Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Swimming Hole

Well this was a big day in the pool construction process, the day we begin filling the swimming pool. It's not not quite finished as the start process up has yet to be done. You can see from the photo that the scuppers and some items still need to be finished, but we are ready for water.

Many have asked for a photo and I have waited until you could get a good idea of what it looked like and where we built it. Yes it's on the side of the house. How about that view? Can't wait to see the waterfall and the pool filled with water!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Game Poachers

The weather has continued to be very nice. Only one windy cool day. We finished clearing cedar at the cutoff trail to the barn. It makes the lower pasture larger and improves the view of a nice stand of Live Oaks. Will still have several stumps to burn-out there over the winter. I did get winter rye grass planted over the new areas covered with top soil. It didn't rain, but perhaps we'll get some soon. We did water the area close to the house and pool. We got a lot of outside work done and the ranch really hasn't looked better. We are very lucky to live in such a beautiful place. Of course there has been a lot of hard work done carving out our little place on the mountain.

The pool company finally has an acceptable surface and color installed on the pool deck. We will probably add a second color ourselves in order to get the look we really wanted. Today with the deck finally finished they did install the pebbletek surface in the pool itself. It looks great even before the acid wash scheduled for tomorrow. It looks like they will begin filling it with water tomorrow afternoon. Wow, it's about time.

This is the second week of deer season and there were a lot of hunters in the area again over the weekend. In fact we had a poacher on Friday night. They shot a deer right on my road, probably from the county road. The blood impact and splatter was very obvious on the white gravel road. By luck I found the bleed out spot about 100+ feet into the brush under a cedar tree up on lower part of Ray's Ridge. There was no animal so I don't know if the poachers got it or the suspected cat or some other varmit. It really makes one wonder and I'm not that keen on confronting a probably drunk poacher with a gun. We did set the alarms at the entry and that does help. I suspect they shot the deer but didn't come into the property when the deer didn't fall on the spot. I did check the goats at night while scouting for poachers and noticed they now stay together in a nice grouping. Haven't lost any more since the little runt.

The deer have been fairly active. I do see the lone bucks roaming around. They come by even in the middle of the day. They are right in the middle of rut right now and really move around. The photo above was taken this morning and the haze is from the sun reflecting on the window of the front door. There were two does out there and they looked very natural around the house.

We have several relatives coming to mind the ranch while we take a little holiday. Another reason to get it in good shape. I know they will enjoy it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beautiful Weather

The weather has continued to be beautiful. Some of the best of the year.

We have been catching up on chores and projects. The masonry projects around the pool and around the house are completely finished so we used some extra rock for landscaping and I have picked up all the rest and stored them below the mountain. There was rock, stone and native rock. I spread two big loads of top soil over the fill area and area below the road and the bluff. We've never had grass there before as it has been too rocky, but we should be able to grow some there now. I also covered the construction area around the pool and existing grass of the front yard. I did plant winter rye grass next to the pool and will get the large area this week before a forecast rain we are supposed to get on Sunday. DW mowed all the grass around the house and lower pasture that was so high due to the rains. Pepino was able to work one day and he did some edging along the road so the road and lower pastures look very good. The grass is very green and the entry has never looked better.

The pool company made another attempt at repairing the pool deck and the color really didn't change. Now they are stripping the previous work and will just attempt a concrete paint and get a color that is at least close to what we want. It has been a long process for us and the company. The effort and labor is fine, I believe they have bad product. Hopefully we will have it all completed within a week though.

I discovered some of the mystery of the missing goats. Evidently they were killed next to the stock tank and when the big rains came and filled the stock tank the water covered the goats. This week the water has dropped low enough to expose the carcasses. I saw them and the blood so I do believe we have a big predator of some kind. After spotting the carcasses I went down there the next day to clean them up and they were gone. All of them gone and nothing left behind. So it's a predator large enough to carry them off. A neighbor did see a very large bobcat so that could be the predator. Amazing. Now another goat, a small one, has disappeared. That's five in total. I need to get Jerry back as none of this happened when he was here.

Deer season has opened and I heard a lot of shooting opening weekend. Maybe everyone already has the limit. Several bucks have walked up during the day looking for does so they are in rut. Not as many deer coming to the feeders so I think they have been culled or in hiding.

The big goldfish have adjusted to the new wildlife tank. I though they might eat the smaller goldfish, but so far so good on that. I believe there are 8 small goldies in there with them. It's fun to watch them when I feed them they really put on a show.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Beautiful November Weather

We are getting our October weather in November. It has been beautiful so far. High temperatures only in high 70's and cooling off at night. I heard from the TV weatherman that October had the fewest days of sunshine ever for central Texas. I believe it. It's still wet in some places and I'm high on the mountain.

The weather has been great for chores and there are a lot to do. The circle drive on the west side of the house has been reduced in size so I had to add road material there. My little gravel pit is standing in water so I scraped some material just below the bluff towards the county road. I did have to cut one good live oak tree, but it didn't fit in the new plan. I really cleaned that area up since that is now the pool side of the house. It looks good. The stone mason did a good job with the rock that was left over from building the swimming pool waterfall. It's nice clean central Texas white limestone rock. We used that for the beds although that was cut rock. The circle is irregular but looks great and very natural. I been try to level out all the rock and materials left over from the pool excavation. We just pushed it into a gully, but now I need to clean up the bluff in that area. I'll get some top soil when I get it spread and leveled better. I also set some very large 200-400 lb rocks around the pool equipment just to protect it some what from a runaway tractor or gator (really from me if I'm not paying attention while cleaning/working on the tractor). Thank goodness for the JD tractor. I've really been putting it to use this week.

No real work has been done on the new pool for a month. I believe they will be here soon to fix the deck. Then they can finish the pool. Hope so.

I have a new hired hand and he is very good. I hope we will be able to get him one day a week. His first project was to trench and run a water line to the new water tank in the back of the house. He did a great job including the plumbing. I moved the big gold fish from the stock tank at the goat pens to the new tank and the fish seem to really like it. It should be warmer as this new 'wildlife' tank (now we have a name for it) is completely in the ground and it will get more sun. By the way, don't clean out a dirty stock tank on the day you put on a newish pair of clean overalls. What a waste. LOL.