Ridgetop - our place and how we muddle along

Ridgetop

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November 1 -
Decided to put dates on this as I often forget to upload then come back and add stuff days later!

Marv wants to put carport on north side between garden and house. Problem is that we would have to back the trailers into it since we can't get a new culvert and driveway put in without state approval. Not too much problem For DH and can address permit, culvert and additional driveway later.

Talked to gardening man today. Buying 12 fruit trees, tilling and planting them in new orchard space and caring for them until spring will be $1,000. Wrote the check immediately. He will also care for the trees and make sure to poison any fire ants and watch for gopher damage. He will water as well is necessary. I emailed the varieties I wanted and he will discuss with his Lindale supplier which would be best in the Yantis area. I was only planning on about 6 trees but he said that with the fire ant danger planting 2 of each would be better. No problem. Any fruit I don't use or give away, I will put a hog pen around trees and turn hogs into the orchard to eat the fallen fruit. Can also rake up and shovel into the compost pile.

Next, I got hold of an Enrolled Agent for taxes in Quitman. DH wants an EA since they are approved by IRS to argue any audits, etc. He is a CPA in Quitman. Has farm clients, NNN clients, etc. and is familiar with everything we need. Has had his own office for 6 ears so hopefully he will outlive us, and we won't have to find another tax person. LOL Our old tax man retired then died on us and while we are ok with his partner, we don't like her as well as we liked Mel. Kevin is in the process of reworking some office staff but since we don't need to change tax preparers for the 2022 taxes, he is willing to take us on for 2023. I told him we would make an appointment during the summer and bring our returns back for him. He gave me some info on farm taxes which I appreciated.

Third, I ordered some yarn online which is the brand and kind I really like working with. On sale lots of different colors. I realized that the yarn I had bought at the Hobby Lobby sale was the wrong size. I prefer the chunky yarn that is worked with a size 10-11 needle. I will return all the Hobby Lobby yarn. Love the colors but don't like knitting the baby blankets with a lightweight yarn and small gauge needles so back it goes.

Checked with a gentleman about buying some square bales of Bermuda to bring back to California after we unload the flatbed trailer in March BUT since eastern Texas is a "fire ant quarantine area" The hay must not be stored on soil and has to be inspected when entering California for evidence of fire ants. If any infestation is found (even one ant) the load must return to east Texas or be destroyed. I will check with the hay guy - he keeps it in a barn but it is probably on soil. Fire Ants have already established in Orange County and a county in New Mexico. The entire southeastern part of the US is infested. In Texas the only counties not infested are the panhandle and the farthest west southern counties. I emailed the CA USDA for more info so we'll see. We had hoped to bring in some Texas hay to start the sheep getting used to it.

November 2
NOTICE! Can't bring any hay into California from most of Texas and points east. There is an "Imported Fire
Ant Quarantine" on all of east Texas and LA, MS, AL, GA, FL,SC,NC, most of AR and southern OK. The only areas in Texas not affected are the panhandle and a couple of the farthest SW counties of the state. One county in NM and one county in southern CA are also infected and under the quarantine.
So no Texas hay for the sheep to get used to. :hit Instead, we will have to bring California alfalfa to TX while the sheep get introduced to pasture.

I hope we did not make a mistake in selecting east Texas as our Garden of Eden. Instead of a giant snake, we have Barber Pole worms and the Imported Fire Ant Quarantine! :oops: At least the snake offered Adam and Eve refreshments in the form of apples! We do like Waldorf salad.

Our garden man said he is picking up the trees today and will plant tomorrow. He has to run an etra hot wire to keep cows out of orchard. Is planting "12 trees total, 2 of each kind (Plum, peach, nectarine, fig, pear, and apple). Apricots will be available in December. Your Peaches are Freestone varieties Red Haven and Majestic. Your plums are Santa Rosa and Methley(Desirable raw and processed). The nectarine trees are not labeled, but were the only variety he recommended for East TX. Your figs are Black Mission. Your pears are Moonglow and Kieffer. Your apples are Granny Smith and Honey Crisp. "
Hopefully they will survive. :drool And they will be in a year earlier than I could do it myself. Wish I had known about this guy last year.

