Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017 Here We Come

January is not even half over, and already we’re having adventures.  

We were glad we could start 2017 with family and friends. New Year’s Day found us just east of Cranfills Gap, Texas, at the home of Cousins Kathy and Eric Vanderbeck.  Their “Micro Farm” is only about 15 miles from our farm as the crow flies, but transit between our places over several country roads takes about a half-hour.  The weather was more like April than January, with nary a jacket in sight.  A couple of Kathy and Eric’s neighbors joined us, the Joneses, the Carmodys and Sunny and Tisha, Eric and Kathy’s son and daughter-in-law.  

New Year’s Day lunch included elk ribs and appropriate libations and of course, blackeyed peas.  The guys were trying out their survival skills making fires from scratch and turning yucca leaves into cordage.  

Tisha tended a suckling pig roasted over an outdoor fire.  

Rachel modeled flower headbands.

And the six Bagley Pack members had a doggone good time!  (No, we haven't lost our minds and acquired more dogs.  We just count as pack members not only our three, but all the dog cousins belonging to our various relatives.  Right now, there are eight in all; sometimes they almost outnumber the human family members.)

On January 2, Allan and Jef’s other daughter and her family arrived at the farm to spend a few days.  Jamey and Laura joined their cousins, Noah and Rachel.

And Cousin Rudy, still going strong at age 16, joined the rest of the dogs who, as usual, were all trying to out-mark each other.  If grass ever grows in our backyard, it will be a miracle.

Back home, we hooked up our Royals fifth wheel on January 9, and pulled it south of Austin to Aguirrie’s Paint & Body Shop in Kyle for repair work.  The rig needs some fiberglass work to fix a couple of bo-bos from when we lost a wheel in 2015, and to repair the brackets holding our rear levelers.  We dropped her off and hope to have her back in early February.

And speaking of adventures, on the way home, driving the truck bob-tail, we were ginning along the 130 toll road back to Austin when suddenly the truck lost all power.  I’m not saying the engine quit, I’m saying all power!  We not only had no power to move the truck, we had no lights, no emergency flashers…Nothing!  John coasted over onto the shoulder and at least got us out of traffic…just barely.  The shoulder is only a few inches wider than the wheelbase of the truck.  That’s really scary when cars and big trucks are flying by at 80 mph just a few feet away.  

We tried to start the engine, but got no response of any kind.  We put out our emergency signals behind the truck and called our roadside assistance company.  Bad news, when we finally got someone who understood that we were driving a Volvo truck, and that we needed a heavy-duty wrecker to tow it, we were told it would take an hour to get someone to us.  Sundown was fast approaching, and we had no lights of any kind.  John decided to try one more time to start the truck.  Thank you, God.  It started, and we were able to drive home.  I didn’t know it was possible to hold one’s breath for half an hour, but I think we did.  Some of the dash lights and instruments were not working, but the diesel engine did its job and we made it home just before dark.  We’re baffled about what could cause that kind of a problem, but will have our mechanic check it out as soon as possible.  

And just as I thought we had had enough adventures for one day, I heard furious barking from the front yard.  John went outside to see what was causing the commotion, and found Rue outside the gate and Kota inside.  Kota was barking frantically to let us know we needed to come and let Rue back inside, and Rue was chiming in from her side of the fence, begging to come home.  Smart dogs.  

We enjoyed seeing all our family over the holidays, but were especially glad to spend time with our grandson, Gage Wann.  He has successfully completed his first semester at Angelo State University in San Angelo, and will be returning the end of this week.  We had lunch with Gage a couple of times, then walked Turkey Creek Nature Trail with him and his girlfriend, Rachel.  

Boomerang weather last week (low 20s) and this (80s) have kept us alternately layering up and peeling off clothes.  I don’t know what the rest of this Texas “winter” will hold, but it’s sure to be interesting!  We're just thrilled that the stock ponds at the farm are still full, and that there is plenty of grass for the cattle.  Of course, the dogs think the ponds are there just for them to swim.

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