Diamonds For Women Forum Index Diamonds For Women
A message board for women baseball fans
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Life On A Small Texas Ranch With Indian History

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Diamonds For Women Forum Index -> General Discussion and Chat Room
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

PostPosted: Tue 9/16/08 8:35 am    Post subject: Life On A Small Texas Ranch With Indian History Reply with quote

Ladies I hope you don't mind me rattling on and on. I am bored to death and don't dare go on the Astros board or I will embarrass myself. We are covered up with Cub trolls who think it is so funny they beat us two games where we were the hottest team in baseball since the all star break. Although the Dodgers have been pretty darn hot the past couple weeks. I can't do housework because of the construction so here I sit boring all of you.


My husband Jim and I live on a small ranch by Texas standards in the northwest corner of the Hill Country. If you travel about 20 miles from our place to the west you get into the cross cut area of the state and then past that is Abilene, TX and the west Texas plains.

We are surrounded by large ranches. But our 650 acres is just large enough for a retired couple. We have 3 lakes on our place. One is shallow and only ducks live there because it sometimes dries up. On the south end of the ranch we have a medium size lake (tank) that is full of catfish and crappie. On the north side we have a large lake that is full of large mouth black bass. That is where we keep our boat to paddle the grand kids and fish. We have caught bass as large as 6 1/2 lbs and about 16 inches long.

We raise longhorn cattle and about 70% of them are registered. We share a bull with our neighbor to keep the fences from getting torn up by bulls fighting across the fence. My cattle are just like pets. We name them all and most will come when called and will eat out of our hands.

Bubba and Billie Jack are my two pet donkeys. They come up to the porch every morning while we are setting out having our coffee and beg for their morning lemon cookies. You could set your watch by them coming up at 8:30 each morning. After I give them their cookies they hang their heads over the rail and give me a kiss on the cheek. Billie Jack is a real lover and will stand there as long as I pet him.

We have white tail deer, wild feral pigs, dove, quail, wild turkeys, squirrels and all kinds of varmints including bobcats, mountain lions, skunks, armadillos, raccoons and coyotes. Don't get me wrong we don't have any mountain lions living on the ranch, but they do visit from time to time and we have seen one in person a couple years ago. We cab sometimes hear them screaming at night. We also can see the areas were they lay down for the night, sprayed their urine and scratched on a low lying limb. About a month ago I was sitting on the porch for my morning coffee and less then 40 yards away a bobcat walked by heading into the woods. It must have had a late hunt. We have actually had turkeys in our orchard last spring.

Speaking of orchard. I grow peaches, apricots and plums. Every summer I put up around 100 jars of peach and apricots preserves and make plum jam. This year I made 20 jars of sliced peaches which as a first for me. They are much better than what you get in a can. I also buy blueberries,blackberries and strawberries to make about 8-12 jars of each of those for our private use. We also have 7 pecan trees so we shell and put lots in the freezers for cooking. I give about 70% of the canning away to friends for Christmas and also send a few jars to some of my Astros buddies on the MLB Astros board.

On one end of the ranch we have nothing but oak and wild pecan trees and on the other end we have mesquite trees and an area that looks like a moonscape. Our house sits in the lowest place on the ranch and it is about a 500 ft climb to get to the north end of the ranch. We find arrowheads after every rain. On the south end we have found an area where the indians use to camp and found lots of broken arrowheads where they would sit and make them. We also found a camp oven which is a hole in the ground with a rock base. They would cover it with wet limbs and brush when they were baking. Across the road from the end of the ranch is a hill called Indian Mountain. To the northest of the ranch about 8 miles away is an old fort called Camp Colorado. That is where people from this area use to walk or ride their horses to get their mail back in the 1860's to 1880's. There were several recorded Indian attacks in our area.

