01/16/06 to 01/21/06
We have been so busy, and yet have gotten so little done.  How is that possible?  
Monday, 1-16, we talked to the Ag. Extension Agent in Brady.  We asked all our
stupid city folk questions, like how to clear Mesquite, how to breed cows, where I
can get a job, etc.  
Tuesday I went to the library to print some resumes while Richard went and got the
motorcycle inspected.  (We had gotten  the truck inspected when it was at the
dealership.)  Then we went to the USDA office to get our farm registered with the
FSA (Farm Service Agency -- I think) so that we can apply for assistance with the
Mesquite clearing.  The "Equip" program will pay 50% of our costs if we get
accepted.  Since we have small acreage, relative to everyone around us, we had
thought we probably wouldn't get accepted, and we would just do it ourself rather
than sign up for the program.  However, when we went to buy the chemical to kill
the Mesquite, and found out that one gallon is $99.99, we decided we better sign
up.  
Then I went to the Brady Independent School District and filled out an application
to be a substitute teacher.  They can't call me to sub until they do a background
check and the board meets to approve my application, so it will be at least
another week!!  
Then we went and paid way too much money to transfer our motorcycle and truck
plates to Texas.  The state charges $90.00 per vehicle for out of state transfers,
plus all the regular fees!!  We would have gotten our driver's licenses changed on
Tuesday also, but since this is a small town, the office is only open two days a
week for that.  
So, on Wednesday we got our driver's licenses.  The driver's licenses also cost
more for out of state transfers, so it cost us $38.00 each to get a driver's license.  
It only cost us $8.00 each in South Dakota!!  We almost couldn't even get our
driver's licenses.  Remember the whole ordeal about not being able to get a
"physical" address since we don't have a structure on the property?  Well, the
Texas Department of Safety won't allow a P.O. Box on a driver's license.  Luckily
the lady was nice and let us just put the street name down, without a house
number.  Crazy huh?
Then we headed out to the ranch, stopping at the Lohn Independent School
District on the way so I could put in my application with them to be a substitute.  
The principal there was all excited that I speak Spanish, and wants to hire me to
be a full time teacher--if I get certified of course, and making exactly HALF of what
I made at Hantover.
So, out at the ranch with our $99.99 bottle of herbicide and a gallon of diesel
(you're supposed to mix them) and a paint brush, lopping shears, and a hand saw
we set out to clearing Mesquite.  We had thought we would only need the saw on
about 5% of the Mesquite or so, but we had underestimated the size of them, and
didn't get too far clearing out path.  However, while we were out there, we met our
neighbor to the back (East) of us (Mike).  The neighbors to the North of us had told
us that Mike played the fiddle, so when I mentioned to him that Richard's current
instrument (that he doesn't really play) is the Baritone Ukulele, he invited us over
for dinner and some pickin'-n-grinnin' the next night.
So, after our poor efforts on Wednesday to cut down Mesquite, we headed to the
hardware store Thursday morning for a chainsaw, then back out to the ranch for
more Mesquite clearing.  We got there around 12:30, and planned to work until
5:00, then get cleaned up and go next door.  My job was to paint stumps and pick
up the trees Richard was cutting down.  I started looking at my watch at 2:30.  I
never thought 5:00 would come.  We are so out of shape!
Finally it was time to stop working and head next door.  We had a great time.  
Mike had been very modest about his playing, and said people were coming to
play who he didn't know well, so he wasn't sure how it would turn out.  Everyone
there played wonderfully.  We had a great time and met some extraordinary
people.  Our neighbors so much fun!  (Now, if only I can learn to play my
concertina...)
We figured that, after working at the ranch on Wednesday and Thursday, we would
be ready for a break, so we planned to drive into San Angelo (the only big town
around here, an hour West.)  We had called ahead and lined up a guide.  
Remember our
South Llano River guide, George?  He lives in San Angelo and
drove us around and gave us the tour.  
We stopped at Angelo State University to see exactly what it would take to get my
teaching certificate.  Not only would I have to pay out of state tuition for a year, but I
would also need at least 24 more credit hours, with my classes being an hour's
drive from the ranch.  I need a job cause we're broke, so how can I afford to pay
tuition to get a job that doesn't pay well?  The whole job thing is starting to bum me
out.  I've asked everywhere we've been about jobs.  Here in small town Texas, they
don't post jobs, it's always word of mouth, and no one knows me yet to tell me
about them.  Marsha, Mike's wife, told me that someone is retiring out of the Brady
School District, so they might have an opening in the district office, (she's the
librarian) so maybe I can get that, but it won't open for a while.  Of course, if I get a
job, I'll need a car, and we've been shopping for those, and they are so much more
expensive here than in Kansas City!!
Anyway, back to our San Angelo trip, I finally remembered to bring my camera
along, so I have a picture of George and Richard down by the river that runs
through San Angelo.
Today, Saturday, 1-21, we slept in, then went out to price gates.  We got a few
prices, but a lot of the places we went closed at noon.  Then we had planned to
be at the downtown square at the courthouse at 3:00 for a welcome home
ceremony the VFW was putting on for some returning soldiers.  Richard had
been wearing his army jacket all day, and practiced saluting a few times, then
we headed out.  We were the only ones who showed up.  No VFWers, no
soldiers, nobody!  We came home and checked the paper.  It definitely was
today.  I guess they cancelled it, they probably called everyone but us.  Maybe
they announced the cancellation at bingo Thursday night, but we were busy
pickin'-n-grinnin' at our neighbor's house.  We'll make it to bingo one of these
Thursdays.
Tomorrow we're going to the ranch to do more clearing.  There is a 50% chance
of rain and everyone is rooting for it but us.  We definitely want rain, but we
would like to get a road put in before the ground gets too wet.  Of course, the
other side of it is, we have huge piles of Mesquite trees that we cannot burn
because of the state wide burn ban.  Rain would allow us to get rid of those (if
we can drive in to do it.)  If it's raining, we will work on cleaning out the nasty
barn.  Everyone tells us there will be rattle snakes in there.  I hope not!!