Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another Weekend at the Farm

We took off work Friday to go to the farm and visit Dad again. Actually, I took off work. Suna's old job ended at about 10:00. I thought she'd be home by 10, but she didn't turn in her badge until then.
On the way down, I figured out why Ursula has been running hot in the hills. The automatic transmission doesn't downshift soon enough. It wants to keep her RPMs down around 1500, which is great for a big truck. But the shift point under load is about 2300-2500, so I need to keep the RPMs much higher than I've been taught a diesel should run. I tried manually downshifting, and she ran much cooler but still not cool enough.
I needed to get to the tax assessor's office in DeWitt county to straighten out a bit of trouble with this year's assessment. Unfortunately iy turned out to be wasted effort. I was told they can fix the problem going forward but didn't hold out any hope for the current year.
So we took Dad out to eat at Aunt Di's. The American food there is always good, but That night, we were treated to live country music featuring several half-hearted singers. They played most of the songs I played in country bands in the '70s. At one point, I told Suna, "I saw the lead guitarist using a tuner, so I'm going to assume those are just the wrong notes." If you're ever hungry in Yorktown on a Friday night, I recommend Aunt Di's...before the band starts.
We slept in Saturday. Then hung out listening to birds for a while. Eventually, we went in hang with Dad. He was in a particularly crotchety mood, and I was not long on patience. That was a recurring theme this weekend. We got along best when we were napping.
We met some friends from Victoria at a Rosie’s Cafe after finding out the place the originally wanted to eat was only open during extremely limited hours. Must be nice! Touching base with Jim and Esther was really nice. So was catching them up on the latest church gossip.

You know they are UUs, because Jim and Esther would touch Suna even wearing a Heathen t-shirt

Afterward, we strolled down to Wagner's Hardware & Gifts to browse their eclectic selection of small town arcana. In the main store, you can get anything from traditional hardware (plumbing, electrical parts, and the like) to the world’s tiniest horseshoes. Jim and Esther had other things to do, so they left us to wander upstairs to Gram’s Attic, which is something of a more eclectic extension to the main hardware store. There we found Suna the perfect three legged stool.
Suna put her new stool to work as soon as we got back to the farm.
We expected Chris to show up any time. But business on the coast kept him tied down. About six, he texted that he would be in late. Unfortunately, more complications arose, and we missed him all together.
Dad keeps busy watering his new Jiggs grass. Even if people think it’s crazy to start new grass during a drought, it keeps Dad busy and happy—“Out of the beer joints” as he would say.
Doesn’t Dad look happy priming the pump to the spray rig Chris engineered?

It takes about 45 minutes to fill the 200 gallon tank and less than 5 to dump it.

On Sunday, I grilled a bunch of boneless beef ribs and ate them for lunch. I did what I usually do on a grill. I got the coals too hot and made the meat a little chewy. But Dad wanted me to hurry up and get 'er done, and they tasted great. So I guess two out of three ain't bad. We ate, made our good-byes, and headed for home so we could make Jeff's birthday dinner.
I took the toll road around Austin on the way home. That route is a long and, in places, fairly steep grade (for Central Texas). Even downshifting as I had on the way down, Ursula ran hot again. I thought flushing the coolant and downshifting had solved that, but not hardly. Guess I need to be even more aggressive. As Dad would say, "We'll see."

PS from Suna

I just thought I'd share a couple of photos from the weekend.

Sunsets are so beautiful when you have an endless horizon.
This beautiful butterfly was on this weedy vine that was so shiny!

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