I struggled with a title for this post. Some alternates were:
- A new beginning (wasn’t really)
- End of an era (kinda cliche)
- End of a truly awful, horrible, era (too depressing but not far from accurate)
- It is finished (Jesus owns that one. I’m always reluctant to use it)
I think the one I picked is best though. It’s not a downer. It implies moving forward, progress, perseverance, those kind of things. It’s optimistic. After all, there is something to go onward to! I could probably come up with several more not quite right titles, but you get the idea. So what’s this all about?
Yes, the 12 year ordeal is well and truly over. No more connections to our old place or old town (though I’ll probably eat lunch there regularly since it is right outside the main gate of the base). And it was indeed an ordeal. We never should have bought that place to begin with. The struggles owning it caused were both immense and numerous. It closed and funded yesterday late in the afternoon. It will probably take me some time to recover. It’s not one of those “jump up and down” kind of moments. It’s more like you held out to the bitter end and once it’s over, you deflate and are just drained. That’s pretty much where I’m at. I am exceedingly happy about this though. Drained but happy! Now all I have to do is pay all the bills this episode generated.
This news is the main reason there haven’t been many posts about the DoubleP recently. I hope that changes as of today. I’m getting more pictures of the place to post and it’s a never ending treasure trove of stories. I’m still loving it out here and can finally get back to putting in effort here at the ranch rather than that old house!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go fix the chickens water pipes. Dad gummed dog, sasserfrassenrassersnats, grrrr….
Bending over in front of a ram that likes to, well, RAM you is not the smartest thing a person can do. Unless of course you like laying face down in the dirt…
You start by feeding the chickens in the dark. This necessitates going into the dark coop. On one side of the coop we have nesting boxes, the top row of which are about shoulder height to my wife. Now imagine throwing a 6 foot snake onto the top of those nesting boxes when she’s standing about a foot from them. Oh yeah, that got a good scream from her and a very concerned reply from me! There are some things that Mary and I line up on very well. One of those is a general dislike of snakes. We have rat snakes here at the ranch and they like the eggs the chickens lay. We’ve ‘dispatched’ 7 so far that were attempting to clean us out. This one last night at least could go out knowing it had taken a few minutes off our lives! If I ever get the money and time to rebuild that coop, it’s going to be highly snake resistant. I suppose on the plus side, we don’t have much in the way of mice and rats around here 🙂
If you want the rain to miss you completely, get a tarp and cover up the animal feed from the previous post.
If you really want it to rain, load up the back of your truck with animal feed that can’t get wet.
As everyone knows, on the eighth day God created Texas (or ‘chocolate’ depending on the t-shirt you are reading). All of you who read this blog know that God gave us a little piece of Texas to watch over for the next several years. The Groundhog family got 10 beautiful acres in South Texas to live and work on recently. We have named it The Double Portion Ranch (or DP for short). Why? Because it’s like a blessing where your cup runneth over, a good measure, pressed down, and shaken together. Easily a double portion. I have to come up with a brand symbol now! I have some ideas already.
I’ve not exactly shared my history much on this blog. I’ve been a city kid/guy pretty much all my life. The closest I ever got to rural living was a norther tier SAC base for a couple of years that was stuck in the middle of nowhere. I loved that area! When I was a teen I lived on the edge of a small river town that was close enough to a big town to almost be considered a suburb. Still, there was a lot of country around the place. I learned to ride horses there as well as just a little bit about rural living. I’m not sure if that period created my love of the country or if it was just naturally in me all along. But all my adult life I’ve wanted to get out of the city and live in the country. I could literally feel it. When I drove to the country a peace enveloped me, as I approached the city, usually coming home from some place (but it worked going to other cities too), the stress levels would rise.
God blessed me with the fulfillment of my desire to live rural this year and it’s just knocked my socks off. It may sound like bragging but really I’m just recounting these blessings here to remember them and give them the recognition they deserve before God and man. And I guess chronicling things I thank God for regarding all the blessings of the DP Ranch. Without further ado I present the list of blessings that the DP Ranch is to me, and yes, the socks came off!
- It’s in the country.
- There’s plenty of room for friends that visit.
- It’s in The Republic of Texas!
- It’s a lot of land! (to me anyway).
- It’s affordable.
- It’s just a few miles from a small town that’s big enough to have nearly everything you need.
- The town is awesome. Very historic and pretty and on a river.
- It’s near a river (one property from us).
- It’s on a hill side.
- It has a beautiful view!
- It has a well (2 actually).
- The water tastes good*.
- It’s off a paved road that’s a dead-end and we’re nearly at the end of that.
- It’s far enough off the main road that we get no road noise.
- It has a lot of trees.
- There are a lot of TALL trees on the property! (exceptional for South Texas**)
- It came ready-made as a working ranch (a sheep ranch is still a ranch).
- It borders a property that’s all woods (that I hope to own one day).
- My drive to work is now completely rural (nice working on the edge of town like that).
- I can shoot anytime I like on it.
- I can hunt here if I wish (though not really enough land to do much of that, I still can though).
- I can burn stuff here (trash, bonfire, brush, etc.).
- It has an ag exemption (currently, hope I can keep that, think I can)(update – we did get the exemption!).
- I can and will have horses here someday.
- You can see a LOT of stars at night!
- I might be able to expand it someday.
- It came with a llama, how cool is that!
- I can sit naked on the front porch and not get arrested! (but I won’t ;))… maybe… not totally sure that’s in the blessing category, LOL!).
- It’s close enough to the train tracks that you can hear the train whistle.
- There are no big towers or power lines visible from the ranch.
OK, #28 maybe not so much. This list is hardly exhaustive and I’ll add to it as I think of more things. I get overwhelmed trying to remember them all which is part of the reason I want to write them down somewhere. I never ever in my wildest dreams thought I would live in a place like this. I had hoped for some land with some of these characteristics of course but it never occurred to me that I could get all of them! God is so good and has blessed us so much with this place! I know, I’m gushing. I can’t help it. It’s all too awesome. I was literally in shock the first few days of living here. Someday it’ll be just normal but right now it’s just stunning. I hope and pray it’ll always be special and I’ll always be thankful for it. I can’t imagine not blessing others with it.
* There are places in Texas where the water tastes… er… NOT good.
** When I got here I referred to the trees around here as “tumble trees” as to me they appeared to be about the size and shape of tumbleweeds compared to the trees I was used to. Most trees around these parts are just short!
The squeaky wheel may get the oil, but the one that’s on fire really get your attention!
Specifically when your drum roller locks up on your dryer. It is especially attention-getting when it smells like it’s burning…