06/06/06 to 06/17/06
We managed to get through 6-6-6 without the Devil coming to get us, but it sure
felt like he was here, breathing on us.  It has been 100 degrees for as long as we
can remember! We drove into Brady to run errands and get our motorcycle
money.  While we were there (at that hardware store again) Richard learned from
the GM dealer service manager (who is the brother of the hardware store owner)
that he could convert the Samurai into propane rather than put on a new
carburetor.  They have the parts in a box somewhere...

When we got home, he towed the Samurai from the barn to the utility pole, and has
been using it for storage ever since.  That fits right in with the outdoor laundry room
and refrigerator right?

Wednesday, 6-7, I drove to San Angelo again for two interviews.  I ended the first
interview after they told me that the wage offered on the TV commercial (which I
was hoping to surpass based on my experience) was with night differential after
90 days, and that the most they could start me at was $5.40!  The second
interview was with Blue Cross.  I haven't heard from them yet, but they don't pay
enough either to justify the 70 mile drive.  When I got home, Richard had found a
nest for me, with 3 brand new baby mockingbirds.  
Thursday and Friday we worked on cow pens and watered our garden in the heat.  
Saturday we took little Wrangler on a field trip down to the barn to help guard us while
we worked on the cow pens.  He gets bored just watching the chickens pant all day.
He played so hard down by the barn, that he couldn't manage to play with his yarn
and feathers that evening without falling asleep.  Aww, isn't he cute!
Sunday I took this picture of our dried up pond.  Things are getting desperate
around here with no rain.  There are little dead fishies floating on the top, and the
weeds that grow on the bottom are showing through.  You can see the full line
about 5 feet above where the water level is now.  I don't know how rainfall and
runoff work, but I don't think we'll be getting 5 feet of rain over the next 5 years, so I
don't know how this pond will ever be full again.
Monday, 6-12, I was down at the barn watering the garden when I saw the biggest
beetle I've seen in my whole life.  Here it is with Richard's finger for proportion.  He
was dying when I found him, and last time I was down at the garden, he was still
there, so if any of you know an entomologist or just a crazy kid who wants a big
bug, let me know and I'll mail him to you.  
While I was watering the garden, I checked on our cotton row.  We had about 10
little bright green plants sprouting up.  They are on the outside of the garden, so
they don't get watered.  Then I went to check the mail and got a letter from the
Brady post office that they want to interview me on Thursday!  Maybe I'll finally get a
job.  It's for a rural carrier associate, meaning I would fill in when the rural carrier is
on vacation or sick, and every Saturday.  It also means I drive my own vehicle for
the route.  Too bad we don't have a small white jeep-looking thing I could use...
I also checked on the mockingbird babies.  They are getting a little less naked.
Monday night we sadly discovered we are down one more chicken.  When we first
started letting them out, we counted them every night when we put them in.  We
hadn't counted in a few days, and when Richard counted Monday night we came up
one short.  It was one of our little brown bantams.  We're guessing a hawk or a
snake got her.  I was hoping she had wandered over the hill to the neighbors, but
they swear no little chicken joined their flock.  That's two chickens we've lost since
we got that cute little guard cat.
Tuesday, while
Richard worked on the
pens, I found out that
some turtle had
managed to lay eggs
that we didn't find.  
We've been looking
for turtle nests ever
since we saw Myrtle,
however long ago that
was, but we never
found any evidence
that a turtle had buried
any eggs.  Well, here
was the evidence.  A
bunch of tiny turtles,
less than 2 inches
across.  I saw 4, but
these two couldn't
submerge due to the
lack of water in our
pond.  The underwater
weeds were too thick,
they couldn't get away
from my camera.
I also checked in on our mockingbird babies again.  They are getting mighty big for
that little nest.
Tuesday night, after we had put the 27 remaining chickens to bed, along with that
worthless guard cat, Wrangler, we were sitting outside and heard meowing.  I
thought that Wrangler had managed to spring himself from the locked up chicken
pen, but it got louder and louder, and the loudest, biggest cat I've ever seen came
up to me, hollering at me.  I fed her and asked her if she had eaten my chicken the
night before.  We thought it was so weird that she would just show up meowing at
the house.  Was she in heat?  Was she going to have little kittens?  She shut up
after I fed and petted her, so we went to bed.  Seriously, I have never seen a cat with
such big paws before.
Wednesday, 6-14, we went to town to buy panels for these pens we were building.  
When we got back, I checked the mockingbirds again.  Empty nest!!  (Well, almost
empty.  Those little birds sure make a mess, no wonder they left!)
Even though the nest was empty, the mama and papa mockingbirds were still
squawking and dive bombing me like usual, so I figured the little guys were still
around there somewhere.  I looked everywhere, and finally found this cute little
birdie.  See how well hidden it is?
Here's a better shot, zoomed way in with the flash on.  How cute huh?  Finally some
mockingbirds that made it.
Wednesday afternoon my Granny Hilda from Fredericksburg called to tell me she
had seen an add for milk goats in that day's paper.  Yes, I want a cow.  But Richard
thinks we need goats instead.  He has been seriously looking for some online, and
just like dairy cows, the closest ones are about 5 hours away, East of Dallas.  My
Granny had dairy goats long ago, and she, like Richard, was very excited about an
ad for some for sale so close to home.

