The Lost Art: Ranch Life Between San Antonio and Laredo During the Depression

The Texas Story Project.

What would happen if the famous chain of grocery stores, HEB, would disappear? Most of us would probably starve to death. Living in a ranch in the old days was more fun than you would think. To survive people learned how to grow fruits, vegetables, care for their animals and basically took advantage of all the resources they had.

People who live in ranches had to learn how to work with the weather and all their surroundings. For example, planting fruits and vegetables when it was the season for them to grow. Some of these vegetables and fruits would be eaten then and there. Some had to be preserved for the non-seasonal times. These extra foods would be cooked and then canned so they could be preserve for the winter when not much would grow. This also had to be done with the meat of the animals they killed. The butchering of hogs was very common because cattle provide a lot of meat that was hard to preserve. The butchering would be done during the winter, then the meat would be smoked and sprinkled with cure salt so that it would last all year long without refrigeration. Milking cows was a must.  Not only would the people acquire milk from the cows but from the clotted milk they were able to make cottage cheese. Now you maybe wonder how they did all this cooking. It is incredible to believe that their cook stove was powered by wood. Not only did people have to wait for the wood to burn enough to cook their meals but they also had to go looking for this wood and have enough to cook a full meal.

Years ago, people did not only have to worry about their own survival. They also had to learn how to feed their animals in the worst temperatures. For example, during the winter when there was not much growing, as an emergency mode of feeding cattle they would feed them the with burn thorns off of prickly pear. Although it was not a very good feed for cattle it was better than letting them starve.

Having so many activities to do or prepare for during this time allowed people to connect with themselves. They had no access to the internet — much less and an iPad or any technological devices that allowed them to carry portable music with them. The nearest neighbored lived so far that it was worthless to even take a trip to their house. Usually, the town used to be a drive or a long trip away from home. So whenever a trip was taken it had to be an important and worthwhile trip to town. In other words, people learned to live with more nature on the ranch than in the city.

Many people might find living out in the ranch or wilderness as somewhat ugly. When you grow with it you come to love it and find the beauty within it. In other words, you end up getting used it. And not only that, but you actually fall in live with the ranch life. Unfortunately, when you move out to the city you find yourself missing it. In other words, the moral of the story is that one should enjoy the life that we are currently living because one day we will look back and wish we were actually back in the day, Sadly, those days will be so far away and you will have not taken advantage of them. Enjoy every little moment of each day because you do not want to look back and wish you had done something differently. What you want is to be proud and have enjoyed every second of your life.

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