Thursday, November 27, 2008

Working on the Chain Gang

Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. Did I ever mention that Wimberley is a rocky place? We've hauled so many tons of rocks away to create more walkable areas. And we are still at it, this time with a whole crew of us turning big rocks into little rocks. Kinda like a chain gang, less the chains, working for nothing but food and shelter. Maybe next time we should borrow a little sing-along from the chain gangers to make it seem like fun.

For this Thanksgiving I'm definitely thankful that I don't have to do this for a living. And thankful that I can pay someone else to do it except when we choose to dabble a little.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

All in the Family

Fall in Wimberley is always a special time for me, and this year has topped them all. The house is now far enough along to be able to spend time relaxing, without worrying about bugs, keeping clean, and weather. Which means visits from our kids and grandkids are now much easier. Last month we had a great visit from Vanessa and Alex (First three photos.)

Vanessa and Alex assembling our 2nd wheel-barrow!
Vanessa helping me out with the final foundation for the water tank arbor.

November brought Stacey, with her husband Gregg, our grandson Braden, and new granddaughter Kara. Aside from plenty of chowing down at Wimberley area restaurants, we did manage to get a bit of work down also. The first pic from that visit shows Stacey preparing an anchor for the kitchen cabinets while Braden supervises her work.

World's most blessed Granddaddy. With Kara, Braden, and a beautiful hill country view, all at the same time.

These two siblings REALLY do love each other.

Grandpa enjoying Kara.

Grandma Ann enjoying Kara MORE!

Teaching Braden how to water the plants. And the dirt. And the rocks. And his shoes.

And teaching him how to bust rocks with a sledge hammer heavier than he is.

Braden helping out Vicente with some serious dirt moving.

Probably Braden's favorite event of the visit- throwing rocks into the pond. Ah, the simple pleasures...

The family relaxing after the exhausting rock throwing adventure.

All in all, perhaps my favorite October and November on record. Despite crazy work schedules for Ann and me, too much work travel, a vehicle break-in, a collapsing world economy, and that little thing about the ongoing destruction of our planet...
Peace on Earth. Right here in Wimberley.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

World's Greatest Cabinet Installers

OK, maybe we aren't the world's best installers. But at least not the worst. We managed to get the cabinets pictured in the kitchen in place without any noticeable mistakes. The crack team included my son Alex for the heavy lifting, and daughter Vanessa for other help and advice.

The cabinets have low VOC (volatile organic compound, like formaldehyde) emissions to ensure a healthy environment. Of course, like many green building products it also ensures they they cost more than the standard particle-board backed cabinets that you find in most homes today.

Once the kitchen is complete it is on to the master bath, where the rest of the cabinets will be installed. Hopefully I can get the same installation crew back to help out when that time comes. What a team!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fancy New Work Table

Since I'm sorta living in and sorta working on various parts of the house, I've got materials and tools piled just about everywhere. Very little area to work on things. So, this new Whirlpool bath is serving temporary duty in the kitchen until I can get it's permanent home in the bathroom ready. Whirlpool baths come in great big boxes with nice flat surfaces, so right now it's the best place available for working on the bookshelves and other items.

This growing mess leads me to an early resolution for the coming new year: "Stop buying new stuff, and start installing the stuff I already have faster." Which should compliment my newly reduced ability to buy new things anyway, since after the recent market downturn my 401K now more closely resembles a 201K...

Rock and Roll

We've been moving rocks around our Wimberley property for several years now. Moving them to property lines, lining paths and terraces with them. This work has transformed much of the acreage from "impossible to walk on without stumbling". While it's not exactly a putting green now, it is better. The last of the rocks to be moved were some of the heaviest, so I picked a time when I had plenty of victims... er, I mean visitors, to help.

I'm not sure the ancient Egyptians would have been too impressed with our heavy rock transporting scheme, but it worked. I can't really call our technique "rolling" because that implies continuous movement. Maybe "flipping many times" is more accurate. We moved them to a flat area and created a sitting area, under the idyllic notion that some of us elders could site on these big 'ol rocks and watch the grandkids run around someday. Or maybe watch the grandkids climb all over the rocks. Anyway, it was hard work and we are not done yet. But we're definitely done for a few months or so, until we re-stock our depleted supply of BenGay ointment.

See that long line of rocks in the background of this last photo? That's the growing collection of rocks on one of the property lines. Most of them were put there by my hired hands Vicente, Joe, and their brothers. Some by me. And now a few by my children Vanessa and Alex who were great sports about helping out. Thanks kids!

Lived-in Living Room

Although I still have work to do completing the living room trim and bookshelves, I couldn't resist bringing in this leather couch. NOW. Ann couldn't resist snuggling up in it with her iPhone to check it out, and luckily it passed her comfy test.

So, I'll now be responsible for keeping drywall and other construction dust off of it for many months until the house is complete. But at least we have one room that is starting to look like home, and just in time for the holidays.