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Past, Present, Future
The presence of brush in rangeland environments continually tops the list of priority issues among landowners, and not just in Texas. Whether they manage their land for livestock, hunting, or wildlife watching, what to do about unwanted woody plants remains a serious and pervasive question for landowners everywhere. In the pages of this book, leading range management professionals introduce and explain not only the mechanisms of managing brush but also the changes in management philosophy and technology that have taken place over time. From the futile attempts at eradication to the successes of integrated brush management, expert practitioners examine mechanical, biological, chemical, and fire-related methods from three perspectives—the past, the present or “state-of-the-art,” and the future. In a final discussion, three specialists address the timely and important subject of brush management as it relates to water yield, economics, and wildlife. Brush Management: Past, Present, Future gives readers a straightforward and comprehensive view of a topic that remains a consistent concern for livestock, wildlife, and land management—one that will serve as a useful and interesting summary of the subject for teachers, students, landowners, and management professionals.
In the middle of the arid summer of 1877, a drought year in West Texas, a troop of some forty buffalo soldiers (African American cavalry led by white officers) struck out into the Llano Estacado from Double Lakes, south of modern Lubbock, pursuing a band of Kwahada Comanches who had been raiding homesteads and hunting parties. A group of twenty-two buffalo hunters accompanied the soldiers as guides and allies. Several days later three black soldiers rode into Fort Concho at modern San Angelo and reported that the men and officers of Troop A were missing and presumed dead from thirst. The “Staked Plains Horror,” as the Galveston Daily News called it, quickly captured national attention. Although most of the soldiers eventually straggled back into camp, four had died, and others eventually faced court-martial for desertion. The buffalo hunters had ridden off on their own to find water, and the surviving soldiers had lived by drinking the blood of their dead horses and their own urine. A routine army scout had turned into disaster of the worst kind. Although the failed expedition was widely reported at the time, its sparse treatments since then have relied exclusively on the white officers’ accounts. Paul Carlson has mined the courts-martial records for testimony of the enlisted men, memories of a white boy who rode with the Indians, and other buried sources to provide the first multifaceted narrative ever published. His gripping account provides not only a fuller version of what happened over those grim eighty-six hours but also a nuanced view of the interaction of soldiers, hunters, settlers, and Indians on the Staked Plains at this poignant moment before the final settling of the Comanches on their reservation in Indian Territory.
A Black Soldiers Anthology
In the decades following the Civil War, scores of African Americans served in the U.S. Army in the West. The Plains Indians dubbed them buffalo soldiers, and their record in the infantry and cavalry, a record full of dignity and pride, provides one of the most fascinating chapters in the history of the era. This anthology focuses on the careers and accomplishments of black soldiers, the lives they developed for themselves, their relationships to their officers (most of whom were white), their specialized roles (such as that of the Black Seminoles), and the discrimination they faced from the very whites they were trying to protect. In short, this volume offers important insights into the social, cultural, and communal lives of the buffalo soldiers. The selections are written by prominent scholars who have delved into the history of black soldiers in the West. Previously published in scattered journals, the articles are gathered here for the first time in a single volume, providing a rich and accessible resource for students, scholars, and interested general readers. Additionally, the readings in this volume serve in some ways as commentaries on each other, offering in this collected format a cumulative mosaic that was only fragmentary before. Volume editors Glasrud and Searles provide introductions to the volume and to each of its four parts, surveying recent scholarship and offering an interpretive framework. The bibliography that closes the book will also commend itself as a valuable tool for further research.
The Evolution of a Natural History Museum
A Transnational History of Irrigated Cotton along the Mexico-Texas Border
Cotton, crucial to the economy of the American South, has also played a vital role in the making of the Mexican north. The Lower Río Bravo (Rio Grande) Valley irrigation zone on the border with Texas in northern Tamaulipas, Mexico, was the centerpiece of the Cárdenas government’s effort to make cotton the basis of the national economy. This irrigation district, built and settled by Mexican Americans repatriated from Texas, was a central feature of Mexico’s effort to control and use the waters of the international river for irrigated agriculture. Drawing on previously unexplored archival sources, Casey Walsh discusses the relations among various groups comprising the “social field” of cotton production in the borderlands. By describing the complex relationships among these groups, Walsh contributes to a clearer understanding of capitalism and the state, of transnational economic forces, of agricultural and water issues in the U.S.-Mexican borderlands, and of the environmental impacts of economic development. Building the Borderlands crosses a number of disciplinary, thematic, and regional frontiers, integrating perspectives and literature from the United States and Mexico, from anthropology and history, and from political, economic, and cultural studies. Walsh’s important transnational study will enjoy a wide audience among scholars of Latin American and Western U.S. history, the borderlands, and environmental and agricultural history, as well as anthropologists and others interested in the environment and water rights.
Texas hosts an unparalleled number of butterfly species, and whether one lives near the beaches of the Gulf Coast or in the mountains of the Trans-Pecos, all Texans can enjoy the color and tranquility that butterflies bring to any outdoor space.
In Butterfly Gardening for Texas, author and expert Geyata Ajilvsgi shares a wealth of practical information about all kinds of butterflies and the many flowers and other plants they utilize in their miraculous life cycle: from hidden egg to munching caterpillar to cryptic chrysalis to nectar-sipping, winged adult.
Written in an engaging, nontechnical style for anyone who wants to attract butterflies to the yard or garden, the book provides tips for making gardens caterpillar- and butterfly-friendly, in-depth profiles of more than fifty butterflies, descriptions of the food plants for a variety of both caterpillars and butterflies, and plant lists for easy selection and substitution, depending on where you live and what is available.
For those who want specific advice on what to plant where, Ajilvsgi has designed useful, adaptable landscape plans and extensive planting options for each of seven state regions. Helpful appendices aid gardeners in taking photographs of the butterflies they attract, in locating sources for seeds and plants, and in finding organizations and other instructive publications for additional information about these beautiful and beneficial insects.
As the popularity of butterfly gardening continues to increase, gardeners of all skill levels will find Butterfly Gardening for Texas an invaluable source of guidance and inspiration.
Whether the prospective buyer is a farmer or rancher looking to expand operations, a sportsman seeking to preserve habitat for wildlife, or a nature enthusiast trying to conserve native flora and fauna, acquiring rural land can be a rollercoaster of exciting and stressful experiences. In Buying Rural Land in Texas: Taking the Right Risk, Charles E. Gilliland demonstrates that buyers can and should arm themselves with knowledge—of the land-buying process, of the potential problems involved, and of the resources available to them—to ensure a successful and satisfying outcome.
In this practical guide, Gilliland outlines four phases of buying rural land: identifying what you want, in terms of both land and property rights; locating a suitable property; valuing the property; and completing the transaction. He then covers everything the potential landowner should know while progressing through these steps: how to identify and manage risk, plan an “exit strategy,” interpret present and future land prices, find the “perfect spot,” evaluate the property’s physical attributes, gauge economic trends, understand legal rights and limitations, protect natural resources, and, finally, close the deal.
Incorporating real life examples from a career spent in land sales, Gilliland takes readers step-by-step through the process, also providing checklists, maps, professional tips, and information about how to tap additional sources of information and advice. With the knowledge gained from Buying Rural Land in Texas, new landowners will find themselves not at the end of a journey but at the beginning, as they learn to manage their land and to deliver it intact to future generations.
Visions of a Southern Cypress Lake