January Hard Freezes to Kickoff 2018

After a cold wet week between Christmas 2017 and New Year’s Eve, New Year’s day began with 10-20 MPH winds whistling through the pecan trees and frozen pipes and no heat in the house. The pond had a thin ice layer when we left at 9 AM.

January 2, 2018, saw a low temp that morning of 21 and a high temperature during the day of 40.

3rd – In the morning it only got down to 31. Blossman Gas checked the tank, found it empty even though the gauge said 50%. Added 50 gallons, checked for leaks and found none but he and Peg could not get it to light. Peg went back after Mandy picked up TS and adjusted the thermostat to 60 from 50–it came on.

4th – At 5:30 AM temp is 25 degrees. At 1:30 pm it is 45° for the day’s high.

5th, Friday – At 6:30 Am the temp is 27°. The high was 50°.

Sunday morning, 1/14/18, began the next cold spell when the morning temps fell into the mid 20s today, Monday and Tuesday. The full arctic cold front rolled in on Wednesday, 1/17/18, and the temps fell to 18° at sunrise. This was the storm that dropped a solid layer of sleet on Houston during our last winter there with freeways closed throughout the city.

Thursday morning- Temps fell to 19°. Houston was in the low 20s.

Friday morning – 25°. Houston 39, like is forecast for Mobile tomorrow morning.

Christmas 2017

December 24, 2017 – So, the week begins.

Christmas Day – Sorted through old boxes of stuff in the front guest room. Setup two sets of “LAN” shelves in the grain bin and moved a lot of stuff from the carport storage room there.

26th – Took old bed frame, bedclothes, lamp and nightstand to GoodWill.

Exchanged Fergie’s Battery for one that fits. Took mattress and other junk to landfill. Spread 40 lb sack fo granulated gypsum on old barn site where the ground is very hard. Dusted rat droppings off shelves in the storage room and Mary organized it. Moved a lot of things to the new shelves in the bin.

Dec. 29, 2017

27th, Wednesday – Rainy, cold morning. in afternoon went to Coast Design Kitchen & Bath talked to them about appliances and kitchen design. She called in Robert Mullen of Robert Mullen Builders to talk about interior construction.

28th – Another cold drizzly morning.

29th – Walked to Mary’s Springs and crossed the creek to the east side.  Walked to the southeast corner post and little ways north but not to the Beaver Pond.

30th – Planted Bay Laurel in the NE corner of the front yard and divided two Day Lilies and put half of each either side of the Bay. Rearranged other Day Lilies outside Guest Room windows. Sod saved from the Bay planting was planted in spots in the old barn site. Trimmed out rubbing branches in the Magnolia Frescati as they were also the ones that were not leafing out. and had a lot of lichens. Planted the Texas Laurels from Houston along the road fence south of the old barn site. Burned up the last of Dad’s tax returns and Peg took home a box of old 33 RPM records.

31st, Sunday – Cold, breezy and drizzled all morning. Went to Home Depot and bought containers to pack things for during renovation. Sorted out kitchen pots and filled three boxes.


  1. Ford Battery – Need 36″ cables, no. 2 gauge
  2. Replace pole in Barn – email Ted to see if he is available during Christmas
  3. Call Southern Dozer Wayne? down the road about the pond
  4. Ask Peggy who the gas company is
  5. Call the appliance people to find out about delivery options.

To Do There

  1. Till Meyer Lemon Spots
  2. Set corners with Frank
  3. Replace pole in Barn
  4. Rebuild switch box at the barn & Re-establish power to the grain bin.
  5. Maybe – demo closet in the utility room if we make room in the storage room for all the “stuff” that is in it.

Old Bring & Do list:


C clamps for JD tire


Cut expanded metal for grates for smoker

Buy install Fire Detectors

Go To back

Burn pile in Driskell field

Cut down dead tallows along ditch fence

Paint rust on gate

Seal tire to rim on JD mower

Buy hydraulic oil for Dad’s jack

Search for cypress log to support oak tree

Ask Ted to help with pole in pole barn

Find 4 lug wheels for disc

Talk to Structural engineer about patio

TNT Construction finished punch list for new gables and eves

11/24/2017 – Timothy himself did the cleanup, touchup and straighten up work with a helper. Mary said when we drove up, and later so did Frank, that the new trim “makes the house look like a new house”.

With Aluminum and Vinyl Siding. Pre-Nov. 2017

The columns on the porch are great and we installed a new porch light fixture Mary bought on Houzz.com.

The gable-vent hurricane covers are numbered 1-4 starting at the carport and going CCW.

The labels from the paint colors are below.

