It’s desperately dry here in north-central Arkansas. Local watersheds are compact, dependent entirely on rainfall. and despite a snowy winter and a wet spring the lack of precipitation this summer has turned the region into something of a dustbowl.

Deb snapped today’s header image as we crossed Crooked Creek on our way from Flippin to The Mountain. (The creek continues to flow, actually, underground beneath the dry bed.) The upper and middle Buffalo River look much the same. There will be no floating or fishing ’til we get sustained rain.

Beyond the waterways, local counties have imposed burn bans. Pastures are cracklin’ brown and farmers reportedly are having trouble getting hay to feed their cattle, requiring them to truck it in from Missouri and other neighboring states.

This sort of thing happens every summer. It’s been record-setting bad this year, though.

The heat itself, with “feels like” temps over 100°F every day for weeks, is something that everyone has to deal with. In our own unconventional life it means that Deb and I try to do any outdoor chores before 10am, then retreat to someplace cooler. (Usually that’s inside the bus.)

(Just in case you were wondering, yes, we’re both confirmed “climate deniers.” We recognize fraud when we see it. Deal with that.)

Today we were up with the dogs at 6am. We have Mercy with us for the first time in months, and since we didn’t clean it out before we left we spent a few hours unloading and taking stock of our gear before stowing it again. Lots of it, to our amusement, was cold-weather stuff (a wool blanket, a couple of insulated vests, stocking caps) and items related to 4,000 miles of toad duty (Blue Ox tow bar, safety cables, tools).

We reinstalled the dog hammock in the back seat, swept out litter and tossed trash, then put everything else back in tidier fashion. It’s not ideal, but it’ll do until we have an alternative.

I think I’ll do the same with the Silverado’s bed-mounted toolbox in the next day or two, just because. Finally I’ll tackle Ernie’s neglected basement, which I expect to take the better part of a day.

These are the things we do while we’re waiting for the parade of contractors to get started on our Home on The Mountain. We’re making calls, filling out forms and lining things up, too, of course. It looks like all the advance work we did while wintering here will pay off.

I say again, we’re in a very good place.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

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