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On Valentine’s Day morning just after dawn a small herd of white tail deer emerged from the cedar break out back and proceeded to stroll across the yard. I figured that it was the usual group of does that pass through a couple times a week. Their schedule is so regular that we refer to them as “the ladies who lunch”.

As the five deer walked into the open area I could see clearly that every one of them had antlers. All bucks and not a doe in sight! I had never seen more than two bucks, maybe three in any herd and they were always accompanied by a number of does. A local friend informed me that this behavior is not unusual after the mating season. Seems that all of the does are now pregnant and the boys just want to hang out together. They were probably fighting each other over mates a month ago but now it’s time for some buck bonding.



Over the past couple of weeks I have cleared out an area near the center of my property that will be dedicated to relaxation, meditation, cocktails by a fire or simply a good nap on a warm day. I built a fire ring in an area free of trees and have steadily fed it with dead wood and low lying branches as I raise the canopy of the ceders in the vicinity.

This project is mental floss at its best and therapy for the soul. With a Stihl MS170 saw and two hours of cutting I can realize more tangible results for hours worked than six weeks of work at my previous life at the office. And it’s physical work that at the end of the day makes the body feel tired in a good way. The dead wood burns about as fast as you can feed the fire and I keep it contained to a seven foot diameter ring of stones and only burn on calm days.

After cleaning up under a grouping of oaks one of my first tasks was to hang this colorful and very comfortable hammock given to me by a dear friend and coworker when I retired.


Here is a view of the overall area.


And me with my therapist and a newly manicured cedar.



A Festivus Airing of Grievances

December has not been kind to the building schedule. First there was the delivery of the wrong color of metal for the roof. Then, a torrential rain delayed matters for another week. The correct metal was finally delivered and work began. A day later, it stopped. I arrive at the site last Friday and no one else was there. Only the back porch had a metal roof. Sad face.

I drive into town and the story begins to unfold. On highway 16 there is a large hotel and conference center. Lo and behold, a host of workers are scrambling about installing a new metal roof. I proceed not a quarter mile more and on the opposite side of the highway is a Lutheran church. Nativity creche moved to the side, new metal panels are stacked in the yard, just waiting to go up top on that fine stone building.

I turn right onto highway 27 where there is a Lutheran church of a different flavor. Something is different, though. Hmmm….Aha! A shiny copper roof, so new that not a trace of weathering, much less oxidation is visible. I needed sunglasses just to look at it.

So, between the Chamber of Commerce and the Lord of the Lutherans, I have no chance of getting my metal roof installed before the end of the year.

And the stone workers have all gone to Mexico for Christmas so that work is also in limbo.

Oh, well. It’s time to enjoy the holidays. We’ll pick it up again in January.

Feliz Navidad, y’all!


And the Sun Comes Shining Through

The solar proposal arrived over the weekend and the situation is better than I had expected. As a result of the house being built to such high energy efficiency standards, we only needed 30 panels to get to net zero energy use. This 8.4kW system will cover only the south facing roof over the great room and the all black panels and trim should hide pretty well on the dark bronze metal roof.

With rebates and tax credits the decision turned out to be a no-brainer. I can also eliminate about $6700 worth of foam board insulation from the roof as it will be redundant. Now, as long as the utility companies in Texas continue to purchase power from people like me, all will be well on the accounting side. Otherwise, it’s on to the Tesla Powerwall 2 or some other emerging new whiz bang battery technology.

Foundation Forms on the Schedule for Tomorrow BUT….

Rain, rain and more rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week and even into next week. Boy, howdy!

Harken back, if you will, to the February 18 post and the very sad picture of my backyard. After a full month of weeding, tilling, transplanting, mulching, painting and power-washing, it finally all came together on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in late March. I had just enough energy left to pour a big glass of wine, put on some Marvin Gaye and slide into a very hot spa. I submit to you Exhibit A: The transformation.

and have some pretty good moves too! (via Wired)

There is a big difference between effective oversight (via regulation) and the government “being in bed” with Wall Street. Not sure that Hayek would have necessarily argued against such regulation – or social safety nets. Or, that Keynes would have argued for a command economy. But, well, there you have it…..

Very cool production, though.

(via Marginal Revolution)

No slice for you! – Why you can’t get a slice of pizza at certain NYC Pizza parlors.

Blame it on Al Capone.
(via Kottke)

Last typewriter factory closes its doors. Kinda sad. I actually typed my first semester college English papers on a manual typewriter. On second thought, that thing was a real pain.