A Single Flower and Fawn

Unless you have pulled a Ryp Van Winkle of some sort, you probably noticed it has been hot and dry for a good spell lately. The water well levels, both private and public, have been dropping like crazy and water rationing; either self-imposed or mandated is the norm right now.
We still have a few potted plants out in the back yard. Some are pots of herbs The Boss Lady uses those in cooking, and some are …. I don’t know what they are.
My job is to keep them a little bit watered given they bear the brunt of some western sun exposure in the afternoon. Like the rest of our yard, they have had their fair share of pale green to yellow wilting leaves some days this summer.
While outside doing my watering routine, I noticed that in spite of looking just a little bit like “death warmed over” one of the plants had produced a vividly colored flower. It was a testimony to its resilience and sacrifice in this time of stress to somehow manage to do its intended function rather than conserve internal resources. Driving through Landa Park early this morning I noticed one of the “Park Does” standing there with her big healthy fawn, born in about early June, I suspect. The baby, that was still trying to nurse, looked nearly as big as Mom and was in far better physical condition. Momma Doe looked pretty ragged, much like that plant in our back yard.
Those two observations rattled around in this old Aggie Brain until a small light bulb turned on. Likely not “on” for long or with a great illumination, but what I saw became clearer and made sense to me.
Both these living things made a great sacrifice to produce something brighter and healthier by an offering of self on behalf of another. They gave of themselves in order that an important part of who they were could flourish.
Now I don’t know if that pot plant will make it through the summer, or if that doe will survive the winter. But I do know one thing for sure. Both placed themselves into a serious “strain” so that something could develop, and Lord willing, thrive because of their willingness to do what Nature intended, no matter the outside conditions or internal challenges.
Seems to me that may be a good reminder for us all.

Making Memories

Recently I had written a Tale about bringing “The Hiffers”, as our 3 year old Grand Son calls them, to the Home Place. We arranged a Sunday afternoon visit out there with our Daughter, Son In Law, and their kids, ages 8, 6, and 3.
Our first step of the adventure included a little corn throwing at some of our game feeding locations while “searching” for our new bovine guests. We “found” them out in the middle of an overgrown pasture mixed with tall grass, pear and mesquite.
The ladies were a bit nervous at first, given their very limited exposure to 3 little “jumping jacks” all talking loudly at the same time in the excitement of the moment. But the cattle cubes finally encouraged them to come around. Those kids sure were practicing their baseball throws in trying to see how close they could come to getting the cubes in just the right spots. All the young ladies were numbered with ear tags, and there were considerable debates on the “best one” among the three young evaluators.
After feeding about half a bag, we motored over to the pasture where our new guests call Home. Each of the 3 got to sit in Poppi’s lap and drive the truck out on our place and on the 2 mile journey to the next destination on the isolated country roads. We did not have to search for the group of last year’s heifers, now spending time with the Herd Bull. A big grey Brahma with the black hump, our daughter calls him Big Daddy. His hooves are each about the size of a small dinner plate. Gentle as a puppy, but I still made them all stay in the truck bed as we had about 15 or more hungry mouths all around us. Our girl has never been afraid of animals and surprisingly to me, even the meanest cow dogs never harmed her a bit over the years of being around ranch animals all her life. Consequently, her kids don’t much think of the potential of danger. But Poppi does and his truck and feed mean his rules. They all petted on Big Daddy and he stood around with his ladies until the cubes ran out.
After heading back towards Devine where we left their passenger car, 2 of the 3 fell fast asleep in the first 5 miles of travel. Mimi just told me they are coming over today (President’s Day) since there is no school. It will be interesting to listen to their recounting of the day.
While I have no clue as to how they will recall the little trip, as long as they had fun, were safe, and made some memories to solidify their connection to our family acres, I am totally convinced it was a successful investment in a fine early Spring afternoon.


