Results by Title
29 books about Ranch life
Results by Title
29 books about Ranch life
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press
Winner, Mitchell A. Wilder Award for Publication Design, Texas Association of Museums
Folks across the West know a cowpoke named Jake. A good-hearted guy, he's always up to his eyebrows in debt or drought or prickly pears looking for them dad-blamed ole wild cows. In fact, he's so real a fella that it's hard to believe that Ace Reid made him up.
This book brings together 139 of Ace Reid's popular "Cowpokes" cartoons, reproduced in large format to show the artistry and attention to detail that characterized Reid's work. Grouped around themes such as work, weather, bankers, and friends, they reveal the distinctive "you might as well laugh as cry" sense of humor that ranch folks draw on to get through hard work and hard times.
In the foreword, Washington Post cartoonist Pat Oliphant offers an appreciation of Reid's "Cowpokes" cartoons, noting that "Ace's work has a magic of its own, and it owes nothing to anyone else." Reid's longtime friend Elmer Kelton recounts Ace's life and career in the introduction, describing how a shy boy who grew up on ranch work transformed himself into an artist-entrepreneur who never met a stranger and who made ranch work the subject of his real love, cartooning. This collector's volume belongs on the shelf of everyone who loves the "Cowpokes" cartoons, knows a fella like Jake, or enjoys the dry wit of the American cowboy.
An important collection of personal essays from one of the most widely published American environmental writers addresses the effects of ranching on the environment. Acclaimed nature writer Linda M. Hasselstrom sees herself as a rancher who writes—a definition that shapes the tone and content of her writing. Now owner of the South Dakota cattle ranch where she grew up, Hasselstrom lives in intimate contact with the natural world. "Nature is to me both home and office. Nature is my boss, manager of the branch office—or ranch office—where I toil to convert native grass into meat. . . . If I want to keep my job as well as my home, I pay attention not only to Nature's orders, but to her moods and whims." She writes knowingly of the rancher's toil and of the intelligence and dignity of the wild and domesticated creatures that share the prairie grassland she calls home. As one who knows and loves the land, Hasselstrom appreciates the concerns of environmental activists and understands that responsible ranchers can play a role in nurturing a healthy rural ecosystem. Rich in detail, humor, and pathos, these essays offer wry commentary on the scope of human folly and the even greater human potential for community and empathy. "Only people who live in the country," she writes, "could form a relationship with nature so intimate that they feel concern for one lonely duck. People who live in cities . . . only glimpse nature from high windows or speeding vehicles. Even wilderness lovers who probe deeply are only passing through. We who live on the land truly live within the land, each of our lives only one among the other inhabitants of the place." These are essays to read with wonder and delight, to relish and ponder. Available in hardcover and paperback.
A sophisticated ecological analysis of ranching in northern Nevada featuring a new chapter and new epilogue by the authors.First published in 1985, Cattle in the Cold Desert has become a classic in the environmental history of the Great Basin, brilliantly combining a lively account of the development of the Great Basin grazing industry with a detailed scientific discussion of the ecology of its sagebrush/grassland plant communities. The volume traces the history of white settlement in the Great Basin from about 1860, along with the arrival of herds of cattle and sheep to exploit the forage resources of a pristine environment and, through the history of John Sparks, a pioneer cattleman, illustrates how the herdsmen interacted with the sagebrush/grasslands of the cold desert West. As the story unfolds on two levels—that of the herdsmen adapting their livelihood to the challenging conditions of the Great Basin's scanty forage, aridity, and fierce winters, and that of the fragile ecology of the desert plant communities responding to the presence of huge herds of livestock—we see the results of a grand experiment initiated by men willing to venture beyond the limits of accepted environmental potential to settle the Great Basin, as well as the often ruinous consequences of the introduction of domestic livestock into the plant communities of the region. The result is a remarkably balanced and insightful discussion of the grazing industry in the Intermountain West. This new paperback edition includes an additional chapter that addresses the impact of wild mustangs on the Great Basin rangelands, and an epilogue that discusses changes in rangeland management and in rangeland conditions, especially the impact of recent wildfires. As concern over the future of the Great Basin's unique rangeland environment and its principal agricultural industry grows, Cattle in the Cold Desert remains essential reading for everyone who cares about this underappreciated region of the American West.
The Chickasaw Rancher follows Montford T. Johnson's family and friends for the next thirty-two years. Neil R. Johnson describes the work, the ranch parties, cattle rustling, gun fights, tornadoes, the run of 1889, the hard deaths of many along the way, and the rise, fall, and revival of the Chickasaw Nation.
