Wednesday, June 08, 2011

We're going back to school

That's a road?

6/8/11 Tuesday
It’s my birthday. No big deal. Probably wouldn’t have noticed if others hadn’t reminded me. Just another day in the struggle of life. Part of that struggle is against nature and the results of the drought that this part of the country is in the midst of. I took some pictures of the sand dunes we now have in so many parts of the farm. One pictures shows the now impassable road leading to our water well. If I need to drive back there I must go across the pasture, risking mesquite thorns flattening my tires. We don’t have the equipment or ability to move that much dirt. Eventually I may be able to get accessories for the tractor that can do that.

Speaking of the tractor, I have been blessed with the ability to buy the new fuel pump it needed. Will pick that up this morning. There’s an area I want to plant melons in and it’s full of weeds, that have somehow grown despite there being no rain for 8 months. To clear that area by hand would take four days, compared to only minutes with the tractor discing it up. The problem with that though is it will leave the soil loose and thus susceptible to being blown away. There are areas the blowing wind and sand have scoured up to six inches of soil away, leaving weeds looking like strange little trees, with what had been deep roots now serving as stalks holding a clump of green at the top. I will run sprinklers at night to moisten the soil before I disc it, and thus it will clump together in lumps that are not as likely to blow away.

With Cherie’s job disappearing, due to her bosses poor business decisions, coupled with Texas’s strange way of doing unemployment and our continuing dispute with the Veteran’s Administration that has them seizing all federal monies, things have been tight. When we got down to 8 dollars in the bank I sent out word of our situation to the brothers and sisters in Christ we can trust not to judge us, explaining the situation and how we got there. It’s sad that we can’t be comfortable at the church we currently attend so have not let them know about this. The pastor is transparent with her disdain of those who “want every one to do for them instead of doing for themselves” and other comments that make her attitude clear regarding us.
It's fascinating how the wind digs out the soil from underneath lots of things. This burn barrel is just an example, left balancing on the little soil the wind has not gotten to yet.

Meantime there has been an outpouring of support from others, who have had only encouraging words to say and were anxious to show the love of Christ, with no strings attached. Cherie had gone to a job fair after losing her job and there learned about a scholarship for a college course, that teaches what they call “Building performance assessment”. As she talked about the course it peaked my curiosity and then I could see great potential in that arena, so inquired about me taking the course with her. Sure enough, I qualify for the scholarship so Cherie and I started the six week course yesterday. I haven’t been to school since 1979, when I graduated from bible college.
Here's another row for cantaloup begun. There will be a total of 44 new hills whenever I can get to it

This course places us at the ground floor of a rapidly growing area in the construction industry, an area that will receive growing government support. I believe there is a law currently on the books in Texas that requires all homes, new or used, that are put up for sale, to have a Weatherization Certificate. That’s just part of what this course certifies us to be able to do. The course qualifies us to assess buildings regarding all areas of energy efficiency, from carbon monoxide levels, electrical devices, heating, cooling, and other related areas that will soon be mandated by law.

So we are excited about this. It is our goal to create a business that provides these inspection services throughout the area. There is only one person in the Permian Basin, that covers hundreds of miles and cities, that currently does this around here. We envision creating a company that has several employees doing this, and believe that God will help us in that.

Meantime, one of our Kairos brothers has a couple of weeks of work I can do for him to earn a few dollars. He’s cleaning out some of the thirty years accumulation of stuff around his business, and a lot of it is going to the scrap yard. I warned him that there was likely some stuff I would want, as I constantly scavenge for this farm. Sure enough there is. He has some farm accessories, like plows and a cultivator, that I’ve been looking for, so will take my big truck and trailer up there today and pick them up, for he said I could have them free.

Killed my first rattlesnake for the year yesterday. I so hated to do it and the snake had clearly just eaten a few mice or rats. We desperately need that rodent control but can’t risk a rattler biting one of the dogs or us. I heard Rascal bark, followed by the buzzing sound of the rattler warning Rascal off, so rushed over to make sure the dogs didn’t get too close. They seemed to understand it was dangerous but were curious none the less. Broke my heart to kill it but that’s part of living in West Texas.

Working for Jim and going to college at night leaves little time for the farm. I’m pushing through as best I can. Get up and moving by 7 am, run to Jim’s at 9:00, make the 30 mile trip home at 4:30, eat, clean up, and drive 40 miles to the college to get there by six. By the time we get home it’s dark.