Ridgetop - our place and how we muddle along

Ridgetop

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Interesting reading - apparently actually happened in the 70's? The title of the article is below.
Some amusing parts make it hard to believe that Rex Cauble was actually involved as the "ringleader". The crazy mistakes and actions of the rest of the "cowboy mafia" and "Muscles" don't really seem like a sharp operator like Cauble would have made them if he was running the operation.

Rex Cauble and the Cowboy Mafia – Texas Monthly
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Baymule

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Good article. I shopped at Cutter Bill’s Western Store many times in Houston. Cutter Bill the horse was legendary. Never knew about the Cowboy Mafia, it was interesting and amusing. Only in Texas.
 

Ridgetop

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I really laughed at the thought of them sailing in to the dock in Port Arthur past the coast guard with the entire boat giving off a huge reek of marijuana! Not to mention the evidence on their cameras of them all posing with their guns on the bales of drugs! :lol: Sounded like a comedy movie!

Anyway, worried about possibility to drill a well to produce enough water. I can't get understandable info from well person's mama. He is not available to talk to me since "too busy right now" with family matters and another job. First she maundered on about sandy and muddy soil not being a good well site, and then talked about a house a mile down the road that they drilled and didn't hit water, then said everyone in family was suffering from Covid. Would like to talk to him to get straight story. However she said she talked to him about the well and said that he said to "use it until it collapses" before drilling another one. Said new well won't give more than 5 GPM which will not irrigate anything. Property advertised 4 wells but it appears now that 3 are filled in, the 4th is too old to last, and a new well won't produce enough to use anyway. Will it pay us to drill another well at $14,000 to $15,000? Especially if it doesn't produce enough water? I want a well for a source of water for the livestock and ourselves in emergencies. I don't plan to put in wheel lines (at $100,000 each) but would like to have enough water for household use, livestock, garden, filling ponds, etc. And in drought would the water level in well drop below 500'?
I guess I will call the other well driller for information.

Next, the septic guy did not call me back so have put in call to other septic guy. (A note of local info - these two guys are brothers that split up into 2 different companies since they couldn't get along.) At any rate, need to find out cost of new lateral leach lines before committing to this property. Cattle crushed these.

Fencing will cost about $58,000 to put in game fence around entire perimeter of property. $8.80 per running foot. Must be done, but if house requires too much other expensive repairs need to consider.
Might be better to buy a more expensive place where everything is already there. (And house is further back from 70 mph highway!)


Called Kris to let him know that we will have to continue looking for back up property since our time window ends mid August.

On a better note, aerial photo shows barn to be larger than first thought. Possible 30'x30' or 40'x40' including open sided overhangs on either side. However, original hand drawn plot plan is flipped so that house sits on front corner of short leg instead of front corner of long leg. However, aerial photo shows pond to look larger than it looked on tour of property. The aerial photo looks to be taken several years ago. Aerial shot shows a catch pen around barn which is no longer there, as well as feeders in side field with areas of trampled out soil around it. .
Pastures don't look as good as they do now so maybe the excellent condition of the pastures and grass is due to fewer AUs? Or more rain this year than in past years? Probably should take some soil samples when out there tomorrow for inspection. Can drop them off in Quitman at Extension office.

Starting to worry.

Anyway, went to Natchedoces yesterday to sightsee. Oldest town in Texas. "Old Town" has many "antique" stores. Was not too impressed since I have the same stuff in my shed and actually in use in my kitchen! :lol: Flour sifter - $20?! Old cheese grater - $15?! Galvanized tubs with rust spots - $55?! etc., etc.

I have an idea! Instead of sending all my old junk to the Salvation Army, I will bring it to Texas and put up huge sign in front yard advertising "Antiques and Collectibles". I will tell everyone that they came from my granny's attic and basement. I can restock at the Salvation Army and thrift stores, then leave the items in the yard for a few months or so to weather and rust! :gig

More later, DH wants me to look up costs on metal barns, etc.
 

Mini Horses

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have an idea! Instead of sending all my old junk to the Salvation Army, I will bring it to Texas and put up huge sign in front yard advertising "Antiques and Collectibles". I will tell everyone that they came from my granny's attic and basement. I can restock at the Salvation Army and thrift stores, then leave the items in the yard for a few months or so to
:lol:Didn't I tell you that Road would me a good market Place???? You go for it!!
 

Ridgetop

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OK, an update on the property. We had the home inspection today and also the septic inspection since we knew that some of the lateral (leach) septic lines had been damaged by the cattle and would need to be replaced or repaired. I had the septic man come out to give me a bid on repairing the system.

