A Taste of Rain

A tropical storm had made landfall in the gulf with 60 mph winds. It was disappointing because we have in the past had storms blow through here easily with 70 mph winds so we all knew, a hurricane it was not going to be. It just wasnt strong enough to bring anything inland. What it did do was leave a week’s worth of humidity in its wake. With the stifling heat, we figured humidity might provide an opportunity for pop up storms. All the towns in the hill country set to fervently praying that they would be the one to receive the pop up when it established itself. I take the emergency weather radio with me every day while im at work because i watch the weather not only for my own homestead but for a neighbor and a friend in a neighboring town as well. The pop up storms that resulted were so small and so brief that there was nothing really to track. So, neither the weather radio nor the weather apps mentioned them. I turned the radio off. For this we would just have to use our eye balls. The sky turned gray and we all kept an eye on it hoping it would do something.

I headed home in the afternoon knowing that the best chance for rain was 20 percent at 4 pm. By the time i got to the truck stop on the edge of comfort this was the view. Because of the direction the clouds were darkest in relation to the traffic light at the highway underpass, i knew San Antonio was getting the rain i wanted. But there was still another chance. A smaller blip on the radar was popping up near my town and seemingly moving in the right direction to hit at 4.

Seconds after i arrived home it began to rain. The little drops of moisture pitter pattered on the wooden porch steps and disappeared as quickly as they had soaked in, thanks to evaporation. The blip on the radar scooted beneath us and all we got was two hours of off and on sprinkles which barely made a puddle in the overturned trashcan lid. But moisture was falling from the sky, however little, and being how long it was since we had seen such a thing, i was here for it in all of its novelty. I was captivated. I immediately ran inside and grabbed the dogs. I made them stand outside to feel the raindrops hit their fur and face. I took my shoes off and ran about in the powdery dirt. It never rained enough to turn it to mud but the moisture made the powder clump up like bread or cookie dough when you just begin adding the liquid. It felt strange and soft beneath my toes. The ants went underground to get away from the rain and i was able to run about the yard barefoot while the drops fell on my hair, face, and shirt. It was raining so minimally that my pants remained dry but the grass and everything surrounding me smelled of rain and we were graced with two claps of thunder. I decided that i could be upset that we couldnt have anything substantial or i could enjoy the gift, so i stuck my tongue out and enjoyed the cool drops of water hitting my skin for as long as the sky would give them.

The dogs absolutely thought i had lost the plot. They watched me with boredom and concern written across their faces as i jumped and ran about the yard in the dirt with my arms out singing a nursery rhyme compulsively “its raining its pouring, the old man is snoring….”. It was as if they were saying, “Right, are we done now? Can we go in?”

But, we couldn’t go in. I forbid them to go inside to get out of the rain. Not knowing if or when it would ever rain again, i felt it was important that we all experience this, so we could remember what rain felt like on our faces and what it smelled like once it hit the grass. I locked them in the dog run and ran about the yard barefoot until there was only a stray drop here or there and i saw on the radar that the little green blips had all disappeared. I made sure we soaked in the drops of rain we were gifted, whether the dogs understood what we were doing or not. The rain dampened their fur but it was not enough to wash them. They continue to smell like ranch dogs. One day i will take them to the pet shop tub station in town and pay $14 per dog to activate the heated water sprayer and use their shampoo, conditioner, and blow dryer (Cashew’s nemesis in life). This usually happens once a year towards winter when i might actually want to put sili in the bed at night (better to have her not scent the sheets with dead animal, poo, her sister’s saliva and anything else stinky they can find to roll in).

The grass was so dead it had gone this strange color of red which was really noticeable in the softer light created by the cloud cover.

At the end of the day, this was the amount of rain that fell:

Emails from the Electric Company

Everyone was hoping the cloud cover sent by the tropical storm in the gulf would drop something but it mostly just provided some unusual shade which dropped the temp from 110 to 100. We are back to blue skies now without a cloud in sight which the grass easily tells the tale of.

The electric companies for mine and neighboring counties keep sending out daily emails asking us not to use the electricity until after 10 pm and in some cases midnight. Yesterday they requested we not use the electricity until 9 pm so some days the restriction is lifted early.

