Big Changes

  • This might be one heck of a ride. My wife turned in her retirement papers and this might be our new home and shop in a few months. Got to get this Corona thing behind us first.
    600 square feet of living area and 900 shop, just right. We also have a hundred year old house about 1100 square feet if we don't have it moved and build a new barndominium. I think I have one more in me.

  • We've been working on this house my dad grew up in since 2005. It was moved from another ranch here sometimes in the thirties I believe. It was added onto at one time and originally had a cedar shingle roof and only the ship lap siding. I don't know when they put the asbestos shingles on and the roof is new along with 16 windows. My wife and I did tons of work inside but now the foundation is catching up with us even after a straighten up several years back. It's a money pit but hard to part with. I don't know what to do honestly.

  • If you're moving to that other place... you'll just sell that won't you?

  • @orkan The ranch property is where we plan to move and this house is the original homestead. I built the barn and small living quarters ( first picture ) just a stones throw from it after tearing all the old structures down that were next to the house that were hay barns and little implement sheds that were falling down. I currently live two hundred miles away directly on the coast in a barndo and it's going up for sale with my shop almost four acres and all and I'm headed to the ranch. No more playing with hurricanes. As far as the old house I would rather have it moved maybe sell it for a few bucks and build something new instead of dumping more money in it. It's not too bad but it still needs work. Totally gutting it and starting new would be the best solution if it stays or just keep putting band aids on it as we go and save our money. We really like the barn but I am the kind of person that just can't sit still if something needs fixing.
    My grandmother lived there her entire life even after grandpa died she didn't want to leave but in 2005 she realized it was time to come stay with us. She had just turned 95 that August and passed away a couple of days before Christmas that year.

  • My own experiences would tell me that putting money into something with foundation problems probably isn't the best idea.

  • @bigfoot It sounds to be like you might be struggling with a bit of "clutter psychology".

    People can hold onto things out of a sense of the comfort that comes with familiarity. We can also hold onto things out of a sense of duty or responsibility. "It was my mother/father/brother/etc, so I owe it to our legacy to keep it." These things can be rewarding in our lives, but more often than not they become anchors holding us back from progress.

    I know I have struggled with some of this in my life, but as I get older (53 now) my sense of mortality has become increasingly real. When we are young, we tend to act as if our good health and prosperity will last forever. But I am realizing more so than ever that this is a finite journey, and it has made it significantly easier to let go of things, physical possessions, if ownership of them is not progressing my life.

    Maybe look at the situation from a strictly financial one, what makes the most sense from an emotionless position? Then only after figuring out that do you bring in your competing emotional attachments on the subject. If you are being steered in opposing directions, then ask yourself why do you have those attachments, do they make sense, will there be any reward from following those emotional drivers? Maybe after all that analytical process you can better decide if making a choice opposed to your best financial interest is actually giving you a worthwhile reward in exchange. It may be, and it may not be. But at least you will be making a well-considered choice.

  • @flyinphill Yes I do have that disease. Some good advice, thanks. I inherited not only this place but the responsibility like you said and even pets. Talk about a mind trip. In any estate there's good and bad and hopefully the participants all get along which we do. I'm over sixty and this place is a big part of my life as well as where I live now on the coast. The reality is we can't have both places and if I have to choose, well, I'm choosing now. I have spent most of this week at my residence trying to get rid of the stuff I have here left over from all the years and it's embarrassing. I need to just get a dumpster and let it rip. We had an appraisal done here and have the ad ready to put it up for sale and then this crisis has hit. Talk about bad timing. I sure would like to be moved before hurricane season.
    I have been dragging that anchor you are talking about for ten years now and I need to put it in the rack.

  • @orkan I agree. We already had to go under and change out some sills and jack the fireplace back up and into the house after it settled and pulled loose. The kitchen and bath foundation was also changed while the floors were out. Twenty six thousand bucks the first go around. If I ever get up there permanently I hope to get a contractor to give me a bid on a total fix and base my decision on that.

  • Bigfoot, I’m in a very similar place with my grandpa’s ranch house. I’m emotionally attached to it but it’s not structurally sound nor realistically repairable. I hate to be the one to tear it down but if my kids are going to have a habitable hunting cabin, it has to come down. There must be 50 coats of lead paint, the foundations are failing the plumbing and electric are dodgy bordering on dangerous, the framing is so old and dry it won’t take a nail. I’m not planning on living there but one of my sons may so when the estate is settled, I’m selling my interest in the detached property near San Antonio and using the money to fence the home place and build a nice home and guest cabin there.

