Tuesday morning. 38 degrees F, wind light, sky clear. We arrived in Weatherford TX in time for dinner yesterday, road weary an glad to be out of the truck for a while. Buddy is overjoyed to be playing with Allison and Tango. The weather should be nice, in the sixties. The trip from Albuquerque to Weatherford traversed everything from near desert and dry river washes to grazing land, winter wheat field and enormous cotton fields being readied for planting. Much of the most degraded landscape was once known as the Llanos Estacado, the Staked Plains, so called because the early Spanish explorers and settlers erected tall posts at intervals along the trails so the way could be seen through the tall grass prairie vegetation, that was "Taller than a man on horseback."I will upload photos later.
The landscape changed irretrievably with the Indian wars and the purposeful extinction of the buffalo by the US government as a means of depriving the Indians of their most important resource. This was ecological warfare on a hitherto unprecedented scale. With the elimination of the buffalo and the Indians, domestic cattle were introduced by the white settlers and eventually the range was partitioned by barbed wire fences. The buffalo were herd animals that constantly moved as they grazed and thus did not damage the grasses. Fenced cattle can overgraze and damage the range vegetation, and the result is the invasion of unwanted and unpalatable cacti, trees and shrubs.
Wars usually have unanticipated results, and the Indian wars left the land far poorer for the victors and has never recovered. No one won, and the earth lost.