Still waiting for the fence guy to return from vacation to get quote on fencing. We will be doing it in 800+/- sections one after the other. Then DS1 and I will draw up scale drawing of property to decide where to put in the sheep pastures. According to the Sulphur springs Dorper grower, I don't need to fence off the ponds. Once we get back there I will get geese and ducks from Erick. The geese and ducks will hopefully deal with the liver fluke snails and pond weed. Then I can get the large pond stocked through Texas F & G. More to check up on. I have been told that the correct pond mix of fish will keep the pond healthy too.

Speaking of Erick - got a text today that he had his bred bitch x-rayed and she "is full of pups" according to the vet. The puppies are due the end of November. We will pick up our new protector in March when we are back there for the wedding. Angel has taken over most of the guardian duties. She works all night and during the day too. She has taken to sleeping on the patio and driveway where Bubba used to lay to guard the approach to the house. She will welcome the help once we get the newbie trained. Rika is still working but has started slowing down and is willing to come into the house more often. Once we get to Texas I will let Rika be the house/yard/baby lamb jugs guardian while the younger dogs cover the pastures.

DS1 and I went through his magnet sheep tags showing where each sheep is. He had me give him the tag numbers and verify which ones were sold, died etc. We found a discrepancy in that the number of young stock on the field did not compute with what should have been there. We agreed on the correct number but he had 12 ear tag numbers and one should not have had an ear tag. Finally realized that he was counting the ewe lamb that was sold as one of the 12, while the ewe lamb that was not tagged was not being counted. All correct in the end and we agreed we needed to tag that ewe lamb. Then we had a missing ewe in the barn until I realized that I was working off the Application for Registration form and she was not on it because her single ram lamb was destined for auction instead of registration. The only ram lambs being registered were Snowflakes twin rams. I have pretty much decided to take them to the Western States show in Reno in May. Entries there are shown and auctioned. I am considering looking at the ewe lambs and maybe taking a couple of them too. Of course, I have to train them on halter, and shear if they don't shed out. Minor shearing since they don't carry wool lower than halfway down their sides. Will have to start working with them soon.
 

SageHill

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You've been a whirlwind of busy for sure.
I hope we did not make a mistake in selecting east Texas as our Garden of Eden. Instead of a giant snake, we have Barber Pole worms and the Imported Fire Ant Quarantine!

Nah - you did good. You found a great place that's going to be even greater when you finally get there full time.
Any where you go there will be something. Better to know now than before you get there.
Bummer on not being able to bring in the TX hay though :( that would have been awesome if you were able to do it.
 

Ridgetop

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Or do it cheap (no expensive plumber needed), EASY and vastly more functional! Get a replacement spout for the tub that has a diverter to a hand held shower hose fitting. Get a slide rod for the hand held shower head.

Personally I find "standard height fixed shower heads" to be immensely stupid. They are the right height only for the "standard height" person (or in the case of a few hotels I've been in, useful only for people under 5'8" - I am 6' 2").
That is what I planned and what we did on the 5 tubs we added showers to in the apartment. In this case, I have the option to go into the wall from the tub side or the cabinet side. Originally I planned to go into the wall from the cabinet side, but since I will be removing the Formica tub surround (only 24" high) and putting in cement board for the new tile that I will carry to the ceiling, it makes more sense (and gives me more working room) to simply remove the Formica surround and the wall above the tub spout to relace the tub controls and faucet.
35 years ago I got double pane replacement sashes for the old house a few years before the rehab. They came from Marvin. NO window frame removal!!!!! They were measured by the company sales guy and come with side pieces that screw to the existing frame. The sashes pop into the side pieces and tilt down for cleaning the outside glass from inside the house. Unless the current frames are rotted, I see no reason to rip everything apart.
The retrofit windows don't require actual frame removal in the siding etc. You just have to saw off the aluminum frames after removing the glass window parts. About 1" of aluminum channel that the windowpanes fit into. No destruction of drywall or exterior cladding. If you measure the replacement yourself, be sure the measurements are dead on accurate. Windows are only returnable if the seller measures wrong. And be sure to measure each individual window since even though some windows are supposedly the same size, they can vary up to 1" either way for retrofit due to original construction.

