Trust The Turtle

Back in 1996, Charlton Heston and Dirk Benedict stared in a movie called "Alaska," a story of a brother and sister's search for their father in the Alaskan wild. I have it on videotape, and enjoy watching it for the scenery.

Not to get into too many details, but the story includes an old native Alaskan who tells the young boy about the time he followed an eagle away from a forest fire. He called the eagle his "tornac," his spirit guide. During the course of the movie, the young boy's tornac turns out to be a polar bear cub.

"Trust the bear," the old Alaskan tells him.

Tuesday night, before the big storm blew through these parts, I saw a turtle on our front yard. He was really booking it west toward the lake. He was trying to get over a rut in the driveway but fell backwards on his back. In a flash, he turned himself over and took off again.

"Boy, did you see that turtle move?" I asked my wife. "He's probably late for a very important date."

Come to find out, what the turtle was running TO was not important; what he was running FROM was.

The storm blew in an hour later, and I'm sure that old turtle sensed it coming and was hunkered down somewhere, all safe and sound.

From now on, I'll trust the turtle.

But why did the storm smack us in the face? Why did it look like our house would soon fly off to Oz?

It's because several hours earlier I asked my family the question, "I wonder how our ancestors survived without electricity and air conditioning?"

And that's exactly what happened. Sixteen hours without AC or electricity.

When I was a young boy on a trip to Colorado with my parents, I asked the question, "What would happen if we had a flat tire? Would we have to take everything out of the trunk to get to the spare?"

I kid you not -- as soon as I said that, the tire blew. We stopped on the side of the highway, took everything out of the trunk, and changed the tire. To this day my father cringes whenever I say, "Hey Dad, what would happen if..."

Luckily, we fared well through this storm. Some of our friends and neighbors didn't. And what we went through was NOTHING compared to what the tornado survivors in Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee have gone through this year.

In fact, I don't know why I'm complaining about no electricity, no AC, and one downed tree that was already dead and just needed a little push to fall.

I feel like a whiner.

Let's just forget the whole thing. OK?

You can feel the electricity in the air

After 17 and a bit hours, our electricity is back on, which means the AC is back on, which sort of means you can feel the electricity in the air, or at least the EFFECTS from the electricity.

(Effect, affect -- I sure hope I used the correct one.)

Right now I'm sweating like a dog, waiting for the temp in the house to get a bit lower (it's 88 inside) before I start putting together a narrative and photos about last night's adventure.

Don't let me forget -- I need to tell you about The Turtle. Not only that, but I really need to keep my big mouth closed and not ask too many questions.

That's right -- I caused all this stuff to happen.

But I'll tell you more about it tomorrow.

A storm blew through it

Wicked little storm last night. Wind and rain felt almost hurricane-ish.

We were out on the porch, experiencing the full wrath of the storm, when one of our trees blew down, barely missing a car that I just got out of the shop.

Paid $500 in repair bills for a car that was demolished by a tree. Now wouldn't THAT have been ironic? Luckily, the tree missed.

Electricity is out. It's been out since about 8 last night, and I'm writing this from my laptop that says I only have 44 minutes of battery time left before it goes kaput.

Will post a photo of the downed tree later, as well as tell you about The Turtle.

Happy Anniversary

Twenty-five years of married togetherness has floated by in the blink of an ....

...What? You're kidding me.

It's been 26 years?

Holy Cow, it's felt like 30.

Just kidding, dear.

I wasn't going to show this photograph to anyone expect my goats because it unfairly draws attention to my baldness, but seeing that I am what I am, I decided I would, and obviously have. (WARNING: May cause permanent blindness.)

We look so happy.

The Wind Was Blowing Hard Today

I was riding my motorcycle home from work the other day, and the wind was really blowing. Not only that, but it and the sun were serving up a super-sized portion of heatness. It was at least 102 degrees out there on the road. I felt like I had just crawled into an oven and cuddled up next to a pepperoni pizza that still had 10 more minutes left to cook.

Anyways, the wind was really blowing, and I thought up this poem.

The Wind Was Blowing Hard Today

By Tracy D. Farr

The wind was blowing hard today,
So hard it blew my head away
And sent it tumbling down the street.
I hope you do not think that's neat.

I chased my head for a block or two,
But there's only so much a guy can do
With a headless body that has no eyes
Or ears or mouth, and that's no lie.

So I sat down in someone's yard,
And tried to think, but it was hard
'Cause all my thinking went a 'joggin'
When the wind kicked up and detached my noggin'.

So listen friends and listen well,
When the wind starts blowing, I'm here to tell
You better grab onto your ears and pray
That the wind doesn't blow YOUR head away.

