Friday, March 27, 2009

Texas Weather

It was cloudy and overcast all morning, but we only had a trace of rain. In the afternoon it got windy and another cold front came through. It cleared all the clouds and became sunny, but the temperature dropped from 75° to 48°. Chilly.

I saw hummingbirds on the feeders this morning so they have found them.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cooler & Rain

We had a trace of rain on Tuesday, but on Wednesday we had a cold front come through and a nice rain. We had about half an inch of rain and the temperature dropped to 48°. It was back in the mid 70° today. The rain will help the wild flowers. Everything now seems to be budding except the honeysuckle.

I saw the first Hummingbird of the season this morning. It was actually drinking at the fountain in the courtyard. I knew it was about time for the hummers and I did put up two feeders on Friday since we were having guests. One at the cabin and my large one next to the screened porch. Didn't see any activity on the feeders though. I added another out back and will add some in the courtyard as well. It has been very windy and I have given up using squirrel baffles on the three bird feeders on the bluff. The wind catches them like a sail and they blow down the feeder or actually break the metal support rods. There is just too much wind. It's the chinook effect being located right at the bluff. (I learned weather and wind effects at the University of Oklahoma in Professor Harry E. Hoy's Physical Geography class) The baffled feeders below the mountain or in the back of the house are fine. We are really going through bird seed, but I do have eleven bird feeders. I did add a new one out front so that I can see it from my office window. I need to get a larger feeder for that location though.

Today is the day we begin feeding the bottle babies only one bottle per day. We will feed them a bottle only at evening feeding time now and hopefully soon they will accompany the rest of the goats to pasture during the day.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

First Day of Spring

The four bottle babies, with Zulu and Annie watching.

The weather has continued to be very nice. We prepared for guests so we did some cleaning and little chores around the house and ranch in order to get ready for them this past week. Our guests came in Thursday evening and we cooked out that evening and the following evening as well. It is nice to have a fire and to cook out on the coals. The teens helped feed the bottle babies and with the extra help I really tried to introduce the babies to the mountain pasture and to feed. They have to learn to be goats sometime. The ten pasture babies and their nannies are all doing well, they are a little larger than the bottle babies and already eating grass and goat feed.

We took a mini tour of the Norse area and enjoyed just 'hanging' at the ranch. It was a fun weekend and our guests seemed to enjoy the ranch.

More Live Oaks are losing their leaves. More Spanish Oaks are budding and growing leaves. Interesting transition and it makes for many different colors of green in the trees. Check the photos in the link below. The shrubs are starting to bud. Just beginning to see growth on the jasmine. The 'Prairie Verbena' is starting to bloom on the ranch and I did see some bluebonnets on the highway between Cranfills Gap and Meridian. The next two weeks will bring a lot of change. I hope we get some more rain to help the growth along.

It's nice to have a photographer as a guest. I can use the photos as future reference. Here is a link to some fantastic photos taken this weekend:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pasture Goats?

Well the bottle babies have survived the first few nights. They aren't going up to pasture with the other goats yet, just setting around waiting for us to show up with the bottle as far as I can tell. In fact the other goats seem to hanging around more waiting for an handout as well. They will get with the system soon I hope.

Beautiful days. Highs of 80° yesterday and today. Grass is greening up well. There have been a lot of brush fires around as I expected. I have a couple I need to burn. It's really good to see all the neighbors tanks full. One of the big ranches has been doing dirt work for almost two years on Gary Creek and their little lake filled up very well.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Great Day at the Ranch

It started off cloudy and there was rain just south of us, but it held off here. I wanted to get an early start in burning a brush pile I had that was in a wooded area and not in the open. It has to be burned when it is somewhat wet as not to damage surrounding trees. It was also near to an area that I really have been wanted to work as it would create a walking trail from the back of the house to the bluff on our north fence line. It wasn't easy getting the fire started and it burned slow, but that was exactly what I wanted at first anyway until I could clear some more brush and cedar that would be close to the fire. I haven't really worked the chain saw for several months so it was good to get back on it. I cleared a nice little trail and burned the brush as I went in the burn pile. There were old stumps as well so we soon had a 'hot' fire and burned as fast as I could clear. That's much easier than having to haul your debris and cuttings. The sun came out in the afternoon and that was welcome. Actually got a lot done. I had started a pot of beans in the morning so I was able to eat out on the nice cleaned bluff by evening and watch the fire and the sun set. We have a nice view to the west from this spot and now a better trail to reach it.

