Monday, June 15, 2009

Things turned old fashion this morning

We lost one hundred years in an instant this morning. Yes, we had another bit of bad weather and it changed things instantly.

It all started with another of our signature toad stranglers. That is one hell of a hard rain, for those who ain’t from the hills. That storm caused an unexplained loss of power. (We don’t know where the problem is but this happens with some frequency here.) So all morning things were dark and wet, and the rain came in buckets full.
Right now I have the generator running. We need that to provide power for our well pump so that we can get water. Otherwise we are pretty well prepared for power losses, but we can’t do without water for very long. So, while I have the generator on I flipped on another circuit and I have line power to this computer. We are sitting pretty except that there is another problem.

We are surrounded here by creeks with low water crossings and simple concrete fords. When the creeks are up we are stranded, and that is our condition this morning. We can stand a pretty fair rain before our final avenue of escape becomes closed to us. That is the low water bridge on highway E about two miles from the house. Here is a picture taken this morning.

Things have changed here in the country. We used to have hard rains but there was nothing like the frequency that now exists. These rains come so hard that they wash out roads, spill over ditches and play havoc with things in general.
What is the reason for the change in the weather. Perhaps it is a shift in weather patterns in general. I hesitate to mention global warming because that brings the ire of locals who hold that the whole thing is just another liberal plot to take over more of the world.
The theory held by weather scientists is that along with warmer average global temperatures events in local regions will become more erratic. They say that almost any weather event will be more dramatic. Erratic, emphatic and dramatic. Apparently there is good evidence for that since the vast majority of scientists hold this view.

You all have a good day, and think of us hillbillies living like we did before we got electric down here in the woods.

The Hired Man and Missus stuck at home in the dark.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Garden Food

Yesterday Kathy canned some food from the garden and I figured that this photo of a few jars of canned beets would make folks jealous. Well maybe! She has given away one jar to a guest who fancied it. I told her that I thought I fancied it more than they did, but that did not save it.

We have gotten back into canning this year and hope to have enough garden veggies to supply some of our winter needs. We have even taken a friend's advice and canned pinto beans. For that we simply put dry beans in the jar along with some ham or bacon and some salt. Fill the jar nearly full with water and process it in the canner. You can then have a ham and bean dinner at a moment's notice. Just open the jar and heat.

We have been overrun with strawberries this year and Kathy has made some wonderful freezer jam. Wish I had a picture.

The garden has been quite productive despite the wet spring. A chief factor, we think, is that most of it is planted in raised beds, which drain well. You can see what we have done with spare watering troughs. They make great raised beds. We are even considering converting an old leaky aluminum boat to a raised bed in our garden.
It just keeps raining here. The poor guests want to get out on the river but it seems to rain every afternoon and night. We had a toad strangler again last night and it washed out our road in several places. So fixing the road is back on the hired man's list of things to do.

From the Hills, The Hired Man & Missus

Friday, June 5, 2009

Guns and Whiskey

Remember the old wild west cowboy movies and how the saloons made folks check their guns at the door. Maybe it was in old Dodge City where the proprietors felt the need to do this. Perhaps it was just common sense. Maybe they found that cleaning up the place after a wild Saturday night just went smoother when the cowboys hadn't had access to their sidearms.

Probably there was a body of evidence showing that whiskey and guns don't mix, or when they do, the results are rather messy. Hey, I've been in enough redneck roadhouses myself to entertain that same notion.

Turns out that those saloons back in Dodge during the wild west were probably run by a bunch of limp-wristed liberals. The legislature of the State of Tennessee has corrected that idea.

Acording to the news, the Tennessee legislature passed a law allowing guns to be carried in drinking establishments. So, whem the bill comes to the governor he vetos it, saying that people get silly when they drink and perhaps silly people should not be armed in bars. That idea so upset the legislature that they overrode the veto with more votes than the original bill received.

A Tennessee political spokesmen of some persuasion made a statement afterward. This isn't an exact quote but catches the meaning: "Things will be a lot safer when everyone who is not a convicted felon inside the bar is packing heat somewhere on his person."

Now I don't want to pass judgment on this situation or differ with the collective wisdom of the Tennessee legislature. But I do plan to remain cold sober when in Tennessee. And I think I will steer clear of bars, roadhouses, and whiskey palaces.

Its probably because I am not as fast on the draw as I used to be.

The Hired Man

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Farm Friends

They are the last of only a few, the tail end of a generation of country folk from hereabouts. They are the keepers of some important things that will soon be lost. In them resides old ideas about hay fields, about where to look for goldenseal near the spring branch, about how to think about things on the porch in the evening when you are tired. So many things.

These are our friends, the last two of a family. They never left home. They never married. They know everything about the farm that they have never left; about a clapboard farm house they have returned to from the fields for all of their lives. There they cared for beloved parents until time took them. Then there were three siblings, two brothers and a sister.

Now there are only two. They are now in their eighties and time is gnawing on them. The years are reducing them, pulling away competences and possibilities with increasing swiftness. They seem to accept this. They have seen it before.

They have animals still: cattle, chickens, guineas, dogs, cats. And they have lambs, and it is well known that grandchildren need to see lambs. So off we went on a Sunday afternoon, kids, parents, and grandparents, to see the pretty lambs and see the farm and visit with our friends.

Oh, the kids had a great time, and our friends got to be near some children, something that has become less frequent for them. And it was a sunny day and we all got along wonderfully and spoke repeatedly about how we don’t see each other often enough and how we are going to start doing thing differently. And the billy goat climbed up high and inspected the children and the lambs scurried about in the barn lot. And there were eggs gathered from the chicken house.

And then we left. We drove down the lane, across the ford of the small creek bed below the farmhouse. And off we went back into a reality that was more contemporary. I think they enjoyed our visit. I know we did. And, looking back on that day at their farm, the thought strikes me that it will not be long until we could be the end of a generation of folks from hereabouts. And how will people think about us.
From the hills, The Hired Man & Missus