Monday, September 22, 2014

West Texas Weeds

The good news is that we finally had some measurable rain: the trees burst forth with new growth; the pasture greened up again; the temperature went down to tolerable numbers; burn bans were taken down; everyone breathed a sigh of relief and enjoyed the lushness brought on by the moisture-moisture being the key word up here. Old-timers don’t talk about the rainfall; they refer to all the moisture we had.

The road in front of our house.

The road north of the pasture. Now, if you live in Houston this may not look like much water to you, but up here when it does this, we think it is the beginning of the 40 days and 40 nights Noah prepared for. And of course, because it doesn’t rain much, drainage plans are never considered very important-until after it rains.

The bad news-and you know there always seems to be a down side to good things-the bad news is that the weeds love all that moisture,too. I suspect that the prevailing stereotype of West Texas geography is of a flat, sandy, barren, brown stretch of land that grows mostly prickly pear, yucca, and the ubiquitous tumbleweed (aka Russian thistle). And that’s partly true. But give us a decent rainy season and the tumbleweeds flourish along with all their weedy friends. Shoot, we can grow weeds that rival the Johnson grass that fills the ditches along the Gulf Coast. All they need is a little water.

This last batch of rain is the second good set of showers we have had this year, and I was just feeling pretty good about how clean I had the flower and cactus beds and how the walk path was free of spurge and had few, if any kocia (sounds like kosher) weeds along the border of the path, and then Boom! Here we go again.

I’m not sure I know a kocia from a careless weed, but I do know they are both flourishing right now and are a pain. I think this one is a kocia and  is growing on the other side of the fence by the walk path. I pushed it over in the picture below to show its trunk. I mean, these things are like trees! That stem is fatter than a linebacker’s middle finger! We have had them get five feet tall. It takes tree branch loppers to cut these things down when they get this big, and unfortunately, they got ahead of me and my spraying schedule, so I will have to take the loppers to them again.

The aggravating thing is they can be mowed or shredded, but that doesn’t kill them; it just cuts them down to ground level and then the lowest branches  just spread out and start over at the ends.

The Bermuda grass behaves like a weed when it gets too much rain. I don’t know if I will get all the grass out of this yucca or will just have to keep pulling up the long runners.

Mushrooms popped up here and there,

and these nasty little black ones come up all over the walk path. I say nasty because if you step on them, then you leave a black mess wherever you walk.

The spurge and milkweed magically appeared in the walk path, so it is spray time again there. I didn’t take any pictures of them this time, but the bindweed (an infuriating little vine in the morning glory family) and tumbleweeds are going to love all this rain, and by the time I can get it all pulled up at one end of the cactus bed, both weeds will already be coming back at the front end.

But we really can’t fuss too much about rain up here. We take the good with the bad, the flowers with the weeds, and consider ourselves blessed when the clouds finally drench us again.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Art Association Takes Road Trip to Visit Artist Kenneth Wyatt

On September 2, the Muleshoe Art Association traveled to Tulia to admire an internationally recognized artist, sculptor, and in his former life, ordained Methodist pastor, Kenneth Wyatt. Dr. Wyatt is well-known and respected in the West Texas area as well as around the world, and his work can be found all over the United States and foreign countries. His paintings of the Apostles, Jesus, and artistic crosses can be found in many churches, and he is equally well-known for his Western-themed paintings and sculptures. His knowledge of the cowboy way comes naturally, based on his experiences, and it shows in his work. His faith comes through in the depth of feeling that shows in his faith-themed works; many times it is apparent in the Western work as well.

We started our trip with a stop for lunch at the El Camino Restaurant in Tulia , which was decorated with Wyatt prints marked for sale. Members who went on the trip were, left to right around the table, Kay Hohes, Sandra Chancey, Jackie Hinderliter, Nelda Merriott, Susan Skipworth, and Ann Johnson. I went, too, but I am behind the camera.


The house and gallery are in the end of a cul-de-sac and most impressive.

As you enter the house, the living room serves as a somewhat formal and functional living room, but also displays art work.
But the as you enter the gallery area, it is a whole new Western world.

Dr. Wyatt had a sculpture in progress, and he shared some of the techniques used for physical balance and artistic composition when creating sculpture, especially when dealing with a running horse figure.


He shared the history of another of his works in progress, a head of a Cayuse, a wiry variety of wild mustang used by the Indians, known for its less than beautiful conformation but extraordinary endurance, which was featured in the Audie Murphy movie Tumbleweed. The history of the horse will be included on a plaque on the back of the head.
Wyatt also has a work area for painting in the middle of the gallery. When we were there, it just happened that no painting was in progress.
Here are a couple of other views inside the gallery, although they really don’t do it justice.


The artist is in residence most of the time and loves to share stories about his work.

We enjoyed the visit. You will, too.


For more information and directions to Kenneth Wyatt Galleries, go to or call 806-995-2239 for the Tulia gallery or 575-754-6133 for information about their Red River Gallery of Fine Art in Red River, New Mexico.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mouse Mortality; The Carnage Continues!

We have never had a mouse problem, or with rabbits, and snakes. We have, however, always had cats. For about the past month, they have knocked themselves out ridding our yard, not to mention the world, of mice. At least one a day, One Sunday we discovered four little bodies dotted around the yard, in the barn, by the front door, by the back door. They have always caught mice, but not like this. We think the mice must be on the move looking for food since the corn crop behind the house has been harvested and left them empty-handed. This little victim was left for me where I exercise in the barn.

I can’t help but be curious about which cat, or cats, have been so successful with their hunting skills.  We know it wasn’t Poopie Cat, who spends her days and nights lounging about in the house.

It might be Perla, but she seems perfectly content to hold down her position as queen of my side of the barn and surrounding area.I think her attitude toward hunting is been there, done that, and may not get that excited about playing jungle cat anymore.

Sophie has been known to leave trophies at the front door, but I’m not sure bagging the kill interests her that much any more, either.

Minnie is a probable candidate. She’s younger, inquisitive; big and strong. I suspect she has brought in a fair number of those carcasses.

But the real money is on Peaches. She trots out the door like a warrior on a mission and covers a lot of ground. She is the smallest of the cats and has been declawed, but something tells me she’s responsible for many of the little decapitated bodies littering the yard. And don’t hammer me for the declawing. She was determined to scratch on the furniture and refused to go outside; in desperation I finally gave in and had the surgery done, then she decided she wanted to go out. But she seems to do just fine without them.


And they all look pretty harmless, don’t they? Well, they are, unless it’s time to hunt. I understand that some people think cats shouldn’t be fed  so they will be hungry and will hunt for something to eat. Don’t believe it. These cats are fed well, and it hasn’t stopped them from doing what cats do. ‘Course, they really aren’t hunting; I think they may just enjoy the game.

Whatever. The body count may slow down, but for now, one or all the cats keep the undesirables away and keep us entertained.

Not a bad deal, I must say.