After that excitement, our neighbors called and invited us over to soak in the pool.  
We've seen rattlesnakes, scorpions, black widow spiders, scary-looking red mites,
thorns on every bush, and when we got to Mike and Marsha's, there was a tarantula
in their pool!  Damn.  Now we have to worry about tarantulas too!  The worst part
was I scooped him out, and he wasn't dead!  Then he chased me!  I guess he didn't
like me taking his picture.  I flung him off the deck, but he is still alive out there
Can you say "Heebeejeebees!"
We had noticed that our cotton was shriveling up (remember, it doesn't rain here)
and most of it was gone.  So after the whole tarantula incident, my darling husband
said to our cotton-farmer neighbor, "My cotton crop isn't doing too good, it sprouted,
then dried up, how's yours?"  Our "crop" is one row 25 feet long just for fun, our
neighbor's crop is several hundred acres so he can eat and pay his bills.  Of course
his is in the same shape as ours.  He also has fortunately been around Richard long
enough that he gave a courtesy laugh, and just calmly answered the question rather
than punch him in the mouth like he deserved.

Thursday morning, 6-15, while I was at the post office trying desperately to get a job
to make some money, Richard was getting us lined up to go look a goats and
spend some money.  He borrowed a crate from the neighbors and was waiting
when I got home.  Now, I want cows, not goats, but I went along anyway.  When we
got there (2 hours away!) the goats were a lot cuter than I expected, and the lady let
us taste the milk which did not taste like goat like the last goat's milk I sampled.  
She let us taste some feta cheese she had made, and that about sold me.  Yum!!  
Anyway, we were there to look at a fresh doe (meaning a mama goat that is already
giving milk) and a buck (you can figure out the buck, right?)  But then she talked us
into taking a 3 month old female kid too.  The crate we had borrowed would have
been big enough for all three of them, but the thing about goats is they can get
pregnant at 2 months old, so they strongly suggested I hold the 3 month old for the
two hour drive home, since she is way too small to be pregnant.  I already don't want
goats, so this situation didn't make me very happy, but I love my silly husband so I
climbed in, buckled my seat belt, spread an old towel over my lap and waited for
them to hand her to me.  This was probably the smartest part of Richard's entire
goat buy.  How can I not love a little goat sitting on my lap, tucking her little nose
under my arm.  Awww!  We headed home, but had to drive right through the
outskirts of Fredericksburg to get home, and knew Granny wouldn't forgive us if we
didn't stop by to show her the goats.  I have no idea what those neighbors thought,
do you know how loud a 3 month old goat can be when she is unhappy?  We took
her inside so Grandpa could see her.  No one was smart enough to get the camera
while the goat was sitting on the couch between me and Grandpa, but I had Richard
take a picture after we were loaded back in the truck, with her on my lap, and
Granny sad to see us go.
After a stop at the Wal-Mart for dog collars and baby bottles (this little one is not the
mama's little one, so she won't let her nurse) we got home with our new pets.  We
let them all three out together while we were going to put together a second pen for
the buck.  Immediately, the buck was trying to mount the 3 month old!!  We got them
separated, then started in with the task of milking.  Mama needs milked twice a
day, and the woman we bought her from was machine milking her, so she was
definitely not used to or appreciative of being hand milked.  It wasn't pretty, but we
got it done.  We named them, fed them, and put them to bed in the
CATTLE pens.
Sheeba and Lips above, with our buck Rambo below.  
Friday morning we were surprised to find Sheeba in Rambo's pen.  We had built
the pens with cows in mind, and little Sheeba had scampered right under the gate.
 Oops!  She came right back under to the girls pen when she saw us, then
romantically rubbed her butt against the gate for Rambo.  She is too small to get
pregnant!  I hope she knows that.  The morning milking session went a lot better,
but we still got feet in the bucket and milk on the ground.  After straining the dirt
and goat hair out of the milk and putting it in the fridge (the milk, not the dirt) we
headed to a garage sale nearby where Richard bought a bunch of junk (he calls
them tools, whatever.)  When we pulled back in we saw this big guy crossing our
road.  He was clearly not a rattler, so we spared him.  A snake this size won't go
for our chickens, he'll stop at the barn to munch on little Sheeba!  We think it might
be a bull snake, about 5.5 feet long.  
While Richard was unloading his garage sale treasures I was watering the garden.  
From there, I can get a glimpse of the goats, and vice versa.  I kept hearing one
hollering (what is the official term for goat noise anyway?) and thought they just
wanted attention.  I finished watering while the goat kept hollering.  When I finally
hung up the hose and walked over there, I saw the problem.  Rambo had stuck his
head through the 6x6 mesh of the
CATTLE panels we had purchased, and could
not figure out how to get his head back out because of his horns.  Poor thing.  He
had sat there while I had ignored him and watered the garden.  He was easy to
release, and I think he learned his lesson.  I also took Wrangler down to meet the
new additions.  They were interested in him, but he didn't want to have anything to
do with the goats.  Maybe he thinks we're replacing him as chicken guard?  

