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August 30, 2007

watch your step

I have been alternating which house I work at.  yesterday, I worked at our old house getting it ready for sale or rent; spackling and painting.  today, I sorted cedar (seen top right) so we don't have big jumbled unsightly piles.  I also made the hand rails for the stairs that come down from both sides of the pool area.  I have completed my portion of the work necessary to pass inspection.  still waiting on the parts that are out of my control.


today I also signed docs with a broker to get my Real Estate Sales license active.  my son was very impressed that my new office has an elevator and mints. 



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August 27, 2007

end of summer

we now get up earlier than the sun. 

first day of school.  Third grade.  she's such a big girl now.

now that we live in the new house, school is almost across the street.  our school morning routine is a bit more relaxed due to the shorter commute.


I have my sun screen hung.  enjoyed a leisurely sunday morning coffee out there.

we observed the flugtag 

over 85,000 people came out to see the flying (falling) contraptions

above you can see a giant vacuum cleaner.  each flying machine is complete with a pilot that must go down with the ship.

rock, paper and scissors going off the 25 ft launch platform

I think this was a giant flying roach

thanks to the laborde family we had this amazing spot across the river from the launch area.  while most were baking under the sun, we had a shady spread with the usual picnic luxuries (margaritas, chips/salsa, cheese and orives, etc.)

at one point a two story party boat drifted to block our view.  this was not taken lightly by the people on this shady spot perfect for viewing the launch platform.  soon a chant was started, "MOVE! THAT! BOAT!"  my son thought this was the best part of the evening as he jumped to his feet and waved his fist in the air and shouted along with the crowd.  the boat moved.  kat said "that was democracy in action"

my mom is back from shreveport.  she heads back to norcal early wed morning.   

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August 23, 2007

sun screen

I have been working on a sun shade for the far end of the pool.  will get a chaise or two down there eventually.  I don't yet have the cables in the correct positions.

I think I'm done with sod for a while 

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August 21, 2007

buffalo belt

it's good to have a one ton truck

buffalo grass is a texas native that is drought tolerant and does not require mowing. 

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August 20, 2007

pushin' rocks

we are completely done with the masons.  we've started moving all the extra stone around.

have been creating planter boxes and spending too much time and money at the natural gardener

we have acquired a variety of flowering plants that attract butterflies.  my daughter is so happy about their frequent visits.

the invisible fence is wonderful.  both dogs have greatly improved their behavior now that they have freedom to roam around and work off excess energy.  I even released marvin on a couple of deer.  he stopped right at his boundary and the deer stopped to look back.  they all seemed to be confused by the anticlimactic ending to his pursuit.

we caught him napping in the crushed glass suculent garden out front



UPDATE: pool inspector just left.  I have a list of 5 issues to resolve and he is unsure if our fencing and pool cover will be adequate. 

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August 17, 2007

toad trumps fish

I have the pool inspection scheduled for monday.  today was my sons first day of school, daughter has one more week of summer.  I suer hope we get to swim soon.

we have one swimmer in there already.  he can fatten himself on mosquitos.

marvin's interest in the toad has momenterily pried him away from his koi watch

she HAD to capture the toad

made a boat and tried to take him for a sail on koi pond waters.  it bailed.

masons are down there finishing up 

UPDATE: masons are done


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August 16, 2007

yet another deluge

we woke up this morning to big rain.  the pool cover was filling up with water.  I'd noticed a cardboard box floating in a puddle that had a picture of a pool cover water pump.

placing the pump

rain water being pumped

marvin's interest in the koi has not faded.  when it is too rainy to go out, he watches through the glass.

I had a pallet of buffalo grass on order for friday.  that has now been pushed back till tuesday and the yard of soil we spread out front washed away. 


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August 15, 2007

a shade of grey

painters have been here the last two days.  structural steel (red iron) is now a light gray.

(before is above, after is below)

the color is a bit lighter than what I had originally wanted.  I think the light color looks great inside, but for exterior it could be a shade darker.

but since the lighter color will heat up less in the afternoon sun...  I'm happy with it.  the steel does have some thermal transfer on the west side of the house when afternoon direct light is quite intense.  with tripple digits temps every little bit helps.

we are almost ready to call for pool inspection.  stone masons are supposed to do their magic this week.  however, there is a chance of rain for the next two days. 


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August 11, 2007

pool progress

our pool installer came and put in some hours

I helped with the large piece

stainless steel prop

saturday morning kat and I spread a yard of soil in anticipation of one last pallet of zoysia

my trench for the electrical conduit to the garage had run into a large boulder.  I spent hours trying to dig it out.  finally I figured I needed to try and bust it out.  my tools included a hammer drill with a masonary bit, BFH, makita grinder with safety removed and a 7.5 inch masonary blade, some chisels and a whole lotta sweat


it finally cracked, I was about to crack myself.  even in two pieces I couldn't get the big part out since I couldn't get under it.

