I spent yesterday making wine and smoking Javelina. For those of you who don’t know what a Javelina is, it’s not a pipe. It’s an animal that looks like a desert rat… somewhere between a wild boar and a rat. Really. It’s true.

So I thought I’d show you how it all came to be.

You see, I was invited to Texas by a ranching family, and seeing as I love Texas I said, “yes, please, and thank you.” Or, “thank you, yes, and please.” Or… “Howdy, please and yes.”

And after a long drive into the middle of nowhere, I came upon a little beacon of light. A small town that might as well have been the set of a western movie. It was called Alpine and the ranch owners have a restaurant there where I ate jalapeno grits. *Burp.*

And the next morning, at far too early an hour, we got on a “Dune Buggy,” and drove through the ranch in the pitch black, up into the mountains.

It is a beautiful sight watching a ranch wake up. Just as beautiful as hearing the woods wake up.

Except that no matter what, my face is always numb by the end of the drive because of the whipping cold.

That’s when my brother promised to get me one of these for Christmas. And reminded me that I don’t have one. For the 3,532,424,234th time.

I love him.

That’s Mike. This is his ranch. He runs the show.

And he was putting on gloves because it is very prickly out there. Far more prickly than you might expect. I had two pairs of socks on and by the end the prickers had needled their way through everything to my ankles.

Aren’t I really selling this experience well? That’s what I’m here for.

That’s me, checking out the rifle situation. It was a 22-250, since you’re asking. Those were my gloves. My hands didn’t have any issues luckily.

This is an example of a prickly thing. It’s just a random plant that chooses to have an extra pricking ability.

If anyone knows the name of this plant, shout it out!

And this is where I drew the line.

Mike went out onto the edge of the cliff and looked down at the canyon.

I on the other hand, stayed a little bit higher. I have excellent eyesight thank you, and decided not to rest my fate on the stability of a single loose rock.

And it was pretty from there as the pink light cast its glow on the canyon and the sun rose higher and higher.

And then look who decided to start skipping on the loose rocks toward the edge?

My pesky brother.

Isn’t he charming?

Isn’t he?

I left him there.

We walked the long way down toward the Dune Buggy as the sun rose higher.

And I stepped around the beautiful topography with my stinging ankles.

Even the bushes had prickers.

And then we came to the Dune Buggy. This is what it looks like… kind of a triangular shape.

The seat at the top is the most windy.

I reject it.

Raise your hand if you can guess what this goat is here for.

Can you?

?

?

For the Mountain Lion. It is bait. It is a trap.

Good, I’m glad we talked about this.

Pretty naturally occurring shapes.

And cows. I love cows. Especially the white ones. I like their white eyelashes.

Oh, are we hunting Javelina?

Right.

I’m a bit of a straggler, but my legs were way shorter.

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Do you think I got one?

Stay tuned to find out tomorrow…!

_____________

All of the good photos by Gordon Pellegrini photography.

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