Category Archives: Hill Country Happenings

Hill Country Happenings

Morning Walk, July 20th

Nothing exciting on my last 2 morning walks, but yesterday, I took my camera along anyway. Layla was in Tulsa running a national championship softball tournament for 50, 55 and 60 age classes, so my other 2 “walkers” Bo and spike, joined me and I did get a good picture of them.

Walking along and coming up to a cross fence, there was a yearling doe and you can see we both surprised each other, so I snapped a “shot” at her.


The deer and I were standing in the shadows, so the flash was automatic and was picked up in both of her eyes. Bo and Spike kept on walking as she nervously trotted off, keeping her tail down.

Nothing else of interest, but I’ll keep taking the camera along!

Morning Walk, July 16, 2008

Each morning I get up around 6:00 AM and go out and walk a mile plus. Most days it is already warming up, some days it’s cold, some, very rarely, it’s raining and I stay in. Today was bright and clear, so walking outside and enjoying the rising sun, I thought to myself, take the camera, you might see something of interest.


The next thing I knew, here came Bo, our cat. Bo is fearless and extremely protective of his territory. Last week he successfully drove off a large dog that had strayed into our yard Note Bo’s lack of a tail. It fell victim to a fan belt! And, right behind him came Spike, the wonder dog!


They began walking with me and I snapped this picture.

They walked on for several hundred yards, then their short attention spans kicked in. Bo started hunting and Spike sat and rested for a while.

So much for today’s walk, but, from now on, I’m taking a camera with me.


My Great Uncle, sketched below in 1927, Judge Lee Wallace’s, book “The Waif Of Times”, is loaded with funny stories dated from 1890 to 1930, none more entertaining than the story of Hy Hasardt, a colorful citizen of Kerrville, Texas.


By Lee Wallace

It’s harder to unwrap than it is to wrap nature. In other words it’s harder to straighten things than it is to crook them. Find someone who is naturally, or rather unnaturally, wrapped and it’s a harder job to get the kink out of him than it would have been to put that same kink into him. For instance, you find one who is inclined to lying and it’s a much harder problem to incline him away, than it would be to incline a normal one to such a vice.

Same way by animals, some dogs would hunt coons on a dessert or on Fifth Avenue, some horses fox-trot in a funeral procession or hitched to a fire wagon. Some people lie for you as readily as against you. Nature, or rather the lack of it, wrapped them that way and there you are or rather there they are.

Old Hy Hasardt, with a Teutonic accent was one of such kind. Flung out into the procession of life wrapped, but Hy’s wrap was fighting. Fight for you, fight you or against you; anyway, just so he was doing something in his line, exercising his leading talent, always looking, listening, feeling, smelling, hunting for trouble and finding it aplenty. Somewhere by someone a flaming scar, perhaps from a knife slash, had been left across his face, a crashing blow had unmatched his jaws, a twisted and broken nose that resembled a down payment on some of Hy’s belligerency, but Hy was still for war.

Here is a summary of Hy’ life. Mother had died when he was an infant, father remarried within a year, Bodo, a half-brother, born within another year. Hy’s bad treatment of his half-brother causes resentment from the mother of Bodo and a final separation between the senior Hasardt and the stepmother Bodo going, of course, with his mother. Seventeen years pass, Hy gets married, occupies his father’s house, raises a family, the father forced to to move into a shed beside of the barn where, unhonored, he finally dies. All the while Bodo and mother are stuck away in some obscure corner of the earth unknown to the other Hasardt’s, and maybe to all but a very few others.

When the Hy’s father dies, they find no will and then it dawns upon Hy, that Bodo, if alive, or with heirs, owns interest in the Hasardt’s estate. This intensified his hatred for Bodo. Hy drinks heavily, consults lawyers, hangs around the courthouse and saloons, and keeps a lookout on for strangers.

