area and really can't be transplanted. We did try years ago when we were weekenders even using the limestone caliche soil. You have to be here to enjoy them.

I did install squirrel baffles on two of the bird feeders yesterday. They seem to work very well as they are still full this morning. I have four more baffles ordered. In fact within 30 minutes of installing the baffle and filling the bird feeder I had a Painted Bunting. He returned this morning as well. There are so many squirrels this year that something had to be done and this seems to do the trick. All the birds have been active and the Painted Bunting was on the feeder just outside the BR window most of the day.

Still hot and dry. The early mornings are very beautiful though. We are on summer hours, out early and back in the house early.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Some Relief

We had been missing the rain that most folks north and east have been getting intermittently for a week. We were so close on Thursday morning being on the edge of a storm and in fact they lost power in Clifton and Meridian for six+ hours. We got the wind, but no rain. Finally last night the radar showed one heading towards Bosque county and indeed it passed through about 2:00 a.m. We received 1.5 inches of much needed rain. The rain was soaked into the ground and there was little run off so the tank is still dry but we will take what we can get.

The armadillo problem wasn't completely resolved, but may be now. Last night before the storm Kenzie alerted me to something in the courtyard and sure enough it was another armadillo. This one was smaller and younger and I'm sure he was mortally wounded as he took off like a balloon losing air and disappeared into the woods. That's actually a typical reaction for a amadillo that has been shot and does cause some confusion as it's happening. Interesting to see though.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The Armadillo problem is hopefully resolved as of 3:45 a.m. this morning. We will need to plant around the fountain again as most of the begonias are now gone. My favorite plant in that location is a fern as they get enough spray from the fountain to survive the heat and they seem natural around a water feature. The problem with planting ferns are that rabbits love them and we have a lot of rabbits this year.

I did burn the large cedar pile in the TOR gravel pit area today. It is the first calm day we have had in weeks and I'm sure a county burn ban will be in effect soon as it has continued hot and dry. It was burned in just a couple of hours.

I started some tractor work on Sunday bringing some gravel over from some neighbors where they have an active gravel pit which is supplying gravel for the on-going county road construction project. I finished off my repair area this morning with lighter material to pack in the gravel. Looks good. Maintenance on our own ranch road is important to keep up. The word is that the county will begin paving the county road this summer, but I doubt they get to it by then. They are still building up low areas of the road and have more culverts to install. The neighbors and other land owners still have the road paving fund in the bank just waiting on the county. Someday it will be paved.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Armadillo & Road Runners

We were visited again last night.  All the begonias were dug up and not sure they will survive being replanted again.  There were also lots of holes dug in the turf grass.  We'll try to put up a temporary fence across the courtyard.

This afternoon we saw the largest Roadrunner we have ever seen.  Must have been a huge male almost the size of a small turkey.  Earlier this week I did seen what must have been young ones with the momma hen.  There were 3-4 together, who scattered after they saw me.  When I first saw them I thought they were turkey.  

Today has been the hottest so far this year.  The tank will be dry within a few more days.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blue Bells

There is an entire pasture full of Texas Blue Bells in full bloom just 1/4 mile down the road. The photo is of one that was coming up in the fence row next to the pasture and the county road. I think they are actually planted as a soil improvement as I have seen them filling other fields and pastures. Looks very impressive to see so many in one place.

We were visited by something last night. They dug up seven of the ten large begonias planted around the fountain in the courtyard. Probably an Armadillo. Also some holes dug in the front. The ground and soil is wetter around the fountain and he was probably looking for grubs. The plants themselves can be replanted as they were dug up by the roots and are intact. That was a lot of work by the 'dillo. We'll replant today.

There were four baby cotton tails in the back early this morning. There have been lots of jack rabbits and cottontails as we did complete the watering just yesterday as they like that new grass.

In addition to the rabbits we we have lots of squirrels. There were four trying to get to one feeder at one time yesterday and it's not uncommon to see a half a dozen at a time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hot and Dry

Returning to the Ranch after away for a few days does help you notice changes.  It has been hot and dry for several weeks and the pasture grass won't last much longer at this rate.  The grass growing in the cedars will be all right for a while though.  The Mountain Pink are showing a few signs of coming out.  As mentioned in earlier posts I anticipate a lot this year.  They are usually out by July 4th so it will be soon.  There were no feeders on the ground when we returned so culling raccoons has helped there.  I'll see how it goes before continuing that program. 

We have begun to water the bermuda grass around the house this week.  We will let the outer native grass go dormant, but the landscaped grass is still relatively new so we will water once a week through summer.   I highly recommend Buffalo grass as it looks better than other natives at this point. The cherry tomato plant looks great.  I ate the first one this week off the vine.

Looks like it is time to start summer hours.  Chores in the early mornings before the heat sets in at midday.