Is this cute looking guy the future face of the farm? It’s a certified dorper sheep raised by The amazing folks at the Roeder Ranch. They have a 1,600 acre ranch west of Fredricksburg that has been in the family since the late 1890s. Brad and his parents were nice enough to have my brother Dewayne and I out for a visit Sunday. They patiently answered all of our questions, even the dumb ones.
They really got us excited about raising sheep. And more importantly, the got us believing we can actually be successful at it! So, we’re now in the process of putting our business together. FEINs, LLC paperwork, bank account, farm tax IDs, business plan, website, social media and all that fun stuff.
We get to employ everyone’s skills. Dewayne’s MBA, Jennifer’s ability to be organized and keep everyone on task, and my…my…hmm. Well, I’m sure I bring something to the table. Manual labor? East austin hipster vibe? Geeky web powers? I’m sure something will rise to the surface.
So, I hope everyone is hungry. We plan to offer some if the best grass fed lamb central Texas has ever laid a fork to! And that’s just for starters. Want to get in on the woolly action? We’ll be up for trading manual labor for shares. We’ll have plenty you can help us with.
How is Texas not filled with nudist? I’m not even sure if that is a term they go by anymore. It sounds very 1960s. Anyway, it is so hot and humid here how is Texas not entirely clothing optional?
I don’t care what the fashion was in Europe when all our Czeck, German, Spanish, Italian, and English ancestors migrated over here, I think they would have left their clothing on the drying line for about 8 months of the year as soon as they spent one year in Texas.
I picture Santa Anna running from the angry, armed and naked Alamo defenders, rifles held high, pistols swinging low. Come and take it! I think Mexico would have left us alone.
We’ve now had a couple of hundred years to figure out clothing is just something to soak up the sweat in Texas. Sure, if you work in an office that is kept the temperature of a nice meat locker, then yes, wear your sweater in June. But on the Naivar Farm, in the heat between March and October, I am seriously considering a clothing optional policy.
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.