Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The good old days! UPT Class Reunion, 40 years later.

I just got back from my UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) Class 70-05 reunion. There were several 70-05 Classes, but ours was at Williams AFB, just east of Phoenix. The base is closed now - too bad, it was truly a garden spot – so we decided to hold it at the Hanger Hotel (http://www.hangarhotel.com/) in Fredericksburg, Texas.
Why Fredericksburg? Well, it turned out that more than 15% of the guys live in Texas, now, and besides the Hanger Hotel with its Officer’s Club was a cool place to meet.
Our class was at the height of the Viet Nam war. We started out with 92 guys in two flights, and graduated 63 a year later. 6 guys got washed back and graduated later, but the rest disappeared into the world of ground pounders.
The reunion was somewhat informal; the only ‘scheduled’ events were Happy Hour at the Officer’s Club, and a pay-as-you-go dinner on Friday night, and a Kegger/BBQ at Lady Bird Park on Saturday. The rest of the time was spent in small casual groups at the airport, catching up on the past several decades.
OK, so my first impression was “Who are all of these old guys?” After all, I haven’t seen most of them since we got our wings. Still, I recognized most of them right away. And, like the pixilated display in a simulator, we all started to ignore our age and picked up ‘just like old times’.
It was particularly interesting to see what all of the guys had accomplished. Many had recently retired from the airlines, some were CEO’s of their own businesses, and others retired from the Air Force with chilling (and confirmed) stories of their exploits and achievements. Naturally, we figured that we were simply ‘an exceptional group’.
For those of you who are interested, I set up a website for the class so we could post any photos that were taken at the event. http://willy7005.myphotoalbum.com/

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I just thought it interesting that today the gestational ages of my grandsons are 22 weeks 5 days and 25 weeks 2 days - just a quick alteration in numerical order!!
The other coinkidink came this afternoon when a friend stopped by. The moment she looked in the box, she said "Looks like you have all females". She hadn't touched a one of them!!!!! Of course I asked - "how could you know without even looking??? " She said that whenever cats have 3 colors (like calicos), they're always females!! All 4 do have whitish faces with some of mom's orangey color along with the dark stripes, and sure enough - on inspection all 4 were females on the bottom's up test!! Did anyone else know this little fact????

Friday, April 25, 2008


Folks in Texas do everything in a BIG way! I grew up on a farm for several years when I was young, and I remember helping load bales of hay onto a flatbed trailer to haul back to the barn and we had an conveyor belt that we threw the bales on to get them up to the hay mow. We've been buying hay locally until we became acquainted with Ed Sweat - one of those entrepenurial folks I alluded to previously. I think Ed has done about everything in his almost 80 years, and he still puts in a full day's work sprigging fields (more on this when the grass is up) - but we discovered that Ed supplies the local feed store with hay. He has BIG bales which he unrolls and rebales into around 72 smaller bales. So we bought one of his big bales and invited him to dinner. He delivered it with a backhoe just in time for dinner! How big, you ask??? Each bale weighs in the neighborhood of 1500 pounds! Check out the size of this bale:

So after dinner and fascinating conversation, it was time to go home. Here's Ed heading home in his 'Cadillac'. Where else can you invite someone over and they arrive and leave on their backhoe!
One more picture I can't resist! Kittens at 3 weeks of age - gonna jump out of that box any day now!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

'Our Town'

(click on any picture to enlarge)

Reminiscent of your tour of Clovis (Trav/Pam) I thought I'd give y'all a little tour around our new home town! So folks, sit back -- this is Olney, Texas, population 3,396 - 45 miles south of Wichita Falls, 100 miles west of Fort Worth. We're a 3 traffic light town. This is Main Street (downtown area):
As you can see we don't have to worry about rush hour traffic or finding a parking space. Our church is right on this main drag (Olney has 17 churches!) and you'll note in the sanctuary, that we have an awesome pipe organ!
In addition, we have 2 banks, 2 feed stores, 2 hardwares, 1 drug store (which is also a gift shop and bridal registry), 1 motel (below), 7 insurance agencies, Stewart's Food Store - our 1 grocery (below), a golf course and an airport. We have 4 fast food chains (DQ, Sonic, Subway, Golden Chick) (right) and 5 other restaurants. (Across the street from DQ is our new Dollar General and a Movie Gallery). Probably the best restaurant in town is Gandy's - (below) they have great hamburgers and chicken fingers.
Of course we have City Hall, Young County Municipal Court, a police department and an awesome volumteer fire department.
We have a 25 bed hospital (below left) and a very nice library (below right)which is the FIRST combined community and school library facility in the country!. The elementary school is beyond the trees in the picture and the High School and stadium are behind the library. Olney is VERY supportive of all school sports teams and the town really comes out on Tuesday and Friday nights to cheer them on!
Olney is also known for it's annual One Armed Dove Hunt (Sept); Rodeo (May); and many many community events. It's also the home of Air Tractor (agricultural spray planes).
Of course there's more to this community than what I can photograph. It's really about the people. They are friendly, helpful, and welcoming. They're very resilient, entrepreneurial, hard working and family loving folks. It may not be the fanciest town - after all, we don't have a WalMart!!! But we REALLY love it here and we love the people and are finding many wonderful new friends.

