Nearly. After copious amounts of coffee yesterday, today is bit brighter. Empty cattle trucks are racing in, then racing out loaded. Which means the dust is flying. Which means, no open windows until afternoon.
And open windows are a treat!!! You don’t just open a window here. Bad idea. The dust literally flies in and lands in huge piles! Not kidding. It needs to a fairly humid day (or raining) and no wind. The perfect Open Window Days are rare!
One thing I didn’t anticipate about country living was the dust. Who knew? I just didn’t think this thing through thoroughly.
When I first saw the spot our house sits on now, I was pretty sure this was as picturesque as you could get in Kansas! I loved it! Nothing but prairie, grass, yucca and hills to the east! (think “The Hills are alive, with the Sound of Music” moment with Maria!) And a creek running to the west. Big Boss told me that since his childhood, he wanted to build a house on this spot. I was all for that. I mean, ten years in a trailer house was beginning to get….uhhh, confining.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved our little trailer houses/mobile homes. They had saved us a bundle in rent money through our college years and when we upgraded to a sparkly, new 14 x 70 home, we were pretty sure we had landed a mansion. Well, close but not quite. But it was fantastic! It had a dishwasher (JOY OH JOY!!), 2 large bedrooms and a tiny one and a living room that two little boys could wrestle on the floor in comfort. Oh, and TWO bathrooms! I was in heaven!!!!!!!!!!!
But then we decided to leave the relatively warm climate of West Texas and head north. I had NO idea what a 40 MPH day in, day out, wind sounded like in a mobile home sitting in the middle of a prairie pasture. Silly me. You’ve heard stories of the pioneer mothers going crazy listening to that wind? They’re true. It was almost a treat for the boys to come home from school and whoop it up. Kinda drowned out the wind noise! Yay.
Then our first winter came along. Let me just say that NO ONE prepared me for that. No one. You can check this out yourself if you don’t believe me, but 1978-79 was the worst winter On Record in Kansas…the coldest temps for the longest stretch of time, the largest amount of snow for the longest stretch of time. And I can tell you how long that 3′ of snow was on the ground too. Yep. From October to April. No melt off. No breaks. Just more snow. Then more. And more. Holy Cow.
You couldn’t get the front door open 9 times out of 10.
If you got the door open, you couldn’t get to the car/pickup 20′ away because the wind had blown snow over the tunnel that BB had dug the day before.
If you got to the car/pickup, chances were the doors were frozen shut. Really? Afraid so.
And if you could get into the car/pickup, you might get it started and you might not. Ether became my best friend!
Then, if the stars were aligned in the heavens just right and it was your lucky day because the car started up….you followed the front loader into town, which cleared the road so you could drive it.
And then…to get home, you repeated the above steps hoping that the roads hadn’t blown shut while you were in town getting the mail, going to church, getting milk at the tiny grocery store or….just seeing adult human faces and carrying on an adult conversation! Months in a mobile home sitting out in the middle of nowhere with a 5 yr old and a 3 yr old was beginning to wear on my psyche!
When you got home, after battling all of the above, you prayed your water lines hadn’t frozen up. Again. And you wondered how much snow would be in the hallway this time? We found little piles of snow in the long hallway after the first snow. It had drifted through minute teeny tiny openings at the door and windows and the snow was so fine, it just parked on our linoleum. How nice.
Even heavy-duty plastic sheeting inside and outside the hall failed to stop it. Our hallway became our own personal Antarctic. How nice.
I could go on, but will spare you. All I will say is, when April came and with it green grass…I almost ran outside and kissed that sweet green stuff!
But back to the dust…I was talking about dust wasn’t I? The road that runs from the county road to the feedlot goes right in front of my house. That pastoral scene that I first saw all those years ago did not include semis, salesmen, cowboys, road equipments, tractors, feed trucks…all making dozens of trips down that road all day, every day. No, it was just a simple dirt road that led to greener pastures. Or something like that. The reality is…dust. And lots of it. Why did I not think about that when I said, “Yes, honey. I think a house here would be perfect!”