Huge storm front came through as we left Rusk. By the time we reached Tyler it was so bad DH could hardly see through the windscreen, and had switched to 4WD due to water pooling on the highway and causing hydroplaning. We met Bay and BJ at the Suphur Springs stockyards 2 hours before the inspection. We decided to have lunch and then do to the cattle auction. The cafe was standing room only when BJ and Bay arrived 10 minutes before us. The cafe was completely jammed so BJ stood over a table where the people had almost finished and seized it as they got up to leave. Our chairs were still warm when we sat down. :gig The cafe had run out of the pork chops, so we all had chicken fried steak which was delicious. I think the food at livestock auction yards is pretty good since otherwise the ranchers would all bring a sandwich instead of eating there. LOL We watched about an hour of the cattle auction trying to understand the auctioneer and the prices the cattle were bringing. There were a lot of 250-300 lb. calves, then they moved on to the 600-700 lb. calves. We tried to decide what ones Farmerjan would say were good calves. ;) A couple calves with longhorn and brahma in them were pretty feisty and one of the ring men just made it onto the fence in time! Bay and I agreed that we preferred the size of our sheep! Farmerjan is amazing to handle her cattle as she does! And with her bad knees too !!!

Then we went to the house to meet the inspector. While he and his assistant were going over the house we met the owner and then walked over some of the yard, measured the barn and storage shed, then looked over the house again. Really like it even better this time around. Perfect size for us with enough bedrooms for DS1, office and spare BR for guests. By the time we are done installing a dump outlet on the septic lid, electric outlet, and a water outlet for the 5th wheel trailer we can use it as a guest house too. The owner is so sweet. She gave me the name of an excellent vet and plumber. The vet only lives a couple houses away (several acres here in this area) LOL.


The well won't be as big a problem as we thought since community water is pretty cheap. The well works for livestock and you can run 2 sprinklers at one time to water the garden/lawn. You just have to turn on the breaker to the pump to fill the well tank. DH turned it on and checked and the tank filled with water fine. There is also a water feed from the well to the barn. The pipe is capped off since previous cattle broke the pipe so the owner just capped it off. Need to find the pipe and we can reconnect for a water source in the barn for the livestock. :D =D

We will have the report on the house in the am. The big problem is that the leach lines (laterals) are broken and the septic is puddling in the pasture across the driveway. There was a slight odor from it too, detectable by both the house inspector and the septic man. Both of them said that it was a big problem since a lender might not agree to loan on the property with the septic in that condition. It needs to be fixed BUT IT CAN'T BE FIXED. IT NEEDS TO BE REPLACED.

We had requested the septic man to come give us a bid on replacing or repairing the laterals. He told us that he can't repair or replace them because current codes require 2 septic tanks as well as some other stuff. If it were working now, no problem, but since it is not working properly because of the broken leach lines which are puddling and seeping, it is no longer grandfathered in. Now to repair it the system has to be brought up to current code. Current code requires 2 tanks - this house has only one - so even to repair the problem would require adding a second one. Also there is some problem with laying new leach or lateral lines. We would have to pay for lot of percolation tests, and other stuff. The septic man advised that since this area has clay and sand soil it might not pass the perc tests depending on whether you hit a clay spot or sandy spot. In straight sandy soil leach lines would be fine. In clay soil not so much since they will not percolate properly. Also, in clay/sandy loan mix soil area when you get a lot of rain, the leach/lateral lines will not necessarily perc properly which will cause a big problem with the system not draining properly. He recommends a clear water (aerobic) system. This will also require some electrical work. Haven't gotten the bid yet but maybe $7,500. :\ Final bad news - septic man can't do the system until November! :oops: However, the septic man and inspector both said that the plumbing was working (if you ignore the sewage puddling in the corner of the pasture) and the house could be rented now and the septic installed in November. :woot

So bad news more $$$. Good news sort of, owner might pay at least part of the cost since she can't sell with the septic like this. In fact the home inspector said that if it were reported (to whomever?) there would be a real problem for her. Don't want that, since we like her a lot and she has been super open about every problem. Good news - by putting in a new system it will be a new system. Not so good news is the aerobic (sic?) system, which I have heard some people don't like. Bad news - can't use it to water veggies or fruit trees. Good news - you can use it to water a small section of the hay field or the lawn. Bad news - the well is within 100 feet of the lawn. The system must be located 100' from any well so it has to go into the pasture. Bad news - we will have to mow or trim around the sprinklers so they can spray. Good news - DH can weed whack around them Since the land is flat he can manage and it will be good exercise. We'll get the bid tomorrow or Wednesday.