Darker Grey Trim

Gables and soffits

Fireplace Maintenance

11/22/2017 – ARC Chimney Services inspected and repaired the chimney. Work was proposed Labor Day by Brandon Maxwell at 888-998-2258.

The work was done by Michael Murphy (850-602-0129 and Chase. Michael referred us to Jamie Gonzales (850-450-8856) with Dream Built Solutions to place tile.


Thanksgiving 2017

This was a good trip getting a lot done without killing ourselves. The new siding was completed and the fireplace serviced as well as the heater. Someone had stolen Fergies battery and the cable from both tractors. Went to Becky’s for Thanksgiving meal with family.

Tuesday, 11/21/2017 – Arrived mid-afternoon. Walked new fence and let Lady go. She spent the rest of the day in the barn and wood pile area hunting.


  1. ABC Chimney Sweeps repaired and improved the fireplace and Chimney. See separate post.
  2. Inspected siding work with Timothy Turner TNT construction. He made repairs and will return Friday.
  3. Estes Heating & AC did their fall checkup of the heater. Found a lot of trash from the roof replacement and said the heater is fine.
  4. We weeded the beds near the house and edged the walkway and driveway.

Thursday – Went to Becky’s for the family meal. Stopped for first time at Meaher State Park.


  1. TNT completed punch list work on the gables and eves.
  2. Using the new-to-me Troy-Bult cultivator-Tiller we tilled and weeded the new bed along the fence at the road.
  3. Used the line trimmer to clean out the remaining driveway cracks and filled them with the latex crack filler bought at HomeDepot.
  4. Using the line trimmer cleanup up the weeds along the road fence and ditch embankment.
  5. Discovered the battery in Fergie has been stolen along with battery cables plus the battery cables from the Ford.

    Lady enjoying the new fence

  6. Beautiful afternoon. Watched a kettle of hawks high up drift past.


  1. Shopping trip to HomeDepot for more pipe insulation, driveway crack filler, fire ant killer, bleach. Bought a new 600 CCA battery at the Battery Discount store on Schillenger for Fergie. Looked for cables at Advance Auto Parts and parts houses. Need to order the large ones for the Ford and a red one for Fergie.
  2. Spread American Meadows Inc. “Fall Maximum Mix” wildflower mixture in the new bed between the crepes along the road. Took a soil sample from 5 locations to have tested.

Sunday – Stayed an extra day

  1. Spread 5 pounds of inoculated crimson clover bought at Grand Bay Feed Store on the ditch embankment.
  2. Hauled limbs to the pile.
  3. Finished sealing cracks in driveway…even though it will never be really finished
  4. Sprayed Eraser on the new fence at the orchard
  5. Repaired the pipe insulation on the 3/4″ pipe feed from the pump
  6. Agreed on citrus grove to be Meyer Lemons along driveway and satsumas and maybe one blood orange in garden as in old barn area the clay from burying it is too hard.

Fence Installation by Paul Farill

9/25/2017 – Paul Ferril began installing a 4-board fence along the east side of the yard, changing to only 2×4 wire from a new gate across from the grain bin back to the lane fence.

Only 2×4 wire along the existing fence past the barn and south to the new gate at the road.

11/25/2017 – Paul and his wife Stephanie stopped by as he has finished the fence. We and Lady are very pleased. Mary gave them a check for the final payment of $1000 + $100 for the additional 4-foot gate into the pond field.

Welded Fencing Wire tag:  Item No. 0492387  4 ft x 50 ft.  Model 840192, ISB 6 51082 84019 2

Began Replacing Gables and Eves

9/18/2017 – TNT Construction unloaded Hardie Plank sheeting and boards for facia. Work began the next day and stumbled on until Friday with Timothy and his brother got the gable over the carport near completion so we could see it. Scope has increased to include beadboard for the soffits and the ceiling of the two porches.

Week of 9/25/14 – They made some progress.

Week of 10/2/17 – The work has progressed across the front but still not made it to the east gable. They appear to have the front porch ceiling done and that likely took a while.

September, 2017

This work week was to be the week of Labor Day but that was the week before Hurrican Harvey happened. Houston flooded. Postponed this work until recovery was underway and no new surprises should arise. In the meantime, Hurricane Irma hit Florida and came up the west coast but died down before it went very far north. Did not get much wind or much-needed rain.

Cool early mornings becoming still and humid, then hot afternoons. Thunderstorms around most afternoons and rained three times.

Saturday, 9/16/2017 – Picked up limbs some and weeded beds some. Mowed the grass at the back door.

Sunday – Cut all 2 acres of grass and hauled away the limbs. Weeded the front beds and trimmed the crepe myrtles.