We also moved the bottle babies down to the pasture and introduced them to their cousins, aunties, daddy, and Annie. They will be pasture goats from now on although they will be getting their bottle for a while longer. Sometime in the next week I'll drop them down to just one bottle. Since they are now away from the house I dismantled their pen and Terry cleaned up the gator port and back porch. We'll have to re-stack rock and do some painting to get everything back in order. It's amazing what four baby goats can get into around the house. Hopefully the shrubs will survive. I don't know how long until the four bottle babies are accepted into the herd. It was interesting watching them interact today. I hope Annie protects them, there's always a danger that predators will get the bottle babies since they don't have a nanny to watch them.

It was amazing to watch the grass green-up today. As the sun came out it seemed to do it in a matter of hours. More trees budding and more live oaks losing leaves. The birds weren't that active today, don't know why. I did fill all their feeders yesterday and did get another 100 lbs of seed.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


We are at the end of the forecast of 'several days of rain' and the weatherman was correct. We've had another 1.25 inches so I'll estimate our total for the period to be more than 6 inches of rain. Very good for four days. I'd like to see some sunshine now as it's been a while. The tank has water in it for the first time in months. Almost 3/4 full which was more than I expected. The grass looks like it's about to green up everywhere too.

They took off the county burn ban for eleven days so I expect a lot of brush burning in the area as soon as it drys a bit. I have several piles myself.

The goats have really eaten down most of the shrubs around the house. They are about ready for the pasture. This evening there were six deer out back and it was very interesting watching the deer watch the goats watch the deer. Finally the goats started walking towards the deer and the deer decided to retreat, at least until dark.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Here's a photo sent to me by a reader of the blog. It's a photo of T.P. 'Trapper' Barnhill who was the county trapper for many years in the 1970's in Bosque County. I know they had problems then as a neighbor told me they used to pay a 'bounty' for coyotes when he was a kid in the 1960's.

Looks like he had a good day from the photo.

I had the county trapper out to Twisted Oak Ranch a few times years ago when we had the mountain lion problem. Haven't seen him around for a while although he has signs posted on the property across the road. (If they have traps or snares on a property they have to post warnings at the entry gates to the property)

I've had interesting results from the primary snare I have set in the past. One dog, one goat, one coyote.


The rain started late on Tuesday night. The goats had knocked over the rain gauge so I didn't get it up until Wednesday morning but it showed 4.5 inches this morning. I'd have to estimate our rain at better than 5.5 inches. It came down over time so it soaked very well. There was run off but not a lot. The roads didn't gully very much at all. A good rain. There is more rain in the forecast so hopefully we will get more. Enough run off to fill the stock tank would be nice.

This was the week I was going to introduce the bottle babies to the herd. I'll wait until after the rains now. I know the herd goats would exclude the babies from the shelters. The ten pasture babies are eating feed now. The bottle babies are eating the shrubs around the house (another reason to move them), but so far no interest in feed.

The birds really seemed to like the rain. They were very active in the rain on Wednesday. I've seen another pair of Blue Jays around the house and one by the barn. I guess they are here to stay for sure.

Monday, March 09, 2009


The Spanish Oaks are budding, with the big one by the cabin going from buds to leaves in just days. Very good to see. Most of the Texas Live Oaks are now losing their leaves. This seems to be more of a tree by tree situation with some well along and others not even begun.

The baby goats are browsing on the weeds that are coming out. Good two ways. Still two bottles a day.

Still very dry. They do have rain in the forecast for the middle of this week. Lets hope so.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

March 3rd, 2009

Well it did cool off. It was below freezing two mornings as there was ice in the fountain. Getting warm again though. It was 72° today. I'm seeing a little green in the grasses. Spring will be here soon. Still very dry.

I'm feeding the babies twice a day now, they are getting the same amount of formula. They were getting 8 oz three times a day and now it's 12 oz twice a day. I'm also feeding them two at a time. Four at once is too hard as whoever finishes first knocks about the other goats trying to steal a nipple. Much easier.

I saw at least 25-30 turkey on the road this week. Big turkeys. Amazing. I'll get my wildlife camera back up this week and see what we have around here.