Monthly Archives: July 2013

July 31

Last day in July, and the weather has certainly been “seasonal”.  That is hot, dry, and hot.  Grateful for the 3 day rain event we had earlier in the month, but it would be nice to get some more.  What few pop-up showers that have blessed the area have, as is typical, not popped up on top of the Hunker Down.  Even heard a little thunder to the east while out mowing the yard earlier today, but that’s as close as it got.

Have talked about Bert & Ernie in prior posts, but have not even mentioned Gypsy who is top dog on the Hunker Down.  Gypsy more or less adopted me about 12 years ago.  Friend found her abandoned in a local (L.H.) park, and brought her over.  Dog walked up to me in the shop, sat down next to me and, and gave me that “what’s next” look.  After spending a little time and effort trying to locate her “owner”, I took her over to my vet for a health checkup and shots.  Turned out that she had a case of heart worm—if treated, she’d probable live another 6-7 years, if not, only 2-3.  She was probably about 4-5 years old at the time, and someone had cared enough to have her spayed.  Since she was a good natured, pretty well behaved dog, I bit the bullet, and had her treated for the heart worms, —-an expensive proposition which entails nearly killing the dog with an arsenic drip, and takes several days.   Well, like I mentioned, that was about 12 years ago, her once all black coat now has a lot of gray around the muzzle, and she is pretty arthritic and carrying too much weight, but the old girl still has game.  As is often the case, dogs that pick me turn out to be much better dogs than any I’ve picked out and paid for, Gypsy has been one of the best.

Now, I bring up Gypsy, since another “found” dog has joined the menagerie here at the Hunker Down.  Same friend brought this one in too, having found it on the side of the Highway, so covered with beggar’s lice, and other stickers that the poor thing wasn’t even recognizable as a dog.  We spent a few hours de-burring her which she endured with hardly a whimper, and gave her a bath, which she didn’t take to as well as the de-burring.  She is the ugliest little pup I’ve ever seen, but a sweet little girl in spite of that—quiet and pretty well behaved, and unfortunately most likely pregnant.  Otherwise, she is in good health, and we got her all the important shots and heartworm and flea & tick stuff, and she is now another house dog at the Hunker Down Ranch headquarters.  Only issue is that Gypsy—numero uno dog — seems to be a bit jealous, a trait she has never exhibited before.  She’s not being snappy or anything like that, but her demeanor sure indicates that she is not real enthusiastic about this turn of events.

More later,

JVC

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July 24

Been a couple days since I last wrote—kind of busy.  The visit with my eldest and her two daughters was great.  I haven’t seen them in quite a few years, and those girls have really grown.  They got to bottle feed the babies and we wandered around the ranch a little bit, but because of this newly emergent plague of mosquitoes, the heat, and the humidity, we did not spend a lot of time out side.  Old JVC fired up the grill and fixed hamburgers and hotdogs, we enjoyed some cantaloupe from the garden, and some sweet cherries from the big box store in BW.  Then they were off back to Abilene, and I was back to work.

Yesterday, my job was to pump the water in the catchment basin up to the stock tank.  Now, I have done this a couple of times before without any problem, so figured it would go OK yesterday also.  I had to use some “Aggie engineering” when I put together the coupling between the 2” discharge line (of which I have 100”) to the black “poly pipe” that finishes the run to the tank, and although it would leak slightly, it was not an issue.  Yesterday it was.  Seems that since the outlet end of the discharge line and pipe was under water this go round, it created too much back pressure on the line, and it came apart at the above mentioned coupling.  Since I didn’t notice right off, I also managed to pump a few hundred gals. of precious water out on the ground where it proceeded to run off and/or soak in.  So, I’m off to the Home Depot for other fittings to re-aggie engineer the coupling, but of course, what I really needed they didn’t have, so I picked up a bunch of various 2” and 1-1/2 “ pvc fittings, hoping that I could make it work.  Then I stopped at a plumbing supply place, where they did have the piece I needed.  Suppose I should have just gone there in the first place.  An inch and a half pipe nipple fits snuggly inside the polypipe, but the end coupling of the 2” discharge hose needs to screw onto a 2 inch fitting, so what I needed and finally got was a reducing bushing from 2” male thread to 1-1/2” female thread, and that took care of that.  Made sure that the discharge end would stay above water level, and I was back in business.  I figure by a rough conservative estimate that I was able to move 18,000-20,000 gallons of water to the main tank.

Now my little brain got to working, and I figured that if the main tank was going to keep going dry periodically while this drought hangs on, I don’t really want to stock it with fish again.   Well, I really do and the catfish seemed to thrive, but it is such a waste if (when) it dries up again.  So, little brain thinks that maybe, I should put up an elevated water storage tank near the garden, and keep it full by pumping water from the main tank up to it.  Need to give it some more thought, but it just might be a GOOD IDEA.  Of course, I’d need to get some cash together to do it, but then, that’s only money, and stored water is worth a whole lot more than that.

Made a dump run today and they do have a nice pile of wood chip mulch there–5 bucks a pickup load, or they will deliver in county a 20 yard dump load for $120.00.  Stuff would sure make some nice foot paths around the old Hunker Down, and maybe help keep me from tracking so much mud in after those occasional rains.   More project for down the road.  If I can manage to live long enough to finish up all I’d like to do around here, I’d live forever.

