Saturday, August 30, 2008

Big Bucks!

It's been a fast week. We did get 1/4+ inch of rain on Thursday evening. There were some other sprinkles, but no rain. Again it has been very isolated showers. Tank is dry, but we do have grass.

Road: Knowing that the price of asphalt had almost doubled I went into last weeks meeting prepared for calling a halt to the project and getting our money back. I mentally already had the money spent on a new sprinkler system around the house. One of the neighbors really made an effort to collect more commitments from the few who had not paid anything and one or two of the BIG ranches. He was able to make the project doable. We've deposited a bit more in the road fund and will again. The good news is that they will be paving the road and it will be done very soon.

This morning around 9:00 a.m. there were four bucks come up to the back looking for corn. I did have some on the ground. Two of these bucks were trophies. Huge with big racks. Not the largest I have seen, but #2 and #3 by far. The four stayed for a while, but were spooked and went up the mountain.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Road Repairs

Following the last post on Tuesday we did get some more rain, although very light. Total is still only about 1.2 inches. I think we did get a lot of nitrogen though as the grass has greened up very well. The rain/mist was so light some days that it may not have been measurable. It is unusual to have a weather system set over Texas for a week especially in August. We can not complain about that at all, but the tank is still bone dry. NO run off at all. We may have some chance of rain later in the week.

With the price of deer corn doubling in the past six months they are lucky we are still putting it out. I have started putting out less and it does seem to bring them out earlier in the evening. I guess it runs out sooner so first come first served. It's always gone by the following morning. I already culled a lot of raccoons.

Road Work: They have finally gotten down to my main gate with the base gravel work on the county road. It has been a two year project at this point. The county road is very hard to drive on with all the loose gravel until it gets packed down which has been very rough on our cars. It is certainly wider than before but it still seems low in some areas. Of course the rains we had last year probably would have gone across at most any height. The county has taken so long to get this work done that the price of road grade asphalt has doubled since the neighbors agreed to pay for the asphalt on this project. Most of the increase has been within the past month. Great timing. We have a neighborhood meeting scheduled for tonight in the neighbors barn so we'll see what develops. Interesting that they just got the road completed yesterday just beyond the gate where this meeting will occur. The road will be better once it is packed even if we don't pave it so having to put up with all the mess may have been worth it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some Relief

The past five days have been a relief from the 100º heat. It has been cloudy as many have been getting rain. We have had some very light sprinkles and mist, but not yet had a good rain. At least we are getting a very slow accumulation but it's been less than 1 inch total over the five days. Some have had 5 inches in the surrounding area. But it has cooled off and we are in the 80º-90º range for high temperatures. That is nice.

I did have a large Spanish Oak fall in the recent weather phenom evening. I just had not been down that trail to notice it. The Spanish Oaks just aren't as sturdy as the Live Oaks. The neighbors said they lost some Ash trees. Both the Ash & Spanish Oak grow taller and thinner around here because of all the Cedar surrounding them. I only have a few Ash on my place that I have seen. I did find another when we cleared some cedar a month ago. There are probably a lot of things out there I just can't see due to the dense cedar.

The animals and wildlife are enjoying the cooler weather. Let's hope it holds for awhile.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Trophy Deer

There is with out a doubt a trophy deer here this year. I think he is a regular he is just getting a huge rack this year. Probably a 3-4 year old. I got a good look at him last night. He is also very athletic and bounds and jumps beautifully. I really enjoy watching him. There is one that travels with him that does not look near as good. I think the lack of water in the area is drawing a lot of deer earlier in the day to my wildlife tank. The previous night I counted seven deer at one time in the back. I also noticed that the fawns are big enough to jump the fences so they are scattered about now as well.

A little cloudy yesterday and there was rain in the area, but as usual we had none at Twisted Oak Ranch. Hopefully we will get our share soon. We didn't get near 100º and we won't today either. At least that is some relief.

Friday, August 08, 2008

New Trail

We had two days of somewhat cooler weather midweek due to Tropical Storm Eduardo which hit the Texas coast. We had two days of clouds, but really only one evening of cooler weather and only .6 of rain. Other than that brief relief back up to 100º and very dry.

I did open a new cross trail today. I consider it open as today I drove the tractor and gator through so it certainly can be walked now. Since we began walking the dogs in the mornings we've needed a trail across Ray's Ridge back towards the house so that we didn't have to just double back on the same trail when walking to the bluff and the view from the far ridge. This will give us more options on our morning walks and some different views as well. It's a short trail, but will allow us to get to various locations much easier. I still have some brush to clean up, but I'll wait until cooler weather and the burn ban to be lifted to completely finish.