  • @rr2241tx I got to tell this story about these old folks that settled this area of Texas after the civil war and independence from Mexico. I'm sure you have some of your own as well. My grandmothers mother was widowed I don't know the year but she ran the ranching after her husband died along with the sons and daughters. She had a team of mules and like most of the women at that time did a lot of the plowing. When the children were small she tied them to a tree in the shade while she plowed. Didn't want them roaming around and getting snake bit. No CPS back then. Well that lady made it through the depression and worse times like droughts and cattle dying and crops that failed but managed to have money in the bank. Big accomplishment for most men much more for a woman at that time. She decided one day to divide up her property among her children by drawing straws each one being a parcel of land. I think there was six straws in all. This is how we ended up with our place after my grandmother traded with one of her sisters. It's next to a section they had bought at that time. The original homestead of my grandmothers family ended up with my great aunt Beulah and she had one daughter that lived in San Antonio. My dad and I tried many times to buy that place but she had that same disease flyinphill named and always said they would retire there and never sell it. Well, they never did anything and she ended up with severe dementia and her husband had Parkinsons as well with no kids. So, they left it to a cousin that was their caretaker for their final years. Get this, he lives in Minnesota. I drove by the main gate one day and he was sitting there in his car looking at the old house so I stopped. He said he was thinking about selling his farm in Minnesota and moving back down here. He even came over and checked out our setup and we had a long talk. Later that summer we saw smoke coming from the direction of his place so we drove over there. There was a dozer sitting where the house used to be and a pit dug with the house just about burned up. The guy that leases it for cows told us he called and said tear it down and burn it and send me a bill. Guess he wasn't too attached to the place like I am. I haven't seen him since and this was seven or eight years ago.

  • My wife is a borderline hoarder, she gets very attached to.......stuff. I hold on to many things for too long, but I am not really a hoarder. Last year, I had enough and was ready to change my ways of thinking and living. We rented 2 full-sized dumpsters over a 3 month period and filled them overflowing. I also sold off almost all of my car stuff. I don't regret one thing that is gone. It was hard on my wife, but in the end very liberating for her.

    A guy that was a co-worker of a friend, and much older than us, gave us some advice when I was maybe 18 or 19 years old. He said that his rule was, if he hadn't touched it in the span of one year, then it was just an anchor in his life. So every spring, he went through everything in his house, garage, etc. If he hadn't done anything with it since the previous Spring, then it left his possession one way or another. It only took me 35 years to figure out he was on to something.

  • This past week I have been cleaning out my shop here to get ready if we get a contract on my house. I hired a young guy for one day and he took an eight foot trailer load and the bed of his pickup full of "junk". He came back yesterday and I filled the back of his truck up with some of that stuff like your friends that hasn't been touched in not only a year but a decade. Brand new galvanized nails and deck screws making up the bulk of it. I also gave him an air compressor, a Delta table saw, a saber saw and a portable work station. I use pneumatic nail guns and hardly ever use a single nail and honestly I haven't pulled the trigger on a framing gun in three years but I have three of them along with a case of nails for each one. Guess they will make the move along with the rest of the large woodworking tools. I have one more cabinet to empty and that will pretty much do it. Back during the Christmas break I got in touch with the high school shop teacher here and gave them all of my hardwood I had in my lumber racks. It was a sixteen foot trailer about half full mostly short drops but perfect for projects the students could make. All they could afford is pine so some oak and ash was greatly appreciated. Boy, I'm glad I got that behind me now. To top it off the school told the teachers if you have personal things in your classroom come get them out so two pickup loads came out of my wife's room Sunday and Monday. She's retired anyway so it is as good a time as any. There was a small hope of resuming classes but that's not going to happen. Today they are issuing portable devices to all the students here to access their classes from home we'll see how that goes.

  • During the clean out process I have found a few things I haven't messed with for many years. Nothing really valuable and most of it either went to the landfill or to my friends welding shop in the recycle barrels. These old Mauser parts are boxed up and I haven't found a place for them yet and I managed to relocate some brass so far. I might contact one of the suppliers of old gun parts and see if they want this stuff. Mostly stock hardware and triggers but might complete a restoration. Slowly but surely its shrinking.

