Thursday, July 2, 2020

house moving

Here it comes!

At the property where they unloaded the robot that they used to move and maneuver the house.

Pulled it forward and then started backing it up turning into the driveway.

Cedar tree needs more trimming. The guys who came before used a chainsaw, this guy is using a machete.

They placed a heavy board down to bridge the ditch.

More tree trimming and the beginning of the 50+ point turn (probably not that many but lots of small back and forth adjustments).

They've almost got it lined up. 

It's a good thing that the neighbor has a culvert in the ditch almost directly across from the property entrance. More tree trimming only on the neighbor's live oak this time.

Almost! They pulled it up for another adjustment.

Success! They made it past the gate. After that it went pretty quick.

Once they got it all the way in they turned it into the side yard and then it was a straight shot to the pad.

They rolled out thick black plastic (which they eventually spread out and covered the entire pad and then set the blocks on top)

and then used boards under the wheels, as soon as the wheels cleared one board, they grabbed it and put it in front of the next board as the house moved into place.

The house is in place (from the back).

These are the anchors that the house will be tied down to.

These guys carried four cinder blocks at a time on their backs!

Anchors in and straps attached.

Once they had the house supported by the cinder block they took the wheels off and then unbolted the axles from the undercarriage of the house.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

a house is coming, some gardening, and more of the Trump shitshow

but no pictures.

Yesterday I called John the septic/pad guy to come out and look at the pad since that 6 1/2” of rain we got created 3 deep runnels leading from the center to the edge and the whole thing sort of puddled out a bit but was for the most part still solid. Anyway, John wanted to give it another day to dry out and he would return today to fill in those spots (done). Then I emailed Jerry the house guy with the update and asked if he had a delivery day yet. He emailed back...Wednesday! Like tomorrow peeps. All of a sudden, it's getting' real. So of course I started second guessing myself; did we pick the best spot, maybe we should have placed the house perpendicular to the front fence facing across the property (like several people thought because of the fence clearing project), maybe we should have moved it back another 10' or so from where it will sit. Now with the house on it's way it's looking awfully close to the front fence though it's almost 30' away. At any rate, it's too late now, the house is going where the pad is. And it will be fine, I know it will be fine. As with the 40' container the bitch put on her property 4' from mine, it will just be getting used to the new view, not that the view now is all that great, just basically empty land back to the overgrown back fence, not that we can see much of it anyway out our windows what with the yew tree on the corner of the house and the red tip photinias across the front yard.

And speaking of the shop, Rocky is getting very close to being done with the room and half bath buildout over there.

Now that the rain is done and the Sahara dust has dissipated (somewhat anyway, mostly overcast with pale blue sky showing), it is hot and humid out there. So hot and humid that I can be standing still in the shade and in no time I am dripping sweat. We've had mosquitos but they were the little black ones that you never feel a thing when they bite, only knowing when you happened to see one sucking your life blood. Out there today are the big aggressive black ones and you know when they bite. Today I was over at the shop yard cutting down all the hackberry trees that had sprung up around, under, and in between the trucks.

Sunday was mild enough that I worked out in my yard most of the day getting all the little things I have bought over the last couple of weeks, but not planted, in the ground like the two surviving periwinkles that didn't get planted before (there were four but two of them couldn't hold out long enough), the four moss rose (two of which may not survive), the two rudbeckias that were horribly potbound (that's a big problem with stuff at Caldwell's Nursery), moved a purple coneflower, potted up some red salvia for my neighbor Judy, did some weeding, realized my fullest and most prolific blooming plumeria is so potbound I don't think there's any dirt left at all. My choices there are pull it out of the pot and put it in the ground or put it in a bigger pot. Whatever I decide, I'm going to need help as it is too big and too heavy for me to do on my own. In the meantime I have to water it about twice a day.

The news just keeps getting worse and worse. With the pandemic now running rampant in Republican states, now the Republicans, at least some, are getting concerned. They didn't give a shit as long as it was Democratic run states that were suffering but now that it's 'their' people, well, maybe they did rush to reopen too soon and McConnell is all of a sudden concerned about people not wearing masks? It shouldn't be a political issue, he says, no one should be ridiculed for wearing a mask, he says, after they all refused to wear masks making it a political issue and accused proponents of fear mongering and being sheep. I guess with Canada and Mexico having closed their borders to the US and now the EU as well, it's starting to dawn on them that the pandemic is a real problem.

