Time to catch up again. What have we been doing for the last 10 days? Just enjoying the Texas sunshine. Last Wednesday we did meet our friend Thery King and her cousin Wanda for a lovely lunch at Pirate's Landing in Port Isabel. Last night we played "Night Golf" - a scramble with glow in the dark balls - it was fun with 45 people out. Sorry to say cousin Don and Maureen left this morning for Winnipeg and we will miss their company here at Trophy Gardens.

Today I was off on an adventure to King Ranch - a 2 hour bus trip north of us. The King Ranch is the largest family owned ranch in Texas - 825,000 acres. I wanted to tour this ranch because we have a Ford "King Ranch" pick-up truck and have passed the ranch on our way to the Rio Grande Valley for 2 winters now. So here is some info on the King Ranch.
Captain Richard King (1824-1885) , a Rio Grande Steamboat Captain bought 2 Spanish land grants on the Santa Gertrudis Creek and founded the legendary King Ranch in 1853. He bought Longhorn cattle from Mexico and battled droughts and cattle thieves to build a profitable ranch. Note the famous "running W" brand used by the King Ranch. Santa Gertrudis beef cattle were developed here in 1920 from Brahman cattle ( 3/8th) from India and English Shorthorns (5/8th) - a dark red hide which protects the cattle from sunburn and the first American produced breed of beef cattle. Later came the Santa Cruz beef cattle. Today they have 60,000 cattle - 30,000 breeding stock and 30,000 for market each year. the cattle and horses are sold to a buyer. There is a herd of Longhorn cattle on the ranch. Longhorn cattle are well suited for the climate and conditions of Texas but are too lean for the beef market - their colourful hides and horns are more valuable.
There are also cinnamon colored quarter horses and thoroughbreds - famous for the horse "Assault" who won the Triple Crown in 1946 - only Texas horse to do this. There is a horse cemetary for its famous horses - about 7 stones are in view. The horses were buried head, heart and hoof.
There are about 100 families involved in the running of the Ranch - some who have been involved for 7 generations. When Richard King purchased cattle from the villagers of Cruillas, Mexico, he wisely offered them work and a place to live if they helped him move the cattle north and continues to work with him on the ranch. These rugged, hardworking men became known as los kinenos, or King's people. Some of the families live on the ranch in a small subdivision of houses called The Colony.
On the property is the Ranchhouse - 32,000 square foot house that has 17 bedrooms and 19 bathrooms, a diningroom table that holds 40 to 50 diners - now run as a hotel for King Ranch corporate personnel.
The Corporate Centre of the King Ranch businesses is in Houston.
There was a dairy operation (Jersey cattle) on site until 1953 - used for supplying milk for the ranch's families.
(Bedtime - more info to add tomorrow)


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