All posts by Glenn Cochran

Return to Texas

Well I just got back from our little razzoo over into the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. There, all anybody could talk about was how much rain they’d had. And the days were cool there, and foggy in the mornings. It looked like the tour advertisement for summer in Ireland!

Returning to Texas, I found the ranch in its usual August garb. The grass is the color of a mountain lion’s pelt, and gnawed off to the ground. The mesquite bushes are following the dogs around.

A friend came to ride with me. He was hoping to teach his young mare to cross the creek, but when we got there it didn’t have enough water in it to choke a piss ant! We rode on to the Persimmon Hill pasture to move the corrientes out into the bottom. A good many had already engineered passage through a weak spot in the bob wire fence! ( typical Twin Creeks fences are often somewhat more permeable than prison fences)

Turns out it wasn’t much of a cattle drive, as soon as they saw a few tufts of the “sort of green” grass through the opened gate, they poured out like fire ants out of a kicked mound!

It’s a little warm, too. I was opening a gate today and it felt like as if I’d caught hold of a stove pipe. The horses are sweating just standing in the field, and the salt is forming a white frost on the dry parts.

The “Dog days” are here, and we’re praying for a Norther.

Even the wild hogs have packed up and headed for cooler country! Around here the ground is so hard they can’t root.

And it’s getting close to time to start planting oats for winter grazing, but at this rate the plow will just skitter across the ground and strike sparks, and we don’t need any encouragement to start a fire.

Well, I got to go out and water the prickly pear before it wilts, see ya soon!


To some of my ancestors, June 21 was significant for being the summer solstice, the coming of the summer growing season!

It was celebrated with bonfires, singing, and dancing. Those people lived in a temperate climate. We have migrated to an IN-temperate climate, the edge of the chihuahua desert where we merely note the passing of the rainy season and look forward to four or five months of heat.

All outdoor activity now takes place in early morning or late evening.

The middle of the day is siesta.

Essentially we live in two twelve hour cycles. That is, unless you live in air conditioning, the salvation of the south, or it’s ruin depending on your point of view.

In my youth we had only shade, fans, and cool well water. My uncle Raymond wrapped up in a wet sheet to sleep.

To a small number of us ageing cowpokes there is a dim memory of beer, cigars, chili, and playing guitars and singing far into the starry night at the

“festival of the bandicoot, when the constellation of Chingas the duck rises in the West!”

Juneteenth For All!!

Today is the real Independence Day!

It is the day in 1865 when news of the emancipation proclamation finally reached Texas.

At that point, finally ALL men were free. Here in Texas we call it Juneteenth.

It is also my son’s birthday, though not in 1865. Thus we have extra cause to celebrate. Unfortunately it is raining here. That is unfortunate only because it makes our celebration and parade wet.  It is never unfortunate to have rain in central Texas!  Also I am at work, so I can’t ride in the parade. However I AM proud to be a citizen of a country that celebrates freedom for all, regardless of superficial differences like race, creed, gender, etc.

So, I raise my glass ( non-alcoholic, of course, since I am at work) to freedom for all people, and in celebration of the birth of one of my favorite people, my son!

The glass might contain fresh tomato gazpacho, since ours are finally ripening!

And, as Guy Clark said “there’s one thing money cain’t buy, and that’s true love and home grown tomatoes!”

Happy Juneteenth, Y’all!

Horseback Archaeology Lessons

My grandkids and I were riding along in what we call the bottom pasture, a broad flat plain of grass between two tree lined creeks. We had two purposes. One was to find newborn calves and record their mother’s ear-tag numbers, and the color and gender of the calf. The other purpose was to have a nice trail ride. Trail riding is more about having time together than horsemanship. Trail riding is about being together, sometimes talking, sometimes just being. I like to ask the grandkids to tell me about their day at school. It varies how descriptive they are, but it gives them an opening to express themselves. There are no rules, just time, and the rhythm of the horses’ hooves. We were discussing a person who is overly talkative and I used the expression “She was vaccinated with a phonograph needle!”

The conversation came to a screeching halt. I realized that the only word in the sentence that these millennials could comprehend was “vaccinate“. They have no clue what a phonograph was, nor why a needle was involved. I had to explain about vinyl records, you know, the round platters with the hole in the middle with spiral grooves around them. Then I had to explain how the needle “picked up“ the vibration in the groove and put it through an amplifier for us to hear.

They’ve grown up with CD’s and DVDs, and digital sound. What I thought was merely a cute expression was an archaeology lesson for them!