Also if we need to install that system it will require the electrician to run the wires to the switches. $$ But the electrician can repair some of the problems with the house wiring at the same time. Apparently there is a problem with grounding. And since the electrician has to install a sub panel DH already talked to him about putting more breakers in the sub panel for DH to hook underground electrical to the barn and well. The original panel is a 200 amp panel. That made DH happy. The electrical line out to the pump shed dangles from the house roof and is tied to a tree on its way to the pump shed. Inspector said that would have to be changed. The electrician can do all that at the same time.

So a few problems, otherwise house is in pretty good shape and is very solid. Minimal settling of slab, which in Texas is good, since some soils have terrible issues with settling. House next door had issues and floors buckled. Report tomorrow will let us know what needs to be repaired.

On to excellent news. BJ and DH measured the barn and tool shed and we were thrilled to find that they were both much larger than originally thought. The shed with concrete floor (and pet armadillo living under one corner LOL) is actually 12' x 20' which is excellent and the size of current tool shed or old milk shed. Not both but one or the other.


The barn is 40' x 60'!!! :weee:weee:weee

The main barn is 20' x 60' while there are 2 shed roof extensions on either side each 10' x 60' with metal siding on the long sides. Plenty of room for hay storage in the main barn, and there is a small room built in one corner of the main barn for a feed room, tack room, equipment room, etc. The 2 shed extensions on the ends are closed in on the outside walls with metal. One will be perfect for dividing into lambing jugs, and a communal covered area for small lambs and mamas. The other side will be perfect to use for DH's rabbitry with livestock fans at each end and misters in the summer. SOOO HAPPY! The vertical barn timbers are telephone pole butts in excellent condition. The wood is heavy duty and also in excellent condition. Some of the exterior metal is in rough shape (darn cows again) but most of the siding is in good shape and the roof is solid. A few repairs and it will be perfect for us. And don't forget the stubbed out water feed. And at one time it had electric in the barn! Might pay the electrician to run a wire and box to the barn since he will be running it to the pump shed anyway. When we move in DH can hook up lights and install outlets.
We are currently trying to decide how much of property to fence first, and where to put our Connex storage boxes. Also where to put the carport we will need to install for the trailer, truck, stock trailer, and DH's eventually to be purchased tractor.

We will be going to the Emory Livestock Auction next Saturday with Bay and BJ. It handles sheep and goats. The auction barn today only does cattle. We will have to leave super early since the auction starts at 9am and we want to meet for breakfast t their cafe first. I have decided to test as many livestock auction barn cafes as possible in order to test my hypothesis that stockyard cafes are tasty place to eat!

Still raining like crazy. Git to go to bed - yawning so hard I can hardly see the keyboard! LOL Took photos but will have to upload them tomorrow.

Looks like this is the one so
GOOD NEWS!!!








 

Baymule

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We sure were thrilled to see your new place. What HUGE OLD trees around the house! Big red cedars and lots of ancient catalpa trees. The owner said one of them was said to be well over 100 years old, that when they bought to property in 1954, an 80 year old neighbor said it was a huge tree when he was a boy. So who knows, it may be close to 200 years old. I've never in my life seen such enormous catalpa trees.

The big barn is in pretty good shape, needs repair, but will be a wonderful asset to Ridgetop and her dear husband's sheep operation and her DH will be able to have his rabbits. Due to all the rain we've had, the pastures were lush and green. The house is right on the highway, but we were imagining that when the original farmhouse was built, the highway was probably a narrow dirt road, not the wide 2 lane with wide road shoulders and grassy right of way on both side, as it is now.

It is a lovely place, needs some TLC and repair, but all is doable and it will make not only a nice home, but a good investment too.

Looking forward to Saturday at the Emory Auction! More fun!

While we were galivanting around yesterday with @Ridgetop and her DH, it drizzled and sprinkled a little. But here at home, it STORMED! We had 3 1/4" of rain in the rain gauge when we got back home.
 

Ridgetop

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Those huge trees are special. They shade both the front and back yards of the house. Even though the house is close to the road and traffic noises are loud when there is traffic (often) at least it is not bumper to bumper traffic like our last house on Victory Boulevard in California. Our last house sat right on Victory Boulevard which is one of the heaviest travelled surface streets in the San Fernando Valley. When we moved to the private road Isaid I wud never live on another busy street but things change.

