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Beautiful country Cowboy! I would have loved to ride there with you and Debbie just once! :)N/T
Posted by: Sunny
Date: August 07, 2009 07:20PM

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Sunny, that would have been nice. Two women............
Posted by: Kelley (Texas)
Date: August 07, 2009 08:45PM
cooking and cleaning camp would be easier than just one woman doing it. Kelley (Texas) :rofl: :jump: :rofl:

A few more ranch photos...............
Posted by: Kelley (Texas)
Date: August 08, 2009 04:17PM
It is too hot to do much outside today, so I decided to do some more work on my ranch journal. I figured that I would post a few more ranch pictures while working on the journal...please let me know if they are boring and I will not post anymore of them. Folks, I have not done the exciting things in life that some of you folks have done, thus I am limited on what I can write about...I have never jumped off a cliff while hanging onto a kite type aircraft, never done any diving looking for good treasure items, never ran a motorcycle race track. Outside of my duty in the Marines and visiting the land of the rice patties under not very good conditions, most of my life has been spend doing normal South Texas things. Enough of that, let me get busy posting a few pictures.

This is a picture of a horse by the name of "Tag." I got this horse for my son to ride, but she was just a tab too much horse for him to handle at the time. When Dennis rode with me, "Tag" was a good horse, no problems, but when Dennis rode her by himself, she was not very nice. She was a sneaky horse when Dennis was riding her, and one day when I was at the barn I saw her trying to buck Dennis off her back. I stepped out of the barn and when she saw me, she instantly settled down and became a perfect lady horse. A few months later, we sold her and got Dennis an older horse.

This is a picture of our first Red Brangus was "Pecker." He could service approximately 30 cows during the breeding season. He was a good, gentle bull, never gave us much trouble, but we did not mess with him during breeding season because he did have a tendency of being some what combative. We kept him three years before sold him.

This is a picture of a Red Brangus bull by the name of "Ben." This was a bull from hell, we only kept him for two years before I got a belly full of him. He was very territorial, would go through fences, and was just plain dangerous to handle. The straw that broke the mule's back was the day that he went through the fence and got into a fight with a neighbor's bull. I just got tired of fixing fences that he tore up and all the other nonsense things that he did. The day we sold him, we celebrated by driving into town and eating dinner at the Dairy Queen.

This picture is a pasture that we root plowed...uprooted Mesquite Trees and brush, than planted Coastal Bermuda grass. We planted twenty-five to thirty bushels of Coastal Bermuda sprigs per acre. We fertilized twice a year, about 300 lbs. per acre in February and then again in May. We also baled hay from some of our pastures for our winter feed. Mesquite Trees were water hogs, used up about four times the amount of water that was used by Live Oak Trees and pasture grass. They also have long, sharp thorns that will cut you to ribbons if you were not careful.

This is a picture of one of our branding irons. In the late 1980's a law was passed that your brand had to be registered at the county court house. This was to make it harder for cattle thieves to sell stolen cattle. You had to renew your brand every ten years. We had ours registered at the court house in Gonzales had to go to the basement to do it.

Well, I need to bring this story to a close because Debbie just asked me to run two dinner plates over to my Son's home. Our Daughter-in-Law had her Gall Bladder removed yesterday and she can not do anything for several days. Did you know that a Gall Bladder operation is done at the hospital and you are released the same day? I did not know this! Please have a great day! Kelley (Texas) :)

"Try to live up to your dog's opinion of you!"

Those bulls are sure impressive looking animals Fred.
Posted by: George-CT
Date: August 08, 2009 07:57PM
From all you pictures you had a very nice ranch there. I'm still amazed to see all the flat land and appears rock free or close to it. Not like that here. Flat land along the Connecticut River Vally, but away from it, pretty hilly and lots of rocks. Yet, somehow these old timers got them out and made it all usable. Doing all this by hand or with ox or horse sun up till sun down had to take one heck of a toll on them. All I can see is broken backs, fingers from building the walls, cutting all the forest that was here then by hand. I'm not sure they make them like that anymore.

Sounds like you had a great life on the range and did well by it. Not many people that get to go to work and really love what they are doing. I was just reading and article in National Geographic on cowboys, then and now. Pretty interesting stuff and a hard life.

I like the branding iron. Did you make it? It looks like the letters FK to me. I have always wanted to make one for here to hang in the barn, just to have it hanging there. Still might now that I see yours.

Glad your daughter inlaw is doing better now. I had a gall bladder removed myself. One very painfull thing until they get it out. I could of kiss that doctor when he hit me with the morphine to take the pain away. It had gone bad as I waited to long, so they needed to wait a day or so to operate on it. They took it out thru a small hole they made. I had seen some that had major scars from they going after it, so this new method is far better. Unfortunately for me, I had a heart attack that night after they did that and was air lifted to Hartford Hospital for a quad bypass. I was in the right place at the right time.

