Monday, July 16, 2018

SETTING HIM UP FOR DISAPPOINTMENT


I believe I told you awhile back about the little "treasure chest" we set up out on the porch for Calvin. The one we filled with sand and hid things in -- things that we switched out on a rotating basis -- so he could dig for treasure? Well, they all got a bath this week.





While I was cleaning them, it suddenly occurred to me that, if we ever do take him to a real beach and let him dig in the sand, he's liable to be wondering what happened to all the sparkly minerals, gems, gold coins and dinosaurs!

Fortunately, I'd just added a little packet of sea shells into the rotation -- one thing he will at least have a shred of hope of finding on a real beach.

Friday, July 13, 2018

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: DRIVING ME CRAZY

 
Here's a flashback memory from the summer of '05, when we both still lived and worked full time in Houston, only able to come here to "Seasonality" on weekends and holidays. I called this post "Driving Me Crazy".

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

THE SILVER LINING

Yesterday did not start out to be the best of days. For one thing, we had a funeral to go to, which is happening more and more often, the older we get. For another, we had to leave here by 7:30 AM in order to reach Harper -- about 30 miles beyond Fredericksburg -- in plenty of time. It rained on us the entire trip.

On the plus side, we do enjoy exploring little Texas towns that we've never been to, so I went online the night before to see what our lunch options in Harper might be. The answer was, we had none. Well, there were actually two different places that got good reviews, a Mexican place and something called Longhorn Cafe, which sounded right up Hubby's alley. However, Harper just happens to be one of those towns that pretty much closes up shop on Sundays and Mondays, which left us $%!+ outta luck. Fredericksburg, though a good bit larger and a serious mecca to tourists, is kind of the same way. So, boy, were we ever surprised to find that our favorite little Italian joint -- Pasta Bella on S. Llano -- which we haven't been to in ages, was actually open for business!

The real reason Hubby loves this place? Their fresh out of the oven bread and the spicy olive oil for dipping! I love it because it's small and cozy, you can actually carry on a conversation, and everything tastes homemade.
Cheese Ravioli Topped With Toasted Walnuts and Diced Roma Tomatoes In Basil Pesto Sauce Garnished With Fresh Feta
Chicken, Sundried Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Garlic and Spinach Sauteed with Olive Oil and Tossed with Pasta of the Day
These were both their smaller, lunch-sized portions, and we still had leftovers to take home! So, as you can see, most clouds do have a silver lining. Some days you just have to search a bit harder than others.

Friday, July 6, 2018

A DAY WITH NURTURE WOMAN AT WATERSTONE

When newest Muse Jenny was inducted a while back, we gave her the name Nurture Woman, having got the impression that she was like a little mother hen, always taking care of everybody and everything. However, we had no idea just how appropriate that name was, until she invited us to spend the day with her on their 150 acre country homestead, Waterstone.

The View Down to the Blanco River From The Lookout

Their house is made from straw clay -- a thick noodle soup of straw, clay and water, packed down into wooden forms that are later removed, leaving wooden frames that you attach siding to -- and is pretty much just what Hubby and I had envisioned building for ourselves, had we not stumbled upon this property we loved, with a house already on it.


Our day began on this porch, sipping coffee and tea while enjoying the antics of her horde of hummers, at the dozen or so hummingbird feeders which she keeps filled with nectar.

Love these handmade tiles in the kitchen, from a local artisan.
And this staircase? Oh My!
Nurture Woman Demonstrates Her Outdoor Shower
Their property has a Wildlife Management agricultural land use designation, which includes supplemental feeding. Julie's personal passion happens to be encouraging the growth of songbirds and other native Texas species, but that involves trying to keep deer, possums, raccoons, etc. just well enough fed to discourage them from raiding bird feeders and nests, but not well enough to become overpopulated themselves. It's a very delicate balance!


Of course, keeping all the critters well-hydrated is just as important as feeding them, which is why you'll see little watering holes like these everywhere you look on the property.


Everything at Waterstone uses rainwater.




So many of their big shady cypress trees along the river banks got uprooted in the big flood, but at least they are salvaging some of the wood, to be made into wonderful furniture and such.



There was a marvelous picnic lunch under a shady tree, followed by more touring, and visiting with her daughter and friends on the property next door. Then, when we just couldn't take the heat one moment longer, there was this!


See the kayak in the tree? A reminder of just how high the water got during the flood.

Does it get any better?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

OUR FAMILY FOURTH


Hope everyone had a happy holiday yesterday. We sure did! Our town goes all out each year with a wonderful parade, free hot dogs, and then the rodeo with fireworks. We weren't sure, however, if Calvin was quite old enough to appreciate standing out in the blazing sun for several hours, so we opted for a small celebration at the house...






followed by Blizzards for all! (Papa John's idea, of course)




It was a very good day!

 

Monday, July 2, 2018

FAREGROUND

Have you heard about Fareground, Austin's first food hall? It's been open a while now, so Hubby and I decided we were overdue for a visit. After parking in the convenient garage just across the street, we headed over to the Wells Fargo building at the corner of Caesar Chavez and Congress...



then headed around back to this beautiful garden area, and entered the ground floor food court from there.


The list of vendors is pretty impressive, not for length, but for quality!

This food court is definitely a step, or ten, above the food courts we are used to seeing in our shopping malls, and more on par with the amazing food halls you might stumble upon in France or Singapore.



They make a darn good chocolate croissant, as well!

Hubby tried the muffalatta sandwich from Easy Tiger, and I tried a breakfast taco and the wild boar taco al pastor from Dai Due. Dai Due started out as a farm-to-table supper club some time back, before evolving into a brick and mortar butcher shop/ supper club, and then adding this taqueria to the mix. Yum! Our only regret is that we didn't go with a larger group, so that we could have sampled more things, such as the grilled cheese sandwiches from Antonelli's cheese shop, or one of the ramen bowls we saw so many people eating.


There is both indoor and outdoor seating, and the latter comes with the added bonus of lots of shade, and a hill for rolling down, to keep the kiddos entertained.



Well, maybe there was one more not-so-little regret. That convenient parking garage I mentioned earlier? Turns out they charge seven bucks for every 30 minutes. We made the mistake of strolling around the block after lunch, and ended up being there just slightly over one hour, costing us 21 smackaroos to get outta that place. Grrrrr. I guess this is what happens when country mice go to the city, huh? On the plus side, although I would imagine that Fareground is jam-packed with downtown workers on weekdays, on Sundays there are no crowds at all!