Monday, June 13, 2011

A Cow Is NOT a House Pet

Since I can't take any new pictures right now, I figured I'd post some photos I took last week, of one of our cows. This is an especially annoying cow, because she thinks she belongs in the house. Although the perimeter of our property is fenced, we don't have many fences within the perimeter. In other words, the cows can go pretty much anywhere they like, within the boundaries of our land. We have the garden fenced off, and when we're trying to establish grass in a new area of the yard we fence that in until the grass is growing well. Oh, and Rachel recently started a little rose garden, and there's a fence around that:

(The mushrooms growing along the edge of the rose garden are unintentional. It's the rainy season, so mushrooms grow everywhere right now.)

So, anyway, this particular cow thinks she should be allowed into the house. She hangs out on the front porch, and sometimes, when we've left the kitchen door open, she'll stick her head in the door and rummage around in the kitchen trash can, looking for goodies. She's always hanging around the house, looking in, with those pleading eyes of hers.

Here's a close up of the cow. Close up shots will occur, because this cow really likes me to scratch her between the eyes. So, as I was trying to take pictures of her, she kept coming up to me to beg for some attention. My kids have tried to convince me that the cow is actually begging for food, but I think she loves me. Just look at those eyes!

In spite of the special relationship the cow has with me, and in spite of the fact that I'm not a big stickler for house rules, I do think I've got one hard and fast rule: NO COWS IN THE HOUSE. ;-D

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What a time to NOT have a camera!

Oh man, did we ever have an amazing and photogenic storm roll through here this evening! It wasn't anything by midwest-tornado-storm standards, but it was quite unusual for us. I wanted to take photos - I even wanted to take a video at one point - but our camera is currently on the blink, so you'll have to settle for a verbal description, instead.

First we heard thunder. We expect to have a thunderstorm most every day this time of year, so that wasn't very interesting, but the sound does warn us to head outside to pull the laundry in off the line, bring the puppies into the house, and generally batten the hatches.

Because we were outside, we saw the dark clouds headed our way. They were especially dark, and they seemed to be a bit more agitated than usual. Several times we saw what looked to be the beginnings of funnels trying to form, but these never amounted to very much. We weren't experiencing any wind at ground level, although the storm was approaching pretty fast, so this wasn't an especially scary experience. We were all outside looking at it.

Then the clouds were above us. There were different types of clouds at different elevations, moving at different speeds and in different directions. That was pretty spooky. Looking up, we could see multiple swirls - definite circular motion - forming in the large mass of dark gray cloud straight above us. At a lower elevation, wispier clouds were passing along in more of a straight line. This was weird and kind of scary. Some of the clouds had an odd greenish tinge, which I didn't much like the look of.

That whole mess passed by with no preciptation, and still with little wind or temperature change at ground level. Then we could see, in the direction from which the clouds had come, the wall of rain headed our way. It was a particularly thick rain, completely obscuring everything on the other side of the storm. The rain was across the valley from us, and as it approached we did feel the rush of cold air which almost always hits right before the rain.

Instead of rain, however, we got hail! The pieces of ice had about the diameter of a dime, and most weren't round, they were slightly flattened out. I had a moment of concern for our solar panels, but the hail remained small enough that we don't think the panels sustained any damage. Gradually rain joined the hail, and then fewer and fewer hail stones fell until we were simply having our regular tropical deluge, but with significant lightning.

This lasted for about fifteen minutes, and then the storm was past us, with no particular damage. A few of my green bean plants are lying on the ground, but I think they're just waterlogged and only a bit pounded - I'm hopeful that they will pull back upright without a problem.

So, you can see why I wish I'd had a working camera! We do have a backup camera, but Russell has it at his house at the moment. We do kind of need to have two cameras, since we so often have people in several locations at the same time, and because we always want to have a backup on hand (since it sometimes takes us months to get a new camera down here). Now I need to do some camera shopping, so my oldest daughter can bring me the new camera when she visits in July.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A new bridge project

Allen and Russell spent three days this past week starting the foundation for another bridge project. This bridge will be a cable bridge that will be capable of handling small vehicle traffic (up to pickup trucks, I believe).

Here is a view of the bridge site, and the existing bridge, which is only able to carry foot traffic and motorcycles:

And below is a close-up of the current bridge. If you click on this photo, you can see the bridge in greater detail, and think about what it would be like to have to cross this bridge (or ford a river) to get to schools, stores, medical care, etc. - and much of the year the river can't be forded!

We're so glad to be able to bless the rural people of Lempira with these bridges, and I'd really like to thank those of you who help to make this possible - those who donate funds and who pray for our work, those who help acquire the cable and those who help with the loading of the annual shipping container. Thanks from us, and from the people of Lempira!