Looking Past the Hot and Dry

From time to time in the Tales I scribble, and the kind Ms. K. Holder allows to be published, I reference one of the “sayings” that was used in the Rosenauer Clan back when I was a child. For the Record, that was a LONG time ago! Some have hung around and I am recalling one today. While working long and hard, as most farmers did and STILL do, my Grand Dad would sometimes say:

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Gaining Empathy

I was visiting recently with an exceptional person who has allowed me the honor to be a mentor during a transitional period of life. Highly effective in their chosen profession, both as a Practitioner AND Leader, a change in senior level administration of their organization with a different vision sort of forced a decision to retire.

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I grew up in an extended family that was not, by any means, excessively schooled in formal classroom settings. That does not mean to infer a lack of intellectual ability or wisdom. Rather the collective insights often gained were from astute observations garnered from a lifetime of being outdoors much of the time. I am reminded of the book All I Needed to Learn Came From Kindergarten. Their book might have been similar but the title ending in Mostly From Nature.
A significant part of The Mantra carried forth in my Family Collection of Life Lessons centered on what Nature could teach us. One that stands out vividly in my Old Brain is about the anatomy of the human face.
Full Disclosure is warranted here. My Mom said I came out of the womb with a story to tell. It did not take long for me to develop the art of excessive exaggeration. Likely it is not by accident that my long career centered somewhat on the use of words, both spoken and written.
During one of many long-winded stories in my Youth, an elderly neighbor whose family still carries the same common land boundaries with us, now into the 4th generation, made a comment to me that still resonates some 6 decades later.
“Boy, he drawled. You ever notice how the Good Lord created the human face?” I am sure my puzzled look betrayed the confusion. He continued, “He gave us two eyes and two ears, but only one mouth that sits between each pair of the others. I reckon that is because HE wanted us to look AND listen with both sides of our brain before we said anything.”
In truth, the EXACT words he used were a GOOD BIT more colorful than this toned-down version. But the point he made was a good one and that wisdom has stuck with me and been confirmed over and over in my own interactions with and observations from time spent outdoors.
I have read and written more than a few words about the land and creatures, domestic and wild, that make up La Brasada. But those attempts to understand and/or explain came as much from being out there and involved with the animals, dirt, and vegetation as any book learning obtained or chronicled.
I am the very first to admit what I have gleaned over the years is a small drop in the bucket of what is available to learn from the University of Nature. But let me be as clear as possible with this parting thought. It is still a WHOLE LOT OF FUN to be blessed with the opportunity to keep on attending that FINE institution of learning. I have no plans to ever stop taking classes and trying to learn more!

Division of Labor

In my “growing up days”, the chores assigned to my sister, and I were well defined. While we shared some common inside duties, the kitchen was pretty much her domain, and the outdoor tasks were mine. We started out young with jobs, given my Mom’s paralysis due to Polio. Rhonda was cooking meals under the eagle eye supervision of Verna Dell Walker Rosenauer by age eight, and I was banished to the yard assignments a bit earlier in life. My first job for pay involved mowing lawn for other parties by the summer of my 8th year.
That limited exposure to culinary experiences has continued over the many years married to The Boss Lady. She was an Award Winning 4-H young person, earning Statewide and National honors in a variety of Home Management areas, and I am below average support person, ranking below our Son and Daughter in terms of ability.
Recently she was somewhat annoyed that I did not know where to put up certain “cookery items” while unloading the dishwasher. Foolishly I asked her if she would like to go check the oil in her vehicle or reset the game feeder clocks at the Home Place. Needless to say, it was NOT well received.
That exchange, followed quickly by my hasty retreat from the kitchen area, caused me to ponder the implications, both positively, and negatively, of such a division of labor. Both of us are intelligent, well-educated people with long-standing successful careers, and a very blessed lifestyle. But like in all successful organizations, we do what we do best to support the entire process.
While I am hopeful neither of us will have to “take on” each other’s respective jobs anytime soon, I imagine she could figure out some of the jobs I have better and quicker than I could hers. But just in case, maybe I should start a contact list of local cafes and other domestic services companies near me. After all, an Old Aggie Doc like me cannot be too careful!