There are so many excuses and equally as many theories as to the real reason we’re in this particular version of mess but what it all boils down to is that they built more homes and did not build more electric company. They are supporting more people than they can so we have to voluntarily give up electricity or suffer rolling blackouts which will affect the refrigerator and a/c units. Peers have suggested i invest in an expensive generator but ive been hesitant to do that for one reason. I think it would be a waste of money. I wouldnt turn it on unless the power was out and if it was running, id want to be home to supervise it and keep fuel in it and id probably need to be at work in a different town when the generator would need to be running. It would make more sense to have a generator if there were two people living here because one could supervise its use while the other worked away from the homestead. For the past few days ive been getting these emails and i havent been able to cook in 4 days. The night before last i stayed up until 10 thinking i could go ahead and cook then. I was so tired all i could do was crawl to the bed. Cooking didnt happen. I also overslept the following morning. I was so tired it made me physically ill to open my eyes. Thats how you know you have to lay back down and get sleep because theres no way you can drive a car in that state, much less instruct a patient. So i slept through the hour i would normally make and eat breakfast during. I threw a frozen banana, some ice, oat milk, and protein powder in the blender and gulped it down at 4:00 am on the way out the door. At 9:30 am scheduling conflicts rendered me patientless and i took my lunch break to eat some week old mashed potatoes topped with avocado and onion salt and some red grapes.

A patient helped me to see that i was doing this all wrong. I needed to buy foods that didnt require heating for a couple months, just until the electric companies stopped threatening rolling blackouts. We brainstormed things to buy for the next week while she exercised. 3 bean salad, packet tuna, packet salmon, fennel grapefruit and avocado salad, crackers and hummus, baby carrots and dip…. I went shopping on friday afternoon. I spent $90 instead of $60 this week because i was buying food that didnt need to be cooked. However, its doable until the weather gets cooler. I cant grill or cook over a fire right now because of the drought. We have a burn ban in effect for good reason. I do wish they would stop the advancement of the four subdivisions they plan to build here though because i foresee a future where every month of the year could end up being like this. Then i really may have to do some more research into generators and their use and maintenance. Many of my coworkers bought generators after icepocalypse thinking that they would just sit in the yard and they could turn them on during an ice storm. Generators, as it turns out, require constant testing and maintenance to keep them functioning and operational. So when we had an ice storm everybody i know who bought a generator turned theirs on and only one sprung to life. He had tested it religiously once a month since purchasing and fussed and preened over it constantly (he’s retired). Everybody else bought a paper weight for thousands of dollars. So the reality of it is, the situation just has to get dire enough for adding another monthly chore to my plate to be worth it. Getting a generator doesnt seem to end with just buying it. Now you have to supply and maintain it as well as supervise its functioning during use. Sometimes it turns off. Then you have to be home to note it and trouble shoot it.

Anyways, yesterday i ate lunch at 9:30 am, worked a full day, bought a week’s worth of packet food and instant things at the natural grocers in fredericksburg, and then headed home. At 7:30 pm i sat down and ate 7 vegan tacos and half a melon. I was hungry.

Stage 4

We have entered stage 4, critical water shortage conditions. There are only 5 stages in the system and stage 5 is titled “emergency”. I only use the water to wash clothes once a week, water the animals and myself in terms of consumption to stave off dehydration, and water the fruit trees between 8 pm and midnight. Technically though, im supposed to be doing that 1 day a week and im watering the 8 fruit trees nightly. I give each tree one pitcher of well water. If you are on city water you can get fined for doing this. I dont think they can fine me for using my own well water but if im being considerate, i share the aquifer with all the other wells and i shouldnt do anything that would deplete the water for all our wells. I do keep this in mind and i am generally very guarded and stingy with my well water. However, i planted those fruit trees. I painstakingly dug those holes through rock to make room for them to grow. I kept them wrapped in blankets and duct tape in the winter and tried to keep them hydrated in the summers. You cant replace trees that have survived a few winters with brand new ones and expect not to be starting back at square one. The young trees die when it freezes. So, im trying to keep these trees alive. It seems a morbid thought to water them once a week only because then they’d die. All the landscaping trees in fredericksburg that arent 100 yrs old are brown. All the trees lining the dry creeks and riverbeds are brown. I dont want my fruit trees to be brown. It is an extra 8 pitchers of hand carried water. God will have to forgive me because i dont have it in me to purposefully kill the fruit trees. It has been 4 years since we had an amount of rain to add back to the ground. We have a pop up storm here or there but it evaporates quickly. We need a series of good soaking rains. If the water level in the ground drops below the depth my well is drilled to, no more water. None of us have money to drill another well or deepen the one we have. A peer whose well ran dry is looking at $40,000 to deepen hers. I shudder at the thought. I dont have that amount of money and i couldnt borrow it either because i owe so much in medical bills, a water softener, and the mortgage. If i said i wasnt worried every time i turned the knob on the spigot outside i’d be lying. Im watching wells run dry all around me and i know that one day it will be my turn.