Finally, one fine day, one checks in at Fosters Saloon whom Hy takes for Bodo. He makes a rush with an open knife on the stranger that results in a “sedative”, delivered from the stranger, that puts him to sleep for many hours. We placed Hy lengthwise on an unbusy billiard table in back of the saloon and finally brought him out of the fog. The first indication of returning sanity was when he asked, “Deed Poto keele any potty else?”

The sheriff witnesses the attack and refuses to arrest the stranger, who disappears leaving the whole affair in mystery, until six weeks later we read of the killing of Hally Gilbert by Mike Heenan in a prize fight held in Langtry.

Gilbert’s neck was broken at a time when seemingly the fight was going his way. Heenan in an interview with reporters, his picture alongside, told and demonstrated how it was done, and when asked if he had ever applied the method before, said, “Yes, six weeks ago in Kerrville, through which I was passing and had stopped for a glass of lemonade. I turned the same “ether” slightly on a hoodlum assaulting me with an open knife.”

We saw the picture of Heenan, read the interview and then we knew that Bodo had not come to claim his part of the estate, and that Hy was lucky that the “ether” had not been turned on full force. That same day we showed Hy the paper with Heenan’s picture and interview. He read, reread and studied the paper like someone nursing a memory. Then handed the paper back to Charley Reed, saying as he did so, “I pe tam; I fight no more, not efen with “Poto”. He kept his word and Bodo never showed up.


Three weeks ago, Mills County had severe thunderstorms and a hard, fast 2” of rain and then the storms moved east along the Gulf coast spreading more severe rain and tornados along their path. Since then, we’ve had heavy winds over 40 MPH, 100 degree, temperatures and no rain! The newly planted crops are drying up and the deer are running out of leafy, green vegetation to eat, leaving them no alternative but the local gardens. Monday morning, one of my neighbors told me that deer had destroyed his garden!

Layla and I got in late last Saturday night from my Senior Softball tournament and I didn’t get to check my garden until Sunday morning and what I found, really frustrated me!

The deer had come into our garden, gorged themselves, knocked over tomato plants, stripped some limbs on the peach trees, eating peaches and leaves and left me one, unripe peach on the limb.

Our tomatoes were hit the worst of all! Nothing tastes better than home grown, red, ripe, juicy tomatoes! The deer have clipped off the leaves, stunting and, I hope I’m wrong, killing the plants.


This tomato plant is almost gone.


Our black eyes and dill have been clipped off and I thought dill would keep predators out.


Dill works on ‘coons.


The deer have even taken a liking to my jalapenos, clipping off the sprouts and one even tried a pepper, lower right outside of the protective cage, and found it not to its particular taste.

Having just planted okra, pole beans and squash, with protective covers around them, I hope this will keep the deer away for a while, otherwise, I’ll have some well fed deer come October.

My garlic and onions were untouched (vampires won’t bother us either), but if we had to depend on this garden for our sustenance, there would be some deer hanging in the cooler now!

A Summertime Malady

In other parts of our Country, our red bugs, are called chiggers, Trombicula alfreddugesi (Oudemans), but their bite, death and itch can be a real “scratchin” situation, regardless what they’re called for the unprepared or unsuspecting outdoor person. Chiggers are about 1/20 inch long, usually bright red, have hairy bodies, and travel rapidly over the host body.

Being very careful, I’m surprised that I’m the proud owner of 3, BIG, red bug, bites! Each day, before going out to work on my ranch, I always spray the cuffs of my jeans and around my waist, with “elmaxo”, (the strongest), Deep Woods Off, For Outdoorsmen, and I now find myself with 3 serious bites, one on my belt line and one behind each knee. Itch, itch!

When I see a tick on me, they are always hurrying off, but the red bugs stick, bite me, die and leave an incurable itch for 3 or 4 days.

Don’t wear dog or cat flea collars on your ankles or cattle ear tags on your shoes to ward off chiggers. this is very dangerous resulting in chemical skin burns and toxic effect to the wearers.

Red bugs aren’t life threatening so just spray and hope for the best!

