Six days ago a huge storm struck, including eight inches of hail, a rain deluge, and high winds.  While the hail denuded many plants and bushes, the deluge made my drive a mess.


Although it may be hard to determine the depth of the gravel and dirt and rocks from this photo, many of the rocks are bigger than the size of the fists of both my hands together, large enough to not want car tires to drive over them.  The gravel and dirt on the far side of the photo were at least eight inches deep.  Luckily I have a small tractor with a bucket and a helpful grandson.  He picked up the larger rocks and hauled all of them to the ditch created either side of the steep incline above the cement.  The rain had created a trench a foot deep in some places and exposed a pipe to the septic system. He filled parts of these trenches with the bigger rocks.

The next morning I used the tractor bucket to scoop up dirt and rocks and haul them to washed out places in the upper drive.  It was impossible to get it all with the bucket given some of the space is not very big or where it was possible to maneuver the tractor.  Therefore, I had to scoop it up and remove it with a shovel.  It took several tractor buckets full to get rid of what I had to shovel.  Finally, this morning I finished sweeping the rest of the fine sandstone off the cement.

After all this, why am I grateful?  There was no damage to my house.  The hail broke windows in some houses not far away, the wind blew light weight buildings into neighbors’ yards, and some people nearby had roof damage. I only have some tiny damage to the barn roof.  It could have been a lot worse.  I feel grateful to have escaped with just a messed up driveway.

Why do I feel even more grateful?  It occurred to me that I was able to clean up most of this except for my grandson’s help with the rocks–which I could have done but it was helpful.  I can still shovel gravel and dirt, a lot of it, lift and carry 50 pounds of horse feed from the vehicle across the barn–about 40 ft or more–and dump it in the container. I can work for hours doing this sort of stuff and feel fine afterwards. Yes, I feel grateful that I can continue to do all these things myself and what is more, usually enjoy doing them, feeling productive and independent.

When people ask me how I do all this, I usually tell them two things, yoga (as well as lots of other exercise mandatory if you live in the country and have animals) and heathy food.  My yoga practice began decades ago; I never stopped.  I practice it at least three times a week, sometimes more.  I stand on my head in the middle of the room several times a week.  My favorite foods are mostly vegetables.  The only carb I really like is rice. One of my dad’s sayings was, “You are what you eat.”  He still ran a farm at 90.  Yes, I admit, genes probably help, but without the exercise and self discipline, it probably is not enough.  I also meditate daily which does not require lots of time unless you want to spend lots of time doing it.  Even 15-30 minutes a day matter.  Exercise, yoga, healthy eating, meditating will all make for a happier person.  I promise.


Wine tasting, thunder, and thieves

In last night’s blog I mentioned the wine tasting to occur at my house tonight.  I have never seen so many bottles in one place.  Take a look.  At one point someone counted and said there were 64 bottles.  Since there were over 100 people in attendance…and left overs everywhere.








About two hours before the event, dark clouds appeared on the horizon.  I turned on the TV; severe thunder storm warnings slid continually across the screen; it began to sprinkle. Oh, no.  The storm went around, guests showed up, and they could even eat outside on the patio.  About half way through the party, the smoke alarm went off.  Market Street, the party sponsor’s grill apparently smoked too much or my alarm system is very sensitive.  A friend grabbed a broom, pushed a button, and it stopped, only to repeat the process several times.

The boxes on the left in the photo below contained approximately 100 wine glasses.  The procedure:  get your own glass, walk to the bar, pick a wine and try it.



Several people wanted some empty glasses, one for a friend’s craft work and another for herself.  She makes her won wine.  Here are the bottles I rinsed and lined up for her to pick up later in the week.



In the end after nearly everything was packed up and the garbage bagged and in the garage, a few of us sat around and drank some of the friend’s homemade wine.  Hobby, the Market Street wine guy, had set aside a copy of my poetry book to purchase and have me sign.  He looked where he put it.  We looked around; nothing.  Apparently we had a poetry book thief at the party.  Who would have thought.

About ten minutes after everyone drove away,  lightning zoomed across the sky, the thunder boomed, and the tempest finally stuck, the perfect ending.






Panhandle Weather

After many rainless months, it decided to rain and won’t stop it.  Yesterday I wrote about a nice gentle rain, a rarity here.  Today came the deluge.  It rained over an inch in one hour.  The rain hit the west windows of my house so hard that at first I thought it was hail.  When I watched, it looked like a giant bucket of water poured on them continuously.  Then the water falls started.  When I first moved here nearly six years ago, a lot of rain brought only one giant waterfall most of the time.  More recently a lady built a house closer than I would like.  She cleared off a lot of native grass, various native bushes, and a number of juniper trees.  Even with the grass she planted, water runs off her property onto mine in a little river.  It runs so rapidly it is creating a small arroyo which gets deeper each time it rains.  Since they predict thunderstorms for the next few days, if it keeps this up we might have a chance to catch up a little on the rain.  Hopefully, next time the rain will flow more gently.  When it gushes like this afternoon and evening, rocks, dirt, debris wash onto my drive.  After the first round of rain, dirt lay more than an inch deep in some places and rocks lay scattered about.  I managed to clean off the worst of the dirt before the rain began again.

Living here in the Panhandle of Texas demands an new attitude about weather.  Expect anything.  I’ve seen it drop 50 degrees in an hour, go from 40 at night to 80 plus the next day, rain dirt, blow dust like fog, snow two feet and a couple of days later reach 55.  To an outsider, this may sound dreadful but I find numerous pluses:  the sun shines most days; it is not humid; summer days can be a bit of heaven on earth even if hot during the day–perfect evenings for lounging on the patio with food, friends, and wine; winter does not last forever and neither do the winter clouds.  Winter in the Midwest is downright gloomy.  Not here.

Now I am going to bed, hoping lightning streaks and thunder rolls do not awaken me at 3 in the morning.