This revised edition of The Chickasaw Rancher, edited by C. Neil Kingsley, Neil R. Johnson's grandson, is the perfect addition to any reader's collection of the history of the American West.
Many people dream of "someday buying a small quaint place in the country, to own two cows and watch the birds," in the words of Texas ranchwoman Amanda Spenrath Geistweidt. But only a few are cut out for the unrelenting work that makes a family ranching operation successful. Don't Make Me Go to Town presents an eloquent photo-documentary of eight women who have chosen to make ranching in the Texas Hill Country their way of life. Ranging from young mothers to elderly grandmothers, these women offer vivid accounts of raising livestock in a rugged land, cut off from amenities and amusements that most people take for granted, and loving the hard lives they've chosen.
Rhonda Lashley Lopez began making photographic portraits of Texas Hill Country ranchwomen in 1993 and has followed their lives through the intervening years. She presents their stories through her images and the women's own words, listening in as the ranchwomen describe the pleasures and difficulties of raising sheep, Angora goats, and cattle on the Edwards Plateau west of Austin and north of San Antonio. Their stories record the struggles that all ranchers face—vagaries of weather and livestock markets, among them—as well as the extra challenges of being women raising families and keeping things going on the home front while also riding the range. Yet, to a woman, they all passionately embrace family ranching as a way of life and describe their efforts to pass it on to future generations.
The rivers of the Texas Panhandle, the Canadian, and the forks of the Red break through the Cap Rock at the eastern edge of the Staked Plains. It’s rough, bleak country, with few trees and a great expanse of sky. Storms that form on the Great Plains and in the Rocky Mountains sweep through with nothing much to slow them down. And the small dusty towns that serve this vast ranchland cling to the waterways as they have for over a hundred years, since their early settlement. Their names aren’t well known now, but they were once focal points in a rugged country where buffalo hunters, trail drivers, outlaws, and ordinary folks alike passed through.
Rufe LeFors was one such "ordinary" man. With his father and older brothers, he was among the first to settle this country, drawn to West Texas by tales of open land and good grass. His life story, set down near the end of his long and adventurous life, is the best sort of insider's history, the chronicle of a life lived fully amid the exciting events and rough landscape of the frontier's final years.
Rufe LeFors recorded his story over the course of a decade, finishing up in 1941 in his eighty-first year. His memoirs span the period from the War between the States to the early twentieth century, when the Panhandle was still scarcely settled, a true frontier. In his time LeFors was trail driver, pony express rider, and rancher. He traveled for a year with Arrington's Texas Rangers, and he wore the badge of deputy sheriff in the wild west town of Old Mobeetie. He rode a fast horse after claims in the Cherokee Strip, spent time as a horse trader, and finally settled in Lawton, Oklahoma, where, after some twenty years as a deputy, he was elected to the office of sheriff.
LeFors knew how to tell a story. Whether it is an account of an outlaw's capture or the rescue of a white girl from prairie fire by a Comanche brave, he weaves into his narrative all the color, drama, and character of the event. His version of the death of Billy the Kid adds another perspective to that much celebrated episode in western history. His encounters with Temple Houston, the governor's flamboyant son, rancher Charles Goodnight, and Ranger Captain Arrington add to our fund of knowledge about those legendary frontier figures. LeFors wanted to get the facts—as he remembered them—straight. With his sharp eye for texture and detail and keen ear for language and timing, he created a narrative that wonderfully captures the flavor of his life and exciting times.
Winner, San Antonio Conservation Society Citation, 2005
Runner-up, Carr P. Collins Award, Best Book of Nonfiction, Texas Institute of Letters, 2005
Until the U.S. Army claimed 300-plus square miles of hardscrabble land to build Fort Hood in 1942, small communities like Antelope, Pidcoke, Stampede, and Okay scratched out a living by growing cotton and ranching goats on the less fertile edges of the Texas Hill Country. While a few farmers took jobs with construction crews at Fort Hood to remain in the area, almost the entire population—and with it, an entire segment of rural culture—disappeared into the rest of the state.
In Harder than Hardscrabble, oral historian Thad Sitton collects the colorful and frequently touching stories of the pre-Fort Hood residents to give a firsthand view of Texas farming life before World War II. Accessible to the general reader and historian alike, the stories recount in vivid detail the hardships and satisfactions of daily life in the Texas countryside. They describe agricultural practices and livestock handling as well as life beyond work: traveling peddlers, visits to towns, country schools, medical practices, and fox hunting. The anecdotes capture a fast-disappearing rural society—a world very different from today's urban Texas.
