Gardening Helps Renew Our Spirits



Gardening has always been something that my family has enjoyed. My Mother and Dad had great competition each year seeing what they could get to grow. They didn’t raise the same thing, but each was eager to see the springtime finally arrive. My Dad in later years wanted to cut down on the area he was raising tomatoes in so we took a busted John Deere tractor rim, and filled it with hay and any other good mulch we could find. A little blow sand on top of that and you were ready for the tomato plants. The wire cage on the outside was made from cement reinforcing wire.

I still do about the same thing each year with at least one new twist. This year I have added some Mealy Blue Sage to the area to try to draw more pollinating bugs to the area. I believe the reason for our poor set of blooms is a pollination problem. That a the beauty of a new garden you get to try something new each year.



The Wild Plums have started blooming and the bugs are starting to pick up that fragrant smell that leads them to the new blooms each year. This one looks like some that came last year, but they don’t seem to hang around long enough to help in the garden. These blooms are far and few between this year. Not sure if the freezes or the drought are the problem.IMG_2922


The tough ole Chocolate Flower is always one of the first to bloom each year. It has a wonderful early morning smell that reminds you of fresh chocolate. It’s deep roots help it withstand drought better  than most. It is a welcome sight to start this spring with.

Well it even helps revive my spirits just to get to write about another spring and all the gardening possibilities that are out there. John Tucker

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A New Dog In Town

IMG_6028This morning while having coffee we got to see that their was “A new Dog In Town” and she was going to take the place by storm. Nothing in this dog was holding back, she visited everyone one there in short order.

IMG_6026She took the time to get comfortable at Chris Kindle feet, but was soon off to see what else needed exploring.

IMG_6032Next it was  “I’ll guard this door till you are ready to get on down the road”. Fierce looking think when She puts her mind to it.

IMG_6036She had to demonstrate her ability to point before the show was over. Maple won’t be the same now that this little Austrian Shepard has left her memory on our town. Welcome to the big city little girl. come back when you can. We always enjoy those friendly visitors.

This pup belongs to Chris Locks son, but was riding shotgun today. Every pup likes to get out and around ever once in a while. John Tucker

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The Ever Changing Weather In West Texas

IMG_5978I heard on the Television that we were about to have another “Haboob. This was going to be a second one in about eight days. I got my camera and checked the battery as we had about an hour before it was to hit. Sure enough it was down so I put it on the charger hoping to have enough juice to take that long  awaited picture of the “Haboob”. Well if you are going to live in an area that has something spectacular you need  to have that special picture.

I stepped out and found the wind calm and this beautiful Sunset taking place. Well that just goes to show you  it’s not all bad in West Texas.

IMG_5987You could see it building in the Northwest and the tail in was toward Clovis. My friend Tom had called and said it was hitting in the Plainview area. When you looked to the East you could see it was going to be much stronger.

IMG_5989I got right in the middle of the highway that leads to Goodland and took another shot of that Sunset. I think it made a much better picture anyway.

IMG_6023Finally it started to get dark and the wind started picking up from the North. I took this final shot and headed for the house before the wind got to high. They usually only last a few minutes when they hit, but you don’t want to be caught in that sand wall. It did make a good contrast to the setting Sun, but the main energy to the storm was to our East.

Well maybe next time I’ll get that picture to hang on the wall with a story. It will be alright if it don’t happen again for about ten more years. Pictures can always wait. John Tucker

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After The Haboob

IMG_5925Last Tuesday night we had what is called a “Haboob”. This something to see in pictures, but not something you want to be caught out in. It hit around seven o’clock and blew hard the rest of the night. This is a stand of trees where the Fine’s lived. The Tumbleweeds were eight to ten foot deep.


The east west running fences couldn’t hold all the weeds back and it just leveled the fence.

IMG_5944This old house place was catching weeds on the trees and the old Windmill. They are building up on anything that sticks up.

IMG_5950The old store at Goodland was also catching a lot of weeds on the North side. If this keeps up this spring it may be buried for good.

