Mail Call: March/April 2014

GRIT Magazine readers offer feedback and insight in their letters to the editor in the March/April 2014 issue.

| March/April 2014

  • Laying hens and farm-fresh eggs are possible in the middle of the Dallas-Forth Worth area.
    Photo by iStockPhoto/tirc83
  • Bantam chicks with their mother in attendance.
    Photo by iStockPhoto/Dixie_Chicken
  • The wood of the Kentucky coffeetree is multicolored in streaks when sawn into lumber, and is of ideal working hardness.
    Photo by Larry Trekell
  • Finished jewelry box that Larry Trekell made for his granddaughter.
    Photo by Larry Trekell
  • Kevin Hamilton put three knives together for his children, amde with high-carbon drop-point blades and scales from marble wood.
    Photo by Kevin Hamilton
  • Geoffrey Smith’s family raises white Dorper sheep near Houston.
    Photo by Geoffrey Smith
  • How do your youngsters help out around the farm?
    Photo by Geoffrey Smith
  • White Dorpers on pasture with electric fencing in the background.
    Photo by Geoffrey Smith

Gardening Passion

I just read your editorial, “Gardening Passion” in the November/December 2013 issue. Thank you for your magazine and all the great information, inspiration, and community you build through your magazine. I also follow your page on Facebook. Thanks for all the great links and photographs.

I have developed a passion for gardening over the past couple of years. I grew up in the rural panhandle of Texas, where my parents were teachers at the local school. We lived in town, and I grew up with farms an arm’s length away.

Flash forward 25 years, and I find myself in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs with three children (2, 4, and 6 years old) and a loving husband. We’ve bought a farm, but it’s two hours away. This has been a huge frustration to me over the six years we’ve owned it. We have tried to move on the farm, but there’s no house, no running water, and we just don’t have the money to build. Plus, our jobs are in the heart of the suburbs.

So I decided to bring farming and gardening to me. We live on a typical 0.2-acre lot in the middle of city limits. I went to the local feed store to buy dog food (we have four bird dogs) and saw baby chicks. I had to have chickens. My husband thought I was crazy, but offered to build me a coop. I was thrilled and bought chickens within a few weeks. I even used your Guide to Backyard Chickens to better my chicken farming skills. We ate our own meat over Labor Day last year!

Two years ago, my husband built me a garden box on the side of the house for a Mother’s Day gift. I was thrilled, but I had no idea what to do with it. I planted late, and the sun and heat burned up everything, including the blueberry bushes I planted. Instead of giving up, I had my husband build me more garden boxes in the back, and we put up a hot-wire fence so the dogs wouldn’t dig things up. I hauled in all the composted manure I could get my hands on.

This past spring I learned of your magazine and have been reading it thoroughly and diligently. Through a local permaculture group, your magazine, Facebook, and a few other sources, I have read about everything from composting, worm farming and aquaponics — and the list goes on and on. My two gardening successes thus far are cantaloupe and grape tomatoes! I have so much to learn and can only do it through time, trial and error, and, of course, guidance from great resources such as your magazine.

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