Monthly Archives: October 2019


Sallie and Carlos and I sat on the front porch in swings and rocking chairs. Carlos was recounting some episodes of television cooking shows. We all agreed that the current trend toward rapid fire competition cooking bothered us in some way.

 It seems that the emphasis in many endeavors is speed. But, what about Kevin Browning’s melt in your mouth brisket that takes a whole day to slowly develop flavor and tenderness over oak and mesquite? Or consider the classic French Beef Bourguignon that simmers for hours blending the flavor of wine and browned beef and vegetables into a world famous stew? Some things just don’t happen in thirty minutes or less. 

Those of us who have demonstrated the poor judgement to engage in the art and science of colt starting have sooner or later paid the price for rushing the job or cutting corners. Our students don’t understand “hurry”, and being much bigger and stronger than us, we’ve ended up back on Mother Earth abruptly.

 When we don’t take the time to do it right, bad things happen to both horse and man. Ancient principle: a job worth doing is worth taking the time to do it right. Having been told this as a child, I’m still trying to learn it in my seventies! 

The old hackamore men of California considered two or three years in the bozál almost adequate amounts of time to prepare a horse to carry a bit in its mouth. We’ve all seen the amazing white stallions of the Spanish Riding School dance and perform awesome leaps.

 I’ve been told that the majority of those talented charges are old enough to vote! They didn’t learn those movements overnight nor by force.  It’s like the saying, “I had a big list of things to do today, but now I have a big list of things to do tomorrow!” Here in south Texas we use a Spanish word for tomorrow — mañana.

Waitin’ for a Norther

 I’m peeling sweat soaked Levi’s off at the end of day,”Honey why are your socks always turned inside-out?” Looking out at sun scorched pastures, horses and cattle crowded under the scant shade of post oaks and mesquites, it’s hard to believe it’s October. 

Places up north are already gettin’ snow, yet down here in Gulf Coast Texas both temperature and humidity are in the nineties. Last week we found a cool day with the high only ninety one, so we penned a herd, and vaccinated, tagged and weaned forty nine calves. In the afternoon we shaded-up just like the cattle. When the dogs barked, the next thing we saw was a rising plume of caliche dust as the UPS truck came driving up the lane. 

   The creek has long since dried up and we’re starting to worry that we might have to haul water to the cows. The one good thing is that, due to low cattle prices, we’re a bit understocked, so the grass in the Hilliard bottom is dry and strong feed.

 Oh, we’re cryin’ for a Norther, for the rain and relief from the heat. But we know that some day it will come roaring down from the hills, and we’ll see the wedges of sandhill cranes and geese, and we’ll stand out in the blessed cold rain. Meanwhile,let’s get a cup of coffee and go out and sit on the porch and watch the sun come up.