I’m Alive!

As the drought and heat continues here in Smiley, Texas, I’m beginning to get uneasy on my early morning walks. There used to be a buzzard or two circling in the distance. Then a few began to gather in the trees on the other side of the giant alien weeds.

Then there were more. Now there are many.

I counted 34 yesterday morning. They’re restless. I can sense it. I can feel their beady eyes on me as I walk. I stopped to take a picture and the fluttering began.

I knew I’d stood still too long.

I went back into the RV and changed out of my plain black t-shirt into a bright orange Life is Good shirt with a purple coffee mug, begging Fill Me Up!

Uncertain if this was animated enough I began walking up and down the road, shouting verbosely: I’m alive! I’m alive!

Heidi joined me for some early morning caliche clogging. We’re about a half a mile from the rig so I continued my I’m alive chant with growing enthusiasm (she’s very tolerant and wasn’t really quite awake yet) until I heard the bell ring.

A car, a nice car, pulled up out of nowhere. Transforming instantly into the professional gate guard that I am, I went to the window and asked his name? Ken. Company? Forest.

Oh.

Are you relieving Mike (the Company Man)?

No. I oversee all the drilling on all of the Forest rigs.

Oh.

I’ve heard a lot about you two.

Oh.

I don’t know what he’s heard, but he probably heard me talking to the  buzzards …

~

While I’m poking  a bit of fun at myself, I’m not making fun of the seriousness of the drought here in Texas. If you’re interested in more thoughtful reading, here’s a link to yesterday’s Time magazine online post: Why Texas’ Drought May Have Global  Consequences

Flying High in the Texas Sky

Butterfly kite

I have a good friend back home in Iowa who is taking a new picture every day for a year. Fascinating!

The past two days she’s posted kite photos.

She kindly gave me permission to use them in this blog.

The topic is particularly appropriate since April is National Kite Month!

Pterodactyl kite

According to the NKM calendar of events, kite flying is BIG in Texas.

Not as big as it was in Japan in 1760, when kite flying was banned altogether because too many people were flying kites instead of going to work. But still… kite flying remains very popular.

Drawing on the experiences of kite flying experts like Charlie Brown and Benjamin Franklin, and on my own observations these past 4 months as a gate guard, I thought it might be helpful to add some precautions for flying a kite in Texas.

1. Make it a BIG kite!

The average lasso is 30 feet long but it makes a doggone heavy kite string and adding that Texas flag really weighs it down! 😀

2. Look down!

If you’re looking up at your kite, you’re not maintaining an adequate vigil for vipers.

3. Look up!

If you’re looking down, you might lose your kite in a  live oak tree. You can tell a live oak by the fact the moss is trying to kill it. You can’t lose it in a dead oak tree because it won’t have leaves or moss and your kite will remain in plain sight.

4. Bring a 2nd kite!

The first one is bound to get lost forever in the great calche in the sky!

5. Bring a cell phone!

It’s April with temps already over 10o. By the time you’ve run far enough for to get your kite aloft, you’ll likely be in the throes of heat stroke.

6. Bring a 3rd kite!

If your 2nd kite crashes to the ground, the buzzards will think something has just died and will eat it before you get there.

7. Bring your own wind!

Some days the air here is as still as a possum playing dead.

8. Bring a map!

On the other hand, many days are extremely windy!

Flying kites on excessively windy days caused great concern in the 1900s in East Germany where large kites were banned, fearing they might lift people over the Berlin Wall.

Be prepared. If you fly a kite in Tyler on a windy day, you may end up in Shreveport.

9. Bring a 4th kite!

A prickly pear encounter could easily puncture your 3rd kite beyond repair.

10. Wear a hat!

If you lose your kite in any tree, while you’re scouring the branches for it, a snake may fall on your head. This happened to Kathy, our ranch owner. She didn’t specifically say if she was looking for a kite, but a snake did drop out of a tree onto her head

11. Holler, It’s a Kite! It’s a Kite!

Someone might confuse it with a real pterodactyl and shoot it down. I’ve seen stranger things. Let us harken back to the pigs on the fence posts.

I hope these tips will prove to be helpful! I think Benjamin Franklin got it right. If you’re going to fly a kite it Texas, get it in the air and hide in the barn.

This post was inspired by and is dedicated to my photo-taking friend! Thanks, Kari!

Deep In The Heart of Texas, Yankee Style

It’s Monday and time for another Texas tribute. Can there any better way to pay tribute than through a song? There are a whole lot of songs about Texas. Perry Como, from Pittsburgh, took Deep in the Heart of Texas to the top of  Hit Parade Chart for 5 week in 1942. Personally, I prefer the rendition sung by America’s ‘original singing cowboy’, Gene Autry, a Texan through and through.

You know a song is a classic when you hear it in a stadium. The Owls and the Astros sing it, right after Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch. The Longhorns, Cougars and Horned Frogs all perform it for football fans to bolster enthusiasm.

These are the original lyrics for those who didn’t watch the above clip or are from north of the Mason/Dixon line:

Deep in the Heart of Texas

The stars at night are big and bright

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The prairie sky is wide and high

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The sage in bloom is like perfume

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

Reminds me of the one I love

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The coyotes wail along the trail

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The rabbits rush around the brush

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The cowboys cry, “Ki-yip-pee-yi”

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The doggies bawl and bawl and bawl

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

I love the (clap, clap, clap, clap)! It’s like going to a live performance of Grease where the whole audience does the Hand Jive. OK, well, that’s a little more complicated, but it’s still crowd pleaser.

You can’t improve on a classic.

This is just a Yankee version: same tune, same refrain, and definitely the same classic clapping:

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Red eyes at night gleam creepy bright

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The prairie heat will melt your feet

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The wild hogs bloom like skunk perfume

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

Reminds me of buzzards above

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The mad bull wails along the trails

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

Rattlesnakes hush around the brush

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The boars huge tusks shine white at dusk

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

Tarantulas  crawl and crawl and crawl

(clap, clap, clap, clap),

Deep in the heart of Texas.

I hope I did the song Yankee proud. Y’all come back now, ya hear?