Texas, mesquite, longhorns and me – real woodworking

Harvesting mesquite logs

My arms lift the dead stumps over my head to the truck bed of my old Dodge and my chainsaw lies throbbing at the base of a mesquite. I wander away a little distance to see the tree I have been searching for for weeks. It’s straight up, one stem, two feet six across and eight feet long to the first branch. I turn back to the saw and reach down but my arm springs back without thought as the forked tongue of a five-foot rattle snake darts in and out in quick succession.

The saw continued to throb as a good chainsaw should. The rattler liked the companionship of a warm engine and the vibration seemed comforting if not even soporific. I hook the handle of the saw with a forked branch, lift it to my thigh and take the tree. Dropped it straight onto another two logs on the bed of the truck. The come-along jerked it further on until it tipped in and stayed.

The sweet smell of fresh-cut mesquite pulled a whole heard of Texas longhorns to me. We stared at one another and their heads twitched and twisted as only a longhorn cow head can – small twitch moves a horn a good foot or so. Better watch out for those horns, especially on the younger steers.




A man hunkered on a paint (pony) riding fence rides along side of me. I wait for him to say Hi or Howdy, like cowboys are supposed to. Twenty feet past me he says, “Hi.” We get on with our two worlds. The horse stops, he pulls a staple out of his cotton bag, lifts the barbed wire from the dust and cactus and staples it back in place. I climb into my 1-ton Dodge and make my way through the gravel river bottom to the trail on the other side. I go “real slow” as I pass the ranch house. The man sitting on the front porch will “shoot the tyres (tires US) right off a this truck” if I don’t.



This is how mesquite looks.

This one of many panels we made for some cabinets I designed for the Cabinet Room of the White House in 2008/9.

This was and is real woodworking and was very much a part of my personal journey for several years. Got many more tails like this one. Did I ever tell you about the Javelinas I came up against?

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