March 30, 2017
At nearly every farm I am at it strikes me of what an immense labor of love farming or ranching is. It’s a labor of love for the land and the food grown, and for the livestock raised. It’s a labor of love for the farmHers life. No matter what type or size of farm, it’s always a love that is there and that love was very much alive and kicking at the Boxcar Farm and Garden in Maxwell, Texas.
Before I even made my way south to Texas, as I was researching the FarmHers and RanchHers we should visit the name Leah Gibson was drilled into my head. As I spoke with multiple women in and around the Austin area, her name just kept coming up as the one the other FarmHers in the area turn to, and the one I needed to meet. So, on a very hot and humid day we made our way to Maxwell to photograph. When I arrived, after a quick hello, Leah offered me bug spray and it didn’t take long to understand why. I followed Leah and Gabe and their hand pulled wagon out to the end of the 12 acre farm. We crossed the areas where the young couple has installed terraces meant to conserve water in the dry Texas climate. On top of the terraces are an orchard of trees that will provide the couple and their livestock with fruit in the coming years. Due to all of the rain that part of Texas had recently received the swales between the terraces were filled with water…which is where the Texas -sized mosquitoes came in.
When we made it out to the end of the property that is when we finally found the livestock inhabitants of the Boxcar Farm….very suitably pastured near the train tracks and the passing boxcars. The couple methodically moved the fencing, then the shelters, watering tanks and pigs with their hands and some serious teamwork. They do this regularly to move the pigs to new areas of pasture to not only provide the pigs with fresh grass, but to promote the health of the plants growing there. The pigs root up the plants and the plants thrive.
As we headed back up to the house, the heaving lifting for the day done, little did I realize the fun was about to start. A large part of farming to Leah and Gabe is the community it creates - their relationship has always centered around this community. The couple actually met while both working their own plots in a community garden during college. Through that love of gardening, grew a love of farming and a group of friends with the same love. Today that group of friends has moved on from college and is quickly becoming (or has become) the next generation of agriculture in the Austin area. They are young men and women working at farms, starting their own operations and celebrating their hard work and life in agriculture. They gather regularly to share the fruits of their labor - from freshly butchered chickens to crispy cucumbers and pickled produce to fermented drinks and even pickled quail eggs.
They have worked hard, Leah and Gabe as part of their community to raise livestock and grow food in the way that they choose. It is a hard life, but a good life and at the end of the day for this young couple, is all about the community they create and the ability to care for themselves and the ones they love.
April 01, 2017
Do you have instructions on how to place the electric wires for raising pigs out in the field?
March 31, 2017
Great information!! Saw this on TV this morning!! We appreciate your work!!
April 24, 2017
April 24, 2017
April 17, 2017
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