Latest Pictures of the Countryside

I took a few pictures the other day of the countryside to show the drought conditions we are in. By looking at the pictures the nice green color of the grass gives the impression that moisture is plentiful. The reason the pastures and meadows are so green is because we have had just enough rain to keep everything alive. Also temperatures have been 90 degrees or below until recently and the vegetation hasn’t suffered heat stress. That is all about to change as temperatures during the last week have climbed into the upper nineties and we can expect those types of temperatures from now on. Rainfall received this month was 1.1 inches on May 12, 0.55 inches on May 21 and 0.20 inches on May 25. That brings our 2011 yearly total to 6.0 inches. The last significant rain we received was in late August an September of 2010.

1957

This is a picture looking at my front yard and across the meadow. As noted above, the grass still looks green however it is not growing at all. This spring I have only mowed the entire yard once and part of it twice. Normally mowing would be done once a week at the least starting the first of April.

1953This is the pond behind the barn. It is the oldest pond on the farm and was constructed after WWII (late 1940’s). To my knowledge it has never gone dry. The water level when full would be at the base of both trees. Grass and weeds have followed the receding water line looking for moisture.

1951

Another shot of the pond. When it rains and it fill with water it will be nasty with all the plant material decomposing in it.

1931

This is the second oldest pond on the farm. My Grandpa Ottmer had it dug a couple of years after the above pond was constructed. Before it caught any water Grandpa set a tall post in the deepest part so he had a gauge of how much water was in it. The post was cut from a Bois d’arc tree (also called osage orange, bodark, horse apple and many other names). It has survived well being submerged for 60 plus years. This is the most I’ve ever seen of the post exposed. When he set the post in the bottom it was about 12 feet tall.

1934Another view. When I shot this picture I was standing what would be the edge of the water if the pond was full. Another example of how grass and weeds followed the receding water line.

This pond and the previous one were dug using a crawler tractor pulling a fresno scraper. Most of the bulldozers at the time did not have hydraulic operated blades. They were raised and lowered with a winch and cables and the operator did not have a lot of control. Therefore moving dirt was easier with a scraper. The fresno scraper was invented for use with horses and mules in the late 1800’s. Later it was adapted to be pulled by a tractor.

1943

This is Robert’s pond. It is the newest and the largest pond of the adjoining properties. Not much water left here. This pond leaks; not through the berm but through the bottom. The creek is right behind the berm and the creek bed is about 20 feet lower than the bottom of the pond. Water can be seen seeping out of the creek bank near the bottom and has now stopped since the pond is all but dry. It does OK with water retention during a year of normal rainfall but during a drought it slowly drains dry.

1938

This is the creek looking upstream from the creek crossing. It has not had flowing water since early January and that was only for a few days. Before that it stopped flowing around Halloween of 2010. Brush and tree have taken over and it is hard to navigate on foot even now that it is not flowing and all holes have dried up.

1941A

Another shot of the stream bed looking downstream from the crossing. Vegetation has taken over.

1940

For this shot I walked downstream from the crossing about 40 feet. I turned around and made the shot towards the Gator which is sitting in the bottom of the crossing. The dogs, Missy and Benji are sitting in the Gator. I don’t know if they could see me, but I could not see them.

Vegetation growing in stream beds is common during extended droughts. It usually take a couple of floods to clear out the creeks when we return to a normal rainfall pattern.

1937

Last shot, the meadow down by the creek. It looks good from a distance however when walking through the grass it is only about a foot tall and sparse. It is hardly worth mowing. Instead of the normal 3 to 4 bales pe acre it would probably only produce 2 to 3 bales per 15 acres.

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Latest Happenings

It has been a while since my last blog entry. Not much exciting has happened lately-I haven’t won the lottery (you really think I’d tell anyone if I did?!!), the world is supposed to come to an end today at 5:00 PM CDT so everyone spread your legs, bend down and kiss your behind goodbye. But one good thing happened, it did rain some early this morning.

This is the second band of showers that our weekly cold (cool) front has produced this month. We received 0.55 inches of rain accompanied with at least 2 inches of thunder and lighting. The rain helps freshen thing up but does not help all that much. With two days of sun and wind we will be back to where were yesterday. We are still under exceptional drought conditions as is almost half of the state of Texas. A map of the state depicting where the drought conditions are can be seen here.

Our neighbors to our East in the Mississippi Delta are experiencing record flooding. They, too, are in a drought situation however the water from heavy rains in the Mississippi watershed have reached the delta area and is sending man and beast to higher ground. Sort of ironic to have severe flooding during a drought!

Hurricane season is just around the corner and the forecast is for it to be an active storm season. Hurricanes have lots and lots of rain associated with them and they also come with destructive winds. One with rain but no wind would be nice but probably impossible so I won’t wish for one.

My garden is about gone. Green beans and beets are still producing some and I will continue to nurse along the 6 tomato and one pepper plants with water. Gonna be slim picking this spring but will just have to start planning early for a fall garden.

