Carrizo Springs is a South Texas town full of people trying to pull oil out of the ground. Jim Henry isn’t one of them. He’s trying to pull oil out of trees. On a 67-acre ranch, three miles from the town center, the 68-year-old Dallas businessman cultivates an olive orchard with 40,000 trees. Many of them are regal, well-established specimens, the oldest planted seventeen years ago.
Every so often, headlines tell us of a forthcoming pandemic that threatens to wipe out life on earth as we know it—and then, a few months later, those headlines disappear and the fear of the disease du jour wanes. It may have been a while, in other words, since you’ve thought about avian flu, but you really ought to keep it in mind.
For the past 25 years, Benny Taylor, a rail-thin 55-year-old West Texas cotton farmer, has documented the natural world’s patterns and omens. He can tell you that the area’s rattlesnakes usually slither out into the sunlight at the beginning of spring and that he saw his first rattlesnake of 2015 on March 10, twelve days earlier than he had ever before.
It’s not entirely clear where grapefruit originated, but one thing is certain: Ruby Reds are native Texans. Back before the Roosevelt administration (the first one), all grapefruit was of a paler persuasion. But because these golden spheres of goodness don’t cross-pollinate, mutant offspring eventually appeared and really hit the sweet spot. The red variety—born of a mutation found on a pink-grapefruit tree in McAllen in 1929—has a skin like an Amarillo sunset.
As we reported here earlier this week 1,100 head of cattle worth around $1.4 million have vanished from a Panhandle dairy belonging to the Braum’s restaurant chain. The disappearance of the Holstein / Jersey calves was discovered during the company’s annual inventory at their 24,000-acre farm on the Oklahoma / Texas line east of Follett, about 125 miles northeast of Amarillo.
Richard Linklater told a very specific kind of Texas story over the past dozen years in Boyhood, but his interest in documenting a chunk of a lifetime on camera extends beyond his Best Picture-nominated film. And we’re not just talking about the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight series he’s filmed with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy every nine years since 1995 (we’re already camping out for tickets to Before Lunchtime in 2022!). No, the conceit behind a new PSA that Linklater made and stars in for PETA is that, every five years since he went vegetarian in 1985, he’s sat down in front of the camera to espouse the joys of the meat-free lifestyle.
Our household can now claim to have the fourth-finest flock of Rhode Island Reds in all of the Big Bend. In the parochial realm of local chickendom, this is a gratifying, if small, achievement. The honor of fourth place and its accompanying pink ribbon, now hanging from the knob of the kitchen door, was bestowed on my son, Huck, at the Big Bend area’s annual livestock show, held recently in Alpine.
His hands on the steering wheel of an off-road utility vehicle, Larry Barton bounces along a few of Indian Mountain Ranch’s trails looking for brown-striped piglets. This is his ranch, so the area—a mix of open grasslands, dense woods, and plenty of mud pits, midway between Fort Worth and Abilene—is familiar to him. But the piglets are tough to find.
You know what’s not the hippest thing in the world if you’re a Texas teen these days? Beef, apparently.
That’s the takeaway from this report from the Texas Tribune report about how the Texas Beef Council is turning its marketing efforts to young people who might prefer to eat fewer steaks and hamburgers than their parents did these days, and who are less likely to feel a nostalgic twinge at an ad campaign on television that declares “Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner”:
It may not have occurred to you that when you give your dog a chew treat, you may well be giving the pooch a product that may well be made out of bull penis. You may also be unaware that bull penis, as a meat product, has a name that—seemingly mercifully—is not “bull penis,” but which is “pizzle,” perhaps the only word gross enough for the thing that it describes.
But all of this is presumably less gross than the fact that a North Austin supermarket allegedly put pizzle—which is meant to be labeled as inedible beef not fit for human consumption—on the shelves for unsuspecting customers. As KXAN reports, MT Supermarket deliberately altered the labels: