Bosque County, Texas, USA
September 14
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AUGUST 30, 2011 11:54PM

Texas Ain't So Bad ...

Rate: 35 Flag

     Wildfires are burning out of control at Possum Kingdom Lake - covering about 7,000 acres. Evacuations are completed and worried homeowners are watching planes dropping water, as the terrain is too rough and too dangerous to get to in any other way. 


     It's 105-106 degrees outside and the air conditioner went out on my car. I'd be driving down the road with the thing running full blast.  Then I realized if I turned the AC off  and opened the windows, it was _so_ much cooler.


     What else. Oh yeah. The rest of the country is learning the true nature of Governor Good Hair (Molly Ivins' non-complimentary name for Rick Perry) as he throws his hat in the presidential ring. So many people in Texas did vote him into office, not minding his lack of leadership. Now that the rest of the United States is looking at him so critically, I have hope he will get caught and hung to dry. In the meantime, it's one more cringe moment as a native Texan.


     You may know I live waaaaaaaaaay out in the country. This past week has been one long fight to achieve high speed internet service in my dad's old studio building. So many choices I do not have. Being clever about technology can go either way some days.


    And then, I see wild turkeys running in the field beside our lane. I visit friends and enjoy meeting their longhorn cattle. I get some good news about my family line. My old partnership is dissolved, but finished with hugs and sincere wishes for success. Friends and customers encourage me with their support and loyalty. My car air conditioning is repaired. The weatherman predicts weekend highs which only get up to 97 degrees. No injuries are reported so far in the wildfires. Life is good, really. Even in Texas.


( click on images to enlarge)

images © diana ani stokely 2011 

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45 houses lost at Possum Kingdom I heard on the news, and that number will go up as the night time helicopter shots show the fires still raging...

That said, I love your homages to the state and what is good in it, even while acknowledging the all hat and hair and not cattle types. What a perfect juxtaposition to the longhorns shown, and such beautiful photos of those beautiful beasts.

I love your posts Diana.
oh, and those gobblers are great...very hard to photograph, those crafty creatures.
If you live there that is all I need to know about Texas. Thank you for making me remember not to judge a whole state by a few people. Those horns are really amazing. I always liked the rivalry between Texas and Alaska about who was biggest and baddest. I wonder if Palin and Perry will duke it out? Great post!
So much heat
it looks so dry
and Guv Goodhair
is thinking he can
steal the scene from
the beautiful beast from
my state, Dear Michele
but she can talk to God
and weed out all the traitors
we will see who has a better pipeline
to the creator.
Great photos, great post
rated with love
Great photos, and there is so much beauty in Texas, and so many great people - writers, musicians, etc - who come from there that we Yankees certainly won't hold the Governor against you. Hell, we've had some pretty bad ones ourselves!
Oh, Barry, the houses fallen to this fire doubled since I listened to the 10pm news. Lots of folks hurting from sea to shining sea. I try very hard not to be too discouraged by the hardships -- but some days it is hard to remain optimistic. Looking at other forms of nature help me.

Thanks for coming by and spreading the love. You always encourage and support too, and I consider you a friend indeed.
Great photos, and a nice post about a state that gets lousy publicity. Must be some reason so many people live there!

Hey, we got wild turkeys too and if no longhorns (that I know of) there are occasional herds of hairy coos which are pretty cute. Our temps were hot this summer, but never got to 100 (I'm afraid I'd be packing the U-Haul), and we had some wild fires up north. My car AC quit too, but I bought a whole 'new' car (it was time anyway).

My daughter enjoys visiting a friend in Texas (San Antonio) in the winter - I might go along one of these deep-freeze years...
Ha, Zanelle! Your second sentence cancels your first one! Thank you anyway :o) If Perry and Palin duked it out, maybe they could cancel each other out.

RomanticPoetess! Or, we could have a three-way wrasslin match with Perry, Palin, and Bachman? It looks so dry, because it is so dry. Temperatures over 100 degrees for 50 days this summer. We have had less than 2 inches of rain counting June, July, and August. That wildfire at Possum Kingdom will burn for weeks I imagine.

Hey, Cranky! I guess you're right. We share freaky weather and horrible politicians. *sheesh*
Grief. On Oct 22, Maxine Hong Kingston's California home burt down. I always apologize.
I didn't burn it tho.
She lost everything.
bbd befriended her.
Where is Maxine?

I was with her and Earl.
She received and Honor.
Earl is a riot. Ask S.S.?
Taxidermist buy horns
They buy sax, bugle, a`
Trombone, and a flute.
Yup - Life is sure good.
Myriad, I would like to see a hairy coo, I would. If you get a chance to go to San Antonio, take it! It is my favorite city in all of Texas, as a visitor anyway. If it doesn't get up to 100 degrees, you may not really need air conditioning there?

Art, french horns, bassoons, and trombones too. I hope I was not facetious about personal tragedy. My own troubles are miniscule in comparison. But I still need to remind myself to have hope. God told me that one time. He said, Do Not Give In To Despair. So, I don't.
Perry's going to run for President of Texas after we secede.

I do love all the different terrains of Texas. I wish I had time to explore them all.
As a fellow Texan, I cringe with you every time I see Perry representing this complex and diverse state. Let's create a New Texas and secede from Perry's Old Texas.
It's cooler in heaven, but I often send people to Texas if I don't have time to process the paperwork for hell!

I know hot also which surprises some. 102 several days in a row this last week. We are due for some fires soon. Enjoyed your pictures. Those are some impressive horns... Stay safe and jump in some water everyday. Only way to survive the heat. Still better than the damn snow, however.
Ain't that the way it goes: darkest before the dawn. Why can't the darkness part just be eliminated, darn it. Could it be one of those turkeys you saw scurrying by was Gov. Perry himself?
Our daughter went to UT and now lives in Austin after a long stay in Italy, great town and not really, really Texas (does Perry stay there any significant length of time?); I worked and lived in Houston for my first job '72-'77 and '82-'84; at that time the town had a certain cosmopolitan air to it that helped vs the weather and the impossible traffic but in the end we left with no regrets....love visiting Austin and reading about the improbable characters that you have in that state...nice pictures!
I live twelve miles from Texas and there is definitely some seepage into eastern New Mexico. Great photos and really a great area to live.
I saw this too how sad... and any chance you can get that horned bull to chase that Rick Perry out of the country???
This last paragraph almost sounds like a response to Torman's open call for small pleasures, but I guess even small pleasures are outsized in Texas. (Like the guy in the horns :) Always enjoy your photo essays, and I can just hear the slight drawl in your narration.
No. Don't give in! There too much cool stuff out there- like long horn steers and sneaky turkeys.
Life is good depending on where you cast your eyes and heart. Love this. And love that I was able to get on to OS, rate, and hoping this comment will magically appear.
Diana, I wish I could divert some of the rain we have had too much of towards your region along with cooler temperatures! Thanks for the interesting info on Perry as well as the wonderful photos of the longhorns!
What magnificent creatures those longhorns are. (Hook 'em!) Thanks for reminding me that there are things worth hanging on here for.
I also live in a rural part of Texas. I'm 'bout 35 miles East of Austin, TX. I'm not from here, though. Texas is a really strange and really beautiful place. It is too damn hot, though, even compared to Arizona. At least when it's 112 in Arizona, you can stand in the shade and not feel like yer breathin' water.

I think, since Mid May, where I live, we've had well over 70 days in the 100+ degree range. I haven't seen any wild turkeys recently, but I get glimpses of feral hogs, raccoons, possums (one walked right up to my porch the other night while I was sitting there taking a break from my nighttime roofing) armadillo, white tail deer and god only knows how many different species of hawk, owl, falcon, eagle and woodpeckers. I love being out in the country, but further North is starting to look better and better every year.