We have producing oil and gas wells on the ranch and a tank battery to hold the oil until it can be picked up. We also sell rocks and a few boulders off the ranch. Our rocks have been sold in Houston and Arizona to build houses, retaining walls and even a inspiration garden for some nuns in Houston. We are just about to the point that we won't sell many more rocks because I am getting attached to the oneS that are left. We do have a certain area we flagged off so the rock men wouldn't take any rocks from there. It is called the cascades because water runs like a waterfall after a rain and we didn't want that area touched. We also didn't let them take any rocks or boulders from an area we call Jeans Hill. My husband and I like to climb up there in the evenings and look out over the ranch and the valleys of the other ranches below.

It is 1/2 mile to one of our neighbors and over a mIle to the other neighbor. There is a very large ranch across the road from the ranch but no one lives there. We do see their cowboys coming over to round up cattle or goats but that is the only time we have peope close to us. Our house is about 100 yards off the Farm to Market road so we live in a very quiet area. Long distances and fences make for really good neighbors.

We are 17 miles from the nearest town which is only 20,000 hardy souls. We are 75 miles from Abilene, 140 miles from Austin, 145 miles from Ft Worth/Dallas and 380 miles from my beloved Astros. We do lots of our shopping over the internet and make a couple trips a year to some of the cities to buy large items and clothes.

We use to own a beach home where we stayed on weekends and for several weeks in the winter time. But it was a 7 hour drive so we just got tired of the drive as we got older so we sold the home and are adding on to the ranch. We just recently built a 2 bedroom, living room, kitchenette, bathroom, large covered porch and a very large 20x 18 loft for all my grand kids to sleep in. All total the house with a sofa bed in the living room can sleep 14 in comfort. We are now in the process of adding a 25x14 ft addition on the end of our main house and are doubling the size of the kitchen. Then we are going to actually quit working and plan on living here until we either die or they come and take us off to the nursing home. This was really small 2 bedroom house before and that was fine because most of the time the kids and their children came down to the beach to see us. But now that this is our only home it is time to add on so we can all be together for Thanksgiving. I also have a portable building that is 12x24 where my husband does his reloading at one end and have his gun safes and on the other end I have a craft table where I doodle some. I hope after the construction is finished I can get back to doing more crafts.

About a week before Thanksgiving several of my neighbors and I will get together to make all kinds of candies for the holidays. We usually make peanut butter cups, chocolate covered cherries, several types of fudge, coated pretzels, coated popcorn, several types of bread including cranberry, banana nut, strawberry and chocolate chip. We also make Christmas cookies from a tea cake recipe that my grandmother use to make her cookies with. My understanding is the recipe has been in my family since the 1880's or so. Unlike other sugar cookie recipes they stay soft and are great to put powdered sugar colored icing on for the kids to enjoy. I also have to make Hanukkah cookies because my oldest son and his family are Jewish.

OK, enough jabbering about myself, the ranch, cowboys and Indians and Texas.

GO LONGHORNS!!! I bleed burnt orange.......
Back to top

PostPosted: Tue 9/16/08 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fascinating stuff. I hope I get the chance to meet you some day!
Back to top

PostPosted: Tue 9/16/08 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many head of cattle do you have? You really name them all?
The donkeys sound like fun pets. I need pictures.

I'm trying to imagine in my mind what kind of rocks you sell. Don't think I've ever heard of harvesting rocks, unless it was a quarry.

The vivid description of your ranch really drew me in. Sounds beautiful. Thank you for the view!

My folks have 4 or 5 big pecan trees in the middle of their hayfield. The farm is a mere 80 acres, no livestock, one catfish pond. But those big fat pecans (and black walnuts, too) were like gold. The freezer was always full of them.