  • I came across some more neat stuff while packing away all the things I have held on to. Just a few of the photographs from years back. Some of my dad's Korea pictures and he's not in any of them, guess he was the camera man. Hogzilla my cousin killed and my dad on the ladder and a picture of a rattlesnake killed on the Traylor Ranch about twenty miles from my house here on the coast. That thing was eating good. A couple of a Caterpillar 3208 TIA 400 horse engine I put in my boat. I wish I had bought one of these when I built my boat, talk about pulling power. Also a picture of my maternal grandfather selling cattle at the livestock commission he owned in Cuero Texas. This was around 1938 I never knew him he was killed in a tractor accident a short time before I was born.
    89 pounds

  • Am 89lb rattlesnake? Somehow I don't think 22 magnum snake shot would be to proper round selection for that one.

  • @flyinphill I never saw the pictures last time I checked the thread for some reason...

    That snake!?!?!!?!? There has to be some photo trickery involved there!!!! They don't get that big do they?

  • Holy cow... I had no idea they got that big!

  • That's a big nope rope.

  • Nope Rope, a new one. That picture was taken in the seventies before photo shop and all the computer stuff. I was good friends with the man that ran security on the Traylor Ranch and he told me they had some exceptional varmints there. He lived on the property and did lots of cat hunting however this picture was from the guys that ran cattle on the ranch. Pretty big place and lots of it is accessible from the bay here. Rattlers do well in these salt grass flats but that is a big one. I handled a six plus foot one a friend of mine had alive one time, that thing was heavy but nothing like that one or the one in Florida. My friends name is Tiger believe it or not and made a ,living catching the dang things until his immunity turned to allergic and got bit milking one. His little brother worked for me and missed coming in to work one morning because they had to take him to Galveston the night before. It messed him up big time almost cost him his thumb and had to have skin grafts. That snake he had would wrap around your arm and try to get loose from Tiger's grip. I only did it once.

  • About the hog. That was a castrated boar my Great Uncle turned loose in his pasture. The bad thing was he bought ten sows at the auction barn and let them go too. In no time there was a pack of pigs in that place like you wouldn't believe. There was already a load of Russian pigs running wild and he decided there wasn't enough I guess to hunt. My grandfather didn't think too much of his decision to help stock the pig population. Two thousand acres of pig farm instantly and all kinds of crops for them to eat. That blob of fat bottomed out a set of cotton scales we weighed it with in the barn and they go to five hundred pounds. It was all guts and fat. My cousin killed it on the run with a 22-250, hell I could have hit it as bad a shot as I am. Big as a Volvo.

  • @orkan You grow big coyotes, elk, and deer. We grow big snakes, spiders, and cockroaches.

  • @flyinphill said in Big Changes:

    We grow big snakes, spiders, and cockroaches.


  • None of these things floating around in the swimming holes up there either. A little of their tentacles goes a long way. They will even hurt you when they are dead and dried up on the beach. They don't call them Man of War for nothing.

  • @orkan Our deer are about the size of a large dog.

    So are our cockroaches:


  • Keep it all. I don't want any of that stuff. Yuck!

  • I've been boxing up reloading components most of the week and whatever else gets in the way. I rounded up all my knives that were in different places and boxed them up for the move if it happens. Now if I lose one I lose them all. It took quite a few ammo cans to transfer the brass from plastic bags and containers into the cans that are easier to handle. I still had to use cardboard boxes and coffee containers for the fired brass but all the new stuff made it in the dry boxes. The projectiles aren't as bulky but they get heavy quick. I have a couple of boxes that are pushing thirty pounds or so. As long as they don't get dropped it will be good.

