Ranching and Draft Horses - now each have their own pages!
The Physical CyberRanch
The CyberRanch is 24 acres of land near Chilton Texas. The property
has a nice house, a four stall horse barn, and a 35' x 65' metal shop
building. It is fenced and cross fenced and also has a neat stock pond.
There are pecan trees, live oaks, and hickory nut trees. The driveway
is covered by a canopy created by trees growing along both sides.
We're just down the road from Durango, Texas, home of the Flying
Rose Ranch. Rose has a really neat Thoroughbred operation. She also has
a great website for all matters horse related, EQUINE INFO
Our mailing address will be Chilton, Texas, which is in Falls
County. This is an area about 30 miles south east of Waco. The
actual ranch is located right on the intersection of Routes 77 and 935.
12/21/98 It looks like I'm getting to learn first hand what a Blue
Norther is. It was about 65 F when we left for work this morning, and
we had a high of 70F. Now it's 6:45 PM and I've just come in from
insulating pipes. Where our water supply line leaked, I installed shut
off valves for the house and the barn when I fixed the leaks. The
covers I had didn't fit over the pipes, so I haven't filled the dirt
back in yet. I got one of those 6' heat tapes and strapped it along the
tape. I then covered it up with trash bags and put Styrofoam on top of
that. In theory, the thermostat should turn it on when it gets down to
freezing tonight. While today's high was 70 F, tomorrows high will be
32 F and I'm really all out of practice for weather like that after our
summer that stayed above 100 F for almost two months.
Progress on the ranch acquisition:
5/7/98 The shingles have been ordered and the roofer has been in
contact with the current owners. Right now the house has a cedar shake
roof. While this roof looks nice and appears to still have a bit of
life left in it, a wooden roof is just not suitable for here in Texas.
As part of the purchase agreement, the current owners are replacing the
roof with 20 year composition shingles. I am trying to get in touch
with the roofer to see if we could have a ridge vent installed at the
time of roof replacement. In this hot Texas sun, a ridge vent should be
money well spent.
CertainTeed has a nice web site on the principles of attic ventilation.
It looks like I will need to go back to working full
time in psychiatry for a year or so to deal with the financial aspects of buying
and equipping the ranch. The job will be nothing like the private practice I
used to have, but I do have to try to earn some money in whatever ways are left
available to me. I really won't have a lot of time to learn draft horses right
away, so unless a really good deal comes along, we will hold off on getting the
team. I have become very interested in goats. They seem like an interesting and
fairly smart animal, and the ranch sure could use some cleaning up in the ways
that they could provide. Of course I've signed on to a couple of Goat E-mail
discussion groups to begin to learn about them.
9/20/98 Our friend John brought our herd of Texas Longhorns today. We now have four cows and a bull.
Hollywood, our herd bull
12/5/98 Chickens have now been added to the CyberRanch's livestock.
11/29/98 Spent yesterday and today building a chicken coop.
We ordered a 14' x 24' Morgan
building with a carport on the side. This was ordered at the end of
November, but there is a few week build time at the factory. Even with
the carport, we still have quite a need for storage. We plan to use
this building first to keep hay and the motorcycles dry.
Looks like we have some serious
plumbing problems going on. A little bit of water was leaking out where
the wall meets the floor in the master bathroom. At first I just
thought I had been careless and let the water splash out of the shower.
When I was careful and positioned the bathmat to see the water, it
looked more like it was coming out of the bottom of wall than from a
leaky shower pan. Turns out it's what they call a "slab leak" where the
pipes are run through the cement slab that takes the place of a
basement down here. When the plumbers tested it showed: the slab leak,
a shower pan leak, a shower drain leak and leaks in the drain lines at
both ends of the house. As of 12/21/98 our insurance claim was passed
to the slab person, because the original adjuster came out and decided
the slab has cracked and shifted at both ends of the house. He feels
the leaks may have undermined the soil under the slab and allowed it to
break and move. He found a couple ceiling cracks in each end of the
house and one in the stone outside in front. Goodwench was crying by
the time he left. My understanding is that next step if for the
plumbers to perform a "flow test" of the leaks which will help the slab
adjuster and an engineer determine if the amount of water leaking out
could have caused the slab problems.
