Home on the Range

There is a place high on the prairie of the Texas Panhandle that is beloved to me.  

A place that I have written about before...a place called Darrouzett, Texas.

I showed you the little hamlet of Darrouzett before but now I want to share the beautiful land around Darrouzett.

Oklahoma Panhandle
Although Darrouzett is located in the Texas Panhandle, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the Oklahoma Panhandle too.
No one around except the cows
 Darrouzett is only 3 miles from the state line of Oklahoma to the North of the panhandle and a bit over 18 miles to the East.

cattle on the prairie
 As you can see in the pictures, there isn't much up there except prairie, cows, blowing tumbleweeds, and lots of sky.  But I love it there.  If you look close there is beauty everywhere.

remnants of the past
 Windmills are a common site in that area.  The water can not be beat.  It is good enough to be bottled.  I so enjoyed drinking water right out of the faucet unfiltered.  It was cold and clear and so very good.

small farm in the panhandle
There are not many trees up that way.  In fact you will usually only find trees where there are water sources such as creeks and ponds or where they were actually planted and tended to by someone.  You will find lots of tumbleweeds though, some of them are very large.

Big blue skies of the Panhandle
Trees don't grow well on the open prairie for two reasons.  The first is lack of enough rain to overcome the moisture zapping wind, and the second is the wind.  It blows nearly every day.  Wind that causes other places to put out wind warnings on the news is only considered a stiff breeze there.  Wind that will yank the weeds right out of the ground and blow them around (that is where tumbleweeds come from) It was not unusual at times in winter or early spring to get winds of 60 to 90 miles per hour.  You can imagine what happens any time there is snow.  We never saw the snow fall because it always blew sideways.  

windmill on the Oklahoma prairie
 I know that may cause some to shudder but I actually miss the breeze in Summer.  It was always so nice to open our windows at night.  No matter how hot the day was it cooled down in the night.  I miss that cool breeze blowing the curtains at night.  And as for the winter time, it was always nice to snuggle down in our cozy homes and spend quality time with the family.

The kind of place where you can see forever
 The wind in this area is part of why the dirty 30's occurred.   Or as some know it the dust bowl days. 
Wheat field in the Panhandle during dirty 30's
The sod was broken up into farmland and then you add to that a terrible drought. 

Farm equipment parked in remnants of a wheat field in the panhandle after a black blizzard in dust bowl days.
Add to that the howling wind and that equals dirt storms that lasted for weeks. They named them black blizzards. 

A Black Blizzard dust storm moving into Pampa, Texas during the dust bowl days in the dirty 30's
My husband's grandmother told us many stories about those days. (These are her pictures of those times)  
Hills of dust over what used to be a fence line in the panhandle during the dust bowl days of the 30's
It would turn the day into night.  She said you could see very little when a storm blew in. Once his grandfather was caught out after a storm moved in.  She put a lantern in the window to help him find his way home.  

Dirt road in Oklahoma Panhandle
 I know these things could seem off putting for some to live here but those were some of the best days of my life.  The people were good and close to each other.  The crime rates were very low in comparison to other places.

Lone tree on the prairie of the Panhandle
 There is very little pollution of the land, the sky, or the water.  There is no smog and even noise pollution is at a minimum.  

A place called Capitol Hill in Oklahoma
It is a place where you can hear, see, and smell nature.  A place where it is not uncommon to see antelope or deer grazing.  A place where you can swim in the creek or in swimming holes known to the locals like "Aunt Suzie's".  I have no idea who Aunt Suzie is but I have swam in her swimming hole many times.  It isn't far from Capitol Hill which is pictured above.

Caliche Road in the Panhandle
Some of my favorite memories include me with family or friends travelling down a caliche road or a dirt road seeing the beautiful landscape and sky all around us.  

Old home place on the prairie
One of those memories includes my dear hubby's grandmother telling us stories of who lived in this old place or that.  Stories about how they would all gather at someone's house move the furniture out on the front yard, throw cornmeal on the floor and have a dance with people playing actual instruments and singing through the night.  What fun times she says they had

Farm to market road in Panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma
 Those are the things I think about and remember when I drive around this part of the country.  When I meet another vehicle, I am quickly reminded that everyone in this part of the country waves...even if you don't know them.  It is just a way of life here.  A good way that I wish was found in more parts of the world.

Trees growing along the banks of a creek in the Oklahoma Panhandle
 I take deep breaths of that beautiful clean air and I rejoice at the blue skies, although, rain would not be unwelcome.  What a beautiful site to see a storm building in this part of the world.  They look so much larger than when you see them in other places.  Maybe it is because you have no trees or buildings to impede your view.  It does tend to cause the Fear of God to come upon me because when I see their sheer size and power, I realize just how big He is.

Oh how I wish I got to visit here more often.  I miss the people, I miss the land, and I miss the lifestyle.

Cattle finding respite from the sun under a large cottonwood tree.

I miss the cottonwood trees.  What a beautiful site they are all through the seasons.  They grow huge and beautiful along the creeks.  Some of my favorite memories are located under a huge Cottonwood tree near Darrouzett.   It was large enough that we had city or church picnics under it. What a glorious site when autumn comes and their leaves begin to turn.  One good thing about the wind up in this area is that their are no leaves to rake because they all blow somewhere else (I think to my driveway where I live now).  

Wolf Creek
 If you ever find yourself in this part of the country be sure to look close.  Don't let the miles and miles of treeless rolling plains lure you into missing the beauty here.  Stop along the road, enjoy the beauty of the sounds, sites, and smells of nature that are all around you.  Wave at the people you pass by because they will probably wave back even if it is only by the lift of a finger off their steering wheel (and not the bad one either, I promise)  Check out how big the sky is around you.  Enjoy the panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma.

Until Next Time

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