Tuesday, May 31, 2016


I spent a quiet Memorial Day at home.  The weather has been very unsettled the past week and continues into this week.  There has been MUCH flooding in this part of Texas, although our area has dodged most of the flooding we are getting a lot of rain.  As saturated as the ground is, we could easily have flooding also.  We have had some creeks flowing pretty well that don't flow much at all.  This period is very similar to this time last year.  But after at least three straight years of harsh drought, not many are complaining about the wet weather.  In fact, I have have not heard a single negative word.

I spent time looking for a new book or two to occupy my mind and watching Saving Pvt. Ryan.
The weekend and holiday weren't so quiet for my bride.  This was the first weekend without working at the resort she has been at the last few years.  However, work at the other resort has taken up the slack, at least for this weekend.  She was even requested to come an additional day, Sunday, which she never does.  She has been feeling a bit of pressure to accept any other work from them to try and 'make up' for the other 'lost' resort.  She puts too much pressure on herself in that regard, trying to keep me in my customary lavish lifestyle.

Hope your weekend was great.

Happy Trails


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day

While trying to come up with a post worthy of this Memorial Day, I would see a lot of 'meme's on the book of faces in regard to it.  While the meme's seem to be getting more and more cliche' some do actually make me think.  I have seen several over the weekend about thanking a veteran for their service during this holiday.  I also recall this seems to have become a practice for this holiday for a few years now.  While it is a worthy thing to do, I think it also does a bit of disservice to the actual meaning of the day.  While I don't think those that have served get confused about this day, I do think much of the general public doesn't distinguish between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day.  They both have their special meanings and neither one is to taken lightly, however I think that not distinguishing between the two trivializes Memorial Day somewhat, or detracts from it's meaning, maybe that is a better description than 'trivializes.'  In our rush to honor our military we seem to forget that this day is much different from Veteran's Day.  

Memorial Day is set aside as a day to remember, remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Those that died in or from combat, fighting for their/our country. 

I read one current member of the military's (who has seen more than his share of combat the last few years) post on Facebook about being thanked for his service.  He didn't want thanks for his service, he didn't do it for that person, he did it for his country.  It would irritate him, and he thought they were doing it only as an empty gesture to ease their own conscience.  His post went on a little longer but that was the gist of it.  He may be right to an extent.  I am not quite sure I understand where he is coming from entirely.  I always believed that our 'Country' was the people that made it up.  It's not just a piece of geography or a spot on a map.  Maybe he is just a but more cynical due to his experiences, or maybe he had a bad day or experience with that recently, I don't know.  I would agree that a flippant or less than meaningful 'thanks' would upset a veteran.  It made me question all the times I did thank a veteran or any member of the military for their service.  However, I have never received a negative response from any of them, ever.  I doubt I will stop.  I do find it difficult to do at times, it is very emotional for me.  I have to cut it short or I will embarrass myself.

Memorial Day has been an official holiday only since 1971.  This really surprised me.  I know it had been observed over the years since the War Between the States.  Both North and South had their own Memorial Days.  When it was made into a National holiday it was supposed to honor the dead on both sides along with every other war in our history.  Yes, Southern soldiers were officially recognized as American Veterans and thus were and have been honored in similar fashion though with much less fanfare, as any other American Veteran.  Now that is about to change.  The mass graves of Southern soldiers will no longer have the flag they fought under flying over them in National Parks or cemeteries.  I won't go into the why's of this current thinking.  I just think it is sad that there are those that sit in judgement of a different time and way of life and thinking.  They put their PC mind to work on every little issue and go out of their way to condemn others they never knew and really have no inkling of their mindset.  

I see them all as Americans.

If you are a veteran, I salute you and am more than grateful for what you did, whether it was for your country, your family of just yourself.  Thank You from Patriot.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Can't Figure It Out

Which is worse, the relentless high humidity along with the higher temps or the REALLY high temps of June through August with semi-high humidity?  Neither is good for someone that is much too sensitive to heat.  Grateful for AC.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Garden Update

FYI I am not an expert gardener by any means, everything I do is hit or miss basically.  I guess a lot, some guesses turn out great, other times, not so much.  I have gotten ideas from a gardening friend on occasion.  I am trying the organic route, I don't use pesticides or chemical fertilizers.  The only pesticide I have used is a Liquid Seaweed I mix with water and spray on.   Seems to work pretty well.  I need to get some more soon.

