Category Archives: Mini-Rancho

Next: Doors

Changing the chipped white hollow core (boring) interior doors to 6-panel unfinished red oak solid core slab doors.

Nine of them. With clear varnish painted or sprayed and gold knobs, three of them locking. Going to take some professional carpentry to finish this project.

UPDATE: Let there be light! An electrician retrofitted three hallway can lights with white LEDs and for the first time it looks bright in the passage to the living room. Doors probably be installed next week.

New water heater adventure

The replacement begins about five today. Will the cutoff valve break or hold? If it breaks can the leak be capped? If it doesn’t should we replace it later or stick with its thirty-year-old self? Questions questions. Shall see.

UPDATE: The valve didn’t break but only leaked while the transfer was going on and then hooked up safely. Should be replaced but not immediately. So the adventure was short-lived and not adventurous.

Grandfather trees

Two of them, just down the slope into the canyon from the mini-rancho’s back porch, must be twelve feet around and reach a hundred feet high. Usually they have a very calming influence on the surrounding terrain, as trees of any size have a calming effect on people.

Right now they’re swaying in a forty mile an hour breeze. Results of a cold front that came in early this morning and dropped the temperature from yesterday’s high of ninety-four degrees to just above forty. It’s the sudden changes that get you in Texas.

More leaks

Plumber due back this morning to fix three minor leaks in work he had thought completed. Maybe the faucet fixtures are bad. He said they were old but worked and didn’t leak. Now they may, unless it’s something else.

Meanwhile I have to get back on Bugmaster. They sent me a guy who knew nothing about exterminating scorpions in condominium apartments. Only exterminating them in single family homes. No help there.

UPDATE:  Plumber never showed up, and the contractor hasn’t explained. Bugmaster guy studying up, promises to call.

MORE:  Plumber showed up with his wife and she fixed the leak! Still awaiting the education of Bugmaster.

Remodeling blues

Had new marble bathroom countertops and porcelin sinks installed but installation revealed six cut-off valve defects with resulting leaks. After a night of the pan/bowl brigade, we have a plumber coming this morning to repair everything and connect the sinks. Gimme them remodeling blues.

UPDATE: Plumber capped off the valves so they no longer leak but can’t get to us to repair and connect until tomorrow. Remodeling blues, indeed.


Our new electric range is supposed to come today, and at least one painter to do the bathrooms in “cheerful yellow,” a Sherwin-Williams color. And the marble/porcelain sinks installed on Wednesday.

Now we’re trying to decide whether to paint the hallway light purple and the dining room light blue, or the other way around. But at least the appliances will be done with the stove.

Then it’s on to replace the water heater, which could be a bear as the building codes have changed since the old one was installed in the 1980s. Hard to believe it’s that ancient, but out-of-sight (ensconced in a closet) out-of-mind. And nowhere else to put it despite changed measurements with the building codes.

UPDATE:  The range came and is installed, but the painters aren’t coming until Thursday. After the counter tops and sinks go in Wednesday.

The curious case of the robins

Barbara Ellen first noticed the robins in the trees in the canyon off the porch at the mini-rancho. Two of them at first, then three, then four, then six. American Robins.

They usually aren’t found here in Central Texas until winter when they flee the cold in points north. And they do it in roaming flocks, hence the six we’re now seeing daily. But in November, not September. Why are they here so early and in the midst of a prolonged heat wave and bad drought? No wild berries to eat now, which constitute 60 percent of their diet.

Bar speculates that their early arrival means we’re in for an early and prolonged winter. Maybe. But first we’re likely to have a flood. Droughts hereabouts usually end that way.

UPDATE:  Turns out there are wild berries in the vicinity. I spied them out with my trusty binoculars. So the robins ain’t starving while they’re here.