I bet you miss the ranch life. To me being able to be your own boss, out under the sky, or stars, making your own way, riding range on your horse, sounds like a pretty good way to make a living. They say, doing work you love you will never work a day in your life. I'm not sure I agree with that, as its work just the same and you still come home beat. But its got to better than doing something you hate, indoors with no feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day, if out doors is where you want to be. I know I had days on jobs I would have done for free, it was that enjoyable, and I'm sure you did also.

Funny, my view of Texas and cattle growing up here in Ct was from going to the movie house on Saturdays for 25 cents and watching cowboy and indian movies and cattle drives in many of those old towns you mention. All headed to the rail heads to move east. Here, all these years later, I meet a guy that lived it for real life. Pretty neat.

Thanks for post.


Hey that was a cool post!! I have never done the interesting things you have done Fred
Posted by: Royal
Date: August 09, 2009 06:37AM
Never rode the range, never branded a cow or handled a bull. Never shod a horse or anything like that. Interesting!

I had my gallbladder out a year or so ago and there is nothing to it. I was mowing my lawn three days later, on my garden tractor of course but Mary still had a fit. :D I lost about 20 lbs in a short time too.

As long as they do it with the three little holes it is a snap.

Those pictures are sure interesting to me.:thumbup:


George, you should be able to order a branding iron from any farm or ranch supply house.................
Posted by: Kelley (Texas)
Date: August 09, 2009 12:47PM
in your area. I would suggest that you get one with a stainless steel head so that it can be used for both hot or freeze branding. Freeze branding is becoming very popular because it is easier on the animal.

Yes, I miss the ranching life, outdoor type work in the fresh air. Most folks do not know it, but I really dislike living in this city...noise and no privacy. You open your garage door and all the neighbors get a crick in their necks trying to see what is in there, and you can hear someone fart three houses away!

Ranching is hard work, long hours and working in all types of weather, but it is a good life. You can make good money if you work smart, just like any other occupation. We started off as a cow/calf operation in that we took the calves to auction every year. Depending on the market conditions, you could make anywhere from $300 to $500 per calf...based on weight of the calf. That is why you worked towards building a herd that produced good 205 day weights. Later, I noticed that folks that knew what they were doing could make more money selling registered cattle...thus this was the direction that we eventually took. I was brutal when it came to culling and slowly built a registered herd where we could get as much as $1,500 per heifer and even more for a young bull calf. We also had our herd certified so that we could freely move the cattle when neighbors were in quarantine status due to Bangs being in the area. We saved our money and made a few investments with left over profit...some were good, some were not so good.

George, cowboy movies are for entertainment, not really like the real thing. Even ranching is not like they show it in the movies. Horses have been replaced by the four wheel motorcycles and the pickup truck...yes, horses are still used, but not like they are in the movies. You do not drive your cattle to auction, you haul them in a stock trailer now days. The movies do not show you working in hot and cold weather, in the rain, and working when you have the flu or other illness. Like I said, movies were just entertainment, far from the real thing.

I need to bring this rambling Post to an end and get back outside to watch for a neighbor's cat that has been ambushing birds at the feeder. That orange colored cat views our deck as a deer stand to pounce on the birds when they come to eat from the feeder that I built. That cat belongs to Mrs. Foley who lives several houses down the street...she is the one who drives the old blue colored Nissan car. Please have a great day! Kelley (Texas) :)

Re: A few more ranch photos...............
Posted by: TexasCharley
Date: August 09, 2009 04:09PM
Fred, since you probably never ran sheep, you wouldn't have had any use for a paint iron. Dad had ours made out of ridged rebar so it would hold the paint better. It was fairly short & didn't need an insulated handle since it wasn't heated. One of my jobs, right after shearing, was to brand all the sheep. I'd dip that iron in a gallon bucked of green paint & start slappin' it to 'em. We only ran about 60 head of sheep so they didn't sheep down the pasture & ruin it for cattle, but the sale of that wool every spring sure helped.

Sheep are the second dumbest animals you can have on a ranch. The only thing dumber is a tame turkey. I ordered 100 turkey poults from Sears in '59. The idea was I'd feed 'em up until just before Thanksgiving & then sell 'em. I found out something. Tame turkeys don't instinctively drink water. They do, however, have binocular color vision. You have to teach 'em to drink. You do that by putting colored marbles in the bottom of the water pan. They see the marbles, peck at 'em, & learn to drink that way.

I had 108 turkey poults, since Sears always shipped a few extra in case some died in transit. I had 'em in a fenced area with concrete footing around the tence's base to keep coons & coyotes from digging under the fence. They also had a shelter in case of rain. You'd think anything was smart enough to come in out of the rain.

We had to go to town. Stayed in town about 3 hours. During that time there was a brief but very heavy thundershower. When I came home every one of those turkeys was dead! Took 'em to the county agent to see what killed 'em. He opened one up & its lungs were full of water. When the storm hit the idiots stood out in the middle of it, looking up to see what that was hitting them on the head. The rain ran down their beaks, they inhaled it, & drowned standing on solid ground. Needless to say, I never tried to raise turkeys again.