The rains have been plentiful and they have helped the garden tremendously.  While I haven't harvested any tomatoes yet, the plants themselves have done amazingly well.  I only have six plants.  I planted three different strains, two of the strains being the same as last year, German Striper and Mortgage Lifter.  I wanted a repeat of those as they were some really big a juicy ones, although not very prolific.  I thought giving them more space would help with production.  The other strain is something I was not at all familiar with but chose them randomly.  They are a Florida something, I don't remember the correct name and can't see the tag.  They are much shorter but put on fruit much earlier.  I will harvest from them first.  Click on each photo for a better view.

The Florida somethings.

Each strain has displayed different characteristics early on.  They are each of differing heights in the garden, with the Mortgage Lifter outstripping the other two in height by quite a lot, and the Florida strain is much much shorter but is producing much more fruit earlier.  As you can see in this photo the tallest are well over six feet.  They are so large it is hard to even find green tomatoes in all the foliage.  I expect to harvest the first batch of tomatoes in a couple weeks. 

You can just make out the onions on the right.  These were planted last Spring.  The just withered away by Summer.  This past Winter they started spouting and I have been pulling one or two as needed for cooking.  They are great.

I also have a couple Jalapeno plants and some Bell Pepper.  The Jalapenos are starting to produce but I don't see much action with the Bells.  Lots of blooms but no little peppers.  They may be getting lost in the tomato foliage and not getting enough sun.  Still have strawberries from last year and have picked a few, but evidently I don't know what I'm doing with them.  I don't pick more than one or two every week or so.  Not enough to do any good compared to how Kim likes to use them.  

I have seen a rabbit near the garden a couple times but my small fence is evidently deterrent enough.  We have other critters I worry about too, like squirrels and coons that my fence won't keep out.  They haven't shown an interest, yet.  But they have hit the bird feeder pretty hard of late.

Something heavy enough to break the baling wire I use to hang it with has been around.  I have seen the squirrels on it but the glass tube in the middle that holds the feed, had been pried up and and almost out of the cage the day before this.  It has to be coons.  Don't think the squirrels could do that.

I just hope they don't like veggies.

Happy Trails

Monday, May 23, 2016

Not a Lot

The brain box is not working well enough to come up with worthy post.  Take a moment and visit those in the sidebar.  They have some good stuff.

Happy Trails

Friday, May 20, 2016

Busy Friday

After a week of quite a bit of rain, Friday is supposed to be somewhat dry.  We will attack the garage and the fleas that just won't die after at least a half dozen flea bombs.  We will haul everything outside and then clean the floor and I will spray with an insecticide.  I also have a flea trap on it's way.  Hopefully this will take care of most of the issue.  I have been reading about fleas, it seems they are almost indestructible as far as their life cycle is concerned.  An infestation can take months to get rid of.  Buster is still mostly flea free.  If this doesn't work I guess we will have to call in a professional.  

Warning: going to get something off my chest about Kim's business and how poorly she has been treated.

Kim got an email from the resort she has been plying her trade at for the last 6-7 years.  After this Saturday they will no longer require her services.  (FYI-she is an independent contractor not an employee)  This is the resort she has worked at the longest and has been very good to her.  That is until the last two years with a huge turnover on personnel she deals with.  In short they did a lot of things to make her less and less successful.  The main one being that they moved her from a very good location that had much foot traffic to one that was secluded, you had to be looking for her to find her.  Consequently her business dropped off considerably.  They also limited the amount of time she could be there, regardless of how busy she was, guests be damned.  They would actually stand around waiting to take her tables when she finished, urging her to shut it down.  The lack of business is the main reason they dropped her.  So, stymieing her business as best they could at their guests expense, they let her go for lack of making enough money.  SMH.  She only made 20$ last week, which was a low.  Previous years it was much much more lucrative, well into the hundreds and more at this time of year.  That's a lot of child's crafts and jewelry/leather being sold.

