The Caliche Times Vol 1, No 7 11-11-98
Dust Settles on County Road 380
The caliche dust has finally settled on county road 380. We had over 2" of mist this last week or so.
Beer Hunters and Fasting Deer
The beer hunters, oh, I mean deer hunters are thicker right now than the deer are. Local processing plants filled up over the weekend with little deer and a few that had racks. Our two deer stepped into the woods hoping to wait it out. They graze during the week now and fast during the weekend.
The Sun Rose Today
Well, the sun still rises and sets out here everyday on the ranch. Some days that comes as a surprise. Even though some days are very humid other days are very dry. We are still enduring one of the worst droughts since the 50's and yet the grass is green and the weather is very much into Fall. Guess you just can't tell from the color of the grass if a drought is being experienced by the local farmers and ranchers.
Signs of Drought
What are the signs that indicate that a drought still exists after 2.2" of rain? All you have to do is look into a stock tank and check the water level; if you see the backs of the fish sticking out of the water you know the summer has been tough and doesn't look real good for winter either. It means the rancher may be chopping through thick ice to water cows or having to heat water troughs to water cows on cold Winter days. You look at peanut crops that have been dug; don't see any peanuts on the vines, you know it's been a tough growing season. You see farmers leaving the peanuts vines on the top of the ground unharvested you know its been tough. You see farmers making hay bales out of peanut hay, you know it has been tough. You see Emus grazing with cattle, its been tough. You see full grown cattle selling for 32 cents a pound, its been tough.
Leaves show Color
In the midst of all the drought the Winter rye grass is 3" tall and as pretty as we have ever seen it. The leaves have finally given up and decided to show some colors. They really can't help it; they have to do that based on the number of hours of daylight anyway.
First Freeze of the Season
We are going to have our first freeze of the season tonight. I spent the day seeing that all vehicles, sprayers, water lines, hydrants, etc.. are winterized. We are in a cold spot here on Elm Creek and have to predict our nightly temps by subtracting about 10 degrees from the temperature given by the National Weather Service office in Abilene.
Willie Edwards Gets Email
Guess you noticed that Willie Edwards now has email. Maybe someday she will send us all an email. She lives out there in West Texas in between oil wells and sand dunes. On days when the sand is blowing across the area you curse the sand and bless the smell(of oil that is). Around here we bless the sand and curse the smell unless it is cattle smell, then that's OK. Back before the days of trading with Mexico, cattle prices were about $1.25/lb. Cows are now selling at 23 cents a pound and calves about 62 cents a pound. So cows don't smell near as good as they used to. I expect the prices will improve as winter grain begins to green up in the fields and provide some grazing.
The Last Good Sand Dune
Our son Patrick and his family came to see us this week end. They live at Seminole.. Seminole is located on the last good sand dune before you get to Hobbs, NM if you are traveling from East to West. Patrick comes down to see us and the trees that grow here in Central Texas. His 2 yr. old son hadn't ever seen Oak trees taller than Shinnery Oak. (It's just shin tall to a tall Texan and is protected in some areas of West Texas.) Caleb(Patrick and Kelly's son) stood back and crossed his arms and studied the trees for a while and said "BIGGG TREES".
Don't Mess with Trees that Reach For You at Night
We have some big oak trees here that when seen at night remind one of the trees in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. If you look at them on a night when its misty and moonless you can see the fingers of the limbs reaching down to get you. We don't usually stay under the trees very long when they start to do that.
Grandparents Fall for Grandbabys
You know how grandparents are, always impressed with their grandchildren. Well Caleb and I walked out to look at a big cow(bull). On the way to the barn we passed by a real tractor; just a little bigger than the trucks in his toy box. He decides to check out this tractor and runs his hands along and up the curve of the tire in a very admiring manner. Next he tries to read the information about the size of the tire. He realizes he can't read yet so he just comments "BIG WHEEL" and then proceeds to check the smaller wheel and finally comments "ANOTHER WHEEL" and we go on to see the big cow.
The Big Tree in Texas is at Uncle Jim's Woods
Well, that's kids and grandpas for you. I wish I could show him Jim Tom Cawley's big Oak tree in the Piney Woods near Sillsbee Texas, now there's a big tree, probably 30' in circumference at the base. It is a Live Oak with limbs resting on the ground in several directions. Now a kid could play in that tree!
If you are ever coming through Rising Star again, you may want to stop by Main Street Auto and visit with Teco Munguia. Teco used to haul hay for Dad and myself when we had the smaller bales to haul to the barn. Teco is a short fellow with a dark mustache and a smile that reaches all the way out from under his mustache. If you don't smile when he smiles then you are a pretty tough customer. I mention Teco because he owns the business and has attracted a lot of auto repair business. His place of business looks like a parking lot with cars all around it waiting to be worked on. Looks like we may have to put in a second stop light to handle all the traffic in Rising Star.
Lou Jane works for a Living
Lou Jane says she has to work for a living so she doesn't have time to write. She does take the dishes out of the dish washer before she leaves in the morning so I don't have to make any decisions during the day, I sure do appreciate that.
Gail Plans to Braille
My cousin Gail, plans to print some publications in Braille next year and thought she might use some excerpts form the Caliche Times. I figured one of the things we would have to do first is get it translated from "cowboy country" into English.
Carlene and Jerry's Ramblings
Lou Janes college mate (notice I didnt say old college mate) and life long friend and my friend too receives a copy of the Caliche Times but not by her choice, I just send it to her. Carlene teaches English at Hardin Simmons University in Abilene. I never have held that against her. She refers to the Caliche Times as "Jerrys ramblings". I figure that my writing makes significant contribution to her classes because she can distribute copies with the student tests to see if they can determine where paragraphs and punctuation should be used. Probably saves money on worksheets, etc. None of her students know me so she would not have to reveal that she knows the author.
The Second Traffic Light
If we ever get that second traffic light and you feel safe driving through Rising Star, y'all come to see us, ya hear?
Trashy Family Gossip
PS: Got the following note just before sending this out tonight.
Start Date: 11/11/1998 (Wednesday)
Received your memo of today. Thanks, and thanks for putting us on your list of mail-outs. I promise to bring you up to date on all the trashy family gossip from our neck of the woods soon.
Regards to the family- David and Sandra
I dont know about everybody else but I am looking forward to hearing this gossip.
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