Snakes on a…

Well, not a plane, just the ranch a couple of days ago.  For the second time only we’ve seen a poisonous snake on the ranch.  This one was a bit too close for comfort.

Can you see it?  It’s nearly dead center of the photo.

How about now?

Yep, it’s a rattler.  It had about 11 segments on the tail.

Now I’m not one to be particularly afraid of or hating on snakes.  It’s kind of like heights.  I have no problem being up high, climbing, or looking over the edge.  I DO have a problem jumping off said heights.  I’ve been rappelling 3 times and that was 2 too many really.  So, when it comes to snakes, if they are not where I am then we’re cool.  If I’m looking at a snake in a display or something, cool.  I’d even be willing to hold a snake as long as an expert identified it as non-poisonous.  However, when it comes to known poisonous ones, I gotta draw the line.  They don’t get to live in my yard.  This particular fella was probably run out by the recent rain.  It was not cold or warm that day but it didn’t move.  And no, it did not survive the encounter.  I just can’t afford to leave that kind of danger running, or rather slithering around the ranch.  We’ve been super blessed to NOT have many of these encounters (and for that matter, so have the snakes!).

We have had dogs bitten by snakes, possibly copper heads out here, but now the possibility of a rattler has been confirmed.  I really don’t want to find a sheep swollen up or even dead due to a bite.  They aren’t as bright as my dogs and the dogs still get bit.  It’s not a fair fight.

I’m adding a new sign off on the blog in case you read it independently of our website.  It goes like this:

As always


The Yellow Rose Fiber Producers Fiesta for 2019 is in the History Books

Picture Edition!

The 2019 Yellow Rose Fiber Producers Fiesta has come and gone.

As you can see it was pretty serious business for us.

Fortunately, there was a little time for fun and games.

This was our whole crew.  Besides Mary and I, we had Megan Georges of Centex Farms and J.S. Marlin of Marlin Farms (far right).

This was the booth setup.  It was a pretty crowded 10 X 10 foot space.  We have some ideas for next year to open it up some.  Pastor Bob stopped by and said hello with quite a crew with him.


Here I am selling a customer some 100% Gulf Coast Native wool in a form called “Top”.  It’s the most refined you get before you spin thread.  Jas and Mary are making a customer feel welcome and the basket contains the same kind of wool but it’s only been washed with no further processing.

Here are a couple more close-ups of our wares.

All in all, it was a good show.  We did better than we did last year.  We were a little more organized and we had a larger variety of products to sell this time.  We signed up to be there again next year so if you missed us this year, you’ll have another chance to see us in 2020.

Next up is the 2019 Texas Folk Life Festival in San Antonio, June 7-9.  Maybe we’ll see you there.

First Processed 100% Gulf Coast (Native) Wool

I guess there are a few firsts going on around here lately.  We got our order of roving and top back from Zeilinger Wool Company today.  Kudos to them for getting us our rush order a week before our first fiber show of the year.  24 pounds came in all together, but that includes the box, bags, and a bag of noil (short bits that didn’t process).  We ended up with 10 pounds of top and 9 pounds of roving.  Here’s the reveal…


So, big box & bags full of creamy colored fiber stuff!  Hmm, what’s next…


Above you see top to the left, all nicely coiled up, then roving on the right, then the whole haul.


And lastly, here’s a closer look at the actual products.  Top is the super thin stuff, roving is the thick stuff.

The top is just super whispy.  It’s extremely clean but even so, it has the odd bit of vegetable matter (VM) in it.  It must be virtually impossible to get it all out.  I have to admit to a bit of disappointment at how much VM was in the roving.  However, I don’t know what’s normal or possible when it comes to commercially made roving so my feelings may be unfounded.  I do know that when we use our hand drum carder we end up with less VM, but a whole lot of detail and picking goes into doing that.  A machine is only going to get so much out at each level of processing.  You can see the tremendous difference in the top vs. the roving.  The more steps, the less VM, and roving is pretty much the beginning product that you can get off the line.  Also, the cleaner the wool going in, the less VM coming out.  My sheep never go to the stylist.  They prefer to stick their heads into hay bales instead.  Given that, this may be the best that could be expected.  One very nice positive about the VM though is that its proof the wool was not acid washed and still in a very natural state. I simply don’t know what’s possible.  Hopefully it’ll still spin up really nicely.

