Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Cheer

I put some Christmas lights for mom while she was making a McKinney run. I didn't know how dad had done it before that Christmas we spent here - and I just had the lights we found in the sheds. It was easy to focus on just getting some lights up instead of making it just right with the frigid cold! I also wrapped a tree out by the greenhouse. She was super surprised when she got back.

Iced Over

Bundled up, took a walk to the new property and took some neat pictures. The ice is gorgeous.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Freakin' Cold!

I have had an awful hard time doing anything this trip. The cold is stiffling... it takes forever for me to get warmed up and just start the day. Great view though without the leaves in the trees!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall at Flint

One parting shot on my way out of here this trip... always so sad to go!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Wet Firecracker Island

The water is still pretty high. Firecracker island is mostly under water. I took a walk down the creek to see water levels on the newer property.

A Path More Travelled

I was really tired of all the stacked rock and muddy walkways that remained. I had tried to be respectful and patiently wait on Mike to finish where he left off. But I finally ndecided to throw them down on my own - saving mom some money. What would have taken days by other means was done in a couple of hours! And now we have rock paths going everywhere! You could go all the way from either house on rocks with no shoes all the way to the garage! I am amazed sometimes when I remember the very first path dad laid between the two houses so long ago - and then the massive steps down to the bluff I dug out a few years ago...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Waterfall in Action!

The natural waterfall I dug out last trip has been quite active with all the rain and water run-off. This view is looking down. There is about a five foot drop down to the creek - this shot does not really show that.

Walled In

We finally have walls on the garage - but no roof or door yet. This picture also shows the spot where one of the trees had to be cut down and dug out. Both trees on the creek side of the putting green were dead and we did not want them to break in half and do damage to the green. I think these were cut down before the last trip in August but I did not mention them then. At first it was very stark and quite unsettling. But with the amazing landscaping mom did and the clearing that Tom did of the lower bluff, I hardly miss them!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A new natural waterfall!

Drainage off the newly dug out bluff rocks is always a bit of a problem. So I made a few smaller dry creek run-offs to help the flow find its way. In some cases, you help a little of the rock dislodge with a hammer and a rock chisel. There was a definite natural fall line - and it looked liked there was bluff rock underneath. So, out comes the power washer! Now we have a new natural waterfall between the two houses - one that we can enjoy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tom Brazil is my Hero!!!

Got a slow start today. It was wet, the rain actually kept us up a bit during the night with the metal roof in the big house. So I enjoyed the morning first - kind of piddled around, and unloaded the truck.

We have a guy helping us clear the land between the bluff and the small creek down by my house. You can walk from the table on the old bluff (we have lots of bluff now) all the way to the old auxiliary creek pump much like the south 40 has been for a few years now. Very nostalgic - this was once the only creek front we had. Brings back lots of memories of dad sitting on the stump of a cut off tree - one of my new roosts! Not only is it a nice area to enjoy, but since Tom has finished clearing Snake Island of everything but a couple of trees, you can see all the way across to the big creek. They had cleared some of the brush before, but burned a lot of it off since I was here last. I noticed a couple of spots that looked like you could have a natural waterfall (right where the bluff and dry creek drains) by clearing off some dead grass and dirt. So that is what I did. Amazing sitting spot!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

100 cubic feet per second!

Well the rain trickling down from the area has finally shown up on the USGS creek gage. I have been checking the website all night since the rain started with only minor increase in flow rate and gage height. Then all of a sudden at 1:30am, it spiked to over 100!

We had a good spike in June and one in July... and I think one in May too. But we needed it. I have been trying really hard to keep a flow running through the small creek to keep the big hole under the bluff clean and clear. I was digging rocks out just after the first rain to make sure if the water went up it would clear. Now that water where I was digging out a channel is now at least six inches. On Firecracker Island the chairs were in water! So nice when the creek goes up.

And a bonus - Tom has cleared the land between the blue house and the small creek (and even across Snake Island in one part), so I can see the water from the blue house!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Three Days and Four Pallets of Rock

I feel like my list is stagnating.... I have spent so much time on one project this trip, the items I wanted to get done are not getting crossed off my list.

The first two days were spent fighting with our new pressure washer - only to culminate with a return of said pressure washer and a race to a different store to rent one - and pressure washing the remnants of dirt left behind by Mike's rockstar efforts digging the bluff rock out. The area cleared off by the blue house is now three tines as long and at least twice as deep. Plenty of room to have table and chairs and a nice dirt free path all the way down past the putting green. The next three days were spent laying rock artisticly to create a natural looking retaining wall the whole length. Fortunately, I had Mom and Mike chasing after additional pallettes of rock.

A couple hours before nightfall, the rain finally came and we tucked everything away that was out and Mike finished unloading the last pallette. After the rain subsided and I was already soaked I continued the wall further down the bluff until it was too dark to do any more. I was amazed to find out it was only 8:30. Wow... feels like at least 10:00!