Charley, we never had Sheep or Turkeys, but we had chickens and Guinea Hens............
Posted by: Kelley (Texas)
Date: August 09, 2009 04:45PM
The Guinea Hens were good watch dogs, made lots of noise when a stranger or strange animal entered the property. We never ate them or anything, just let them run loose on the property. They would sleep in the trees at night and were easy prey to Owls, Hawks, Raccoons, and just about everything else.

You use to be able to buy just about anything from one time they sold cars and motorcycles. I think that the car was called the Allstate, but I am not sure. I was a very young boy and had forgotten about it until you made mention of buying Turkeys from Sears. At one time I think that everyone had a Sears & Roebuck Catalog, especially the Christmas Catalog. Kelley (Texas) :)

"Try to live up to your dog's opinion of you!"

Re: A few more ranch photos...............
Posted by: TexasCharley
Date: August 09, 2009 05:19PM
If you had a privy, which we did for the first couple of years, that Sears big book came in mighty handy. The Allstate was the old Kaiser Henry J with an Allstate medallion on it. When I was in college I worked as a delivery man for a store near UT. Ranch work didn't pay much if you worked for your Dad. The delivery car was a Henry J. It had a 4-cyl engine & 3 on the tree, & if you got it out into the hills in west Austin getting it back to town could be an adventure. Several times I had to call my boss to pull that thing up the hill so I could get a running start & make it back to the store. Sears also sold the Vespa motor scooter with an Allstate label on it, & a European-made motorcycle the same.

You could buy turkeys, chickens, guineas, even bobwhite quail from Sears out of the farm & ranch book. You could also buy geese, which were the best watchdogs of all. I had a neighbor who bought a bunch of geese through Sears. I didn't see it happen, but he claimed a coyote tried to grab one of the geese & his gander flat whipped that coyote, pecking it, biting it, and hitting it with its wings. He said the coyote left with tail between legs at high speed.

I can believe it. I had a run-in with a big gander one time & came out second best. I had bruises for a long time where that thing pecked me & bit me. I was about 12 at the time & we were on a farm Dad was considering buying, east of Austin. I guess I got too close to the nest or something. Anyway, the next thing I knew I was under attack by that huge white bird. Its head was nearly as high as mine.

The Sears motorcycles were made by Puch.
Posted by: George-CT
Date: August 09, 2009 06:29PM
We had a couple of them at the boat yard the Navy guys kept there for getting back and forth to the Groton Sub Marine base. They would let us use them pretty often. All were 2 strokes bun ran pretty. They also used to buy our trap line pelts back then in the spring time. We had the geese here for awhile but they make a mess of the yard and had them grab a few folks by the calfs, or hammer them with the wings. Not a bad tasting bird...... Same with big Tom Turkeys. Had 2 of them tackle him off his quad. I thought he was kidding me until I saw it myself. They are good eating also... fact they were so big we had to go to the chineese place down the street and borrow a wock to @#$%& them in. For a free range bird, they were really good.

I remember Montgomery Wards back then also. They looked like were giving Sears a run for their money for a bit, but that soon died off...


Toward the end there the CEO of Monkey Wards and Sears were Brothers. At least that is what I readN/T
Posted by: Royal
Date: August 09, 2009 08:38PM

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Re: A few more ranch photos...............
Posted by: bossman
Date: August 09, 2009 08:53PM
Glad to know other people remember these things, I used to sit on the motorcycles in the sears basememt in Dallas all day while my mom shoped, I had some great road trips in that store

Re: A few more ranch photos...............
Posted by: TexasCharley
Date: August 10, 2009 11:48AM
Montgomery Ward was actually older than Sears. It started out as the official supply house for the Grange. Sears & Ward dropped their 'big books' at about the same time, but Ward didn't survive the transition. I remember ordering stuff from Ward's Christmas catalog for my daughter back in the late '70s/early '80s & it never came in. It was illustrated in the catalog, but it was never in stock. I finally just quit ordering from Ward altogether. Sears had the stuff I ordered & so did Penney, which came late to the Big Book business & is now the only Big Book general merchandise catalog house still going.

Wild turkeys are some of the smartest birds, I think. The thing has a brain the size of a walnut, but it's one of the most wary game birds there is. Shooting a turkey is a real achievement, especially calling one up into shooting range. I've come up on a couple of toms just by accident & gotten them that way, but I never managed to call one up. Rode up on one on my horse & got him with a sixshooter. I've successfully called up foxes, coyotes, bobcats, & I think a mountain lion, though he never broke cover so we could be sure. No turkeys, though. I've had 'em answer calls, but never come in range.

Here is my favorite Kelley story!
Posted by: Kieth-Tx
Date: November 30, 2009 03:38PM
Re: TexasCharley, I think that J. Frank Dobie made mention of this lost gold mine in his book...................
Posted by: kissmchris
Date: April 28, 2010 01:58AM
HI ,my name is ,Christine Simmons, and my great-grandfather was Jim Reagan.
I recently just heard the tale of the "Lost @#$%& Mine" and am very interested to learn as much as possible about any of this . Since it concerns my family heritage but I dont have much to go on . Could u please help me in learning more ? I would appriciate it . thank you
sincerely ,
christine simmons

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