By Lynn Harlan
Thank goodness February is the shortest month. As we march into March, we are so much closer to spring.
My husband said he would drive down to Arizona with me, so we scurried around and left on Jan. 21 – horse trailer and horse in tow. We brought much needed moisture to Arizona, starting with big snow around Flagstaff and continuing down near Tucson with a couple of gully washers.
Arizona has been in a drought for the last year and this moisture may bring on some green grass and wildflowers. I don’t watch the news much, but it was fun to see Arizonians talking about snow through much of the state for a couple of days.
It doesn’t sound like Texas fared as well. I was horse camping with no TV, but reading the texts from my Houston friends and they said it was ugly.
My brother, an engineer, lives north of Houston and the following is his explanation of the situation.
“Many years ago, Texas opted to not connect to the national power grids,” my brother explained. “This was done in the spirit of the Lone Star state mentality, always just on the edge of wanting to secede from the Union.”
“There is the Western Grid, whose border basically runs from the Canadian border through Billings, Mont. along the eastern borders of Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico all the way to the Mexico border. Everything else is in the Eastern Grid, except 90 percent of Texas,” he continued.
“Some of Texas, such as El Paso, is in the Western Grid and not surprisingly, they didn’t have power outages. Some of the Panhandle is also in the Western Grid, so Amarillo would not have seen outages,” he said.
“The rest of Texas was left in the hands of the almighty free market, and corporations decided over the years it is better for the CEOs to have bigger jets and more African safaris than for their power plants to have protection from cold,” my brother said. “After all, most of the problems down here are heat, not cold.”
The companies didn’t bury the gas pipelines deep enough to prevent freezing, and they didn’t store any emergency supplies of gas in the underground salt caverns, like they do in other states. The majority of Texas power is generated by natural gas, which makes sense as Texas is awash in natural gas. When the delivery lines freeze, the outcome is not good.
“Frozen windmills and the Green New Deal were blamed by some,” he continued. “Incidentally, the windmills are working in Alaska, the North Sea, Denmark, upper New York and Pennsylvania.”
“We went 22 hours without power, and it was glorious when the power came back on. We are now enjoying a warm house, but the electricity bill will be in the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars,” he said.
“It’s the free market, so the price of whatever the electricity provider had to do to regain power will be passed along. A kilowatt-hour used to be $2, but this incident caused it to rise up to $9,000. The next bill will look like a new car,” he ended.
This is told by my opinionated brother, but it’s an interesting view.
My pony and I missed the cold week of sub-zero temperatures in Wyoming. When the weather looked to be above zero we came home from Arizona, then the chinook came. I was glad to drive home before the wind took over.
For those folks in the state of Catholic persuasion, I was saddened to hear the news of Father Tom Sheridan’s passing. He served many communities in Wyoming. There is a wonderful obituary published by the Casper Star Tribune.
Father Sheridan married Bob and I in 1984 at my mother’s home on Hat Six Road near Casper. It was May 26 and a typical spring day with light showers prompting people inside and then back outside.
Many Kaycee folks were invited but unsure of the directions, and they showed up early.
What else to do but open the bar and tap a keg of beer? I was down in my childhood room being “somber” while Father Sheridan and Bob tossed back a couple of beers.
When we got around to the actual formalities, we were on the front deck of the house when lightning struck behind the house. Father Sheridan began flipping through the pages of the Catholic ceremony and declared us married – a seven minute rite, a new record for a Catholic wedding, song included.
I last saw Father Sheridan when he came to say a prayer for my mom in September 2019. I will miss his brogue.
March is coming, along with calving heifers, endless feeding of sheep and cows, some shearing later on and hopefully more badly needed moisture. It could come in the form of April showers, though.
March is also bringing us another grandchild – something this grandma is excited about.