Now we have to figure out how we’re going to price it.  The top will naturally command a premium, especially since this is 100% Gulf Coast Native sheep wool.  It’s very rare.  That doesn’t mean there will be a demand for it though.  Only time will tell there.  It’ll be interesting to see which sells better.

First DPR Meat Processing Trip

I’m starting this post “the night before” so time references will reflect that.

Tomorrow morning we head up to Johnson City to bring three ram lambs in for processing. This will be the first meat ever harvested from our ranch.   We’ll be using Harvest House Farms to do the job.  They’re USDA certified which makes things much simpler than a Texas Dept. of Agriculture (TDA) certified facility due to labeling requirements.  Since we’ve never done this before, we’ll have to get educated on what cuts we can get out of an animal.  While there are many possible cuts, only a certain number of them can be realized.  And if you pick one cut, you may lose the ability to get another kind.  I figure we’ll see if we can get any sales out of this meat and then decide when or if to process more.  We have four more in the immediate queue.  I do know we’re going to stock our own freezer with a bunch of this and, I hope, thoroughly enjoy it.  You’ll be some of the first to know!

So tonight, we had to play shuffle the sheep, trick the sheep, capture the sheep, and load the sheep.  It’s quite a game as you might imagine.  Then you follow that up with the “secure the trailer for transport” game.  Lives depend on that one so you gotta do it right.  I was behind a rancher hauling cattle once.  His trailer had rotten parts in the floor.  I was watching cows put their legs through the floor while this guy continued to tool on down the road.  I stopped him and pointed out his problem.  Not sure exactly what he did about it but I did what I could that day.  But you see what I mean.  Animal transport for any reason is not something to do carelessly.  But back to the “______ the sheep” game.  Our set up is very Red Neck Chic around here.  Nothing is modern or in good condition.  That makes the game more challenging.  Shockingly, and I do mean shockingly, we pulled off the whole maneuver without a hitch.  God had mercy on us!  It was almost like we knew what we were doing and had done it before.  Well, we have done some of it before.  Shuffle the sheep is an integral part of shearing day which we just had.  We also had a trick up our sleeve for the “trick the sheep” part.  You put the trailer where the animal is going to end up in the paddock with them and feed them in it for a few days.  Then they want to go in there.  One of the three didn’t even have to be caught, he just went right in.  I’m really hoping that tomorrow will be highly anti-climatic as I really don’t want ANY excitement to occur on this trip.  Excitement normally equals bad.  Now if we happen to find a winning lotto ticket lying around, that’s different…

For now, off to never never land until morning arrives far too quickly.

This was our redneck engineered livestock trailer.


The next day…

We got up at Oh dark thirty this morning to get on the road by 6:30.  We nearly made it.  Fortunately, the processor has a window of between 8:00 and 9:00 to drop off livestock.  We made it in plenty of time.  The trip was a little nerve-wracking for me as I’d never transported animals before.  I kept my speed down which at times blocked traffic behind me but not too badly.  Most of the trip was through the scenic hill country.  Unfortunately, that also means lots of curvy single lane roads with lots of ups and downs.  I worried about the trailer and cage staying together even though I secured it so heavily the guy at the processor even mentioned it to me.  The setup was a small 4 X 7 foot trailer with a sheet of plywood for the floor and a cage on top.  You can see in the pic above that we wrapped it with a tarp to keep the wind off the sheep.  It actually worked pretty well.

Once we arrived, we had to wait in line.  After a couple of cattle trailers unloaded, it was our turn.  Since the whole thing could not go off without a hitch, I busted one of the trailer side tail lights backing up.  Not badly but I’ll probably have to replace the whole light.  The unload was super easy.  They had a pretty nice multifunctional dock that fit my trailer as well as “normal” ones.  Once we unloaded and took off the now unnecessary bits of the setup, we went inside to set up the cut list.  Since this was the first time we’d ever had an animal processed, we had no idea what to expect or ask for.  I think they were so used to it that they really didn’t know what to tell a first timer but they did try.  I made it out the door to the truck twice before I turned around and asked questions again but I think we got most of it.  We’re getting a variety of cuts including one done in total ground so we’ll have a lot of ground lamb burger to sell.  The trip home was uneventful.

