Native American Seed, Our Seed Source

Well, I’m ashamed to say that I’m a bit tardy in posting. It’s been almost a month and there has been stuff going on.

Unfortunately, the tractor is still down. I still can’t get the hydraulics to work. I’m just short of hauling it to the shop, but on a positive note, Selena and I picked up seeds for the Monarch Habitat Enhancement grant. Boy, it was tough writing the check, but we needed to pick them up so that we know we have the seeds that have been approved for our planting in the Spring.

It was a complicated process with Selena, Lawrence Brown (our grant advisor, with Texas State Soil and Water Conservation), and Emily Neiman of Native American Seed, communicating numerous times to get the approved list of seeds. Finally, when that was done, Selena and I ventured up to Junction Texas to pick up our order. What a treat to go visit and check out the family seed farm. (More on that later)

First, I have to say that Emily has been invaluable in helping us with this grant. See, grants come from the government, and the government has a way of complicating things. Seems that they had a list approved seeds, but they didn’t include many of the most beneficial to our area. Emily was on the phone, and emailing, Texas State Soil and Water  Conservation (TSSWC) folks to finalize our approved seed list.

We are so happy with the results, as Selena had done three lists, all which were rejected by TSSWC. Emily to the rescue. So, what’s on that list? I have no idea. Selena and Emily worked it out. I simply drove the truck to pick up the seeds, wrote the check, and unloaded them when we got home.

Now, how about some pictures from our adventure? Oh, and more info about Native American Seed.

Emily and Selena examine seeds that are soon to be cleaned.

Can’t take a trip to a seed company without a picture of seeds, right? So, here’s one to the left. 🙂

Selena and I were amazed at the sizes of the bags of seeds waiting to be cleaned.

I was also amazed at how light some of them were. I don’t remember these seeds, but they were fluffy, so I could move the bag around. Later we saw some of the staff unloading more bags of these seeds, and they were each tossing bags off the trailer by themselves. Yep, there was hardly any weight to them at all.

Native American Seed founder, Bill Neiman, explains this ’60’s era seed cleaning machine to me.

Anyone who knows a bit about me knows that I’m into mechanical stuff, and on this trip I was not disappointed by not seeing any. Check out the old seed cleaning machine!

Bill told us that the technique for cleaning seeds hasn’t changed for decades, so why buy new and expensive machinery when you can buy older less costly, but effective machines?

I totally agree.

Bill, and his wife Jan, founded Native American Seed in 1989. Emily told us that Bill was a landscaper in the DFW area back then, regularly dealing with Burmuda and Saint Augustine grasses and other thirsty plants.

Bill had a change of heart, and moved towards natives. In his words, “As I grew and matured, I realized value in native plants – not just monetary value, but their value in preserving our water resources and providing the plant diversity which helps preserve wildlife.”

Selena and I, as well as thousands of others, are sure glad that Bill changed directions and began to focus on native seeds.

An old tractor grill is picturesque in front of an old barn.

During our visit, we learned that Bill and Jan moved to this previously owned farm and converted it over to seed operations.

There were a number of neat buildings on site, such as the barn in the picture to the left. Check out the old tractor grill hanging on a post, back dropped by the old barn.

I know many a Rat Rodder who’d love to get their hands on that grill. 😀

As our visit progressed, we were treated to a stroll through the fields. The weather was SO pleasant and it was so peaceful out there. We sure enjoyed the scenery.

View up one of the access roads among the planting plots.

Although we’re in Fall, there was a fair amount growing and some seed harvesting had just been completed, and some of the hands were observed weeding one of the plots.

In the picture to the right, you’ll notice a very tall gate and unusual fencing. Yep, they’ve had a deer problem, but their electric fencing seems to be taking care of it.

As we strolled through the place, Emily told us how the land they own was obtained in three parcels, with each having unique structures on it.

Emily’s childhood home, where her parents still live.

As you can see, it’s very picturesque at Native American Seed. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the most unusual building on the place.

The former home is huge and has a Southwest look to it. It was Emily’s late grandparents home, but it’s now a rental with room for events.

We were told that weddings and educational programs are just a couple of events that are held there.

In acquiring the property, the Neimans also acquired a nice cabin, which is rented out. It’s within walking distance of a nearby river, making it a popular attraction during the warmer Texas months.

Selena and I plan to stay in it when we pick up the seeds for our Grassland Restoration project next year.  I didn’t think to shoot any interior shots, but I did get one from the outside. Pretty cool, huh?

Awesome cabin that’s available for rent.

We also had the opportunity to check out Emily’s chicken coop, which she built herself. It’s pretty sharp and I’m impressed with her design and work.

 

Check out this coop! I don’t remember what Selena was chuckling about.

I have to say that Selena and I are very impressed with Native American Seed. Selena’s known of them for years, as she’s bought wildflower seeds from them in the past. We’ve also seen Emily at a number of conferences over the years and had visited with her a bit.

It was definitely great to get to meet her dad and visit with him. He’s definitely a Conservation Star in all that he’s been doing and does. We’re looking forward to when we can shoot pics of the wildflowers that will result from this adventure.

Left to right: “Z”, Melinda, and Emily

In rounding out our adventure, we finished up in the office where I was able to snap a pic of the ladies that keep things running. It was a pleasure to get to visit with them, and we look forward to doing so when we go back.

If you need native wildflower or grass seeds, you definitely need to check with Native American Seed. if you ever get the chance, you ought to go visit.

You won’t be disappointed.