… to our little corner of the blogosphere! We hope to use this space to start spreading the word about Madroño Ranch: A Center for Writing and the Environment, which currently exists only in our imaginations, and to share our thoughts about writing, the local/sustainable food scene, the beauty of Central Texas, and whatever else crosses our fervid little minds. (We also plan to tell you What we’re reading at the end of each post.)

First, the introductions. We’re Heather and Martin Kohout, we’re married (to each other), and we live most of the time in Austin, Texas. We also own about 1,500 acres near Medina, about two and a half hours west of Austin. Madroño Ranch, named for the madrone trees that grow there, is wild, rough, steep, and rocky, but also blessed with abundant water (a rarity in the Texas Hill Country).

bison at Madrono Ranch
We’ve got a small herd of bison, whose meat we hope to begin distributing locally next spring, and a flock of chickens, whose eggs ditto. Recently, however, Heather decided that we needed to find a way to make Madroño less of a private plaything and more of a public resource. In seeking a way to combine our interests in nature, literature (we’re both writers of a sort), and the local/sustainable food scene, we came up with the idea for Madroño Ranch: A Center for Writing and the Environment. We hope it will be a place for writers to work and think free from the distractions and importunities of everyday life, but also to come together and share ideas, conversation, fellowship, and food—all of them fresh and healthy—around the table. We hope our mission and vision statements give a rough idea of what we’re about.

Our mission:
Inspired by the rhythms of the Texas Hill Country, Madroño Ranch offers writers focused on nature and the environment a source and resource for work and rest, solitude and communion.

Our vision:
Believing in the intelligence and elegance of nature, we envision a world in which creative thinkers devise and articulate ways of aligning human commerce and consciousness more closely with the environment that nourishes and sustains us. Madroño Ranch supports this vision by bringing people together to work, eat, converse, and rest in a setting that resonates with the rhythms of the land, water, and sky. The operations and activities of Madroño Ranch will be economically self-sustaining, to the greatest degree possible, and will exemplify balanced respect for and awareness of community and place.

We’re a long way from making this dream a reality, however, and our learning curve is steep. We hope this blog will be a good first step. We hope you enjoy it and keep coming back for news about the center as well as our random thoughts about writing, food, the environment, and other topics near and dear to our hearts. We also look forward to reading your comments and beginning what we trust will be a mutually rewarding conversation.

What we’re reading
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