  1. Planted the seedlings we brought in front of the climbing roses either side of the gate and filled in between the pecan trees in the backyard.
  2. Picked the sand pears that are turning yellow and pulled away easily.
  3. Sprayed fungicide on grass dollar spots that remain from the last spraying.
  4. Timothy Turner/TNT Construction delivered HardiePlank trim boards and sheeting for the gables.

    From the same tree

  5. Went to Blairs and bought 3 daylilies, two Agapanthus (semi-dwarf Lily of the Nile) and two dark leaf, deep red crepe myrtles named Sunset Magic (Lagerstroemia “Phlagix PPAF”.

Tuesday & Wednesday

  1. Yard work with tiller to connect five roses and hydrangeas into one bed.
  2. Went to Kitchen & Bath Ct and talked to Angela who recommended for appliances Coast Design Kitchen & Bath. Talked with Barbara Fretwell 251-610-1887 and she quoted GE Monogram oven with a fume hood and GE Cafe Dishwasher.


  1. Tilled between crepes along road fence to create straight grass line.
  2. Chimney inspection by ARC found grout missing above the fire chamber and grout joints above roof need to be ground out and re-pointed and grout cap removed replaced and new SS cap provided for $2400.
  3. Picked up 2 scoops crushed pine bark mulch at Woerner and mulched new bed at back door, the new Majestic Magic Crepes and the beds either side of the gate.
  4. Planted more Mexican Lirope either side of the gate and deepened those beds.
  5. Planted more Mexican Lirope and pink plants between the pecan trees in the backyard. After all the seedlings were planted I counted 31 pots to take back to Houston to bring more.


New bed, house siding underway & new porch columns

  1. Spread mulch on the new bed and in larger beds in front of the angled fence at the gate.
  2. Planted the red crepe myrtles with dark leaves in along the driveway in the front yard lined up with the plants in the new bed.
  3. Lime citrus grove and treat carpenter ants with bifenthrin.
  4. Moved amaryllis bulbs from the oak tree at the road into beds. Two were 4″ in diameter.


  1. Re-tilled new beds along road fence, raked out sod and it filled the wagon to the brim.
  2. Spread 13-13-13 on all beds. Spread cottonseed meal on new crepes.


New Roof July 2017

Apex Roofing and Restoration, 993 Yeager Parkway, 251-660-4555, Kelly and Beverly
Keith Horness – cell 920-287-2836, apexroofs.mobile.keith@gmail.com
Adam Stewart, QC, 256-962-2028
Installers: Sergio, his daughter Jennifer and his younger brother.

Shingle are GAF’s Timberline HD, Weatherwood style
Peak “Ice & Rain II Underlayment”

Click here to see all photos in DropBox folder.

Shingles were to be delivered Monday, 7/3 but supplier did not have the Certainteed Wedgewood so they upgraded to GAF Timberline HD (hi definition) with the Wedgewood style/color. They did not arrive until Thursday morning.

Found rotted decking at the peak over the carport and at the plywood repair on the west, north and east sides of the fireplace. Repaired with 1×6″.

Rain Wednesday, 7/5 while Sergio was away on a long lunch, blew back the underlayment and rain leaked in at the fireplace and hallway. Calls to everyone had them scrambling but no visible damage as the rain quit and no more that day.  Promised to be complete by 9 AM tomorrow, Thursday.

They were at the gate at 5:30 AM and on the roof at 5:45. Good progress until it good hot. The roof was on and they were working on the backdoor overhang about 1 PM. His brother walked out on the overhang even though Keith told me they would be doing it from ladders. Mary and I told them to get off and he did. Keith called and I told him about being on the roof. He showed up in 20 min and took photos.

Installed new attic vent fan in the location over the house and moved the existing one to a location over the carport; i.e. future studio.

All done other than cricket at fireplace and Sergio wants to leave and he and Keith argued about the cricket. Sergio to be back Monday to install it.

Saturday – Apex connected new attic power vent fan. A very hard thunderstorm blew in and we had a little water dripping down the chimney. Called Keith and he came out and was here when Baker arrived to hook up the attic exhaust fan. They inspected the inside attic around the chimney and reported they saw no water. They strapped a blue tarp around the Chimney above the roof to see if that stops the infiltration. I told Keith I thought it was coming in the brick joints. Baker thinks it may be the rusty vent cap.

Sunday – Removed the blue tarp and inspected the metal flue cap. There is some surface but no holes. Noticed separation between the old roofing mastic and the flue where the metal flue cap rests. The other side had a 1/2″ gap and a low place that would let water pond and run in the crack and down the outside of the flue. Inspection of the inside walls of the flue had evidence of running down a long time ago. Filled the gap all the way around the flue and filled in the low places where water was ponding.