Everywhere I’ve lived over the last 66 years there’s been a “January thaw,” a “false spring” or the like. Now that I’m in The South — even though it’s not The Deep South, the sub-tropical South — weather like we’re having at the moment isn’t quite as much of a tease.
It may be the 20th day of February, but in northern Arkansas we’re moving headlong toward spring. We expect the occasional dips and dives (like the one coming Friday morning). It might even snow, though just a little. We won’t put away our warm coats.
And yet we smile, knowin’ it’s gettin’ better’n’brighter every day. Won’t be long now.
For the second day in a row I put the awning out, set up our table and recliners, and took my morning coffee outside. Deb and the dogs joined me after a while.
The sun warmed my face. There wasn’t a hint of chill in the air.
I’ve done the same on much colder mornings, of course. For some reason my mind drifts back to a September dawn overlooking Flathead Lake and the misty Missions, temperatures in the mid-30s and a crackling cedar fire in front of me. While this morning’s setting lacked that sort of romance and dramatic backdrop, it suited me just fine.
I reminded myself that soon I’ll be taking my coffee on a 40-foot porch with an Ozarks view.
Last night I had another flashback to our journey, this one having to do with elevation. (Regular readers know how much that subject fascinates me.) Specifically, I looked up the elevation of Amarillo, where we stayed for two nights in June of 2021.
We’d spent the previous three days driving from Bandera in the Hill Country, through Abilene and Lubbock, onto the famous High Plains of Texas. By the time we arrived in the Panhandle we were at over 3,700 feet above sea level — the change in elevation, over 2,100 feet, had been imperceptible, and the strikingly flat terrain gave no indication that we’d gained altitude.
Take, for example, our stop at funky “Cadillac Ranch,” elevation 3,770 feet AMSL. How that compares to some familiar (to us) places in the more mountainous West may surprise you.
- Rapid City, SD: 3,202 feet AMSL
- Polson, MT: 2,927 feet AMSL
- West Glacier, MT: 3,163 feet AMSL
- Polebridge, MT: 3,514 feet AMSL
The highest peak in the rugged Boston Mountains of The Ozarks, by the way, is over a thousand feet lower than Cadillac Ranch. When they say “high plains,” they mean high.
I’m pretty sure that most of us don’t think of American topography like that. I didn’t used to, and then I started paying attention.
Here endeth the lesson.
Deb got a text from our well guy this morning with some good news. We knew he’d be stopping by the site today to check the capped head and fetch a truck he’d left there Friday. This was his message:
“Static level is 433 feet.”
The depth of the well is 782 feet. Once the drill was withdrawn from the hole, water from the aquifer naturally began to rise (at a measured flow rate of 10gpm). Today’s message indicated that the top of the water column had come up 349 feet and stabilized at 433 feet below the surface.
That, boys and girls, is a big deal.
The relatively quick and significant climb signals a strong well that’ll be easier on the pump we install — one is a win, the other a major plus, especially considering how deep we had to drill.
Color us thrilled.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.