“West Texas in Spring has its Sunday britches on…” – Sam Watson
That was a line from one of the poems recited at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, Texas on Friday, February 25. Cowboys, ranchers, and Western poets and musicians came together for the 25th year of the gathering, and Doug (my co-worker at the Entrance Station) was kind enough to swap days with me so I could attend.
I joked that I was going to rope me a cowboy and drag him home, but the truth is that as much as I love horses and the romance of the Westerns of my childhood, I stuck out like a sore thumb there. (I stick out like a sore thumb no matter where I am.) I mean, I was dressed in my usual artsy fartsy garb – a chartreuse t-shirt from the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, multi-colored baubles on neck and ears, and equally multi-colored belt and socks (those distinctive purposely-mismatched Sole-Mate socks so popular in New England.) I did have on jeans, but they were black, and I wore New Balance running shoes instead of pointy, well-tooled boots. Denim was the predominant color among attendees, along with lots of those lovely Stetsons. Read the rest of this entry »
I have added some new birds to my favorites list, thanks to a trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley recently. The above Green Jay is one. I have a fondness for jays, and this is particularly striking in its tropical coloration. It’s a Mexican bird that ventures north of the border in South Texas – quite common there actually, but no less of a jewel. Read the rest of this entry »
The water has been running from my faucets for two nights and days, going on a third, to keep them from freezing. We’re having the kind of frigid weather this area doesn’t see very often – eight degrees this morning at my house in Panther Junction, one degree in the Chisos Basin. Heck I was hiking in short sleeves on Monday! There was even a light dusting of powder snow, which mostly sublimated (evaporated) at PJ by 6 p.m. The Chisos Mountains are still dusted, as you can see by the above photograph, but there was nary a flake at Rio Grande Village. It was so windy there that facing the wind was extremely painful after only a few seconds. The wind chill must have been minus 30 at least. (Hey I’m from Maine, so I’m not a wimp!) Despite that, here’s how it looked today in Big Bend. Read the rest of this entry »