Tag Archives: Oklahoma City

Pyrocumulus over Possum Kingdom Lake

Pyrocumulus over Possum Kingdom Lake (MSNBC photo, August 2011)

As I drove back to the ranchito yesterday afternoon from Abilene, moving with light traffic on Interstate 20 near Eastland, Texas, I looked northeast and saw towering pyrocumulus clouds. Approximately forty to fifty miles away from where I drove on the highway, I pinpointed the fires at Palo Pinto, Texas, or Possum Kingdom Lake. My ranchito lay far away from the inferno, so my anxiety lessened and I began to think more intently about the precise location. The smoke rose high in the sky, becoming pyrocumulus, rolling and billowing upwards.  It had started at about 1:30 p.m.

When I arrived at the house, I turned on the television and Dallas-Fort Worth stations reported the fires near Possum Kingdom Lake, the southeastern side of the huge lake that dams the Brazos River, the largest river in Texas. In April, fires had erupted about the lake, destroying homes and thousands of acres of trees and grass with attendant wildlife. Once again, Possum Kingdom habitat ignites, the residents flee not having time to salvage photos or documents.

I ruminate that our region suffers a drought, cow tanks dry, underbrush decadent and my primary source of water, the Barton Creek Cooperative, restricts water use with heavy penalties for violators.  In the Possum Kingdom fire zone, summer camps for teenagers and children abound, primary homes and secondary homes stand close to trees that are pruned carefully, the underbrush removed as a fire hazard.  Yet, so, when the spark falls on the dead, crackly grass and brush, natural forces beyond man’s control take precedence and airships with their whap-whap-whap of whirling blades pour water onto flames that send smoke and ashes high into the sky, creating pyrocumulus in the blue skies of Texas.  I think of a line from Full Metal Jacket:  Who is in command here?

The origin of the fire is unknown and as of this morning, August 31, the fire is not contained.

For a morning news report, August 31, 2011, see “Wildfires burning homes in Texas, Oklahoma,” from MSNBC.

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Notes, corrections and additions:

The quote from the movie, “Who’s in command here?” originally read Apocalypse Now.  The proper citation is from the movie, Full Metal Jacket.

The photograph from MSNBC shows smoke and ash close to the ground and none of the “clouds” are pyrocumulus.  I saw the pyrocumulus while on the interstate highway and I failed to use my iPhone to photograph the phenomenon. 

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Filed under Life Out of Balance, Weather, Wildfire

To the land of open range

We carried Fanny and Hija and her unborn foal to sale in our two-horse trailer named Equi Spirit.

Fanny or Shiners Fannin Peppy sold at the Heritage Place Mixed Winter Sale on Thursday in Oklahoma City.  Courtney Hampton of Summersville, Missouri, purchased Fanny.  Courtney’s work and pleasure with Fanny will center about Barrel Racing competition and Fanny will do Courtney well.  For Courtney and Fanny, it seemed love at first sight.  The hind socks on Fanny are white and shaped like wings and I trust Fanny will fly like the wind with Courtney.

In the listing of horses to be sold at Heritage Place, our second and third horse, Sweet Hija and the unborn foal, came up for bid at 8:00 p.m. Friday night.  All day long I prepped Sweet Hija and her unborn foal for the big event, going into the make-up ring — a place where you walk your horse in an open area — and then up the walk to the auction arena where a professional handler takes control.  When the presentation began, I walked with Hija and she showed her King Ranch style:  energetic, fully alert, stepping high, ears forward.  Yet she stayed close by me as I walked her from her left side.  For five minutes she presented her Running W, the brand of King Ranch, to the crowd before I handed her off to the handler that took her into the the bidding arena.

When she came back to me she was no longer mine.  Sweet Hija and her unborn foal passed into the kind and humane possession of Kim Elliott of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Sweet Hija and her foal will reside near Calgary, on land and terrain that gave Bierstadt panorama to the films, Open Range and Legends of the Fall. Kim Elliott acted and her horses performed in both movies.  Ms. Elliott told me and Brenda that When horses come to our ranch, they are there for good and they have the terrain of Open Range to look at day after day.  How can Brenda and I be so happy and mournful at the same time for the unexpected fortunes of our three horses?  We are and we will be.

 

Sweet Hija and foal's new home with Kim Elliott on the open range near Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

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Filed under Horses, Shiners Fannin Peppy (Fanny), Sweet Hija