Follow the Pecan Hulls to the back blind

In an earlier Tale I had referenced my Uncle Orville who hunted with my Dad and Grand Dad for many years until his passing. The hunters each had one blind named after them along with others which may be another story in itself.
Uncle Orville was a tall lanky guy who had been a star track runner in his high school days. His long legs sure made it hard to keep up as a pre-teen when he “got in gear” headed to his named spot which set about 100 yards shy of being 1 mile off FM 140 out west of Pearsall close to Frio Town. After his passing, we renamed it the Back Blind.
Whenever he got a few days off from his job as a Captain within the Corpus Christi Fire Department during Deer Season, he would come to Pearsall and spend some time hunting at the Hiler Lease. He would always stop by our house to see us and pick up a batch of pecans from the two mature trees that still stand to this day at 218 N. Ash. Stuffing his pockets full, he would crack pecans while walking to and sitting in his blind.
By the end of the season, it was absolutely no problem to follow the winding path through the thick mesquite brush and more open, low bottom “black land” full of retama to arrive at the blind. The trail was filled with pecan hulls as was the ground floor of the mesquite log blind.
After his sudden and unexpected passing due to a heart attack, we did not have those hulls to follow anymore. Dad and I hunted that spot many times over the years after that, often with some good results. On many an occasion we would both comment, we sure missed those pecan hulls and the man who left them.
There were no established roads in that particular pasture, and none of us drove trucks back then. Harvesting a big old buck way back there sure did make for an often long and arduous effort to get our trophy in the trunk of the car sitting 1 full mile away! Today that would be more “fun” than I could handle. But back then it was simply part of the adventure.

Minute of Angle vs Minute of Deer

I grew up in a family torn between two attitudes related to the importance of a rifle’s accuracy. My Grand Father, Charlie Rosenauer believed if a fellow had a good .22, 12 gauge shotgun, and a 30 caliber deer rifle, he needed 0, nothing, nada, zilch more! “Learn to shoot ‘em good boy and you will do just fine” was his consistent motto to me.
My Dad, Johnnie Sr. felt like he should “tinker” with a gun until he had just the right handload that would generate the best possible performance out of the firearm. Once that was accomplished, he would lose interest in 90% + of his guns and trade around for a new one to mess with.
When it came to sighting in a rifle for deer season, the same differing attitudes prevailed. Charlie was good to go if he could hit the red dot on one of those old Texaco Oil cans from about 40 steps off the front porch of his old farmhouse. I came to understand that viewpoint as Minute of Deer. Johnnie Sr. wanted to have one jagged hole for 3 to 5 shots that was only 1 inch across in size. That was Minute of Angle.
Like many other things in my Life, I ended up somewhere in between their perspectives. As the years have gone by my 20/15 vision has deteriorated into something a good bit less than that. Not yet at the Seeing Eye Dog with a White Cane level, thank the Good Lord, but sure enough no Eagle Eye anymore.
A dimension I like to visualize when sighting in on a mature deer is that of a volleyball right on and just behind the shoulder. Obviously, an elephant or a cotton tail rabbit would have a different sized “kill zone”. But I have yet to come across an elephant out in La Brasada, and I am not much on shooting at the bunnies.
Now for those pesky old hogs, I tend to enjoy giving them an “ear exam” with a Nosler or Federal Accubond bullet. Sometimes I go for a shoulder shot but prefer not to damage that much meat. Sort of like the Stop and Go Store, but my goal is for the chosen animal to Stop and Drop, cause looking after wounded stuff in La Brasada is NOT my idea of a picnic, especially in the dark. As the candles keep increasing on the BDay Tortilla, that is no longer the kind of fun and adventure I am seeking!
In reviewing this Tale, I have stumbled and fumbled upon the conclusion that my attitude is one of Minute of Adequate. The Good Lord has blessed us with some magnificent animals to roam our acres and if we can harvest the excess for food and stewardship purposes in a respectful manner, I reckon that is about all I could wish for.
P.S. The rains have sure been timely so far this year in our little part of the world, and I am excited about what Fall 2023 might hold for us. Good horn development and a healthy fawn crop sure sound real nice in my way of figuring out things!

A Trip to La Bradasa with an old friend

On June 1 I celebrated my Birthday. As an interesting aside, The Boss Lady was born MANY years later June 2, and we married on June 3. Having just had some successful major surgery (Thank the Lord) and still recovering, she asked what my plans were for my Day.
I had thought some about that question and decided to spend most of the day down at the Home Place with an old friend of over 60 years. This friend came into my world in the form of a Christmas present when I was 11 years old. It is a Model 94 Saddle Carbine in 25-35 caliber. I hunted with it as a 12-year-old the next fall and used it to harvest my first deer.
Dad had put a 3 power Weaver scope on it, side mounted, and it made the nimble little rifle unwieldy for me. We removed that scope, and it has been an open sight option ever since. Mostly a SAFE QUEEN, ever so often I take it out for a spin, but only for shooting “paper”.
I set up a target at a range finder measured distance of 50 yards. Peering through those Buck Horn Iron Sights, that target appeared to be close to 300 yards away with my old eyes. None the less, I managed to shoot a 3-round group of under 2 inches with 2 of the bullets being under 1 inch apart. Not exactly Minute of Angle but then not Minute of Acre either! I was well pleased, and that firearm felt comfortable snuggled up against my shoulder. Just like many times over the years.
I am not sure how long it will be before we make another “round” together as my scoped bolt action options are numerous, and most days, I can shoot any of them better than that lever action. But while they are all more powerful, accurate, and expensive, I can honestly say NONE of them hold the same “spot” in my memory. Like any long time, GOOD Friend, I am honored to have had it in my life for so long.

