Monday, January 5, 2009

Winter in Texas is just getting weirder and weirder. Saturday it was 84 degrees and so humid the sidewalks stayed wet all day, and I turned on the a/c upstairs. By Sunday morning there was a cold wind blowing and it was very uncomfortable to be outside. Today we have had freezing rain all day. Fortunately, the ground is still warm enough that it can’t get much of a hold on the roads, but the overpasses are treacherous. I took some photos just for grins.

It’s not just that ice is hanging under the branches. There is a thick coating of ice over the entire tree. Sometimes, I get free wood when it gets thick enough to break the trees down.

This is a nice look. I wish it looked like this when the water is flowing. In the summer the girl holding her umbrella looks happy as a clam. In this photo she just looks cold.

The water flows over the leaves and into the icycles.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fall -> Winter --> Christmas lights ----> PIGS!!!!

Certain members of my close personal family made light of me when I mentioned that we have had an extraordinary fall with colored leaves and the whole thing. So, while licking my wounds over the last couple of months I have occasionally stopped to take a photo proving that we really did have Fall leaves. Fortunately, I’ve lost most of them and winter is really, truly here so there is no chance to enhance my collection. Still here is the proof.

This the one that started it all. I took it out in front of our house, looking North. It actually has some nice colors in it, but they are down the street a ways and the low resolution makes it a little hard to see, much less jump out at you.

Yes, I know. It is a pale shadow of the Fall leaves in Utah, but then Utah’s Fall colors are a pale shadow of places like the Hudson River Valley, too. Well, I thought that first photo showed some nice color, but a couple of weeks later we still hadn’t had our first frost and I took this one. It was taken from our front porch, looking NorthWest.

Our tree is blessedly leafless so you can see those bright maples across the intersection. The tree on the right is that most-odd of the conifer family, one of only two deciduous evergreens, a cypress. This is more like it – real Fall colors in anybody’s book. It’s a shame they’re not on a breathtaking mountainside, but hey, we don’t have those round here.

About that same time, I was working on installing cabinets and countertop in the laundry room for a nice young couple over in Murphy and I stopped to take this photo of a Bradford Pear tree.

Yes, I know, the tree is pretty, but noways spectacular. But take a little peek at the valleys in those rooftops. Is that snow? Well, no. This is Texas and we had spent the wee hours of the morning huddled in our hastily-emptied downstairs closet between the leaves from the dining room table, waiting for the tornado warning sirens to signal the all-clear while I fiddled with our expensive, self-winding AM/FM/Weather Band radio that doesn’t seem to actually do anything weatherwise, trying to get a better clue on whether we were in immediate danger of visiting the Wicked Witch of the West or not. That white stuff on the roof is hail.

Well, in spite of our obvious handicaps, we do try to have seasons round here. Not too long after the tornado scare we had our first hard freeze. We got in a couple of ice days after that. We don’t do snow days, we only close the schools when it ices over. Yup, so now all the leaves are off the trees and piled up in that dead-air spot on my back porch, and most everything is all dead looking. But we do get into Christmas lights. You know how there are people who go all overboard with their Christmas lights and computer program them to flash to music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra? Well, Planet Christmas picks the best display each year, based on videos of the displays. This video is of this year’s winner and it is just up the street a short ways. Yep, that’s 67 storage cases full of lights. If you look closely you might notice that the lights reflect off the back wall of our local Lowes store. In my new line of work, I average about 2.3 visits to Lowes and Home Depot store each and every day. It’s kind of like Heaven, but costs more.

But the real news of 2008 is that after nearly 2 years with very few pigs out at the farm – only a couple of cagey old boars – we finally have a residence herd of sows and juvenile feral pigs again. I first found sign of them last Saturday morning and Keith and I have been taking turns carefully putting out bait and cleaning off the trails so we can sneak around to check on them without alarming them every since. We want them to get real comfortable, thinking they’ve found the Big Rock Candy Mountain, free food Paradise, Garden of Eden, hog heaven before we commence slaughtering them again. I mean this has been a real loooong dry spell and we don’t want to blow it by blowing any of them away while they are still exploring and checking out the natural pantries.

I hope everybody has a great New Year!