Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mystery on Highway 36

This used to be part of an agricultural field. Last year the area was spread with a deep bed of gravel, fenced in, and four flagpoles erected, USA, Texas, Gulf Coast Tank (GCT), Inc., and Texas A&M University.

Over time multiple large container-like structures were delivered and installed, and interconnected with pipes.

Perhaps a training exercise for A&M students?

And then in a few weeks the structures and interconnections were gone, and the site cleaned up, the flags were removed.  What was left was a fenced gravel pad, with 4 empty flag poles.

A few months passed and the equipment, pipes and flying flags were back. Definitely training, but perhaps the employees of GCT, as the owner of GCT is a proud graduate of Texas A&M.

But still a strange place to hold training, miles from anywhere..

Monday, July 20, 2015

Garden verses Comcast

Stones lifted
The cable the carries the Internet and TV signal to the house from the bottom of the garden needed to be replaced. It is bright orange; you can just see it under the pots.

Stones replaced
However, the last time it was replaced the stone walkway and greenhouse were not here. The cable runs along the fence on the right and needs to reach the house on the left. I lifted the rocks so it could be buried in front of the greenhouse door.

When the Comcast engineer came he laid the new cable, but did no bury it, a separate "crew" has to do that. Two weeks later the guy came to bury the cable, but he was concerned about the plants, which was good, so he just covered the cable with pine needles and left, which was less good.

I got to bury the cable and restore the stones.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hidden Ginger Update

The transplanted Hidden Ginger now is thriving. It is so sensitive to its environment.

Zephyranthes - Rain Lilies

Rain Lilies are often a surprise. They have minimal grass-like leaves and grow in warm climates, USA zones 7-11. You forget you have them, and the next time you look it is blooming.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Phone Repair Man

The phone in the country house had a noisy line and was unusable. The repair guy arrived with two
tools, a fancy phone dialer and a multipurpose tool to cut wires and unscrew plates.  He located the problem as the wire under the house. The house is raised and there is a one meter crawl space; I showed him where he could access the space under the house.

However he did not come with any phone wire, so had to drive back to the office to pick it up.

He disconnected the old line both ends and planned to replace the wire by using the old wire to pull the new wire. He did not want to go underneath, he did not have the build or the inclination. He pulled and yanked the cable. I knew this was not going to work after 5 minutes, and after 20 minutes, I said, "OK I will go underneath."  He smiled.

I threaded the new wire from the outlet in the bedroom, to the supply on the other side of the house. He made new connections and it fixed the problem.

In total he spent two hours including the trip to get the wire, but he thanked me for the help and said he would charge for only an hour.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Death by Alligator in Orange Texas - Submission for the Darwin Award

Alligators are abundant and dangerous, but there has been no one killed by an alligator in Texas for 200 years.

Until now.

This 28-year old went for a swim in the early hours of the morning, ignoring the verbal warnings and the posted sign, "No Swimming, Alligators."  His body was found two hours later.

Maybe he misread the sign as "no swimming alligators," and therefore safe.  Death by punctuation?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fizzy update

In Texas every 7 years the state sends you new plates for your vehicle, as the reflectivity declines over time. Compare the plates from 2008 and 2015.  Gone are the separation of Trucks and Cars. Gone are the fancy fonts, colors and pictures of the shuttle, cowboy, oil rigs, cacti, stars and moon.

The new plates are clean, simple and modern, the old plates look dowdy. Fashion changes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015