Gone Fishing!

Looks like we finally caught a break in the weather! After 2 months+ of triple digit heat, Monday’s high temperature is supposed to be 68 degrees!

Can you believe it? I can’t even remember 68 degrees. That’s 40 degrees cooler than it was just 3 days ago. Thinking about it gives me goosebumps!

And the low! Oh the low is predicted to be 47. I don’t even know where my sweatshirts are, but looks like I’m going to be needing them – where I’ll be Monday, in Iowa.

We received a phone call Friday with 2 surprising bits of information. The deal that we’d all but given up on to trade in our motorhome in on a 5th wheel (yes, and a truck) went through. That was the first bit. The second was that we had to sign the paperwork no later than Tuesday. This was Friday, in Smiley, where the nearest place that will overnight anything is 75 miles away.

Since Monday is Labor Day,  overnighting paperwork just didn’t work, so we’re overnighting ourselves. We called our company and Jamie graciously found us a sub and we’ll take off whenever he arrives this morning to begin the 20+ hour drive straight to Cedar Rapids.

We have a couple of weeks to visit our wonderful families in Iowa and Minnesota, see as many friends as possible, transfer all our earthly possessions, and take driving lessons.

From Iowa, it’s off to Livingston to become official Texas residents even though we’ll never  be real Texans. Then it’s up to Wharton, we think, to rejoin Lantern 17.

The majority of you (by a slim margin) voted for a 5th wheel in the poll. I’m trusting you knew that of which you spoke because that’s what we’re getting. When we bought the Mirada, our entire driver’s ed lesson included each of us driving 1 mile on a country road and watching as they hooked up the Saturn to the tow bar.

I think we’ll require a little more instruction this time and, based on your comments, a lot of  practice parking.

Unlike Heidi, who writes her Good Life posts a week in advance, I’m a last-minute blogger so my posts will be spotty at best. After almost 9 months, you can finally count on getting a bit of a breather!

By the way, I have a nice 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale with only 206,000 miles on it if you’re in the market! 😉

It’ll be sitting here in Smiley, on a ranch of a friend. I’m counting on the calves to keep it clean while we’re gone.

Set out from any point.  They are all alike.  They all lead to a point of departure.  ~Antonio Porchia

I don’t really get it either, but it sounds profound. 😀

Dial 211

You can dial 211 to reach Help in Texas. I thought about dialing it yesterday to report a potential cosmic disturbance but there isn’t a category for that in their index.

It was 211 112 (same difference) degrees here yesterday. It’s supposed to get down to 106 today. This seems to have caused a serious atmospheric shift. I’ll get to that in a minute.

I realize that those of you who live in vacations spots like Lake Havasu City, AZ wouldn’t blink at 112. Just another day in paradise. I remember reading that Lake Havasu City has the hottest average summer temperatures in the US. I Googled it just to check – and yep – it’s hot there.

I had to smile at the info that popped up on Google:

Arizona Vacation Spots – Unique Vacation Ideas – Lake Havasu City

Have an Arizona vacation with affordable hotels, condos and rentals. The ideal spot for family fun vacations, Lake Havasu offers sunny skies

Climate data for Lake Havasu City AZ
Month Jun Jul Aug
Record high °F (°C) 128
Average high °F (°C) 106.3
Daily mean °F (°C) 91.7
Average low °F (°C) 77.0
Record low °F (°C) 60

Well, yes, I can see the uniqueness of vacationing someplace where the average temperature is 111. The reason is lost on me, but not the uniqueness.

If any of you are reading this in Lake Havasu City, please don’t take offense or send hate mail. I’m one of those few odd ones who really, really doesn’t like hot weather. That’s why I moved from the beautiful Oregon coast where it never got over 75 to Texas.

Anyway, back to the cosmic disturbance. Did you see the reports about the earthquake last week where dogs and lemurs knew it was coming and got upset moments, or in the lemurs case, hours in advance?

