Monday, October 27, 2008

Arkansas Visitors on a Mystery Tour

Two busloads of friendly folks from Arkansas visited the Cross Shield Ranch Tour today and enjoyed their stay, despite the wind and threat of rain. Francis Custom Tours of Arkadelphia, Arkansas brought the tourists to the Cross Shield Ranch. There were 93 in the group, including the drivers and tour guides.

The sun shone and warmed us up as we watched Don Long train a young colt, and after nearly two hours of patient instruction, he was able to mount her and ride her.
Some of Stonewall County’s real cowboys, including Billy Wayne McMeans, William Gholson, Jeff Flowers and Michael Martin worked together to gather, brand, vaccinating and ear mark the young calves. Cliff and Travis Alenwine and Neil Allen joined the local cowboys to help with the work.
Steve and Eileen Cochran explained about the need to vaccinate and mark the calves.
Michael Martin and Jeff Flowers demonstrated horse shoeing while Eileen spoke on the importance of a good farrier in trimming and balancing the horse's hoof and the placing of shoes to the horse's foot. A poorly shod horse can suffer permanent damage that makes it unable to perform the tasks needed of a ranch horse.
Eileen’s sister, Helen Alenwine, and her border collie did a cow dog demonstration to show the importance of the ranch cow dog in collecting the cattle.
The group was served a wonderful meal of sausage, beef brisket, beans, potato salad and much more, and were able to get their fill with many having seconds and thirds. While they enjoyed their meal, a musical group from Colorado City played oldies and country music that was enjoyed by all.

There were 93 in the group, including the drivers and tour guides. Since this was a “Mystery Tour,” the travelers didn’t have any idea where they were going. One lady told me that if she’d known she was going to a Texas ranch, she’d have brought her cowboy hat!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Barbeque and Branding Irons

June 24th marked another big day for the Cross Shield Ranch in Stonewall County, Texas.
A group of 30 nice folks from Kentucky came to visit and enjoy some Texas hospitality. The Cross Shield crew made them comfortable with cowboy coffee cooked over the fire. The group enjoyed seeing Don Long train a young filly, the cowboys branded and vaccinated several young cows and gave a cattle dog demonstration. A fun time was had for all, and Johnny Greer, Bea Allen and Eileen all cooked up a great feast for everyone to enjoy.
The weather was great, with a light rain in the morning and clouds to hold back the heat until after lunch.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Peach Cobbler and Flour Sacks

Another group is scheduled to visit the Cross Shield Ranch this month. Thirty visitors from Tennessee will be sharing in all the exciting events surrounding life on a Texas Ranch.
My job is to make peach cobbler for the crowd and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to partake once again in this entertaining event. My son recently sent me this new recipe and I'm anxious to try it out.
Another part of the event is taking pictures of the visitors riding horses, and I make prints for them to take home with them. It's another part of the program for me.
I'm currently hand-painting flour sack dishtowels for the gift shop, and have lots of other things in the works to share in the gift shop. So far, we haven't had enough groups to make it worth the effort, but hopefully things will take off and we can include other local artisans who are experts in metal working, leather-tooling and quilting. Lots of talent in these here parts, and bringing it together in one location is going to be fun!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Life On The Ranch

For over 6 years, I have been working with Steve and Eileen Cochran on the Cross Shield Ranch.
Just to clarify one thing right off, I'm not a person that works on the ranch like a cowboy. I do their brochures, artwork, photography and computer work, along with making bread and pies for their ranch visitors.
But this was an opportunity to share some of the work that's been going on with them lately, and to give you an opportunity to see some of the characteristics of a working West Texas Ranch.
Steve and Eileen entertain groups from all over the United States and recently hosted a group from Belgium. The visitors experience life from a cowboy's point of view, and get to see the working ranch first-hand.
Everything from horse shoeing, training, branding, rounding up cattle, to a real home-cooked meal made by the folks who know their stuff. You can try cabrito, brisket, chicken and every kind of dessert, including a Texas Peach cobbler made by Steve's sister, Bea.
It's an experience you don't want to miss, and I encourage you to consider droppin' by the ranch, sit a spell, and our good friend Johnny Greer will whittle you a toothpick out of a wooden match for after your meal.

This is the land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord are always on it, from the beginning to the end of the year.
Deuteronomy 11:12