New kitten Cookie and new Mom Tootsie pose for a picture on the day the kitten was born.

It’s been more than a long time since I’ve posted anything to Rancho Chase. Life has been hectic and time has been short.

I got a surprise call at work last Friday from my daughter who breathlessly shrieked “Daddy! Tootsie had a kitten!” about three times before I understood her. Even after I did I had to get confirmation from my wife that the news was real.

Sure enough our youngest black cat is now a Mother.

We adopted Tootsie (the new Mom) at 5 weeks of age from neighbors who rescued her from the side of the road after seeing her thrown from a car and crossing 2 lanes of traffic to safety.

The kitten is black, orange, and white, and our vet has advised that the chance of it being a female are about 99.9%. Alison has named the kitten “Cookie” and declared there’s no way anyone else can adopt it.

Tootsie first surprised us by being in the family way without our knowledge and now amazes us with her mothering skills and constant devotion to her baby. Prior to the kitten’s arrival Tootsie has always been aloof and wary, which we’ve been told may be due to not being with her Mother long enough to learn social skills.

Pear Tree Buds

Last weekend our weather was perfect and I noticed that our fruit trees in the back yard have awoken from their winter dormancy and are displaying flowery buds. Above is a picture of some buds on our pear tree and here’s what our peach tree is showing off:

Peach Buds

It won’t be long before bluebonnets start appearing along the highways to signal the real arrival of spring in the Hill Country!

38 years ago our family lived at 3814 Jennifer Street in a subdivision called Martin Park in Alexandria, Louisiana, and my Dad had been back from his one year tour of duty in Vietnam for eleven months. After flying 283 combat missions in an F-100 fighter jet his new responsibility while stationed at England AFB was training young South Vietnamese pilots how to fly the A-37 “Dragonfly.” I was enrolled at Horseshoe Drive Elementary School with my brother and sister. The base is now closed, but the school is still there.


On the evening of July 20, 1969, my family gathered in our living room around the one television we had, a huge walnut console with a black and white screen, to watch something that I will never forget and has, in my mind at least, never been transcended. Even though we were very young we were children of the space age, when astronauts were our nation’s bravest heroes and the Cold War meant staying ahead of the communists to protect our freedom. Like many boys who grew up in that era, I built model rockets representing every stage of the space program’s progress: Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.

We listened to the static-filled radio transmissions and watched the blurry images on the screen as our parents patiently explained what an incredible event we were witnessing. I am sure that we didn’t appreciate it fully at the time. I doubt we really appreciate it as much as we should now. The Apollo 11 mission that landed the first humans on the moon and brought them safely home is a landmark event in my life. I highly recommend this Wikipedia article that includes many facts that I was not aware of.

Well, it’s only taken me about six months to tackle migrating Rancho Chase from the CapMac server to it’s new home at Wirenine. I was really not looking forward to the steps involved with creating a SQL dump of my existing WP database, opening it up and changing server locations and other parameters that are different, uploading it to the new server, making sure all of the other files from the prior WordPress installation are copied over to corresponding locations on the new server, and hoping that once launched everything works properly. Especially since I already have a working WordPress 2.0x installation at!

In the end I took a simpler path that literally took less than two minutes. I used Aaron Brazell’s awesome WordPress to WordPress Import Plugin to export the existing blog content into a WXR file that I then imported into the existing WordPress blog located within my server space at Wirenine.

I need to get the plugins I installed on the CapMac server WP installation mirrored on the Wirenine WP install, then I will be ready to roll for blogging at Maybe I can even update my blog more often than once every six months!