Innocent projects

It started innocently enough. Last night Shaun wanted to play outside. It was the first nice night in a week. The sun was shining and there was no wind. I sat on the steps thinking about how it’d be nice to have shade in the front of the house where all their stuff is and a real chair to sit in. Off to the shopping app on my phone looking for an appropriate solution. That didn’t last long as I had to put the phone away since the youngest was heading for the mud, again.

Today, I had one errand to run at lunch time – to pickup a prescription at the store. I thought, heck, I’m here might as well go see what kind of patio furniture they have left. Not much appealed from browsing through the patio sets at the store, but that’s normal. I did see some plastic lawn chairs, and as I was snapping a pic I thought, I wonder how far the wind would take these? Then I thought, get a “snubber rubber” and attach it to the porch when the wind is going to blow. Why not? We’re pretty redneck as it is.

Driving back to the office I thought, I wonder what I could find on Pinterest to fix up the back “patio” area of our house? I had 30 minutes to kill. I use patio VERY loosely to describe the east side of our house. There’s not much time spent out there, and it’s pretty ugly. How bad is it when I feel as though I accomplished something by pulling out all the cheat grass and weeds from around the air conditioning unit? There’s a non-functional barbecue grill and various odds and ends that need to make it into the trash.

The first thing I ended up pinning was about how to make a fire pit and a cover to keep the kids out when it isn’t being used. It also can double as a table. Perfect I thought. I snapped a pic and texted it to my husband. I’m assuming his non-reply was because I had found another project for him? More looking and pinning.

My 30 minutes on Pinterest turned into 45 and by then I had sketched out a plan to build a patio cover out of pressure treated wood and galvanized metal. That turned into an idea to elevate it and get rid of the steps on the sliding glass door and have a wooden deck area under the new patio cover. Even a pony wall to block out the AC unit and have a little “wind break” for the grill. Lots of plans, lots of plans.

As I tried to get back to work, I wondered if something like this will ever come to fruition. My husband and I have talked about building a garage, and that’s a big step and most likely an expensive one because it would likely be a multi-purpose building, containing an office space, storage room, a place to park vehicles and likely a place for livestock and horse stuff. It’s a dream really.

We’ve dreamed of having a yard and now with all the rain, it’s looking like we have grass and not just weeds. Heck, my husband even spread weed and feed around the yard we do have growing and put out some grass seed in the bare spots on either side of the house. We were both pleased when the grass actually came in and continues to grow. Baby steps. Some day we will have a patio and a garage. It’s only taken us 5 years to have grass!

Looking east from the back door following a rain in early May.

Looking east from the back door following a rain in early May.

Good with the bad

On Sunday we only had a 30 percent chance of rain. In our part of Kansas, that normally means 70 percent chance we won’t see a drop. The day before I had joked with my dad after he had mowed our yard for us, that it looked so nice that we just needed a nice rain to make it look even better! And I do believe I got what I’d wished for.

When the first storm came through it was looking like it was going to be another disappointment because as quick as the storm built up and moved on, we only got enough to get everything wet with big fat raindrops. About an hour later as we were trying to leave to go feed cows, another storm came. This one brought some heavy rain and a few hailstones. Once it had passed we loaded in the pickup and tried to head south. We only made it down the road a couple of miles before we had to stop and wait it out. I cringed hearing the hailstones hit the outside of my pickup. Finally it let up enough to safely drive. The farther south we got, the less rain there was. At one point, we could see the next storm rolling in, and even witnessed a few rope tornadoes forming and quickly spinning out. By the time we got to Clark County the road was dry and it hadn’t rained a drop at the farm. By the time we’d finished chores there it was starting to sprinkle. So we had hope for rain there.

Since it was Mother’s Day we decided on our way back home that we’d stop for supper in town. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, it started raining. It rained some more, hailed a little and blew like crazy. Not thinking much of it, we headed home and when we headed north we were astonished by how much rain had collected in the ditches and was running off fields. At the house we found some hail damage on the house, and a lot of water, but everything was still safe.

I went out to check the horses and they all looked no worse for the wear. As I was shutting the gate to their pen I looked at the ground. I found a pretty good-sized hailstone stuck in the mud, and a few more as I walked to the house. They were pretty decent sized for being out there for a while after the last storm. Shaun was intrigued by the hailstones and wanted to eat them.. I had to explain to him what they were and that they really shouldn’t be eaten!

Collection of hailstones from May 11, 2014.

Collection of hailstones from May 11, 2014.

Something about the clouds

I’ve worked at home for the last two days, and with young kids that’s quite the fete. My oldest had been asking to go to Grandma’s and when she called yesterday and wanted to pick him up, I gladly sent him on his way. The youngest slept basically all afternoon in his swing, and I actually got to sit down and write a story for work. Midday, I decided to go take some photos to accompany the story I was working on. Since it was muddy when I woke up Thursday, my first stop outside was the rain gauge. I was shocked to find an inch of rain in the gauge, and then thanked the Lord for the moisture. It was glorious even though I didn’t even get to hear it come down during the night.IMG_7633

My second stop for photos was out in the horse pasture. The mares were out eating all the green sprigs coming up, and since I hoped to get them eating off a round bale I tricked them by putting some grain on the bale. Shhh.. Don’t tell our readers! While I was waiting on them to come up, I gazed at the sky and admired all the beautiful clouds against the blue sky. I turned around and saw the sky and clouds making a pretty photo behind the windmill. It turned out pretty darn nice!

There’s just something about clouds, sunsets and sunrises that make my heart sing. I scroll through my photos, and if it isn’t a horse or kid, it’s of the sky. Not sure why I take so many pics of the heavens, but I don’t see it stopping anytime soon..

