Monday, January 2, 2012

# 163 - Going Country Again

Going back to the country has been refreshing to the spirit, mind and body. But, I think the dogs enjoyed being in the forest looking for treasure much more than we imagined they would this winter season.

The past few days have been filled with the fresh smell of clean air, soft steps upon earth that is naturally composting and heart-swelling moments while watching our dogs have loads of fun playing in big open spaces.

Yes, we are one of "those" people who have grown children, but not to worry, those grown children have been fondly "replaced" on a daily basis by canine counterparts. Hey, we're STILL parents and a sudden halt to our nurturing instinct is dangerous business; an empty nest can be solved easily, get a dog. It's how it works in this world. Better adjust now or wiggle around in discomfort too much later as you try to adjust.

Pets have their place in our lives, especially for those of us who have grown children who are off making a way for themselves in the world. I say...Give me something NEW to control, to love and to admonish...a dog!

Shaye, my sister's daughter and Lyla, my beloved, faithful dog. red-haired young-in.
I can only imagine how many pets the Dugger Couple will require upon their empty nest syndrome years to fulfill their nurturing instinct going amok. Wait, I forgot, that woman is part machine and will be having babies until her worn out parts are no longer in stock.

Actually, I like that show, but still not sure about how I feel when it comes to an assigned "buddy" for the newborn---one of the older kids basically is assigned the baby. Maybe we'd all had decided to have large families if we'd been so intelligent in using the kids we already created!

"Forget the dishes darlin, your job my little sweetie is to raise your younger sister...remember? You are a Buddy! Now...go change that poopy diaper."


As Deputy Dave and I drove to our place in the country, it became apparent that we were leaving the big city far behind.

Each mile that fast approached our acreage brought us untold peace, more smiles and incremental shoulder drops that came with the big stress reducing, "Ahhhh's."

Even though it's been several months since we've been able to go to our land, it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. Things were completely chaotic, but the overgrown state of greenery seemed less daunting by the winter weather. This is mainly due to the major drought that Texas has experienced this year...less rain equals less growth and less shock for Deputy Dave and myself to confront on the land after such a long break in between visits.

Fortunately, we've been getting a lot of rain in the past few weeks so that our natural vegetation won't die off so easily as it has done in other parts of our state. The Spring water flowing beneath our land and the creeks running through our acreage also helps to keep the plant-life feeling good and looking strong.

Once things start to warm up a bit, that place will be bursting with growth and nearly impossible to tame without some big machinery at our disposal and/or a busy herd of goats.

The bad thing about going to the land on the weekend of New Year's Eve is the time-frame of the recent rainfalls...those very rainfalls we've been so thankful to be given by our Good Lord also create havoc on farm/ranch land, unless you are driving down a well worn, designated road, which we don't have on our land.

Our land is so raw that any rain makes the soil the consistency of sinking sand. You drive along hard road and suddenly you're up to the axle in mud. Between the Dodge truck and the super-sized lawn tractor, Deputy Dave spent a lot of time getting out of a mud rut.

I decided to not video-tape these moments of Deputy Dave trying to get his vehicles out of the ruts because you would have thought he was actually in the midst of watching a losing Aggie football game.

The bottom line will always be that we won't be able to use heavy equipment freely around the acreage, except on designated zones. Winter break is very short here in Texas, but we'll have to kick back a little and enjoy the yucky weather from inside the future cozy cabin or work-shed.

And this trip had so many adventurous moments, there's no way that I can put it all into one blog, so I'll be breaking it down. However, we do have another trip planned for the country very soon.

The dogs will be happy to go back. Howdy goes into a depressed stupor for a couple of days after we return to the city-life house. He looks at us as if we're crazy, "Really? You brought me back to this stinkin place with the huge wood walls in the backyard that keep me from running? Really?"

As for our short time away, my youngest, Stefie, and her boyfriend, Brice, managed to keep the chickens healthy and alive. For a city guy, Brice isn't half bad. He even went toe to toe with Big Mama, the Bad-Ass Chicken; and he didn't let her win the battle. Brice never knew he'd be the back-up farmer in this family...Congratulations Brice!

As for staying on our land, Deputy Dave and I are pretty tough old dawgs. We rough it. For the past year or so, there's been no hotels or RV's for us to enjoy. We had made a conscious decision to return to the old ways of camping, in a tent. Don't ask me why we decided to revert back to our youngster days and begin popping tents again for the fun of it. Strangely, it is fun.