We need rain. We need biblical amounts of rain. We need 40 days of rain. We need blinding torrents of rain. God hear my prayer and if it be your will, give Texas some rain. Lord, bring us outstanding amounts of rain. Fill the creeks again Lord. We are praying and waiting on your beautiful, hydrating rain. Something has got to change soon or we’ll all be up sh*t creek with bone dry wells and dead trees.

update: the emergency management system for our county has appealed to facebook in attempts to find a tanker and sources where they can procure water for those that are without it due to the drought. People are understandably alarmed as facebook is a social media site and it would seem a rather non official last resort for protocol. They’ve devolved into fighting each other over whose fault the lack of water is, who used the most and for what…and in the meantime few are even having the conversation about tankers anymore. One man threw a comment in there that in the next two months the only forecasted day of rain is a single tuesday and we all needed to pray that it happened. Sir, if it rained from sun up to sun down, a single tuesday could not help us. We need a biblical event.

Though it is tacky and petty for me to use this opportunity to point out yet another reason why the development of this area is a bad idea, as i am obviously biased and just want the bulldozers to go away and leave the acres and acres of wooded land alone…. I’d just like someone to explain to the developers that if we don’t have water now, we’re going to have less of it after they build four new subdivisions.

The Creeks went Dry

I was headed to the dollar general down the road today when i noticed this zigzag line that curved around…it was a patch of tree tops that had turned brown surrounded by all the other green ones. It wasnt autumn yet. No cold weather had made these leaves turn. This meant the trees must have died. The brown leaves signified the status of dead. But why? Did the trees not have roots that stretched downwards towards the aquifer to get their water? Suddenly i realized what happened. Those trees were right where i knew a creek to be. As i drove up over another hill i checked and sure enough, there were brown lines of trees in the areas where i knew two additional creeks in the area to be. I was going to drive past the biggest one so i slowed down and rolled down the window to assess the situation. The creek bed was bone dry. Nothing but dusty white rocks. There hadnt been a drop of water there in a while. The trees, not natives to the area, were tall, thirsty trees with their roots in the creek instead of stretching towards the aquifer. their water source had dried up and with it went their luck. These giant towering trees had died, thoroughly. I didnt envy the home owners with the creek on their property. The trees would have to come down. Dead, they would be a hazard during furious summer storms. This would change the landscape of this town permanently. All the shade around the creeks would be gone. I had been weeks earlier to look at the guadalupe river right at the dam in center point. On one side was lily pad choked stagnant bath water. On the other; dry white rocks. I knew it was bad but i dont know that we’ve ever gone this long with the combination of extremely hot dry temperatures and the complete lack of substantial rainfall. The last time we had a wet year was 4 years ago. Something’s gotta give. God’s got to send us some rain or more things are going to start dying. This whole state might turn into a desert. Its got enough cactus and scorpions for it.