The New Hatch

Yesterday morning as I went out to “recharge” the hummingbird feeders, I noticed a lot of smaller than usual little critters, darting around. The eggs have hatched, the baby birds are out of the nest and I will now be double busy keeping food in the feeders!

Here comes “The Boss” in for a bite. Notice he’s letting the young birds feed and not running them off.


It was feeding time, for sure, and if you look closely, you can see a Yellow Jacket, along with the Hummingbirds, getting their morning’s nourishment.


Snapping this unusual picture that shows one of the small ones, just to the right of the feeder, hanging on to it and raising up its bill to be fed by Mama. What’s unusual, the young bird had just eaten from the feeder. Old habits are hard to break!

Our Yellow Jacket was still feeding away!

Our Garden, May 27

For the past several days I have been watering and checking on my peaches, especially my Flordaking Peach tree, Prunus persica ‘Flordaking’. The fruit is almost ripe and should be ready to pick next week.

But to my surprise, this morning, some furry vandal, probably a ‘Coon, climbed up into the tree, broke some branches and knocked down 8 or 10 peaches. It looks like some late night guard duty for me!


On a happier note our wild garlic, Allium vineale, has a beautiful flower and is coming into full bloom.


We have put up 14, 1 gallon, bags of spinach, Spinacae oleracea, and have had numerous spinach salads. We’ll plant more spinach this fall!

Home Improvement #2

Our pair of Barn Swallows have succeeded!

About a week ago Layla and I noticed a very small head peeking over the side of the recently constructed nest. A couple of days later I noticed a second small head and finally this morning I was able to get a picture, not very clear of both young birds. You have to look close.

Law West Of The Pecos

You have met my Great Uncle, Lee Wallace, and read some of his humorous stories. Recently, I enjoyed a family reunion with the fine family of his wife, Winnie. Lee had no children and his estate was left to Winnie and her son George. George, a WW II veteran, has passed away, but his wife, Virginia Hearne, along with their 3 children and spouses and 6 Grand Children attended the event. It was held “way up” the Guadalupe River, in the heart of our state’s beautiful, hill country at Lee and Winnie’s Lodge.

Virginia had my attention telling me some stories about Lee, when someone mentioned, how about his trip to Pecos, Texas? Never missing a beat, she passed on to me the following story about Lee’s younger days.

Here’s a picture of Lee Wallace (circa 1900) in his buggy. I’m sure the following trip was made with a larger wagon and a team of horses.

Around the turn of the 20th Century, Lee, County Attorney of Kerr County, Texas and another lawyer, decided they would go and visit one of Lee’s friends in Langtry, Texas, probably a 150 to 200 mile trip. Remember, no interstates and very few cars then and their chosen mode of transportation was a team of horses, pulling their wagon.
A car trip from Kerrville to Langtry, even with our modern highways, is not easy today and in the early 1900’s, had to be a nightmare. To bolster their courage, along with their pistols, they took 2 cases of whiskey, one for their trip and one for Lee’s friend. Wouldn’t you know it, their wagon broke an axle near Rockspring, Texas, and their 3 to 4 day trip turned into a week.

They finally arrived in Langtry, with the whiskey gone, and no “gift” for Lee’s friend. However, his friend’s court was in session, the bar was closed, and they witnessed the strange brand of justice practiced by Judge Roy Bean!

The complaint was by an Anglo rancher that one of his horses was stolen. Judge Bean brought out a Mexican man that was already in jail and said he must have done it. The jury found Mexican guilty and Judge Bean sent him back to jail for a longer term or a hanging (Lee never said). With the swift sentence, the bar quickly opened and warm greetings were exchanged.

After several days, with Lee’s visit and business completed, he and his fellow traveler loaded up for home. To bolster their courage for the grueling trip, Judge Bean presented them with two more cases of whiskey. Four days later, minus the whiskey, they arrived safely in Kerrville.

Back then, you had to be careful of the water you drank!