New York, New Foal and New Home….

We made the trip to New York to pick up the motor home right after moving all of our stuff to the ranch house. Then we left Sunday 3 days later for New York. Then Monday morning we killed some time visiting the falls before our motor home walk through at 1pm.

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We spent the first night sleeping in a very small RV camp that was set up at the dealers office. Everything went fine except we were never really on shore power because plug was dead. Then early Tuesday afternoon we left for Columbus Ohio but turned around when an hour out because it was raining and we couldn’t figure out how to turn on the windshield wipers. After a short period with the service guys we figured it out and took off. The trip was interesting with rain all the way, lots of traffic and all of Ohio had road construction going on. We finally arrived at Columbus and camped out in a Walmart parking lot where there were numerous semi-trucks to snuggle up to.

At the dealer,

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Wednesday morning we got up early and headed for Jackson Tennessee for night 2. While passing through Kentucky we spent 3 hours looking for and buying Big Ass Bourbon which was interesting pulling a 40 foot motor home up to local liquor stores where there’s little parking and lots of stuff to run into.

When we arrived in Jackson we headed for a Walmart that was visitor friendly and found several motor homes already there resting. The next day we stopped in Dallas so we could link up with our son, Charlie, and his sweetie Alex.

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And the next morning we got up early and headed for the ranch. While traveling through the Texas Hill Country we got a call telling us that our pregnant jennet, Valentine, had given birth to a foal 2 weeks early. We arrived at 10:30 and parked the motor home next to the barn.

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Our plans were to wash her, clean her up inside, dump the tanks and then put her in the barn. After a few days, I dumped the grey tank and put her in the barn. Since then John and Stephen opened up the septic so we can dump there from now on. We will take her out and wash her soon since we are FINALLY getting the house straightened out.

Our foal was a girl which is what we wanted but when we went to see her it was obvious to Julie and I that she was very weak and not nursing. I called our vet and he told me to milk the mare and feed the foal. We did this for several hours and son she was standing up and nursing. One issue with her was that she was so tall that she had trouble nursing but she figured it out after her mom started picking up her leg to help her.

When we found her,

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A few days later,

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My ranch dog, Angel, watching,

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The foal today,

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There is nothing as exciting as having foals here at the ranch, I am glad that we can spend more time breeding and raising these wonderful animals!

Our road is now complete from the highway to the house.

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And the house is getting close now. We still have to get garage doors installed and some other significant items but we are almost there. I told our builder 2 days ago to stay out here with me until this house is done. I hate having all these people around all the time.

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The casita,

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We are looking forward to a great winter here with all our animals living in a very quiet place. Though our big Jack Dynamite does bray every morning before daylight wanting us to come out and play.

More later…….

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Move-in Hell

Well we have all the furniture in or around the house. Tough week with the move and taking care of animals while trying to complete the house. We still have a lot of work that needs to be completed in the house for it to be really livable. They should finish most of this next week while we are in New York picking up the motorhome.

John and Stephen ave all the water lines and tanks ready for winter. We trimmed all the jackstock hooves this week with Stephen getting a training class from our ferrier. This will really help us when our long time ferrier and friend Craig is hurt or not available. He needed help this week since a cow hurt his hand a month or so ago.

I have some pictures of the house that I took this morning before we left for Austin and they will show both progress as well as a mess in certain areas. We will have to finish this after we get back.

Pool Area

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Living room

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Dining Room

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Master Bed Room

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Patio

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Jim’s Office

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Game Room

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Bar

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Kitchen

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Casita

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We hope to provide updates on our trip from New York to Llano but it will depend on where we are and bandwidth.

Jim and Julie

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Getting Closer

We are getting close to our first Jack Stock foal for this year and hopefully getting close to our realistic move in date at the house. The foal is due in 5 weeks and we hope to move in on October 15th.

I spent some quality time with our zebra last week and determining that our new foal is a really a female.

She asked me if I was looking at her butt….

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And some mom’s…

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John, Julie and I trenched with our tractor and buried 2500 feet of telephone wire from the highway to the house. We buried a pipe under the river the day before it rained 2 inches and ran the wire through it and then to the house. Verizon told me that it would take a long time and cost $5,000. we finished running the wire yesterday and are now waiting on verizon to install 2 poles and hook us up at the highway.

The river before the rain.

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We are installing a new septic field for the trailer home since the old one didn’t meet code. Plus I had no idea how big it was since it was here when we bought the ranch. We hired a couple to help us with the ranch and they will move in Monday and start work on Tuesday.

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Julie gets on average 5-6 eggs a day from her chickens and she really loves them. They require more support than any of the other animals on the ranch.

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We finished the wood floors since the last post and have begun to install appliances and electrical. We now have direct tv and satellite internet. The audio/video guys will be there Monday to install the security system, lighting and tv’s. The pool folks will be there to finish the pool and the fireplace folks will be there to complete the fireplaces. Julie and I just go from issue to issue resolving them as quickly as possible.

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We turned on the water from the rainwater collection system and the propane system yesterday with no leaks. We still have a lot to get done before we can move in and continue to press on.