Something like that happened here yesterday when the temperature began climbing.

It started with Henry who was insistent on making constant eye contact. No matter what I bribed him with, he was continued to stand on my neck and put his nose about an inch and a half from mine.

He didn’t say anything, but I could tell he knew something was amiss.

Then there were the calves who were determined to get on TV.

I missed my shot of Heidi throwing her red mixing bowl of water on them. She was a blur. About the time one would leave, two more would take his place.

She splashed them until they left for dryer pastures – which is just about anywhere.

But Henry still wasn’t settled.

He continued the stare down as the temperature climbed. Before long the ground began to shake.

I thought, possibly, it had simply gotten so hot that it was cracking up, just like the rest of us in the deep south (that’s what the call this on TV).

Remember my alien weeds? They continue to survive and thrive (as you can see in the above photos). Most of them now tower over us.

That may give you some perspective on what, combined with the 112 degree temps caused to the earth to shake as he grazed directly outside our door. I thought poor Henry was going to burst a bark, but he just kept the stare down going.

To say this a whole lot of bull would be grossly understating things.

To say the earth shook isn’t even an exaggeration.

To say that it was a heat related, cosmic event might be stretching it a little.

To say that Heidi wouldn’t move off the top step to take the pictures would be to make fun of her bolvinaphobia.

Heidi wouldn’t move off the step to take pictures.

She gave me very specific instructions:  keep an eye on Henry and a hand on the door so I could swing it shut behind her if he charged.

To say the Brahma was completely indifferent would be completely true.

Maybe today when it’s only 106, the earth will stop trembling and we’ll let Henry out to dampen the caliche… maybe…

I’m Over It, But I’m Still Under It

Speaking of the weather, which I did at length yesterday, I’m a little under it (the weather) so I’m keeping it short tonight.

I just wanted to mention that I’ve added a new section, in case you haven’t stumbled across it yet. If you scroll down right side,  you’ll see a section called Weather Links (inspired name, I know!).

Since August through November is considered to be peak hurricane season, I’ve posted a live interactive link to the Hurricane Storm Center. (Thanks, Tom!) You can click here and track Atlantic and Pacific Hurricanes and their projected distance from any land mass.

If you choose US Weather at the top, it tracks all severe weather hazards across the US. You can choose a region or a city.

The second link is to the Weather Wunderground. Here, you can type in your town or any (most) town and see what the weather forecast is, humidity, radar activity etc.. This doesn’t actually work here in Smiley, so I have a phone app for my weather. But it will work in most spots. For example, if you live in Ann Arbor, MI your forecast as I write this (which will be over when you read this) is:

Forecast for 48103

Thursday, 18
83 | 58 °F
Chance of
Source: NWS at 3:29 PM EDT on August 18, 2011

Regional Forecast for Washtenaw

Early This Evening
nt_partlycloudy Partly cloudy early…then becoming mostly clear. Temperatures falling to 77. West winds 5 to 10 mph.
nt_sunny Mostly clear. Lows 55 to 59. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph…becoming light and variable.
Hourly Forecast 6AM 12 Noon 6PM 12 Midnight
Temp. | Dew Point 65 | 61 76 | 64 79 | 62 66 | 57
Wind 2 mph SW 6 mph WSW 7 mph WNW 3 mph WNW
Humidity 89% 66% 58% 74%
Chance of Precip. 20% 30% 30% 0%
Cloud Cover 58% 45% 47% 17%
Conditions Thunderstorm Chance of a Thunderstorm Thunderstorm Clear
Sunrise & Sunset
6:45 AM
8:32 PM
My phone app hasn’t shown a thunderstorm cloud for Smiley, ever…

Chad, our ever smiling tool pusher

Today’s forecast for Smiley, Texas today is 106 and, you guessed it,  sunny!
But it’s supposed to get down to 104 next Monday!

May not have been the best day for yard work…



Just ask Gary!



He’s probably feeling a little under the weather right now, too!

