Thursday, June 18, 2015

After the rains

Yes, that's the South Plains right now
The Texas Hill Country is still being hit by the last remnants of tropical storm Bill while the metroplex is slowly starting to emerge from the severe beating it has taken. Lubbock had a bit of weather action just east of town tonight, and when I just took out the trash I felt a few tiny sprinkles that felt as if flies were hitting me head-on, but there was that faint yet tell-tale stripe of cerulean sky on the western horizon. For now, I believe, we're done with the rain.
Farmers finally are hitting the fields again
Don't try ploughing with your Jeep
After those three—or was it more like almost four?—years of drought that left my lawn in a permanent state of paralysis, the past three months have brought an inordinate amount of rain to the South Plains. Actually, it's been record breaking. Within a month we went from being deep, deep in the dumps of a historic drought to allowing fireworks to be launched during the upcoming 4th of July festivities. It's like the oil industry in the Midland/Odessa area: It's boom, or it's bust. Forget about moderation.
Playa lakes eat fields; look at the erosional pattern here
This morning I went for my usual ride out to The End of World. I'm happy to report that it hasn't come any closer to us—still 16.8 miles from the house. I took my time and stopped a few times, marveling at how the recent rains have shaped our environment. The playa lakes are back, natural depressions that from the air look like Minnesota's land-'o-thousand-lakes. Fields have been battered and are waiting for the farmers to re-till and re-build the rows. Here and there some green is starting to tentatively crop up, and if I'm not all wrong our crop of tumbleweeds will be stellar this fall.
A bit of green fuzz is starting to show; if the weather holds, this will be one beautiful field in a month's time
This field needs a make-over—badly!
The farm-to-market roads have taken a hard hit. New potholes are everywhere, but at least we can see them now. Two days ago I had to carefully roll through some standing water and managed to hit a few new craters. Bar ditches have become temporary wetlands, with occasional waterfowl amusing themselves in the canals. If one stops and listens carefully into the wind one can hear the thousands and thousand of frogs that have hatched from, well, I don't know what. 
STOP!!! It's The End of The World!
Returning from The End of The World—disaster once again averted!
A new crater (and lake) at the intersection of FM 179 and Woodrow Road
At least nobody died up here during those recent deluges, and the farmers have been markedly restrained in their bitching about how there was too much rain, too fast, how the temperature was too low for proper planting, how they will have to switch from cotton to grain, etc. etc. Same song, slightly different lyrics. It's fun to watch it all from the saddle of a bike where mosquitoes don't start feeding on you (try to go for a quick pee at The End of The World!). But I do have to say that I am looking forward to my field trip to New Mexico and Colorado beginning tomorrow—less humidity, fewer bugs, and maybe even some trees!


OK, so I was dead wrong: In the middle of last night we got hammered by yet another violent thunderstorm. I had been hoping for an early morning ride today before skipping town, but I think I leave rowing a boat across inundated intersections to somebody else.

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