Winner, San Antonio Conservation Society Citation, 2011
Texas's King Ranch has become legendary for a long list of innovations, the most enduring of which is the development of the first official cattle breed in the Americas, the Santa Gertrudis. Among those who played a crucial role in the breed's success were Librado and Alberto "Beto" Maldonado, master showmen of the King Ranch. A true "bull whisperer," Librado Maldonado developed a method for gentling and training cattle that allowed him and his son Beto to show the Santa Gertrudis to their best advantage at venues ranging from the famous King Ranch auctions to a Chicago television studio to the Dallas–Fort Worth airport. They even boarded a plane with the cattle en route to the International Fair in Casablanca, Morocco, where they introduced the Santa Gertrudis to the African continent.
In The Master Showmen of King Ranch, Beto Maldonado recalls an eventful life of training and showing King Ranch Santa Gertrudis. He engagingly describes the process of teaching two-thousand-pound bulls to behave "like gentlemen" in the show ring, as well as the significant logistical challenges of transporting them to various high-profile venues around the world. His reminiscences, which span more than seventy years of King Ranch history, combine with quotes from other Maldonado family members, co-workers, and ranch owners to shed light on many aspects of ranch life, including day-to-day work routines, family relations, women's roles, annual celebrations, and the enduring ties between King Ranch owners and the vaquero families who worked on the ranch through several generations.
In No Place Like Home, Linda Hasselstrom ponders the changing nature of community in the modern West, where old family ranches are being turned into subdivisions and historic towns are evolving into mean, congested cities. Her scrutiny, like her life, moves back and forth between her ranch on the South Dakota prairie and her house in an old neighborhood at the edge of downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming. The vignettes that form the foundation of her consideration are drawn from the communities she has known during her life in the West, reflecting on how they have grown, thrived, failed, and changed, and highlighting the people and decisions that shaped them. Hasselstrom’s ruminations are both intensely personal and universal. She laments the disappearance of the old prairie ranches and the rural sense of community and mutual responsibility that sustained them, but she also discovers that a spirit of community can be found in unlikely places and among unlikely people. The book defines her idea of how a true community should work, and the kind of place she wants to live in. Her voice is unique and honest, both compassionate and cranky, full of love for the harsh, hauntingly beautiful short-grass prairie that is her home, and rich in understanding of the intricacies of the natural world around her and the infinite potentials of human commitment, hope, and greed. For anyone curious about the state of the contemporary West, Hasselstrom offers a report from the front, where nature and human aspirations are often at odds, and where the concepts of community and mutual responsibility are being redefined.
In the high country of the northern Wasatch Mountains, lies what is left of one of the West’s largest ranches. Deseret Live Stock Company was reputed at various times to be the largest private landholder in Utah and the single biggest producer of wool in the world. The ranch began as a sheep operation, but as it found success, it also ran cattle. Incorporated in the 1890s by a number of northern Utah ranchers who pooled their resources, the company was at the height of successful operations in the mid-twentieth century when a young Dean Frischknecht, bearing a recent degree in animal science, landed the job of sheep foreman. In his memoir he recounts in detail how Deseret managed huge herds of livestock, vast lands, and rich wildlife and recalls through lively anecdotes how stockmen and their families lived and worked in the Wasatch Mountains and Skull Valley’s desert wintering grounds.
In the lightly-populated northwestern corner of Nevada, a former geologist and rural schoolteacher, a published poet and ranch owner, and an artist and environmentalist make for an intriguing—perhaps even unlikely—trio of friends. In this evocative collection of personal essays, each offers her voice as a testament to the joys and struggles of creating a home and connecting to the land and the people who live there.
Stories of ranch hands and Ladies’ Clubs, raising chickens and raising children, pulling up roots and planting dreams tumble together in a mélange of lives lived well and thoughtfully. Sharing Fencelines is as much about art as it is about activism, as much about personal growth as it is about growing community. What these women offer us is the sweet taste of what is possible, and the blended harmony of their voices echoes across the mountains and washes and deserts, resonating in our own hearts, our own homes.
Carolyn Dufurrena’s "The Flying Heart Museum" pays homage to a layered landscape of unique individuals—not the least of which are her students, searching for themselves in the Nevada wilderness: "You know how your spirit betrays you when you’re not thinking to protect yourself. Jose has been dreaming, doodling away, and his pencil has discovered this flying heart, as big as the Puritan meetinghouse....He has drawn the log cabin around the heart, and labeled it. At recess I ask him, gently, 'So, Jose, what’s in there, in your Flying Heart Museum?'"
