First encounters with the internet. A lot of dial-up beeps, blips, zings, crackles, crunching and staticky sounds. Minutes upon minutes to get on the world wide web. And it took over the phone line. If someone happened to pick up a phone that used the same line. Disconnected. It’s summer and it’s nice outside, what’s so great about being online anyways. Cut to 10 years later and everyone is posting everything and anything to send to their friends, family and anyone else who happened be up online at the time. You didn’t have to be a genius to figure out the power of that connection. 10 years ago the internet made a group of East Texans very, very busy.
"Out of the Pines"
East Texas is a place you don’t have to look too hard to find good people or a good story. It’s quiet and country. Fields bordered by decaying fences, lakes sunk into rolling hills, and the beautiful dark green pines all come together in a place called home for a diverse group of people and wildlife on this side of the Lone Star state. Out here it’s industrial and rustic. Broken down and dead oil rigs sit in stillness, haunting monuments to the area's historic and abundant oil boom. A wealthy past that eventually departed and left people with a more scarce and sparse present day. In the early mornings, a dense fog settles in, covering the area with a serene and peaceful feel.
This is a place where people sweat all summer in the dry, dusty, heat working on roads, in garages or in pastures. Where legendary thunderstorms crack the unbearable heat wave, torrential rains turn the dust to mud, the sky opens fire with baseball size hail, and everything becomes a mess for a couple days. After that for just a moment, you will be gifted some of the nicest days our planet can offer. That’s when everyone here steps outside and takes a deep breath at the same time. Rough and rugged, rustic and unrefined, East Texans radiate a no-nonsense vibe with an unwavering pride in making something of the day. And the inherited wisdom in these parts says that surviving and thriving depends simply on your willingness to help each other out when the time comes.
Take 240 acres of dense pine-covered rolling hills without a way in or out. A few of them began to cut, chop and plow their way through the brush making trails through the woods. They uncovered a beautiful creek that winds it’s way out of the woods into fields and pastures and back into the pines once again. From a few friends to over 400 people trying to turn their 240 acres into something that permanently brings value to the culture now and for the future. As they worked the land, creating pastures and trails they uncovered not only fertile soil but an idea that they could start operating a farm in tune with the East Texas environment. Practicing permaculture means building a place to grow food and raise livestock while trying to stay out of nature’s way.
On weekends they invite in and host their community, local artists and artisans for live events on the property. A place where people can shop, kids can safely run, explore, and play games, everyone can enjoy fresh gourmet food straight from the farm while the music of local songwriters with soulful, honest and legendary stories to tell can be heard for free. And finally their massive state-of-the-art headquarters is maturing into a home. A place where all these dreams, ideas and plans for the future spring to life together under one roof.