Thursday, July 31, 2014

Alligator Point After A Hard Day of Work

Alligator Point is 40 miles south of town. It is the closest real ocean beach - in less than an hour you can be on the white sand and into the water.

After a day of working the pipe and wire trenches in our yard - we threw our beach ten into the Prius and headed south. We stopped for a picnic supper to take along - and picked up a dashing bathing for Lulu at the world's best Walmart. 

There were only 3 or 4 families there as we arrived around 5 - and they left pretty soon giving us the beach to ourselves. Can you imagine miles of white sand beaches in Florida with warm water and no people? Well that is what we had. 

We stayed until well past sundown - we were tempted to stay in our tent to see if anyone would roust us. But in the dark - we pulled up stakes - folded the poles and rolled up the tent. Lulu drove home - and in less than an hour - we were showered and ready for bed. 

We found someone to take our picture - this is looking east.

The sunset can be seen through Lulu's hair - looking west. In this photo I used a flash because I was shooting into the sun.

Tallahassee to Alligator Point is 40 miles. Traffic is nonexistent on the 2 lane highway - 319.

Gary Shiver's Latest Project

In the woods north of Tallahassee - Gary Shiver is on to his next project. After finishing our home - he moved onto a commercial property. Now he is building this beautiful barn/play house for his friend. 

Upstairs - there is a finished workshop for the wife. On one side is a giant screened in room with a stone fireplace. A workshop is on the first floor - and a place for cars and trucks.

Harry - Gary - the Owner

Step go up to the second floor on the attic.

The building is being covered with rough cut vertical pine planks.

The fireplace is a stainless feel wood burning unit. It will be covered with stone.

The metal roof has a large overhang.

The fireplace will be in a giant screened party room.

Steps to the loft.

Gary Wayne and Josh 

Sawing rough cut lumber - lots of splinters.

The Prius made an appearance.

This is the north side facing the road.

This is a classic Cracker Style barn

Working in the screened party room.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

It Looks Like A Mole Attacked Our Yard

The moles were active at Seminole View.

Do you remember the Looney Tunes of the 1950s? I loved the ones about the moles that would dig up yards making furrows that looked like railroad tracks. This weekend our yard looks like one of those cartoons. 

This trencher did the hard work of digging up our yard.

I rented a trencher. It is a really neat device that digs a trench for wires and pipes. For $80 a day - you can make these neat little tranches without butchering your lawn too much. I can't get my moneysworth any more - I have to stop for a lot of rests. I probably picked the hottest and most humid time to dig. The local rental shop give you a break if you rent on a Friday -you pay one day - and you get to use the tool the whole weekend. That was a good thing - because my job went slower than I expected. I would go broke as an electrician. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mower Sale Took Three Days

Mr. Cox from Crestview FL

New $100 Bills With Holograms

I got a text message from a guy in Crestview FL last night around 9 PM. Crestview is 100 miles away - just off I-10. It is where my former students Earl and Jean Eidem live. 

The guy said he would be over at 7 AM with his truck - trailer - and $1200 in cash. This morning at 7 AM - he took a test mow and drove it right up onto his trailer. Right now the mower is heading west on the Interstate at about 65 miles per hour. 

Tuesday I bought my new mower. I advertised it on Craigslist right away. One fellow came by with his truck and $1000. I felt guilty not selling it - Lulu said I should have settled. Today I am $200 richer. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Today We Bought A New John Deere Mower

New mower on left - old mower on right - already on craigslist for $1200.

I had to wait until 1998 when I was 50 years old to get my first riding mower. I was recovering from cancer surgery and Lulu was feeling sorry for me. I got a Honda 1011 Rider with a 30 inch blade. When we moved to Tallahassee in 2004 - we decided to hire a lawn service for $45 a week - and we sold the Honda. 

In 2010 we bought the brick house with the 1.4 acre lot and a bought a John Deere 48 inch wide belly mower. It has served us well. Usually I could mow the lawn in a little over an hour. In 4 years I used it for 125 hours - cutting the lawns of both of our Seminole Drive homes. 

I always envied those "bump steer" mowers - the ones that have two tillers. Since we are now "cracker rich" from selling the other house - I decided it was time to get one of those little sports car types of a lawnmower. I have been shopping quite a while. 

The official name of the type of mower is a zero turn. By pushing one handle forward and the other one back - you can turn on a dime. I remember as a kid - at the fair the farmers would do tractor square dancing. With one of these zero turn mowers you could be a ballerina. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

We Stopped in Rural Retreat VA To Visit Brother Jackie

This is Jackie and Tami's ranch home - high in the mountains of Virginia. I purchased that van in Florida for Jack. They converted it into a camper - with stove - frig - bed - toilet - AC - generator.

A propane tank helps power the house in winter. The synthetic wooden deck is really nice. We had supper there. In the tent is Jackie's childhood car - a 1980 Pontiac Fiero.

The barn has two tractors inside. The garden was in full bloom.

The white door is a private entrance to the basement. It could easily be a nice full separate apartment. the French doors into into a big hot tub spa room.

We ate breakfast at a quaint little country diner - note the sign about Rural Retreat. 

Lulu's brother Jack Cox left the Tamaqua Valley early and moved south. He ended up in a town called Rural Retreat VA. It was once the Cabbage Capital of the world. Now it is just a small Appalachian town of 1400 people. Jack is a manager at a plastic plant just down the road. 

Rural Retreat sits high in the mountains. In the winter it is a south capital - but during our visit - the weather was beautiful. It was clear and sunny and at night it dropped down to 48 degrees.

Jack has lived in this brick ranch home for 10 years. He is very handy - doing most of the work on the home himself or with the help of Tami. The main floor has real oak hardwood floors. It has a full finished basement with an exercise room and a bar room - plus two bathrooms. Out back - he built a deck of synthetic wood that is made at his plant. The deck is 3 years old and looks like brand new. No weathering - no paint - no wood rot. The house has several fireplaces and stoves for the long cold - snowy winter. 

They have a garden and grow a wealth of fruits and vegetables. They have two tractors - one for mowing their large yard - the other one for plowing the driveway. 

Rural Retreat is just a mile off Interstate 81 in Virginia. 

We Visited The Tesla Supercharger in Tifton GA

On the way home from visiting Drew - Keith - and Jackie - we stopped at the newest Tesla charging station  in Tifton GA. It is right along I-75 behind the Starbucks. There are 8 "pumps" where you can plug any electric car in to re-charge it. 

Tesla has put up 96 of these free charging stations - free to owners of Tesla autos. By this time next year they plan to have almost every one within 50 miles of one of these stations. If we had a plug-in Prius - we could charge it there too. 

It is really just a fancy thick extension cord. It can charge the car to 80% full in 20 minutes. Range is about 300 miles on a charge. 

Tifton is less than 100 miles from our home. To go from Atlanta to Orlando - one could stop here to get a charge and complete the trip. 

The Tesla starts at $70000 - although at the dealership most of them had a $90000 sticker on them. Tesla is a great car - fast - safe - quiet - luxurious - energy efficient. I would love one but cannot justify the cost - even with free "fuel."