Looking forward to some pictures someday. Very Happy
Back to top

PostPosted: Tue 9/16/08 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We only have 18 head of longhorns, but 4 of the cows will have calves in March or early April. We have 4 calves under 6 months of age right now, and another 5 that can be bred in the spring. You don't breed a heifer until they are 15 months old so they will be 2 years old when they calf for the first time. Since we have such a small herd I actually do have them all named. I usually pick a name for the time of year or name them after a friend. I have Val because she was born on Valentines Day. We have Chris who was born within a week of Christmas. Liberty was born on July 2nd. Some are named because they remind me of something like Catherine because she was so regal looking. Shine because she always looks so happy and so forth. I keep a journal with all their births and names. We have to send off the paperwork for the registered cattle to get the paperwork in case we want to sell a bull. You have to submit a name to get them registered just like you do a dog. At some point we will also have to sell cows because we don't want the herd to get over about 25 cows so we can keep them fed and have plenty of grass.

We use to have almost 40 head of registered Hereford cattle but we sold them about 2 years ago. We sold them because we were in the middle of a 5 year drought and also we were gone to the beach house lots of the time and our ranch manager retired. So we sold the other house and moved back to the ranch full time and have been buying longhorns as we see them on sale. Since they are mainly pets and not for food we will only sale the bulls and steers and keep most of our heifers and cows. We don't have any help on the ranch anymore except at times we hire day labor to help us put ear tags on the cattle, give them shots or help us cut the hay.

Most of our rocks are sandstone. They have lots of green and black moss on them which makes them great for decorating gardens. We have sold rocks as small as 12" across and almost the size of a VW Bug. The smaller rocks don't have moss and are used for building fences and even houses. But the flatter rocks have moss as do the boulders. If rocks are cut out of a quarry they are no good for decorating because they are scared. Our rocks are lifted one at a time by either hand or with a bobcat tractor and put on a flatbed. The smaller rocks are put on a pallet and then wrapped in fencing wire and then lifted onto the flatbed for transport.

I will take some pictures to post of a few of my bigger boulders and the biggest lake.
Back to top

PostPosted: Wed 9/17/08 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love just to sit on your porch and watch the wild life. That sounds like a big farm to me. 3 lakes, wow. I have some nieces and nephews that would love to fish on one. Next time your donkeys come to visit think of the Missouri mule then think of
Back to top

PostPosted: Wed 9/17/08 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jan, please don't be overly impressed. The shallow lake where the ducks like to land is only about the size of a 3 car garage and about 10 ft deep. The catfish lake or tank depending on where you live is about the size of house with a large lawn and is about 20 ft. The one that has all the bass is about the size of one and a half football fields in both directions and is around 20 to 30 ft deep when it is full.

We are trying to get some of the smaller bass out of the larger tank right now because during the drought we didn't fish much because it was low. Now we still have some large bass but about 70% or more of them are small. We have a friend who is trying to stock his tanks so he brings over a big trash can and puts water from the tank in it and we fish as fast as we can and get him 15 or so of the little fish (6 to 10 inches) and then he takes them back to his ranch and puts them in. If your neices and nephews were here I would put them to work catching the small ones for us to dispose of.

As far as wildlife goes, we are about to be minus a couple armadillos if they don't stop digging huge holes in our yard every night. I have sprayed for grub worms their favorite food and they continue to dig. It is actually dangerous to walk in the yard after dark because of the holes.

Looks like the Astros season is just about over. We are 3 1/2 games behind with only 10 games to play. Oh well August and early Sept. was very interesting to say the least.
Back to top

PostPosted: Wed 9/17/08 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have started seeing armadillos in southern Missouri. Unfortunately the ones I see are when we go to Table Rock Lake and they are road kill.

At least the Astros kept it fun all year. That's how I look at it. We could have teams that are 20 games under. That wouldn't be fun at all.
Back to top

PostPosted: Wed 9/17/08 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, armadillos have a bad habit of sleeping in the middle of the road. I am not joking when I tell you this. I have actually seen the Texas highway department put a yellow strip right over one and just leave it laying in the middle of the road. ha ha ha
Back to top
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Diamonds For Women Forum Index -> General Discussion and Chat Room All times are GMT - 7 Hours
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group