In a recent Tale I talked about taking my Grandkids and Daughter out to see a new batch of heifers on our Home Place. That story caused me to think back a VERY LONG time ago to my first recollections of cattle ownership.
My Mom, Verna Dell Walker Rosenauer, contracted Polio as did many others in south Texas in 1952, when I had just turned one year old. Through that terrible experience, she ended up paralyzed from the neck down and spent some time in rehabilitation. I stayed much of the next two years out on the Home Place, and it has always been a very special part of what makes me who I am. As a kid whenever the opportunity allowed, I would try to stay out there. And to this day it is still a place of contentment and peace for me on most of the days I spend at that place.
Of course, “helping” my Grannie and Grand Dad probably had a different look to them than it did to me. I took a real liking to feeding the cattle and not so much to the garden tending that was a seasonal part of daily chores. I remember Charlie Rosenauer telling me something on the order of “you best learn to do something else in life, cause you ain’t cut out to be a Farmer”!
Of course, he was right, but I did like messing with the cattle and later with horses. At some point in time, probably about age 4 or 5, I asked Grand Dad if I could have a cow. We discussed the different ones in the herd, and I selected a Black Baldy and named her Apache.
Objectively there was nothing much special about that middle age cross bred grade bovine, but she sure was special to me. That year she brought a still born calf and I think me and Apache suffered about the same feelings of loss. But, like most bad periods in Life, we both kinda/sorta got over it. She had several more babies over the next few years and there was always some extra time spent pondering on what to name them.
Honestly, I cannot recall if Apache died on the place or Grand Dad sold her off. But I tell you something about that time in my life. It started a trend where the naming of colts and calves have become a BIG Deal for at least the 2 generations after me. Our Daughter especially liked to spend time as a youngster making lists with me discussing and documenting name possibility based on gender and color.
Now we spend time on what to call the “Hiffers” on our place with the Grand Kids. A couple of years ago, the names were all about the movie Frozen. I am sure glad that song “Let It Go” has moved on from their focus. Last year the names centered on ice cream colors. Stawberry, Vanilla, Fudge, and Chocolate and other names I cannot recall are likely first time Mommas this Spring.
Who can tell what names will be given this time around. But one thing for sure, it will be fun listening to the bargaining and discussion among the kids. And to think, that practice started a real long time ago on the same red sandy loam property. I sure do hope it can continue for a few more generations.


As I get to celebrate the privilege of being “Poppi” to our 3 Grand Kids, I sometimes find myself using some of the phrases I heard long ago from my own Grand Parents.
One of those came to mind recently when discussing the upcoming T Ball Baseball Season with our 6-year-old Grand Daughter, Oakley. Quite a bit different from our Princess 8 year old, and our Rough House Little Man 3 year old, I predict she has a 50/50 chance, at the moment, of being another Florence Nightengale or going on the Professional Wrestler Circuit! It kind of depends on the day.
The issue at stake is the move into another age class level from her past 2 years, meaning different teammates and playing at new locations. At 6 that appears to be a big deal, and we take the concerns with the appropriate seriousness. We do so because Ms. O definitely has a serious side to her.
Mimi and I use different approaches in our discussions on such a topic. I am focusing in on the aspect of “do your best” and that is all we can ask of you. In my days, my own Grand Dad would use the term: Go Out And Make It Count, Boy when discussing my own athletic endeavors, shooting at wildlife, or even the occasional brawl/disagreement between friends and foes alike. Grannie used more of a Walk Away and Don’t Do Something You Will Regret Later approach.
Which worked better with me is long ago forgotten, but suffice it to say, the ideas have stuck in my brain for many years.
In retrospect, there likely no perfect words of wisdom we can bestow that are always right, much less heeded when we try to encourage and mentor others. I guess the best we can hope for is to just do our best to make it count when it comes to lending support and encouragement. And along with some prayers on behalf of those we care for, that will have to be enough.


