Our tour guide at the ranch house (more on him later) said LBJ decided to raise cattle because it was a fad among members of the U.S. Senate at the time. He bought his first 10 Herefords in 1957. For a while he showed them at local fairs and livestock shows, but later he just raised them for the meat and for the fun of it. He also raised goats, sheep and chickens.
As I said in an earlier post, we were somewhat surprised to discover the cattle wandering about loose, but this definitely added to the fun of the visit. A lot of the ranch is included in the National Park, and we were able to drive across much of it.
I found the land more beautiful than I had expected to — rolling hills, yellow grass and compact trees with an immense amount of sky. The Pedernales River was just a slow-moving green stream, but even it fit in the landscape nicely. By this time, the temperature was in the 80s, and there was no question about it being hot. But a breeze kept things bearable. I can’t imagine what it must be like in mid-July.
The low building in the picture above is the show barn where the cattle were prettied-up and prepared for show. That’s it below too. There were a few animals inside, including this tired-looking creature (above, right). The weights on the horns are to make them curl down and picturesquely frame the animal’s face.
Many ranchers in Texas raise exotic animals for fun and for hunting. LBJ raised Blackbuck Antelope, and I spotted two of them in a field next to the ranch.