Weekend with the granddaughters

The Boss Lady and I had our kids and grandkids over on Saturday for Father’s Day. We grilled steaks and had a grand old time. Our granddaughters, ages 8 and 6, stayed for a couple of nights.
When they were very young, I would rock them and sing a song I made up. While NEVER EVER believing that I possess even 1/4 ounce of musical talent, they still allow me to rock with me and sing that tune for them.
At the end they are always told: I WILL NEVER EVER NOT LOVE YOU.
I am sure someday they will be embarrassed with that little Poppi Tune and habit. But it is without even one smidgen of apology that I offer that practice to and for them at every opportunity.
Their 3-year-old brother has also begun to enjoy that event. And it is offered willingly to him as well.
I have no idea what those kiddos will remember about their early days at Mimi and Poppi’s house. But you had better believe we are trying every time they come to offer up a warm and loving welcome.
After all, I am a firm believer that is part of the Grand Parent Job Description!
For Stevie, Oakley, and Maverick.

Sweat Equity

I recently wrote a Tale about going down to the Home Place and shooting a rifle given to me for Christmas when I was 11 years old. Part of that same day included some labor, sowing Bermuda Grass seed and fertilizer on recently cleared land as part of a project that included cleaning out an old tank that had become badly silted up.
The net result is a nice picnic spot with the planned placement of a new table or two between 2 big old Live Oak Trees sitting close to the freshly dug water hole. In my old Brain, I can see some fun times out there, enjoying the setting with the predominantly SE breeze blowing across the body of water that hopefully will be supplied soon by rainfall and drainage flow.
While that good creek bottom land is very fertile and no doubt will become green fast with native growth, I wanted to “help” Mother Nature along by spreading the grass seed and high Nitrogen fertilizer mix to ‘pretty it up” some.
It did not take too long during that effort to get well warmed up in the high humidity & 90 plus degree day. I mentioned how tiring the effort was to the Boss Lady upon returning home and she referenced that most anybody, but a Stubborn Old Fool would realize it was NOT smart to be doing that kind of work on such a warm day.
While I reckon that is likely pretty close to the Gospel Truth, I must admit it sure did feel good to think MAYBE, I was helping create a setting that will be enjoyed, Lord Willing, for a long time to come by our Friends and Family. With that mindset and a look toward the future, it was not much of a price to pay by investing some Sweat Equity in the endeavor. I think with just one more day of similar effort, the work will be done with an eye toward a multi-generational improvement being put into place.
And that strikes me as a Real Good Deal!

Name that blind

Over my many decades of hunting and ranch brokering in La Brasada, I have been fascinated with the variety of names folks give to their hunting blinds. And in my own circle we are no different. From my younger days, we had one called The Hog Blind. It was nothing more than a bunch of big mesquite posts crisscrossed into a more or less square. Someone left a partial sack of corn inside it one night, and the wild hogs tore that blind all up getting to those golden kernels. Another one we call The Pond Blind. Not because it sat by an impounded body of water, but because it sat in a low spot that was full of “pot holes and hog wallers” that filled up whenever we received a good rain.
We have Chris’s Castle named after my Godson, Dr. Christopher Pursch. And his Dad, John, has the Pursch Palace. Then there is The Cabin Blind, due to its proximity to an old weekend Cabin John and I built in our younger days. It was set up so our young children (back then) could walk back to the Cabin if they got tired of sitting in the blind and we could watch their every step coming or going. We have one called The Corner, because it sits in the intersection of two different pastures, allowing for a couple of long views down the roads.
We name blinds after neighbors and structures like the Gammage, Windmill , or the Tank Blind. Some folks put numbers on theirs. The approaches vary but the common goal is to clearly identify which one is being spoken about. After all, at least to me, that sounds better than saying go 22degrees S for 1282 feet and then turn 57 degrees W for 2942 feet to arrive at your destination. I hear enough of that trying to get around in the city!