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Horse Out Again? The Lazy H

December 4th, 2019 · Tags:Uncategorized

“Jan, your horse is out again!”

That has become my little joke, during the time that I have become friends with the family who own the third of three ranches (toured and featured here on PingWi-Fi).

During the tour of 15,000-acre Harwell Ranch, several horses shadowed our vehicle.  My camera and I were quite taken by a white gelding … the personal working horse of the patriarch of the family now is retired to roam the grasslands of the spread — “Juan.”

So, I snapped a few shots, and later worked some computer magic to create a cutout of the horse with no background, and from time to time I juxtapose this white steed in other photos … i.e., a shot of him frolicking between the tail fins of The Cadillac Ranch … and he was spotted in a painting of Monet’s garden during a promotion of the art exhibit at Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum.

Mitch Reeve

Juan gets around … and I find humor in telling Jan Harwell Reeve that her “horse is out” every time I post a photo trick.  I digress …

The Harwell ranch and its Lazy H brand belong to a family that I have known all my life, but not well.  What I do know is that the current owner — Gail Harwell — is the loved one of a well-known cowboy who worked on many a ranch, helping other cattle operations before the pair took over a portion of this property, and then expanded it.


And I know the past history of a portion of the ranch includes ownership by the county’s long-time pharmacist … a kind gentleman who would pound out powdery prescription medicines with a mortar and pestle … then wash his hands and make the best soda fountain drinks in the world, on the square in Vega. Then the druggist would work cattle with the hardest, toughest cowhands in the county on another day.  So the heritage and bloodline and uniqueness of this ranch are steeped in Oldham County history.

The Harwell Ranch is a few miles further west (and north), slightly closer to New Mexico than Rock Lake (the ranch previously featured in this blog,) more specifically just north of the tiny town of Adrian, Texas.

The Harwell spread may not be as noted for caves and cliffs  and rock formations as some of the other ranches in Oldham County — but it has a wide assortment of topography … hills and valleys … lots of almost ancient, spinning windmills still supplying water, all over the huge spread.  There are cholla cactus everywhere and mesquite in most places … some nice scenic, picturesque  changes in the terrain — or draws —  with water holes and deep rooted cottonwoods scattered here and there

 But just as the mesquite has championed this country for centuries, a new outcropping has changed the terrain.  The modern windmill.  A few dozen, electrical power generating monsters — wind turbines — create a new landscape and skyline all along the southern end of the property — creating giant spinning, spinning-spur visuals during the day and a spectacle of other-worldly red lights blinking throughout the night.

There is a new common adage about the turbines, as one old-timer put it to me.  “If you don’t like the windmills, then you probably don’t have any of them (and the resulting income).”  As a guy who toys with photography, I think they are an interesting addition to the beautiful sunrises and sunsets of this big sky part of Texas.  But to each his own.

As I mentioned, as I toured the property with one of the family members of the Harwell clan — Mitch Reeve — we happened upon one of the greatest living legacies to a cowboy … the favorite horses still roaming, out to pasture, on the ranchland they helped to tame.  A white gelding here … a retired chestnut filly there … a black working horse looming about … all hoping to be the next beneficiary of some special “cake” or supplement or whatever snacks the rancher is handing out.

Such a rugged beauty, the rolling hills and gentle drops in elevation throughout the property … all accented in the pinkish maroon red blooms of the cactus, complements of the typically rare, plentiful rainfall in recent weeks.

Such an honor to get to explore the wonderful ranches of Oldham County, with all their different scenery and interesting legacies.

Know what I sayin?