About Bob Anderson, Merridee McClatchy and Gourmet Garlic Gardens
We live on a cattle ranch way out in the middle of nowhere in central Texas.
Living in Denton, Texas in the early 1990s we thought about retiring and we looked into it but decided we couldn't afford to retire even after working for over 30 years and there seemed little point in investing any more time in what we were doing so we just quit our jobs in the DFW metroplex and moved to the country to grow herbs and garlic organically and help work the family ranch.
In my life I have spent about ten years in the home office of health insurance companies but I was not happy with the work and spent another ten years in the two-way radio business but the coming of cell phones put an end to that. I then spent 13 years in the microcomputer industry and wound up being a management consultant. When you're over 50 and no one will hire you for fear of their insurance premiums going up, you either call yourself a consultant and hustle work wherever you can find it or you call yourself unemployed. My last client was the Supercollider and when it went belly-up, there just wasn't anything else I wanted to do or anyone else I wanted to work for so I chucked it all to become a ranchhand for my aging father-in-law. I worked for nine years for room and board only, no income except our farmers market income until the website traffic grew to the point where it required my full time involvement.
It is amazing how much richer life can be when you quit seeking the things you didn't want to begin with but only pursued because you thought others expected you to.
We love the country, living simply and doing hard farm and ranch work. Life is good. We grow much of our food in the family garden and dry, can or freeze food for the winter. Gourmets can only dream about food that tastes this good. Food you produce yourself is so special and clean and free of pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics.
When we first came here we lived in an old, uninsulated wood-frame ranch house much like people used to live in 100 years ago, except that we used a large terra cotta firepot (freestanding chiminia fireplace) for heat instead of an iron pot-bellied stove. About the only difference is the carport that was added in 1950 and the computer in the corner of the front room, next to the TV that quit working a long time ago - but nobody cares. We don't have a stereo or anything although there's a portable radio around here somewhere that also plays tapes, we seldom use it. If I want music, I just play my Indian flute (I have a little Choctaw in me - not so's you would notice, mind you, but I WAS born in Oklahoma).
These days we have moved into a more modern house,built as a wood frame in 1929 and bricked over in 1946. It uses a fireplace for our main source of heat in winter. Our average winter overnight temp is below freezing and often drops into the teens and sometimes into single digits. That winter wind coming off the Rockies and sweeping across the prairie can get cold. Still no TV, though and we really don't want one or need TV since we have the internet as our doorway to the world.
Our lifestyle is plain and simple but we love it and we would not ever consider moving back to town. You wouldn't believe the stars out here on a clear, quiet night while enjoying the concert of the coyotes. - Updated April 12, 2017