We forget how much fun anguish can be over stupid mistakes when putting up the tent that is covered in sand from the last trip on the beach; and our memory fades as to how that sticking zipper made us do low crawls to get in and out of the tent; and we giggle at the thought of actually putting the pee bucket in the far "corner" of the tent since it is in the 40's outside. We had forgotten how that kind of weather seems to stifle the pee reflex.

We forget, but camping reminds us with quick refresher tips. Whoops! It'd sure be nice to have a good night-light inside the tent when it's dark. Camping out the first night found us shivering to weather in the 40's. However, we do have a generator and a small space heater. However, anyone who has stayed in a tent knows how the cold and the heat comes through the canvas at lightening speed.

Deputy Dave has learned from our many past camping experiences and he also took a unique page from the homeless people he sees every day on his way to work in downtown Houston...he brought cardboard boxes to insulate the ground beneath our tent. Guess what? It worked! Homeless people are geniuses! The cardboard insulated us on a heightened level from the wet, cold ground. It was amazing and worth passing on.

Deputy Dave thought about going on television for an infomercial to sell the "Insulating Cardboard Camping Boxes" for only $29.99 per Box ---- 2nd Box for Free" when you pay shipping and handling. We thought it might be a camping hit with those who sit up until 3:30 am looking for something to buy with the credit card in their numb hand. However, he could not yell as high as Billy Mays, so he figured he'd remain a Deputy and continue to let his weapons do the talking for him.

Regardless, we are accustomed to roughing it and we rather enjoy being in nature. But, I must tell you that taking an outdoor "sun" shower in the winter, at night, is not pleasant. I think the experience of water hitting my body in 50 degree weather that's steadily dropping further made me tighten a few body parts that forgot how to be tightened long ago.

Washing off sweat in weather that is "freezing" to a Texan must have shaved a few minutes off of my life. But, the arduous hike I made on our land the following day must have made life minute deposits back to my overall time here on Earth, so I think I evened out.

I have newfound respect for the cowboys who roam the range and who forgo the evening bath routine. I admire their ability to lie down on the ground at night, with only a rock for a pillow and their hat over their face to block out the moonlight. It's great to wear a pair of jeans that can withstand a month's worth of grime and be so dirty that when taken off they continue to stand upright on their own.

Well...since I like my air-bed and my climate-controlled tent and my snuggly warm dogs at include Deputy Dave...I will be happy to freeze off a chunk of my big rear and be glad for the small luxury of running trickling water that allows me to remove the sweat clogging my pores. It's so nice for the body to have the ability to breathe and for bed-fellows to be grime-free so we can start acquiring a new layer of filth early the next day.

Ah, such is life in the country.


Mike said...

Now, who doesn't like the great outdoors? Yeah, lots of folks. They don't know what they're missing.
As for the 'shower bag'. I won't say what it looks like, to me. ;)

The last pic reminds me of an Eddie Murphy skit. He's singing...'I'm macho man'..

Thanks for the look-around. I think I'd have to have a small pop up camper, just for heat, if nothing else.

Allison of A Farmgirl's View said...

What a fun post to read, glad I stopped by! I don't know if I could do the cold shower outside though :)

Vickie said...

I love camping and roughing it, only we go outside to do our business. No pee bucket in the tent. I'd be the first one to knock it over! Looks like y'all had fun. Too bad you didn't get stuck in the mud and stay for a few extra days! haha!

Rae said...

:) Our Henry knows how Howdy feels. Henry would get so excited to go out to the farm on weekends, and would mope and sigh around our city house during the week. The furry kiddos sure are characters!

LindaG said...

You're tougher than we are!

Glad you had a good time. I take if your property was safe from the fires then?

We have a driveway and it was still muddy after all the rain we got. ;)

Charade said...

I LOVE our country property, but if it didn't have a house on it, I'd be camping out at the local motel. You amaze me with your half-your-age spunk!

Karen said...

Oh, wow, Lana, you guys really rough it! We don't camp well, I don't know why, but it's not on my Top Ten List. What fun the dogs must have on the property. I know even my little doggies just love to tear around here, too.

