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Selah
February 4, 2010 12:39 PM   Subscribe

West of Austin, in the Texas Hill Country, a vacuum salesman turned fried chicken magnate turned rancher has spent the last 40 years turning the worst land he could find into a model of habitat restoration.

I'm not affiliated with the ranch at all, but I did visit each year I was at math camp.
posted by kmz (27 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Folks like this give me hope.
posted by maxwelton at 12:45 PM on February 4, 2010


Math camp? That sounds awesome.
posted by signalnine at 12:47 PM on February 4, 2010


NPR is awesome. That is all.
posted by Slothrup at 12:49 PM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


When George W Bush was cutting down cedar trees on his ranch, people couldn't give him enough crap about. Oh that's right, it was because he was supposed to be running the country. Never mind.
posted by Daddy-O at 12:50 PM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reason #512 why the Texas Hill Country is great. If there hasn't yet been a Hill Country FPP, maybe I need to remedy that...
posted by pziemba at 12:58 PM on February 4, 2010


"The Chiroptorium"! Math Camp! What an awesome guy. From now on I'm referring to the Batcave as the Chiroptorium. Not that I often refer to the Batcave, but I will be ready.

Makes me think of The Man Who Planted Trees.
posted by Erasmouse at 12:58 PM on February 4, 2010


Mr. Bamberger does not want to civilize and commercialize the ranch with vending machines, gift shops and restaurants, nor does he want to price out anyone, children or adults, who need the learning experience that a visit to Selah offers.

Slow clap. . . clap . . . clap . . . clap
posted by Think_Long at 12:59 PM on February 4, 2010


Make a half million selling vacuum cleaners so you can invest in a chicken shack and make millions so you can spend your retirement turning a stretch of desert into Eden.

This guy Gets It.
posted by Pragmatica at 1:05 PM on February 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, this is pretty terrific. Is there something is the water in the hill country?
posted by From Bklyn at 1:08 PM on February 4, 2010


The cedar trees take all of the water produced not only by rain but also from any springs that may have flowed at one time -- they suck just oceans of water. I don't know that it's true but I've read/heard/whatever that you cut them off your land and the springs flow again in a matter of years.

Also. What Churches chicken was at one time it damn sure isn't today; as far as can be told, run the same as any KFC or whatever. They were truly a great bit of Texas, a fast food place that sold real food -- huge pieces of chicken, great biscuits, great fries, really good iced tea, etc and etc. Even up to fifteen years ago. Now? Don't waste your time...
posted by dancestoblue at 1:11 PM on February 4, 2010


Math Camp! What an awesome guy.

Just to clarify, the math camp I went to was run by a different but also awesome guy. :) But one thing we did every year was visit Bamberger Ranch for a weekend, and hearing the NPR story reminded me of it.
posted by kmz at 1:14 PM on February 4, 2010



Slow clap. . . clap . . . clap . . . clap


Contrary to my usual 100% agreement with you, Think_Long, I think the response should be more like:

*Stands and cheers loudly and enthusiastically. Thunderous clapping is heard.*
posted by bearwife at 1:15 PM on February 4, 2010


And oh, we would also go to Bracken Cave every year on the same weekend. A truly wonderful sight to behold; a truly horrific smell to endure.
posted by kmz at 1:16 PM on February 4, 2010


Oh, gotcha kmz -- I'll remove 'math camp' from 'reasons this guy is awesome', and replace it with 'overnight mini-observatory experiences'.
posted by Erasmouse at 1:23 PM on February 4, 2010


Solar Reading Rooms
posted by Kabanos at 1:46 PM on February 4, 2010


Yeah, this is pretty terrific. Is there something is the water in the hill country?

Dissolved limestone. :-)
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:49 PM on February 4, 2010


If there hasn't yet been a Hill Country FPP, maybe I need to remedy that...

I would read and favorite that.

Years ago I got to work on an edition of Lonely Planet's Texas book, and one of the sections I edited was the Hill Country one. It really made me want to go!
posted by rtha at 3:36 PM on February 4, 2010


He's also spot on with the affordable: $15 for a three-hour tour, $100 for a day-long course?
posted by imperium at 3:39 PM on February 4, 2010


The Hill Country is my playground.
posted by Senator at 4:57 PM on February 4, 2010


I want to be this guy. Thanks for bringing the story to my attention.
posted by yesster at 5:42 PM on February 4, 2010


This is incredible. Like someone said upthread, it gives me hope.
posted by notsnot at 7:39 PM on February 4, 2010


I've just added this place to my list of things to do and see. Thanks for posting it!
posted by immlass at 8:07 PM on February 4, 2010


Also. What Churches chicken was at one time it damn sure isn't today; as far as can be told, run the same as any KFC or whatever. They were truly a great bit of Texas, a fast food place that sold real food -- huge pieces of chicken, great biscuits, great fries, really good iced tea, etc and etc. Even up to fifteen years ago. Now? Don't waste your time...

Seconding this - I just bought some Church's the other day on a whim and couldn't even eat it it was so nasty and gelatinous. I remember it being good as well, but now it's sub-KFC.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:03 AM on February 5, 2010


Church's used to be my favorite. The apple pies were heavenly, too.

Way back in the early 70's I spent some time living in the hill country. Nice people, fond memories. Mind, I didn't stay long.
posted by Goofyy at 3:13 AM on February 5, 2010


As far as chain fried chicken, I was getting Popeyes when I lived near one and I thought that was pretty good.

As far as the ranch goes, I thought the neatest part was that you can cause springs and streams to appear where there were none before. It makes me wonder what would happen if you did this on a larger scale. It seems like having all that moisture hang around would create a whole different micro-climate that might encourage rain nearby. I would be curious if something like this would work in other semi-arid climates.
posted by jefeweiss at 7:15 AM on February 5, 2010


I'm pretty sure that I've driven by this place countless times and always have wondered what it is. Makes me miss home.
posted by youcancallmeal at 8:21 AM on February 5, 2010


I feel inspired to slay some cedar saplings around my parents' place now :)
posted by rubah at 10:43 PM on February 5, 2010


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