The Pioneer Woman has inspired me to write down my thankfulness for something I used to really take for granted ... RAIN!! She is thankful for rain because she and her husband have a cattle ranch, and need rain to keep things alive. We love it when we get rain for vegatation around here, like all the veggies we grow, our flowers, our grass, and our trees. Because of the prolonged drought in Central Texas, we've lost several oaks and pines since we've been here, and we've only been here a little over a year!
When we lived in Austin, I was kind of aware when we needed rain, but my think was more along the lines of, 'Man, I wish it would hurry up and rain, because Bull Creek is starting to smell funny and it needs a good washing out.' Things like that. I'm sorry to say, it really never had crossed my mind before that there are a lot of things out there that need rain to survive. Many of the local farms out here (like a good little gal, I shop at the farmers' market and know most of the vendors pretty well) are really getting into a bind because of the drought, and this year has been predicted to be just as dry as the last!
But here's the real, deep down reason I was so glad when we got almost 10 inches last week: fires. We live in the middle of a LOT of pine trees, with the accumulation of years' worth of pine needles under them. Add in the oaks out here (mostly live oaks that drop their many, many leaves every year) and various other things, and this is a dangerous place to live in a drought. We've been under a burn ban longer, much longer, than we've been allowed to burn since we moved, and we have had several scares. Three times we've had to toss what we could in the cars, try to remember the kids, and high-tail it out of here beause the fires have been so close. The most recent one was started by my next door neighbor, the Bird Lady. We were all lucky with that one, because the fire department out here is so great. Only 10 acres was burned up, and there was no structural damage on anyone's property. We really do live in a tinderbox.
In the last 14 months, there have been 5 fires that the department has responded to on our street alone. It can kind of get to you, especially on the very dry, very windy days. John used to tease me about my tendancy to be over-prepared for emergencies, but he now understands why I always have three things in easy reach in my closet: 1) a box with copies of all our important documents (birth certificates, marriage license, house paperwork, insurance info, etc), 2) a bag with a change of clothes (day clothes and jammies) for eveyone, and 3) a bag with kid things like the kids' fav stuffed animals (yes, we originally bought three of each animal in case one got lost), some toys that will keep them occupied if need be, etc. This last bag also has several bottles of water and lots of munchies. Both bags have $100 in cash.
Ok, I know I can replace almost everything in my house, and I can certianly buy everything in each of the two bags at WalMart. But if my house burns down, do I really want to go to the store that night?? If we have to go stay with someone, or at a hotel, do I want to be worrying about what everyone will wear to bed? No, I don't think so. And the snacks are there because we live an hour from Austin, which is where we'd probably end up, and I just don't like ot be hungry in the car. I've found that you can gt through just about anything if you have a few good snacks. Stress on an empty stomach is hard.
Have I gone a little overboard? Probably, and I pray that John is right, and that we'll never have to use any of this stuff. But it doesn't hurt, that's for sure ...
All that to say, I now have a new appreciation of rain, and a new love for it. Here's to the chance of more this weekend!