I resolved the issue by drilling one last hole and hammering a porsche head stud into it.  I attached a strap to that so I could pull it up and out! 

needed to cool off

kat planted and carefully placed stones

mom is busy staining the cedar



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August 10, 2007

stainless steel henge

the swim-spa installer has had trouble getting his helper here.  I am willing to jump through hoops to expedite the install completion.  so we've hauled up the rest of the equipment in a gesture of "get'r done".  kids start school in one week.  it'd be swell if we can get a swim in before then.

all important pool security cover is poised for action

my mother is here and working on staining the screen porch and garage along with hauling up the stainless steel pool equipment

daughter and I have been using the water hose and a hoe to dig trough all the road base.  electrician needs a trench to get conduit to the garage and solar installers also need wire since panels will be mounted to the garage.

exterior fp is now primed and painted

the interior fp painted to match 


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August 08, 2007

live fish- made in taiwan

we are back in the koi business.  it's been clear to us that our test fish is very happy and healty.  I took a water sample to petsmart and they tested it for us.  amonia was a bit high but otherwise ready for fish.  got some ammo reducer, fresh water aquarium salt and stress zyme.  ready for fish.

hard to imagine there are 30 5-6 inch koi in this bag.  all arrived alive.  they are from taiwan and spent time in california for quarentine. 


invisible fence folks came by today and the shock treatment is up to 100%.  at 50% we did have one security breach by marvin.  eichler won't go near the shock zone.

kat favors the all white koi I call blanco


I like this one that has a single spot on his head. 

I spent most of the day installing our glass tile on the backsplash behind the sink and white formica on both sides. 

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August 06, 2007

floaters and sinkers

marvin has discovered the koi and it drove him nuts.  he'd spend all his time pacing around the koi pond and shaking.  he tried and tried to reach the fish.

then things started to go wrong.  some sank, some floated.  they all died. 


he made a chair from stone

on saturday we drove down to wimberley for market days.  always a great place to get plants for landscaping.  we lost our 69 mercedes.  it is so small when mixed along all the big trucks in the parking area.

we visited our wimberley land and found that the neighboring 5 acres had been mostly clear cut.   

my daughter made this swing all by herself!  she used a scrap 2x4, tied the rope herself and used a piece of pvc pipe to get it up high into the oak tree.  she constantly amazes me and she's a source of great inspiration.  I hope some day I'll be more like her.

my son has no use for towels.  soon as he gets out of the shower he says, "I'm going outside to dry". 

we did buy one tiny koi to act as our canary in a coal mine.  so far, he seems extremely healthy and happy in our new pond.  we will wait for him to live a week before we invest in replacement koi.  we've found no certain answer why all our koi died after relocation. 

if he lives a week, he'll get a name, a picture and some friends.  

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August 03, 2007

gone (koi) fishin'.... and, the SNAKE FARM!

my daughter loves Dirty Jobs (the TV show).  we recently saw the snake farm episode and I mentioned it was not too far from us.  after that slip I realized that it would be wrong to let summer elapse without a trip to the farm.  we had planned to capture our koi and transport them this afternoon so we figured the snake farm would be a good warm up on animal handling.

I don't know what he said to this python, but it lurched away.  I asked him to move away from the head.

I explained that his mother was gonna get upset if he was kissing snakes.  he said "well, you better not show her that one".  I had to tell him to not kiss the python again.

I spent some time chatting with this fellow.  I think we came to see eye to eye.  at least he threw nothing at me.

I sat in a shaded area to watch my son chase the chickens (more on that below).  I heard something hit the chain link fence behind me.  this gator had his mouth open and was hissing at me.  he must've really hit that fence and injured himself.  that is blood dripping from his chin.

back inside for more snake handling

here he is chasing chickens.  he was yelling all the while, "COME, HERE, ROOSTER!!!  I'VE, GOT, SOMETHING, TO, SAY, TO YOU!  WE ALREADY KNOW IT'S MORNING.  SO, STOP MAKING THAT SOUND!!!!"  this went on for a good fifteen minutes.

here is the back yard of our other house.  many a good times were spent in that area.  the koi have stayed behind and I go back every three days to feed them.  today was relocation day!

all I had was this tiny net that had a big hole.  we drained most of the water to tip the scales in my favor.

got 'em!

here they are in their new austinmodhouse habitat.  they now have MUCH more room to grow and a better filtration system.

we tried to include all the newest technology in our home.  but maybe I haven't mentioned our anti-gravity device.




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August 02, 2007

zeon zoysia, ultimate ruler of the universe

my zeon zoyisa came in. 


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August 01, 2007

still moving along

dear reader,

I have not abandoned you.  I'm still here plugging away at the minutia.  seldom do I find an occasion to document the hanging of a toilet paper holder or an arrangement of rocks along the driveway.  trumpets do not sound and I no longer feel the great sense of accomplishment that I once held quite regularly.   so I will try to post frequently yet spare you my frustrations related to the small things still not done.

 I do have progress to report!

koi pond is plumbed, sealed and filled with water.  it's operating just as I had imagined it so many times as I lay awake in bed constructing it over and over. 

I got some helpful advice Dale regarding the liquid rubber liner I applied.

Dale Jennings


Pondscapes LLC.



the fountain is fed from the lower pool.  the water then spills over the negative edge.

I should be able to relocate our koi on friday.   

I have a pallet of zoysia to pick up in the morning.  it will fill the path from the house to the upper pool deck; between the green lines. 


we also have some progress on the solar panel install and the pool guy has pledged to have us ready to swim some time next week. 

a skink my daughter caught.  she's quite the nature lover. 

my 4 y.o. son is more into computer games.  recently he was a bit ill and hurled on their laptop keyboard.   we found a cheap replacement at  discount electronics .  the friendly guy behind the counter was almost done installing a new keyboard when my son says "OH!  I love that new keyboard.  I won't ralph on this one, it's different!"  we all sort of ignored him since he is just FOUR and there was laptop surgery in process.  but he insisted on interrupting the process with facts, "this one is different, the B and W are different."  we finally noticed he was on to something and sort of froze.  there was something different...  different in keyboards is not good.

we studied, compared and concluded that letters on the replacement keyboard were indeed in different places and there was no W!  just try using your internet without the W key! the three adults standing there had been using keyboards for a collective 60 years or more hadn't noticed.  the 4 year old mind saw it right away. 



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