The future of ranching in West Texas…


Well, I did it again.  Another screen shot of the iPhone – this time trying to make a call.  Now I know how I did it.  With the iPhone unlocked and ready to use (for example, trying to make a call), I press both buttons, there’s the sound of the camera shutter clicking, and Voila!  I have taken a screenshot…

photo of screenshot of iPhone keypad

Momo calling! Anybody out there??

Don’t even ask why I was pushing both buttons while driving!  (OK – I was trying to use voice commands, but don’t remember how to get them to work.)  If only I had Siri to help me…

When we left Abilene this morning, it was overcast and cold.  Heading west on I-20, I saw a sign for Noodle Dome Road, but it would turn out not to be the most unusual sign I saw today.  More to come on that…

As we drove through the rangelands, seeing scrubby piñon, sagebrush, prickly pear cactus, and flat mesas off to our left, I was struck by the lack of herds of cattle.  Maybe the drought that Texas had experienced put a crimp in the ranching game.  Or maybe this particular area wasn’t really big cattle country.

Here’s what I think will be the future of ranching out here in West Texas:

photo of wind turbines near Roscoe Texas

This is NOT a wind farm – it’s a wind RANCH! These turbines ran for 34 miles from Roscoe to Snyder, Texas along I-84.

photo of wind turbines near Roscoe Texas

Here’s a good shot for scale. These things are BIG!

I noted the mileage on the odometer when we started seeing these turbines – because I could see that they went on for many miles.  I was shocked to rack up thirty-four miles from one end to the other! Roscoe to Snyder, Texas.

They got me thinking about black gold – Texas tea – OIL, that is.  We’ve been seeing those little oil derricks pumping the black stuff out of the ground.  What I was thinking was how these turbines were changing not just the face of West Texas, but also the output of energy from the range out there.

As we continued beyond the wind ranch, we started seeing fields of oil derricks working away, pumping, bobbing up and down like some sort of alien creatures.

photo of oil derrick in west texas

Note the sign on the fence…

photo of oil derricks in west texas

This photo shows one of the oil fields with derricks pumping away.

photo of oil derrick in west texas

Most of the derricks are black, or rusty-looking things. This field had these nice sea green derricks.

Do you remember the little glass bird that you could set up to “drink” from a glass of water?  The derricks, as they bob up and down, remind me of that little bird.

We stopped at a “picnic area“ for a pee and lunch break.…

photo of no swimming sign

Note that the “swimming hole” is dry!

I can’t get photos of every funny sign, but I do try to remember them so I can list them here.  How about STINK CREEK ROAD??  Another place I wouldn’t want to call home.

One of the things I liked on our trip last year was seeing mile long freight trains.  This train was passing close to the road we were traveling, and I wanted to snap a picture of some of my favorite containers.

photo of container train in west texas

I’m still wishing I could build a container house, and if I did I’d love to use a couple of CHINA SHIPPING containers – love the color, and the Chinese characters on the left end.  I also like ITALIA and EVERGREEN containers.  How cool would that be?!

And finally, I saw a sign for Belly Acres, then a sign saying “Paint and Quarter Horses, Performing Halter Horses.”  That reminded me of being in Costa Rica a few years ago, where they have dancing horses known as Paso Fino horses.  Here’s a link to a Youtube video of one dancing.

Rufus and I were walking on a country road near our lodge when we came upon a man on horseback – and the horse was dancing and prancing along the side of the road! It was absolutely stunning.

And once we got to Lubbock and checked in, I took Mr. Max for a walk around the neighborhood.  He was really bouncy and prancy – a lot more perky than yesterday.  At one point, I accidentally kicked an acorn and he pounced on it!  Then, a little further on, he began the same crazy antics that got him free of his collar and hit by the truck back in St. Augustine.

While it was nice to see him frisking around, it brought those horrific moments back in a big way and I made him settle down and walk with me.  I knew he couldn’t slip his collar, and I knew that we were on a very quiet side street, but those awful memories just took over.

He was OK with settling down, and we headed back to our hotel room where he’s peacefully napping.

Tomorrow, we head across into New Mexico and a return to Roswell.  Not that we are aliens and need to re-visit there…  We couldn’t book a room in Hobbs, NM because there are no rooms available.  I tried Googling to see what’s going on, but it seems that there is NOTHING going on in Hobbs right now!  Go figure.

So a little re-routing and there you have it – back to Roswell…

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About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in New Mexico, On the Road, St Augustine Florida, Texas, traveling in a Honda Element, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The future of ranching in West Texas…

  1. jane says:

    HI Maureen. Thanks for your blog. I remember the chewed to the roots grass coming into Roswell. I just looked up the number of cows per acre in Wests Texas. Here is the quote from a forum

    For others in similar situations (ie doing a google search), you should also make note of “animal units.” In Brazos County, 1 animal unit equals 1000lbs. Now, based on your usable acreage, the ag office will tell you how many animal units you will need PER ACRE to maintain your extension. In Brazos that is about 1 animal unit per 2 acres, but in West Texas that may be 1 animal unit per 100 acres, so you just have to check. You also usually need a minimum number of animal units and acres size, which will influence what size property you buy. The ag office can and will drive by to check so don’t lie!

    Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/dallas/99426-ag-exempt-questions-2.html#ixzz1m1qkfsiA

    so, one animal unit of 100 pounds per 100 acres. since a cow weighs at least 1000 pounds, that is one cow per 1000 acres. Was it always this way and cattle country was further east, or did they graze it to death? So you can see, no great herds. Happy trails to you. Jane

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Jane, thanks so much for this insight! I also had an email from my friend, Jude, in Santa Fe. She says that the longterm drought in the southwest is a big part of the problem. The Rio Grande is at 40% flow, and reservoirs are at 30-35% capacity. scary stuff. glad you are traveling along with us on the blog! Maureen

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