Monday, February 21, 2011

woodville bass club

Sometime country life is all about a relaxing, but I have never been much on fishing.  My wife's grandmothers place has a couple big ponds so we took the kids fishing this weekend.  My dislike of fishing may be the result of my general failure to actually catch fish. I find it hard to be quiet and wait for a long a enough time to  land a fishy, but not this weekend.  This time I got one a nice fat, wide mouth bass.  I think I had a little help.  A power provided to me by the energy of the patch.  I found this totally retro Woodville Bass Club patch in the house the other day.  I think the members of this now presumably defunct club open the universe for just a moment and granted me this tasty little fellow.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Garden number three

    With a day of warm tempatures I spent the day planning out this years gardening attempt and cleaning up some of last years remains.   The scarecrow came down, some tomato stakes that stood abandoned finally got pulled up, a soaker hose completely lost to weeds was recovered and the pepper plants that look like skeletons got torn from the ground.  I had hoped to winter the peppers, but I had to go to Vegas before I managed to get them covered up and safe from the few days of freezing weather.
      This year I am going to spread out some and till up two more areas for growing.  One will have tomatoes only and I haven't decided on the other one.  Either green beans or squash I am not sure which yet.  The tomatoes have to go somewhere else.  Luci thinks they will get tomato blight if we plant them in the same area again.  I figure around 120 square feet should be enough for the tomatoes.  We will actually have less tomatoes, but I think we will get more out of them if they are spread out and easier to get to.  Last year we couldn't barely get into the rows once the pants got big and it made picking them a huge hassle.  The longer they stayed on the vine the more damage form bugs. 
      I need to get the tiller going and get everything tilled under a couple times before planting time come around.  I had the chickens in the garden to tear everything up and add a little fertilizer before I moved them back to the yard, but I will probably buy a little bit of manure and maybe some compost to add to soil.  I should plant a cover crop, but I never get around to it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My lesson in Cartography

This is a picture I took of a survey map at the appraisal district office this morning while I was trying to sort out how our property taxes had gotten jacked up.  When you live in the city the boundaries of your property are usually pretty clear.  At our house in Vegas I could have measured the whole lot with a three hundred foot tape measure in about a half hour.  There is of course always easements and once and a while neighbors have issues about where the lines begin and end, but it get more complicated when you can't actually walk along the property lines or see from one corner of the property to the other because there is a tons of trees and brush in the way.

According to the appraisal district, which is who decides how much you owe, a portion of our property had never been included in the tax roles.  When they added it and created a tax ID account for that section it was no longer considered land with agricultural value and was taxed much higher than some of the other parcels. The problem comes in when you have to figure out which parcel is which.  No where on the ground does it say this is parcel 777777.  I had to go over all the maps and aerial photographs with the mapping guy who at first assured me that no mistake had been made. The problem is that the lines are often left on the maps for separate parcels even when those parcels have been combined into a single tax account number.  Lines are also sometimes removed when parcels are bought from different people by one buyer. 

In order to determine which parcel is which you have to go over the field notes on the deeds which basically say  start at one agreed upon point and then say turn south 97 degrees go 85 feet turn east 56 degrees go 79 feet etc, etc, etc,  The only way to find the points is to take a metal detector and look for the scrap that is usually buried as a marker.  According to the mapping guy rusty rifle barrels were once a popular marker that would be hammered into the ground by the surveying crew. Why survey crews had piles of rusty rifle barrels laying around I will never know. 

Each chunk of land here is divided into files by the origanal surveys ours falls into the Robert Conn survey and you can dig through the file which is a collection of maps, photos, field notes, legal documents, etcs.  One survey from the sixties clearly showed how the land was originally divided and made the problem clear.  A piece of our land had not been properly accounted for, but not the piece they tried to add.  The good news for us is that since they can't tax us twice on the same piece we get a break this year, but have to file to have the newly added section classified as agricultural timber land. What a pain in the @$$.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The big freeze has ended.

      The weather has finally taken a turn for the better.  The freezing tempatures have been a pain since we aren't used to it and the house isn't really built for it.  The lowest I tempature we had was 19 degrees, but for us that's a pain.  I had to put a couple lights in the pump house to keep the compressor and the well pump from freezing. Even with those the connection between the pump and the pipe got a small crack somehow and it currently dribbling a small amount of water constantly causing the water in the house to occasionally spit and sputter  from air getting into the line.

The first day of the freezing weather a storm took out power lines all over the area and around twenty thousand people were out of power.  It is actually pretty amazing that everyone had power restored by that night.  We were in the last group to have the power restored because the line ends at our house.  If the line goes through and affects more people then it will be fixed sooner.  We realized we need to have a bigger stockpile of seasoned wood available just in case.  It would be fairly easy for the roads to get messed up leave us stranded for a few days without power. When all you have is the fireplace for heat you quickly see why pioneer houses were so small.

With the weather turning for the better I know I have a lot to do in order to get ready for this years garden. Today I had to fix the chicken tractors because the poultry netting had degraded in the sunlight and the now the chickens could claw through it and climb out.  I added a layer of metal chicken wire to each one and now they are safe to move around the yard again.  This week the girls are out of school and I need to get some tilling done and start some peppers and tomatoes.