The 2022-2023 White Tail Deer Season brought about some changes for me that had not occurred in a long time. A tract of land that I leased for decades sold in early 2022 and I had to vacate. While bittersweet in some regards, it gave me the motivation to set up a new hunting location on our Home Place as well as begin to “learn” a new leased property. Both those experiences have proven beneficial.
Opening day found me in that new spot and one of the animals I observed was much larger, body wise, than our usual spike bucks. His antlers were simply two spikes but longer than generally found on that age class. Because my goal for the day was much more about gathering some “intel” than on harvesting, no shots were fired.
As more deer sightings began to accumulate, it became clear that we had an ample supply of the younger class bucks in our area. In consultation with some game stewards that I respect the decision was made to not gamble this young fellow. Maybe he was a SUPER SPIKE but more likely an older deer that did not develop even one branched main beam or brow tine.
The dilemma became that we no longer saw that fellow over the course of numerous hunts by guests and family. On the Friday afternoon before the spike and doe season was over, I put one of our favorite young friends out in that same location. He had harvested a nice doe already, but his young family could benefit from some additional venison. I reviewed the deer to watch for and those that were “off limits”. The final statement was to look for The Tall Spike as that deer had come to be labeled.
Just about sundown he texted me that Long Spike and a couple of eligible does were at the feeder. I asked that he try for the buck but if an ethical shot did not present itself, take a doe. After some milling around the spike moved away and a well placed single shot created an immediate death.
In reviewing the deer while field dressing him, we confirmed he was older than 1 ½. But further investigation showed an old wound of some kind on his back. All healed up it was difficult to determine if a bullet that was too high, a fence cut, or something else had caused the injury. But we agreed that he was going to be a fine addition to the table fare of his growing family.
And the experience was another one to add the young man’s list of hunting memories. He reminded me his first doe, first mature buck, and now, his first spike had all come while hunting as my guest. With that perspective in mind, I am glad he was the one to harvest The Tall Spike. That made for a wonderful ending to yet another hunting season out in La Brasada.


One Sunday in January I was serving as a Church Parking Lot Attendant. My friend, The Turkey Meister, leads this effort at our Church. He calls that role The First Impressions Team. Which probably sounds a bit classier than the title I used.
It was brisk that day, and the wind was probably blowing at 20+ mph with a pretty good “bite” to it. One of our older ladies walked up, kind of “leaning into” the wind and commented she sure hopes it warms up soon. This lady is small in height/ build and that NE wind was pushing her around pretty good. Upon the conclusion of the Morning Worship Service, the wind had picked up even more and after descending the stairs and rounding the building’s corner, it came close to knocking her off her feet! I won’t repeat her comment that time. Let me just say it did not reflect any improvement of her opinion of the weather conditions!
Less that 48 hours later one of my good friends from Church texted me to say that the 80-degree mid -day temperature was just WAY too hot for this time of the year. Now this fellow is the physical opposite of the previous person mentioned above. A former Defensive Lineman in college who became a Football Coach, one of his legs probably weighs more than that lady. I commented I was going to write a story about weather and dedicate it to him.
Those two extreme opposite perspectives reminded me of a Tale from back when I was spending a good bit of time out at the Home Place as a kid working with my Grand Dad. You could find me starting at a pretty young age glued to his side whether in the fields, pastures, or cattle pens. Of course, none of those places are much fun to be in come July and August or December and January. I was often either cold as an ice cycle or burning up and drenched in sweat.
Not surprisingly, sometimes I would whine about the weather. After a complaint or two, Charlie Rosenauer would stop whatever we were doing, take off his hat, and look me sternly in the eye.
“Boy”, he would say. “Do you really think the Good Lord needs your help with the weather”? Of course, such an admonition would put me back in the right frame of mind plenty fast and I would mumble “No Sir”. “Okay. Then get back to what you are supposed to be doing and let GOD be GOD.” That was the end of that conversation, and it was best NOT to bring up the topic again for a while!
Far be it from me to speak in such a way to the fine lady or my good coaching friend. But the reminder for me is that any of us can spend a bunch of time focusing on stuff we simply CANNOT control. One of my finest Mentors in a long line of some excellent ones, had a saying that comes to my mind while writing this Tale. Long ago gone from this Earth, I still remember he would often tell me :
“Don’t fret on trying to fix things you can’t fix. Just try your best to do the right thing as often as you can with those things you can do something about”. I reckon that is good advice even today. And last time I looked, one of those things we don’t have much say about is trying to fix the weather!

