03/03/06 to 03/13/06
Friday, 3-3, we worked at the ranch, and waited for this guy to come give us a
quote on building a road.  He never showed.  That seems to happen a lot here in
the middle of nowhere.  So we worked all weekend at the ranch, then Monday
morning we rented a skid steer for a whole week, with big plans to build a road
all by ourselves.  Here is Richard, tearing out trees.  
We made some progress.  We had also rented a dump trailer, sharing the cost
with the neighbor, so he had it Monday and we were getting it Tuesday for the rest
of the week to haul gravel from our dry pond dam to the road.  So, we had two
pieces of expensive equipment rented for a whole week.  This meant, of course,
that all kinds of things would happen to prevent us from using them.  The worst of
all was that Monday evening I found out that my Grandfather had a stroke.  So
Tuesday I left Richard to fend for himself with the skid steer while I drove to
Fredericksburg.  Not only did he miss me terribly, but mid-morning the skid steer
started leaking hydraulic fluid, so Richard loaded it up and drove it all the way in to
the rental place in Brady (24 miles!)  They put fluid in it and sent him back out.  It
started leaking again, so he had to load it back up and drive back to Brady again,
and he exchanged it Wednesday morning.  I got back to The Ranch at about noon
on Wednesday, and we got a good half a day's work in, and some gravel moved
to the road.  We were ready to make up lots on time on Thursday, when we got hit
with a 45 MPH wind storm!  We tried two dump trailer-loads full, before we finally
decided we were losing more dirt to the wind than we were getting on our road.
So after dusting most of The Ranch, and giving up on road building for the day
Thursday, we had a lot of catching up to do to make our rental week worth it.  
However, Friday 3-11, our rent was up at the RV park, so we had to drag the
trailer out to the ranch.  Looks nice (and tiny!) up there on the hill, doesn't it?  
After we got all hooked up and the internet guy got us signed on and left
(that's right, we have internet but no water!) we worked all afternoon, and
were making pretty good progress when the truck got a flat tire.  

Even though I'm busy listing everything that happened to stop our road
building, I know everyone is wondering about the water.  The answer is we
still don't have any.  The "let's turn a cotton trailer into water trailer" project got
stopped because it had 14" rims and they don't make heavy enough tires for
14" rims to haul 1,000 gallons of water, and they don't sell 16" rims with the
correct hole pattern, at least not at a price we can afford.  So then we
decided to go ahead and buy a new trailer, but it seems that everyone else
had the same idea, since it hasn't rained in about a year, so trailer sales are
special order and 2 to 3 weeks out.  Besides, that's how long it would take to
get the hitch we need, so we put that off too.  We think we might succeeded
in talking the rural water people into putting us on the existing line, rather than
waiting for the line to be built going down our road, but we're not going to be
sure until we're hooked up.  Until then, we will have to be VERY conservative.  
We have (had) 40 gallons of water to last us until who knows when.  Even
better, Richard told his brother that we were moving out here on the 10th, so
he has probably already started driving from Wisconsin.  He is picking up
their sister in Missouri, and heading our way, to help us use our 40 gallons of
water!  Good thing we built that outhouse...

But back to the road work:  Saturday started out good, and we worked most
of the day, until the battery on the trailer (it works the lift arm to dump the dirt)
went dead.  
So, we had a lot of work to do to Sunday to make up all the time we lost.  We
worked until after dark, then got up at 5 AM on Monday to finish since we had
to return the dump trailer.  At 8 AM I called and begged another day on the
trailer, and finally, we finished 3/4 mile of not too bad looking road.  (It felt like
we build 34 miles of road, but unless my odometer is wrong, it was only 3/4
of a mile.)  The only questions is if it will look better or worse after it rains.  Of
course, it will have to rain before we can find that out.
As always, there have been some interesting wildlife spottings.  A roadrunner, a
red-winged blackbird, and the frogs have returned.  There are also some flowers
starting to bloom, but they look like a Texas version of dandelions, so I'm not
sure I should be excited about them.
But the best news of all is that my Granny managed to get my Grandpa into a
rehab facility in Kerrville and he is doing great.