Saturday, May 21, 2011

#11 - Turn at the Trellis

Having an emergency and being able to handle it fast was a topic on our mind when we'd go to our acreage. When you are deep in a forest and do not have a phone with service, you are extra cautious. 

Deputy Dave cutting a path with a machete to other side of land to shorten our hike.
 Living within a densely populated city means that you have easy, fast access to emergency services. In our area, a quick call to 911 would mean that we could have the police, EMS or a firetruck at our house within three minutes. I don't take that forgranted.

Deputy Dave and his grand-nephew at Easter in front of our house.
In 2001, we purchased our land and bought a 30 foot RV with slide-outs. We situated the RV about three acres inward that had been partially cleared. This was thrilling!  For those long weekends on our property, we would be able to relax with a few creature comforts such as having beds to sleep on and a toilet! Yes, we have a septic tank --- we are no long city-sewer limited people.

Septic tank. Exciting stuff.
If we needed to talk on the phone, we had to drive to Highway 190 and sit in the corner store parking lot.

More than that, when we were on our land, if Deputy Dave was on the backside of the land and yelled, I would likely not be able hear him, nor would anyone else. It would be unlikely, especially if the direction of the wind was working against us.

Here is a little area we had previously cleared, but Mother Nature is ruthless and powerful. Ok, I love the baby pines.
The good AND bad thing about our land is that we have NO neighbors. No one to our immediate left. No one to our immediate right, no one across the street from our property and at the back there is a spring fed lake. Our acreage is tucked away in a forest and out of sight.

His favorite past-time.
Look around our lake. No neighbors in sight there either. Don't people like to live in the woods?

Spring fed lake directly at back of our property - we love it.
 One solution was to get high quality walkie-talkies. These helped tremendously as Deputy Dave worked on one side of the land and I was at the RV. Timed check-ins on the walkie-talkies do help you know whether everything is okay or not. I don't even want to think about the "or not" possibility. Eventually, we changed cell phone service to the ONLY provider who can offer reception on our land...AT&T.

However, we soon discovered that we could call 911 for an emergency, but our land was so raw that it did NOT have a 911 address. Without a "911 address" the emergency services we'd need would not be able to find us very easily. Not at all, especially not in the country.

Turns out, we learned that our acreage did not have a street address, it only had a "legal" address. I discovered this back in 2001 as I was trying to update my little black address book and discovered that I could not find a street address or a mailing address for our new property! What the heck? Didn't those come standard with any piece of property that you may have purchased?

Winter shot - one very large tree has fallen upon another. More yard work!
How did we get a 911 address? Well, you have to go to the Post Office and register for one. You sign up and you are set. After we registered, we were told that we could actually put up a mailbox! Like real country people with a real country address!
It's so lovely because our address is off of a FM road...a Farm to Market road. It is dreamy! My country address even has the word "FARM" in it!

By the way, in our area outside of Houston, we have very few Farm to Market roads. That's because there's no longer a need to take produce from the Farm to the Market. There's a Walmart on every corner and in between there are jam-packed stores of every kind. The farms have disappeared.

One of our private roads winding deeper into the property. Don't attempt
to drive this during the rainy season!
 We bought a nice mailbox and my husband installed a sturdy post, then mounted the box in a perfect spot. It was set back enough to let the rural mail carrier pull over enough to be out of the road.

Of course, we had no idea that people in the country on this Farm Road would be so bored as to take a bat to our innocent brand new mailbox. I think those bored people NEED to move to the city!

I now understood why people in the country have boulders surrounding their mailbox. Let those trucks hit a boulder before it hits the mailbox.

Better yet, build the mailbox INSIDE of a boulder!

I seriously considered pulling sniper duty with a paint ball gun for a few nights. I'd sit still among the trees, well, I'd TRY to sit still among the trees and wait it out with my face painted green to blend in with my element. I had to reconsider this mental picture of revenge because of bugs and night creatures. The paint balls would have exploded all over their extended arm as they were getting ready to pummel my mail box, I'd take perfect aim at their flannel-fabric covered arm, and I'd make sure to paint-ball their beloved truck. How do I know they are driving a truck? Well, surely it's a truck since everyone in Texas country owns a truck. After they are splattered with bright orange, green and yellow, I would be laughing so hard that tears would be rolling down my painted green "camo" face.

A city girl's camo.
Wouldn't that have been a glorious moment? It doesn't end there...

Then, I could put out a little sign next to my mailbox buddy the following day that says in big black letters, "Next time, those won't be PAINT-BALL bullets."

Oh well, it's a fantasy of revenge because it is so important to me to get all of my valuable junk mail.

Actually, my husband told me that those kids will grow up one day and have their own mailboxes vandalized and they will remember their own escapades. A new batch of teenagers will only take their place. These kind of things don't bother him much.