And as if this isn't bad enough we now know that Trump was told that Russia has put a bounty on American soldiers' heads, has known for months, maybe even a year, and he did nothing. No, I take that back, he called Putin, had a lovely conversation, and then tried to get the G7 to invite Russia back in. When asked what he talks about to Putin, he told the reporter that it's none of our business. None of our business? You work for us, you asshole, you represent us, the people of the United States and it certainly is our business. And the GOP's response? Crickets. And more damaging news is in his calls with other nations' leaders, he practically grovels to Putin and Erdogan but is rude and insulting to our allies, telling Angela Merkel, who was trained as a physicist and has a PhD in chemistry and did her thesis on quantum chemistry, that she's 'stupid'. His demeanor has so alarmed so many people in the White House that they consider him a threat to our national security. Let that sink in. Current and past individuals in Trump's administration think the president of the US is a threat to our national security. And now that the rest of the world knows, Trump has still done nothing except brief only Republicans so they can all get on the same page and tell the same story.

It's looking like some of the rats are starting to desert the ship though it's far too late for that. They'll be going down with it. We will not forget or turn a blind eye to the fact that they have enabled Trump for 3 1/2 years instead of honoring their oath to protect and defend the Constitution because they were forced, forced they say, to support Trump or face retirement, cause, you know, Trump might tweet about them!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

week 15

Another dedicated post.

Our idiot Trump butt kisser governor has finally responded to the surging covid-19 cases here in Texas, surging because he did not follow even Trump's administration's guidelines of two weeks of decreasing cases before opening back up and started opening the economy when case numbers were still rising and now Texas is one of several hot spots (every day breaking the record of the day before) along with Florida (almost 9,000 new cases on Friday) and Arizona, and the ICUs in Houston are nearing capacity (and I believe I heard on the radio Friday that they had reached capacity) and Texas Children's Hospital is now accepting adults to free up bed space at the other hospitals. Abbott's response? Order mandatory mask wearing or reintroducing the stay at home orders or pulling back on capacity allowed at the businesses already open? No, in fact he issued an order preventing individual mayors from issuing mandatory mask orders for their cities, though certain county judges are issuing the restriction anyway but they are putting the burden on businesses to enforce it in their establishments; he has not reissued the stay at home mandate or cut back on capacity allowance which I think is at 75% now; and his only concession to daily increases in reported cases is to hold off on the continuation of the opening of businesses. Thanks gov, you toadie.

Edit: apparently the governor has bowed to saner minds and has taken a step backwards. All bars are ordered to close at noon on Friday, restaurants reduced to 50% capacity, and large gatherings (100 or more) must be approved by local governments with certain exceptions (probably churches).


New research indicates that in some patients, covid-19 causes diabetes 1 as lab studies have shown that the virus attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin and the onset may not occur until months after recovery.


Dr. Fauci revealed Tuesday at the congressional hearing on the administration's response to the pandemic that the NIH canceled funding in the middle of the pandemic for research which specifically worked to understand the risk of bat coronaviruses jumping to humans and causing devastating disease and that the order came directly from the White House in response to a conspiracy theory, research that was renewed for another five years in 2019 after receiving an outstanding peer-review score. The deputy director of the NIH wrote “There are now allegations that the current crisis was precipitated by the release from Wuhan Institute of Virology of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Given these concerns, we are pursuing suspension of Wuhan Institute of Virology from participation in federal programs” (note he said 'allegations' not proof or evidence, just allegation or in other words an accusation without proof which apparently is all Trump needs) blocking the only US research group still working in China to analyze COVID origins.


The DOJ, Thursday night just before midnight, filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of the lawsuit brought by Republican dominated states asking the Supreme Court to invalidate the ACA. In the middle of a pandemic. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the lawsuit, 28 million Americans will lose their health insurance.


The US is setting new records every day for new covid-19 cases in one day. Thanks to the lack of response from Trump and his administration and those Republican governors hamstringing their own mayors trying to respond in their cities, the US, which has 4% of the world's population, has 24% of the world's deaths from the virus. Trump and Republicans are unfazed by this.


At his rally in Tulsa last week Trump once again claimed that the only reason we keep having new cases is because of testing and said that he told his team to slow down the testing, as if the test gave people the virus instead of identifying it. The White House responded by saying Trump was kidding. When asked by a reporter if he was kidding, Trump said “I never kid”. And in fact he is stopping federal funding for testing in some states (though I think I read yesterday that he has backtracked on that after the public uproar).