In "Shared Fencelines," Linda Hussa reveals the mystery of horses, the gift of water, and the serendipity of love: "My first hurt came from a horse when I tried to shinny up the feathered leg of our old gelding as I’d seen my brother and sister do. Twelve hundred pounds of him stepped on my bare foot. Mom carried her shrieking two-year-old to the house...she cut off the dangling nail saying Popeye didn’t mean to, he just didn’t notice my little foot. Then she cradled my face in her cool hands and said she hoped I would forgive him and we could be friends again."
"Fire Hall" by Sophie Sheppard paints a picture of a families and communities forged against the backdrop of a rugged, rural life: "Here, when there is a funeral, the whole town comes. First to arrive are the older women, vestiges of the Lake City Ladies Club that was disbanded a few years ago because most of the younger women have jobs and no longer stay at home. At the potluck funeral dinner everyone will file in together: the women unfamiliar in dresses ordered from catalogs, the mens' hatless foreheads glowing pale in contrast to the tan of their freshly shaven jaws, the younger people that I won’t recognize."
Highly skilled, hard-working, and loyal to each other and to the ranches that employ them, the Mexican and Mexican American vaqueros who work on the famous King and Kenedy Ranches of South Texas' Wild Horse Desert are some of America's best cowboys. Many of them come from families who have lived and worked on the ranches for over a hundred years. They preserve the memories of ranch life handed down by their grandparents and great-grandparents, even as they use modern technologies to keep the ranches running smoothly in the twenty-first century.
This book tells the stories of the vaqueros of the Wild Horse Desert for fourth- through eighth-grade students. It begins with a brief history of the vaqueros and the King and Kenedy Ranches. Then, using in the words of today's vaqueros and their families, it describes many aspects of past and present life on the ranches. Young readers will learn what it's like to grow up on the ranches and how vaqueros learn their work. They'll also discover how much goes into being a vaquero, from using all the different ropes and equipment, to working a round-up, to showing prize-winning cattle and horses. Teachers and parents will appreciate all the supplemental material in the appendix, including a glossary, lists of related books and websites, hands-on learning activities, and even range and camp house recipes.
This true story of the Texas brush range and the first cowboys, as thrilling as any tale of fiction, has become a classic in Western literature. It is the story of the land where cattle by tens of thousands were killed on the prairie and where the "Skinning War" was fought. It is the story of the Chisholm Trail up to Abilene and the Platte and of establishing a ranch on the free grass of the Texas Panhandle, of roping elk in Colorado, of trailing Billy the Kid in New Mexico, of the grim lands of the Pecos. And it is the story of John Young, old-time vaquero who was trail driver, hog chaser, sheriff, ranger, hunter of Mexican bandits, horse thief killer, prairie fire fighter, ranch manager, and other things—a man who was also something of a dreamer, a man of imagination.
Herding cattle from horseback has been a tradition in northern Mexico and the American West since the Spanish colonial era. The first mounted herders were the Mexican vaqueros, expert horsemen who developed the skills to work cattle in the brush country and deserts of the Southwestern borderlands. From them, Texas cowboys learned the trade, evolving their own unique culture that spread across the Southwest and Great Plains. The buckaroos of the Great Basin west of the Rockies trace their origin to the vaqueros, with influence along the way from the cowboys, though they, too, have ways and customs distinctly their own.
In this book, three long-time students of the American West describe the history, working practices, and folk culture of vaqueros, cowboys, and buckaroos. They draw on historical records, contemporary interviews, and numerous photographs to show what makes each group of mounted herders distinctive in terms of working methods, gear, dress, customs, and speech. They also highlight the many common traits of all three groups.
This comparative look at vaqueros, cowboys, and buckaroos brings the mythical image of the American cowboy into focus and detail and honors the regional and national variations. It will be an essential resource for anyone who would know or portray the cowboy—readers, writers, songwriters, and actors among them.
Founded before the Civil War, the King and Kenedy Ranches have become legendary for their size, their wealth, and their endless herds of cattle. A major factor in the longevity of these ranches has always been the loyal workforce of vaqueros (Mexican and Mexican American cowboys) and their families. Some of the vaquero families have worked on the ranches through five or six generations.
In this book, Jane Clements Monday and Betty Bailey Colley bring together the voices of these men and women who make ranching possible in the Wild Horse Desert. From 1989 to 1995, the authors interviewed more than sixty members of vaquero families, ranging in age from 20 to 93. Their words provide a panoramic view of ranch work and life that spans most of the twentieth century.
The vaqueros and their families describe all aspects of life on the ranches, from working cattle and doing many kinds of ranch maintenance to the home chores of raising children, cooking, and cleaning. The elders recall a life of endless manual labor that nonetheless afforded the satisfaction of jobs done with skill and pride. The younger people describe how modernization has affected the ranches and changed the lifeways of the people who work there.
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press