I know what you mean about Internet service. Only 35 miles away from one of the most technologically savvy and wired places in the country and I get to either use dialup on copper or I can pay for my broadband wireless that mostly works about half the time -- in 10 second slices, no less!

It's a fair trade, though, for gorgeous sunsets, no sirens, morning walks to see (and photograph) wild animals, and no door to door salesmen EVER come to my place.

And while most ever'thang in Texas is bigger, we do have our share of small roads, narrow minds and shallow people, our current Governor being but one prime example of two out of three. On the plus side, a shallow person's narrow mind is a short hop over and if you should happen to fall into their 'reality', it's an easy climb out.

Love the longhorns, we only got short horns and brangus out here.

Yeah, Texas isn't So bad.

Yeah, I like Texas, got lots of good friends there, so I can't joke about it too much(except with my friends from California!! :D)

And yeah, can't hold Rick Perry against you, either, well, we can...but...:D

(Seriously, he scares me, he's beautiful but evil!! You can tell!! :D)
Thank you for the reminder that many wonderful things come from Texas: Molly Ivins, you, Lyle Lovett, cowgirl boots, and those incredible cattle with horn spreads wider than their bodies are long.
Hello fellow Texan. It looks like we're in for some cooler temps in little D [Denton] as well.

Love your enthusiastic outlook on life in Texas.
So many of my favorite writers on OS are from Texas. There must be something good happening there. (My girl is living it up in Dallas this week. I think she is a closet Texan.) ~r
Your presence in Texas, and these photos, make all the difference.
Yep, we should be sitting, sharing a cold one over good conversation that includes Guv Good Hair, and the state of Texas. We might stay up all night with those topics! :)
what barry said (and he should know, obviously) about texas and the native creatures and the great photographs. and i'll chime in with the others who said you have such a great heart and show us things about texas that belie the parts that have been so often in the news since Bush II 'The Bad.' great essay, diana. glad to hear things may cool off soon.
Texas is such a strange place — and yet everyone I've ever met who was from there has been so kind, charismatic and thoughtful. Like you.
Holy shit! "Longhorn" is an understatement in this case.
that is one amazing rack on that steer in the last photo! Like Barry, I'm glad you can look at the good amidst a record breaking heat wave and awful politicians.
I love your posts, in part because you live in a place so different from my urban Los Angeles.
Oh Harry, I do hope Texans aren't that dumb. In other news, if you ever come to Bosque County, look me up and let's take photos.

Happy to meet you Daniel. It's _always_ nice to meet a fellow Texan who cringes with me about Perry.

Kate, I love Molly Ivins' quote. Thanks. I added "haboobs" to my vocabulary. It sounds so funny.

GOD IS HERE, you got it kid. I am happily living in your hell substitute, and still kicking.

Spudman, I do that water dance daily, and yes, it makes a big difference. Sorry to hear about your 102, because I know it hurts when you have any humidity. Regarding snow, it's okay with me if I never see snow again.

Oh Jerry, you said "AIN'T" and I feel responsible. Thank you kindly though. Those wild turkeys are rather beautiful and clever too. Rick Perry reminds me of the domestic variety.

Hey roberto, welcome! I have only visited Austin on rare occasions, and yes, even though it is the state capital, it is almost non-Texan. Houston is like a whole state unto itself, with all the variety and hugeness. If you left Texas to return to Italy, I'd say no regrets is about right. I would move to Italy just for the coffee.

Hey Miguela, your part of New Mexico is practically the Llano Estacado, right? So dry, that you probably don't grow enough vegetation to worry about the large wildfires like we're having in north Texas right now. Thanks for coming by and for your kind comments.