While blacks have been hit hard by covid-19 mainly due to poverty, latinos are being hard hit as well as they make up the bulk of the 'essential' workforce, and now the virus is hitting the 20 – 40 age group. Young people are accounting for half, and in some places more than half, of all new cases.


Heard on NPR Friday while in the car that while infections are increasing in the US, the death rate is decreasing since now doctors have a little more understanding of the virus and how it attacks our bodies and they are developing treatments. That's the good news. The bad news is they are also learning that people who needed to be hospitalized are likely to have continuing health problems from the attack of the virus on their lungs and other organs. Those with mild enough symptoms that they were never hospitalized and who test negative are still suffering from shortness of breath and fatigue and they may never recover fully.


Interestingly enough, research indicates that the large protests did not cause a surge in infections. Being outdoors and wearing masks seems to have had an effect.


My county has jumped up to 181 cases. Last week we were at 115.


Canada and Mexico are keeping their borders with the US closed and it's looking likely that the European Union will keep their borders closed to Americans as well when the individual countries start opening their borders to other Europeans.


Current US statistics as of today 6/28/20, 15:25 GMT (last fourteen weeks' totals in parenthesis): cases – 2,610,399 (2,332,056, 2,143,646, 1,992,453, 1,837,525, 1,685,367, 1,512,267, 1,384,681, 1,168985, 976,403, 741,230, 534,494, 312,223, 123,958, 38,757); deaths – 128,211 (122,020, 117,542, 112,141, 106,190, 99,286, 90,206, 81,724, 67,954, 54,965, 39,103, 20,637, 8,483, 2,231, 400); (no longer care about recoveries).

Friday, June 26, 2020

rain and progress

A little over 4” of rain in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and no standing water the next day, that's how dry the land was. Another 2 1/2” early Thursday morning, standing water in the back and side yards and water in the ditch which was all absorbed by noonish. Two nights in a row of a panicked dog panting in my face and being restless and I was completely lethargic Thursday. My biggest accomplishment was doing the dishes. Mostly I vegged out on the couch and read or napped.

I did advance the paperwork for the new house some, got the forms for the development permit and for the new '911' address. You might remember that I had to get a new address for the meter box since the power company only allows one meter per address and they just added a B to the existing address but now the permit lady says that the existing address is tied to the shop and that is where emergency respondents will go if called so she generated a completely new address for the house that will be tied to the 911 response. So I took the form to the Post Office who previously told me I didn't need a separate mailbox, that all mail with or without a B would go to the existing one, and got them to make it an official address with a city and zip code assignment and now we will need a dedicated mailbox. Then I called the power company to apprise them of this new wrinkle and so they are creating a new ESI# for electrical service for the new address.

And ladies and gents, we own a house. Pam and I went in today, she signed all the forms (the house will be in her name so she can apply her homestead exemption to the property taxes on the house) and I signed the check. It's possible the house will be here by the end of next week. We'll have to have a few dry days before they can bring it out after all the rain we've had and are still having off and on.

On the way back, this was in front of us.

And here it is as we passed it. I have no idea what it is but I wish I could have gotten a picture from the front as well as it was very Batmobile-ish.

A few miscellaneous pictures...

The sky is white today and not from the clouds, although it is and has been overcast the last several days, but from the Sahara dust storm that finally made its way to us.

plumeria in full bloom

mexican bird of paradise

white orchid tree bloom

flowering senna

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

earth moving, truck moving, and fumbly fingers

Had a little mishap Friday trying to seal a vacuum bag with a cup of tomato sauce in it. The little bastard slipped out of my fingers...

all over my shirt, both arms, the counter, down the front of the cabinet and on the floor. Fortunately it didn't get on my brand new light khaki shorts.

Heard a heavy truck noise outside the house Sunday morning and saw that John the septic/pad guy was unloading his tractor to spread out the dirt for the pad

which he did. 

Still have one truck and one car to move but they should be gone by end of the day today, I told him. I expect he's planning to dig the hole and trenches for the septic system in the next few days since he left his tractor here. (And in fact all the cars and trucks that have lived on the shop yard for 6 years are now gone leaving behind bare rectangles surrounded by weeds and all the neighbors are asking where the cars went.)

So now it's time to go pay for the house and get the cedar tree trimmed up. We have an appointment for next Friday and he says the house can be delivered early next week. Called the guy about the tree and it should get trimmed in the next few days. Once the house is here, next is to get the water/plumbing/septic system and electricity hooked up and then getting the AC/furnace installed and hooked up.

