Archive for December, 2011

Butchering and Curing Program

Friday, December 30th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

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

05—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 SHS. The program takes place outdoors in January just as would have happened in 1850s rural Texas.

15—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.

The public will not witness staff dispatch the Ossabaw Island Hog: a heritage breed. But after that, Barb says the rest is for public view. And while this is primarily a demonstration…

18—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 may return Sunday to see how staff cures the meat for storage. The butchering and curing program at Barrington Living History Farm is January 14 & 15, beginning at 10 a.m. both days. Find complete details at

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

Early Texas Farm Life

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Life in rural 1850s Texas wasn’t the simple existence you might imagine. There wasn’t a grocery store or drive through fast food restaurant on every corner. Eating… was an exercise in long-range planning.

11—One part of being a farmer, not only is growing what you’re going to need to eat today, or tomorrow or the day after. But you’re projecting ahead, maybe six months or a year.

Barb King is a park interpreter at Barrington Living History Farm at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The farm belonged to Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas. Yet, being president didn’t mean Jones was on easy-street.

23—Even for this family, which is upper middle class, they’re still worried about survival on a more intimate basis than we are. You know, just even getting hot water is a chore, not only in hauling, but then you have to heat it up. So, all the daily chores that we have today, required and a lot more forethought—as well as just physical labor. Men, women and children—everybody was working towards family survival.

Dispatching livestock and then curing the meat for use throughout the year was a chore that rural Texas families performed during cold months, because they lacked mechanical refrigeration. Next month visitors to Barrington Living History Farm have an opportunity to witness parts of that process.

02—We get a lot of interest in this event.

And if you’re interested, we’ll have details tomorrow.

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

State Parks and Vehicle Registration

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

You’ll have a chance beginning with the New Year to help support state parks when you register your vehicle at the DMV. Bryan Frazier explains.

60—Starting January first, people can donate five dollars or more to benefit state parks when they register their vehicle with the department of motor vehicles in Texas.

The form that they get and send back into their county tax office, they can just fill in the amount right the on the form. This is a new opportunity given to us by the Texas Legislature to help fill some gaps in our revenue situation.

Is there an amount that we’re looking to make up?

It’s about one point six million for each year that this fund needs to bring in order to meet what the legislature has given us to do.

Where on the form will you find the place to make the donation?

It’s down toward the bottom; it’s just a line item. The website is And you can find out a little more about the program—the history of it. This is new this year set up by the Texas legislature as an opportunity for us to make some of our budget money for this operating biennium.

That’s our show for today…with funding provided by Chevrolet, supporting outdoor recreation in Texas; because there’s life to be done.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW Magazine January / February Preview

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

For entities like Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine, it’s already the New Year. Editor Louie Bond tells us about some great reading to start your year off right.

It’s hard to believe it’s 2012 already, but we like to celebrate the New Year with some really great reads.

In January, it’s kind of cold—even in Texas—and people like to sit next to the fire and read a great story. And Russell Graves is providing one of the best this month. He’s what I like to call a triple threat. He makes great films, he takes incredible photography, and he’s such a lyrical writer. And this month he’s going to take a look at his part of the state—the Red River area—and talk about the history and the people and the culture of the red River.

And I think our readers will really love curling up by the fire with it.

Two other stories we’re going to feature from two of our other best writers…E. Dan Klepper shares a journey down in alligator country, and Kat Hunter will share her experiences participating in the E-Rock duathlon, which is a bike race and run up Enchanted Rock. So, when you’re ready to get out and start exercising this spring, you can take that as some great motivation.

Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine is on newsstands now.

That’s our show for today…we record the series at The Block House in Austin…Joel Block engineers our program…For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Time off in 19th and Early 20th Century Texas

Monday, December 26th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

We have something in common with early Texans.

06—Christmas and the month of December—in large part—was the time when Texans gathered.

Cynthia Brandimarte is program director for Texas historic sites. Unlike today when a short trip by car or plane will get us to our holiday destination, travel was difficult for early Texans.

09—And so when you traveled, you tended to stay. People had time at Christmas to do that—to travel and spend weeks.

Which makes the few days that most of us get off at Christmas seem like a rip off. And early Texans made good use of this block of time.

08—It was then that they celebrated not only Christmas, but other special events, and planned weddings for the month of December.

Since Texas was mostly rural in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, and there wasn’t a lot of farming that could happen in December…

15—It almost gave 19th Century and early 20th Century rural Texans an excuse not to work. And thus to play a bit more, and socialize a bit more, than they had time to do many other months of the year.

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