CHAPTER V:

LAND OF THE GOOD OAK
 

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THE LONE COWBOY DRIVING CATTLE



            As the brand presses to the calf’s flank, smoke and the metallic smell of burned skin rises into the air. The year’s new calves have been brought in from all over the allotment to a stock pen by a dried up cattle pond. It is a tale that has played out thousands of times across the Atascosas, a ritual at the center of life on the isolated ranches of the Highlands. The lone cowboy, driving cattle along the rolling grasslands of the frontier is among the most iconic images of the American West. It is seared into the American consciousness like a red hot iron. No other land use has had such a profound impact on these remote landscapes, and few have been so controversial. For more than 400 years cattle have been shaping these spaces, driving management decisions and cycles of conflict, leaving an indelible mark on the land that will never be erased.






I. Eragrostis lehmanniana (Lehmann’s Lovegrass)
II. Eragrostis curvula (Weeping Lovegrass)
III. Pennisetum ciliare (Bufflegrass)