Friday, July 31, 2009

Rain, Again!

We got another inch of rain. Nature put on quite a show during the delivery.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Finally, Rain

It finally rained. One and one quarteh inches fell on the ranch.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

32 Days

Now, it is thirty two days of over 100 degrees here in central Texas. That also means thirty two days without rain. The heat is drying out the ground and turning our crops into acres and acres of fire hazard.  Look at this chart of  the rainfall over the last two years.  In the past twelve months, we have not had more than about three inches of rain in any month.  Normally, two months are over four inches and two to three additional months with over three inches.

This map shows the spread of the drought here in Texas during the last month. The whole south-east corner of Texas has reached a critical drought level.  We think we have it bad, but when you look at the map, San Antonio and Victoria really have it bad.  San Antonio gets its water from the Edwards Aquifer which is located west of the city.  Victoria gets its water from the several man-made lakes which depend upon a constant flow of water from the same aquifer.  How much longer before that aquifer starts to run dry?

But the drought is spreading up into the Hill Country. The lakes that supply water to Austin, Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan, are reaching record low water levels. The boat ramps are now all high and dry. Lake Travis is only 47% full, while Lake Buchanan is 53% full. If the drought continues, the exceptional drought category will have spread to cover this ranch. Fortunately, our east pasture got a good start early this spring, so the herd still has plenty to eat. But without rain, they will eat it down very quickly. We need rain, but it is just not in the forecast. There is a high pressure system that has been hanging over central Texas for the last six weeks. This is forcing all the rain to pass north of Texas, up in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, it does nto look like that high is going to move any time soon. Lord help us!!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

"Uncle Walter" Died Today

Everybody's "Uncle Walter", radio and television reporter extraordinaire Walter Cronkite, died today at the age of 92.  All of America mourns this great loss. President Obama should declare a period of national mourning and Walter should lie in State in the US Capitol.

As I was growing up, my parents would watch the national news on the CBS television, anchored by this now late, great American. He explained Sputnik, the Cuban Revolution, the Space Race, the Nuclear Arms Race, the Vietnam War and Americans landing on the Moon. He was there when President Kennedy died, President Nixon resigned, Martin Luther King died and so many of the important events in the last sixty years. His explanations of the events of the day were always clear, concise and unbiased. Without a doubt, he was the most trusted person in America.  When he said something, all of America believed it.  Today's reporters and anchors are but a small candle compared to the carbon arc light of his journalistic expertise and presence.

Walter took his experience in radio journalism and as a war reporter, and used it to define what television journalism should be and was during his tenure at the CBS anchor desk, The sad thing is that none of today's television journalists measure up to the mark Walter set. Walter's political leanings were only barely visible when he reported the events of the day. In contrast, the politics of today's reporters smashes you in the face as you watch their broadcasts. Television news is no longer fair, objective and balanced.

I remember the days leading up to the scrubbed launch of the first Space Shuttle, STS-1, on April 10, 1981. I was the driver for a small "background report" news organization and had press credentials for the event at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All of the big name television, radio and print reporters were there. Of the television reporters, only Walter Cronkite took the time to talk with with us little folk. When the mission scrubbed on Friday, he was the only big name who kept his cool and composure. That first Space Shuttle finally launched on Sunday, April 12.

Who will fill this great man's very large shoes?


Monday, July 13, 2009

27 Days

I just heard - today is the twenty-seventh consecutive day with a high temperature over 100 degrees! The crops are so dry that it is hazardous to cut them down. One small spark and the whole field will explode into flames. One child playing at noon triggered a 500-acre wild fire. Now, at 10:45 PM, it is only 70% contained.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Livestock Show Season Begins

Here we go again! My children are looking for show goats, again. Today, we went to an auction at Harbour Livestock, just west of Gatesville. There were people there from over one hundred miles away!

I have to admit, they had a whole lot of very pretty little kids going up for auction. They took quite a bit of time making them even prettier - each of the kids had been polled and clipped.

The bidding on the first one started at $500 and then exploded into the stratosphere, selling eventually for $1950. This is for one, count 'em, one show goat! The next one, and the next one, and the next one - the bidding exploded over $1000! OJ, a few started at $300, but they were still bed way up. Some actually sold for $350 or $400, but most were much higher.

After the first forty were sold for those astronomical prices, we left. Maybe, there will be more reasonable prices at the next auction....

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Fourth of July

This year, we decided to do something different. Instead of going to Fort Hood to watch fireworks, we decided to go to Waco and watch the HEB fireworks display "over the Brazos River." This show is part of Waco's big annual Fourth of July celebration at Indian Spring Park.  For those who are not familiar with Waco, Indian Spring Park is best known for the old suspension bridge which to connects Indian Spring Park to Martin Luther King Park, on the other side of the Brazos River.  This bridge, which opened in 1869, was build by John A. Roebling - the same engineer who later built the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.

Across University Park Drive from the perk, a large stage was set up and a number of bands performed on it during the day. Along the road and in the park, a number of vendors were selling various items of food and drink, including a bar selling beer, wine and mixed drinks.

The weather was hot. According to the thermometer in our truck, the temperature was 109F! Much of the music was not to our taste. Starting somewhere between 9:00 Pm and 9:30 PM, A concert band took the stage and began playing patriotic music and military marches.

The fireworks started about 10:0PM. What a show! It made the Fort Hood show look like small potatoes. It ran for about 40 minutes. It was mostly various star bursts, with very few aerial bombs. Fort Hood, on the other hand, loves their bombs.

Thank you, HEB, for that magnificent show!

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