Monday, July 24, 2006

Welcome to the World Sweetpea

Last week, I went to a ranch with the invitation of Shanna Roberts, a culinary school-trained chef who is opening the Sunflower Cafe in Van Horn next year. We're working on a promotion of the Texas Mountain Trail and border food for a Midwest food cooperative to raise awareness of the region as a vacation destination.

In addition to her work building the restaurant, Shanna takes care of an impressive number of animals--geese, goats, hogs, horses, and cattle on her family's section of land.

While Shanna fed the cattle, we noticed a cow who separated herself from the others. As we drove nearer to investigate, we saw a gray spot on the ground. We were delighted to find a healthy newborn calf next to her momma. Sweetpea was born that morning, but was not expected; Shanna figured her mom, February, must have already been bred when she was purchased late last year.

Ranching is an important part of life in the Texas Mountain Trail region, and visitors can learn more about it at the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine, the Marfa and Presidio County Museum in Marfa, the Clark Hotel Museum in Van Horn, and Hallie's Hall of Fame Museum on the road from Marathon to Big Bend National Park.

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