We went to town to buy feed for the goats, and when we came back we went up to
the house and had some cold goat milk for lunch.  Yum!  When we got to the
bottom of the jar, we saw just how poor a job our coffee-filter-strainer contraption
does at getting the milk clean.  Oh well.  
The lesson:  don't drink the bottom inch or so of the milk...

Our cotton-farming neighbors came over Friday night to watch the milking, which of
course didn't make the milking any easier, but at least it let me know Mike wasn't
holding a grudge about the cotton crop comment.  Then we went up to the house,
strained out the dirt and hair, and offered some to them.  Mike sampled
some--probably just to be polite, but Marsha said she didn't want to try any, blamed
it on the fact that milk doesn't go well with the beer she was drinking, and fed hers
to Wrangler.  I guess watching Lips repeatedly step in the milk bucket kinda turned
them off?

We went to bed with big plans to get up very early, let the chickens out, feed the
cat, milk the goat and head 2 hours South of here to meet a group that was going
to run the South Llano river, all by 9:15.  I kept trying to get out of going, and finally
asked, "what if it rains?"  It was a long-shot since it NEVER rains here, but he said
we wouldn't have to go if it rained.  I have never hoped for rain so much in all my
life.  Three o'clock A.M. the rain hit.  Huge drops of rain, coming down horizontally
with lots of lightning.  Since it NEVER rains in Texas, we had not planned for
shelter in the cattle pens and I was so worried about the goats that I didn't sleep
well the rest of the night.  We woke up at 5:00 to the alarm clock, and it was still
very wet and we were very tired and didn't want to milk a wet goat in the rain, so we
went back to bed.  We got to Lips a little later than normal, 8:30, but she didn't
mind.  Milking was going great until our other neighbors showed up.  She doesn't
stand to be milked long anyway, so I'm not sure if it was their arrival, or if it was just
time for her to get cranky about it anyway.  (Literally, she doesn't "stand" to be
milked long, she will get irritated because she can't get out of my grip or away from
Richard's milking hands, so she will just lay down.  Can't milk her then!)  So the
neighbor offered a bunch of scraps to build a stanchion to hold her while we milk,
and a shelter in case it rains tonight.  So Richard has been down there all
afternoon.  I thought he would be building a shelter, but that would be too logical.  
He has a stanchion well underway.  While I was down there checking his progress,
I checked out the cotton "crop" to see if the rain did it any good.  The few we have
left look better, but still not great.
While I was down there, I also took more pictures of the goats for you.  I think you
can see why we call her Lips?  Rambo learned his lesson not to stick his head
through the fence, but Sheeba has been dehorned, so she probably won't ever learn.
We sure went from one extreme to the other, from total freedom to totally tied
down.  Lips needs milked twice every day.  No more trips or vacations for us!  
Other than that, everything is still the same.  The grey cat has come to the house
for dinner every night, and the boys at the hardware store still have not found the
box of propane conversion parts, so the Samurai is still a storage shed.  
AHHHH!!  We just came up from
evening milking, and saw a tarantula on
our property, about half way between the
barn and the house!  Heebeejeebees!!!!
Cause he has
droopy eyes like
Sylvester Stalone.
Oh wait, that's
Rocky, nevermind.
Oh La La
Cause she's like
an Egyptian
princess, and what
else would you call
an Egyptian