04/04/06 to 04/16/06
The local radio station has what they call TRADIO every day at 9:00.  People call
in and list the junk they want to sell.  I had been listening for a kitten, cause I think it
would be fun to raise one with the chicks, as a guard cat, and kept hearing other
things I wanted, so we drove to Brady twice during the week to collect stuff.  Can
anyone say trailer trash?
We still haven't hooked up the washer and dryer, they probably won't stay there.  
But, the fridge is cold and we can have ice cream now.  (Our RV freezer won't do
ice cream.)  I can buy two gallons of milk when I grocery shop now, so we don't
have to run to town in the middle of the week.
Richard got the chicken coop finished--well, finished enough anyway--and we put
the girls in on Wednesday night, 4-5.  Thank goodness because we had been
putting them in the house as late as possible every night, and by morning they
really had it stunk up.  The girls love their new home.  
Since they were all secure in their fancy coop, we loaded them up with food and
water and took off Friday, 4-7, for Austin.  We have definitely been spoiled by the
light traffic in the boonies.  Austin traffic sucked.  We weren't there to sightsee or
anything fun.  I had to report at 8:00 AM Saturday morning to take the Foreign
Service Exam.  It was a waste of time, since 30,000 people take it, and only about
100 get selected every year.  I took it two years ago and didn't pass then, and now
I've had two MORE years to forget anything I might have learned in college, but since
I STILL need a job, I gave it a try.  We had talked about seeing stuff while we were
there, but the traffic was so bad that as soon as I was done we headed out.  We
stopped in Fredericksburg on our way home to hang a grab bar in the shower for my
grandpa, then raced home to check on the girls.  They were fine, of course, and not
interested in seeing us at all.
Sunday, 4-8, we went to Mike and Marsha's to fish in their pond.  Can anyone guess
how many fish we caught?  Their cat had 3 kittens, so I got to pick one out, but can't
have her for 8 more weeks!!  She better be either a mouser or a chicken guarder.

The next bit of excitement came on Monday afternoon when we spotted a horny toad
down by the road.  We had heard they were endangered, and it was rare to have
one on your property.  Then, on Tuesday I saw another one, right in front of our RV.  
Aren't they cute?
They aren't really
toads, they are
lizards, and
more interesting
facts about them
can be found at:  
http://www.texas
monthly.com/ranc
h/readme/hornyto
ad.php?et_sp_id
=1027581346
On Wednesday, 4-12, my cousin Laurel and her husband Jimmy came to check
out the ranch.  We took them on walks looking for all the animals we usually see,
but we found NOTHING.  All they got to see was ticks!  What bad luck!  Thursday
we all four took a day trip to Fredericksburg to bug Granny and Grandpa, and
then Laurel and Jimmy left Friday morning.  Of course, as soon as they left, the
animals came back.  Richard saw four deer Friday afternoon, and I saw our
chipmunk/prairie dog thing.  I don't think I've put his picture on before, so here he
is.  He hangs out around the house.  I think he eats the birdseed I put out.
Saturday, 4-15, we were invited to the other neighbor's house (Klein and Celeta)
to watch their sheep get sheared.  We stopped at the barn on our way, and found
Myrtle the Turtle, the biggest snapping turtle I have ever seen outside of a zoo.  
She looks like she is enjoying being petted by Richard, but the truth is she is trying
to bite his hand off.
I wanted us to take her to the good pond and see if she would set up house, but she
was muddy-damp like she had come out of a pond, and was heading in the opposite
direction.   Richard said she must be on a mission somewhere, and we should let
her be.  I went back up to the house, got a hot dog, some cat food (from when I was
trying to lure a cat at the RV park) and some lettuce, since I didn't really know what
she would eat, and brought it down to her.  She didn't seem interested.  I begged her
to stay,  said good bye, and left her so we could go watch the sheep shearing.  Here
she is wearing Richard's hat, just to try to give you an idea of her size.
The sheep shearing was amazing.  About 10 guys lined up, shearing a sheep in
about 2 minutes, then getting up and grabbing another one.  The sheep don't
struggle too much.  They don't seem to appreciate being flipped over and held
down, but seem to really enjoy getting the wool off, so they just lay there.  
This guy is 75
years old and still
shearing sheep,
just as fast as the
younger guys.  
So, maybe I
should send
Richard to sheep
shearing school...
Klein and Celeta
have 15 of these
big boys to service
their 300+ Ewes.  
They cost three
times as much to
shear.  Think those
horns have
anything to do with
it?
We got home just about an hour later and went to check on Myrtle.  There was all
the food I had left, untouched, and no turtle.  We looked everywhere, and finally
found her down at the other pond, the one with only 8" of water in it.  Here she is
hiding from us.  She couldn't get deep enough to cover her shell, and dragon flies
were landing on her.  What would possess a turtle to go from a good pond to a
dry one?  We thought maybe she was going to lay eggs, so we left her alone.
It was HOT, 96 degrees, so I put plastic in the old water trough that we had the
chickens in, and filled her up.  This is our version of a hot tub.  It kinda matches the
fridge, washer and dryer, don't you think?
Today, Easter Sunday, we hot-footed it down to the dry pond, past the good
pond, with no signs of Myrtle.  Where did she go?  We thought we might have
turtle eggs for easter, but we didn't find any, and now we lost our turtle too!  
We did see two lizards though.  One shedding his winter skin, the other taking a
break in the shade of the outhouse.  Where were these guys when Jimmy and
Laurel were here?
They say the weather will give us a couple of eggs thought, 100 degrees predicted
for today.  Guess we'll be in that Texas Hot Tub again!

Lots more flowers and a few more birds to check out.