And... I was still able to cross off a few other things on my list today - a pure bonus!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The List Grows

The To Do list phenomenon continues... the more I cross off, the more I add!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lillies are planted at the graves!

I am pretty sure mom thought I had no idea where any of the graves were… but I had a general idea – we walk the same path each year we plant the lilies. I grabbed my laptop just in case I needed to look at photos to decipher any graves I had missed. But turns out, there is even a map there with a book that tells you where everyone is. So that part was pretty easy. I grabbed an extra map and wrote down all the locations so I can make a key and put it on the Flint website if anyone else ever needs it.

Cathy and Trish went with me and helped. The evening clouds were rolling in making the whole event somewhat ominous. We finished up before the late afternoon rain hit.

I did a bunch more chores on my To Do list… more on that later.

I grilled and we had an amazing Memorial Day feast of honey baby backs, chicken wings, wonderful sweet corn, and angel food cake with fresh strawberries.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Flag is Flying!

Having decided on my approach to fix the screen, I had started and realized there was indeed something missing. There was no flag on the flagpole - I know that would be one of the first things dad did. So after verifying the flag I had seen while digging for fountain pumps and extension cords, I was off to set her into the wind! Not the easist and best way to raise a flag... I leaned a ladder up against the flag pole and managed, after some wobbly and scary moments, to let her wave.

Memorial Day is synonomous with the Indy 500. It was rough watching it here at Flint without dad, but a total prerequisite.

I take photos every year of us planting lillies, so I knew who was here in the cemetary and had seen lillies at Atwoods. I grabbed the lillies when I went back into town and Cathy, Trish, and I will go plant them later after she gets here.

Did I mention the weather???

Tackled the area under the deck today… scary! But I was able to organize it and I have two pallets with sorted hardware for fountains, plumbing, nails, etc… Hung all the tools on the rafters, got the wheel barrels in there and there are no tools out along the bluff. So nice! My cardinal was making quite a bit of noise! Just as he had when I was cleaning dad’s garage room!

I fixed all the fountains… and we have two fabulous monster frogs enjoying one of them!

Finally got to play some in the creek… it looks good this year. Good holes in convenient places. I even walked up the bluff side of our creek – first time in years it wasn’t stagnant, gross, and too scary! Looks like there is some great potential.

The yard guy came back and weedeated the lower bluff area – big job! Usually would take dad several weekends to get it shaped up for the start of the summer. All those little things he would do every other weekend or so have piled up a bit. Mom had only been here once briefly since he died. So all of this is the first real heavy work we have done this year!

I am not doing much cleaning… trying to focus on the bigger items that mom can not do. Although, I gave my porch a good cleaning because it was stacked high from the winter with things that came in from outside and that cats would spend some nice time out there.

Weather has been real nice! We went straight from winter to full heat summer in Houston in a single day this year. So I am happy to get one last breath of winter. The cool front has just made it completely lovely out here! Also had a nice little shower both this evening and yesterday evening.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New well and pump!

Mom had a well drilled and they installed a new pump. In the process they pretty much left that entire area in complete disarray. I have rebuilt the fence - had to get creative because the new pump is pretty much right where the fence joint was... may have to move the whole north side of the fence some time.

Went to storage sheds… success!!! Had no idea if we had any keys! Mostly checked for large power tools – seems they are all gone. Must have been under the deck and our little visitor made off with them. Brought a few things back that would be nice to have here when mom arrives.

Bought food for my Memorial Day feast… but the igniter on the grill won't light... remembered later it didn't for dad either. He must have used a lighter to cook. Did a test run with some chicken wings this evening and it will do for now.

I am pretty much jumping from project to project as I go get something to do a job and find another job that needs to be done... then much later I remember the first job I was doing. Kind of a viscous cycle - but the way I work best even at home!

The power had gone out – or breakers may have been shut off to put in the new 220 breaker for the pump. So all the timers on the lights were off and that is why someone probably broke in… being so dark and looking deserted. Several outside plugs had also quit working and one string of lights had been sliced. Fixed all of that and had to do some serious cleaning of the fridge over in my house!

Turns out Cathy is coming some time on Memorial Day – so it will be nice not to spend the holiday alone.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day weekend at Flint 2009

Got here super late last night - held up in Dallas. Hell bent on waking up here today though. Not many days do I have here.

Lots to do... first order of business was to fix the screen where someone broke in. But, I need to think about it a bit. Don't remember how we put those together. Every time I walk by, I look at it and I am thinking about it in the back of my mind. Need dark aluminum screen and have not been to Lowe's yet. So, no rush.

I am predominantly staying over in my house. Mom isn't coming until later (after Memorial Day... I will need to do the lillies at the cemetary I guess). My list of things to do is growing while I am here...