Last week it was a warm sunny day; I was outside shooting my shotgun at a sign that I was trying to add some character to. I managed to hit it a few times once I remembered I tend to aim high and lowered my sights! Which means if you are a burglar I will shoot you in the head if I'm aiming at your knee, so look out!) I went inside to put the shotgun up and get the drill to hang the sign on the garden shed and one of those “blue northers” Texas is famous for blew in! Just that quick the temps dropped and over the next few days we had a total of 4” of rain!
The cistern was overflowing and the draws were up and running. It’s been about 20 years since I saw this much water in the draws, although I am sure it was that way the few times we got multiple inches of rain. I just wasn’t here.
The day we got the most rain it was cold and windy and still drizzling but after I fed the longhorns I just had to go see for myself what it was like. So I grabbed my cedar walking stick, the one that has been worn smooth for the 20+ years I have been using it, and my phone so I could take videos and headed down toward the back of our place. I also like to carry my phone in case I break my leg and need to call for help! Not that that would help if I was at the bottom of the hill with “no service”. But we can’t let these things slow us down or we would never have any fun!
There is a big draw that runs across the back of our property. Years ago when we got more rain than we do now the springs back there flowed and kept pools of water here and there. We refer to this draw as the creek, though it is not technically a creek. It flows into a creek down from us and calling it a creek is easier than trying to explain what draw we are talking about. Several draws on our place feed into this dry creek.
(Photo above is wild Verbena that covers the pastures now. And a scary looking prickly pear.)
Our property is high and flat on the front area beside the road. This continues back past the cabin and ends in a high cliff with the creek below it. But one side of our place doesn’t end in this cliff. The ground slopes away down to the creek. It is beautiful back there and one of my favorite places. There are huge rocks and the ground kind of steps down with the big boulders forming shelves as the ground descends. There is also a road that winds around behind us. The big draw/creek comes down from property across from the back of ours, crossing the road and making a turn to run all along our property from side to side. One side of the draw on the other side of the road from us is a high cliff and one side is low. It is rugged and beautiful.
(Video - Grab your tubes, kids!)
Well, mercy me, we had a flowing river back there! The water was coming from a couple of draws we had and it was coming from across the road. These flows joined together and if I had had a tube, I could have jumped in! The sound was as beautiful as the sight!
Our place is fenced before the creek even though it is on our property here. You can’t fence a creek and have any expectation of the fence staying there when it rains, so our fences across the back are placed before you get to the creek. There are two “water gap” fences on each side of our place and one in the middle at a cross fence running from front to back. The one on the cliff side hangs in the air way above the creek. The one on the sloping side hangs above the mouth of the draw feeding into the creek. The one in the middle hangs about a foot or two above the creek bed. That is the one that will get you if you did jump in with a tube!
I walked all along the creek taking videos. I saw a whitened deer skeleton on the other side of the fence on a piece of grassy land above the creek under some cedars. Then I wanted to see the other side of the cross fence where the bed widens and then continues under the cliff. So I forgot I was old and climbed the cross fence, ducked under some cedar trees and came out on the banks of the creek right where it widens. It was rolling and muddy; there is a lot of silt in this section. It was several feet deep; from looking at the cross fence I would say it was probably 4 feet deep here.
From here I climbed away from the creek back up to the level of the cliff. There was a beautiful area by the cross fence where the rocks and clear water formed a little waterfall. Once I got to the top I walked back to an area that has an overlook of the whole creek and road.
It was amazing! After the drought of the last few years, and especially the last year, it was a sight to make you laugh and cry at the same time. If you live in a place with lots of rainfall, I’m not sure you can understand the excitement, but boy howdy, it was enough to make dry country people holler "yeehaw"!
The next day I went back to the cliff in the rain to see what was left. It was smaller and clearing up but still had water flowing. I was hearing some thunder around so didn’t tarry long. The following day the rain cleared and the sun came out. I got my walking stick and went back to the sloped side. There was now a small stream of water and it was crystal clear, crossing the road and bubbling and falling down the slope over huge flat rocks. The cedar smell filled the clear air. I could have stayed there forever.
Again I climbed the cross fence and then waded into the water where the bed widens out. It was clear and about 6 inches deep. I wanted to get to the upper part of the creek but the cross fence over the water was in the way. I might could have gotten under it in a section that is bent up but I am clumsy and figured it would involve getting wet. So I climbed up the opposite bank where there is another fence that marks our boundary. This one is barbed wire so I went through it with only a couple of snags! This put me out on the road. I walked back in the direction I had originally come from and enjoyed the beauty of it all. I was alone and the only sound was the water bubbling. Then I went back into the creek bed and climbed the fence there back into our place and eventually headed back to the cabin. And made a note that we need to add a gate or two back there!
(Photo below - this small yellow flower is everywhere. It looks like paint has spilled over the land.)
Everything is so green with all this rain. Small wildflowers cover the ground; it is a carpet of yellow and white and purple. In the garden the first bluebonnets are blooming; the ones outside the garden have not started yet but they are growing. The trees are putting out tiny leaves, even the live oaks that haven’t had leaves for the last year. The longhorns are grazing once more in the pastures, a sight we had almost given up on seeing again. They have gone 20 months without anything green to eat. We are talking about not buying any more hay once what is in the hay barn is gone. Just buying the sweet feed we always feed them.
In another lifetime I knew a preacher that used to sing “Showers of Blessings” at the top of his lungs every time it rained. This week the mercy drops round us have been falling. Life is good out here in the Texas Hill Country.
(Photo below is an Evening Primrose. The yard is full of them and they open at twilight and face the setting sun. The next morning they are turned toward the East to greet the rising sun, as if they have followed the sun through the night. And maybe they have.)