When we lived there it had a half circle drive but when my grandparents bought it in 1926 the drive was a complete circle with more property going to the 2 lane road in front Over the years the street was widened. In fact, the last time it was widened my grandfather went to City Hall to get a variance to keep the big Deodar cedar that was planted in the middle of the circle. The sidewalk made a detour around the tree! One of my earliest memories as a very small child (3 or 4) is walking with my grandfather to the Tasteefreez for ice cream, then walking over to make sure they were not damaging his tree! (He was under orders NOT to get my sister and me chocolate dipped cones but always did.) I remember standing there dripping ice cream and tell tale chocolate down the front of my sunsuit while he talked to the men working. The street had been lined with those old cedars and to see the roots towering overhead as the poor trees lay out into the road was awe inspiring to a small child. The surviving tree became a landmark.

As a point of interest, all those giant cedars (and there were lots of them all over the Valley) were sold by door to door salesmen during the depression. They were tiny twigs when planted and were huge by the time we sold out and left. We were the only people who still had any. When the property sold, the trees except the one in front (Gampy's Tree) came down when they built an apartment building. So did my lovely 200+ year old orange trees. :hit

Here are some pix of the house, barn, yard, and pastures.
IMG_0736.jpg Storage shed is actually 12 x 20' not 8' x 12' as originally thought. Took tape measure with us this time. LOL It sits at ear of house across the back yard. You can see a couple of the huge trees in the back yard. IMG_0735.jpg 200+ year old tree in back yrd and other huge trees keeping the yard shaded. Dead wood needs some trimming as do a few other trees. Will cut wood to burn in fireplace. Just told DH that he will have a full time job raking leaves during the fall! Might have to buy a shredder to compost them properly. Beans are not dangerous but roots and possibly leaves are poisonous. Luckily these are all inside the yard space around the house.
IMG_0739.jpg Shed comes with pet armadillo - no extra charge! :gigOwner has filled in hole several times but armadillo comes back. Might have to fill with concrete. The shed has a concrete slab floor so don't want to undermine it and cause foundation problems.
IMG_0741.jpg View of pasture from side of house. Very lush and green due to unprecedented amount of rain this year. Has about 15 cows grazing it now - leased out. We want to keep land tenant till we move back here. We won't need all the pasture for a while so maybe still lease part of it although this is the grass hay field to cut for hay so not sure. Depends on how much rain and how good the pasture stays next year. Can still either pay someone to cut and bale, or lease for hay if tenant doesn't keep pasture in good condition.
IMG_0734.jpg Picture of rear pasture on property. Hard to tell where property lines are since I took this with my phone. 45 acres in an L shape. Next picture is of the pasture with (hopefully showing up) the pond. This is the larger pond, the other one is not in good condition since the cattle have trampled the banks. We will have to dig it out a bit to restore it. The large pond used to have a pump on it which pumped water to the old (100+ year old) farmhouse to flush the toilet years ago! I think the old pump or pump house is still there but f course, the water lines were disconnected when the new house was built in 1972. Original house burned down in 1971 and owner and husband built this newer 4/2 brick house with HVAC and 2 bathrooms. ☺️ I love old houses, but for a rental this is ideal and I am getting too "mature" to completely renovate and remodel another house. LOL
IMG_0740.jpg Posting this now so I can post more pix.
 

farmerjan

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Sounds like you can make things work... hope the septic will be resolvable..... I know nothing about the aerobic systems. But there is always something that needs doing when you sell/buy something.

I'm flattered... working cattle is not that big a deal even with my knees not being very moveable.... but thanks for the compliment anyway....and we don't keep very many animals anymore that will put you into the fences.... they go to the stockyards!!!!!:gig:gig:gig

Yep, most stockyard lunch rooms have really good food.... very little is lo-cal and all that ... it is REAL FOOD because most farmers put in long hard hours and burn ALOT of calories.... and it is good old fashioned country cooking.
Hope that you have a good time at the other sale... will be very interesting to see how the sale compares to what you have back in Ca. And to see what the prices are in comparison.

Great that the barn is bigger than you thought.... and that it is very usable for what you want.
Yes, cows against metal siding is a big problem.... and they will tear things up. Shame they got into the septic lines and that it is going to cause problems, and cost money....... but may be a blessing in disguise to get a new system put in.

Have a great visit/vacation/farm purchase....
 

Mike CHS

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The stock yard in Pulaski, TN has hands down the best steaks around and they know how to cook them.

I bought a home in Florida that failed the septic inspection and the owners had to do w mound for the septic. The literally dug out 10' feet of clay and filled that and a mound 6' high with drain tiles all over the upper section of the mound. That cost a little over $13K and that was back in 2003'.
 

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