Why can't bored teenagers pull up to my lonely mailbox and jump out to plant beautiful flowers for me to suddenly discover in the morning light? I'd put out fresh cookies for them the next day, right on top of the mailbox. We'd all be happy and the world would be a better and brighter place with all those flowers and cookie-happy tummys.

Anyway, I'm happy to know that we have a 911 address and now the only problem is to make sure emergency personnel know where to turn --- in between all the trees. We have two entrances to our land from this FM road and we wouldn't want them six acres away from us on the other side of our land with a creek as a barrier in between us.

The "other" side.
A little trellis at the far entry solved this problem. Actually, I WOULD have told the 911 operator to have the emergency personnel turn at the entrance near the mailbox, but we know that won't be a land-marker.

See the trellis? We own the other entrance, but this is not the part of land where we often stay.
So, a 911 call will be like this...take the FM road a few miles and at the first major dip in the road, carefully look along the treeline for a trellis and make your turn. Go down our private road until it comes to a dead end and someone will be there to lead the way to the emergency location on the acreage. Oh yea, be sure to wear your hiking clothes.

At the FM road, so we better use a leash. Don't want to encounter another stray dog or perhaps...a jogger. Ha ha.
It's so weird because my friends here in the city tell me, "You're crazy for going out there to that land and to volunteer to be so isolated from all kinds of help!"

First of all, emergency services in the country are pretty darn good and fast. Just think, they don't have speed bumps or traffic to hold them back.

Don't blink or you'll miss the trellis!
I find it just as scary to live in the city and to see my husband go off to work every day in uniform which requires a bullet proof vest to be worn underneath. What kind of "safe" life is that? In Harris County? Let's get real now...I do love my home, but I'd rather be in the country. Very soon, we'll be able to live there full-time and it can't be soon enough for me!

Whether I am in the city or in the country, I have 911 available at my fingertips. And, if we ever had a need to dial 911 from the country, we probably won't be laying in an emergency room alongside mutiple gun-shot victims. Well, in the country your emergency room neighbors just might be splattered with the contents of paint bullets, but the rainbow boys will be just fine.

Teenage boys fishing on our lake. After we came out of the forest for a dip, they got scared and left. I wished they wouldn't have left because I'd rather them fish than be out with their bats having fun with mail boxes!
No, actually, I am sure these are good kids who were simply scared of the crazy city people known to own this land.


Chai Chai said...

Very beautiful property you have there. I love the lake and stream, I wish we had that. Pines are really nice to have as well, nice beds of soft needles.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting at my place, look forward to seeing you again!

I had no idea that the Houston area had such unexplored woodland areas.

Lana C. said...

Chai Chai, thanks for appreciating the pictures, even though they are winter shots because it is so different when summer fully kicks in.

This property is actually 1 1/2 hours Northeast of Houston, in the Piney Woods, close to Lake Livingston. It's on the side that is still very forested. We are fortunate, at least I feel that we are.

About the pine needles, we're just learning about all the ways we can use them and it's pretty cool. I'll be back over to see you again and thanks for coming over!


LindaG said...

You are very lucky to have such a great amount of property. And I must admit I am jealous of your lake. (I am jealous of all my blogger friends who have their own lake.)

We had the same thing happen to the first mailbox we put up at the farm, so I had to settle for a plain black box that wouldn't matter if we had to replace it again the next trip.

And oh my gosh, we know all about mowing mowing mowing. ;)

Happy Monday to you! :)

Lana C. said...

Hey Linda!

The lake we are supposed to share with other acreage owners, but it's just us. It would probably only be 3-5 families anyway. One day, it might be full of family fun, but it's been ten years and no one else has joined us yet.

But, when we found out there was a lake, a spring fed lake, there was no question we wanted to buy that land.

Mowing is my new way to relax and be productive, all at once. I zone out while mowing.

I might try another mail box by the end of this summer. We'll see how long that one lasts.

frugalmom said...

Your property is gorgeous. I love how rugged it is. In the pics of the that red soil??? Man, I so miss that when we lived in Georgia and visited Tennessee....Im sure my Ma doesnt miss it with all the laundry, but it always makes me smile to see it.

LindaG said...

I would definitely have been a neighbor. ;-)
Have a great day!

Lana C. said...

Frugalmom...thanks for the compliment about the land. I am a bit partial and have heard so many city friends tell me it is not appealing! It's nice to be connected with people who appreciate a country setting! The red soil is not actually the kind of soil natural to the area, it's added to the lake/spillway area to help keep erosion under control, but my grandmother's house had nothing but red soil and our hands and feet were always tinted. Too much fun! Like you, it makes me smile when I see it too.

Linda...I'd think we'd have a lot of fun being neighbors!! Being blog neighbors is pretty cool though. I guess we will one day have neighbors...kind of scary in the country because you never know what you'll get. This patch is supposed retricted for residential living, but I'll believe it when I see people moving next door instead of corporations or businesses. I hope it will remain rural, but all areas outside of Houston seem to be constantly growing at a fast rate. We'll see.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!