Summer Chores become Nocturnal

The car read 108 degrees today and the porch thermometer at the house said 112. The tv at work said we tied the previous record in 2011 today for highest number of consecutive triple digit temperature days recorded at 27 consecutive days. They are forecasting 40 days. They say tomorrow will make 2023 the new record holding year for the largest amount of consecutive days recorded…. All i know is that all the vegetation is dead, the gardens are dead, the chickens are struggling, peoples wells are going dry, and it is hot. HOT, hot. I mean it is a smothering heat that hits you like a ton of bricks and makes you feel like you cant breathe. If you stand in the shade you can feel your skin cooking. The air conditioner in the car was struggling to counteract the heat coming in the windshield and bouncing off of everything metal or black. I had the a/c on full blast but could still feel my hands and arms cooking in the sun coming through the window. When i finally got the car unloaded, gave the chickens all their ice cubes and put ice in their water dispenser, i herded the dogs back into the house and never ever left until the sun went down. Im now watering the plants by moonlight strategically because at dusk it may be 100 instead of 112. I want to water when its 88 or 90 degrees. So for now i have to do that after dark. Its going to be a pain as the moon gets closer and closer to a thumbnail but for now there’s plenty of light to see by. I have noticed that the moon rises at a slightly different time and in a slightly different place each night as we are rotating. Some mornings it is high in the sky on my commute to work and some days it just barely clears the hills as i make the drive.


I did not finish with the chores tonight until 9:30 pm. As soon as the moon rose i didnt care. Everything melted away and i was filled with a sense of contentment and perhaps joy. Walking around in the middle of the wilderness under a nearly full moon gives me a sense of well being that i cant do justice to describe. Once i was finished with the chores i went back outside and just stood under it, basking in its light. Everything was illuminated, right down to the pebbles in the dirt. Everything was displayed in shades of black or gray but you could see every little detail in the overgrown dry grass and the leaves of the cedars. I dont know how to explain it. I dont seek the moon purposely. Im just always doing chores at night, so i catch them when the large moons come around. Standing under a bright moon in the hill country is like recharging your batteries after a wild day. I talked to my neighbor who was soaking up the same moon. She used the same word i had. She said she always derived a certain feeling of contentment from standing under the moon.

The same moon was still awake, sitting on the other side of the night sky when i made my pre-dawn drive to work. It was beautiful and bright against the black heavily wooded hills. I soaked in every last bit of it until the sun rose and the stars vanished.

Front Porch Haircut

My sister came to town to visit me and she brought her scissors so she could cut my hair. I wanted layers like i used to get when i got my hair cut in the city and she was pretty sure she could give me a layered look. She had started cutting her own and a few other peoples’ hair during the pandemic.

It was a very professional ordeal. I got the full treatment. She shampooed and conditioned my hair while i sat on a stool with my head leaned back into the kitchen sink. She had little travel sized tubes of the shampoo and conditioner with her.

She filled a spray bottle with water and clipped a hand towel around my neck.We dragged a stool outside. We settled on the porch for the new shed as a location for the haircut because it was in more shade than the front porch and had less clutter on it, i.e. more space to walk around. It was pretty breezy when we started but the temperature rose quickly as time went on. my sister stood behind me and to the side of me while i tried to sit still on my stool. She said cutting hair outside came with its challenges. The sprayed hair dried quickly in the heat and the breeze blew hair she had already sectioned so she began using clips to hold it in place. She gave me an awesome layered hair cut, didnt charge me a dime, and came from the city with some of our favorite take out. I got to show her around the hill country and the dogs got a rare opportunity to see their aunt.

When it was time to drive to town i wanted to get my hair off of my neck because i knew it would be hot while we were walking around. I asked her if she would braid my hair. It was just like being teenagers again where i could dry my hair and then go knock on her bedroom door and she’d put my hair in a french braid. It was a day that ended too soon. Definitely worth coming in to work on a Saturday to make up for the time off.