Now this next bit is kind of a sensitive subject but I want to be honest and open about the whole thing.  The trip was rather emotional.  Most people don’t think about where their food comes from for a second.  When you grow it, it’s a whole nuther ball game.  Even if you distance yourself from the animal, I found that for me, being directly involved was a little emotional.  It was a lot emotional for Mary.  In our work as ranchers, we’ve always felt the loss of any animal pretty keenly.  And if you did something that contributed to that loss, it really could hit you pretty hard.  In this case, we’re doing something on purpose that will cause the loss of the animal.  It makes the same feelings show up.  For me though, it means I’m going to respect the meals we get and the sales we get from those animals a whole lot more than I would if we had just bought some meat.  Now if you are not a meat eater for “moral” reasons, I’ll respect your choice if you respect mine.  I won’t argue with you about it in the comments though and if you’re an ass, I’ll delete you.  Honest questions are fine.

All in all, it was an adventure no matter how you look at it but I’m glad it’s over.



Finally, a Web Page!

I know it’s been a while but we have been busy on the publishing front. The blog just got neglected. Now that I can tie it into the new web site, however, I think that may spur a little more content. At least I hope so.  Here’s a gander at the title page:


Give it a click to go to the site.  The URL is since the dot com URL is taken for now.  Come on by and check out the shiny new digs.  We got some stuff you can buy now too!  Animals of course.  If you are close enough to us, or are willing to pay a ton of shipping, we got lamb and mutton coming available within the next few weeks.  As some of you know, my wife makes beautiful heirloom quality baskets and we have some of them for sale there too.  More to come as we figure out shipping options for the bigger ones.

Let me know what you think of the effort.  It’s all GoDaddy templates so I can’t take credit for doing anything but the content and leggo block building.  Still, I think it turned out pretty good.

Sheep & Goat Workshop

This weekend Mary and I traveled to Waco for a workshop on sheep & goat maintenance.  It started at 8 AM.  We live 3 hours away.  I’m not a morning person…

Still, it was an excellent experience.  Even the drive up.  It’s remarkably clear on the roads at 5 AM.  Go figure!  It was hosted by the amazing folks at World Hunger Relief.  Click over and check them out, maybe make a donation or volunteer or something.  The workshop was put on by the Texas AgrAbility Community of Practice folks (or on Facebook).  Our instructor was the intrepid Erin Kimbrough.  Topics covered included:

  • Applying ID Tags
  • Medication/Vaccinations
  • Castration
  • Record Keeping
  • Handling/Moving
  • Nutrition
  • Behavioral knowledge and selection
  • Breed knowledge and selection
  • Options for predator control
  • Hoof care

Some of this was completely new to us.  I had never trimmed hooves before or seen a kid or lamb banded, so we got some good info and hands on experience out of this that counted toward my phase three hours in the Battle Ground to Breaking Ground course I’m taking.  Naturally we took some pictures and video for you to enjoy.  Check it out.


Erin doing jazz hands


Instructor instructing instructionally


The crew

And a few more pics…

Our instructor Erin giving a goat a copper bolus capsule using an insertion gun (more like a big syringe).

James from World Hunger Relief drenching a goat. This is a way to orally inject medicine to control parasites in some farm animals.

Checking parasite load using the FAMACHA method. Part is a bit blurry but doesn’t detract too much.

One thing I had never experienced before was what drama queens goats are.  Man am I glad we raise sheep!

The Supervisor

A couple of days ago I felt like I was being watched.  Turns out I was right!  This hen decided things needed to be watched a little closer around the ranch.  Apparently the lack of supervision required her to step… er, fly in and take charge.  We had just checked out the new lamb and were going to get pictures of the rams to post for sale when we noticed our work being checked!

Obviously the rams were up to no good.  Horse play, tom foolery and head butting!  Let’s get back to work boys.

Do you need something human?  Can’t you see I’m super busy supervising things around here?  You’re what?  The owner you say?  Oh, very sorry sir!  Things are going eggcedingly well if you’ll pardon the pun.  The rams were just getting back to work and your newest lamb is progressing well.  Yes, er, um, back to the coop sir.  Have a nice day!

Newest Addition

Had the newest addition to the ranch this afternoon.