And in our spare time we did fly to Pennsylvania for 2 days and got a great deal on a Tiffin motor home. Now we have to fly to New York and bring her home some time next month.

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That’s all for now.

Jim, Julie and John

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Finally September

We are supposed to start moving in the first part of October but there appears to be a million tasks to get done for this to happen. We continue to be consumed by the house efforts while making improvements on the ranch. We now have the trailer house on the ranch after spending several hours making our construction entrance bigger by removing the neighbors fence at their entrance. While I was taking down their fence the neighbors (who are never there) drove in and ask me to move my tractor out of their way. I was on their property tearing down their fence without asking them!

 

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But we now have it set up by our pump house. John and I hooked up water to it today and next week we will get power connected. We also installed a water softener and filtration system for the trailer.

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The folks that were going to mov here to help us decided to stay with their current jobs so we are looking again.

The contractors are now installing tile and the wood floors in the house. They plan to have the floors complete by the end of next week. We will be in Hershey PA at the international motor home show.

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The garage is done except for the big doors.

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Outside we finally have all the big stones in place to make a real back yard.

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Outside kitchen, still needs granite top and appliances

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I want you to be able to see our entrance before the crapes stop blooming so I did a video.

Our circular drive at the front of the house is done and we have quotes from our road guy to complete the road from the low water crossing to the house. We won’t do this until all the contractors are gone. We also met with the nursery that is going to plant the trees and yard. This will probably get started in October.

We are having a new pasture put in for dynamite so we can have full access to the birthing facilities by the time Valentine has her foal in November.

Hopefully all this will come together in the next couple of months.

Jim, Julie and John

 

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Getting Very Busy Here!

Well things have picked up between the ranch and the house. We have separated our pregnant jennets from the others so we can take special care of them. They are the best of the best when it comes to jackstock, all registered and pure bred jackstock. There are only about 2000 of them left in the world and we have some of the best here at GMSR. These are my absolute favorite animals on our ranch.

Here are the pregnant girls

 

 

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Here’s Dynamite coming to see me this past week, he is like a huge puppy

Got more pictures of the new foal zebra and it’s a boy

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Caught this road runner in the zebra pasture with a lizard in it’s mouth

 

 

 

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This next week we will be putting a 70 foot 3 bedroom, 2 bath trailer home on the ranch. This will be a home for the ranch hand we hope to hire. We will start trimming trees and making a spot for the trailer tomorrow.  Next month we will go to the largest motor home show in the country and hope to purchase a motor home there so we can travel with our dogs and se the rest of this country that we have not seen. The ranch hand will get trained and with John’s help allow us to start traveling again.

 

The house is really starting to take shape. They actually hooked up power to the house and installed the air conditioners in one day last week. We need the AC before we put the flooring in the house to acclimate. We also have the rainwater tank powered up and moving the water around in the tank. The front drive is laid out and we will start pouring concrete tomorrow morning, The architect had specified a chip and seal drive. Our road guy told us that this was a bad approach and quoted a hot mix drive and we decided this week to go with concrete which is more expensive but will keep us from fighting weeds in the drive. The tile is getting installed and as of this week the floors are getting prepped for the wood next week. 

  

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Charlie and Alex came to visit this past weekend

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We are supposed to have all the appliances delivered the first week in September and the light fixtures delivered the second week in September. We have all of the subcontractors getting lined up for mid September including satellite internet, TV, security folks, etc.

Going to be a very busy next 4-6 weeks….

 

Jim, Julie and John

 

 

 

 

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Still hot here!!

We are getting up early and heading for the ranch in the dark so that we get there by 6:30 am to try to dodge the heat. I have overheated several times in the last week while working on the chicken coop add on. We finished this today and things should get better (I hope). Now both John and I can get in with the chickens and take care of them without having to either get on our knees or bend over. 

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New foal pictures. Still not sure if it’s a male or female but we will keep looking!

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The house continues to move forward. The outdoor kitchen now has stucco on it. The casita bathrooms are getting tile installed. The painter should finish this week. The front drive has the concrete poured as well as the well water tank slab. cabinets and drawers getting hardware installed.

 

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And look what we found in the pool this morning! A coral snake was swimming in the pool.

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That’s all for now. Things are picking up and we will be very busy trying to get everything done so we can move in in early October.

Jim, Julie and John

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Getting Hot in Texas

The weather is getting pretty hot in Texas these days. Yesterday I overheated and actually had to come home and go to bed for a while. We haven’t had any rain for several weeks now and the grass is beginning to turn brown. Hopefully a tropical storm or another cold front will happen so we can get a little rain.

We had a new zebra foal last Saturday morning and managed to get a couple of long shots of it running in the pasture. Don’t know if it’s a male or female yet. This brings the herd up to 14 total.

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We have separated the 4 pregnant jack stock jennets from the herd so we can give them special attention throughout pregnancy. I have to give each of them 3 rhino shots each as they go thru their pregnancy. Valentine ids due in early November and is beginning to look pregnant. Blanche and Pearl are due in April and Beth Angel in May.