I think I have finally lost one of my diamond studs for good. I've misplaced the pair several times and always found them again but last Saturday I was out in the barn, the floor of which is covered in leaves and leaf mulch from years of not sweeping it out, and I moved a broom to get it out of the way so I could lift up the little tiller enough to get a plastic bag out from under it and when I did the broom knocked into one of those lamps on a stand with a circular florescent light (which is burned out and why it was in the barn til I get a replacement bulb) which disturbed some wasps building a nest in it and I got stung on the palm of my hand and my ear. I started slapping at my ear to chase away any others heading for my face as I stumbled back and fell on a stack of bags of mulch, getting up rubbing my ear as I hastily exited the barn through the far door and out into the yard where I finally realized my earring was gone. I went to the garage and got the wasp killer and blasted the shit out of them and the nest and looked down at the small clear area where I had been standing when I started slapping at my ear and there was the back of the earring but no sign of the diamond. I have no idea if it flew away when I was slapping at my ear or if I rubbed it out when I was walking through the barn to the other door and it fell in the leaf mulch somewhere but it is gone. Oh well. Easy come, easy go.

Dark and rumbly and a little rainy all day yesterday though all the real rain bypassed us to the north as it traveled east. That happens a lot. It's like we have a bubble over Wharton, rain passes by to the north or to the south. It was a lethargic day and I basically sat on the couch and read all day.

And what a great prank our tech savvy teens played on Trump and his reelection campaign. These kids reserved a million tickets using fake accounts which they deleted afterwards and the Trump campaign bought it hook, line, and sinker. They were expecting 100,000 people to show up, built a big outdoor stage to accommodate the overflow, idiots arrived days early to camp out to be sure and get a seat inside. The official count of attendees was something like 6,112. And that included all the security and all of Trump's campaign staff and the troop of paid (actor) attendees so the actual count of attendees to the rally is less. My sister read a report that Trump was so angry at the low turnout, raging at everyone backstage that he didn't want to go out, missed his cue and it was several minutes before his handlers could convince him to go on stage and give his ridiculous speech spending 10 minutes on drinking a glass of water and 20 minutes on how steep and slippery the ramp was. And of course they tried to blame the low turnout on the 'fake news' media with their virus fear mongering, then on protesters blocking the gate (3 gates and only one was closed for only about 15 minutes, everyone who wanted in, got in though those who were armed were turned away). Either he has fewer supporters than he thinks or they aren't as stupid as he thinks and had no intention of getting exposed to the virus. And because he has to punish someone for making him look bad he is now threatening to freeze subsidies to the poor unless Democrats repeal the ACA.

Time to figure out what I'm doing today.

red crinum lilies in bloom

Sunday, June 21, 2020

week 14

Turns out there was a lot of news this week so another dedicated post. This first entry was really the last but I moved it to the top because it seems very promising.

Researchers at Hadassah-University Medical Center led by Dr. Abd Alrauf Higavi, a specialist in blood clotting, have discovered what they believe causes people to get seriously ill and die from COVID-19. At least 30% of patients develop blood clots that block the flow of blood to the kidneys, heart, brain, and lungs. They discovered that those who form these fatal clots have high levels of alpha defensin protein, which speeds up blood clot formation, in their blood. Patients with low levels develop mild symptoms, those with high levels develop serious symptoms, and those with very high levels die. The research team has concluded it's tests of colchicine, an already approved drug for gout which is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood, on mice and are now waiting for approval to test it on human coronavirus patients. “The drugs available today in the blood-thinning market do not fully address this clotting, since its (coronavirus) mechanism differs from the mechanisms for which these drugs currently exist”, Higavi said.


A UK study has found that the readily available and cheap steroid drug dexamethasone cut the risk of death for people on ventilators by a third and those on oxygen by a fifth. This is an enormous breakthrough in the treatment of COVID-19.


VP Pence is lying to Americans pushing the storyline that the increase in infections is due to the increase in testing which the scientists and healthcare professionals say is not accurate and Pence is calling the governors to tell them to push that story to reassure people that opening is safe. So not only is the VP lying to us, he's asking the governors to lie to us.


Researchers from LSU Health Sciences have determined that blood clots and hemorrhage in the lungs contributed to the deaths of severely ill patients with COVID-19. Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center has determined that 15 – 20% of patients in the ICU will die from clotting issues. This research underscores previous speculation that this virus is more of a blood vessel disease than a lung disease even though the damage starts in the lungs. When the lungs are full of blood clots they prevent blood flow and the exchange of gases in the lungs making it hard to get enough oxygen into the bloodstream.


