Archive for the 'History' Category

Barrington Living History Farm Goes Whole Hog

Friday, January 6th, 2017
Butchering and curing workshop at Barrington Living History Farm.

Butchering and curing workshop at Barrington Living History Farm.

This is Passport to Texas

They’re going whole hog at Barrington Living History Farm January 14 & 15. That’s when they’ll present a hog butchering and curing program to the public.

Butchering is just one part of many things that we do seasonally throughout the year.

Barb King is a park interpreter at the farm, located at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site. The program takes place outdoors in January just as would have happened in 1850s rural Texas.

So, all the meat that will be produced, and the sausage and the fat that we will save for soap or cooking all needs to be at a constant temperature, which is cold—like your fridge. So that we can start the curing process without worrying about it spoiling.

Staff will dispatch a heritage breed hog before visitors arrive. Barb says the rest of the process is for public view, which is mostly a demonstration…

People are able to do a tiny bit if they choose—like helping us scrape the hogs. But cutting up the carcass into specific portions of meat is only done by staff. A lot of people come right at 10, and we normally have a big group waiting. And then on Sunday, we focus on more of the preservation aspect.

Visitors who return Sunday will observe how staff cures the meat for storage. The butchering and curing program at Barrington Living History Farm is January 14 & 15, from 10am – 4pm both days. Admission fees apply. Find complete details at

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

Goliad State Park Holds Surprises for Visitors

Thursday, September 15th, 2016
Goliad State Park and Historic site during Rio! Rio!

Goliad State Park and Historic site during Rio! Rio!

This is Passport to Texas

When visitors set foot on the grounds of Goliad State Park and Historic site and see the exquisitely restored 18th Century Mission Espíritu Santo, they may think the site is intended for quiet contemplation only.

Well, that’s one of the misconceptions people find when they come here.

Jared Ramirez is a park ranger at the site.

They’re coming to visit an historic site, and they don’t realize that we actually have full hook-ups for trailers. We have water and electric sites for camping. We have a lot of people that enjoy our paddling trail and fishing as well. We have a little bit of everything, and our visitors really are surprised when they come out and see us.

But there’s still an opportunity to delve into the history of the site. Including in November, with the annual Rio! Rio! Event.

We’ll have historic reenactors all throughout the Mission grounds; blacksmiths, stonecutters—a little bit of everything. We have a few thousand people come to that event every year. What is the point of Rio! Rio! To show a little bit about Mission lifeways. The types of materials they were working with back then. The way they would cook. The way they would build. Just a little bit about the life in the 18th century.

Find details about Rio! Rio! And other events and activities at Goliad State Park and Historic site—as well as all Texas State parks—in the calendar section of the Texas parks and Wildlife website.

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

State Bison Herd at Caprock Canyons State Park

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Members of the Texas State Bison Herd at Caprock Canyons State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Caprock Canyons State Park is home to living history: the State Bison Herd.

The herd was started by Charles Goodnight back in the 1870s. And it’s one of the five foundation herds that all bison today pretty much come from.

Unchecked slaughter of Bison nearly brought them to extinction. Mary Goodnight, wife of legendary Texas rancher Charles Goodnight, encouraged her husband to capture calves to save the species. The 130 or so bison roaming Caprock Canyons today are direct descendants of those animals.

There is about 12-thousand acres of bison range in the park. Just about everything that’s open to the public is open to the bison. You can run into them almost everywhere in the park.

Donald Beard, Park Superintendent, says although bison roam freely, visitors must not interact with them.

We do everything we can to keep the park visitor and the animal safe. We educate the visitors as they come in. There are signs. As they come into the visitor center, they’re hand a safety message pamphlet that talks about what to do if you run into a bison on the trail. We just have to keep telling visitors that this is a bison range; of course the bison have the right-of-way. So, the best thing you can do if you run along a bison on a trail is find a shade tree, get out your camera, take some pictures, and wait for them to move on.

Tomorrow: the annual Texas Bison Music Fest.

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

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

TPW TV – Rescuing History

Friday, July 15th, 2016
Bison at Caprock Canyons State Park

Bison at Caprock Canyons State Park

This is Passport to Texas

For the past 30 years, PBS viewers have experienced the Texas outdoors through Texas Parks and Wildlife’s television series. To celebrate, show producers, including Karen Loke who’s been with the series 24 years, share their favorite stories from the past.

And my favorite story is called Rescuing History. It’s about the capture and relocation of the last of the Southern Plains bison herd.

[Narrator Jim Swift] Doug is helping capture and relocate the last few descendants of the Southern Plains Bison. A pure, genetic strain of buffalo found nowhere else in the world.

[Doug Humphreys] But what makes this one different is that another buffalo has never been brought into this herd. There’s been no outside gene source introduced into this particular bison herd. So we’ve got a distinct genetic strain of buffalo that doesn’t exist anywhere else.

Producer Karen Loke said this touched her due to something rather unexpected that happened during filming. You can see for yourself when you tune into the Texas Parks and Wildlife television series on PBS the week of July 17.

[Roy Welch] To those of us involved in this project, it’s turned into be something quite more than just a simple matter of capturing a bison herd and relocating them over here to Caprock Canyons, in essence, we’re literally capturing a living piece of Texas history.

The award-winning Texas Parks and Wildlife Television series celebrates 30 years on PBS all season long. Check your local listings.

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

TPW TV: Buffalo Soldiers

Friday, March 25th, 2016
Devonte Hill

Devonte Hill, decked out as a Buffalo Soldier

This is Passport to Texas

After graduating from college, but before entering the working world, Devonte Hill—who has a passion for storytelling—volunteered with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Buffalo Soldier program.

 I was a Texas state parks youth ambassador and got turned on to the Buffalo Soldiers program. I’m always open to new experiences.

Buffalo Soldiers entered Texas history in 1866; these African American men assisted and protected settlement as it moved westward. Texas parks and Wildlife developed the Buffalo Soldier program to preserve that history. As a volunteer, Devonte wore a soldier’s uniform to help bring history to life for grade school students.

 I don’t have too much experience with kids besides my cousins; so it will be interesting dealing with the little people. [laughs]

The program uses the Buffalo Soldier’s rich heritage and history to connect urban audiences to the outdoors. This is important because, as Devonte points out…

When you see things on TV about outdoors and things like that, all you really see is a certain type of demographic. And so you kind of get raised thinking those things are not for me.

Devonte Hill has gone on to a job in television, and says his work with the Buffalo Soldiers was life changing.

Hopefully this is the first step to me continuing my training and practice at being a storyteller. And this is part of my story.

See a segment with Devonte Hill and other Buffalo Soldier volunteers next week on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS.

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