by Barbara J. Wood
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FOLKS

The Karnei Farm

The Karnei Farm ... is located on C.R. 140 near F.M. 1344, southwest of Floresville Wilson County Texas.

The original owner, Fred Muelschen, purchased 300 acres from William Green and S.V. Houston on June 24, 1904. Fred and his wife, Anna, had three children: Willie, Louisa (Muelschen) Fahning and Ida (Muelschen) Karnei.

The family raised cattle, and in 1912 they built a two-story house. Fred sold 200 acres outside the family.

In 1932, Ida acquired the remaining 100 acres of her parents’ land. Ida married August Karnei and they had four children: Edmond, Welton, Herman, and Lenard. The family raised cattle, cotton, corn, and milo.

In 1945, Ida and August remodeled the original family home by removing its top story.

The older boys, Edmond, Welton, and Herman, found careers and moved off the farm. Lenard stayed on the farm the rest of his life, joined by his wife, Nona, in 1960.

Nona Baker grew up in Port O’Connor. When she graduated from high school, she moved to San Antonio and got a job. “My sister was dating a boy who lived across the road from the Karneis. That’s how I met Lenard,” she said.

Lenard and Nona purchased the land in 1963 and raised cattle and hay. They also were able to purchase an additional 200 acres of land, bringing the property back up to 300 acres again.

Lenard and Nona had three children:
Clifton, Donna (Karnei) Bowers, and Glenn.

Clifton lives in Waco, Glenn lives in Magnolia, near Houston, and Donna lives in Oregon.

The original family home was remodeled a second time in 1973. It was enlarged, and rock siding and a new composition roof were added.

After Lenard passed away in 1996, the land passed to Nona.

Nona Karnei remains on the farm and manages the cattle by herself.

“We don’t raise crops anymore, since my husband died in 1996,” she said. The cattle she raises are Beefmaster. She sold half of her herd this year because of the drought. “We have three tanks, but two of them are dried up, and the third tank is almost dry, too,” she said.

A water trough near the house holds water for the cattle. The water comes from the same well that serves the house.

Beautiful fields

The Karneis’ fields are cleared to the fences of all brush and prickly pears, although young mesquite trees, 1- and 2-feet tall, are popping up here and there. “I’ll go out and spray them again. It never ends,” she said.

The long driveway has a nice crown. It would take a heavy rain to form a puddle on it, and it is graded better than the county road that it joins.

Nona remembers, however, when the county road was only dirt. “When my children were in school, the bus wouldn’t come out here after a rain because it got too muddy.”
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The fields are a brown and gray color, with no sight of green. “You can find some green sprouts near the ground, if you look closely,” she said. “This is the driest it’s been since I moved on to the farm in 1960.”

The farm has several fruit trees — pear, plum, persimmon, and mulberry. “We used to have peach trees and strawberries,” she said.

“We don’t have any sand on the property. I hear that sand is good for watermelon and peanuts, but our soil is mixed,” she said. “We used to grow milo, corn, and wheat, but my favorite crop was flax. When the flax blooms, it has blue blossoms, and it looks very pretty blowing in the wind.”
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COURTESY / Wilson County News  written by Fred Owens 2006