The A/C Broke in the Middle of Summer

In hindsight i should have known that it was not all in my head that this summer was hotter than ones of the past. It was. Because inside the house when the window unit said “70 degrees” it was really 85. The window unit had been slowly failing for over a month and i had chalked it up to the unbearable weather. I began keeping my boxers in the freezer, stocking popsicles to help with the unbearable heat, and just walking around with no clothes on after a time. What i did not consider was that the LED screen on my window unit was lying to me and telling me the temperature it was shooting for rather than the temperature it could achieve in its poorly state. I began setting the temperature lower and lower, unable to sleep in the stifling heat even after sundown. One day i had set it to “70 degrees” and the unit was blowing lukewarm air. I thought, “That sure doesnt feel like 70 degrees.” I was also concerned that the amount of air coming through the unit into the house wasnt much of a puff. The unit would kick on and off, on and off….but if i was to believe the unit kicked off when it reached set temperature, why was it kicking off at all, for surely this unit had not at all reached 70 degrees? I pulled the outside thermometer into the house and left it alone for an hour, hoping it would stop registering the temperature outside and start registering the temperature inside. It ended up being about 90 degrees inside the tiny house by the time i made a run to get the animals to a more habitable home. It was probably in the high 80s while i was registering i might have a big problem on my hands and calling around to see if anyone would take the dogs and the baby chickens for the night so i could get them out of there and focus on fixing the problem. After asking a few people and getting a resounding “no” to a stock tank full of baby chickens in their house i made a strategic decision to just ask another homesteader and omit some information about the details of who they’d be taking in. I was pretty sure my friend Cindy was still out of state visiting her children and grandchildren. I called her and asked if she would mind if i put the dogs at her house in their crates until i could get the a/c fixed. She said sure and that we could stay as long as we needed. Now, she had taken in the adult chickens willingly during icepocalypse and saved their lives so i was pretty sure she would say it was fine to bring the baby chickens but i didnt know for sure, as they came with a heat lamp and in all honesty, those are always a liability just because they are hot. In this situation i had turned the heat lamp off an hour ago and the baby chickens were lethargic and panting. I had to get them out of that house and into a place with working climate control measures or they were going to die. Since she was my only hope to save them i figured i’d omit the information and ask forgiveness later. I left a bunch of eggs from the adult chickens in her refrigerator before our departure from her homestead as a thank you.

I wanted to spend time cleaning the house so it was presentable for the repair man and calling the hardware stores to see if they had a replacement unit but at some point it became apparent i had to get the panting dogs and baby chickens to a safe place before i could proceed or i would lose them. Outside it was 104 degrees and i was really out of time at this point. The a/c repair man had texted me back after i had left a message on his phone stating he was out of town but that i should turn the unit off, hose it down with water, wait an hour, and turn it back on. I had done this, waiting about 45 minutes vs an hour, because boy did it get hot when it wasnt blowing at all. What happened was that when i turned it back on there was this horrible sputtery wimpy noise as if blades were trying to turn but not really making it, and barely any air came out of it at all. The a/c repair man stated that the compressor had overheated. I asked if it was something that could be fixed or i would need another unit. He said i would likely need another unit. Now i was in damage control mode. Save the animals. Come back and handle the rest. I took apart and folded the crates, put down the seats in the back of the car, and slid them in. I put the padlock and zip ties in the car as cashew couldn’t be kept in her crate without them. An unziptied crate is a mangled heap of metal after an aussie has been left alone without a job for over an hour. I would prefer her to be outdoors all year but the texas heat just doesnt allow for that. When its over 93 degrees, i leave them indoors when i leave the house. I grabbed the heat lamp and made bags of food for everybody. I caught all the baby chickens ans put them in a cat taxi. I dragged the stock tank into the driveway and lifted one end into the trunk, sliding it in beside the folded dog crates. I threw more shavings in it to cover the recent poos so it would smell better in her house. I grabbed the wire panels i used as a lid and the board of wood that anchored them and stuck that in the trunk as well. I put the baby chickens in the back seat beside their stock tank and loaded both dogs into the front seat together with their bowls and leashes. I turned on a mild amount of ac for myself and the dogs but with no heat lamp i couldnt make it too cold in the car without hurting the baby chickens.

When i arrived at Cindy’s homestead i was overwhelmed with what to do first. Everybody needed something. The baby chickens needed a heat lamp. The dogs needed air conditioner. Everybody needed water. I simply picked a task and just kept going until everything was unloaded and set up. Cashew’s crate was reinforced with zip ties and the heat lamp was attached to an anchored chair in her guest bathroom. Both dogs were pottied and put in their crates with water. The baby chickens were released in the stock tank with full food and water dispensers and an anchored heat lamp, as well as the cookie sheets on half the wire panels i used to make shade lest the lamp get too hot for them.

