Suggested Reading List
Life on the King Ranch
Author: Toni Frissell, Frank Goodwyn
Description: "This is the story of me and my ranch friends, of the heritage that was ours, the way we worked, the tales we told, and the fun we had on America's largest, most progressive cattle ranch," says Frank Goodwyn. The creed of the King Ranch cattlemen was simple: "If you want to make a kid into a cowboy, start him out as soon as he can sit on a horse." Being the son of the foreman on the Norias Division of the ranch, Goodwyn started working cattle every summer at an early age. Except for the bookkeeper and the bachelor boss Caesar Kleberg, the Goodwyns were usually the only Anglos present. Goodwyn thus spent most of his time with the Spanish-speaking ranch hands, and, he writes, "among them I learned the beginnings of all I know." With photographs by Toni Frissell, Life on the King Ranch is replete with tales told by Goodwyn's compadres such as cow camp foreman Euvence Garcia and Jose ("Joe One-Wing") Cantu; fun and games in the prickly mazes of mesquite; and the real work of roping, branding, dipping, and just-plain working cattle. Goodwyn also tells of the founding by Captain Richard King of the legendary ranch and of the ways that the King Ranch was modernizing its operations while contending with the age-old elements of the semi desert South Texas plain. First published in 1951, the old-time cowboying and creative techniques, campfire cuisine, and memorable personalities of Life on the King Ranch make it a book of timeless interest.
Kings of Texas: The 150-Year Saga of an American Ranching Empire
Author: Don Graham
Description: This book is about the King Ranch, but it is about much more than that. A compelling chronicle of war, peace, love, betrayal, birth and death in the region where the Texas-Mexico border blurs in the haze of the Wild Horse Desert, it is also an intriguing detective story with links to the present--and a first-rate read.
Aransas: A Naturalist's Guide
Author: Wayne H. McAlister
Description: This naturalist's guide offers a comprehensive overview of the natural and cultural history of Aransas, taking an ecological approach to show how the plants, animals, land, and sea form a living web that sustains an amazing diversity of creatures. Individual chapters discuss the land itself, the whooping cranes and other endangered species, game animals, introduced species, mammals, birds, herptiles, fish, invertebrates, and woody and herbaceous plants. With this information, visitors to the refuge and everyone interested in the natural history of the Texas Gulf Coast will enrich their knowledge of this environmentally crucial region.
Birds of South Texas, Including the Lower Rio Grande Valley: A Guide to Common and Notable Species (Quick Reference Guides) [Pamphlet]
Author: Greg R. Homel
Description: Laminated Pamphlet. A 12 panel weatherproof foldout guide to the birds of south Texas, including the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Stunningly detailed photographs depict 128 common and notable birds enabling users to I.D. nearly every commonly-occurring and regional bird they encounter in a wide geographic area. Aimed at beginning and intermediate birders, this guide, by Quick Reference Publishing, will fit into any day-pack for easy field identification. Published by Quick Reference Publishing
Butterflies of South Texas including the Lower Rio Grande Valley: A Guide to Common and Notable Species (Quick Reference Guides) [Pamphlet]
Author: Roland Wauer
Description: This waterproof guide beautifully illustrates over 80 species of butterflies and most of their caterpillars found in South Texas, including the Lower Rio Grand Valley, considered the number one butterfly watching area in the U.S. This pocket-sized guide, by Quick Reference Publishing,features color photos in a side-by-side format that makes it ideal for field use. The guide includes, along with many of the more common species, several of the region's most unique species: Giant White, White Angled-Sulphur, Tailed Orange, Silver-banded Hairstreak, Re-bordered and Blue Metalmarks, Red-bordered Pixie, Mexican Silverspot, White Peacock, Malachite, Red Rim, Mexican Bluewing, Guava and Violet-banded Skippers, Two-barred Flasher, and Erichson's White-Skipper. Common and scientific names, adult size, season when they can be found, and their caterpillar host plants are listed. Nature enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy using this marvelous guide.
Exploring the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail: Highlights of a Birding Mecca [Paperback]
Author: Mel White
Description: Exploring the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail examines highlights of this popular route: locations ranging from national wildlife refuges with tens of thousands of acres to small city parks to stretches of isolated road passing through birdy habitat. In this guide, expert birder/writer Mel White profiles more than 80 of the best sites along the trail, chosen for diversity of habitat, species, and seasonality; productivity; and accessibility. Site listings give general (and often specific) directions, contact information (including websites when available), advice about when and how to bird the location, and a listing of some of the notable species that might be found. Also featured are nearby museums, nature centers, festivals, and accommodations of particular interest to the visiting birder.
Great Tales From the History of South Texas
Author: Murphy Givens
Description: The history of the Old West has deep roots in South Texas where the Wild Horse Desert was a lawless land controlled by no authority. The western region of South Texas, from San Antonio to Corpus Christi, stretching west and south to the Rio Grande, was the birthplace of the big cattle ranches, the cattle barons, rustlers, hide thieves, outlaws, and bad men operating on both sides of the border. Murphy Givens brings the stories of the Old West to life in "Great Tales From the History of South Texas"
Available at Amazon.com
National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of North America
Author: Jon L. Dunn and Jonathan Alderfer
Texas Gulf Coast Stories
Author: C. Herndon Williams
Description: The middle Texas coast, known locally as the Coast Bend, is an area filled with fascinating stories. From as early as the days of de Vaca and La Salle, the Coastal Bend has been a site of early exploration, bloody conflicts, legendary shipwrecks and even a buried treasure or two. However, much of the true history has remained unknown, misunderstood and even hidden. For years, local historian C. Herndon Williams has shared his fascinating discoveries of the area's early stories through his weekly column, "Coastal Bend Chronicle." Now he has selected some of his favorites in Texas Gulf Coast Stories. Join Williams as he explores the days of early settlement and European contact, Karankawa and Tonkawa legends and the Coastal Bend's tallest of tall tales.
