Sunday, October 30, 2011


Suna says: It was time for our monthly trip to see Lee's dad (delayed so I could sing a solo at church last weekened), so we rumbled off as soon as I could get away from work. Lee had the day off, so he had Ursula ready to go as soon as I got home. We had a very pleasant drive with little horrible traffic to deal with, though now that it's fall, it's hard to get anywhere before dark. I remembered the blanket that was supposed to go in Ursula when I finished knitting it, plus Lee had bought me a lovely pansy plant. We looked quite civilized!

Ursula's interior with her nice blanket and pansies.

We did get to the Farm in time to chat with Lee's dad and Chris, so all was well. We enjoyed looking at brochures for the nice new tractor Lee's dad had bought that day. His trade-in on the old tractor was for more than he's originally paid! Wish it worked like that with cars! I am go glad Lee's dad is enjoying his time right now. He looked pretty good, though his bladder cancer treatment is going slow. We hope it can get going again after he gets checked out again. After Lee's dad went to bed, we talked to Chris for a long time--there's so much to catch on every time we visit, plus there is all the necessary joking, kidding and poking fun that has to happen. We heard lots of owls and coyotes.

Chris and a tree

We woke up at a reasonable time Saturday morning. It had been pretty chilly at night—we inaugurated Ursula's heating system, which worked just great. Lee made us a nice breakfast of eggs and toast, then Chris brought kolaches, so there was plenty of breakfast. We spent most of the day hanging out at the Farm. I was trying out my new roper-style boots and Stetson hat that Lee had bought me last week. Both worked out GREAT. I had gotten the hat a size big, and the guy had put some foam inside it. That has made the hat incredibly comfy. I wore it all day Saturday and it did not hurt a bit.

Chris and Suna survey Dad’s domain

The new DeWitt County icon

We all walked over to the pad to see how the oil company had painted the well and storage equipment all a lovely shade of tan. Chris and I climbed the stairs up to the top of the storage tanks (they store water and only smelled a little like the city of Luling). You could really see a long way--lots of the new RV parks that have sprung up, and plenty of oil equipment.

Quite attractive water storage tanks

View from the tanks, with Lee and his dad discussing the lovely tan paint. The green stripe is the grass that got patiently irrigated all summer. Soon it will be a pasture.

Much of our time walking around was spent in the endless quest to eliminate the evil "smell apples" from the fields. Lee's dad hates them. After a great deal of searching, I found that these are an invasive species called the dudaim melon (or smell melon or apple melon, thus the colloquial smell apple). They do seem prolific, and pretty useless. Apparently they came from Iran--those darn terrorists. OK, really they came from Persia, which was before Iran was there, so no bad intent, ha ha.

Smell Apples

Suna actually pulled the smell apple pictured above. See! Here she is pulling it.

The grass that Lee's dad so diligently watered during the drought has taken hold and looks really good. He and Chris have also planted a field with a mix of oats and rye grass. We spent some time trying to figure out which were the oats and which were the rye--as seedlings they look pretty similar, but by pulling a couple up and seeing what seed was attached, positive identification was achieved. Judging from Lee's photos, it was pretty hilarious.

This is what Dad’s jigs looks like from the ground. Some of the runners are almost four feet long. Hard to imagine that it started out looking like hay being plowed into dry soil.

Dad calls these, “Those damned yellow flowers." Suna calls them by their botanical name. I just call them “pretty.”

Here they are up close and shady

This coy beauty posed for us on the walk back to the house. Growing up, I never knew scissor tails were so colorful.

#10 lets Suna pet her nose.

Speaking of hilarious, when we got back we were chatting, when one of the cows (good ole #10) came up and looked like she wanted something. She had heard the rattle of the paper bag my knitting was in and had hoped it was a feed bag. She is like a larger version of Scrunchy the Pug I guess. So, Chris gave me a handful of feed and after a bit of patience, she came up and ate it out of my hand. A bit slimy, but really a lot of fun to be licked by the big, black tongue! Then ALL the cattle showed up. I ended up quite the popular human, and got to pet one of the little bulls quite a bit. Both the little bulls are very sweet—too bad they have to go somewhere else so that inbreeding doesn't happen. They are each nursing off the same cow, since one of them decided to wean her calf. The poor nicer cow gets quite bothered when they both are thirsty at the same time. Mostly they eat grass—they are almost a year old.

Suna feeds good ole #10.

Dad and Chris recently planted a mixture of oats and rye grass to feed the cattle through the winter, but some other things are coming up in the mix. Here Chris and Suna try to discern which seedling is which variety.

As if that were not enough excitement, we then decided to head to Cuero for an early dinner. We did make a detour to see some donkeys, since I had mentioned, oh, once or twice, that I am interested in a spotted donkey. Yep, they were pretty nice looking donkeys down by the Yorktown cemetery. Most restaurants in DeWitt County close on Saturday afternoons, but we found a Mexican restaurant that was open. The food was really good and the servings were immense, but gee whiz the place was filthy. And the paint peeling. Well, as long as the food prep area was OK [I wouldn’t count on it; some things you’re better off not knowing], so were we.

Back at the Farm we enjoyed a nice sunset and watched Lee take photos. Then, we had a rather surreal experience watching a 1970s Lawrence Welk Halloween show rerun on PBS (watch link for a laugh--for a bigger laugh do a Google Image search on "Lawrence Welk Show Halloween" and note how many Saturday Night Live images actually appear). This is the highlight of the paternal week. The weird part was that while all the singers were dressed in Halloween costumes, the songs were mostly spirituals. Most...interesting.

Lee's dad thought he was coming down with a cold, so Chris and I went to the store and got him a variety of zinc, vitamin C and other things to head a cold off. It's always fun to go to the rural grocery store. All that got everyone tired out, so we returned to Ursula and relaxed with Chris a while, then turned in. Coyotes were really, really loud last night. And lots of mooing. Something must have been going on!

From the water storage tanks, it looked like the sky was on fire.

Dusk was nice, too.

Later that night, you could see the shadow of the moon through the trees. You could also see a couple of planets in opposites quarters of the sky, but those pictures didn’t come out well. I need a faster camera.

Eek! Something is eating the moon! And there’s a lens flare watching.

This time exposure of a car going down the road shows just how bumpy it really is.

This morning (Sunday) we had to get up early so Lee could go to a meeting at church at noon. We couldn't get there in time for choir, and I felt bad about that, due to there being only one actual soprano left. Ursula apparently did not like that, so she decided to make her alarm go off, trying to tell us the levelers weren't back up all the way, even though they were. Lovely. But we had a nice time going home a slightly different way, and made it in a timely fashion.

Next week we hope to get up to the Ranch (as opposed to the Farm) for rural camping in scenic Milam County. I hope we make it there by dark, since I am not exactly sure where Ursula is going to park. It's hard enough navigating a familiar pasture in the dark!

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