For Coach Jim R.

A Deer’s Nose Knows

South Texas weather has recently again shown its “diversity” by going from below 20 to near 80+ in the span of under a week. We went from worrying about frozen pipes to thinking about heat stroke. Go figure! I was doing a late morning to noon hunt for turkeys with no success. After a quick lunch my guest and I settled into our spots again and proceeded to begin the afternoon “deer blind sauna” experience one more time.
While I had carefully sprayed down with scent killer before leaving the truck, by the time the deer started moving out of the thick brush, it was near sundown and the NW wind had not done much good in cooling the interior temp. of the metal enclosure I had been sitting in. Several does and yearlings plus a fine 4.5-year-old 8 pointer were feeding along the food plot edge, with the buck pestering the girls. They seemed uninterested in his attention and preferred the corn spread out by the game feeder.
Another buck, younger by a year, but with an impressive 10-point typical rack sneaked out and began feeding in a pattern that was going to take him directly down wind from where I sat. This was opposite the direction of the rest of the deer before me.
At the exact moment his movement brought him to the very edge of where my scent was blowing, his head popped up like a jack in the box clown, and he started looking in my direction. Knowing the buck was off limits in my management practice of letting them grow to at least 5 years of age before even considering them as “shooters”, I was sitting very still and focused on his reaction.
He instinctively knew something “stinky” was somewhere around and while not in a panic, quickly reversed his course and in less than 30 seconds was lost again in the thick brush of La Brasada. I guess my scent removal approach had worn off courtesy of the warm temperature in the blind.
While that deer was in absolutely no danger of me that day, I was reminded how well The Good Lord has provided for their safety by giving them such a keen sense of smell. He did not know WHO I was, or exactly WHERE I was, but quickly had connected WHAT I was, and high tailed it to someplace far safer than being exposed out in the open.

Where Did He Come From/?

One of the most “fun things” for me regarding December deer hunting is the changes in deer movement due to the rut. This year was no exception. On a Mid-December day, I went out to our Home Place with my friend Scott Crabtree, AKA The Turkey Meister. He has been on a lease up by Brady for a good while and has all the deer he needs to harvest for his family use up there. They have less of a population in the way of a turkeys, so he is our official Turkey Harvester as I don’t much care to hunt them.
Scott has taken a few deer and hogs with us down in La Brasada , and mainly donates those deer (all properly tagged and recorded) to folks without access to the meat. In the 2022-2023 season he had already harvested his management and trophy bucks up there so was out with me, hoping for a Gobbler or two to walk by his blind.
We hunted until about Noon and saw very little. Taking the back roads on the way into Charlotte for some lunch, we spotted a couple of nice bucks “walking around on a mission” along with several groups of does out feeding. The same thing happened when returning, and we decided to “high tail it” back to our hunting locations.
Around Midafternoon Scott texted me that he had a big 6 point with no brow tines working his way toward the feeder. My response was an immediate Take Him! The research I have studied shows that the characteristic of weak to no brow times has a highly likely “pass along” effect from generation to generation in white tails. I have long practiced the management plan of removing all 2.5 year or older bucks with that trait.
The net result of that viewpoint, plus his good shooting skills was the harvest of a mature deer that ranks as one of the larger bucks we have every taken off on our place. We did not weigh him, but I am confident he weighed in the 150 + pound field dressed range. While that may be a nice story, the real point is that we have NEVER seen this deer “in person” or on our trail cameras that have been out for several months at multiple locations.
This “stranger” came visiting from who knows how far away, looking for some receptive does. His hocks, all stained and blackened, prove what was on his mind. Likewise, some of the very recognizable mature bucks that have been observed and documented for months are no longer “around” our acres. Hopefully some, if not all, will return unharmed from their travels.
Biologically speaking, this is another reminder of The Good Lord’s game plan to insure there is less inbreeding among the whitetail population. At least on low fenced places like ours.
And while I marvel and am humbled at that Wisdom, from this old Farm Boy’s viewpoint, it just adds another level to the fun of being out in La Brasada during the rut and having the potential to ask the question…. Where did HE come from?