  • These knives have been out of service for a while. I rejuvenated the Queen Steel one with ash scales and the other small carbon steel skinner I poured a JB weld handle on it after the leathers fell off. Razor sharp still.
    Top knife was my wife's fathers Coast Guard issue knife. It's been used a lot to cut the pelvic bone on deer. The top of the blade has some evidence of a hammer being used, wasn't me I promise.
    My Queen Steel knife next.
    Third is a blacksmith knife I got from a friend of mine that was made somewhere in Tennessee I believe. It has a feature that has something to do with black powder or flintlock rifles I don't know for sure. Looks like a tool of some sort. I have a picture.
    Next knife is the skinner I repaired.
    The one with the black handles is a Jeff Spence knife made in Seadrift Texas. He hasn't made knives in quite a while. His folders are really nice. Water Buffalo Horn handles and solid nickel hardware. There is a dark green spacer between the handles and the blade I don't think the picture shows it. Knife has a good feel to it and super sharp but a little slippery. I got it in a trade I believe that involved a S&W 5906 and some other guns.
    Last, some kind of Colt licensed knife made in Japan. A really good piece of steel. Good skinning knife.
    The folder in the center was a gift from my mother in law. I carried it only when I wasn't working because I knew it would get torn up. Only pocket knife that has ever held up to my abuse is a Kershaw and I even burned it in a trash barrel once.
    The bayonet came from a cousin that was stationed in San Antonio. It is wicked sharp and I don't know what purpose it served for my grandfather. It was in his gun rack at the ranch as long as I can remember. He might have used it to bleed a pig before butchering. I wouldn't want to get stuck with it.
    Blacksmith Knife
    Rifle Brass and Projectiles

    Plenty more to box up. I'm about half way through with the reloading stuff.

  • I went into no mans land yesterday, the loft above the reloading room. Home to the nasty little gecko lizards that crap like small chickens indiscriminately everywhere. Found was income and bank records going back to the days of Jesse James (kidding) and assorted other valuable things like trophies and Barbie collections. An entire box of Barbies and clothes for Barbie. Cabbage Patch Dolls and even a Barbie car. I'm rich! There was something strange going on with the dolls. They seem to have digits that appear to have been amputated somehow and the heads were on the wrong bodies in some cases. One head had stitches in its chin. My Barbie expert confessed to the relocating of the heads and admitted she had some knowledge of the digits that appeared to have been nibbled on. After pulling them all out of hibernation for inspection they went back into their zip locks for another decade or so and were packed away. Guess they're moving to the country. Ole Ken is older than me he was Barbies hubby in 1961 that was the date on the bag he was in. My wife said he was really her older sisters doll. I did drag out an old Coleman Lantern and Stove and I have a WWII ammunition chest full of old horse bridles and tack up there as well. We haven't had horses in thirty years at least the saddles are at my brother in laws place. I do have a spur collection though. One set is very old and has a matching bridle bit for them as well with some gold and silver inlays. Might share a picture of them. The center trophy was given to me for participating in of all things a bicycle rodeo in 1967. I was nine years old. The other two was when my wife was on a high school bowling league and that's it.

  • Fixing to pack these up. Some were my dads and grandfathers I'm not sure about the aluminum ones. My mom and dad worked on a couple of big ranches in South Texas after college until he was drafted and then worked for her father taking care of his cattle interest until his demise. Their lives really took a turn after that. The ornate spurs and bit came from an old lady that had lots of property around the area where I grew up. They belonged to her brother and he was a big time rancher and horse breeder. She called these his coming to town spurs. I have tried to get them dated and had a couple of collectors look at them and about all they could come up with was probably done in Mexico maybe by an Indian and they are hand forged. The bit looks to be brazed I'm not sure when that was a method used by blacksmiths but this old dude died in the thirties and the spurs were old then. They have to be pretty old. I still have the leathers also. When dad got these in 1960 something they were packed in a can of hog lard. These were a gift from Miss Tulley for tearing down an old horse racing track and cleaning up the place she owned outside of town. Lost the internet while posting this I hope it flies.

  • I have just about gone through every hiding place in the shop and packed a few items up that I am going to keep. Might get up the ambition and make a display with the rest of the spurs and the cow doctoring kit I came across. Mostly used for vaccines and I remember a few times a momma cow in distress having calves. I got in on a couple of those. Lots of fun washing a cows behind and keeping the tail out of the way as a veterinarian tried to turn a calf half way up a cows rear end. Dad always complained they never had any trouble unless it was raining and at night. We had two sets of pens at the house that was used sometimes for a maternity ward if any of the expecting cows were in trouble. Seemed my Grandfather knew just what to look for. I had some drench guns for worming cattle, threw them a way when I cleaned the barns out up there. I have a video of that, I need to send it to You Tube. There might be a small drench gun with the syringes and the razor was used to shave a spot on the cows either for doing a chemical brand or for a clean shot with a needle. I was in on some chemical branding and the fire branding also. Don't like the smell of hot branding and the calves dang sure don't like it. My brother in law cold branded his cattle. I bet it still stings.
    Doctor Kit:
    Dazey Manufacturing can opener. I don't know when this was made but it was still in the box that was eaten up by silverfish. Probably 1950's or60's.