JVC

July 21

I seem to have forgotten that every blessing has a down side.  All that nice rain has brought out the mosquitoes.  Been so long since I’ve been aware of any here on the Hunker Down, that i near forgot that they even exist.  Well, when I went out to let the goats out of the pen this morning, I sure remembered quick enough.  Wasn’t even through the gate and I was swarmed.  These guys are the big slow moving black ones that leave a blood splat behind when you swat them.  The green t-shirt I put on this morning is beginning to look a lot like Christmas now with all the red “balls” it is decorated with. Personally, I prefer the little fast moving jet fighter mosquitoes over these heavy bombers.

Tomorrow promises to be an exciting day here on the Hunker Down.  I’m expecting a visit from my oldest daughter and my two grand daughters.  Haven’t seen any of them in maybe 5 years or so since son-in-law works for the state department and they are generally some where other than here in the states.  Looking forward to the visit, and it’s probably time for me to do some house cleaning anyway.  Got the fixin’s for a hamburger/hotdog cook out which should be fun.

All for now,

JVC

July 20

Figured that I’d make today a “chain saw day”  Did manage to finish up with the oak that came down on the south fence line, and spent some time with the loppers hacking away the crown on the other downed tree near the yard fence.  Lucky for me, the goats had 3 days or so to work the downed crown over, so there weren’t many leaves to deal with–makes it a lot easier to get the loppers in where they need to be.  By about noon thirty, I was soaking wet, and ready to cool off, and that just about ended any progress I was making.  Have only gone out again to fill the bird feeders, and I think I’ll grab the camera and get a few after the rain pictures to put up on this blog.  Maybe, I’ll have enough gumption left in me to crank up the saw again later–much later–this afternoon/evening.

OK—did take the old camera on a little walk about, here are the results

water in the tank againafter the rain 003 (800x536) after the rain 005 (800x536)and Bert & Ernie rushing to see what was making all the noise (me, stomping aroundafter the rain 010 (800x536)here is the water in the little catchment pond down by the front gateafter the rain 012 (800x536)which soon will be added to the tank,  Don’t know where they hang out when things are dryafter the rain 014 (536x800) and as per Autumn’s request–Snowball & Cinnamon–aka dasher and dancerafter the rain 018 (800x536) after the rain 017 (800x536) and finally, a couple of the goats hard at workafter the rain 023 (800x536)More later, got to feed my babies.

JVC

July 18

Just added another tenth of an inch or so over last night–almost 8 inches from the event.  Talked with some friends at group today, and they had anywhere from 3-4 inches up to 10-12 inches.  Heard some mention of 14 and 15 inches up on the Lake Brownwood watershed, so maybe this will ease the water restrictions also.  Blue sky now, and everything is green and happy–doesn’t get any better than this (excepting if we can get another good rain event in another week or so.)

The bottle babies are growing and really hitting the bottle now.  Both of them guzzle the first 12 oz. or so  without stopping for a breath, or so it seems.  Snowball will stop at that point, shake her head, and go back for another 3-4 good licks.  Cinnamon doesn’t stop until she is finished. Both are downing 16-18 oz. at a feeding now.  Today is the first day for trying them on a two a day schedule.  Seems to have worked pretty well since they are out browsing in the yard and not hanging out on the porch bitching at me to feed them right now.  Need to drive into Temple tomorrow, so they’ll get feed early and not again till I get back.

Saturday will be the GET BACK to WORK day–have been really lazy during the rain–even if the days have been relatively rain free.  But there is lots to get done, so vacation is over.  Looking out the window, there is a pair of brilliant red birds having a good time in the yard and painted buntings at both seed feeders.  Saw that big white dove again earlier.  Think that it is paired with one of those guys with the black half ring around their neck–what the book calls a Eurasian Collared dove–not supposed to be around here, but obviously the 6 hanging out in the yard didn’t get that word.

JVC

July 17

Only added .3 inches to the total since last night.  Got out in the garden this afternoon–turning a bed that prior to this good soaking had been too hard to stick a fork in,  Humidity so high, I could only handle it for a little while before retreating to the (AC) house.  Had another post oak break off about 6 feet above the ground.  This one was hollowed out also–that makes 4 or 5 in the last few years.  Got the chain saw back from the shop, so I need to finish clearing the one that is down on the south fence line, and then work on this new one.  The goats sure had a nice time climbing around in the now on the ground branches filling up on fresh oak leaves.

I suspect that the rain is not over yet–radar shows the moisture still moving up from the southeast, and I haven’t noticed any change in the wind.  National radar map seems to show a front

July 16

Hooray,  another 3.5 inches since I dumped the gauge last night.  Actually have some standing water even though the rain has stopped for now.  More in the forecast for the rest of today and tomorrow.  More later.

well. not much else happened as far as rain today–couple of showers that didn’t add anything to the gauge.  Happy as can be, though as the tank now has substantial water in it, and if it clears tomorrow, I’ll be setting up the pump on the catchment pond, and moving that water up to the tank also.  Will post up some pictures so you can see what a difference a couple of rainy night can make.  Oh, radar shows another line of storms coming our way from the southeast, and later tonight the wind will move around to the north as the front finally passes.  Could be a rough night before it is all out of here.

JVC