Archive for the 'howto' 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.

Learning to Hunt

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016
Hunters patiently waiting.

Hunters patiently waiting.

There is a registration fee of $50 for the New Hunter Workshop to cover costs, which includes lunch.
For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Bill Balboa at or call 979-245-4100.

This is Passport to Texas

A growing interest in the origin of the food they eat led some people, who’ve never hunted before, to seek out hunting opportunities.

And so what we’re trying to do is get them started from the very basics.

Bill Balboa, of Agrilife Extension, says a New Hunter Workshop, October 15, in collaboration with Texas Parks and Wildlife, will introduce interested foodies to hunting basics.

There’s not going to be any hunting, but there will be some firearm safety and some target practice with some .22s that Texas Parks and Wildlife Hunter Ed is going to loan us. And, they’re going to have some of their Hunter Ed safety instructors out there to help us. But there won’t be any hunting at this point. But, people will be provided all the information they need to sign up for public hunts in Texas.

Minimum age to participate is nine, accompanied by an adult.

What I’m hoping is, all folks who have the desire to do the field to table experience—we’re looking for those new hunters that don’t have much experience—particularly with the processing with the animal. The seminar is going to be heavily slanted in that direction. So, we would like to get those folks out—anyone who would like to come out and do that. New hunters in general.

The New Hunter Workshop, October 15, is at the Nannie M. Stringfellow Wildlife Management Area in Brazoria County. It’s limited to 30 people. Find a link to registration information at

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

How to Sight Your Hunting Rifle

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

This is Passport to Texas

Bring a properly sighted rifle into the field this hunting season. You may have your own method, and here’s another to consider:

With an unloaded firearm, make initial adjustments on the scope by bore sighting with a device or the naked eye. Yet, a shooting range is where real adjustments occur.

Practice with the same ammo you’ll use when hunting. Different brands and cartridge weights vary in performance. If you sight in your firearm with one kind of cartridge but hunt with another, you risk missing your target.

At 25 yards and using a paper target with a one-inch grid pattern, shoot three rounds, aligning the scope’s crosshairs at the exact center of the target. This three-shot group will reveal how far off center your scope is set.

Based on the average of your shots, use the scope’s dials, to make adjustments. For vertical movement adjust the elevation. For horizontal movement, adjust left and right, called windage. At 25 yards, you can adjust for windage, but for proper elevation, it is best to move the target back to 100 yards and shoot three more rounds.

Depending on the average distances you shoot at game in the field, you may want to center your group either at the bulls-eye or at one inch high at 100 yards.

Find a sighting demo video at

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Control Breeding Sites to Control Mosquitoes

Monday, June 27th, 2016
Image courtesy

Image courtesy

This is Passport to Texas

Apply sunscreen this summer, and while you’re at it, apply products with DEET or essential oils that repel Aedes aegypti, a mosquito, suspected of spreading Zika virus.

It’s an introduced species, and it is most common around the eastern half of Texas.

Austin-based entomologist, Mike Quinn, says one way to lessen exposure to Aedes aegypti is based on the time of day you’re out and about.

The Aedes aegypti is a day biting insect, so it’s a little different [than other mosquitoes].

While reports of the virus in the US are travel related, pregnant women are encouraged to use caution, as zika has been linked to neurological issues in newborns. Quinn says the insects breed in standing water.

The Aedis isn’t a long distance flyer. So, controlling breeding sites on our property can be a very effective way to reduce the mosquito. And, it’s what we call a container breeding mosquito. And it’s in pots and barrels and toys and bottles; it can breed in a very small amount of water—a tablespoon or less even. But, it takes about a week under optimal conditions to go from egg to adult. So, doing a weekly cleanup of property—checking for water sources; changing out the birdbath water on a weekly basis is a good way to keep the population down locally.

Find links to more information about Aedes aegypti and the zika virus on the passport to Texas website.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation supports our series and helps keep Texas wild with the support of proud members across the state. Find out more at

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

How to Humanely Dispatch a Fish

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
Black drum ready to be filleted or frozen.

Black drum ready to be filleted or frozen.

This is Passport to Texas

Like to fish? Then you should know this Saturday, June fourth, is Free Fishing Day in Texas.

People don’t need a fishing license to fish on that first Saturday in June.

Great news, right? Texas Parks and Wildlife aquatic training specialist, Caleb Harris, says everyone can fish free in state parks with fishing opportunities any day, but Free Fishing Day opens all public waters for your angling pleasure. Harris says when you reel in a fish you intend to keep, there is a humane way to dispatch your catch before it becomes dinner.

Most people say that the kindest way to care for a fish that you want to keep [for dinner] is to put it on ice as fast as possible.

The cold temperature, says Harris, causes the fish’s bodily functions to slow down…way down.

The ice will anesthetize it; it’ll be virtually painless at that cold temperature; the fish will get cold and will slowly pass. So, yeah. If you have a boat, and you have the ability to bring an ice chest, you know—catch the fish—if you intend to keep it, make sure it’s a legal size, and put it right on ice.

When you get the fish home, you’ll want to immediately filet it and either cook it up right away, or freeze it. Find a video on how to filet fish, and a link to information on the best way to freeze fish at

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti