Saturday, November 22, 2008


Anybody ready for another give-away? I'm getting so infused with the holiday spirit, I've decided to give something extra with our book this month. I'm thinking maybe I should throw in a little something special from one of our local producers at The Bountiful Sprout (don't worry, it will be non-perishable). Just leave a comment anytime between now and Nov. 30th, to let me know you're interested in being included, and I'll drop your name in the hat. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Almost forgot this nest - for when hubby occasionally leaves the bat cave and comes up for air!


I am a big fan of Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big House. When I first came across her book, I was living in a way too big cookie cutter house in the suburbs. I remember reading something in it about the silliness of building these huge houses with soaring ceilings, that make us feel so vulnerable. She believes we compensate by creating nests, where we can feel sheltered and protected. I looked around me, and had to laugh, for I was sitting in my own little nest as I was reading her book!

Our house here in Wimberley may look huge from a distance, but looks are deceiving. The upstairs is the main floor, and has only 3 rooms across, with a small bathroom and 2 very small closets tucked behind the pint-sized kitchen. The downstairs is a glorified walk-out basement, which can only be reached via the outdoor staircase. It houses the guest room, another bathroom, a couple of storage closets, and my husbands man-cave. Although it is small, it is a house that lives large, thanks to wonderful porches and outdoor living areas.

Originally, I was just going to write about the nest where I sit and watch the sun come up each morning, but when I pulled the camera out to take a shot of it, I realized that this is a house full of nests! My husband couldn't be happier with his bat cave down below, which was actually dug out from the side of the hill, and I have multiple cozy nests in my upstairs treehouse, all with lots of sunshine and great views. There is my rocking chair on the outside porch, and the corner on the dining porch, where I sit when it is too hot or too cold for outside. There is my desk in the corner of our bedroom, with windows on two sides so that I can watch the hawks soaring past. Then there is my book-nook nest, also in the bedroom. That's where I go to peruse my cookbooks, gardening books, tear pictures from magazines and put them in the file cabinet at my elbow, and maybe nibble a piece of dark chocolate from the secret stash in the gold box. Last but not least, there is my leather chair by the fireplace, with its never-ending stack of books I'm itching to read.

So many wonderfully welcoming spots, carved from so little space, constantly calling me to come sit a spell. It's a wonder I ever get anything done! Do you have a nest? Well why the heck not?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Not long ago, on the blog Red, White and Grew, author Pamela Price had something interesting to say about pioneers:

"In a recent interview for a forthcoming newspaper article, I noted that visual and performing artists play a particular, essential role in the Victory Garden renaissance. I added that I thought creative souls are bellwethers for the revival. Why? Generally speaking, it's often artists, landscape designers, architects, writers and others that are the first to sign up for fresh ideas and to dedicate time to nurture them. Eventually, others lock on to the concept, too--thanks in large part to the earlier creative 'pioneers.' "

I left a comment, saying "You could be right. In Houston I lived in the burbs, but worked as a visual merchandiser down in the Heights - the gay/artsy part of town. Every morning before work I would hang out at Onion Creek Cafe - a very Austin kind of place. I couldn't help but notice that when I met with my friends for coffee in the burbs, conversation tended to focus on shopping, the kids, and gossip, but in the Heights, it was all about ideas and passion, and there were lots of people involved with the Urban Gardner organization, and others who were working on getting vegetable gardens in the public schools. Plus, the very first growers-only farmers market was started right there on Onion Creeks own parking lot!"

The more I think about it, the more I wonder...could that be why places like Wimberley and San Miguel de Allende are such magnets for Seekers of the Good Life? Could it simply be because they were settled by a handful of creative pioneers?

P.S. Many thanks to for the above image.


What would I do without you? When asked why he wrote, one author replied, "Because my head would explode, if I weren't able to dump its contents out on paper periodically." I know exactly how he feels! I suppose that is why some people are incessant talkers. Perhaps that is just their way of dealing with information overload - processing it in a continuous conversation with themselves, never allowing anyone else to get a word in edgewise.

That does not work for me, I'm afraid. In fact, I have great difficulty holding up even a small portion of a conversation. The words just seem to get all tangled up, tripping and shoving one another aside in their rush to get out. Eventually they tire of the struggle and just give up, leaving me with nary a coherent sentence to offer up. No, 'tis only when I put pen to paper that intelligent thoughts appear, ideas come together, and solutions magically form, weaving themselves together from slender ribbons of ink.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I've discovered over time that the best way to snap out of a funk is to go on a creative excursion, and for this, I am my own best company. No matter how "stuck" I am when I leave the house, I usually come back with all sorts of ideas and projects percolating in my head, and I am itching to get started on them. As if priming the creative pump weren't enough, there's the added bonus of wrenching my blogger's butt away from the computer.

I just about wore myself out on a recent date, starting off in Kyle, where they were hosting their once a month flea and farmers' market. I also checked out a panaderia that sold everything from breakfast tacos to first communion dresses. Next stop was the Sunset Valley Farmers' Market in Austin, then it was on to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. I hadn't been there in several years, and I was hoping to get some ideas on what to plant in the beds closest to the house. I was running out of time to decide, because fall is the best time to plant in most of Texas. Our summers are much more stressful on plants than our winters, and you want to give them as much time as possible to develop a strong root system, before they have to face their first one.

It was after 3:00 before I remembered to eat lunch, which turned out to be the luckiest happenstance of the day. As I was leaving Austin, I decided to stop at Mamma Fu's, and chose two favorites from their appetizer menu: sesame encrusted seared ahi tuna served on a bed of baby spinach with a soy vinaigrette, and a half-order of pot stickers. When both of those, plus my drink, came to only $6.50, I thought the cashier had made a mistake, but no, they have a happy hour! From 3 - 6 every day, everything on the appetizer menu is super cheap. Woohoo! Now I know the perfect place to go before or after our weekend movie dates at the nearby theatre. At these prices, we could even afford to top it off with some Amy's Ice Cream next door.