Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another pleasure of Retirement

I've always been an avid reader and have always managed to read while working.  But one pleasure of reading that I have not been able to partake of is sharing a book in a group because of time constraints.  Now that I am retired, I can participate in a book club.  A good book club introduces you to books you may never have thought to read and can give you insights into a different interpretation of the book.  And it is fun to get together with other bibliophiles.  The book club that I am joining meets the fourth Wednesday of the month which gives me time to get the book, Pictures from an Exhibition by Sarah Houghteling (ordered today from amazon.com) and read it.  I'm looking forward to it!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

It really bothers me that people accuse me of not supporting the troops or not loving the USA when I write that I oppose the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I do support the troops and I do love my country but I have opposed Iraq from the beginning and I wonder how long we will continue to pour money and lives into both.  Will we continue for another year, two, ten, twenty years before we leave.  Will we have accomplished anything lasting when we do leave?  Has it been worth the loss of fathers and sons or the loss of legs or eyes when we decide that we have had enough?  Then again I wonder will we leave those only to go into Yemen, Syria, North Korea??

Friday, May 27, 2011

Heat and Drought

I just can't get over how hot and dry it is!! Here at OakMeadows, we have had 1/2 inch of rain since January.  We have had to water the garden, trees, and around the foundation and were hit with a water bill of $266 for last month. Yikes, that was more than the electricity bill!! 

 The farmers and ranchers around here are in dire straights--crops are dead or never came up to begin with and the cattle are having to be fed because there is nothing to graze on.  I expect that they will start selling the cattle for slaughter soon.  We will see a brief decrease in the price of beef as it will all come to market at once but that will be followed by a steep rise in price.  So stock up when the price drops because it will soon go back up higher than it was to begin with.  Since Texas has the second largest agricultural product in the nation, the drought here will affect the whole nation with higher food prices.

When I was a girl, I lived without air-conditioning.  I remember window fans and attic fans and the hand fans that were given out at church.  I know I survived because I am still here but oh my, how I would hate to try to live without it now.  What a wuss I have become!!

The poor wildlife around here are coming in closer to human habitation simply to try to find water.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Water Conservation

While areas of the U.S. along the Mississippi River are inundated with too much water, here along the Texas Gulf Coast are in a severe drought. But even in years of abundant rainfall, we are in an unsustainable pattern of taking more water from ground wells than is replenished by rain. Depletion of groundwater has many consequences one of which is subsidence. In order to stop the depletion and therreby stopping subsidence, the state of Texas is requiring counties to have Groundwater Subsidence Plans. The long and short of it is that water for our community lakes, water for lawn maintenance, and even water for household use is going to become exceedingly expensive.   I am all for conserrvation but this is going to be a real problem for us because our smaller pecan trees and fruit trees will die without water. Another problem is that on our clay soil which expands and contracts with water, we have to keep the ground around the foundation from drying out, contracting and cracking the foundation of the house. We are considering having a well put in on our property just for the trees, garden, and foundation. I haven't looked into the cost but I am anticipating $2,000 to $5,000. We have until 2013 so I have time to get the information and make a decision. Stay tuned for the continuing water saga.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Retirement So Far

Yesterday was my retirement party at work. It was lovely and it was so nice to see everyone. I have never felt so appreciated in all my life. The tables were lovely and there was loads of wonderful food. They certainly sent me out in style!! Numerous people wanted to know what I was going to do now. Well, I'm not sure that I want to do more than I am doing right now--quilting, reading, and gardening. The fact is that I am about as busy as I want to be. I'm not bored and I am not lonely. I feel better than I have in the past 2 years. My house is getting cleaned and organized. Since I am able to plan meals, grocery shop, and cook, we are eating better and spending less money. With gas prices at $3.89/ gallon, our gasoline bill has dropped considerably without my 70 mile per day commute. But the main thing is there is no stress, there is time to sit and watch the swallows, pull weeds in the garden, read just one more chapter. Yes, so far retirement is suiting me just fine.

On a different subject, I just have to mention that for the first time ever, we have a nesting pair of bluebirds in the bird house. They are incredibly beautiful.