I have also been designing the 36" x 72" new kitchen island that I plan to construct out if base and overhead cabnets. Lots of ideas with fancy quirks like wine racks, etc. which I have now discarded. The existing kitchen cabinets, with stove and sink are in an L design. I will use a 36" wide base drawer cabinet - the kind with deep, wide drawers for pots and pans. That cabinet will face the stove location. Then another 36" wide base cabinet with drawers* same as first one attached to the first at right angles. Those drawers will face the sink side of the kitchen. On the opposite end from the stove I can build a base cabinet 12" x 36" using a 36" wide overhead cabinet. Those doors will face the LR/DR. The rear of the 36" drawer base (which faces the sink) will not have another cabinet. This will give me 12" deep x 36" wide for an eating bar overhang. Since that side of the island will face the walkway through the kitchen from the utility room, garage door, to the LR/DR. The only things to reach on that side are the door to the MBR and bath, and 2 pantries. If I decide I want storage more than a place to perch in the kitchen, I can fill in that 12" deep area with another 36" wide upper cabinet. :) I have not decided whether to paint out the kitchen cabinets yet, but I will probably paint the island. *I might be able to use the existing cabinets I am removing from the end kitchen counter run to obtain 36' of wall space for the larger refrigerator. I can use those 36" base and wall cabinets to build the island. That will only leave the 36" large drawer base to buy! :D Love saving money! I also like the existing cabinets for their flat face doors. Those flat doors will be easy to copy for the island. My current kitchen has fancy doors, and they tend to collect dirt and grime requiring heavy cleaning. Flat face doors will be much easier to clean which is important in the kitchen. I haven't decided whether or not I will paint the cabinets since they are growing on me. I think once I paint out all the dark paneling in the house I might like them natural. The quartz counter tops will probably take most of my budget so reusing the existing cabinets will be good, although since they are not "box" cabinets, we will have a lot of work to remove them without damage. The now empty refrigerator space (34" x 36") will get a prehung door and become a large deep pantry. Somewhere to house my 2 water bath canners, 2 pressure canners, equipment, and boxes of jars.

Anyone else think by the time I finish the house remodeling it may be time to retire to nursing home?

On a happier note, 7088 lambed in the breeding pen this morning, twin ewes. At 9:00 am the cords were still wet, they were cleaned up, and nursing. It was very chilly with a strong breeze. When we went down to move them into the barn half an hour later 7088 had moved her twins behind the solid fence out of the wind. What a good mama! One of the twins is very large, the other very small. Since she was due October 30, it is not inconceivable that one was from the original breeding and the smaller one was from a second breeding. I will watch them to make sure the small one gets enough to eat. Her udder never did fill very large before lambing but she is an experienced ewe so her body knows what to do.

I will have to watch the others in that pen. The ram is interested in several of them and actually marked 8111 on November 1. She had marked twice, and her first due date is 11/17. It was very strange year for both breeding and lambing.

It rained lightly yesterday and today we were supposed to have more rain, but it is cold, breezy, and sunny. Just as well we did not have rain last night or this morning with 7088 lambing. The trampoline is in that pen on the flat area, but the sheep don't often shelter under it. On the other hand, the rams love their old trampoline for both shade and a rain shelter.