Quickie Kitten Update...

At 17 days, kitties are becoming aware that there's a world outside the box. They look out the door. They're beginning to play with each other, and they have learned to take a bath. Up to now, Mom has been the bathgiver and their whole world! I also noticed today that like human babies, they all have BLUE eyes! They now take up most of the floor of the box, so they've grown A LOT!!!! Also, she spends more time out of the box now. Soon she'll be back to bringing 'presents' (field mice, etc) to the front yard!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Everything grows BIG in Texas!!!

A few days ago I leaned over to pick up a beetle from Sheba's evening resting place and ewwwww.... it was soft!!!
It was a very fat tick!!!! It totally grossed me out. It's about the 6th tick I've seen on or around Sheba. She seems to be a tick magnet! Know that I applied tick and flea 'stuff' to her shoulder blades a few weeks ago. I think the ticks like it!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's a little "Snakeye", -- plus other tidbits....

What's a snakeye you ask?? Actually that's Travis' callsign, his 'handle' in the F-16 community! Anyway, the 10th was Pam's birthday AND the day of the BIG ultrasound! Travis got back from his deployment on Wednesday, just in time for one sleepover and a trip to the doctors for the ultrasound. So he got to see firsthand whether his offspring was going to be a little Pammie or a little 'Snakeye'! For 'pics' of our new little grandson, see Travis' blog - http://www.snakeye.us/ .
Speaking of babies, my grandkittens are growing and at 8 days old, their eyes are opening. I had looked on the web and they said they open around day 17! So it was a surprise to see them opening on day 8!!! Also, see how they've grown from birth to almost 9 days old.
And look what a contented mom Kitty is when the babies are all foraging around for a meal!
I have one last "show and tell". A couple of nights ago we had severe wind warnings! To me, it seems like we have severe winds at least 2 or 3 times a week! I walked around the house to check water in the trough for the horses and alas, the arbor/trellis that's probably been there for 20 - 30 years was as you can see!!! There's ONE root still connected to the vine. I understand it's a pretty hardy plant and the trellis itself isn't broken. It must have come loose with all the rain and wind plus the foundation work that was done a few months ago! The winds also blow tiles off the roof (OFTEN!) - we just finished with roof repair last week!! So goes life on the ranch!! : )

Monday, April 7, 2008


(To fully appreciate the sunrise, be sure to click on it to enlarge)
Rancher Mike is on his way back to Ohio to spring clean the yard and set up to rent our property there while the house selling market is currently stinky!! He left this morning a little after 7 with this incredible sunrise! Sorry, I couldn't pass up this Kodak moment!

By the time he turned the corner, there was a line-up for breakfast. It was just a beautiful morning - 60 degrees, no wind, a beautiful sunrise and all the animals waiting for pets, treats and breakfast! What could be more of a welcome for the day?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

No F-16s, but

For the size of Olney, we went to a very nice air show celebrating Air Tractor's 50th anniversary. Air Tractor, based in Olney, produces crop dusters and planes that drop fire retardant on fires (such as the one pictured). They actually have larger and smaller models. There were a number of smaller acrobatic planes - Thunderbirds couldn't make it - darn!!! And representing the Air Force were these 4 T-34 trainers that did some formation work. I'm actually proud of this picture. I thought it came out pretty well. If you click on it, you can read the US Air Force and some numbers!!

Lastly I must add a short update on my 'grandkittens' now that they're dry and 48 hours old. They've been moved to Kitty's regular box and are constantly either in a ball of fur with cute little faces when mom steps out or nursing as soon as she comes back. She only leaves long enough to take care of her own needs, then comes right back.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

They're here!!!!

(Click on any picture to enlarge)
Everyone is waiting for the news: "She's going to have her babies today!" "How do you know?" "I wonder how many she'll have!" "Will they look just like her?" "Will she be a good mommy??" Of course! God made this day special from start to finish! Our field is finished being 'sprigged' with Coastal Bermuda grass. Now we need some rain for the roots to grow! After a few glitches, the garden was rototilled and is ready to plant once the fence will keep the critters out. Fertilizer was put down and tilled in. We just need to get the wire fence up.

And now ..... today's biggest news! Mid afternoon, after a loud meow, Kitty had her first kitten, a little female. About 15-20 minutes later, a little brother was born. So between 3 and 5 PM, Kitty had 4 kittens. She seemed pretty worn out and barely licked the 4th kitten. I thought I was going to have to help her, but the little critter had stamina. By the time the last one was born, the first one was nice and dry and fluffy. So, here's the new little family!!
Shortly after that we had some heavy rain for a short time which watered our new spriggs followed by sunshine and a rainbow!! All is good! While writing this, another thunder shower just came through, so our field is well-watered!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How cute is this????

This is the latest 'favorite' place to take a daytime siesta:

this is between the front porch and the sidewalk. The logs in the "Kitty" picture (right) are Sam's "pillows" and primary chews! Sam has a thing for the firewood and returns them to the lawn whenever I pile them on the porch.