After a two week delay due to problems with the septic system we have arrived at the Naivar Farm. It’s strange living here. Somewhere new but somewhere I have known literally my entire life.
We did not expect to land here, at least not for some time, if ever. But treading water in this economy with two babies is not an option. So here we are. By choice or by force. Who’s to say?
We need to get our San Marcos house ready to rent while at the same time get this house ready to live in. No pressure.
I’m focusing on the potential because to focus on the work would be overwhelming. Frequent words in my vocabulary are: hot, dry rot, termites, worn out, chiggers, scorpions, wiring, scary electrical, paint and hot.
On a positive note, the garden is happy. We had sautéed fresh squash and eggs, green beans, and tomatoes and cucumber drizzled in olive oil and sea salt. Other than the oil and salt we produced it all. Yum!
Preparing the farm for a family is no easy chore. We leave behind a renovated home, a ten year old garden (already planted for spring/summer), a revitalized pecan tree (thanks to our chicken manure), several fruit trees (loaded with peaches and rare figs), two rivers (one that is 72 degrees year-round), and a modern grocery store with lots of certified organic products.
One of the first chores of our move was to establish a garden. It’s a little late for planting a garden in our area but we will survive. The farmland is mostly covered in burmuda grass (devil weed) and we know we can never get rid of it so we dig deep and hope for the best.
We lucked out and got five free plats of plants (okra, melons, eggplant, summer squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash and cucumbers) from C and J Nursery in Martindale. Apparently, they over-produced and would rather give them away then see them go to waste.
James tilled up a garden plot on the west side of the house, I added a water system, and Ele and I planted.
So, one thing will be working when we move in – the garden. Everything else needs repair! 😉
Fate has a funny way of getting you were you need to go sometimes. Jennifer and I have been involved with the organic farming, ranching and gardening for almost a decade now. We even owned our own organic gardening education business for a number of years, before that was a thing. Now, in Austin alone, you have a half dozen businesses you can call for help. We’ve been active with the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association as Regional Representatives, helping organize their conferences, advertising at farmers markets, updating their website (not the current one!). We’ve been canning, gardening, raising chickens, slaughtering, making and smoking sausage, growing fruit trees, playing in our greenhouse, making yogurt and cheese and doing things generally considered homesteading for over a decade. Oh yeah, we also made two beautiful babies.
But we’ve never farmed, never ranched, never grew or produced for a living. But, after a full year of unemployment and a full year of looking for employment for Jennifer, we’ve been forced to consider something we’ve never seriously considered before – moving to the farm and trying to make a living there. “The farm” is the Naivar Farm in Granger, Texas. My mother grew up there in a strong, vibrant Czeck community. My grandfather Leo and my grandmother Annie spoke fluent Czeck. I remember it around the breakfast table when I spent the night there as a kid. There was even a Czeck radio station on the air until the early 2000’s. The radio station and my grandparents are no more, but the farm lives on.
The farm is now owned by my parents (Bobby and Barbara Buratti) and my aunt and uncle in Florida (Jim and Dorothy May Nipper). Ninety-six acres of fertile Texas clay loam soil. It’s a diverse piece of land with upland prairie (if it were still in its native state), bottomland hardwoods and riparian areas, two wet-weather creeks (one always used to flow except in extreme drought, but that’s the new normal), and a former gravel extraction pit.
Most of the land is covered in coastal bermuda – or devil grass as it’s also known. A neighbor leases the fields, fertilizes, sprays poisons, cuts grass and makes hay. Another local family leases the gravel pit and the bottom land for their miniature horses and cows. We also let him kill as many feral hogs as he can shoot.
What will we do there? We’re not yet sure. I know we’ll have our chickens and plants. Right now we’re leaning toward sheep – a triple threat: meat, milk and fiber. Maybe goats as well. Only time, our finances and fate will tell.