In April, we were in the Texas Hill Country taking care of some business, working the orchard, and planning our next sustainable, permaculture projects. Since we don’t live in the Hill Country, everything we plant there has to be hardy enough to make it on its own and any system we implement has to be sturdy enough to withstand the Texas sun, strong winds, drought, torrential rain, wild hogs, raccoons, mice, curious birds, and the occasional stubborn bull (there’s a reason for the saying “like a bull in a china shop”). Since neither of us grew up on a farm, many of the tasks are foreign to us and so we have had to learn by trial and error.
Lessons learned on our own: if a cow can reach it, it will eat it – I don’t care what the book says. If a mouse can see into it, it will get in it and eat it (pvc pipe for dessert anyone?). If it is dry, a wasp or bird will nest in it. If a plant has a green part or a root, or makes a seed or fruit, then something will eat it. If a bird can get to it, so can a squirrel, raccoon, opossum, ring tail cat, and many other critters.
This trip we made time to visit the special friends we have known for a while, and we reached out to make new friends as well. We have found that even though people approach ranching with different intents, almost everyone we meet agrees, it would be great if we could provide healthy food for ourselves in a way that improves the environment.