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livestock, in addition to doing a variety of things for use and comfort that only pioneers know how to do with skill and success. Among those other things were: Burned their own lime, dressed the hides, tanned them with live oak and mesquite bark ; while the mother made the shoes for the family and for the neighborhood, made hats of coon skins, and still found time to spin the wool clipped from our own flocks, which was woven into cloth on the neighborhood loom. The cloth was dyed with a weed called "Indigo" that grew in the creek near by and my mother made into clothes for herself and children.
The important matter of food was well looked after, with plenty of meat and field produce there was no need to go hungry. But the things that go with it. Coffee? Yes, we had coffee — made out of corn, acorns and sweet potatoes, while honey was used as a substitute for sugar. With an abundance of milk, cream, butter and eggs, this home-made "Postum" went all right until we renewed acquaintance with real coffee afterwards.
While shelter, food and clothes were thus acquired, we were not lacking in matters of excitement and thrills. In addition to the usual exhilarating experiences of ranch life, there were Indians —lots of them —and they were real savages, who did not stop at stealing or murdering when it suited their purposes to do so. This constituted a real danger that had to be considered, and hence the old men past the age of going into the Civil War, were associated together as "Home Guards," and their duties were to notify all the families in the country of any reported approach of Indians, and the families were disposed of by going into a designated place, where they could be the better protected against the Indians by the guards surrounding their retreat, until all danger had passed.
With this kind of environment, boys naturally learned horseback riding, loved it, and practiced to become skillful "bronco busters" and good shots.