All Sorts Of Extra Work

Well, as many of you know, we got flooded again this last June, so two years in a row. And even though we had done a TON of dirt work, grading, etc after the last flood, it proved to be not enough for this flood. After two years in a row of barely saving our house, we thought we should really rethink why this was happening, what we could and couldn’t control, and what we should do about it. Obviously, moving is not an option. This is the big issue right here.

That is the ditch, across the street, in front of our house. The length of this spans almost exactly the same length of our property. On the other side of this ditch, are hundreds of anchors of farmland. It is apparent that just about everything around, is draining to the farmland, the farmland is draining to the ditch, and the ditch doesn’t even come close to handling the amount of water it gets. So it tops over (the road was about 8 inches covered the last flood) and sends all of the water to our property.

What makes it even worse, is the only place the ditch drains to, is the ditch in front of our property, so we get 100% of what can’t fit in the ditch itself.

To be fair, many, many others got flooded as well in both of these weather events, they were massive events, but we are really only concerned with trying to keep it from happening again. This last event, Vivian and I were on the front porch for hours, with a puch broom and snow shovel, trying to keep the water from coming into the house. It made it to the threshold, but not the house. 🙂

So, let’s talk about the porch for a moment, as this is where the danger to the house comes from.

Two main areas that the water has been coming from at the porch. This opening here is where most of the water came from that really threatened the house; it was rushing in like a river. We already had the raised bed gardens up, but we just finished that small block wall this last week, it’s that last piece to all of this.

That’s what it looks like from the outside. Alone it would not have been enough, but with the other work we have done, I think it will be great.

So next was that the water was coming in from the openings between the three raised bed gardens. So we expanded the Cedar outside of the raised beds , and turned them into a wall. Then we created a burm in front of those as well.

The next issue was to the left of that, by the driveway. The porch opens right to the driveway, and a bunch of water would come in from there as well and just dump into the porch. So Vivian created a really nice burm there as well and really did an amazing jum of getting grass to grow on it and deep.

We are still allowing it to grow, so really haven’t cut it down yet but it really looks like it should do pretty well in a flood.

But none of this actually addressed the real issue, which was water coming over the road like a flash flood, and basically making a river of our entire property. What we did for that was to build a flood wall, directly across from the ditch. The floodwall angles back a bit toward our property, and spans the whole property, except for the last 15 feet or so on each side.

The idea is that we know the water will be coming, we can do nothing to change that. What we fell we can change is the direction of the water. If we put it to the two ends of our property, where we have already create gullies for the water to travel and do it early enough, we feel like there will be a much less chance of it overwhelming the center of our property, where the hous is.

The last real big issue we had, was that on the right side of the house, the water would come around the house, and directly hit our shop, washing out the dirt that the shop sits on. So we built this.

That will keep the water moving in its a natural flow, but push it just a few more feet out. Allowing it to get past the shop and run its course on down to the lake.

We are certainly in no hurry to try all of this out, but we feel pretty good about it.

Poor Cat

Don’t look if you are squeamish at all. 🙁

One of the tough things about having somewhat wild cats on the property is to find the balance from keeping them wild and turning them into pets. Turn them into a pet, and their chances of survival outside go down, just the cold hard truth.

Our favorite cat, them male, who was born with a bobbed tail, go into a scrape with something; something bigger and stronger. We figured, looking at the wounds, that he probably stuck hit hear in a burrow or something.

His head was a scratched up, a big patch of hair from his head was gone, both ears chopped up, a long slice down his back and a pretty deep wound on his tail.

It took him a good week before he would even really come around, even to be fed. He’s been getting progressively better but his tail has been bothering him, we could tell.

Well, this morning there was a bunch of hair missing, in a ring around his tail. We figured he was pulling out the hair to get to the wound to take care of it. Later I saw what’s next, we found the tail laying back by where he had been sitting.

Cat tail missing Missing Cat Tail

It looks like it just peeled right off, like a glove linger coming off and leaving the finger beneath. Sent the image to the vet, I guess we’ll see.

Nasty though, for sure.



Three Cats

I’ve never been a big “cat” guy, but we inherited four small kittens right after we moved here.

Cats in truck

Their father is a cat/bobcat mix and mother a stray black cat that seemed to like our property quite a bit.

She had four small kittens, we trapped all five of them (not the father), had then fixed and brought them back to the property to help with rodents.

We lost one of the cats early on when she got ran over on the main street in front of the house, but all in all, they have been great to have around. When we moved here there were all sorts of rodents all over the place, and plenty of cockroaches as well. The cat’s love those guys :-).

The cats are all outdoor cats and we feed them just enough to keep them feeling good, sticking around and hunting. Our main rodent cat got sick and wasn’t helping out the cause too much. We had to take him to the vet and get all sorts of stuff done. Hate spending money like that, heh.

Anyway, looks like it’s paid off and we are back to hunting. He brought this up to show us how good he’s feeling.

Cat and mouse


Still clearing land

One of the great things about living here is with the trash service, they will also haul away some natural rubbish. This month I think we may have pushed it too far.

In front of house

The pile was quite high already, but today my Friend from Colorado, Steve, of “Steve and Katie” fame, who are on the last few days of a two-month stay, has moved up a bunch of the palm tree fronds from the back of the property.

So while we have been working on the house, we’ve also been clearing quite a bit of the property, faster than we can get it out of here really.

felled trees

We have these piles of dead trees, branches, etc all over the place. We’ll try to mulch as much of it as we can, burn some and take some out to the road to be hauled away.

With Steve and Katie on their way out, we are getting ready to have three rounds of Grandkids visiting so we are working on finishing up the last bits of construction in the house. We have to wrap of the closing of the main house to the studio.

studio door

And FINALLY, we have decided how we want to treat the fireplace in the main house, framed it in late last week, will drywall today, then tape and float, spackle and paint. Hopefully, we can get it done before the kids start showing up.


It takes effort

So here is a little secret about life; It takes effort. I know, what an idiot right? Of course, it takes effort! But what a lot of people forget, is that it takes effort for all of us!

We do pretty darn good I think, Vivian and I. I make a nice living and we pretty much get to do what we want, when we want. What’s not to love about that? But the truth is that MOST of us are in that exact same position. The difference is that I am aware of it. People thought we were nuts for making the move down here, and maybe we were, but it’s been great!

We came down for a 30 day visit, bought and closed a house in those 30 days, and a house that by the way, many others thought we were crazy for buying. The plan was to come and work on it months at a time, with the construction paid for by another deal we were working on. And then just 60 miles or so from home, on our trip back, the other deal fell through. The call was devastating and 100% unexpected. I would have given chances of that happening at 0%.

But instead, we said screw it, put the house up for sale, sold it ourselves, for cash, and moved. From the day we left for vacation, to the day we were moved down permanently to Harlingen Texas, three and a half months.Spring in bloom

Have I mentioned how much I love it down here? This is a pic of one of the neighbor’s lawns down the street.

Anyway, we choose to change our lives, to mix it up a bit and do something different. We didn’t have to do it, and we didn’t wait for somebody to do it for us. YOU decide the changes that you want in your life. Start making small changes in that direction today, and keep moving. You WILL get there.