The black spot on her back is dirt.  She was probably only minutes old at this point.

Mom’s taking care of her.  It’s an assumed her at this point.

Whut ewe lookin’ at?

Fascinating Captain

I’d like to introduce you to Spock.

No, not THAT Spock!

THIS Spock!

Yes, we have a lamb named Spock, for VERY obvious reasons.  And he is, naturally, fascinating!  I suppose for the first post of 2018 it might as well be a weird one.  He’s a cute little booger.  But then again, all lambs are cute.  We’ve got quite a crop this year.  All mutts due to a jail break the boys made in November.  Who’s your Daddy?  Heck if we know.  While this did not help us grow our Gulf Coast herd it did give us some cuties.

As you can see he has the complete set of ‘brows.  We’ll have to work on teaching him the Vulcan greeting with those hooves.

Not sure if he’ll be an emotional sheep or a logical one.  He is a half-breed after all.  This could lead to a spat of Capt. Kirk, Scotty, or McCoy sheep as we have not yet named everyone in this crop.  I guess it’ll be OK as long as he doesn’t whip out a communicator and say “Baaaaeeeem me up!”


Woah!  Another post in 2017.  Better slow down a little 🙂

In January we’ll have been at the ranch for 5 years.  Last night we got the biggest snow fall I’ve ever seen in South Texas.   Don’t get too excited about that.  It didn’t take much to qualify for that title.  Still, it was very pretty to see this morning so I wanted to share a few views with you.  If we had grass, the ground would have been white too.  You can kind of see that when you look through the trees to the neighbors fields.  I guess we got between 1 and 2 inches.  Very pretty!

The yard.

The yard.

Wood pile.

Wood pile.

More woodpile.

More woodpile.

Looking down hill into neighbors pasture through the trees.

Looking down hill into neighbors pasture through the trees.

Fallen tree.

Fallen tree.

Llama eating frosted flakes!

Llama eating frosted flakes!

Sheep checking out snow while llama eats.

Sheep checking out snow while llama eats.





Lost Puppy, Found Puppy

Tonight was one of those evenings that gets your adrenaline up. Anxiety levels certainly rose a couple of notches. Mary and eldest daughter Rachel came in from the evening feeding and announced one of the puppies, Snowball, had not come when called for dinner. It was time to go looking. All four of us headed out the door and started scouring the property, calling for the dog.  After the property search, we started checking buildings and pits and holes.  It sure looked like she had fled the ranch.  Rachel and I hopped in the truck to look along the road.

After going as far up the road as we thought she could have possibly wandered and letting a neighbor know what was up, we turned around and started heading up driveways and talking to a couple of other neighbors.  In one area we heard a few barks that sounded a lot like her and gave that area a heavy going over.  Never did find the dog barking there.  So off the other direction we went.  Talked to a couple more neighbors.  Loosing a puppy is a great way to meet people.  And I guess it was rush hour because we ran into lots of folks coming home or just leaving.  Finally, we got to my immediate neighbor to the south of us who told us the puppies had been there earlier fooling around in his field.  Finally, a clue!  He said we could drive back there and look, so we did.  I left Rachel at one end and I drove down toward the river real slow.  Then I saw her.  A white lump that jumped a little.  She wasn’t moving normally and her head looked black.  Oddly, that’s not all that unusual for Great Pyrenees.  Ours routinely come home with black faces. So I got out and went over.  She had her head stuck in a plastic food container that had vanilla whey protein in it.  Not sure if there was any in there when the dog found it but it sure smelled, well, vanilla-ee.  And so did the dog.  She was stuck good and had probably been that way for hours.  I got the container off her head.  She looked pathetic.  No picture.  I did think about it though!  She was soggy, weed and burr covered, and wiped out.  She did smell very nice though!

We got her home and have now gone into mother hen recovery mode.  She must have drunk a gallon of water when we got back to the house.  Now she’s inside with us with her sister, most likely milking this for all it’s worth.  But, we need to keep an eye on her for a while, so she gets to milk it all she wants.  The other mutts aren’t too happy about the change but they’ll live.  I’m coming down from the event and trying to decompress.  We were supposed to go out tonight for an event but that got preempted by Snowball’s antics.  It’d be nice to think the dog learned something from this, but if she did, it’s probably only that there’s good smelling trash next door and I should go back and check it out again!  I guess that’s puppy hood.