Why did they move her?  Some other vendor asked for her spot.  No idea why the preference.  Kim had always gotten glowing reports from the guests.  

They also would constantly fail to pay her on time.  The last being over two months late.  That's another long story.  New personnel that didn't know what they are doing despite Kim trying to help them from previous experience.  While we had considered just dropping them, she couldn't replace the income that would be lost.  However with all the crap she has had to endure, I'm glad she is done with them.  Now she can focus on the other resort this summer, they have added an extra day for her to come over there.  They are very happy with what she brings to the resort.  Just like the other one used to, when they had people with brains running it.  

All good things do come to an end.  Good riddance as far as I'm concerned.  I thin there will be times that they miss her, until the new crop of folks come in, which happens annually.  Lots of turnover/transfers in that resort/hotel business.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Our microwave oven went out.  Kim wanted to call a repairman rather than getting a new one.  It appears these things seem to have issues after just 5 years.  This one was 6.  

I looked around online for the issues we were having with this model.  The circuit board is probably what needed to be replaced.  You get one for about $100.  I know nothing about these things and after looking at ours I really couldn't even see an access panel to replace it if I decided I wanted to tackle it.  Kim still wanted to call a serviceman, her faith in my abilities not withstanding.

I told her we should just replace the whole thing, the board's price and the service call would probably be more or close to the cost of a replacement.  Did a little search online and found our model is no longer produced.  That could be an issue since it is an over head model, above the stove and attached by a special bracket on the wall.  I was hoping to just pull the old one and slide a new one in the same spot.  No such luck.  While the new ones are very similar the bracket attachment has been changed.  

Against Kim's (better) judgement I opted to install it myself and save some $$.  We worked together (well as best we could with our different ways of approaching things) and got that thing in.  I only sliced my thumb once.  No, the other one this time.  

Hope this one lasts a little longer.  The other one was 6 years old.

Happy Trails.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


As I write this Tuesday afternoon we are waiting for the onslaught of thunder storms that are supposed to be rolling through here for next couple days along with the threat of damaging hail.  Rolling is a very appropriate description as far as I'm concerned.  In my young childhood, I was very fearful of thunder.  The louder it was the more frightened I was.  My Grandfather explained to me that the sound was just a Potato Wagon going across a wooden bridge.  I could just picture that in my mind.  The wagon hitting the slope of a wooden bridge at a high speed along with horse hooves and a few potatoes falling off the wagon.  It didn't do much for my fears at that time, but I still have that picture in my mind during thunder storms.  I actually find stormy weather a bit exhilarating now. I really hope we have little to no hail.  But the weather geeks are saying there will be damaging hail. 

We may have defeated the fleas.  Buster is much more comfortable.  We have only seen him scratch once.  I flipped him over and found only one flea.  We are hoping this is as far as it goes and we won't have to call in an exterminator.

We took a quick trip into town.  Kim needed some new shoes and there was a big sale at her favorite store.  Kim goes through shoes pretty fast.  She used to sell shoes at one time so has become tuned in to shoes that are failing.  Since most of her work involves being on her feet they wear out pretty quick.  Ladies shoes aren't made to be stylish and sturdy.  It's either or.  She need's stylish, one because she likes them and  two, much of her work involves fashion.

I have been wearing some of my dress shirts for over ten year and my white ones just aren't cutting it anymore.  So I picked up a few shirts and matching ties on or trip.  I should be good to go for a looooong time. 

Happy Trails

Monday, May 16, 2016


The fleas are pretty bad this year.  At least at our house.  I don't know why.  We have never had any real issues with fleas before except for one time, many years ago.  It is a bit of an embarrassment to me but I know it happens to others if you have pets.

Apparently that was much of Buster's issue with his scratching.  We checked him but could never find them.  We also had the vet check him for possible allergies that might have been causing the itching.  They didn't find fleas but saw the 'flea dirt' they leave.  The groomers found no fleas either.

We have always used preventive measures with Buster, and it has worked, until now.  Kim bought a cheaper treatment and apparently it was cheaper for a reason, it didn't work.  We now have them under control, but only on him.  

