There is no doubt that cowboy boots have a certain romance and mystique to them. Those of us who were youngsters in the ‘50s wanted to be like Roy, Dale, Gene, and Hopalong by wearing our most treasured footwear, cowboy boots.
No one really knows for sure where the first pair of cowboy boots were made. Stories and legends indicate that it was either a shoemaker in Kansas or Texas. When the Civil War ended in 1865, the cowboys who were driving cattle along the trails to market realized they really needed a different type of boot. The boots they wore during the war weren’t suitable for riding through brush, splashing through creeks and rivers and riding with their feet in stirrups for long hours. Sometime around 1870 a cowboy took his boots to a shoemaker and ask for a pointy toe so he could get his foot in the stirrup more easily; a taller shaft to protect his legs; and a bigger, thicker, underslung heel so his foot wouldn’t come out of the stirrup. This type of heel also helped the cowboy dig into the ground while trying to hold a stubborn mule or cow. It also helps present day professional rodeo bulldoggers stop a running steer. The higher knee-high design protected from mesquite tree thorns, barbed wire, snakes and other dangers.
The first cowboy boots were handmade from cowhide with customization limited to mostly decorative stitching. During the 1930’s and 1940’s the cowboy lifestyle no longer focused on practically, but more on fashion due to Hollywood starting to produce Western films. The growing interest in rodeos, popularity of the country and western culture, and charity benefits such as various Cattle Baron Balls also contribute to the popularity of cowboy boots. Cowboy boots started being made from exotic skins and leathers with much more decorative stitching, inlays and colors. Boot companies also began mass producing the cowboy boot. A person can still order a custom handmade pair of cowboy boots; however, the person must be prepared to pay a sizeable price, in the thousands, and patient enough to wait at least six months and longer.
So pull on your cowboy boots and head out to your favorite honky tonk for a little Boot Scootin’.
Time is approaching when we move from one season to the next, fall. Plants and animals are beginning to make changes. Length of the day, feeding patterns, and environmental changes are some of the factors that contribute to these changes. The day length is the most predictive environmental clue for the seasonal timing of physiology and behavior, most notably for timing of migration, hibernation, and reproduction. Scientists refer to these changes as circadian rhythmicity.
My photographs show a hummingbird stocking up on nectar for its non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico, the color change of a tree, salmon swimming upstream to spawn, Bison relocating to their wintering grounds, elk entering the rut season, a plant no longer in bloom, a bear gorging on berries before hibernation, Whooping Cranes arriving from Canada, and humans headed to warmer locations.
The Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is the official state bird of five states. It is the only Mockingbird commonly found in North America. This bird is mainly a permanent resident; however, northern residents may fly south during harsh winters.
The Texas legislature designated the Northern Mockingbird the official state bird in 1927 followed by the legislatures of Florida in 1927, Arkansas in 1929, Tennessee in 1933, and Mississippi in 1944 naming the Northern Mockingbird their state bird.
Any Texan will quickly tell you that the Mockingbird has the prettiest song of any bird native to North America, which is perhaps the chief reason the “Mocker” was named the state bird. The Mockingbird’s song is a medley of calls of many other birds, up to 200, as well as the sounds of insects and amphibians. Each imitation is repeated two or three times, then another song is started, all in rapid succession. This bird is a fierce protector of its nest and environment. The Texas legislature noted that the Mockingbird, “…is found in all parts of the state, in winter and in summer, in the city and in the country, on the open prairie and in the woods and hills … is a singer of distinctive type, a fighter for the protection of his home, falling, if need be, in its defense, like any true Texan.
North Park Center opened in 1965 as the brain child of developer Raymond Nasher. The Center at that time was the largest climate-controlled retail center in the world. Several expansions have taken place since the opening. Art has always been an integral part of the North Park Center interior landscape. It is often referred to as an art museum inside a shopping center.
This Blog shows some of the Nasher sculpture collection one can enjoy while visiting North Park Center. The largest collection is housed in the Nasher Sculpture Center in the Dallas Arts District.