Photo 1 is the entry to the trail. Located at the cross fence between mountain pasture and main property. Facing west. Photo 2 is a view of the house from the trail and where the trail starts to drop down off the ridge into the draw behind the cabin.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Weather phenomenon

On Sunday night everything was normal until early evening around 9:30 p.m.. I was watching the Texas Rangers on TV and doing some genealogy work on the lap top when all of a sudden the electricity went out. Then the wind began to blow and there was a big boom noise. The air pressure dropped so fast that the noise (I think) was air escaping from the house. We went from a dead calm to a 25-30 mph wind instantly. Lucky the power began to come back on or it would have been even more scary. Having grown up in Oklahoma I didn't thing this was a tornado. It was clear skies overhead but I could see a big thunderhead (from the lighting inside of it) to the southeast. All the big live oak trees around the house were really shaking and leaning over. I really though the one on the side of the house was going to come down. Standing in the wind was like standing in a hurricane. It was I believe a very powerful squall line that hit the sides of the mountains and created a small chinook effect. It was quite amazing. The winds slowed somewhat to say 15-20 for the next half hour, then gradually died down. No rain, just dirt falling from the sky. I watched the weather at 10:00 and they just explained it come from no where and went away just as fast.

I inspected the trees the next morning and no real damage. Two bird feeders were blown down. The baffles acted like sails in the wind and they unscrewed themselves from the rod. No real damage. It did blow some trash (bread wrappers that the raccoons had stolen from the back of the gator) that I couldn't get to in the brush up to the top of the mountain. That was helpful.

Tessie had her first experience with deer. I put the dogs in the back about 7:00 and as I was putting on my shoes to go out with them when I noticed Tessie in a stare off with a young fawn. Kenzie just returned back into the house as I don't let her chase deer and she knew that would have been my next command (she is such a good dog). Tessie and the fawn were both curious about each other and it was very interesting watching them stare each other down. One would move it's head then the other. It was kind of a Disney moment. I called Tessie in and she came right away. The fawn actually followed her about ten feet towards the house. When the fawn saw me it ran away, I assume it didn't see me before as I was bent down lacing my shoes and it was focused on Tessie. I can tell from the tracks that the fawn are following their mothers up to the feeder at night. I don't think the fawns are eating any corn though.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Very Hot

The heat is on. The tank is dry (see photo). Twenty-three days over 100 degrees. Nine days over 105 degrees. Just saw the weather and forecast is for 107 tomorrow and 105 on Monday.

There were a bunch of deer out back this morning. I see the bucks are getting their antlers. There were two bucks just showing off for two does. Interesting to watch.

Staying indoors during the middle of the day and going out only to water and feed the animals. Maybe a few hours in early morning to do any chores. Did fill all the bird feeders. It doesn't take as long with the squirrel baffles installed.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Summer Time

Late the other night I took the garbage out to the county road to be picked up the following morning and I noticed it was a nice clear night. I turned off the lights and sure enough, there were the stars and the 'milky way'. Can't always see it so clear, but it was a nice evening with no moon or clouds. We do not have any 'light pollution' in this area from neighbors lights either. We are very lucky there, but we don't have many neighbors. Don't know why people move to the country and then put in a big electric pole with a night light and a big gate with lights. The light pollution is getting bad on the other side of the mountain. I also don't think power poles should be in the Historic District, but I understand that problem. When we built on the mountain we paid extra to have all lines placed underground so that at least we don't contribute to the situation. I guess we should appreciate the stars at night and pretty views while we can.

Took care of one armadillo that same night. There are a lot of holes dug up in the front of the house. The grass looks bad, but too dry to mow and even it out so we'll live withe the small holes and pulled up grass for a while.

Saw a big snake crossing our road today when I came back from town. It was at least half the width of the road so I'd say between 7-8 feet in length. A big one. Saw the baby skunk again a few days ago, but not since. I have been keeping water in the wildlife tank behind the house. It's so dry that I have to fill it every few days. It gets a lot of use at night. I need to put up the camera again.

Tessie is adjusting very well. She will lead on the walks now. She did fall out of the gator yesterday when I pulled away from the barn. Stopping, picking up feed, putting it in the gator, then pulling away has become so routine that I forgot to hold her. She sets in the passenger seat and Kenzie surfs from the back. This is her first week to go with us to feed so she'll catch on soon.

Watering the shrubs and plants. It's clouded up a few times, but no rain. Just very hot. 100º every day. Looks like a long hot August.