This is done so the fire hydrants can be located in the winter when covered by snow. You don't see much of this in south Texas, thank goodness.
Another special note. When I was wintering in Zapata, Texas many times I had the pleasure of watching the local high school Mariachi Band. And I say pleasure, because that's what it was. These kids are champions, not only in Texas, but nationally. Tonight they will be featured on PBS at 8 pm CST. If you have a chance you might want to tune them in. Here is a link to a sample of their work at Zapata High School. I think you'll agree they are quite talented.
Today will be spent repairing a few things that the road has loosened and generally relaxing, while enjoying the good life.