The Book of Texas Bays
Author: Jim Blackburn
Description: In a dazzling tribute to the Texas coast, conservationist and lawyer Jim Blackburn has teamed with photographer Jim Olive to give us the most intimate and important portrait yet of Texas bays and of those who work for their wise use and preservation. While giving life and sustenance to plants, animals, and people, the bays and estuaries of Texas have other stories to tellabout freshwater inflows, deep port construction, disappearing oyster beds, beach resorts, industrial pollution, and more. At a certain point, each story brings opposing forces into the courtroom for vigorous debates on the future of some of our most valuable and irreplaceable resources.
The Book of Texas Bays is a personal account of legal battles won and lost, but it is also a fine work of natural history by someone who has a deep spiritual connection to the Texas coast and all it has to offer. Jim Olives stunning photographs present us with a dramatic perspective of our relationship with the Gulf and remind us of both the grandness and the fragility of our coastal treasures.
The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story
Author: Kathleen Kaska
Description: Millions of people know a little bit about efforts to save the whooping crane, thanks to the movie Fly Away Home and annual news stories about ultralight planes leading migratory flocks. But few realize that in the spring of 1941, the population of these magnificent birdspure white with black wingtips, standing five feet tall with a seven-foot wingspanhad reached an all-time low of fifteen. Written off as a species destined for extinction, the whooping crane has made a slow but unbelievable comeback over the last seven decades.
This recovery would have been impossible if not for the efforts of Robert Porter Allen, an ornithologist with the National Audubon Society, whose courageous eight-year crusade to find the only remaining whooping crane nesting site in North America garnered nationwide media coverage. His search and his impassioned lectures about over development, habitat loss, and unregulated hunting triggered a media blitz that had thousands of citizens on the lookout for the birds during their migratory trips.
Allens tireless efforts changed the course of U.S. environmental history and helped lead to the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Though few people remember him today, his life reads like an Indiana Jones story, full of danger and adventure, failure and success. His amazing story deserves to be told.
The Shorebird Guide
Author: Michael O'Brien & Richard Crossley
Description: Join the experts in birding by impression, a revolutionary approach to bird identification. Experienced birders use the most easily observed characteristics — size, structure, behavior, and general color patterns — to identify birds even before looking carefully at plumage details. Now birders at all levels can learn how to identify shorebirds quickly and simply. This guide includes more than 870 stunning color photographs, starting with a general impression of the species and progressing to more detailed images of the bird throughout its life cycle. Quiz questions in the captions will engage and challenge all birders and help them benefit from this simplified, commonsense approach to identification.
The Sibley Guide to Birds
Author: David Allen Sibley
The Tecate Journals: Seventy Days on the Rio Grande [Kindle Edition]
Author: Keith Bowden
Description: A first work from a new voice that is parts gritty, elegant, and contemporary. The Rio Grande is simultaneously one of the most watched and least understood rivers in the world. Some stretches of the Rio pass for endless miles through remote wilderness, boxed in by canyons hundreds of feet high and inhabited by only the hardiest animals and humans. Other stretches go straight through the center of massive urban areas, all but ignored by the thousands of city folks above. It is a national border, a water source, a dangerous rapid with house-sized boulders, a nature refuge, a garbage dump, and a playground, depending on where you are on its 1885-mile course.
That's why journalist Keith Bowden decided to become the first person to travel the entire length of the Rio as it forms the border between America and Mexico. This is his fascinating account of the journey by bike, canoe, and raft along one of North America's most overlooked resources. From illegal immigrants and drug runners trying to make it into America to the border patrol working to stop them; from human coyotes-smugglers who help people navigate their way into the United States-to encounters with real coyotes, mountain lions, and other flora and fauna, Bowden reveals a side of America that few of us ever see. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is, in many ways, a country unto itself, where inhabitants share more in common with fellow riverside dwellers than they do with the rest of their countrymen.
With this isolated and colorful micro-world as his backdrop, Bowden not only explores his surroundings, but also tests his inner mettle along some of the most dangerous and remote riparian wilderness in North America.
The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos
Author: Robb Walsh
Description: Join Texas food writer Robb Walsh on a grand tour complete with larger-than-life characters, colorful yarns, rare archival photographs, and a savory assortment of crispy, crunchy Tex-Mex foods.
From the Mexican pioneers of the sixteenth century, who first brought horses and cattle to Texas, to the Spanish mission era when cumin and garlic were introduced, to the 1890s when the Chile Queens of San Antonio sold their peppery stews to gringos like O. Henry and Ambrose Bierce, and through the chili gravy, combination plates, crispy tacos, and frozen margaritas of the twentieth century, all the way to the nuevo fried oyster nachos and vegetarian chorizo of today, here is the history of Tex-Mex in more than 100 recipes and 150 photos.
Rolled, folded, and stacked enchiladas, old-fashioned puffy tacos, sizzling fajitas, truck-stop chili, frozen margaritas, Frito Pie, and much, much more, are all here in easy-to-follow recipes for home cooks.
The Tex-Mex Cookbook will delight chile heads, food history buffs, Mexican food fans, and anybody who has ever woken up in the middle of the night craving cheese enchiladas. Available on Amazon.com