Tag Archives: Water

Rio de Pueblo

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As I traveled this week from Mingus, Texas, to Taos, New Mexico, I stopped in the Kit Carson National Forest, alongside the Flechado Day Campground that bordered the Rio Pueblo seen above. The water was cold, flowing, gurgling, clear.

Back home today at my ranchita in Texas, I filled water troughs with Barton Creek Coop water so that my last horse of the remuda I once husbanded can have water to drink in addition to the cow tank that is the lowest I have ever seen.

I placed cedar posts in all three of the water troughs–stable, corral, far field round trough–so that squirrels when they fall into the water while slacking their thirst can have something to climb onto and escape a watery grave.  Three squirrels have drowned in the stable water trough and a roadrunner was nearly drowned when I pulled him out several years ago.

Rio Pueblo, Barton Creek, and my water trough in the far field proffer life.  I accept the gift.  When the animals of this semi-arid region accept a gift of water, I can, at least, make sure that it is not their last benefit.

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Filed under Salt Creek, Taos

Rain in Broke Tree Corral

Rain in Broke Tree Corral, north Erath County, Texas, August 12, 2011.

Yesterday afternoon, after months of drought, rain came down sporadically in drops, then sheets of rain.

The first raindrops bounced on the aluminum roof of the barn and stables. Lightning flashed, thunder clapped, and Star the paint gelding and I flinched.  He bolted for about three gallops, then returned quickly to the shelter of the stable.  Within thirty minutes, five-tenths of an inch had fallen and a lightning strike on the oil piping fence about fifty-yards away knocked out electrical power.

I fed Star his grain and Horseshoer’s Secret — a potion for rebuilding hoof walls — and he munched haply through the noise of the thunderstorm, occasionally bringing his head out of the feed bin to see if I still sat in the alleyway waiting out the rain.  I talked to him, Good boy, fine fellow.

Broke Tree Corral is the first of two successive corrals about the barn and arena.  So named for an American Elm tree that broke in two, the tree has continued to thrive with bark and one-half of its internal veins intact for at least eight years now.  The grass in the corrals has become brittle and sparse.  The rain quickly formed small channels that flowed into the second corral, the Well House Corral, where bare ground could not stop the erosion-flow into the near fields of buffalo grass and mesquite sprouts.

Rain flows down the road towards the barn, north Erath County, Texas, August 12, 2011

Rain has fallen, the temperature has dropped and the Jack Rabbit has come out of his burrow to chomp on fresh sprouts and new, tender, blades of grass in the small dell between me and the Dooley place.  The drought has not been broken decisively, but this rainfall is a far away sound of better days and nights headed to Texas, a hunter’s footfall tracking a devil of fiery brutalities to slay and scatter to cool winds and shady juniper groves for those that live with the land.

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Notes, corrections and additions:

Try as I might, misspelled words sometimes slip through.  I do not rely on “check spelling” frequently, but will look again at a word if it is underlined in red.  In this post this morning, I misspelled, “lightning,” twice!  I spelled it “lightening” and missed the correction.  In writing posts, I do not have a proofreader.  It is an imperfect world filled with imperfect compositions.

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Filed under Rain, Star, Weather

Cool, clear water

Western edge of pond, Flying Hat Ranchito, north Erath County, Texas, July 2011.

Proust had his tea cake that extended memories to prosy heights that we all have started to climb, but failed to reach — my ascent stopped at Swann’s Way, but I’m not going to stay long on the ledge for I have hammered the next piton to assail the final page of Mt. Swann.  “Cool Water,” a country and western classic by the Sons of the Pioneers, a tea cake of sorts, takes me back to old Camp Bowie, near Brownwood, Texas, as I complained the lack of water on a hot summer day, touring with my parents in a old, non-air conditioned Ford sedan.  Why they weren’t thirsty, I’ll never know, but I campaigned persistently for halting somewhere, anywhere, for water.

I must have been persuasive for my step-father stopped the car along the highway and I crossed over a fence and ran to a pond of fresh, cool water in a green pasture.  I drank, cupping the water in my hands, not muddling the water as I scooped.  Even today, I still see that pond when I drive in the region, although it has been dug out and deepened countless times.  Both my step-father and mother laughed in sympathy and I was dubbed, “Chief Water Bucket,” a name I did not like nor wanted.

The drought in the Southwest descends brutally upon the landscape, in the news and by the mails; the only shade at times is under lovely junipers.  I look out upon brittle, brown grasses; the trees in the grove are turning golden.  The newspapers boldface the headlines that cattle are being sold through the night at local auctions as cattlemen line up two-miles long with moaning cows in their trailers.  In the mail, Barton Water Cooperative states that I can only water the yard twice a week and if the water usage exceeds tolerable levels, I will be assessed a fine, a surcharge.  I fill one water trough for my horse, Star, allowing an overflow into a pan on the ground for wildlife.  I dare a surcharge for that.

This summer I have thought often about “Cool Water,” and sung and hummed the melody and lyrics.  Each time I reflect on the music, I am back with my parents alongside the road, running for the cool, clear water in that pasture.  “Cool Water,” is my tea cake, my madeleine.

Here are the lyrics to “Cool Water,” followed by a current photograph of the ranchito’s only pond.

All day I face the barren waste without the taste of water,
Cool water.
Old Dan and I with throats burned dry and souls that cry for water,
Cool water.

The night are cool and I’m a fool each stars a pool of water,
Cool water.
But with the dawn I’ll wake and yawn and carry on to water,
Cool water.

(Chorus)
Keep a movin’ Dan, don’t you listen to him Dan, he’s a devil not a man
and he spreads the burnin’ sand with water.
Dan can’t you see that big green tree where the waters runnin’ free
and it’s waiting there for me and you.
Water, cool water.

The shadows sway and seem to say tonight we pray for water,
Cool water.
And way up there He’ll hear our prayer and show us where there’s water,
Cool Water.

Dan’s feet are sore he’s yearning for just one thing more than water,
Cool water.
Like me, I guess, he’d like to rest where there’s no quest for water,
Cool water.

(“Cool Water,” Sons of the Pioneer, RCA Country Legends.)

Flying Hat Ranchito pond, north Erath County, July 2011.

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Filed under Juniper, Recollections 1942-1966, Weather