Winter there looks a whole lot different than winter here. We were down to 2 degrees last night. Cardboard would definitely be in order for a tent then! I bet you could sell cardboard on TV, people would buy anything if it's marketed well.

I agree with you about the Duggars, I never thought about assigning one of my kids to raise the other one. What an ingenious solution to the question of who will change the dirty diapers. (Poor kids.)

Lana at said...

Mike --- yes, the bag is a biggie version of something that comes to my recollection as well, I hear people pay for those kinds of things these days, like the Kardashian girls. And Deputy Dave was pretty much exhausted at that point in the photo, he probably didn't feel like a macho man after having to dig & lift the lawn tractor out of the 5th mud rut. He was pretty fed up. And, we started out on the land in a Coachman pop-up camper that we'd traveled all over the place with as the girls were growing up...that thing was awesome & comfortable. I'm a big pop-up camper loving kind of gal! Amazing contraptions of comfort!

Allison --- the cold shower outdoors might as well be a torture treatment because it was HORRENDOUS. It wasn't my 1st, but hopefully these will be my last. Deputy Dave heated pots of hot water on the fire & it helped, but that hot water turns super chilly the moment it hits your skin in the cold night air. Ugh!

Vickie --- we were taking a huge chance the last night staying there with the pee bucket in the corner, especially with the dogs. But, it had an airtight lid w/that blue septic solution inside of it & was used one time. It was so dang cold that peeing became a luxury! However, I don't think I'll take such risks again in the future because the bucket was on my mind throughout the night. I'm sure you can understand my level of desperation to put this in the tent's corner. And there have been times when we've been so severely stuck in the mud that we were forced to stay for days. Not pleasant.

Rae --- if a person wasn't a dog lover, especially a dog who adores being outdoors, they'd never imagine the pure exhileration that they feel at being in the country & the moping sadness when trapped back inside their city house. It's always an issue w/Howdy & Lyla, especially Howdy. He's a definite outdoors sports/agility dog that ADORES being in wide open spaces. I bet your Henry loves the country.

Linda --- I didn't feel so tough at the time, but looking back through the pictures, I told Deputy Dave that you don't see many people volunteering for off-season camp-outs at our age, without children. But, we love it. Of course, I'll REALLY love having four walls once we build! And fires did hit right around the corner from us, we were fortunate. So many people lost everything; I can't imagine having a fire consume my life. I've had a hurricane destroy our home, but a fire is different. And the mud out there is horrendous, yet a big teacher in life of patience.

Lana at said...

Charade --- our backs didn't feel half our age, but my mind is right there with my former 20 yr old self when I'm on our land! A motel would actually be great, but we have dogs, etc., & I'd not torture my family by asking them to dogsit. The family who would volunteer to dogsit wouldn't notice a doggie gone out the front door for hours on end. That kind of makes up our mind to camp, save money, enjoy being with nature & thanking God for man-made contraptions such as a generator!

Karen --- you guys are always outdoors on your propery doing all kinds of projects that have me ready to roll around in the grass & be giddy!! Your place is amazing. I'm a Hostas fan because of you & plan on putting them around a lot of trees on the part of our land that will be residential. I can't wait. You're a huge inspiration to me. As for the differences in winter, this is one of the awesome aspects of blogging...I get to see the seasonal impact on each of us. It's weird to be sitting here in 80degree weather & read a blog buddy's panicked entry about not having enough fire wood yet & the next day would be too late to go find it. And our doggies are such a delight. We sure do miss our little 4 lb Chihuahua who died about 2 1/2 years ago, she lived for approx 15 yrs & LOVED our acreage. If you see cardboard for sale on an infomercial, then you know who is behind the outrageous idea. I guess we'll see if the Duggar kids believe in the buddy-system for their own children, sharing responsibility is great, but I felt that my 2nd child was my responsibility, not my oldest child's responsibility. I always hear them say "buddy" on that show & actually think, "Back-up Mommy." But, I do admire the way their kids are so polite & down to earth. Still, I enjoyed being the "buddy-mommy" myself! Lastly, I keep talking about getting a load of boulders delivered to our property, always remembering your pictures. So much to look forward to doing at a snail's pace!!!

A Primitive Homestead said...

You really do rough it. You crack me up. You two are going to have such a wonderful life living on your ground. Keep having fun together. Blessings!