Sunday, March 31, 2013

(Mar 31) Wait a minute, Mr Postman

Spent the afternoon out here today. There were supposed to be thunderstorms moving in late in the afternoon so we didn't bring anything for a meal. Should have, the weather was PERFECT! Mid 60s and a light breeze. Not a cloud in the sky! They messed this forecast up. Oh well! We had a very relaxing afternoon. The foliage is really coming back to life. We had numerous Cardinals and doves hanging out at the camp today. We brought out a couple of new bird feeders and spent a while filling all of them up. We also brought out a bird bath. Just a 2' ceramic dish but deep enough to hold a couple of gallons of water. That should last the week between trips. Also got a mailbox installed at the road side. Don't suspect we will get anything but route junk but at least the paramedics can find us if I chop something off with a chain saw. :) Planted a Rosemary bush I got on clearance at HD for $3. Looked plenty healthy to me. I think it will be happy here.

Was bound to happen sooner or later. We had gone back to the property to measure for a security chain and got the truck stuck. I am going to have to remember that the day after a rain is not the time to be driving off of the road. Walked back to the camp and got a shovel and we were out in about 10 minutes. No, I did not want my picture taken! :)

Glad it rained yesterday. Made pounding this in a bit easier.

Added a couple of new feeders. So far, they've been emptying 2 every week. We'll see how they do with 4.

Sure hoping the ceramic holds up to the freezes. Should give them plenty to play in 'til we get back next week.

New bird feeder. Maybe the layers of Sunflower and grain will keep them all coming back for more.

Rosemary. I'll bet this is 3 feet across by next winter.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

(Mar 27) X marks the spot

Brought some stakes and rope to mark off placement of the cabin. Originally 16x20 with a 8' porch on the front and a 10' deck on the back. After messing with it for a while, I think we settled on a 12' deck on the back. We're pretty set on the front edge of the porch so we will need to extend the deck back from where it is now. May go ahead and build the deck first. This would give us enough room to camp on and get up off of the ground as we move into the rainy season. We have 3-4 live trees to remove to clear this area. We will also probably set all of the piers at one time to ensure all are level. Estimate cost of the 12'x20' deck will be ~$1000. Need to work up a diagram for placement of the piers and beams. Hoping to get money to electric company next month to get started on estimate for running power lines to building site. Need ~$250 for this. While clearing some leaves on prospective bldg site, I uncovered a mound of sand that had been dug up. Looked like a gopher mound. I started raking it down smooth and hit something hard that moved. It was a turtle! About 3" front to back. I cleared the sand off of him and took a few pics. Covered him back up and staked the spot so we wouldn't step on him. Too cute! He should be waking up pretty soon. Supposed to be in the 70s this week and the 80s next. Also looks like we could get rain 3 or 4 days over the next week. That will be nice. We planted a couple of Southern Wood ferns by the driveway. We'll need to hold off on planting anything much more exotic until we have a steady water source. Talked to the owner of Hooten Landscape in Emory. Great looking plants and trees! Really nice guy. He asked if we had slept on the property yet. Told him we had, one night. He asked if we had heard something like a woman screaming in the middle of the night. Now I was curious. Without prompting, he goes on to tell us of reports of a mountain lion in the area. Said we would know if we heard it. Told us the game warden had admitted it's presence. I am now considering carrying my pistol while on the property for a while. Wouldn't be a bad idea with snakes waking up for the warmer weather also. I've been working on informing Kim as to the difference in good snakes and the poisonous ones. So far, no signs of any yet.

Small turtle buried up over winter.

Southern Wood Fern. Going to start planing these throughout the property. Drought and freeze tolerant. What else can you ask for in North Texas.

Monday, March 25, 2013

(Mar 25) Groundwork

Didn't make it out this weekend. Rainy on Sat, cold and windy on Sun. Talked to the appraisal district today. Confirmed our new tax liability for 2013 will be set when statements come out in April. Found out they value storage sheds at about $8 per foot. That puts a 100sf shed at $16/year in tax liability. I talked to the district clerk's office also and confirmed that we do not need a building permit or any inspections. We are responsible for our own building issues as long as construction is outside of an existing city limit. Also talked to environmental speciaist for district. He said that we would not be required to have a septic system. That a composting toilet would be acceptable. WooHoo! We can build whatever we like, however we like!

