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It Only Took 40 years

Since about age 7, I have always wanted my own farm.

I dreamed of a 100-year-old tree with grand branches to climb on and to hang a tire swing. I dreamed of running barefoot through a field with golden grass as tall as my waist. Breathless, I’d plop down on my back, and look up at the enormous blue sky, searching for dragons and elephants in the white, puffy clouds.

I wanted a pond and to go fishing with my dad, just like that red-headed, snaggle-toothed Opie did with his dad, Sheriff Andy Taylor. I dreamed of waking to the sound of a crowing rooster. Eating freshly laid eggs for breakfast. Milking goats. Playing in the hay in the old red barn. I dreamed. I dreamed. I dreamed.

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An english elm. One of my favorite trees on the property.

Fast forward (slow forward, really) 40 years and I can finally say that I am the proud owner of 10.5 acres of dirt! Well, me and my husband, that is. It’s smack-dab in the middle of Burton, Texas. Just a stone’s throw from Lake Sommerville, and just a short jaunt to the trifecta of small town living – Brenham (home of Blue Bell Ice Cream), Round Top (headquarters of the Junk Gypsies), and Fayetteville (home to Orsak’s Cafe).

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Oaks, pecans, and elms on the other end of the property.

Our land (OUR land!) has a beautiful roll to it. Scattered throughout are blackberries and a few vines of muscadine grapes. What I love the most, though, are all the mature trees – oaks, pecans, and english elms. Three sides of the property is surrounded by a cattle ranch, with the fourth side being along a frontage road. We like that because it will allow us to have a residential entrance, as well as, a business entrance once we get to that point.

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Our neighbor, Travis, and his faithful companion, Trixie.

We’ve already met our neighbors, mostly older folks. Some have lived here all of their lives. Some only recently to escape the busyness of the city. But all are the “down home” friendly you’d expect living in a rural area. And, y’all, you know you’re in the country when your real estate agent thanks you at closing with a handmade pie from Royers Round Top Cafe.

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Mixed berry pie from Royers Round Top Cafe

It will take some time before we actually build a house and move out here, and there sure will be a whole lot of hard work, but we’re determined to turn this land into a farm with dairy goats, bees, chickens, a veggie garden, and a fruit orchard (go big, or go home, right?). Until then, this is our journey from the burbs to the country. Thanks for joining us!

Chasing Bluebonnets

“The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland…”
– Jack Maguire, Historian

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It’s March in Texas. You drive past dozens of cars parked along the side of the road. You see families and couples squatting among some blue-looking flowers, but, you have no idea what is going on. Well, you must not be from Texas. We forgive you for that, because, as that Lyle Lovett song goes, “That’s right you’re not from Texas, but Texas wants you, anyway.” I digress. This post is about flowers, not those unfortunate souls birthed outside of the Lone Star state. Back to those blue flowers.

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As anyone who grows up here knows, it’s a rite of passage to have your picture taken amongst a field of our state’s flower – The bluebonnet. For our family, it wouldn’t be spring if we didn’t spend hours upon hours driving the winding back roads of Washington County in search of the best location for bluebonnet pictures (“best” being one that is sans cars, buildings, and other people’s kids running by in the background. I’m picky like that.), or, someone in the back seat getting carsick. I keep a few dozen of these in the car for the inevitable.

2017 marks our 10th year of taking family pictures in the bluebonnets, and, I am happy to say we didn’t have to travel far. This year we took pictures in our very own bluebonnet patch here at BDF. Although it is a small patch, it’s OUR patch. This coming fall, however, we do plan to plant more in hopes of having a large field full of these beauties for future springs.

Our first year, our daughter, Little Miss Sunshine, was only three months old. This year she is ten, and, now there is a little sister, Baby Dumpling, who is sharing the limelight. Baby Dumpling just turned twelve months old. Try taking pictures of an active toddler set loose in an open space. *SIGH* Well, at least I managed to capture a few sweet sibling photos.

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Little Miss Sunshine & Baby Dumpling – March 2017

The cattle ranch next door has an enormous field of bluebonnets that resembles a small lake from our property. In all these years, we’ve never found a field this large, I don’t think. Our neighbor, Mike, was kind enough to allow us to take some pictures from there. Thankfully, the cows were situated in a different pasture, so, there were no worries of a bovine photobomb, though, I admit, that would have been kinda cool.

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Our next door neighbor’s property.

In 1901, the Texas Legislature named the bluebonnet the state flower. Is that when the love affair for this legume (yes, legume) really took off? Not sure, but, I do know that originally the male powers that be wanted to choose the cactus. The women wanted the bluebonnet. It was quite the heated debate. Thankfully, being the wise men that they were…ahem…they listened to the ladies and agreed to the less prickly bluebonnet. I just can’t imagine ever saying, “Honey, pull over. There’s the perfect patch of cactus for our family photo.” OUCH!

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So just what is it that makes the bluebonnet so special that it would be named the official state flower?  Why all the papparazzi-like hubbub? There are other wildflowers, you know, and just as pretty. Riiight.

Well, for starters, they are uncommon. According to David Lee, author of Nature’s Palette: The Science of Plant Color, only 10% of plants which flower are blue. That, in and of it’s self, makes bluebonnets quite unique.

They leave us wanting more. Sadly, their beauty is short-lived. Typically, bluebonnet season only lasts about four weeks, sometimes less, depending upon the rain and cold from the previous winter.

They can be elusive. It can take years for the seeds to germinate, so, it can be difficult to anticipate exactly when and where they will appear. We can find the be-all-end-all field one year, but, nare a one can be found at the same location the following year.

I suspect, though, that the most important reason for their appeal is that they signify that spring has truly sprung. Friends, spring fever is upon us, and, I’m feeling quite blue.