Not much to report on good for the area right now, but a good rain and some calm days are things to look forward to.

Has anybody got a good idea on what to do with all these Tumbleweeds? I think I found a good source of product if you need them. John Tucker

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Those Great Encouragers In Our Life

I have been to several funerals the last few days and it made me stop and think about the Encouragement I have received in the past. Some of it has come from those who have gone on and others came from people who were just doing their job in life.

I’ll start with a most unlikely person who understood what tough times were really like. She grew up in a German-speaking community and knew very little English when she started to college. What makes this important was that she became an English  Professor. Learning the language and studying its proper use made her smile when she heard some of us country kids talk. She told the head of the Department that my limited ability to speak the kings English was only showing my raising. She assured her she was working on  my speech. She could have run me down for my West Texas slang, but instead let me to believe that was  part of my personality.

She may have failed to get me to be gramatically correct, but she didn’t discourage us being from just being who we were. She never came across as being greater than thou, but she did encourage us to keep trying to express ourselves. I think she had a special place in her heart for the rural kids that were miserably prepared to be trying to pass college English.

When we reached nine weeks  the first semester we were told to come to her office and correct our papers that we had done at that time. I got mine done quickly, but had to wait on my roommate who was taking longer to get his done. She invited me to set down and visit with her while he finished. We told each other about our up bringing and some about our families. I was surprised to find out she really cared about her students.

After that little visit I felt like I had a mentor in my life and she was going to do the best she could for me from then on. As miracles would have it, I passed with a C in that class and it encouraged me to stay in college and do the best I could.

What was the funniest thing was that we were told not to get her for the teacher as she was so tough. As it turned out she measured each student for what they were capable of and got their best. I’ll always give credit to her for my education as I was ready to quit and go back to the farm.

Her name was Francis Watkins, a most excellent English professor at South Plains Junior College.

I will also give some credit to Nathan Tubb who was the academic dean at South Plains at that time. We also got to visit him  at about nine weeks. I was failing miserably at that time and was ready to hang it up. He being from this area and having seen what could be done if you don’t give up, told me to go ahead and finish the semester since it was already paid for. I stuck it out the last nine weeks and finished that semester with two D’s and two C’s. After that I knew I could make it and grades weren’t a problem the rest of my college career.

We never know how those words of encouragement will turn out in a person life, but thank God for those who will take the time and try. John Tucker


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The Grulla National Wildlife Refuge

IMG_5800Just across the State line in New Mexico is the Grulla National Wildlife refuge. It is mainly a wintering lake that provides toe covering water for the Sandhill Cranes of the area.

IMG_5809What makes this Lake so unique is the high alkali content. The bottom of this lake looks like a scene from White Sands. The day I was there it had a bit of a temperate inversion taking place and the close cloud layers above were very pronounced.

IMG_5816 In this picture you can see the town of Arch New Mexico in the distance. The black dots on the shore contrasting withe the white mineral is tumbleweeds. It is very contrasting to the surrounding area.

IMG_5827Looking from the hill where the observation area is, you can see to the North, cattle grazing on some green wheat. The area has Irrigation around the lake, but the water is high in minerals.

This Refuge comes right up against the State line on the road to Arch. It looks out-of-place with such a white floor to the lake, but over the many years of evaporation taking place after heavy rains, leaves it highly concentrated.

Well that’s my story for today and I hope you like seeing the diversity of this area. John Tucker

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Blue Boy And The Sunset

IMG_5866When I went out to take the Sunset pictures I noticed “Blue Boy” had already sacked out for the night.

IMG_5864He opened his eyes and gave me that “why did you wake me up look”. Don’t those eyes just look so inquiring.

IMG_5868 Now isn’t that the face of “I could use a little late night snack”. Never the one to let an opportunity for a little something extra to go by.

IMG_5890I picked up a pine comb and threw it into his pin. Did you ever get that look?  ” Is this the best you can do”. I told him just to go back to sleep the Sunset was finally right for a picture. So goes the dog’s life when you live around a Photographer. John Tucker

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