Linda, the fire is still going, and so many good people working so hard. I need to contribute to the local volunteer fire departments, without whom we would be in terrible danger. Hugs to you too, ya know.

dirndl skirt, my pal, I _know_ you can hear my drawl in my writing. It sticks out like a cowlick. Those horns are pretty amazing, eh?

Thanks, Linnnn, I do try to remain optimistic. Some times require more creativity in finding the good.

Hey Seer! I like the way you rant, and write, and represent Kentucky.

Mimetalker, you say it so very nicely. I am always glad to bounce ideas off you.

Oh designanator, I wish we could get some of your rainy runoff, because we need it rather badly. Those horns are quite wonderful, aren't they?

Hey Blue, magnificent is a good word for those (hooke 'em) horns. There are many lovely works of nature here, and I am happy to share. What's going on where you are?

dunniteowl, I am quite pleased to meet you. I do some design work for a lady in Bertram, which must be pretty close to you? I understand what you're saying about further north looking better and better. That may be the grass-is-greener syndrome though. I did laugh out loud at your description of narrow minded shallow people, and climbing over them on my way to reality.

Tink, you know you can ALWAYS joke about whatever you want, and you will get away with it, because everybody loves your fuzzy balls. Yes, Perry is scary evil.

hello dear greenheron, I am honored beyond words you put me in that fine list.

Hey Belinda, I hope those fires don't come to Denton. Thanks for the kind words, I hope temperatures will drop for you and me both.

After spending this week in Dallas, Joan, I think your daughter may rethink her love of Texas. It is brutal right now. But thanks for putting me in your faves!

Ah sophie, you are poetically kind.

mypsyche, come on over! I have some cold Shiner Bock waiting for you!

Candace, I appreciate that. Just living here is a work in patience and humility sometimes. All those old saying about big Texas braggarts ain't really true (?). I head to Colorado in a week, so I will be cooling off real good real soon.

Monsieur Chariot, merci! Your kind words touch my heart, just so.

Ain't he a beaut, Brassawe?

Procopius, brutal heat and lying politicians, I guess I should have been expecting them ... the longhorn sure makes me smile.

Thank you, Christina! I guess urban Los Angeles and Bosque County Texas have _some_ things in common. We can hear Spanish spoken almost every day. We don't have to buy any snowshoes ever. The Mexican food is real and good.
Possum Kingdom Lake sounds kinda scary to me. Once one of those critters crawled out from under my old Chevy and nearly gave me a heart attack it was so god awful ugly. But this post here -- it was beautiful. May a cool breeze blow on that Texas heat but not on those fires; may the rains come and drench it. I'm glad "life is good," Dianaani, and I wanted to tell you "our" young signet swan is an adolescent now and looking so proud. :-)
Hey Scarlett, I always thought that "Possum Kingdom" sounded kinda corny, but charmingly so. They are very ugly, and care not for the niceties of social discourse. Thanks for your blessings. It is so hard for me to imagine that little fuzzy cygnet growing up. I guess you will have to take some more photos!
oh seer, you make me laugh! maybe I am giddy with sleepiness, but there it is.

Amy: Thanks for mentioning me and Molly in the same breath! You give me an idea for a political cartoon. Maybe I will draw it up and submit it for Saturday. :o)
What I love is the elegance and authority of those lonnnnng horns!
It's really a delight to see these glimpses into your world.
happy to share, spike! i can't imagine trying to maneuver with such a spread of horns.
Hi, neighbor! I'm in Fort Worth....and, yeah, life is good even in Texas....even more so since college football starts this weekend. Can't root for the Horns...but can say "Go Frogs!"
hey dan, happy you came by. Last time I saw a horny toad was maybe 9 years ago, last time before that was about 34 years ago. But at least I got a photo then. I may post it for you and your beloved team.
Texas ain't bad a'tall. Anyplace that birthed Molly Ivins can't be an inherently bad place, and your pictures are ruggedly beautiful. Here's hoping you get some rain (and JUST rain!) out of this Gulf disturbance.