I was doing some things in my garage and noticed all these little spots on my ankles.  Yup fleas.  The garage is where Kim's cat, Sparky stays at night.  She is an indoor cat, so her getting fleas is a huge surprise.  She has NEVER had them before.  Maybe she got them from Buster.  He is mostly an inside dog too.  He does go outside, but it is usually for very short periods when we go out.  So him getting fleas is a surprise too.  Maybe it's from the neighbors dogs that are outside most of the time.

I bombed the garage.  First indications are it worked.  The next day I find more fleas on me.  Maybe the garage area was to big for the small bomb.  I set out two cans to bomb it again.  Hope that takes care of the problem and soon.  The garage is our main egress and ingress to the house.  Don't want those pests in the house.  So we have been using an alternate entrance until that is taken care of.

It also appears that Sparky is breathing her last.  No, she isn't in the garage during any of this.  She is almost 18 years old.  It makes Kim so sad but she is practical about it.  She knows it's probably going to happen soon.  Fortunately she doesn't appear to be in pain.  She has stopped eating and drinking almost completely and won't move much at all.  She has lost a lot of weight recently.  This came on very fast.  We are trying to make her comfortable as we await the inevitable.  After 18 years I am sure there will be a few tears.  Kim has already shed a few.   With her very tender heart it is something I expect.  I hate seeing Kim in pain of any kind.

Since I wrote this Sparky has passed over the Rainbow Bridge.

Friday, May 13, 2016


LOL I just think all the recent 'events' have been funny at this point.  There is no real aftermath, it's just my sick sense of humor no one understands but me.  

Our sliced fingers are on the mend and are virtually pain free and I don't have to endure Kim's tears of pain.  It may not have been really necessary to use the ER services in one sense, but the peace of mind about Kim's finger is worth it.  I thought it was much worse than it was.

Most of you that have been coming here for a while have seen photos or read about my fur buddy Buster.  Australian Shepherd,  aka Aussie.

He will be 13 years old this next month.  He is in prime condition for his age, although about 7 lbs. over his ideal weight.  He is down 5 lbs. from this time last year, down to 52 lbs.  That may not sound like much, it's huge when you only weigh 50 lbs.  The vet said that is probably why he had a much better winter than the previous.  The last four or five winters he was always in a lot of pain and limped quite a bit, had trouble getting up and down.  Cold weather, his age, arthritis and weight took it's toll.  The vet check up went well and we got some stuff for his itching.  They like Buster, he has helped pay their college loans.

This year he was so much more active and never limped.  He did get a little stiff when laying a long time.  He was so much more playful and ready to 'go.'  The mild winter was a blessing for him.

We have always done our own grooming.  A few clips to help him stay cooler in this heavy heat we have during the summer.  We never went to the groomer for several reasons.  Cost being one, but the main one is his demeanor around strangers and other dogs.  We didn't want an unfortunate accident.  

He has mellowed considerably in his old age.  So we took a chance with a pro groomer.  Things turned out better than I expected.  After explaining our concerns they took him and did their thing.  They explained that what we described is what is called 'owner aggressive.'  He is only that way when we are around.  He is doing his job, protecting us, with that behavior.  We were very relieved, they said he was a sweetheart.  This may become an annual thing at the start of the summer.

After, a little shorter than I expected but he will be much more comfortable this summer.  Instead of an Aussie, he looks more like a Catahoula.  Will take a while to get used to this look, it's so radically different.  Especially the face.  It didn't occur to me they would change the look around his face and chest so much.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Gadget Girl

Kim will see something that looks like a good idea and if she thinks she has a need for it she will buy it.  It's the kind of stuff you see being hawked by those TV pitchmen.  Not everything, just a few. 

The other day I was at the grocers with my sweet bride.  We got separated more than usual.  We got home with our haul and I see this thing she bought.

They had a demo in the store and she bought it.  She went right to work slicing up some of the veggies we just bought.  She told me just hates slicing lettuce.  OK.  If she used it no big deal, even though I am thinking that the many knives we had would work too.  No, I didn't say it out loud.