Never a dull moment around the Double Portion Ranch.

Checking out Chicks

I got as close as I’ve been to the emu chicks today.  If I had to bet a nickle, I’d say we have one male and 4 females.  I had one visual of a circle pattern on top of one chicks head but I couldn’t get that shot.  Here’s a couple I did get.

In this one, the chick closest to the bottom has what looks like a circle pattern of feathers on it’s head.  All the rest have speckles or stripes.  Circles indicate males.

Center bottom chick may be male

Hanging out together

On the move


Spring’s Sproinging Once Again

It’s the end of March and Texas Spring is a happening thing.  A lot of things in life have been happening and I haven’t had the motivation to keep up with the blog much over the last year or so.  I’ve had the desire to though!  My wife has now gotten into the writing act and is going great guns.  Check her out at   I think you’ll like her stuff.

Anyway, back to the ranch.  We purposely took a year off from lambing.  Given the stresses of the last year or so that was probably the right course of action even though we did it to rest the sheep.  I do miss the new little ones we’d be seeing about now though.  Not to fear!  The Double Portion has indeed produced babies this year.  Two of them we bought but are now as much a part of the ranch as any creature here.  Meet Snowball and Sugar, the next generation of our Livestock Guard Dog team.

Sugar and Snowball shortly after arrival at the ranch.

Sugar and Snowball shortly after arrival at the ranch.


The new babies with my babies!

The new babies with my babies!

And what, you may ask, did the ranch actually produce?  Well…

We have these:

One of our three adult Emus

One of our three adult Emus

What's happening here?

What’s happening here?

And they make these:

Emu eggs found on the ranch

And when things work out just right, you get these!

The babies

Hanging with Dad, or Mom.  We're not sure!

Hanging with Dad, or Mom. We’re not sure!

Don't get stepped on!

Don’t get stepped on!

Five baby emus were born this spring at the ranch!  I honestly did not expect this.  They are strange birds.  Fun to watch, and even affectionate sometimes.  If nothing else, they’re a great conversation starter.  We’ve also had humming birds starting to arrive.  Everything is greening up.  The wild flowers are starting.  God’s annual renewals is in full swing and it’s always a sight to behold.  I hope you enjoy a few pictures of what we get to see here.  Have a great day!

On The Road Again

One thing about living on the Double Portion Ranch, there’s always something new and unexpected popping up.  Today was a ranch first.  It was either ‘Take a chicken to Church’ day, or a whole new take on ‘Free Willie’.  You see, we now own a chicken named Willie Nelson.  It’s a hen, but I don’t care.  That’s its name. My most humble apologies to the famous singer.  (Willie, I bet you never had a hen named after you before!)


Today we had a chicken go “On The Road Again”.  It really was ‘again’ since it had already had one ride in the big red Ford when it came home from the store.  This one was just not planned.  Here’s a pic or two of the little stowaway.

In order to avert catastrophe, every time I fire up the red truck of happiness I have to run through a checklist.  A smooshed animal definitely qualifies as a catastrophe around here. Thus, the “Clear regions under, next to, or in front of the truck” checklist was born.  It goes something like this:

  • Sheep – almost always under.  Poke with walking stick.  Hope they stay out. Check.
  • Chickens – Same thing.  Poking has no effect.  They always go back under. Check.
  • Dogs – Smarter animals.  Always move because they know better. Check.
  • Llama – Can’t fit under but will lay next to.  Just threaten to pet. Moves immediately. Check.
  • Emus – Must run directly in front of moving vehicle.  No way to stop. Go slow. Check.

I now have to add “scan possible perch sites” to the chicken check.  I’m sure we’re not the first to experience this, but when it’s your first time, it’s a bit shocking!

This morning we headed off to church as is our custom on Sundays.  It’s a little over 11 miles and the trip takes us through historic downtown Seguin.  Speeds vary but do get up to 55mph in spots.  Nothing appeared out of the ordinary.  As we were getting out of the truck, a young guy walking by says “I see you brought your chicken to church today!”  Mary and I are like, “huh?”  So he points under the truck, and there she was.  We were dumbstruck for a moment.  I think I said something about it being holy, or at least that word was used.  Up in front of the back tire, perched on a rod of some kind, sat the chicken later to be called Willie.  It was not moving.  Mary thought it was dead.  I knew it would not still be sitting there if it were so I was at least a little relieved.  What the heck do we do about it though?  Obviously I had to get it out.  Luckily I drive a ranch truck that comes equipped with stuff to handle situations like this.  Except for a box to put the chicken in.