    A pea sheller. I still use it and it works great.
    A bag of old fishing reels, Shakespeare mostly.

  • I'm getting down to the nitty gritty now. I have all the wood working machinery and the lathe staged to go onto a trailer hopefully next week. All of it is on mobile bases so each one can be rolled around the shop and when in use the wheels lock. The lathe however has to sit solid so the base will either come off or I can raise the wheels but there is a tripping hazard and I have hung my big toe twice on the brackets so It's coming off. Have to shim the base up anyway to get a firm footing nothing worse than a soft foot on a lathe. The joiner works better off of the base also but it rarely gets used. All of my reloading stuff has been moved and is stored in ac so I'm good to go once we get our place here sold. Sad news is we haven't had a single inquiry about our house but we've only been on a realtor network for a little over a month hopefully something will break loose. Our town is completely shut down except for essential business and the Fourth of July event we have every year has been cancelled. I guess our waterfront park is open but just about all of the state and county beaches statewide are closed. No skin off of my back I never go anywhere except to the ranch to work but other people do things different.

  • You can see the toe busters sticking out on the base. The lathe weight is about 700 pounds and once the wheels are locked down it rolls around easily.

  • Well, we have a contract on our place and a closing date of September 17th finally. Survey is done and the buyers are good with the inspection and we already did the offer counter offer game and agreed on the price. We were supposed to have a bank appraiser come this week but the weather situation took care of that. Talk about a mess two hurricanes in the gulf at once and number two might make a cat 4. The right side of that storms eye is going to be nasty in a few hours. If that thing had headed west towards us I wouldn't be sitting here typing this the good news is it's a fast moving system. We rode a cat 2 (Claudette) out and it came and went in just a few hours with hardly any rain but tore plenty of stuff up in a short time. My shop is all moved we are hoping to have a mover set up for around the eighth to get our household stuff moved. lots of cardboard boxes stacked in here I just got off the phone with a container company in San Antonio to buy a forty foot Sea Can Container. Gonna need it.

  • Glad to hear you escaped. It looks like Cameron LA will have lots of shrimp boats for sale soon in case you decide to go back to work.

  • @rr2241tx You can't run fast enough to give me another shrimp boat. I out grew that addiction years ago. There are some young guns around Palacios that are getting into the Gulf shrimping industry right now following in the footsteps of there fathers and grandfathers but the bay shrimpers like me have resorted to live bait mostly aimed at sports fishermen kind of like the guide business. Nothing wrong with the recreational dollar it spends quite well. I was in the bait business for many years and the beauty part is it's cash. I was at the docks today and talked to my buddies I fished beside that own a big wholesale business and it was rolling pretty good. One of them said they were selling about 20 to 30 thousand gallons of diesel a day after the storm and unloading shrimp steadily so they are keeping payroll flowing and there are several of these docks here owned by locals. Those guys in Lake Charles and Cameron got hammered but they are pretty smart I doubt a lot of boats were lost if so they will be salvaged hopefully they went to safe refuge. One of my friends is a marine surveyor that works for an insurance company that might be busy for a month or two settling insurance claims maybe the other two waves in the Atlantic will cut us a break here. We'll see.

  • @bigfoot Well, i think I have figured out how to use my i phone to at least stay up with the forum. For now we don’t have internet other than at$t. Once we get settled in most likely we will do satellite. Pretty lousy area for phones but hey,we’re going off the grid so we’ll suck itup.

  • @bigfoot If fiber or DSL are not available... look into terrestrial wireless point to point or point to multipoint. Vastly superior to satellite. I'd view satellite as a last resort. It's pretty terrible service from some absolutely terrible companies.