The next day we were both working on getting supper ready.  Potatoes and onions were part of the meal.  She asked if I wanted them sliced thin or in chunks.  I didn't care.  She get out her new gadget.  We're having them sliced thin.  Along with the tip of her pinky finger.  She runs to get the profuse bleeding stopped.  I step in the finish up slicing.  BIG MISTAKE!  About four strokes in and the side of my thumb is just gone.  Dumb@$$.  

Yeah, that thing I am pointing at, that's the piece of my thumb.  If you click on the pick you can even see the thumbprint on it lol.

Now my thumb is noticeably thinner on one side.  Kim keeps saying how sorry she is and feels guilty.  Even though I feel like the dumb@$$ after she just did it.  No. we didn't go to the doc or ER.  There is so much missing there is nothing to stitch to.  Just stop the bleeding and hope it heals quickly.  Never knew I used that part of my thumb so much. 

The stupid thing has a handle thing you use to hold the veggie but I didn't see/use it.  This thing is heading back to the store.

We bandaged ourselves as best we could.  Come Tuesday morning and Kim changes her bandage.  Through her tears of pain I got a look at her wound.  It looked to me as if she lost the tip of her finger, not much but it looked worse than i thought mine was.  And she was crying it hurt so bad to rip to rip the old bandage off.  The bleeding still hadn't stopped.  OFF to the ER.  I had them look at mine too.  They said mine was worse.  They really could do nothing to help, no meat to stitch to on that small an area.  So we both got pressure bandages with a special cover to keep from ripping open the wound again and again and a dose of antibiotics.  The antibiotics were mainly to protect me due to my diabetes.

And we need a new microwave...SMH

Happy Trails.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cha-ching, It Keeps Adding Up

Trying to finish up a couple small leather projects this week.  Two passport wallets Kim wanted made.  She sold the other one the first day she had it.  The man told her he would have bought another had she had it.  Who knew?  I will make one with the same image I used on the first, the other will be a bit whimsical.  Photos when they are finished.

We are considering upgrading our current cell phones.  Kim has a smartphone since she needs that for business.  The batter isn't lasting as long and it sometimes will not ring or notify her of a message.  I am still in the stone age of cell phones.  OK, maybe not the stone age, but certainly the Dark Age.  I still use a flip phone.  I have never had any real need for a smart phone.  I rarely talk on the phone and text little.  However, I am also looking at going smartphone.  The Bluetooth feature will work with my hearing aids.  That is the main reason I want to upgrade.  I have trouble with phone unless I put it on speaker, and I don't want to do that every time.  The phone carrier says we can upgrade to a particular phone and only add 20$/mo to our bill.  We won't add any data coverage, I don't anticipate the need for me at all.  Anything I would use will be solely through the wireless connection.  At least that's the plan.

Buster has been having some itching issues.  We treat him for fleas every month and he has been free from them as far as we can see in that long mass of hair.  We usually trim his hair and bathe him this time of year.  We are looking into getting it done professionally this time.  We are shopping groomers.  He doesn't mind his manners well around other dogs, so we don't want to run into any issues by taking him to a store with other dogs.  The option is the mobile groomers that come to your house.  Much more expensive, by as much as 40$.  He goes the vet this afternoon for his annual vaccinations an check up.  The groomers require proof of shots etc. before he is expose to other dogs.  We will also have the vet check for his itching problem, verify it's not allergies. I think it is something other than fleas, maybe an allergy he has developed.  He hasn't lost any fur or has any raw spots.  But it has to be uncomfortable to itch so much.

Happy Trails

Friday, May 6, 2016

Day Trip

We were supposed to have mostly rainy weather the early part of this week.  So we made no real plans to go anywhere, just the usual errands and such.  Kim came home from her Ladies bible study around 1 PM and was raring to go for a drive somewhere, anywhere it didn't matter.  The weather had turned off spectacularly clear, bright and cool.  She had a route in mind, our main wildflower viewing route.  So off we went.  One of the perks of being retired, you can just drop everything and do something else at a moments notice.

Click on the pics to get a much better view.