Proposed building site for cabin.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

(Mar 16) Spring is here

YEA! Spent our first night at Point! Weather was perfect. Highs in the upper 70s. Came out late Saturday afternoon after a window tinting job in Arlington. Ate at the Chinese Wok in Wills Point. It was OK. Dishes big enough to share in the future. Got to the land about 5:30 and set up the tent. Started a fire in the chiminea. Went to Emory to get some groceries and ice. Brought back hummus, flat bread and wine. Sat talking 'til 10:00 o'clock or so. Dragged the mattress out in front of the fire and enjoyed the stars and the glow of the fire. Wonderful feeling! Woke up in the middle of the night and decided to move back to the tent. It was getting a little chilly, about 60° and breezy. Woke up about 8:00 and got some breakfast started. Bacon and scrambled eggs, mango, orange juice. We cleaned up and got started clearing land to put the cabin on. Several dead trees to deal with. Chopped up a few with the chainsaw but the blade is really dull. Will replace next week. Haven't touched it since we were working on the land at Lake Whitney. Need to see if they can sharpen it or if it's beyond improvement. Broke for lunch around noon. Cooked pork steaks with sautéed zucchini and bell pepper. To die for. I don't know if it's the work, being outdoors or what, but meals are so good when you're camping. This was exceptional. We took a walk around the perimeter of the property for about an hour after lunch, trimming poison ivy and low lying branches as we went. Confirmed that the plants I have been suspecting were poison ivy truly are. Leaves are starting to poke out on all of the plants. Verified that the vines and plants I was seeing throughout the winter were the 3 leaved poison ivy. Ugggh! 12 acres, covered in the stuff. I've got lots of work cut out for me over the next 3-4 years. I think I can have it controlled by then though. Going to get a backpack sprayer by Spring's end. Then I'll be dangerous! Need to mix some food color with the roundup to see where I've sprayed. Was really excited to see that almost all of the trees that are standing are alive. There were a handful towards the back of the property that were dead but most were alive and starting to bloom out. Cannot wait to see what it all looks like in it's full glory next month. Really scary buying property in the winter. Not quite sure what you're going to get. Now that we've started burning large quantities of wood, it's also clear that we have a huge task ahead of us to clean up the property. Saw a couple of termite nests and a small scorpion as we were dealing with some downed trees. Really pushes me towards using metal to build the cabin! We have settled on 16'x20' for the size with a covered porch on the front and a deck on the back. The porch for hot and rainy days. The deck for cool days and clear nights. We're going to face the front of the cabin towards the drive, about SW. That will put the rear/deck facing NE. Kim want to see the front of the cabin as we drive up each day. :) I suspect most of our nights will be on the back deck anyway. That will shield our view from any neighbors and their infernal street lights. Never ceases to amaze me that people want to get away from the city but they insist on bringing the light pollution with them. Guess they're just insecure. Truly wish we had internet service out there. I would set up an IP camera on the bird feeders. There was a Cardinal couple at the site all weekend. Both bird feeders were empty when we arrived. The 5 lbs of sunflower seed left on the ground from the fire on our last visit was almost gone too. I poured out some new bird seed just on the other side of the camp and it didn't take long for the Cardinals to find it. At one point the male was taunting me by landing in a tree about 10 feet away. Of course I had just put the camera away 2 minutes before. Need to identify the cute little blue and white bird with the tuft on it's head. VERY noisy singer. :) They like eating out of the feeders while the Cardinals are ground feeders. We left most of the tools there this time along with the camp stove. I'll be really sad if any of it gets stolen. Really hope the neighborhood is safe! Now that we know where we are going to have our cabin, we can call and get an estimate for service installation from the electric company.

Grilled pork steak and veggies.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

(Mar 2) Just a work day

Came out to work today about 1:30. Stayed til dark clearing and burning brush in the new tank. It's working out nicely. Leaves are starting to come out on many of the trees and shrubs. It's really looking like Spring. Can't wait 'til we can spend some real time out here. Some day . . . .

Burning brush and enjoying the warming weather