  • @orkan The electric co op there just ran fiber optic down the highway going to our area but I was told it was only for school use. Some kind of grant for rural electric co ops to supply internet to rural schools. We do have copper phone lines we can access at our property but that stuff is obsolete. I absolutely hate Direct TV and the satellite TV providers. We can get excellent HD digital TV signal from San Antonio so maybe we can hit one of these terrestrial wireless providers from the same towers the local stations use. I would imagine they are line of sight microwave signals of some sort. Thanks, I didn't know what to ask for now I do. Terrestrial wireless.

  • @bigfoot said in Big Changes:

    I would imagine they are line of sight microwave signals of some sort.

    A quick search in the san antonio area yielded these guys:

  • @orkan I entered our address on risebroadband's website and they don't service that area unfortunately. I found a couple yesterday that did so I'll ask a few of the locals I know there and see who they are using. Our phones barely work and mine doesn't inside the metal building we are moving into. I know they make an antenna booster that has a magnetic base you stick on the roof and run a coax into the building to get the cell signal inside to help reception but if it's low outside it won't be any better inside with the booster. I did get a new I phone SE I did have a 6 which basically is the same at least the battery is staying up. The old one died twice a day.

  • @bigfoot said in Big Changes:

    if it's low outside it won't be any better inside with the booster.

    Incorrect. You obviously don't have experience with a good cell booster. Boosters run significantly higher db gain antenna's than the one inside your phone. So they will almost always be able to provide a stronger more stable signal than your phone would, and then transfer that inside the metal building. If you set them up properly and aim them correctly, they are very effective.

    Be sure you ground the external antenna.

  • @orkan You are right I don't have any experience with one. I watched a video Erik Cortina did on one of his barndominium builds in that area and they install them because of the low signal for that part of Texas. I'll go back and watch it again I can't remember what exactly they claimed it would do for the signal. In the video they did get some gain I'll see if I can find it on his channel.

  • We came up to the ranch for the weekend with four crates of dishes and some clothes before the movers come on Tuesday after Labor Day. I was making room in the barn for the washer and dryer while my wife was in the house getting it ready for fifty somethings boxes of stuff we have packed. I had moved some stuff to a small building we call the smokehouse and that’s when the excitement started. At least for me glad my wife wasn’t involved. I picked up a piece of 2” pvc pipe in the barn that had a three foot rattlesnake snoozing in it. Dang thing slid right out at my feet and instantly got the snot beat out of it. It was pretty skinny but I understand those are the bad kind usually full of venom from not feeding. It’s hanging on the fence now.

  • yikes!

  • @orkan We had the north door open and I guess it came in either a couple of weeks ago or yesterday and went up in that pipe. I have a forty foot container coming after we get moved to clean up the shop. It’s just not big enough to have snakes living in it.

  • Movers made it today. Six thousand pounds of memories from the coastal life. We’re enjoying a nice shower tonight from the first cold front to make it to our area. We definitely need the rain so they can chisel and get ready for the fall oat crop. We’re in severe drought so the rain is welcomed I’m just glad we got moved.

  • Our closing date has been moved up to next Tuesday. It was supposed to have been Thursday of this week I guess we can blame it on the covid virus. I have to make one more trip back with a trailer to haul my small Kubota tractor and a few odds and ends then back Tuesday hopefully for the paperwork. I thought my internet problems were solved. I spotted some fiber optic cable markers on the opposite side of our road but I called the number on one of the signs and found out there is a cable there but it isn't in use yet. My computer is fixing to be packed so it's phone only for now. Adios.

  • Another delay now it’s Thursday not tomorrow for the closing. We’re officially moved I hooked up a washer and dryer yesterday and already received some junk mail in our po box. Too bad I’m missing out on the tropical storm:\

  • We’re getting moved in out here and trying to establish a routine. It took two attempts to get registered to vote here but finally got our names spelled correctly today. I killed two rattlesnakes a few nights ago making their way towards the lights one evening. Got a bloody nose every morning because of the low humidity and the hay being cut south of my house. I’m used to relative humidity in the eighties and it’s been in the teens for a week. Definitely a different climate from the tropical coastallife. Low sixties every morning some places just north of here were in the forties already. We still haven’t signed closing paperwork on our house. I don’t know what is going on with theses banks and mortgage companies. Delay after delay. We opened a new bank account here locally and can’t access our money for nine working days and it was a cashiers check we deposited. I don’t really care fo the new normal.