 

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Massive storm cloud southeast of my house April 23.

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Blue sky, clouds and windmills. What else do you need for a photo?

One of those days

Monday was one of those days. One of those days where I didn’t want to get out of bed. One of those days where I didn’t want to go to work. One of those days where I didn’t want to be an adult. But I had no other choice so I got out of my comfy, cozy bed and faced the day showered and clean.

Over the weekend my horse had developed a strange mark/welt/spot on her neck. I don’t know how else to describe it, but it hurt her and hurt me seeing her hurt. So when I got to the office, I waited patiently until 8 and called the vet. Not the local vet, but the one who I take her to when she’s got a lameness issue or something I don’t want to waste time and money on using someone else.

Driving to Buffalo later that morning, I thought, man, I sure would like to be able to not have to work from 8 to 5 in an office. It would be nice to be at home and working outside. Dealing with the livestock and helping out where ever I was needed.

By the time I got back home at 530, I had gotten my wish to be outside. There were heifers out in the yard and my husband called and said there was more out and someone had penned them up across the road without water. Of course it was getting close to being dark, and he was over an hour away. My attempts to get the heifers across the road failed miserably, so I went looking for where they may have got out and hoped the rest that I put back in stayed put.

Wishful thinking. Cattle again greeted me when I got home from work Tuesday evening and again Wednesday morning. I was an hour late to work, and spent some time attempting to fix the holes in the fence where they were getting out.  Guess we will see how good my skills are when I get home from work tonight..

I took a few minutes to take some photos with my phone while I was working of my scenery. Enjoy.

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Too close for comfort

Last night my biggest dilemma was whether or not to ride my horse since it looked as though it could rain. Once I got to the house the radio started barking at me that there was a tornado warning for extreme northeast Gray County, northwest Ford County and southwestern Hodgeman County. My ears perked right up since that’s about where my house is and I listened to the warning while looking to the west via my rear view mirror in the pickup.

I got out of the pickup and stopped in my tracks trying to identify the noise coming from the south. As soon as I realized it was the tornado sirens in Dodge City (we are about 10 miles from town) my phone rang. It was my sister. Her husband had called her and told her to go to our parents basement (they live on the same road about 1/2 mile apart) and take shelter as it was headed her way. I got in my house and the phone rang again. My husband was telling me the same thing since we don’t have storm shelter either.

Mom was at my house with Shaun, so we packed it up and headed west. I said a little prayer for the good Lord to take care of my animals and look over my house and headed down the road. However, it looked like we would be driving into a rather large wall cloud/funnel cloud, so I quickly called my sister and asked what it was doing over there. She said, “its rotating above the shed and I’m in the basement.” I told her we were headed to town and to stay safe. Called dad and asked where he was, and of course he was headed home. I told him to go to my other sister’s in town, but of course he didn’t listen.

As I was heading into Dodge City, gawkers and lookie-loos were lining the street outside of town watching the clouds and taking photos. I was not impressed and silently hoped they got stuck in the muddy ditches for their stupidity. I wasn’t stopping even though I had my camera with me.

It wasn’t even raining when I got to my sister’s house. It never really did rain there. We waited it out and eventually I went back home to check on horses, dogs and my husband. This is what I found..

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The hail beat our siding up pretty good and broke the outside pane on two windows. I’m sure it obliterated our roof and it dimpled up our metal gutters. Hopefully the insurance will take care of us.

I’m not sure if there was an actual tornado that touched down near us, but the hail/wind damage was enough to scare me. That’s for sure. I have never seen such ugly clouds as I was driving to town. Hopefully we just get nice, slow, easy rain from here on out.

Should have been a storm chaser

I’m blaming it on the fact I have a smartphone with internet access and I can check the National Weather Service forecast at any hour of the day or night. I can see what the weather is currently doing or what they are predicting for a week out. I love watching the weather, especially the storms that develop around my home. I have pretty much an unobstructed 360 degree view of the environment.

Forecasters have been saying for the last week there might be a significant weather event – thunderstorms and tornadoes for today, except they were only saying 20% chance of such storms in western Kansas. However, when I stepped foot outside to get things around to go to the farm sale, I had that uneasy feeling about the weather. It was dark to the west and clouds kept rolling past us to the north. The cattle across the west fence were walking the fenceline and when I left to go to the sale they were all bunched up.

At the sale we got rained on twice, so we packed it up and went home. As soon as I got Shaun, the dogs and myself into the house it started raining and then pouring. Pretty soon round one passed by. The satellite kept going out since its on the south side of the house and the storms were coming from the southwest. Then round two came. More rain and a few chunks of hail. The TV finally came back and they were saying tornado on the ground near Ashland. Not cool. My husband was down near there. Then they were saying reports of a tornado 3 miles from the Clark County Lake. Pretty close to the Scott Family Farm. Then forecasters were saying Bucklin. Ugh. Between the intermittent satellite TV, the radar on the computer and watching the windows in the house, I about gave myself an ulcer.

Sounded like the first storm that went to the southeast of my place, produced a tornado near Wright, another reported near Spearville. Another storm went past us over to Burdett and Hanston. From the sounds of it Burdett got more than one storm out of it. The one near the farm produced a tornado near Bucklin and later Mullinville.

The clouds have gone and now the sun is shining. I wonder if the heat will bake up some more watching later this afternoon? Here’s a few pics of the backsides of the storms.

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My kind of neighbors

Our closest neighbors are more than a mile away. From our house you can’t even see theirs because of the lay of the land. Recently in the pasture to the west, we got some new neighbors. They are the best kind.