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Pope and Rabbi

Friday Funnies:The Pope and the Rabbi in ItalySeveral centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert to Catholicism or leave Italy. There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal: he’d have a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy; if the Pope won, they’d have to convert or leave.

The Jewish people met and picked an aged and wise rabbi to represent them in the debate. However, as the Rabbi spoke no Italian, and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, they agreed that it would be a ‘silent’ debate.

On the chosen day the Pope and Rabbi sat opposite each other.
The Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. The Rabbi looked back and raised one finger.
Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head.
The rabbi pointed to the ground where he sat.

The Pope brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine. The Rabbi pulled out an apple.
With that, the Pope stood up and declared himself beaten and said that the Rabbi was too clever. The Jews could stay in Italy.
Later the Cardinals met with the Pope and asked him what had happened.
The Pope said, “First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up a single finger to remind me there is still only one God common to both our faiths.
Then, I waved my finger around my head to show him that God was all around us. The Rabbi responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us.

I pulled out the wine and host to show that through the perfect sacrifice Jesus has atoned for our sins, but the Rabbi pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin. He bested me at every move and I could not continue.”
Meanwhile, the Jewish community gathered to ask the rabbi how he’d won.
“I haven’t a clue,” said the rabbi. “First, he told me that we had three days to get out of Italy, so I gave him the finger.
Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews but I told him emphatically that we were staying right here.”
“And then what?” asked a woman.
“Who knows?” said the rabbi. “He took out his lunch, so I took out mine.

Friday Funnies:The Pope and the Rabbi in Italy
author unknown

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As I’ve Aged

I received this observation on aging in an email—you know the kind where there are two pages of forwarding address and the message ends with “If you like this pass it on”. I didn’t pass it on in an email but I have to agree with the author about some of the statements made and that it was worthy of a post on my blog. It is so Claire.

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I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so Avanti garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 & 70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ….. I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect. I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

Pic2

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

MAY OUR FRIENDSHIP NEVER COME APART, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S STRAIGHT
FROM THE HEART!

Pic3

Author Unknown

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ADVICE FROM A RETIRED HUSBAND

It is important for men to remember that, as women grow older, it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as when they were younger..  When you notice this, try not to yell at them. Some are oversensitive, and there’s nothing worse than an oversensitive woman.

My name is Ron. Let me relate how I handled the situation with my wife, Carol Anne. When I retired a few years ago, it became necessary for Carol Anne to get a full-time job, along with her part-time job, both for extra income and for the health benefits that we needed. Shortly after she started working, I noticed she was beginning to show her age. I usually get home from the golf club about the same time she gets home from work.

Although she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says she has to rest for half an hour or so before she starts dinner. I don’t yell at her.. Instead, I tell her to take her time and just wake me when she gets dinner on the table. I generally have lunch in the Men’s Grill at the club, so eating out is not reasonable. I’m ready for some home-cooked grub when I hit that door. She used to do the dishes as soon as we finished eating. But it’s not unusual for them to sit on the table for several hours after dinner.

I do what I can by diplomatically reminding her several times each evening that they won’t clean themselves. I know she really appreciates this, as it does seem to motivate her to get them done before she goes to bed.

Another symptom of aging is complaining, I think. For example, she will say that it is difficult for her to find time to pay the monthly bills during her lunch hour.  But, Boys, we take ’em for better or worse, so I just smile and offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two, or even three days. That way, she won’t have to rush so much. I also remind her that missing lunch completely now and then wouldn’t hurt her any (if you know what I mean). I like to think tact is one of my strong points.

When doing simple jobs, she seems to think she needs more rest periods.. She had to take a break when she was only half-finished mowing the yard. I try not to make a scene. I’m a fair man. I tell her to fix herself a nice, big, cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade and just sit for a while. And, as long as she is making one for herself, she may as well make one for me, too.

I know that I probably look like a saint in the way I support Carol Anne. I’m not saying that showing this much consideration is easy. Many men will find it difficult. Some will find it impossible! Nobody knows better than I do how frustrating women get as they get older. However, Guys, even if you just use a little more tact and less criticism of your aging wife because of this article, I will consider that writing it was well worthwhile. After all, we are put on this earth to help each other.

Signed,

Ron

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Ron died suddenly on January 31, 2011 of a perforated rectum. The police report says he was found with a Calloway extra-long 50-inch Big Bertha Driver II golf club jammed up his rear end, with barely 5 inches of grip showing, and a sledge hammer laying nearby.

His wife Carol Anne was arrested and charged with murder.. The all-woman jury took only 10 minutes to find her Not Guilty, accepting her defense that Ron, somehow without looking, accidentally sat down on his golf club.

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Something to make you smile

 

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Be well, stay safe, and SMILE (it makes your face feel good), and if smiles are good, laughs are even better.
It’s been said, “You don’t stop laughing when you die, you die when you stop laughing!!”

 

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OR Sometimes Slightly Scrambled!!
May you always have
Love to Share , Health to Spare, and Friends that Care!

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Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day

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