Getting to Know the Land

Bart and I purchased this land in East Texas in the early 90’s, five years before we retired. Over the many years we have lived here we took the time to learn all we could about the land, the plants, the animals, and the insect’s specific to these 57acres.

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We started by taking courses along with the required volunteer hours to become certified Texas Master Naturalist .  I highly recommend this path if you are interested in learning about the environment where you live.  The local East Texas chapter we attended provided courses, specifically tailored to our area, presented by university professors, business professionals and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department specialists.   Our next step was to join a very knowledgeable and dedicated bunch of folks in the Native Plant Society of Texas.  They have the best field trips. Here we learned about the plants in our bog, which by the way we didn’t know we had until we knew what a “bog” was.

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This led eventually to the Texas Land Conservancy designating 15 acres of our wetlands as a conservation easement

 

I continued my education by becoming a certified Texas Master Gardener. The Texas Master Gardener Program  is a volunteer development program offered by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. This program gave me the opportunity to use my knowledge of native plants and permaculture (sustainable gardening) to work with a group of volunteers and design and build a wildscape in the Mineola Nature Preserve.

Why We Moved Here

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We didn’t plan to learn about the land. We planned only to live in a farm community in a rural setting in the woods with a spring fed pond. I guess the land just drew us into that path. We really retired early so that Bart could make his wire wall art  on a full time basis, which we also did. Together he and I sold his work over the web, in art galleries and other venues. And he still does. We now actively commit ourselves to artistic endeavors.  Bart is making and selling custom wire wall art (including murals) and botanical drawings of native plants we find locally in our area. I now write children’s picture books, poetry, magazine articles and by the end of September 2016 I will be blogging on my website .

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What We're up to Now

We now actively commit ourselves to artistic endeavors. Bart is making and selling custom wire wall art (including murals) and botanical drawings of native plants we find locally in our area. I now write children’s picture books, poetry, magazine articles and notes on nature.

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View Texas Native Plant Magazine article and photos on our place

Read tpwd article 

View youtube talk about our land

List of plants found at the bog

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I also speak on growing native plants in East Texas to area garden clubs and master gardening classes.


© Liz Soutendijk 2016 updated 7/8/17