I started to go for the chicken and decided this event really needed to be recorded for posterity, or hilarity, or something, so Mary grabbed my phone and we took the video below.  After I got the chicken out, Mary had to go into the church and explain what was happening and ask for a box to put it in.  That’s a situation you don’t face every day.  Fortunately, they believed her, eventually.  What’s even funnier is that they were having a BBQ after church in the parking lot and had the pit all fired up and going.  Looks like we brought the chicken!  (I kid, I kid!  It made it back home to the coop just fine. This time, inside the truck.)


I’m getting a bit of the writing itch again.  I’m going to resuscitate the blog so I can scratch that itch.  I want to start slow though and find a happy writing level that is more consistent.  The ranch needs a voice since it has a mission.

A No S#%t Recall and 25 Years of Marriage

A little over 25 years ago I was engaged to be married to a lovely woman named Mary Hoch.  I was in the Air Force at the time and part of a 24-hour mobility team.  Unfortunately, Iraq had also just invaded Kuwait around this time and the U.S. military was very close to becoming involved.  Mary and I were supposed to be married in February, a date we had already moved up.  Both of us knew I could get called up to go to this little war, so we set things up in advance to have an “emergency” wedding should the need arise.  Then, on January 9th, 1991, I was awakened early by a telephone call telling me to grab my bags and prepare to deploy!  I called Mary and told her not to worry.  Naturally, she worried.  I went in and we went through all the bag drag procedures before we were told it was an exercise.  Since nobody knew better, to us it was a no s#%t recall.  We thought we were gone to the Middle East.  Naturally, this lights a fire under one’s booty to get all affairs in order.

Once everything calmed down, Mary and I activated our emergency plan.  Our wedding day was an insane story all its own, complete with car wrecks and discount Christmas card shopping!  For now, let’s just go with the fact that on January 11th, 1991 we were married and became husband and wife.  That happened 25 years ago today!  I thought I’d mark the occasion with this blog post for all to see.

25 years ago I married my love Mary.  I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  Fortunately, God did.  I knew I wanted a life long commitment but based on what I saw in my life and others, I expected marriage to be hard and rocky with lots of fighting.  So, I prepared as best I could.  I read many Christian marriage/relationship books.  We did premarital counseling.  We prayed to God for our marriage and relationship and family.  As it turned out, we found out we were really well suited for each other!  Yeah, we fight every so often with each other.  But we fight for each other every day.  It makes a big difference!

Not only does this woman put up with me just as I am, she actually loves me too!  How cool is that.  And…

She ranches with me!

2014-11-08 16.02.37

She takes care of our sheep (and other animals)!

2013-08-21 17.31.45

She loves small dogs!

2014-04-24 19.47.06

That turn into big dogs!

2015-06-06 15.31.18

She sticks with me rain…


Or shine…

2013-08-21 17.36.37



Or Winter…


Loves all my jokes!


And gave me a pretty cool family!


It really doesn’t get any better than this folks.  I can truly say I have everything in life I’ve ever wanted.  It’s all gravy now and has been for a while.  God is good!  Life is good!  It’s not easy or perfect by a long shot, but it’s good!



Pigs With Wings

Otherwise known as Ducks!  We had 3 adult ducks here for quite some time and we get one to two eggs from them a day.  I supply these eggs to a lady that has very few options for protein due to allergies.  When the ducks molt, or go on strike, or don’t feel like it, or for whatever reason stop laying, this can be a problem.  So, after seeing an ad locally for some, we bought 10 chicks.  Two of them did not survive for reasons unknown.  They’re about 16 days old today and have more than doubled in size.  They’ll clean out the feeder you see in the pictures in a day and have just started fully draining the water container (although, how much they simply play and splash may have something to do with its consumption rate).  We think they’re a mix of Mallard and some similar type of duck I can’t recall the name of.  Might get green eggs out of some which would be neat.