6/1/99 Current status of the Nationwide Homeowners Claim.
All sorts of reports were submitted to Gabe Martinez the slab adjuster.
I really can't quite figure out what all is going on from the various
reports. I haven't cashed any of the few small checks the insurance
company has sent so far, because I wanted to wait until the whole thing
was resolved to our satisfaction. We then received a letter from an
attorney for Nationwide insurance asking goodwench and I to come submit
to another questioning under oath, this time with their attorney and a
court reporter present. We have already given the adjuster a taped
statement under oath of all that we know on our house situation and
they are asking for more. We have already missed many days of work
waiting for plumbers, leak detection experts, and slab engineers to
come to the house, so I feel a request for another meeting with their
attorney is simply harassment. I wonder if we will ever hear from
Nationwide on this matter or if they will simply attempt to consider
the case closed and blame us for not complying with all they trying to
put us through. I guess if I don't get some satisfaction from
Nationwide soon, I will be looking for a different carrier for our
homeowners insurance and the 5 vehicles. It's really a shame. I've been
with Nationwide for many years and my father goes back well over 30
continuous years with them. Dealing with Nationwide Insurance on this
whole issue has been nothing but an abusive nightmare.
4/27/00 I haven't really kept up on the CyberRanch updates as well as I'd have liked to. Guess that's just what
happens when so much is going on. The CyberRanch has greatly expanded. From the original 24 acres, we are now up to 82 acres. We were able to purchase a beautiful 58 acre piece three miles down the road from our present place. It's fenced as a single large pasture
and has been sprigged in Coastal Bermuda grass. Two sides have new fence and the other two are still quite serviceable. Part of what
justified our buying this acreage is that it had a mobile home site already on it. My mother is moving down from Pennsylvania and will be needing a place to
live. Goodwench and I purchased a trailer home, and having a site with all the hookups already present saved much expense.
The couple selling us the property thought they were ready to move back
into town, so we also purchased three Jersey cows and an impressive
Brahma bull named Andy. I guess I
didn't learn much of a lesson with Hollywood, cause we again have a bull. I want to keep the Longhorn herd, but I also want to
expand into animals that will be more easily sold on the beef market. Now that we have a Brahma bull, I hope to accumulate some Angus heifers.
11/12/01 I went looking for a stock trailer this past Spring.
The trailer was OK, but the man also had a little donkey foal
named Sam and Farmall 400 Propane. I told the man I'd give his asking
price for the trailer if he threw the donkey in. Goodwench had a
feeling I'd be coming home with something more than a trailer. Sam was
hard for the seller and I to load, but he hauled nicely. At home I
turned him into the barnyard. Donkeys are a herd animal and it's not
ideal if one is kept alone. When the man we'd bought our land from was
finally moving off the other piece, he had trailers come out to haul
all the cows to auction. Goodwench knew the old white Jenny, looking
tumorous with deforming fat deposits on her neck and abdomen, would go
to slaughter, so we got our second donkey. Very shortly after that, the
man that bought back the piece of land next to "57" Property had a dark
brown guard donkey. After one of the cows had a calf, someone said the
donkey was too protective of the calf, to the point of chasing it's
mother away. He had asked if I was interested in the donkey and I
agreed to it the day I took Andy to the auction. Also in the deal,
Mocha was bred (to a spotted Jack, I hear third hand) and due to foal
in June 2001. Mocha quickly fit right in with Sam and Dawn. Titus came
after the BLM Adoption. He picked goodwench out.
See what existed for hundreds of years before our earliest tractors.
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This page was created April 30, 1998
Updated November 13, 2001