Yesterday I returned all the yarn I had spent 2 days choosing and purchasing. I loved the colors, but the yarn was a thinner gauge than I like working for the little blankets. I found the brand and weight I like on sale online on the Walmart website. They didn't have a lot of the prettier colors, so I ordered the ones that I liked (some I had used before). Then I found the manufacturer's website which had some gorgeous color blends. I bit the bullet and bought those pretty colors at regular price. However, since I can knit one baby blanket from one skein of that yarn while the lighter weight yarn takes 2 skeins, the price was actually cheaper per blanket overall for the full price yarn! Since I like making the blankets with variegated color yarn, I did keep the solid colors from Hobby Lobby and Michaels that were on sale to make the crocheted edging. The lighter weight for crocheting works well and the solid colors make a nice contrast with the variegated color blankets. The Walmart order was delivered the same day! I am waiting for the other order to arrive. Once all the yarn is delivered, I will separate it into color matches to store. Makes it easy when we travel to grab the large, variegated skein for the blanket body and a coordinating solid for the border.

I guess I will start going through more closets and packing boxes for the abused women's home. It is in Los Angeles so want to have a full load before driving that far. It has gotten quite chilly today. Supposed to be a cold front for the next week.





:hu
 

Ridgetop

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Nah - you did good. You found a great place that's going to be even greater when you finally get there full time.
Any where you go there will be something. Better to know now than before you get there.
Bummer on not being able to bring in the TX hay though :( that would have been awesome if you were able to do it.

Finding out about the Fire Ant Quarantine in Texas and all southeast US was a big bummer for us. We will have to haul the empty flatbed back to CA. Come summer we will probably be able to buy alfalfa hay in New Mexico and Arizona to haul to CA for the sheep. Maybe it will be cheaper than what we pay here since here we are paying for shipping.

I am trying to locate all workmen, resources, etc. that we will need once we get there. Also making calls now to find out about anything we need to do.

Working in the office today and doing all my filing. Also starting my receipts for my taxes. 🤢\
 

Baymule

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We have plenty of Fire Ants. To say that in Texan, it’s Fahr Aints. LOL Anyway we got lots of them, willing to share, but nobody wants them. :(
 

Ridgetop

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You are in a "quarantine area" because of those Imported Fahr Aints. There are 2 varieties - one is black and the other is red. Both are BAD! They snuck into this country between 1919 and 1930 from 2 locations in South America entering US ports in imported goods. I learned a lot since trying to figure out how to get hay into California on our return trip with an empty flat bed trailer.

I am trying to convince DH that we should make another trip to TX with the flatbed and the horse trailer. We will borrow DS2s Black Dragon. DS1 can drive one truck and DH the other. We will load the 20-24' panels on the flatbed, and load the 16' stock trailer with shorter panel. Other equipment and boxes can go in the truck beds. We will also bring more industrial shelving as we empty our plastic bins of reno equipment and parts to bring to TX. The rabbit cages that are still flat packed, watering system, feeders, etc. can come back on this trip. I need to break down the rabbit cages that are set up (36" x 30") as well so they won't take up any space in the trailer.

DH is worried that we won't have anywhere "secure" to store all these things. :hu ??? Didn't we just empty out the barn tack room, and the tool shed in the rear yard during our last trip? I have receipts for 3 trips to the dump that say we did. I reminded DH that I also put a hasp and lock on the barn tack room. Then he said that we could use the corral panels to block off the barn entrances to the cattle. Then said that no one would go looking to steal our junk with a tenant in the house and cattle in the field. Right. I would like to get back there again with some stuff BEFORE gas prices get any higher. We will stay in a motel and it will be a turnaround trip - no visiting anyone this time. That will keep the gas price lower. DS2 will stay here and feed for us. Working on my menfolk to get a move on with this moving. If we are going to move we need to get with the program.

The twin ewe lambs that arrived 2 days ago are doing alright. 7088 is allowing me to pet her as well which is surprising. I will see if she will take a peanut butter filled cracker from me this afternoon. I am considerng whether to supplement the tiny lamb with a bottle. She is half the size of her sister.
 

Mike CHS

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We had several thousand dollars worth of material and tools in unlocked sheds for three years and expected serious loss but it never happened. We made a point of letting our neighbor young ones know what kind of security we had but never did show them where the cameras were. You have been here so we have the advantage of only having one way in and one way out which bad buys don't like.
 

