Tag Archives: Anthropology

Oak Tree Mast Year

Lichen and moss on the north side of live oak tree in the front yard at Flying Hat.

Moss grows on the north side of trees.  That’s true in the northern hemisphere.  Probably it’s on the south side of trees in the southern half of Earth.  We have many oak trees bearing fruit this Fall.

Acorns fall from trees abundantly this season.  Our car port becomes a tin drum when the acorns fall — about one every thirty seconds at the fastest rhythm.  This is a “mast” year for acorns, a season of superabundant oak tree fruit.

Here on the ranch in prehistoric times, acorns were a staple supply for the Indian.  About the ranch house, in the front pastures and around the barn, I have discovered stone tools in abundance:  choppers and grinders.  It is possible that archeological analysis will reveal Flying Hat a quarry for tool making since non-worked iron ore and meteorite sources are plentiful (1).

Horses must be watched lest they overeat acorns.  A few nuts will not hurt them.  This Fall season the grass is so abundant the horses don’t care about the acorns.  During a lean year of grass in the Fall, I have seen Star (levitating and stealth horse) stand beneath an oak tree and wait for nuts to fall, some bonking him on the head, other nuts bouncing off his backside.  This year, however, come the browning of the grass, horses must be given ample hay or put in another pasture without acorns.  Star would much prefer to be gently pelted with nuts.

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Notes:

(1)  Archeological analysis in Texas falls under the Texas Historical Commission administration.  Contract archeological firms analyze sites.  My work in archeological field survey and analysis (I like the fieldwork) stems from my graduate field school tenure at Texas Tech University, anthropology department, under Dr. William Mayer-Oakes.

See also Texas Historical Commission, Archeological Subset.

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Filed under Flying Hat Ranch, Horses

Fanny with Verbena

Fanny with Verbena, Spring 2010

I thought you might like this photograph.  I do.  It doesn’t have all the right composition angles, but it’s a good snapshot.  But, ’tis not a Kodak moment any more, folks, is it?  Digital.

Anyway, it’s a picture of Shiners Fannin Peppy on a warm spring day a few weeks ago.  Fanny is coming up the pasture to where I am standing on Poprock Hill.  The sun is shining brightly, it’s probably near high noon as I recollect.  You can see that her coat is sleek and she is a good two-year old that has been trained well and tended–Duncan Steele-Park’s regime of education.

In the background, emerging and standing brilliantly, is a nice stand of purple verbena.  Verbena has been all over the place this spring–in pastures, corrals, stables, front yard, back yard.  There’s some yellow flowers also in the mix and some yucca blossom stalks about ready to burst.  It’s just a fine, sunny picture on a good day here on Flying Hat.

And, here she is up on the edge of Poprock Hill, being cute and pretty and all-horse.

Fanny with Live Oak, Spring 2010

Equus Fanny, Spring 2010

Equus. Long ago and faraway I read the play, Equus, and saw the movie with Sir Richard Burton as the psychiatrist.  Peter Shaffer wrote the play in 1973, based on a true story.  It’s not a pleasant story at all, and I won’t summarize it here, but the play and Burton’s acting inspired me to delve more into depth psychology and formative events in human development.  As a result, I became immersed in anthropology.  I was already in anthropology as a sub-field of my discipline, history, but I went way, way down into the discipline and eventually began to teach cultural and physical anthropology at a college in the Texas Panhandle.

There are many starting points for learning a field of knowledge.  Wherever you find that interest, follow it and exhaust your curiosity by reading late into the night, visiting museums and researching in libraries–wherever it takes you, go, go, go!  One of my starting points was Equus.

Did I say I liked horses?

Yes, I did say that, especially Fanny in verbena, on a sunny spring day.

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Filed under Duncan Steele-Park, Horses, Shiners Fannin Peppy (Fanny)