Congratulations, Edda, now it’s out! Texas Kaktuswein, a collection of Texas ranch stories was released on Amazon this April. Kaktuswein provides an enjoyable glimpse into the Buchners’ first-hand-living experience. Much of their Bat Cave Ranch experience follows the German pioneer tracks.
Texas Kaktuswein—written in the German language—was five years in the making and covers 30 years of ranch life. When the Buchner “greenhorns” (Edda, Helmut, daughter Virginia) arrived in Texas, they started supplemental farming. Through learning by doing, Edda soon collected story material: circus acts with chickens, adventures in the vegetable garden, meeting the snakes, raccoons, and vultures.
The Buchners sought the simple life away from consumer society. They built up the “rock pile” (a half-built stone house with no electricity, no running water, but a windmill & water tank) with their own hands’ labor. Along the way, they taught themselves with library books, advice from the hardware store, or the proven experience from their farming neighbors.
Bat Cave Ranch was always a little paradise for me. There I could recover from college deadline pressures. The Buchners have left the pasture under the majestic live oak trees grow naturally. “The animals were here before us, so we can get along”, Edda likes to say. Get along for the most part. Snakes, or ringtails, or pesky squirrels are evacuated to the wild when the chicken when they are causing too much damage.
One fine day, about five years ago, as I was lying in a hammock and Edda was feeding me mustang grapes, we made a plan. These stories must be published! We eagerly sorted, remixed, and laid out the course. I was still sorting after I got home. My whole living room was plastered with chicken, snake, vulture, and even grasshopper stories.
Five years, why so long? I learned the Word formatting and Create Space magic soon enough. But then came the changes, rearrangements, and turnarounds. All right. Too many tough choices. What pictures are the best? There was no end to it. Now I know much easier ways right from the start.
But the result was all worth it. And come to think of it, I never got tired of the stories. Nothing was made up. In my mind, I often strolled across the deer pastures under the mighty oaks.
And I laughed out loud: Who else grabs a big snake by the tame end and hurls it around until they are both dizzy? Or who sticks a half-drowned baby opossum under her sweater to warm it back to life, skin-on-skin? Or who catches fruit flies for an injured humming bird or road kill for a vulture? Answer to all three: my friend Edda. She is very compassionate.
All in the Buchner family are nature-oriented and grandsons Tristan and Markus fully enjoy their childhood in the country. They don’t know how lucky they are.
Finally, the Buchners really do make cactus wine from prickly pear fruits, as the title Texas Kaktuswein says. If you want to find out how, buy the book and brew your own.