Here’s some pictures and video of the little critters.  I’ll have to upgrade the cage one more time and then they can go out with the big ducks.  Just a short post today to share cute duck pics.  More to come!




Tid bits

Rain or Shine?

Uh, shine for sure.  Supposedly we’re in that El Nino weather pattern too where it rains all the time.  Yeah, not so much.  We had LOTS of rain this spring and then it just flat out shut off.



It was actually 106 about a minute before I took that picture.




Yes, that is indeed a chance of 4 – 100ths of an inch of rain on Wed.  Probably means it’s just going to be really humid!



Does this happen?

Door with frog.

Look closely…

Frog on hook.



Why yes that is a frog on our towel hook!


It’s better angle…

No, we have no idea how it got there, why it went there, or what it’s hopes and dreams were.  We did, however, escort it off the premises…


Just Chillin…

Pretty self-explanatory.

Stat chillin



Our central AC pretty much quit cooling this spring so when we could finally scrape up enough cash we got a 12000 BTU window unit and put it in the living room.  Stat is enjoying that in this picture.  Given how well the window unit works, I’m not sure we’ll bother to fix the central.  Might get that wood stove we wanted for winter in a couple of months instead!

Kind of in the summer doldrums for now.  But!  Winter is coming!  At least that’s the theory I’m hoping for.

Who Knew Emus Liked Car Rides?

Not me!  But I got to find out yesterday afternoon.  Now, “like” might be a bit of a stretch.  Tolerate is probably a better term.  Lucky for us, it was Cow Lick that got to ride in the Malibu, now forever more known as “The Ranch Car”.  So you might be wondering, just exactly why this particular emu was riding in our car today.  That…, is a very good question!  And yes, there’s a story…

Cow Lick getting his first ride in the Malibu.

Cow Lick getting his first ride in the Malibu.

You might have heard that Texas has had a wee bit of rain this spring.  Nothing serious, death, destruction, bridges washed out, that kind of thing.  Practically just drizzle.  When we moved here to the ranch, the outgoing owner said the bottom corner where our historic well is used to get some serious water flow until they built some houses next to us.  I can only conclude that it never seriously rained here after they built those so he never saw any further spontaneous river formation at that end of the property.  After a 6 inch drenching a few days ago, it appears that the rivers do still flow!  Funny thing about flood waters.  They tend to go and pick up all kinds of stuff that was just laying around and move it with a great deal of force.  Stuff like trees for instance!

Our property used to be lined with 100% vertical fencing.  On the South East corner, we now have several yards of horizontal fencing.  Not only is it laying down, it is also covered with a nice carpet of flood debris.  It’s almost like a magic gate opened up down there.  One that beckons animals of all types and says, “Come through me!”  We are sooo, sooo blessed that apparently only one emu heard that beckoning.  And it was our nicest, most cooperative emu to boot.  He needed to roam.  Feel the wind in his feathers.  All that kind of stuff.

Flood damaged fence by old well.

Flood damaged fence by the old well.

So I’m at work when I get an email showing the downed fence and shortly after a call explaining a note left on our gate said the emu was next to the neighbors house.  Turns out it wasn’t the next door neighbor, but the next next door neighbor, maybe 1/4 or more miles away.  After coming home early from work I changed and gathered up my emu wrangling tools and went looking for Cow Lick.  He was doing what he likes to do, which is pace back and forth along the fence.  It just wasn’t my fence.  I guess he got a new view out of it at least.  I tried to get him to move by bribing him with some corn.  While he happily munched on it while it was within reach, he wasn’t interested in actually moving to get more.  This wasn’t looking good.

If you remember some time back, we had The Great Llama Escape from the ranch.  That took me three posts to properly describe.  It was not fun! Repeating that in any similar way was to be dreaded and feared.  While I was standing there contemplating solutions to this problem, our neighbor that we had never met came out and, after introductions, we chewed the fat some and discussed the situation.  Turns out she wasn’t interested in acquiring an emu so that option was out.  About this time the wife called and said she was home from the vet and asked if I needed help.  Do you get the impression we have a few animal issues?  I said “Of course.”  So she drove on over.  Somewhere in between this time I actually managed to put a rope around Cow Licks neck and “encouraged” him to go the few steps to the nearby gate and come to the other side of the fence.  While doing so I spotted two rat snakes sitting in the tall grass near the fence.  One was absolutely huge.  I tried to get them to get out of Dodge by tapping them with my walking stick.  They didn’t want to move.  Fortunately, that was the extent of their involvement.

