Wednesday, March 14, 2012

She's Back! Rumbling in the Rain!

Ursula's issue with the jittery leveling system has finally been put to rest--as in Rest in Peace, because the people at the RV repair place finally gave up on making the beeping stop and put in a kill switch. When she beeps, Lee can just kill it. Ahhhh.

We wasted no time in putting Ursula to use. We had planned to hook the trailer with Hilda the utility vehicle on the back of Ursula so they could stay at the ranch, but nooooo. Ursula's always got some trick or another going on. The doo-dad that attaches her lights to the lights on the trailer has a nonstandard connection--I guess some kind of special RV one. Sigh. So, the trailer got left and is going to have to sit in the RV storage place until we either get an adapter or tow them up with the truck. Wow, this really makes RV ownership sound exciting, doesn't it?

It gets better. We drove through a pretty good rain up to scenic (and very green) Milam County on Saturday morning. We probably should have thought a bit more before leaving, since it turned out that there was no LP gas in Ursula, thus no heat. And it was chilly! It also turned out that Lee forgot he had drained all the water out of Ursula because freezing weather happened while she was in the shop. So flushing was fun. Luckily we weren't going camping in the boondocks or anything, and the civilized folks we visited provided us with a nice space heater and restroom facilities.

It's been as rainy this winter as it was dry last summer. So, everything is gorgeous this spring. It had rained on Friday, so we enjoyed looking at how full the rivers, lakes, ponds/tanks, and creeks were, once we got off I-35, anyway. We made it to Wild Type Ranch HQ in good time, and got all set up with plenty of time to get to work, because we were there to help out Sara and Ralph with the big party they were having to thank the people who had worked on their lovely new house. No more one-room cabin living for them!

Ursula knows better than to expand her slides at the ranch. We kept her compact.
We all went to work chopping and cooking things, and drove back and forth between the house and the cabin way more times than were good for the very wet road, so we drove through a very wet pasture instead. Very wet is the key. It continued to rain.

Wet weather makes the red bud look practically unreal!
We did get all the food and drinks to the beautiful new house, then welcomed the other folks who were helping set up, a family from Belize who did the HVAC work. We moved in some furniture that Ralph had gotten at a hotel sale (really amazing stuff), and were all ready when people started to arrive.
All the stuff Sara and I worked on, plus curried eggs and my wine glass. The tables are desks for the kids' rooms from the hotel sale.

It was very interesting meeting many of the people who had helped build the house. Someone said how nice it was to actually see it finished, since usually they are never invited back to see how houses turn out! Of course, it helps if the house you helped build is on the next property from yours--the concrete and metal building folks are on the next ranch over, our future next-door neighbors. And everyone liked the furnishings, which aren't the finished interior design, but worked well for the evening.
Sara is ready to relax a bit.

I got to be the first sitter on the new couch. Note rain outside.

Everyone was very nice and friendly to us, and I feel lots better knowing more folks who live around the area. Not all the people who'd worked on the house showed up--I could hardly blame them, because around 5 pm it really, really started to rain. It ended up raining 3.5 inches, and I can see not wanting to wander down the narrow county roads in that stuff. We kept looking out the windows and marveling at the rain! Well, that and eating all the delicious food. I killed my diet by eating a rather hearty helping of home-made peach cobbler. First dessert serving of 2012!

When the rain finally stopped, Sara and I went out and fed all the new fish in the pond/tank behind the new house. We heard a sound. That sound turned out to be a roaring waterfall pouring out of the pond in the next field (not theirs, thankfully). Water was just rushing everywhere, and now all the ponds are full!

Water rushing toward the tank with the baby fish in it. Look how GREEN the plants are!
There was no problem springing forward Saturday night, since by the time we were finished cleaning, everyone was totally ready for bed an hour early. We didn't expand Ursula, since we hardly used her and figured the less space to heat, the better the little space heater would do. It did just fine, and luckily, it got warmer on Sunday.

We spend most of Sunday at the ranch doing chores and fun stuff. When everyone else was eating breakfast, I took a long walk by our future property to see how the water drained. I had a bit of an issue getting off the ranch. The cattle thought perhaps I had some Moo-Cow Treats with me.

The welcoming committee. One of whom will be dinner soon.
I was happy to see that all the stuff flowing in where we hope to make a little lake is clear, not silty. Here is some of our temporary waterway.

Where the water flows down to the arroyo. Hoping this will be part of a lake soon.
I went farther down to where the spring is, and there was a nice waterfall there. I have decided to call it Occasional Falls.

Occasional Falls
We are going to have to figure out a way to get that to stop eroding, but right now it looks pretty cool.

And the above is where all that water ends up before heading off to the creek. I walked along and was heartened to see bluebonnets and other wildflowers have been planted on the roadside. Next time we are up they should be looking good. They aren't too spectacular yet. I also enjoyed so many birds that were happy the rain had stopped.

And this isn't even as big as Walkers Creek gets!
In this picture, the tree in front must have had two dozen birds of different species in it. I could hear woodpeckers, cardinals (there are FLOCKS of them here--like a dozen each), warblers, jays, and sparrows. And something I couldn't identify that had a lovely song. Plus bluebirds were flying around. I sure look forward to more bird observation here!

It's hard to believe that last summer the bottom of Walkers Creek was barely damp, and you could cross it by jumping a muddy spot. So, after checking all this out I went back past the mooing gauntlet to do some more fun stuff.

The men went and fetched the refrigerators that go in the house. The women got to play with horses. Sara was going a deal where she teaches the younger horses to love the trailer by feeding them in it. And also she had to take the guys the key to the house with the fridge in it. That left me and Rosa from Belize with the old horse, Pardner. He is a really, really, really kind horse. He also likes to roll in the mud. Rosa and I brushed and brushed on him, then I walked him around and bonded with him (that was my first Parelli horse-person lesson). Such a sweet-natured animal. You can just tell he has a good heart. And he was much shinier, too.

A well-groomed animal
Pardner has the kind of coat that gets real thick in the winter and needs to come off for spring. He also doesn't sweat well, so needs to get the extra hair off. You can see he has a ways to go. And yes, he can't see out of that eye, but still he's a great riding horse I am told! I am really glad Sara is letting me work a little with him, since I want to try to do some gentle training with Oscar...if I ever get to see him. This weekend, I hope?

Anyway, after all the equine fun, all us grownups went in and drew all over maps and filled out forms. We have our application for the loan for our little chunk of land, and are working towards making a real place to watch the sunsets in the sunset of our lives. After all that, we took Ursula home, and since the sun was setting, we got to test out Lee's new sunshade--yes he finally has one on his side of the RV.

We hope to go see Lee's dad and Chris this weekend (and Oscar the Donkey!). I haven't been able to get out there since Christmas, because Ursula has been broken. Lee went out once without me, in the car.

Lee has some nice photos, so he may add some. Or some words. I like words. I just wrote perhaps too many....


  1. Nice! Look at all that green!

  2. I loved reading this post, and the pictures were fantastic.