Back in 1990 we started farming when we bought 12 acres in the Texas Hill Country and put up a greenhouse. Gradually, we've increased our land holdings to almost 90 acres. We have about 20 acres in field cultivation, and also grow in 22 greenhouses and cold frames. We've expanded every year to keep up with the demand for our flowers. After 20 years of matching wits with everything Mother Nature could throw at us here in the Lone Star State, we bought land in the Minnesota Northwoods, not far from Lake Superior. We have 87 acres there, and have established a peony farm, Superior Peonies.


Pamela Arnosky
"Pamela is the hardest working person I know," has been heard many times from many people, and it's probably true. She also took time to home school four kids, and is a world-class fabric artist, piecing together incredible quilts and doing single-strand embroidery. One of her pieces (Frank's wedding shirt!) features balloon sleeves embroidered in botanically perfect wildflowers - all in brilliant colors. "It's a museum piece," they've been told!

Pamela has a degree in biogeography from Texas A&M and did graduate work in Canada. In 1979, she hiked to the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada with her brother, Tim Hiebert; then, they bicycled back to Texas from Seattle! For several summers, she and Frank led high school conservation crews for the Student Conservation Association, doing trailwork in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico, and Mount Rogers, Virginia. All of the 'little Arnoskys' grew up working on the farm and today, all are pretty darned amazing. Except for the youngest, Elena, who is still in university, they all graduated with honors from their respective universities.

Frank Arnosky
A city kid from Detroit, Frank had never been west of the Mississsippi. He loaded everything he owned into a beat-up old truck and moved to Texas in 1982, bound for graduate school at Texas A&M. Frank sums up his first day in Texas:

"It was late August, 104 degrees. I'd never been so hot in my life! Driving southwest from Texarkana I hit a new blacktop road, and from the sound of it, I was sure my tires were melting! I drove down the road to Corsicana with my head out the window, checking my tires! When I finally got to College Station I drove around town to have a look. There were 4 horses tied to the railing at the Dixie Chicken, just off campus! Texas was living up to its reputation!"

A couple of months and a few Shiner beers later, Texas was in his blood, and he was here for good. His degree is in Horticulture from Michigan State University with graduate work at Texas A&M. His horticultural experience has included fruit crops including apples & cherries in Michigan, pecans, peaches, and grapes in Texas, and time in a large commercial greenhouse business. In 1986, with little planning, he rode his bicycle from Texas to Raleigh, North Carolina to stand up in a buddy's wedding. Frank has lived more that half his life in Texas, and has officially declared himself a "Texan", and dares anyone else to challenge it!

Both Pamela and Frank are active in the promotion and education of cut flower growing, including serving as board members for the Association of Speciality Cut Flower Growers. They have hosted many educational tours at their farm and speak nationally at various farming conferences and events. For years, they wrote a monthly column in Growing for Market published by Fairplain Publications (Lynn Byczynski editor) and those articles have been published into two books: We're Gonna Be Rich(1999), and Local Color: Growing Specialty Cut Flowers for Market.

Dancing

Dancing has always been part of Frank and Pamela's lives. They knew each other in passing at Texas A&M, and re-met at a Brave Combo polka dance in Austin in 1988. As Frank puts it: "Pamela was dancing all evening with another friend of mine. I could see that she was the best dancer there. The last song was a waltz, and I knew I had to ask her to dance. I ran across the dancefloor and slid to her on my knee and asked for a dance. We've been dancing ever since."

Music and dancing are threads that have held rural Texas together for decades, and today there is a resurgence in interest in dancing and in the preservation of Texas Dance Halls. In 2001 we even danced at the Presidential Innaugural Ball in Washington, D.C.! But that's another story.

 
Agricultural Society hall in Cat Spring, Texas

  Frank and Pamela were married at the historic Agricultural Society hall in Cat Spring, Texas.

Look at the cover of Robert Earl Keen's record "No Kinda Dancer" for a picture of the hall.

It's a great record, too.