Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Tile Rug?

Raul builds a retaining wall. This retaining wall should help us keep the HVAC units level over time. It will also make a nice raised bed garden.
Jaime scratches his head. Jaime may wish he hadn’t suggested a tile rug in the entry way.

Jaime continues to work on tiling the ground floor at the ranch house. I’m impressed. The Versailles pattern Suna picked out is difficult at best. But he has also managed to continue it seamlessly around all of the obstacles I mentioned before.

Suna and Jaime came up with an interesting idea to make the pattern even more difficult. Jaime will use some large format tile to make a tile “rug” in the middle of the entry way. We even have enough leftover tile of a from the master bath to make a decorative border. And now we’re buying some glass tile to make a second border. I’m sure it will all be beautiful when it’s done.

By the way, all of the tile in the house is Travertine, which I want to call “turpentine” for some reason.

Outside, the HVAC heat exchangers have been installed. Raul built a retaining wall around them, so we should be able to keep them level once we bring in more dirt and relevel them once.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Shopping: I’m Not a Fan

Two white Jags in a parking lot. What are the odds?

We went shopping for fixtures in Austin today. After several false starts, we finally found everything we were looking for (and more) in one location.

I knew Ferguson’s had a good chance of satisfying Suna’s wants when we pulled into the parking lot. There was an empty spot beside another XJ. It was like fate intended us to park there.

Inside, we found plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, and appliances. We bought everything we need for the kitchen, including two wine refrigerators.

My contribution to overspending was a built-in coffee maker for the master bedroom. Luckily, we’re in time to send the updated requirements to the cabinet maker.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Another Ranch House Update

Jaime tiling Jaime lays tile in the Versailles pattern, a really complex pattern made up of several different sized tiles.
Stella swimming in the front pond. Have I mentioned that Stella loves water? And look! The pond is full. Red entry gates The red gate pops and echoes the red trim on the house and garage.

Jaime figured out how to put down the Versailles pattern on the tile that will continue throughout the downstairs. It’s very intricate, and he has to break it to wrap around the bar, the island, the kitchen wall, and the stairway wall. For each item he breaks around, he has to make the pattern align correctly in the middle of the other side.

Frank has begun laying the bamboo flooring upstairs. He’s starting in the master bedroom and will carry the pattern down the hall to the landing. The stairs will also be clad in bamboo. Suna picked a rich chocolate color.

The crown molding is up. It makes a tremendous difference in how finished the house looks. There was enough left over molding that we ended up with crown in the toilet stall. Fancy!

Suna took advantage of a break in the weather to paint the entry gates red. They look really good now that they match the trim on the house and garage.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cows and Laundry

Cattle studying laundry “I wonder if we can eat that flappy stuff…”
She just looked at me, uncomprehendingly
Like cows at a passing train
—Don Henley

Cattle are naturally curious creatures, despite their reputation for incomprehension. Granted, their curiosity mostly involves whether or not a new item is edible.

That curiosity only leads to problems when it conflicts with my desire for clean clothes. While the house is under construction, I’ve been living in the RV, right? We do have a washing machine in the garage but no dryer. So, I hang my clean clothes on the back fence to dry.

And…queue the cattle.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ranch House Update

More thought needs to go into installing the rain chains. Something didn’t work right.
Stella chews a water bottle Stella remains nonplussed by the construction and the rain so long as she has her water bottle to chew on.
Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
—Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart

Time for another construction update on our house at The Hermits’ Rest Ranch. We’ve made good progress, if not as much as I’d like. Still, progress is progress.

  • The house has been weather sealed, and the exterior siding is starting to go up.
  • I’ve started piling sand up where the HVAC heat exchangers will go.
  • Jaime has just about finished tiling the master bathroom.
  • The drywall has been taped and floated, but there are still huge piles of the waste on the back porch.
  • The second layer of subfloor is going down upstairs.

But in the middle of all that, we got another big rain: 1.6 inches over the last couple of days. The ponds are full to capacity again, and everything is soggy. The arroyo in the front is flowing briskly.

At least the rain is good for the little trees we planted last fall. The peaches continue to develop, and the fig shows signs of fruiting.

It’s always nice after a rain—if you don’t mind the mud.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Stella is an early riser. By my standards, any way. “Wake up, Daddy! The sun is up and it’s time to play!”

I need coffee first.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

March Rains Bring April Flowers

Wildflowers along the roadside. All the rain has made for a spectacular wildflower crop. Photo by: Suna
A little dog enjoys the wildflowers at the ranch. Stella isn’t much taller than the flowers. Photo by: Suna

I really am grateful for all the rain we’ve had this Spring, even though it makes for problems. So far, the dam has held, and it’s given us a lovely—even spectacular crop of wildflowers.

Suna lists the types of flowers as including:

  • Bluebonnets
  • Verbena
  • Evening primrose
  • Indian paintbrush
  • Dog

Okay, so the dog is Stella. She’s not much taller than the flowers, her coloration camouflages her among them, and she’s sweet enough to count as one.

I’m not allowed to mow the wildflowers in the “front yard.” That will make for some interesting spots when they die out for the year and I do get to mow there. I’m good with it. I like the flowers, too.


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

It’s Not a Thin Lizzy Song

Red jeep with upside-down writing on the wind screen that says, "If you can read this, roll me over." “If you can read this, roll me over”
This Jeep is bluffing!
Roll me over and turn me around.
Let me keep spinning ’til I hit the ground.
—Phil Lynott and Brian Downey

I saw this Jeep parked at Costco. Given the amount of spit and polish it evidences, I think the owners are daydreaming. Their concept of offroading must include a heavy dew on pavement.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Flowers: Just Because

Stella with a blue bow “You can call me ‘Flower’ if you want to.”
Bluebonnets Bluebonnets!

I don’t really have anything to say today, but I do have pictures of two of my favorite flowers.