An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven, spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather. ~ Washington Irving

Don’t Tickle the Dragon

Hot! Hot! Hot!

The first time I remember hearing this song I was somewhere near Sitka. Men in shiny gold pants were singing and dancing to Hot! Hot! Hot!  I think that was the night they set the desert on fire.

This 3 minute clip (from You Tube, not from the flaming desert night) isn’t exactly lyric rich. You’ll get the idea after the first 30 seconds.


Hot! Hot! Hot! sounded so much more appealing on a climate controlled cruise ship to Alaska than it does in Smiley, Texas where every day is a hundred and something. Yes, I do know y’all have it worse down south and over west and maybe even up north. But for a Yankee who has rarely ever experienced triple digit heat – maybe one or two days per summer, this seems pretty toasty.

You know the ban on laser pointers near airports?

You may be arrested

Laser users are frequently arrested for aiming at airplanes or helicopters.  And as authorities take laser incidents more seriously, they are putting more effort into finding perpetrators:

Photo-illustration from
BBC News article

I get that now. The sun comes up in the east here, just like it back home. But here it comes up like a giant laser pointer (a red one, not the green kind), targeting Texas. My little point and shoot camera doesn’t do it justice. The sun doesn’t rise up with a soft orange glow, slowly spreading it’s light and warmth. It races up, bright red and instantly, insanely, intense.

At first I thought it was apocalyptic. Now I get that that’s just the way it is in Texas.

We’ve reached the point in the summer where most folks down here have gotten tired of talking about the weather, except the weatherman, who has to and who says the same thing every day. I misspoke a few posts ago by quoting a San Antonio’s weatherman. Apparently, here in Smiley we’re going on day 55 of triple digit heat.

The heat makes everything a little blurry

It does give us all a healthy, if semi-radioactive looking, glow. Three minutes outside and my face takes on a cheery hue. Every where my t-shirt touches my body has a suspicious dark cast.  That’s partially due to the ice cubes I occasionally put down my shirt, but mostly I manage to spot and blot all on my own.

When I get significantly overheated, I talk to myself, out loud (not good) saying things like:

I’m so hot I feel sick at my stomach.

Really? Sick at my stomach?

Sick of my stomach. Well, yes.

Or maybe sick in my stomach?  Sometimes I say sick to which doesn’t really make sense either. But sick at my stomach? I can be mad at something, but can I be sick at something?

When the rancher asked me how I was handling the heat, I said just swell (looking at my ankles). He said it gives a lot of folks a headache. Well, there is that. I’ve had one for so long I forgot that my head used to feel un-achy. He offered a cure.

This is a cow aspirin – which might have cured my headache, but I suspect would have led to other discomforts. The worst part is, I think I’m beginning to acclimate. I just checked the 7 day forecast: 102-103 each day, and I found myself feeling happy, thinking:  Only 103, that’s not bad! Sad…

If you can’t take the heat, don’t tickle the dragon. ~ Caroline Schoeder

Alien Invasion

Beware the hobby that eats. ~ Benjamin Franklin

I woke up and looked out the window to find I was in the midst of an alien invasion. Smiley sounds like such a happy place, doesn’t it?  But then, don’t most really scary movies take place in cheerful sounding towns?

This is what I remember. Working all night. Packing in the dark. Rows of chicken houses. Bouncing and jarring on a road so rough it could shake your filings loose. Landing in a foreign land. Going to sleep, thinking I was already dreaming.

Waking up at 6 pm to blazing heat – 104 degrees – and an alien invasion of a botanical kind.

What are these creatures that surround us, knee-high, shoulder-high, some 6 feet high?

In the second worse drought in history, these diabolical botanical predators suck all of the moisture out of the ground and thrive on the demise of the gentle grasses and flowers.

At night they talk.

They sound like a gaggle of geese, like the rattle of snakes, like the howl of coyotes, like the voices of old men.

Beware thoughts that come in the night.  ~ William Least Heat-Moon