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Dynamite and I have really bonded over the past couple of weeks as I have been treating his hoof abscess and taking him to the vet. He even loaded up on the trailer with no issues. He thinks I am his good buddy now and is a lot calmer around me than he used to be. Though today he was pushing me a little with his head as I walked in front of him to put feed in his feeder! I had a guy call me that saw him at the vet’s office to see if I would let him breed his mare but we have decided to not have him breed to outside folks in general.

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We started a new project this week to extend the chicken coop. After we bought the one we have we realized that John and I couldn’t take care of the chickens due to my bad knees and his bad back so we are adding an extension that will allow us to stand up and take care of them. We are getting 3-4 eggs a day since we installed a mister to keep the chickens cool in the afternoons.

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The house continues to progress. The casita is getting doors hung and is painted now so we should start tile and granite work soon.

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The kitchen cabinets are being painted a dark blue. Here are some of the drawers being painted in the garage.

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Our master bedroom paint.

 

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They are starting to put in the circular drive in front of the house which will be a 12 foot chip and seal road with 12 inches of concrete on both sides of it.

 

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They have been installing large landscaping stones in the back yard and are almost done with it. Also hauled in 30 dump truck loads of dirt to fill in around the house.

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Last, but not least the outdoor kitchen is ready for stucco!

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That’s all for now.

Jim, Julie and John

 

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July Update

We had a great 4th at our lake house with family and friends. There are a lot of folks on this lake on any holiday now because the other lakes are too low to launch boats or they have outlawed jet ski’s on all holidays. Franky, I wish lake LBJ would do the same thing. This lake is dangerous on holidays because there are too many boats and water craft on the lake. 

Alex, Charlie and Alex's parents Doug and Leila

Alex, Charlie and Alex’s parents Doug and Leila

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We have spent the last 3 weeks at the ranch treating hoof abscesses on Pearl, Sari and now Dynamite. This means we have been soaking their infected hooves in epson salts, keeping their hooves dry and wrapping their hooves with either a poltice or iodine. At the same time we gave them antibiotics and pain medicine. These abscesses are extremely painful to them and the only real relief is to find and vent the abscess. 

Here’s Dynamite at the vets office in Burnet checking out the new environment. He was great today and better than the horses that were there.

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We also had to take down all the fences for the crape myrtles, remove all the weeds and replace all the watering bubblers. This doesn’t sound like much but there are 51 trees and fences to work. We received and stored 40 large round hay bales for the winter. And since we have had rain are now mowing every week. John has focused on killing grass on the fence lines and posioning mesquite trees which we have plenty of. This is a good thing though. Lots of visitors to the ranch this month-Alex’s parents Doug/Leila Parrish, John/Coleen Gregg, Chris/Lisa Sharp, Jennifer Ruggio and Doug/Carol Reed. 

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Our rainwater collection tank is totally full with 30,000 gallons of good water in it. Last week we received 3 inches of rain and that is good for over 18,000 gallons of water.  

The house is currently transitioning from the trim stage to the painting stage. The casita is painted and the painters are now working in the master bedroom area. 

The painter had to hand paint the trim in the family room.

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The new bookcase on the fireplace.

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Water feature on pool

 

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We are also putting in 204 large stones in the back yard to use as landscaping so that the back yard will be somewhat level for 32 feet or so. We want to have a sprinkler system with enough water to be able to wet down all areas around the house in case of a fire. We will be installing a 2500 gallon well water tank that will make this possible.

Today while we were on our way to the vet in Burnet we had a fawn run in front of us and jump into a bob wire fence. The fawn actually got stuck on a barb and John had to pull it off the fence as it cried for it’s mother which was close by watching. 

That’s all for now. 

Jim, Julie and John

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Busy Past Few Weeks

A couple of weeks ago I discovered that our big male jack, dynamite, had a playmate. A boer billy goat was in his pasture and they were butting heads with each other. I have never been around a billy so I didn’t know what to do with him. A few days earlier I had seen a note taped to a telephone pole stating that they had lost a billy. I called them and they came over and loaded him on their trailer. He was missing for 7 days.

 

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Good friends of ours from North Carolina came to visit us and we had a great 4 days together. The came in their motorhome and parked it in our barn. We toured the ranch, spent a day in Fredericksburg and worked on the ranch. Don raised me up on the front of the tractor so I could replace the flags for the 4th. Both Don and Deb knocked down trees with our dozer and Don added a power plug to my electrical box so I can plug in our motorhome (once we get one). Don also replaced some parts on my 3 point hitch on the tractor to help keep the mower level. They spent their nights in the motor home with their trusty pet Roux.

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We plan on visiting them as well as linking up in future motorhome trips.

Our 2 jennets that were in Tennessee came home last week. They were happy to be back with their herd. Beth Angel is pregnant but Jewel would not support the breeding process. She kicked at the vet even after being drugged and she never showed any signs of being in heat even after being there for several weeks.

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The house continues in the trim and paint mode. Our fire pit is finally in progress and the patio stone is complete. And we have a mail box out front.

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So we are making progress and working hard.

Jim, Julie and John

 

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Breaking News!

Thelma gave birth to our newest zebra foal “JoAnn” around 7am this morning. She was barely walking when I arrived at the ranch this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More as it happens!

Jim

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