Snow, snow and more snow

We have had now 12+ hours of ongoing snowfall. This is very unusual for our area and has set a snowfall record for this calendar date and also for the amount of total snowfall in a season for our area.  The snow is expected to continue through until the early morning hours of Friday morning then taper off.  Saturday is supposed to be in the 50’s.

Today on my way to work I slid off our little country road (the road has a sharp turn in it; I turned the Explorer steering wheel,  but it kept going straight).  Off the road, into the ditch and up the other side and into the neighbors pasture as I steered it back down the ditch and up onto our road.  And mind you my foot was not even on the gas pedal the entire time.  The vehicle took on a life of it’s own.  Luckily in that section of the road there were no trees, poles or pasture fencing.  I went on to work, very slowly, but the outcome could have been totally different. 

I am amazed at the bravado drivers have in bad weather and choose to impose their bravado onto other drivers by endangering everyone’s safety.  I also don’t understand the drivers who choose not to turn on their vehicle headlights as a matter of safe visibility.  Not because they can’t see, but because I can’t see them in downpouring rain or like today when the snow was so thick I could not see them until they were there, and especially WHITE vehicles. Duh.  That’s why I choose to stay home if I can in bad weather; not because I am a coward, but because I choose to stay out of the way of those idiots.

Please drive safely and TURN ON your headlights so we can see YOU.

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Don’t let the dogs out in the dog days of summer

We live in the country on 104 acres.  We are conveniently close to highways and roadways going any direction we would want to go.  Very convenient for us.  We don’t get any traffic on our road except for the three other neighbors.  We can recognize any strange vehicle coming down the road and we keep a vigilant eye open to follow where they are going.  You have to watch out for each other in the country.

One thing that is hard for country dweller’s to understand, they may own livestock or not,  is that a loose dog is a potential threat to livestock.  Their dog may be sweet and cuddly at home, but the instinct to chase is there.  And if another dog or two are wandering along the road, then you have a huge potential for a deadly chase if they buddy up and slip through a fence.

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=2372&S=1&SourceID=47

Of course, they won’t chase huge cows, but horses for one, and our alpacas for another, are creatures that cannot truly fight back and will run away, many times they are run to death in the dogs chase.  A heartbreaking, and usually expensive, loss for the owner.  The dogs, meanwhile, have ended their chase and have trotted back to their owners for a meal and a hug.  

http://www.animallaw.info/articles/arusdogschasewildlifetable.htm

Livestock guard dogs are an exception to this.  They live in the pasture with the livestock.  They do not bond with the family in the home.  Their family is the livestock and they live in the pasture with them.  Their puppies are trained this way with the parents in the field.  Also, guard donkeys and llamas are effective guards if they have the true guard instinct.  Any animal that relapses from guarding should not guard.   We have one guard llama with the girl alpacas and one guard with t he boys.

http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/pubs/1218.pdf

Roaming dogs are more of a threat than coyotes.  It is a kindness to your neighbors to let your dogs roam unleashed in your own fenced yard and nowhere else.

Is it just luck?

IMG_0041 

If it is fate or just good luck, we have found that being patient pays off.  If you don’t have to hurry and buy something, whether it’s a new car or a piece of land, sometimes fate gives you what you want, and more. 

Ten years ago our van was on the brink of falling apart.  We had driven it well for ten years and it was a good investment.  Now it was time to replace it.  We looked and looked at vehicles. We even almost signed paperwork on a vehicle but the salesman was just not consistent in the final numbers; they kept changing along with the interest rate.  We walked out, papers not signed.  A week later I got a call that I had won a Saturn LS in a  contest and I have had that car now for ten years and it is still wonderful and looks like new.  I was able to choose what I wanted and got the superdeluxe with leather, sunroof, sound system, etc., etc.  It has exceeded all my expectations with great gas mileage to boot, usually around 30 mpg.  My daughter bought herself a sporty Saturn 3-door coupe a year after I got mine and also has had an excellent experience.

