Friday, July 07, 2006

Still going strong.

7/7/06 Friday
The rest of yesterday.
11:35 – We are tired again. Gee, I wonder why. It is hard for us to stop working on the farm and for that matter to leave it. We had a lot of stuff to do and we did a lot of stuff. A good day overall. My hip was much less painful today and did not start acting up till towards the end of the day. That helps and I took it easy on the physical stuff so tomorrow should be better still. Now let me tell you about the rest of the day.

Coming back in to Stanton was an adventure of sorts. As we drove down Business highway 20 we came on to a road resurfacing crew. They do things different here in Texas. When temperatures commonly hit a hundred and freezes are light I suppose you can fix your roads differently. Regardless it was a mess. There was a truck spraying a liquid tar followed by a truck spreading gravel and then a variety of machines running behind them making a column a mile long. These folks were just booking down the road laying out road at maybe thirty miles per hour. The problem was this left only one lane with little room for getting around the guy coming your way. On top of that this fresh tar and gravel was flinging all over the place and almost seemed like driving on marbles.

Getting through that we made our way to Stanton. First order of business was to get the truck weighed. Finding the farm Co-op we located the scale. The truck came out at about 7,450 pounds. With that piece of paper we went to the courthouse to get registered and plates. The nice lady we talked to was delighted when we walked in. A real nice person.

As the paperwork was being processed I went to the office next door. I had noticed on the Justice of the Peace (or something like that) sign that it also listed “Veterans services” so I wanted to see what that was about. The secretary, upon my inquiry, pointed at the open door of the judges office and said “Ask him”. I don’t know his name but he was a cordial man who appeared to be in his seventies thought it is hard to tell. West Texas sun and wind tends to age your skin.

It was nice to talk to a judge when I wasn’t in trouble. Quite a change from the last few years. We talked about what he did with Veteran’s services and it is pretty much the same as the Veterans commission in Toledo. Most of what he did was help veterans hook up with services. That I have already done for the most part. With that out of the way we just talked about general things. Of course this came after he learned I was related to Minnie Lee and the Bradshaw’s. He welcomed us to Stanton as just about everyone else has. I don’t know if it was the judge or the guy with the department of agriculture, but someone said it was nice to see someone moving into the county instead of moving out. That’s nothing new as the young ones get out of town as soon as they are old enough because lets face it, there’s not allot of excitement in this little town. For us that is the attraction, a more peaceful existence sounds great after the turmoil that is always to be found in Toledo. Of course we have a daunting task ahead of us.

Cherie and I drove out onto the farm yesterday to look around. Tuesday we had talked to the USDA fellow. When he came out and saw us he smiled and said “It’s good to see you again”. He didn’t look at all familiar but I played along like I have learned to do because I just don’t remember. Cherie let me know later that we had met him at Minnie Lee’s funeral.

He explained how the CRP program worked. Basically the state or federal government is renting our land at $39 an acre. We can’t farm it and aren’t even supposed to drive on it during this contract, which goes to 2008. We had paid for the inspection to extend that contract till 2011. If we want to pull some of that land out for our own use we have to pay the government back for the last ten or so years they rented it. However we can choose to not renew a portion of the land without paying that penalty. That would then be available for our use after 2008 when the first contract ends.

So we were looking and thinking about how much land we would like to pull out of the contract. At first we were thinking about ten acres. The USDA guy, who’s name escapes me as most do, had pulled up an aerial picture of our farm and was able to show us what ten acres would be. Now we were looking for the circular terrace that could be seen in the picture as it was on the edge of the ten acres. Ten acres is a lot of land and after seeing how much it was we quickly figured out that we don’t want that much to deal with.
Maybe just three acres. Fact is it will take some time to get settled and secure on the farm so there is no hurry. I have dreams of growing crops like vegetables but that may not be possible. Perhaps just a big garden. Water is the key to everything here. Little will be able to grow without irrigation and some things can’t survive even with that. I guess there has been a drought for something like seven years.
On the concept of an orchard he told me that citrus doesn’t do well out here. Pecans seem to be one of the trees that can survive out here. There is also peaches, pears, and to my surprise apples that can work out here. Cherie just told me that the USDA guy’s name is Nester Hernandez. He said that birds are a big problem with the fruit. More to think about.

I am fascinated by the plants and other life out in our field. You can see some of the pictures I took. This place must be beautiful in the spring when all this flowers.