Cow Lick was a bit of a drama queen, but at least he’s the forgiving sort.  Once we got the brief relocation by foot over with, he just waited next to me.  I kept trying to figure out if I could get him in the back of the truck or even in the back seat.  None of those scenarios played out well in my head for a number of reasons.  The most obvious of which was it would require the emu to climb or me to lift him.  That wasn’t a prospect I was interested in trying given his powerful legs and raptor-like talons.  However, going downhill might not be as much problem.  Hmmm.  A plan was forming.

Wifey had daughter #1 along.  This made things even easier.  We’d use the push-pull method and put the emu in the back seat of the car!  What could possibly go wrong?  I know it would make for a much better story, but really, not much did go wrong.  It took a little convincing for daughter Raye to come around to the idea, but we all knew it was better than trying to drag the emu back to our property.  Cow Lick didn’t really want to get in the car, but once he was unceremoniously pushed, in he went.  He did struggle a bit but soon found a way to get comfortable.  I think the following pictures tell the story pretty well.

Good idea

Really Dad? This is a good idea?

What just happened

Hey! What just happened there?

Quit pouting

Oh, quit pouting. We’re almost home.

Home alive

See? Smile! We made it home alive and everything!

As we thought, at the end of the ride, Cow Lick wasn’t all too keen on getting out of the car any more so than he was getting in.  With a little encouragement though, out he went.  Raye bravely rode with him all the way.  I think they bonded a bit 🙂

So another adventure at The Double Portion Ranch comes to a safe, if not entirely sane, end.  And now we know we can transport livestock in a Chevy Malibu to boot!  I would like to see the looks on the road we’d get doing that…


Goodness, it’s dusty in here.  Obviously this needs to be used more.  Hack, sneeze, cough, cough!!!

Last summer I felt like God was telling me that things were going to change “pretty darn quick”.  I’m in the middle of that change right now.  There’s been a ton to write about, but I haven’t felt like writing for a while.  My depression has made a rather dramatic reappearance over the course of the last year.  It may have been the result of my not tolerating a generic form of a medication, but it has not been helped by some truly depressing circumstances to boot.  It’s kind of hard to fix it and know what’s what when you are not in a good place to do so.  But hey, all that’s rather depressing isn’t it?  I need to acknowledge that, but I don’t want to dwell on it.  I’m just not spurred to write much when I’m down.  Guess I must be feeling a little better eh?

It’s the beginning of summer here at the Double Portion.  My sheep are not yet sheared, but I hope to get them done soon and learn how to do it myself to boot.  Lack of money has hampered this, but we’re hoping to get a little extra in soon and be able to get a few things done beyond just surviving.  We got some rye grass planted last fall and it came up very nicely everywhere.  Due to the cost, we were not able to get any Bermuda planted this spring.  That may hurt us this summer and cause us to go back to hay for a while but thus far, the sheep have been completely on forage since fall.  That… is rather cool!  There is a lot of clover everywhere and we’ve gotten so much rain that things are crazy green here still.  More is forecast over the next week and things are just starting to dry and crack so it’s good timing.

When we are able to shear the sheep, I want to sell the wool.  I’ve been reading that some GCN sheep actually produce award winning wool.  This would be a good thing!  I don’t know if mine have good wool.  If they don’t, I’m going to buy some that do and mix them in to work on that trait.  Looking back it looks like I really haven’t said much about the sheep in a while.  They have been busy, in their sheep like ways.

This spring we had 7 baby lambs from the new sheep.  Our pets each had one as well so a total of 9 were born.  All are doing well.  The GCN’s had 3 sets of boy/girl twins and a sole girl named Seven for the last delivery.  All are cute as buttons naturally.  The way the birth order went, we can diversify genetically with what we have very nicely too.  Luckily, I have been taking a lot of pictures and video.  Do allow me to share some with you!

Mount Llama

Mount Llama

I seriously don’t know how Frenchie put up with this.  Sure was cute though!

Spring newborns

Spring newborns