Archive for January, 2018

TPW Magazine: Hiking the Rancherias Loop

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018
Rancherias

Photo: Emily Lozano

This is Passport to Texas

Tom Harvey, deputy communications director at Texas Parks and Wildlife, planned several wilderness adventures to celebrate turning 60 last year.

Well, I did one. So at least I got something.

That one: backpacking the Rancherias Loop in Far West Texas with alumni from the state park youth ambassador program. He wrote about it for the current issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. Near the end of the first day, Tom said an approaching storm forced the group to stop, set up camp and take cover.

We barely got those tents up when the rain hit. And it was blowin’ a gale. It was very tense; because the wind was so powerful, it would blow the tent entirely flat, like a giant hand was mashing it down. So, I’d be lying there on my back in my sleeping bag and the tent would come flapping down right onto my face. It was scary. I was really concerned that the wind was so strong that it was just going to peel those tents right off the mountain. And so here I was in my tent—not a happy camper—and what do I hear, but laughter. In the next tent over, there are these three young ladies, and I can hear them giggling. When the big wind would come and blow the tent flat, they would howl with laughter. And it shook me out of my black worry. And I thought to myself, they’re choosing to laugh in the face of this storm. It just lifted my spirits.

Read about the entire three day, two night backpacking adventure in the current issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hog Butchery Class Circa 1850s Texas

Monday, January 8th, 2018
Processing a hog as they would have done in 1850s Texas, at  Barrington Living History Farm

Processing a hog as they would have done in 1850s Texas, at Barrington Living History Farm

This is Passport to Texas

In 1850s Texas people raised and butchered their own animals. Pigs were a popular choice back then.

They reproduce quickly. They’re useful for eating your garbage, and then you eat them. In that way, it’s kind of a closed cycle of consumption—as a recycling source.

Barb King, is lead domestic interpreter at Barrington Living History Farm at Washington-on-the-Brazos State park and Historic Site. Before refrigeration, Texans butchered animals in cold months. January 13 & 14 farm staff will demonstrate the process. They’ll dispatch an animal before guests arrive, but visitors will see everything else beginning with evisceration…

That’s actually one of my favorite times to teach anatomy lessons, because [the pig’s organs] are very close to human structures. So, we can talk about different organs, what their use is….

Afterwards, Barb says, they divide the meat into cuts.

Then, on Sunday, we grind a lot of the meat; visitors can help with that. Then we end up curing the meat on Sunday, as well. So, we show people the start of the process, and then we have a lot of people who go home and end up trying their own charcuterie at home. Or, they already make sausage, and they just want to see the beginning of the process. You know: how do you start with it on the hoof?

The Whole Hog demonstration is Saturday and Sunday, January 13th & 14th at Barrington Living History Farm. The program is weather dependent, so call to confirm. Find details on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Outlook for the end of Waterfowl Season

Friday, January 5th, 2018
The Bigwoods on the Trinity. Waterfowl hunting

The Bigwoods on the Trinity. Waterfowl hunting

This is Passport to Texas

The regular duck season continues through January 28, in most of the state. Wildlife biologist, Dave Morrison, says overall, you still have good hunting ahead of you.

Total numbers of ducks are down. But when you take a look at the overall picture. We’re still at numbers we’ve never seen before.

The past five years offered “unbelievable” hunting, said Morrison. And while the populations of the ten species they surveyed this spring changed…it’s not bad news.

This year, five are up, five are down. But the good news is that—with the exception of pintails and scaup—all of them are above their long-term average. So, we’re still anticipating ducks showing up in Texas.

He says if you went out last season, then expect a similar outcome this season.

When you think about what Texas has been through, something that’s similar to last year is probably pretty good. Harvey wreaked havoc along our coast. But that habitat is recovering faster than anticipated. [1.5 seconds ambiance]

And for goose hunters: light goose season ends Jan. 28 in the east zone and February 4 in the west zone.

Texas is blessed; we’ve always had pretty good goose hunting here in this state. From the perspective of snow geese, we’ll have probably about the same as last year, simply because the numbers really haven’t changed.

The Texas Outdoor Annual has seasons and bag limits for all waterfowl.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Learn Old Time Texas Cooking Techniques

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
Cooking at Barrington Living History Farm. Image from: wheretexasbecametexas.org

Cooking at Barrington Living History Farm. Image from: wheretexasbecametexas.org

This is Passport to Texas

January 6th is your chance to cook like an early Texan. That’s when Barrington Living History Farm hosts a hands-on cooking school where participants use the technology and ingredients of 1850s Texas to prepare a meal.

They end up cooking inside on a hearth.

Barb King is lead domestic interpreter at the Farm.

We do a couple of different types of foods to show the different ways of cooking on a hearth. So, we’ll do something that boils in a pot that hangs from the crane. We do a couple of baked goods that bake in Dutch ovens on the hearth, itself. And then we do a turkey or a chicken in a rotisserie–or a tin kitchen is more the period term. And that way people can see all kinds of methods of cooking as well.

If the class is full when you try to register, your name will go on a waiting list.

The joy of the class–since they’ve signed a waiver to do it–they get to eat what they cook. Normally when visitors come to the farm they don’t get to eat what we cook, because we’re cooking for the staff, and it’s not an FDA approved kitchen.

Barb King says the menu is seasonal–as it would have been in 1850s Texas.

Lots of root vegetables. Onions. We’ll do a roast that sometimes we’ll wrap in bacon. We do cornbread, because that’s a big staple in 1850–in the U.S. in general–but Texas in particular.

Find details for Barrington Farm’s cooking school in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Take a Hike with a Furry Friend

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018
Park ranger with shelter dog on David Mountains hike.

Park ranger with shelter dog on David Mountains hike.

 

This is Passport to Texas

Thursday mornings, visitors to Davis Mountains State Park in west Texas meet for guided hikes—with homeless dogs.

We usually have more people than dogs. We usually give one dog to a family and then a third of the way through the walk we’ll stop and then we’ll switch the dogs to different people so everybody has a chance.

Ranger, Tara Poloskey, says participants hike with shelter dogs from the Grand Companions Humane Society in Fort Davis.

The visitors need dogs to walk when they leave their dogs at home and they’re missing their dogs. And, also, the dogs at the shelter don’t get a lot of socialization and maybe they’ve had some pretty hard histories. They need to get out and get socialized and learn how to walk on leashes to make them more adoptable.

The program is popular with park visitors.

Everyone is happy to see the dogs; visitors know they’re helping the dogs. And, I do talk some about the park while we’re walking, so it’s a good mix of interpretation and dog walks. And, for the dogs, it’s a wonderful way for them to socialize and get used to different people.

Hikers sometimes even adopt the dogs.

In fact, today we had two. A total of five, actually, over the course of a year, but today we had two.

Find details about hikes with homeless dogs in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.