The FDA revoked its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate to treat COVID-19 as studies have shown that these drugs are ineffective in preventing infection or treating those already infected. The NIH has also suspended studies using the malaria drug. And now the US stockpile is stuck with 63 million doses of hydroxychloroquine that Trump expected to make out big on since he and his family are invested in it's manufacture.


The idiot-in-chief has proposed stopping testing because “if we stop testing right now we'd have very few cases, if any”.


The myth of the over 60s being the most vulnerable is just that, a myth and it's preventing our young adults and middle agers from understanding how high their risk is. Yes, people with compromised immune systems are at high risk but perfectly healthy young people are also dying. This is the breakdown in our county by age group (when we had only 94 cases) and now that we're at 115 cases the percentages really haven't changed.


New studies are casting doubt on whether getting and recovering from the virus gives you lasting immunity. Apparently after about four months antibodies start to disappear. The sicker you are the longer the antibodies stay around.


Multiple studies have shown that 80% of patients with the virus that are intubated have died.


Texas has been having record breaking case counts every day for the past week and still our governor is going full steam ahead with opening back up.


Scientists and health care professionals all agree that if everyone wore masks out in public transmission of the coronavirus would be reduced drastically. The confusion over this issue apparently arises from Dr. Fauci initially telling people masks would not protect us, a poorly worded attempt to preserve masks and other PPEs for our health care workers at a time when there were shortages everywhere. The fact is masks do help prevent the spread of the virus and the more people who wear them the more we are protected.


Current US statistics as of today 6/21/20, 14:17 GMT (last thirteen weeks' totals in parenthesis): cases – 2,332,056 (2,143,646, 1,992,453, 1,837,525, 1,685,367, 1,512,267, 1,384,681, 1,168985, 976,403, 741,230, 534,494, 312,223, 123,958, 38,757); deaths – 122,020 (117,542, 112,141, 106,190, 99,286, 90,206, 81,724, 67,954, 54,965, 39,103, 20,637, 8,483, 2,231, 400); (no longer care about recoveries).

Friday, June 19, 2020

chainsaw mama

So it turned out Edith's chainsaw is electric and small and attached to a pole for getting high branches I guess. We have an electric chainsaw which I haven't used because I didn't think we had enough cord to get all the way along the fence but Edith loaned me her 50' cord and with two of ours I was able to get to the fence yesterday and start on those 22 trees/trunks plus cut back two dead ones as best I could that are embedded in the fence. I got less than half done before I had to quit after about an hour it was so hot and I was starting to get a little light headed in my solid boots, jeans, and long sleeve sunscreen shirt and cap as I was working in full sun and the chain needed to be tightened by then anyway. It took me a couple of hours in the AC to finally cool down. But I got back out there about 6 PM and worked for an hour and a half and got the rest. I had made it to the back corner and was kneeling on the ground because I had to hold the chain saw sideways to be able to cut them at ground level when I heard a male voice say, “Oh I didn't see you there". Or maybe it was when I stopped and stood up. Anyway it was one of my back neighbors behind the shop whom I have never met before. We chatted for a while, turns out our house and his house have the same street number. He was telling me there was a septic tank under his driveway that no one knew about and it collapsed recently with somebody's truck parked on it. I told him that there was a tank back there somewhere for the shop that the county has no record of. So then I cut down the last two, dragged it all over to the small burn pile that's been accumulating 

and got it all cut up and stacked up, returned Edith's extension cord, walked the dog, took a shower, and collapsed on the couch.

Today I'm making more tomato sauce and prepping for freezing another bunch of tomatoes and that will probably be the end of it for the year as it's late June, hot, and everyone's tomato plants are about done.

The line of trucks is diminishing. Two got moved Tuesday night and two more Wednesday night. Two trucks and two cars to go.

Rocky's making slow but steady progress over at the shop. All the taping and floating is done, texture sprayed, painting today. He's also working on repairing the roof where it meets the outside walls and is so corroded it leaks down inside all across the back of the shop when it rains. I repaired about a third of it four or five years ago but that's all failed now.

Just some miscellaneous pictures that have been piling up...

our native Texas star hibiscus

these cute little instars clustered on a leaf of the rock rose will probably grow up to be not so cute stink bugs

baby cardinal