At this point i knew the animals were going to survive and i returned to the house to clean. I performed the usual evening chores. I stayed up all night to clean. I slept in my bed with no a/c for about 45 minutes and then i got up and showered in my house, not having moved any of my clothes or toiletries to her house, tried not to sweat through my scrubs, downed some breakfast from the fridge, situated the adult chickens with food, water, and swimming pool for the afternoon heat, and then drove to Cindy’s homestead one town over to potty and feed the dogs and baby chickens. After this i had to go to work. I tried to obtain a suitable replacement for the window unit after work but walmart lied to me. They swore they had one with a perpendicular plug. I told them i worked in fredericksburg, lived in center point, had my animals in comfort, and had no other reason to drive to kerrville tonight and so i really wanted them to be sure they had one on shelf and could hold it for me before i drove out there, because i had a lot to do between many cities and i was either going to be mad or cry if i drove all the way out there and they didnt even have it. He said they dont hold items for any reason but they have plenty with a perpendicular plug, just come on. So i drove to kerrville. By the time i got to walmart in kerrville there was no time to go anywhere else. The stores were closed. Walmart was the only one still open. Not only did they not have a unit with a perpendicular plug…they didnt carry a unit with a perpendicular plug. The man had lied to me. He hadnt checked on that perpendicular plug thing at all. He had just put the phone down, picked it up, and told me they had a lot of them. Furthermore, every time a physical customer walked up he said, “oh im going to have to put you on hold” and instead of putting me on hold he laid the phone down so that i could hear him conversing with other customers and right when i thought the conversation was ending id hear him say hello only to tell me, “i have a customer, im going to have to put you back on hold.” So it had taken a long time to get him to tell me what i needed to know, and i had waited patiently, only to have him lie to me. The trip, of course, was made for nothing. I went home to my super hot house empty handed. The next day my boss lowered my hours so “i could have an opportunity to go get this handled.” He’s a good boss. I did my same ritual where twice a day i visited both the plants and the adult chickens in center point and the dogs and the baby chickens in comfort. Where i was storing food and deodorant became complicated and confusing driving to three different towns a day. I wanted to strangle the patient who was telling me off for bringing too much stuff to work. The only way i could be sure i had my deodorant, meds, and snacks, was to bring them with me, and since it was too hot to leave them in the car, they had to come inside in two HEB bags tucked under the desk. This particular patient felt it was a tacky move.

It was at this moment that the car hit 25,000 miles which meant i had to bring it in for service or i would lose the lifetime warranty for the engine and transmission (known to be faulty following lawsuit). So i decided to kill two birds with one stone. I found a lowes in san antonio that had perpendicular plug window units. I would get the car serviced and then pick up a window unit.

There was an intriguing woman sitting in the san antonio car dealership’s waiting room. She was wearing what looked to be a bra and women’s boxer briefs. It was a very form fitting outfit and they were definitely undergarments rather than real clothes. The bottoms were made of soft material, perhaps cotton, and they had seam lines as if they were an undergarment and not just skimpy shorts. My first question was why was this woman wearing nothing but underwear and a bra? My second question was why were all of us ignoring the fact that this woman was wearing nothing but undergarments? Most of the guys were looking at the ceiling or adjacent wall and though occasionally a woman would give her a once over glance, nobody actually said anything to her and she ignored the glances from other ladies. When they called her to get her car she stood up and walked to the counter in such a way that caused her butt cheeks to bounce with every step, sticking her hips out to the side like it was a sass contest. I was like, “who does this? Who goes to pick up their car in their underwear man?” I was living in alien world right about then, astonished that nobody was going to invoke the no shirt no shoes no service rule. She was wearing shoes. Not the shirt though. Her boobies were spilling out and her nipples were visible through the bra. The part i was most peeved about was that she came in after me and left before me. It took them over two hours to service my car. At least the guy i dealt with was fairly kind and no-nonsense. To be clear, i went to san antonio because i refuse to get the car serviced by the same crew who took out a 25,000 dollar loan in my name and ruined my credit for a bit there.

When the car was finished i drove to lowes only to find that while they had perpendicular plugs, the horizontal line was on the wrong side…they were opposite the perpendicular plug i needed. They had adapters for every kind of plug except mine.

I called the a/c repair man in tears. At this point, i had a perpendicular plug (that was backwards from the layout of my perpendicular outlet) 550 sq foot a/c and heat window unit in my basket.

