Dirt, grass and gravel paths spider-web across the 350-acres of the Blisswood Ranch. They are a visitors only access to view the open ranges of Blisswood, which are roams by beasts, both exotic and ordinary.
But despite the beauty of a rich landscape dotted with bison, it was what was missing at the Texas Hill country ranch which caught my attention.
The missing sounds of man!
Allowing the hooves of the horses, to serenade us with their cowboy’s beat.
Like many of you, my “fiancéeic” Gaetana and I love to make food a central tenet of our vacation plans. A effort which takes on new meaning when you travel to Texas’ remote vacation outposts.
Unless you’re happy taking your thrice-daily feedings at the one restaurant in Cat Spring, THE Cat Spring Country Club.
“Table for two please, by the unleaded if you have?”
Thankfully, the ranch house we rented for our four-day Texas adventure had a full kitchen. Before we arrived I had arranged with the owner to add a few items to the otherwise empty refrigerator. Notably, ribeyes! From cows born, raised and slaughtered within miles of our temporary Texas home.
Which I prepared in a skillet over the open flame of our fire pit. THE sizzle was orchestral.
Still though, it was what was missing which made the meal a standout!
In our kitchen back in Stamford, the meal would have been prepared with Guy’s famous (to her at-least) “23-ingredient” blend of herbs and spices.
But in our little house on the prairie, we came up 21-ingredients short! Thankfully, we at least we had salt and pepper!
The combination of the quality of the meat and the open flame flavors and experience assured even Guy that the steaks did not need any of the 21 missing ingredients.
As the sun rose on day-two at the ranch, Guy remained as in the dark about our plans as a cowgirl on a moonless night.
But the plans were not missing, just her knowledge of them.
Archery, followed by knife and hatchet throwing allowed Guy to take out the frustrations which a life with me clearly bring on. While the targets rarely felt her wrath, Guy took out her frustration on the various items in proximity to the targets.
Thankfully, the chain caught this arrow as it tried to whiz by. Because already missing were the eight arrows Guy had shot into the fields.
Next time, we’ll try bigger targets!
While the history of Texas may be one of bows and arrows, the weapon of choice in present day Texas is the shotgun.
At least when what you’re shooting is clay pigeons at the skeet range!
Our instructor, “Skeeter” was impressed with my form and accuracy as I hit 75% of my targets over the 90-minute session. He assured me that if I was ever inclined to give up a life of paint, that I would make a good cowboy!
Skeeter should know!
Though now mostly retired and just an old ranch hand, in 1980 Erin “Skeeter” Hagler won a Pulitzer Prize for his photo series documenting the life of West Texas cowboys!
Missing from the day of skeet shooting was an ice pack for my battered shoulder. Skeeter assured me the bruising was caused by me holding the gun too low. Though had I followed his advice and raised it, I would have the same bruises!
Just in a different spot!
After four-days of droning and chilling on the Texas prairies, Guy and I head back to Austin for more time with my daughter Buck Wheat and her new boyfriendic.
Saying goodbye when we saw him last week, I gripped his hand for a goodbye shake. Looking him in the eye, I gave him a polite smile and shared that “it was to meet you.”
I’ll leave it to him to figure out what was missing!