Ridgetop

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I know - so sad about it but need to get on the ball with moving stuff not just talking about it and having fun with friends!
Once we have moved we can carouse and gallivant! ;)

So mini orchard is planted - just in time for tornado to hit Sulphur Springs. :ep Actually, it hit Powderly, TX which is miles from Sulphur Springs. North and slightly west in fact. DH read it online and immediately told me. I looked it up and no problem. If it had hit SS or Yantis it would just be normal Ridgetop Luck. :lol: I checked with the Jeremy (who planted the trees) and he also does spraying and bush hogging for the goat weed. So another item checked off my list. As to the fencing I got permission from the neighbor to go on his property when working on the fence. He owns the northern side and part of the western sides. I figured it would not be a problem but needed to get permission. Been watching Lone Star Law and don't want my fence guys hauled off to jail. Or have to pay any fines for their trespass.

DH is now worried that there will be no diesel fuel available by December since apparently reports are that we only have a month worth of diesel fuel left in the country. He is now on board with making a trip to Texas with both trucks, the flatbed and the stock trailer. We will take back corral panels, stall covers, and whatever large flat fencing we need to move back and are not using currently. I will load DS2's truck bed with the cardboard boxes since he has a tonneau cover that will protect them. Plastic bins can ride in the stock trailer with the rabbit equipment. I can free up at least 2, possibly 3 sets of the large industrial shelving in the milk shed once I have removed the rabbit equipment, electric fencing parts, tile saw and tools, drywall tools, etc. I will also free up an entire shelf unit when I load the boxes of canning jars and equipment. Might as well bring all that back now since I won't have any veggies or fruit to can until we harvest in TX. Anything that is coming back to TX that we are not using now might as well be brought back now. Especially since we now have 2 empty sheds to set up shelves and store stuff in.

Finally got the 2 coats of varnish on the oven cabinet. When we replaced the oven 6 years ago the new double oven was shorter than the original so DS1 cut a piece of oak and we pieced it in. I needed to finish it up but . . . . I finally got the wood filler in before we went to TX in September. When DS2 was sanding his new cabinet I had him come in and sand the area with the filler smooth. I finally got it stained but the stain was too light, so I had to mix a deeper color and re-stain it. Yesterday I got the 2 coats of varnish o and you can't tell that it was repaired. :D =D Not too bad - only took 6 years. I usually get things done a lot faster - being in my prime has slowed me down!

Still only one ewe has lambed. The others don't look like they are pregnant even though they were all marked in June with a few repeats in July. The ram was in with them from 6/5 through 8/16. I wonder if the intense heat during that time caused them to reabsorb the pregnancies in August just before we removed the ram. They will rebreed with Lewis in with them. We need to change the crayon this weekend. If they don't re-breed (mark) they could lamb as late as January. We will have to see. The tiny lamb is very vigorous. I am still considering giving her a bottle but she seems fine.
IMG_5538 (1).jpg DGS6 (Robert) has discovered that baby lambs are nice and soft when they are friendly and gentle. Robert loves to go out with DH to feed. Robert insists on bringing a carrot for Josie and will call her. She comes running when she hears him squealing for her. LOL

Today I will start separating my business receipts into categories and totaling them. :sick Our next Texas trip will be fairly easy to add in if we go before January 1. :fl Need to do my end of year report for the NNN lender as well. That is more difficult since I have to retrieve figures from other people who don't always have them ready. :rolleyes:

We have been watching the early voting returns. Or as our family calls it - The Dems figuring out how many mail-in votes they need to "find" to win. :somad In an interesting spin SC judges Alito and Roberts hearing the lawsuit against Harvard and other universities about affirmative action are giving the Harvard lawyers what for about their ranking process. The reasons for high acceptance rankings for black and hispanic applicants with low grades vs low acceptance rankings for Asians and whites with excellent grades are not making sense. More confusing information has come out about the Paul Pelosi attack. Very odd situation. I find myself channeling my grandmother almost daily - "I don't know what the country is coming to!"
 
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