Sanctuary for Nature Lovers
The Huttos built a viewing house and cut a nature trail through their property for nature lovers to enjoy.
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From dawn until dusk every day, Earlene and Homer Hutto offer bird-watchers and other nature-gazers a perpetual feast for the senses at their Cedar Gap Farm nine miles south of Abilene, Texas.
After retiring from the printing business in San Angelo, the Huttos returned to the farm where Homer Hutto's parents lived.
"We both love wildlife, and there was a great variety of it here," said Earlene Hutto. "We thought that people might want to see what we have to offer."
The Huttos built a viewing house so that nature lovers could get their fix. Built on the spot once occupied by an earlier Hutto homestead, the viewing house is a 25-foot-by-40-foot, climate-controlled building with broad, open windows and a monitor to hear the sounds of nature indoors.
For those who want to trek around the great outdoors, the couple also recently cut a nature trail through their property. More trails will be constructed as time goes on.
"A lot of people like to just come out here and sit," Homer Hutto said. "We've also had people hold meetings out here. But mostly, we just get people who love nature"
So far, people from England and all around the United States have found out about the couple's little corner of paradise in the roughly three years the farm has been open to the public.
Sights and sounds abound around the farm. In the skies, hummingbirds, painted and indigo buntings, northern cardinals and other avians flit and titter. Wild turkeys stalk the grounds outside, and visitors are likely to see deer or other wildlife put in an appearance.
Critters that might put in an appearance include opossums, skunks, snakes, coyotes, ring-tailed cats, raccoons, lizards, fox, rabbits, squirrel, bobcats, bugs, spiders, flies and "other stuff," according to a brochure the Huttos put together about their property.
The farm always gets drop-in guests, Hutto said. Visiting Thursday were North Richland Hills resident Brittany Jones and her three children, along with Elsie Jones, their great-grandmother.
Forest Jones, 9, and Addison Jones, 6, were particularly taken by the black-chinned hummingbirds busily buzzing around the Hutto farm.
"They fly around really fast," Forest said. "They're cool."
Earlene Hutto, who also maintains a brilliant wildflower garden on the farm property, said it's that kind of comment that lets her know her efforts are appreciated.
"We have schoolchildren who come here all the time, and I'm particularly concerned with getting them interested in wildlife," she said. "They don't leave here without being able to know how to identify at least a few birds and maybe some of the other wildlife we have around."
The summer cutting garden is filled with big, burly annuals, many old-fashioned or heirloom.