The ants are huge out here. Nothing like seeing an ant highway where they have worn a path that goes for dozens of feet.
Cherie is real nervous about walking out here because of her fear of rattlesnakes and scorpions. I tried to reassure her that snakes shy away from people and besides that will sound their rattle to warn you your getting close. Scorpions usually hide underneath rocks. No rocks out in our field because it has been farmed for generations. Around the house is a different matter. I had been taught years ago to always shake your boots before you put them on to dislodge any scorpions.
This is a baby bird that fell out of it's nest

We got the truck licensed and registered. This cost $190.00. Not cheap but I have Texas license plates. Texas is a state that thinks like it’s a country. I have never seen so much pride in a state. Here there is Texas stuff all over. When you go to Walmart they have a whole isle devoted to T shirts that say Texas things. One of the ladies we talked to at the courthouse was wearing a shirt that is the Texas flag. I can’t recall anyone in Ohio puffing out his chest and saying with pride “I’m from Ohio”. Just doesn’t happen. It is good to be proud of your state, at least I think so.

Hey! I’m a Texan. I was born here, but I was raised in a military family and grew up in Spain, England (Lakenheath, Byron), Florida, and Ohio, not getting back to Texas till I was twelve or so. Then I moved to Toledo, Ohio and spent the last twenty five years there. That is the longest I had stayed anywhere. Up till then I would be moving every two to three years. When I joked that I had been “Yankeefied” the lady I said that too literally shuddered. I used the word “Reckon” as in “I reckon that’ll work, Y’all” it brought a smile and I was told “See, your getting it back”. They have their own dialect here.

We went back and worked on the farm some more. Both of us are worn out and we took it real easy. At 7:30 or so we went back to the hotel and cleaned up. It doesn’t take long to get grubby cleaning the house. This morning Cherie is doing the laundry as we had no clean clothes. I wear a T shirt for an hour and it is soaking wet with my sweat, and I stink. We make sure there are plenty of fluids around. Got to get the well fixed. Right now we are using the portable potty that Minnie Lee had to go to the bathroom in. I put it out in the garage as it stinks. Putting a plastic garbage bag in the pot makes it easier to dump the waste. Fun Fun. Kind of feel like pioneers.

Cherie is holding up fairly well though she worries allot. There is so much uncertainty and work to be done that it can be overwhelming. For me it is not an issue. I have survived so much, like being homeless and wandering around lost that this doesn’t phase me. For Cherie it is a different story. I try my best to reassure her, telling her to look ahead, to visualize what we will create. This doesn’t always work and with the emotional pendulum caused by her going through her menopause it can be rough. Things have gotten a little crazy with her family in Toledo. I suppose it would be best to direct you to
Nate's blog for you to read about that. They are now in a big beef with the city and have drawn the ire of Toledo’s mayor. Part of that includes an incident that was reported on all three of the local television news stations as well as the paper. Cherie is glad to be here, away from that turmoil.

Last night we drove out to the farm at sunset. The main reason was to spray the killer bee nest as they settle down at night. We also wanted to watch our first sunset from the farm but the clouds didn’t cooperate. The sky at night is amazing out here. There is little city light to dampen the glow of the stars so you can see everything, including the Milky Way. Can’t wait to see that again.

We called Virginia yesterday and will meet her for dinner in Big Spring today. For those of you who don’t know, Virginia is my cousin who was the executor of the will. That was not an easy task, especially with my brother and I not really talking. I have great respect for her taking that task on. I don’t think she knew what she was getting into when she volunteered to do this.

I don’t think we will go the farm and get all nasty today. There are other things we can do and besides all that we want to be fresh and not worn out when we meet Virginia. Besides we can use the rest. We have been pulling twelve hour days out there. I think farm life will be good for use from the health standpoint. I think I have already sweated off ten pounds.

I haven’t been keeping up with this journal very well but I have a good excuse. I am pretty tired by the end of the day. Enough of that. We are heading to Walmart to buy some basic things like maybe a few more T shirts we can trash at the farm. We have bought lots of things like a shop vac, ladder, wheelbarrow, scoop shovel, and a pitchfork for the tumbleweeds I cut down.

See ya

1 comment:

ByronB said...

Ah yes, the big airbase in Suffolk, in the middle of the Fens.

Bet you weren't too popular with the locals with all your noisy jets!!

Your farm sounds the ideal place to set up an observatory with clear night skies like that!