The new fashion in fishing

To be a trendsetter, you've got to shun the obvious, stear clear of the ordinary, grab hold of the unexpected, and wrestle all those snobby fashionista bastards to the ground until they scream "uncle" and relent to your way of thinking.

Epitome of fishing couture
The new couture in fishing apparel: A borrowed St. Martin's baseball cap; a black leather jacket over an orange 100-percent cotton T-shirt; Superhero pajamas tucked into military desert combat boots; and a facial expression that says, "I just caught a 13-inch river trout, and I don't give a damn how I look."

Trendsetting is not for the faint of heart. You have to be willing to poke yourself into the public's eye, endure their taunts and recriminations, always remembering that you see a bigger picture that they will never comprehend.

And the reward?

You have a fish in the frying pan -- and they do not.

It's so great to be me!

The Pathway to Contentment

I spent all day Friday in the house.

I read some magazines. I watched a video. I played around on the internet for a while – a LONG while – and was basically lazy.

Sounds like the perfect way to spend the day.

But because I was a homebody all day, because I didn’t even step one foot into the sunshine, because I didn't go anywhere or really do anything, I was depressed, angry, beaten, a loser, down in the dumps, irritated, disheartened, and whole lot of other words that mean exactly the same thing.

But Saturday was different.

I went to Home Depot, bought some new hedge clippers, a limb lopper, got out in the yard and pulled weeds, chopped down bushes, destroyed vines that were creeping all over everything, and even helped my oldest son get my truck running again – the same truck that’s been sitting in the driveway for almost a year because of something wrong with something that makes it go (hope I’m not too technical for you.)

I sweated like a pig. I worked until my hands and arms couldn't lift another weed. And my day was great. I felt alive again.

I don’t know what the moral of this story is, but I definitely learned a lesson: Shopping for new garden tools is The Pathway to Contentment.

So say we all.

Vulcans Never Bluff

Okay, so I'm kind of geeky about Star Trek. Not so geeky as to attend a Treky convention dressed up like a Klingon, but I do like the series.

My family and I were sitting around enjoying an episode from the 2nd season of the original series (actually, the kids looked bored, but Ma and Pa were enjoying it), when Mr. Spock said, "Vulcans never bluff."

And if that doesn't warrant a Star Trek cartoon, I don't know what does.

Vulcans Never Bluff

How I spent my Summer Vacation

You would be an idiot if you had the opportunity to get away from the oppressive summertime Texas heat and didn’t take it. And seeing that I’m pert near no idiot, I did.

I’ve been going up to Colorado, specifically the Wolf Creek Pass area, with my family since the late 60s. We built a cabin there in 1971 (“We” being parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. We kids just played in the meadow and went trout fishing), and it’s been a summer tradition ever since.

When I married my wife, the cabin was where we spent our honeymoon.

The Cabin

As we got older, other priorities seemed to always get in the way of me taking my family up there to relax and enjoy the scenery, but not this year. We all trekked up there to the cabin (except for our oldest son, he had to work), and these are some of the places we went.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

If you're standing at the top of Wolf Creek Pass and look west, these are the mountains you'll see:

Snow, Snow on the Range

And if you decide to straddle the Continental Divide then play in the snow, there's plenty enough snow (even in early June) for everybody:

The Big Snow

On the west side of The Pass, you can turn off at The Overlook and see this view that I guarantee hasn't changed in years -- except for the young man out on the ledge. The last time HE was here, he was in diapers:

Overlooking the Overlook

This year we tried something different. We hiked a few mountain trails. This one led us up the side of a mountain...

The Trailhead

... and this one led us around Big Meadows Reservoir:

We're following the leader, the leader...

Hiking will be on our agenda for sure in all future trips to Colorado.

If you would like to see a few more of my Colorado trip photographs, just head over to my Flickr account.

I'll end this post with some flowers, and hope you too have a grande Summer vacation.


Biscuits and Gravy


So there I was at the Homewood Suites in Amarillo, Texas, eating Biscuits and Gravy from their Complimentary Breakfast Bar, when I made a life-alterating decision:

I'm going to spend the rest of my life learning how to make the perfect biscuit, covered in the perfect country gravy, handmade, from scratch.

Oh my Lord, it's good to finally have a goal in life.

It's not that the hotel's version of Biscuits and Gravy was all that terrible, but I was sitting at the table, looking up at this humongous reproduction of de Vinci's "Mona Lisa", and thought, "If Leonardo can paint the perfect picture, why can't I make the perfect Biscuits and Gravy?"

By the way, I can cross off my bucket list going to Paris and seeing the "Mona Lisa." I saw her in Amarillo, Texas, didn't have to wait in line, the painting was MUCH bigger than the original, and I didn't have to deal with security people or learn how to speak French.

And I could look at her while eating my Biscuits and Gravy.

Life is good.