Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hog Fiction Apr 2013

Mickey had asked us for years to come stay at the ranch, so this April we went for a month. We loaded the Pom into the BMW -- Deb's new car that at 9 months old had just 1000 miles on it -- and headed out for Buffalo, TX a 2500-mile roundtrip. We decided to drive on side-roads that generally parallel the interstate as maybe we'd get to see something. Only problem? There is NOTHING to see from Northern Florida until you get to Texas. Just run-down towns and abandoned buildings. Hard to believe it's the USA.

Route hugs the Gulf coast -20' elevation

Day 1 is getting late as we pull into Biloxi. MS for the night. On Day 2, we cross into Texas. Note the 75 mph speed limit on the wide, Texas back-roads.

Finally at the ranch. We jumped into the carts for a quick tour. Newly enlarged pond is now HUGE and filled with Bluegills and Bass.

Cows (who are registered Democrats) mobbed us for free handouts.
For all of you have been here before, the rolling hills and open fields are quite beautiful. Here a solitary bull wanders down for an evening drink.
This is the view we have from the front of the new Ranch House
Solitude of Lake Woebegone

OK, Time to Get Some Work Done!
Little -- if any -- maintenance had been done on the house for the last 13 years. My goal was to give the house a make-over from the street to the front of the house. The paint was peeling everywhere, brick was dirty and the color scheme we called 'Crappy Brown' wasn't working for us. 

Step 1 was to head to the Ace Hardware in Buffalo and pick out some more attractive colors. 

Step 2 was to pressure wash the entire house to get it ready for the new paint.
Pressure washing with TSP
The old paint was Brown-Everwhere. Who wants to look UP and see a brown sky? We found an off-white that looked great against the clean brick. So OFF with the brown...

"Looks like a new House", says Mike.

Detail work with the finish accent color


Debbie added the Calibrachoa flowers
Last thing was to paint the patio. But what color? There is one thing in Texas you cannot escape--the omnipresent dirt. I didn't want a nice new patio to show every foot print. So I scooped up some of that dirt, put it in a jar, scurried off to the paint store and had them match the dirt color! Seriously. After the paint was dry, I sprinkled the original dirt over the dry paint and it disappeared. 
Color was an exact match for the Texas Dirt

The Money Shot

Time for a break. We had all those empty paint cans. Maybe Debbie can help by putting some holes in them?

Then Mike went checking on the cows only to discover that the very-pregnant-Rosie was missing; so she must have gone off to have her calf. Could we find her? After about an hour of searching the remote corners of the grounds we found her with a healthy calf just a few hours old. This was Rosie's first calf but the interesting thing was that she chose to deliver probably not 100 feet from the spot where she herself had been born.
Hours-old new calf
Proud Papa looks on at a distance

OK, time to clean up the yard. What's that expression? Many paws make quick work? Itty Bitty drove the tractor to the dump site.
Itty Bitty Tractor Driver

Debbie found it easier to hose off the louver doors OUTSIDE
All that play and work builds up an appetite. Mick grills Bratwurst and made sure we were well-fed.

Itty Bitty woofs down her dinner, too.

Now with the house all sorted, the next bits looked shabby by comparison. Some barbed wire posts needed repair...

That rusty pink gate was begging for a new coat of high-gloss black...

No More Pink Gate

But that MAILBOX was first on my list. Repair the door, bang out the major dents, high-gloss black enamel and get the new family name painted over the old.
Scott doesn't live here anymore

Looks like new...

Found this beautiful cedar in the woods and gave it a new home by the front gate
New Fresh Appearance - From the Mailbox to the Porch
Ahh, I thought I was done. But one thing still bugged me. Why did someone cover up those windows with plywood? The windows were double-glazed, expensive stuff. Why paint it on the inside and board it up? Only one way to find out. Pull off one. Wow, the house looks better. Maybe I should pull off another? And another?
Why cover them up?
Last one to go...

Plywood gone: We have a stunning architectural window feature!
OK, so WHY do I call it Hog Fiction? Because in all the time I have been there I have never seen a feral pig. Not once. Deer, yes, they are everywhere. They seem to get a good laugh out of the Hog Fiction Ranch name.


The Tour Bus
Texas Flowers (Spiderwort)

Itty Bitty Doggie - Movie Star