Read Addie Broyles’ Food section cover story from April 11, 2012: After long battle over water, Tecolote Farm finally moving on! It has been a long four years since our wells dried up here at the original farm. Statesman writer Addie Broyles tells the tale of how we keep on keepin’ on.
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Now taking 2012 CSA sign-ups!
2012 CSA Subscription Agreements coming soon (within the next two days)- email me at email@example.com beforehand to reserve your spot for our award-winning, long-standing vegetable delivery service!
Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson at the Paramount Stateside Theater last night was a lovely way to end a weekend full of a slow, soaking, stuck-in-the-mud kinda rain. I’d like to pay tribute to both of them and the poem which Edible Austin’s Marla Camp asked Wendell to read last night:
Water from Farming: A Handbook by Wendell Berry
I was born in a drouth year. That summer my mother waited in the house, enclosed in the sun and the dry ceaseless wind, for the men to come back in the evenings, bringing water from a distant spring. veins of leaves ran dry, roots shrank. And all my life I have dreaded the return of that year, sure that it still is somewhere, like a dead enemy’s soul. Fear of dust in my mouth is always with me, and I am the faithful husband of the rain, I love the water of wells and springs and the taste of roofs in the water of cisterns. I am a dry man whose thirst is praise of clouds, and whose mind is something of a cup. My sweetness is to wake in the night after days of dry heat, hearing the rain.
After some weary years of wrestling with water lines and digging trenches for buried pipe and electric cable to a new small production well at our original Webberville farm, we are
going to Hawaii going to do it again! At the new River Farm in Utley, Bastrop County, down on the Colorado River, about 12 miles east of our current farm. The well-diggers were there all day yesterday, and are at it again today, trying to find a good, dependable source of well water for us for many more decades of organic vegetable production. Fingers crossed, hopes high, looking for water when it’s oh-so-dry. We welcome all well-wishers (haha), prayers, hopeful thoughts, thunderstorms, etc.
We hope you have all survived the hottest, driest central Texas summer in recorded history! While our plans to take the kids on a road trip to the mountain ranges of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana preceded knowledge of the horrendous summer that lay ahead, in retrospect we feel very fortunate that we weren’t picking okra in 107° all July!! I know many of you missed the okra, melons, tomatoes, sweet peppers and cucumber-melons that late summer baskets bring, but have no fear: we’ll be doing summer season as usual starting again in 2012.
The real question on everyone’s mind, though, is: “Will there even be a fall season in this dratted weather, and, if so, when will it start?” We planned and were excited about a fall CSA (our first ever), so we plunged right in- despite the daunting late August/early September weather- and got seeds started in plug trays (in the cooler!) and transplants in the hot ground. We wanted to start the first week of October, or last week of September. It has been an act of hope planting into hard, dry ground full of clods, and keeping the soil moist enough to entice germination and continued life. We sent Zachary, our eldest, up to Jarrell one day with the truck and trailer to purchase 3 round bales of corn stalks for use as mulch. The newly-transplanted peppers and eggplants wouldn’t have survived without protection, and there was not a stalk of untreated hay or straw to be had within all surrounding counties. Corn farmers who lost their crop still baled the stalks to sell for feed to hay-starved livestock, beneficial at least for caloric value.
So, the short answer is: “Yes, we still plan to do a Fall CSA, and hope to start in mid October.” The long answer is, “We are doing everything we can to ensure a varied and bountiful crop for fall baskets, but are losing a lot to the heat and low soil moisture. Baskets will be $33, as before, and a rough estimate now is a 4-6 week season.
Luckily, our new Bastrop County land was not touched by the fires. We have friends who have lost their homes, and a neighbor who lost her brother, to the wildfires. It is at times like these that we count our blessings and remember those who are suffering most directly. Thanks for keeping the wildfire victims and Texas farmers in your thoughts and prayers.
We had big hopes for this fall: our first ever Fall CSA season and the development of our new raw land down on the river into farmland. Our water woes will be greatly diminished when we can farm on land with a better water source. Oh how we miss the days of our hand-dug well chugging through drought years without missing a beat!
For now, though, there is but one hope: the return of RAIN to our soil. Without rain, fall crops will wither in the endless heat and hot ground. Without rain, mesquite abatement and deer fence construction on the new land will be nearly impossible. We’ll keep going, as other area farmers have done all summer, because Texas farmers are tough, and fairly hardened to the cruel weather. But I don’t know if we’ve ever wished for the end of August to signal the end of summer so badly. The shade cloth-covered greenhouse is full of baby vegetables wanting to make their way in the world. September can go either way, but I’m all for making it as different from August as it ever gets. Get out your dancin’ shoes- there’s a 20% chance of rain Friday-Sunday -and let’s all bring that rain to Texas!
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- Roasted Turnips & Kohlrabi in Wine
- Greens with Roasted Peanuts & Red Pepper
- Sorrel Soufflé
- Sweet Pickled Onion Watermelon Radish Salad
- Pan-Fried Squash Fritters
- The Best Spinach Salad
I think this is year 9 for me; I have learned so much about the beautiful bountiful variety of plants that the earth produces with your love and cultivation. Thank you for this tasty adventure and for being connected to so many people who honor the earth. And thanks for sending all the innovative recipes.Martha S.