Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Finally had something show up in the hog trap! Now if I can work slaughtering this pig into my schedule this week , I will be happy. Ben will be mad, he wanted to pull the trigger, but he is as busy as I am with golf and a puppet gig this week. We will have to see. I am reminded of the proverb "be careful what you wish for- you just may get it."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

No Hogs, No Work

Yesterday was a snow day. So I brought out the boys to help do chores. They, of course more much more interested in snow ball wars. Since this is only the fourth time in their 15 years of life to really see snow, (except for the times I take them to Colorado snow skiing,) I let them play. You are only young once, plus I needed moving targets for my snow missiles.

When we checked the hog trap we found no hogs, and we also found no bait. After Ben re-baited the trap I asked how something could eat the bait but get out of the trap. He was confused.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day

I woke up to a white ranch this morning, and that made it easy to track cows.
The boys were excited to ride in a snow covered truck, but the snow did not help traction.

It snowed this morning on the K-Bar. This is a rare occurrence, (although it has snowed at least three times this century.) When it does snow it really changes the look of the ranch. It also makes it harder for the animals to find food.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


We have had our share of equines on the K-Bar, (horses, mules, donkeys) but none can compare with Tobe. As a matter of fact-I don't really like horses. Growing up we had both draft horses and mules, and even saddle horses and ponies. I didn't care for them. Draft stock are big and ponies kick.
It had been quite a while since we got rid of the last horse before we got Tobe. Dad bought him to protect the goats from dogs and coyotes, and since we got him we have not had near the problems with canines. Tobe is protective and at times thinks he is a goat. The real reason I like Tobe is his attitude. He may be the most docile animal I've ever had.
He will come to you when you whistle, and all you have to do is walk up to him. I've never seen him shy or run. If I want a ride, I just get on his left side and climb on. If I do, I need a switch, Tobe doesn't move very fast without prodding.
My best Tobe story involves his laid back style. The church where my family and I worship, (First United Methodist Church in Lufkin) recreates the old town of Bethlehem every Christmas. We build shops and homes inside the Angelina County Expo Center and people come from all over East Texas to experience the town. Dad let Tobe be part of the town. One year, the church decided to have a young girl dress as Mary and ride Tobe in the Lufkin Christmas Parade downtown to advertise Bethlehem. The young lady was very brave, and eagerly rode the docile donkey. Tobe will sul, so I gave the young man who was playing Joseph a switch to be used to urge Tobe down the parade route. When one of the ladies of the church noticed the switch, she asked why Joseph had a stick. I answered "the whip Mary's ass with," and I was telling the gospel truth. (I have a sick sense of humor.)
I never thought I would grow fond of an equine, but Tobe has changed that. We are never too old to change.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Good Day

Today was what I call a "good day". The reason is because the weather is nice-sunshine and cool, but not cold. I stoped to check the hog trap, (no hogs-but the outside bait was gone,) and moved what is left of the herd to the west pastures. They had been shut out during deer season because these pastures back up to a hunting club and I did not want any cattle mistaken for deer.
Actually, Ben and I moved most of the cattle Saturday, but somehow we missed one. She is a black and white longhorn cross heifer, but the most remarkable thing is she does not run-she paces. She is also skittish, so she paces a lot. I wish I had taken my movie camera for some live shots, but I was doing well to take me.
The weather is supposed to turn much cooler later in the week. I have lots of fence to fix but if it gets cold and wet, I will probably use my powers for something else.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Night Visitors

After leaving the hog trap baited with the doors open all week, finally we had visitors. Ben Checked the trap Thursday and nothing was different, today all the bait was gone. We re-baited and set the trap doors. Let's hope we will have more visitors this week. I am ready to fire up the smokehouse.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hottel Creek

Hottel Creek runs through the K-Bar. It can be called the life blood of the whole place. Like most East Texas creeks it meanders-a lot! The creek only covers less than a mile as the crow flies, but I have traveled it's banks for miles. It is a perennial steam, (year round,) and has deep pools as well as shallow crossings. It has a shale base but is primarily sandy bottomed. It is lined by White Oaks, Red Oaks, Sweet gums, Beach and willow trees. Even though the area is pine forests, hardwoods are prevalent on the banks of Hottel Creek.
Hottel Creek was named for the Hottel family, which settled along the stream during the nineteenth century. The Hottles were very industrious farmers, and cleared and plowed sugar cane and cotton fields along the creek. They even built a cotton gin on it's banks,(see Last Cotton Field,) but by the time the Killams moved into the area they had moved on, having worn out the fields.
Hottle Creek is also known as Hanged Mans Creek. Some of the locals still called the stream this name when Papa moved here. The legend is that the locals found a horse thief here, and after a short trial, hanged the thief from one of the large White Oaks along the bank. Vigilante justice can be swift. Actually, if I had to guess, the hanged man was probably not a horse thief, but a man caught up in the rough politics in the area during the middle of the nineteenth century.
Angelina County was the only Deep East Texas county that voted not to leave the Union 1860. Theories differ as to why, but the area was deeply devoted to Sam Houston, the hero of San Jacinto, and ardent non-secessionist. He even resigned as Governor instead of taking the Oath to the Confederacy. Houston did have many friends in the county, and this was probably a big reason for the vote. Another was that the settlers of Angelina County were small farmers from the upper south, (Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina,) and not as pro secession as settlers from Mississippi or Alabama. Still another theory was that the election was rigged, not as difficult thing to do when the electorate was white males over 21. If it was close- a few extra votes could make the difference.
During the Civil War, (or War of Northern Aggression as it is known here,) the Home Guard of the Confederacy was very active in the county. They were a political group and did not have to fight in the East as long as they kept the county under control. They were cruel and ruthless, ( ala Cold Mountain.) They allegedly hung Doctors and even wounded soldiers on leave. After the shooting stoped and Reconstruction began, the families ruined by the home guard action took revenge. My guess is that the hanged man was either hung by the home guard or where former home guards being punished.