Trinity University Press

The Ranch That Was Us

Becky Crouch Patterson (author), Willie Nelson (foreword)

From the land of LBJ, a brash and beautiful story of a legendary Texas Hill Country ranch and the family who cherished its rugged land and lifestyle

Braiding strands of earthen insight with uproarious storytelling, legendary Texas Hill Country author Becky Patterson recreates the history of the Stieler Hill Ranch in twenty-four anecdotal chapters interspersed with original artwork. The result is a mixture of memoir and montage, treasure chest and tableau vivant of a world that’s beautiful, brash, and wonderfully heartbreaking. Patterson, the daughter of Texas folk hero and self-proclaimed mayor of Luckenbach, Hondo Crouch, has big shoes to fill, and she does so successfully in this colorful collection of Hill Country and Texas ranch vignettes.

Foreman and general cowboy guru Raymond Kuhlmann tells stories of the Goat King and German drinking songs, the buzzard traps and Mexican corridos that filled the nighttime pastures. First-person accounts and vivid historical narratives evoke the ranch’s past, overlaid with Patterson’s unforgettable personal experiences.

This book will connect you to whatever patch of earth you hold dear. It is poignant reminder of the landscapes we’ve forgotten to keep close, of the land that does not belong to us but simply is who we are. The Ranch That Was Us is an affectionate reminder to go outside and touch the earth that is you.


“For us non-native Texans it would be impossible to understand the Nachfolge of Hondo’s Texas without the tales of our old schoolmate from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. In the late 50’s and early 60’s there were still miles of lonely caliche roads, cattlemen sparring with sheepherders, and endless hills of mesquite, cedar, and oak trees before the sprawling of civilization erased nature’s own. Today, thanks to Becky’s breezy charm and piercing honesty, we sit quietly and remember or imagine what once was.”

Alexandra and Terrence Malick

“Becky Crouch Patterson, daughter of Hill Country legend Hondo Crouch and the indomitable Shatzie, has beautifully recounted her life growing up on the ranch of her larger-than-life grandfather, Adolf Stieler, ‘the goat king of Texas.’ An artist by profession, the author is also gifted with words, chronicling lives of her ancestors, family members, hired hands, and farm animals that have been significant in her life. The Ranch That Was Us is a remarkable and compelling treasury of anecdotes and memories.”

Elroy Bode

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The Ranch That Was Us cover
  • Price: $24.95 buy »
  • Pages: 240
  • Size: 7.5 x 9.25
  • Published: Oct 2012
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595341389
  • Illustrations: 48
  • Price: $24.95
  • Published: Jan 2013
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595341266
  • Illustrations: 48


Regional, Memoir, Texas