Author Archives: Martin


In memory of Heather Catto Kohout

As many of you know, Heather Catto Kohout, whose idea Madroño Ranch: A Center for Writing, Art, and the Environment was, died on October 17, 2014, nearly three years after her initial diagnosis with metastatic cancer. Her obituary gives only … Continue reading

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The first annual Madroño Ranch residents’ reunion

Two Saturdays ago some twenty former residents and members of our Advisory Board gathered at our house in Austin for what we hope will be the first of many annual “Resident Reunions.” We envisioned this gathering as a chance for … Continue reading

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Conflict on the half-shell in mellow Marin

“… most ranchers and farmers in the West care as much for the health of their land, air, and water as any member of the Sierra Club.” (Mark Dowie) This was the second September in a row in which we … Continue reading

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The Wild Ram of the Mountains

Okay, show of hands. How many of you knew that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (better known as the Mormons) played a prominent role in the settlement of the Texas Hill Country? Don’t feel bad; I had … Continue reading

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Most memorable meals, take four: oysters and earthquakes

As some of you know, Heather and I have spent the last two weeks in a rented cottage in Point Reyes Station, about an hour north of San Francisco. This is, I think, the longest vacation the two of us … Continue reading

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Three white Stetson hats: the joy of limitation

Let’s face it: we are not culturally conditioned to look kindly upon constraints. Every day bombards us with messages urging us to maximize our enjoyments, super-size our servings, and prolong our erections. Limitations, we’re told, are for losers. I, on … Continue reading

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Christian Althaus and the gift of perspective

For all of my whingeing about the difficulties of adjusting to life in Texas, even after thirty years here, I know I’ve had it pretty easy, especially compared to the nineteenth-century settlers who endured almost unimaginable hardships while trying to … Continue reading

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Memorial Day: remembering Mamaw

Last Monday was Memorial Day, which Heather and I acknowledged by visiting the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg on our way out for a quick visit to Madroño Ranch. If you haven’t been there yet, I can … Continue reading

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Look out of any window

Last week we spent several days at the Chisos Mountains Lodge, in Big Bend National Park, with our friends Bruce and Margaret Bennett and Peter and Kay Willcox. (Longtime readers may recall that Bruce was my hiking buddy on coast-to-coast … Continue reading

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Love, light, and Wallace Stevens

Yesterday was the solstice, the shortest day of the year; Heather’s father died last Sunday; and we’ve received various other pieces of bad news over the last few weeks. It would be easy, under the circumstances, to give way to … Continue reading

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