It is sometimes mind boggling to think about ever moving to the country.  It was for us.  We didn’t know anything about it.  I started to write here about how we found ours, and it turned into a minibook.  So next week I will break out the steps, one each day, to talk about.  My-husband-the-architect thankfully has knowledge about what it takes to design and build a great house, we designed and built our last one.  However, we didn’t know anything about buying land to raise animals on or maintain pasture.  There are some important considerations before buying.

We have found that patience, research, and “needs” lists, help make a wise and lasting purchase decision.  In these economic times, spending wisely is  so important.  Next week I will try to outline some considerations, as well as some handy resources.  It is not impossible to find your place.

This Place Matters

I just have to post about this today. My husband-the-architect and I are interested in the safekeeping of history of where we are at the time. We were in Sachse, TX and he helped the historical society  a lot with their master plan and remodel and design needs.  They also improved their website and became very visible in the community. 

Here is their link;  http://www.sachsehistoricalsociety.org/home/musuem1

As a volunteer, he designed the remodel of the little brick museum, based on some artwork of the original Sachse family home design. The only thing original to the museum exterior is the brick and some windows, everything else was added: copper standing seam roof, porches, gingerbread, some windows and the interior redesigned.   He designed the gazebo, the fire truck/onion shed cover and helped with the overall layout of the grounds.   They have come a long, long way from just a few years ago.

Now we are in Caddo Mills and members of the Caddo Mills  Historical Society.  They have done a lot but are ready to get more accomplished, just like Sachse was.  We are pitching in and he is ready to help them with the remodel and addition plans they are looking to be made.    http://caddomillshs.com/

So, if you are interested in your local history and want to save it from being bulldozed, this might help get you started.  I have the link and maybe at least just sign up for their e-mails that don’t come along too often. National Trust for Historic Preservation, This Place Matters event.

http://my.preservationnation.org/site/R?i=Mqeaghcm_UVvJdQ1VhkbwQ..

4th of July in Texas

http://www.101july4th.com/history.html Happy 4th of July

Please visit Texas; there is so much history and lots to do. Here is a link to help you get started http://gotexas.about.com/od/festivals/a/FourthofJuly.htm

 

http://www.texasescapes.com/TOWNS/Greenville/greenville.htm

I live in east Texas, northeast of Dallas, near Greenville with a wonderful, reclaimed and restored downtown. Also the Audie Murphy/Cotton Museum  is a great place to visit. 

Going just a little further east puts you into the Pineywoods, and believe me there are pine trees thicker than grasshoppers.  There are many logging operations in east Texas; you will see semi flatbeds loaded with loooong pine trees, already limbed, on their way to a sawmill.   There are lots of small towns who have reclaimed their downtowns and made them into charming destinations.  Greenville has successfully done this.  So has Marshall, Lindale, Mineola, and others.  Look for downtowns with antique stores and usually it will be a successful, thriving area.  The thriving courthouses on squares mean there are plenty of attorney offices surrounding the area and is a busy beehive of activity during the week. On the weekends it is quiet and enjoyable to wander through the stores.

 

A fantastic area to visit south of Dallas is Elm Mott, 8 miles north of Waco. You must visit Homestead Heritage Village, working craftsmen, a huge barn moved here and restored, an on-site deli.  They have a working gristmill producing their  flours. They were commissioned to build President George W. Bush’s ranch house in Crawford.  They were also commissioned to build some furniture for the White House that remains as a Texas tribute before President Bush left office.  They have pics and documents on their wall.

http://www.homesteadheritage.com

 There is lodging nearby

 http://www.homesteadcraftfair.com/campingandlodging.html

and a map to get there

http://www.homesteadheritage.com/contact_us.html

and links to their furniture, barns, gristmill, trades schools, and natural range-fed beef

http://www.homesteadheritage.com/contact_us.html

Another great place is south of Dallas near Palestine.  An historic steam engine train makes round trip excursions from Palestine to Rusk and back. Make a reservation and enjoy.

http://www.texasescapes.com/TOWNS/Palestine/Palestine_Texas.htm

Safely enjoy the holiday weekend and remember to fly your flagshttp://www.usa-flag-site.org/