And a bonus, a Tom turkey strutting his stuff for the ladies.  Sorry couldn't get a better one, he was shy.

It is well past the peak season for the most popular Bluebonnet that draws tons of gawkers on every road where ever you find them.  But, then the above photos show what replaces them.  No less spectacular and more abundant.  We have almost 3 full months of wildflower goodness.

Happy Trails.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


I found some worthy candidates for BEVO the University of Texas mascot that passed away.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Is Already Here

The dental appointment went pretty well.  The tooth was pulled without much trouble.  Just dealing with some discomfort and trying to keep food out of the hole in my jaw.  It was very expensive to get this done.  Much more than I anticipated.  I don't know much about dental rates since I have little experience, so I don't really know if he was overly expensive or not.  I do know that once I finally get an insurance dentists will accept I will be lookimg for a new dentist.  

With all the rain we have been having, it has put a damper on any outdoor activities.  This means no yard work, which is good, but I also hate the way the yard looks.  The garden is going gangbusters with this rain.  Not much fruit has appeared but the growth of the plants themselves has just been super.  I have already had to go to the second stack on my tomato cages.  Hoping I won't need a third, cause I don't have a third lol.

The weather has also prevented us from venturing out on any day trips.  We usually take a couple per month this time of year and we just haven't been able to.

I have purposely been avoiding writing or commenting about the political landscape, but I ain't happy.  I just don't think there is a candidate that meets every criteria that I have.  So I am trying to figure out what I will do this November.  I have been considering not voting at all, which is totally against my nature.  But I feel conflicted, that voting for someone that is opposed to something I feel strongly about is compromising my principles.  I am loathe to do that.  Much time shall be spent in prayer.

Happy Trails

Monday, May 2, 2016

Tax Appraisals

This is the time of year we receive our property tax appraisals.  It's a huge scam.  The politicians always claim how they have not given us a tax increase so they can get re-elected.  Yet they manage to increase the amount of tax dollars they receive.  I believe they manipulate the property appraisals to accomplish this.  

There have been reports of significant increases of property values this year with the recent appraisals.  Ours increased by 15K which while significant, isn't near as bad as some I have read about or as bad as it's been before.  One area of town that has some relatively low income housing, averaging 50K per house, was hit very hard.  There has been a significant amount of development in the area with new housing that is averaging 150K.  Not sure how much that will affect the existing housing.  

They claim they use comparable housing sales to determine much of how they arrive at their appraisals.  Price per square foot is the biggest tool they use.  They find a house similar in size that has sold recently (in the area) as a guide to determine the market rate per square foot of your house.  They pretty much ignore the actual construction materials that may have been used or style or age of the house.  You have two houses that are the same size, yet one used a cheaper siding, roofing materials and is 30 years old.  The other being a brand new house that sold recently.  They will have a very similar appraisal due to the price per square foot of the new house that sold.  

How do I know this?  I have protested my appraisal at least 4 times.  This was one of the issues with mine.  BTW, that is not a pleasant or easy process.  Especially if you have to deal with an appraiser that feels like you are attacking him personally when you dispute your appraisal.  They can get very defensive/offended and they have the upper hand.  An appeal to his ruling is the only recourse if he denies your protest.  The first time I won since I had in hand that actual cost I paid for building of the house and how much I paid for the land.  It was significantly lower than any houses sold and the prices they had gotten.  This kept my appraisal down for a couple years.  After that all bets were off.

In the area we live we are under two appraisal districts.  One for the county we live in, and a school district from another county overlaps us.  They get to appraise us also.  Until they passed a law requiring appraisals like this to match up, we got wildly varying appraisals.  I tried to use one appraisal against the other during one of my protests.  They just ignored that, even with a very significant difference.  If I remember right, it was as much at 50K difference.  That will affect your tax burden a bit.

No, I won't protest this one.  Having a professional appraiser come out to provide you with an accurate one is more costly than how much my taxes would raise.  Plus they can easily reject that appraisal if they don't like it.  Yes, I have seen that happen too.

They say you can't fight city hall.  You can, but the deck is stacked...very high.

Happy Trails