More and more people are asking for pictures of the ranch where Corey and I live–so I thought I’d satisfy the curious. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “middle of nowhere,” well, that’s pretty much where we live.
Although I call it “the ranch,” it is actually a number of ranches purchased over the years and combined under the name of Longfellow Ranch. They include the original Longfellow Ranch, the Scharbaugh, West Pyle, the Cerf Ranch, Fort Chadbourne (not the one in Wikipedia), and a number of other, smaller ranches, including the one where we live. The combined area of 358,000 acres is the 20th largest piece of privately owned land in the United States, and is owned by Malone Mitchell III.
The map you see here shows an approximate location of where we live, but I wouldn’t even begin to try to show the outlines of the entire ranch–I know the northern end is just south of Fort Stockton, and the southern end is near Hwy 90, from Alpine to Sanderson. I also know you can drive for 50 miles and never get off the ranch.
Fort Stockton, which is a 45-minute drive, is the nearest grocery store and has a Walmart as well.
Either Corey or I took all of them, but the incredible beauty of the subject matter often makes them look like postcards.
One of my absolute favorite things to do is to take pictures of the incredibly fragile-looking flowers that don’t just survive out here, but thrive.
Although I will say that I think the purple one is sage.
Once you’re done looking at the flowers, the rest of the scenery is well worth a look. The picture of the sunrise behind the hill was taken just a few steps from my front door.
On the occasional cloudy day, you get the opportunity to capture images like these.
For whatever reason, when the sun cuts through the clouds
with those intense beams of light, it always makes me think of my mother.
And, of course, the pumpjack is just classic West Texas
The pair of peaks that can be seen in one image is about 10 miles west of our house, and called the Twin Sisters.
The rimrock with the cross atop it is actually directly behind our house–and the first one that Corey and I climbed together.
The ranch we live on is near the eastern end of the Big Canyon (the names weren’t terribly creative).
You catch a glimpse of the Big Canyon in the blue sky and fluffy white clouds picture, which was also taken on the way home from a trip off the ranch. It’s hard to give a good idea of how vast this landscape is, but this comes closer than most of the pictures.
I run a couple of times a week (I’m up to 4.5 miles now!) and this is the road I run on.
Added to the scenery and the flora of course, there is the incredible diversity of wildlife. This is just one small group of elk shown in full flight. There are hundreds of elk roaming across the ranch, and many other species live here, including aoudad, mule deer and white-tail deer. Even antelope have been spotted. Wild quail live here, as do wild turkey.
While the western side of the ranch is a cattle operation, our side of Longfellow is a hunting ranch, and from September to December, our sleepy ranch headquarters will become a beehive of hunters and hunting buggies zooming in and out.
But, that and the cattle ranch operation is why we’re here. The building in the last small picture is Corey’s shop. He is the mechanic manager for the entire fleet at Longfellow, from lawnmowers to heavy equipment, dozens of trucks, hunting buggies, four-wheelers, dirtbikes, and anything else you need to get where you’re going on the ranch. When your job is fixing stuff that breaks on a ranch, you have some serious job security. Everything breaks eventually out here.
And, last but not least, one of my favorite sights, driving west looking toward the Twin Sisters at the right of the image. Full disclosure, it was Photoshopped to make the mountains a little more visible in the dusty haze…
If you want to see images of the ranch in the winter, check out my post #52 – images of the ranch.