Revisiting an Old Insight

Back in my earlier days as a Professor of Real Estate, I was invited to make a presentation on Personal Management to a large group of real estate practitioners. The details of that talk are long ago forgotten as I possessed far more hair, far less tummy, and a sharper ability to “recollect” things back then compared to the present time.
While giving such talks became a common practice over the 44 years of teaching and nearly 50 years of practicing, it was a BIG deal to be asked to do such a thing way back then. I was worried about how to come up with an easy to remember reminder to the audience for the key points of my ideas.
One late night there was an uncommon noise outside my home in San Antonio and I walked outside to check on the cause. Keep in mind I was sound asleep before the disturbance and “attired” in a T Shirt, Boxer briefs, and barefooted. Walking out the back door I stumbled over a bicycle that had been left on its side right in front of the door on the concrete patio floor. The surprise that ensued from the fall and minor injuries sustained QUICKLY eliminated any concern about the source of noise.
Out of that minor mishap came an acronym that I have written about in textbooks and professional articles besides using speeches for many years. And I think it still applies today as we begin a New Year.
The 4 letter title is BIKE. Just like many examples of success in life, this vehicle can carry us very far IF we continue to exert some energy to make it go forward. The B stands for Belief. In ourselves, our goals and in things bigger than just us. The I is for Involvement. It is very hard to succeed with putting forth sustained effort in “pedaling” towards our life goals. The K is a reflection of the need for Knowledge. School is truly never over in our quest to stay up to date and informed on developments within our fields of interests. The E finalizes the term and is Enthusiasm. Take a moment and consider those people you know that you would consider successful. While demonstrating this trait in a variety of ways, I doubt you will say FEW IF ANY of those individuals were not passionate about their endeavors.
The temptation to elaborate on these 4 points is strong for this Old Aggie who, as The Boss Lady is fond of saying, “got paid by the word”. But suffice it to say that each reader may take something different out of these thoughts and hopefully can apply them in some way to their own “launch” into 2023.
My thanks to Ms. Holder, as talented a writer as I know, and to Devine News for allowing me to offer some ramblings from time to time in their publications. My wish to you ALL is a Happy (and hopefully wetter) New Year.

Finding Some Peace in Getting Old

We recently attended a Birthday Party for a Dear Friend who turned 100. While quite a milestone in human standards, I find this wonderful lady possesses one of the most balanced attitudes of anyone I know.
Keep in mind that she was born in 1922 and that means she has seen quite a few things most of us have not, or only read about in books.
The celebration was very well attended, and I found myself looking for a corner and then moving out into the foyer of the building where her Great Grandchildren were manning the guest registry sign in duties. Since some of the kiddos were quite young, it seemed like a plausible excuse not to be in the “visiting room”, which was large but still crowded.
At the end of the day, Ms. Elizabeth commented that she only failed to recognize one person out of the well over 100 attendees. I got lost in the “name recalling” after about the first 10 folks!
In reflecting the viewpoint of this wonderful role model, I came away with a little less dread about the growing numbers of candles on the B-Day tortillas each year and decided to put on a different outlook. Accept the ever-growing limitations, laugh at them, and keep on plugging along.
I really took that attitude to heart and bought my much older than me Brother-in-Law (11 months) a T-shirt for Christmas to reflect that new outlook.
It says…I Am Too Old to Fight and Too Slow to Run.
But I Am Still a Pretty Darn Good Shot.
Strikes me that may describe more than just him in our family tree. Just as an important side note, he is a Navy Seal!