I was holding irrelevant adapters in my hand. I had a clueless 17 year old employee to my right who was super excited because he’d found me an outlet exactly the same as the one i had at home. I was trying to muster the effort to explain to him that i already had the outlet and didn’t need another, i needed a plug that would fit in the outlet…. I was so disappointed and lost and hopeless. The a/c repair man asked me to stop crying and said it would be okay. I said, “im just in one town with half the animals and the other half of the animals and the plants are in another town, and i work in a third town, and im so tired and confused and im never sure everyone’s taken care of at any given time. i just want to be back in my house and i dont see a way to ever be back in my house.” He said he could take the cord off the old unit and attach it to the new one. It was like God had sent down an angel and made a miracle happen. I stopped crying, bought the window unit, and convinced one of the employees to load it into the car. He was busy telling me how if the plug didnt fit in the outlet i could just flip it upside down and then it would fit. I said, “but then the third prong would be up top rather than on bottom.” He said, “no, it wouldnt, not from what i understand.” I sighed.

I called the a/c repair guy and told him i had the unit and inquired as to what day he was available for install. He was all booked. Bless him, he told me he’d come that night and to just call him when i made it half way there and he’d set out.

I called him. He came out and i helped him install the unit as i always do when he doesnt bring a second guy with him. His son was coming but got tired after swimming. He totally installed the new unit and took the old one away in around an hour and a half. He only charged me sixty bucks. I wanted to pay him more so he said 65. I paid him with 65 dollars, eternal gratitude, and 8 chicken eggs (all i had after paying cindy in eggs).

Suddenly there was a/c. I breathed a sigh of relief. The dwelling would be livable again. I could shuttle the animals back over the following day.

I packed up and drove to comfort to sleep a couple hours with the dogs and give water and food to the baby chickens before going to work.

They were so happy to spend a couple hours with me before work, Cashew slept on my chest and Sili beside me.

After work, exhausted as i was, i set about moving the stock tank and the dog crates back to center point and putting all the animals back where they belonged. Only when every animal was under the same roof with me did i breathe a sigh of relief.

Normally, this would be the part of the story where i took a rest. However, it seems that everything has a habit of happening all at once and just in case i got my wish and was granted the surgical procedure i was praying to have green lit, i needed to totally reorganize and further clean the property so that it would be functional and easy to operate for a house sitter in the case that someone needed to feed the chickens and water the plants while i was at the hospital. So the cleaning continued. The pile of dishes behind the rocking chair had to be washed and with the shed in disarray and overfilled from 4 years of adding tools, chicken tractors, plant blankets, a boxed mattress, and lawn care machinery, i needed to think about keeping some key cookware and dishes in the house. I bought three insanely expensive plastic tubs at the dollar general (you’re kind of stuck when its the only store that carries plastic tubs in town but the cashier herself said there’s no reason a plastic tub should cost $15.00). I filled the tubs with all the newly washed and dried cookware, dishes, and utensils. I stacked them behind the rocking chair. I just had a few more surfaces to scrub and a daily sweeping of dog hair and dirt from the floor. I began enforcing my no spiders in the house policy, because they web up the curtains. I began wiping the dead moths off the counters daily (theyre attracted to the porch light in the predawn mornings, come in, and die). I also began cleaning the window unit filter every sunday, not when the filter light went on. It was filthy after 7 days of use. Perhaps this will make it last longer than a couple years.

For now, it is lovely to be cool. It feels so nice to sleep with the a/c on. Im not sweating all the time. No clothes are in the freezer and the lowest the unit has been set is 77 degrees. It is so good to have climate control back that i dont even care the unit is so loud the box television volume must be on 35 for me to hear my nat geo tapes. It is so loud it sounds like someone is vacuuming and no one is. I’m just thrilled that the beast is as powerful as it is and the house is cool again. This one runs continuously so ill never hear the youtube shows on my phone in the house again but that’s okay, i watch them on my lunch break in my car. I’ll watch the nat geo and comedy vhs tapes at home. Beggars cant be choosers about noise level and i was definitely begging. I was at the end of my rope and sanity.

Wild Grapes

These are muscat grapes. They grow wild near the building where i work in fredericksburg. You can eat them yourself if lost in the woods and hungry but they’re pretty sour as grapes go. Instead, i collect them and give them to the chickens at home who seem to love them despite their sour taste.

Snacks for the chickens