This story begins with Lori Haynes. She said, “In 2009 I returned to the United States and settled in a town called Dripping Springs, just west of Austin, Texas. I was anxious to get home to Texas and put down roots after living throughout the US and abroad for twenty-four years as a Marine Corps Spouse. I was certainly excited to begin gardening-however, I soon learned that gardening in Central Texas could be a real challenge. I wondered more than once why this place was named Dripping Springs. I didn’t see any springs but I did know of local wells running dry. Because of that, my husband and I made a conscious decision to draw no water from the ground, but to use rainwater from our roof, exclusively, as our water source-we wanted to do our part to conserve the Hill Country water supply.”
Lori’s decision to use rainwater showed up more than ever when she put in her garden. Her determination to conserve water eventually caused her to research the most efficient watering systems known, OLLAS kept servicing. OLLAS have been around for thousands of years, but Lori wanted to design one that was more user-friendly, such as looking into the OLLA for water levels.
She designed her Largest OLLA with a wide neck. She made several other changes to the traditional olla, without compromising its functionality. The more she talked about OLLAS to others, the more other people wanted one. Before she knew it, Dripping Springs OLLAS was born.
Lori launched her business in the Spring of 2012, which is about the time I received an olla in the mail from her. What a nice surprise to find something new to garden with! I’d been gardening for about 40 years at that point, so a new item for the garden really made me want to get my hands dirty! And as Lori put it, “Very soon after, a dear friend I had met in Japan, and another Marine Corps spouse, Mary Kathryn Dunston, asked if she could show OLLAS to some of her local nurseries in Virginia. Mary Kathryn had always been an excellent gardener and her enthusiasm for OLLAS made her the perfect partner. She and I shared the same desires to see healing in our culture and environment. What better than helping people grow healthy food while conserving our precious water. Together we have taken Dripping Springs OLLAS from the East Coast to the West and continue to educate people about the many advantages of the OLLA.”
Our story continues in that Lori has had to step out of the business. Life changes and we are called to change with it. I have stepped further in to try to fill her shoes, and as I muddle through, I am humbly introduced to many many people who have the same vision as we; Help people grow healthy food and conserve our precious water. Our mission continues!
– Mary Kathryn Dunston