Friday, February 19, 2010


I bet you already know how awesome the agave plant is, being the smart cookies that you all are. I'm sure you've probably read or heard about how it came to be called Century Plant - the way it grows soooooooooo slowly, for decades, then finally sends up one spectacular bloom stalk, and dies. Good thing all those little suckers can be harvested from around its base, and grown as new plants! You probably know about many of its amazing uses as well: that its stalks, sap, flowers and leaves are all edible; the leaves of several species yield a useful fiber; the dried stalks are used to make didgeridoos; the roasted stalks can be chewed like sugar cane; the agave nectar is used as a sugar substitute. If nothing else, you've surely heard that the sap can be fermented and distilled to produce mezcal, of which tequila is the most popular form. But did you know this: they now make agave wine!

I only know this myself because my favorite local eatery, Mima's Cafe, just obtained a license to serve alcohol (Wimberley has been dry up until recently). The last time I was in there, they were showing a bottle of this wine to several of us, waving the open bottle under our noses and saying "Isn't that awesome? It smells and tastes just like tequila!" Smells more like a tequila wine cooler, in my opinion. Don't know about the taste, as they weren't giving out free samples. Anyway, as it turns out, they are going to use it to make margaritas! I didn't understand at first. If you want something that tastes just like tequila, why not use tequila? Were they just trying to save money? Then it hit me: they didn't get a license for serving hard liquor. They just got a beer and wine license. Brilliant! Talk about some smart cookies!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Remember John's electric toilet? Well, I've been thinking about the Christmas present I got from son Austin. He's still playing with it, so it's not actually here in Wimberley yet. He called me before he ever started on it, to make sure it was something I thought I would really use. He didn't want to invest a whole bunch of time and money in it otherwise. When he first began to describe it - a circuit board that could tell you when the plants in a pot needed water - I thought, well, John's already got irrigation and timers on most of the pots outside, and I ended up disconnecting all of those because they were wasting too much water during the drought. So, no, probably not. However, when he told me this was meant to be used on indoor plants, and it could also control the amount of light they received, I thought, "Ah-hah, seed-starting trays in the downstairs storeroom!" Alrighty then!

Unfotunately, after all that time and effort, and all the equipment he has bought, he's decided it doesn't really work on seed trays, so I should probably just use it on one big potted plant. Let me get this straight. I'm supposed to find a place in my living room to set up this elaborate circuit board and bucket of water, with cords and tubes hanging everywhere, just so it can tell me when this one pot needs watering? Tee-hee. Electric toilets? Electric finger pokers? This apple sure didn't fall far from the tree, did it?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Know what's even harder than waiting for Christmas? Waiting for your average last freeze date to pass. I'm ready to get this show on the road! I bought a few cold hardy things that I can go ahead and plant now, but most of the stuff I want to put in my big pots and decorative containers will have to wait, I'm afraid. So hard.

(click image to enlarge)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I have always been slow to accept any new technology. I don't jump on the bandwagon just because something is cool and shiny. First it must prove it's worth. Will it truly add value to my life, or merely clutter? Once it has proven its mettle though, I embrace it wholeheartedly!

Some things never make the cut, like say, portable music. Oh, I used to like portable sound - back in the days of transistor radios and boom boxes - when it was something that brought people closer together. My last two years at UT I was living in a co-op on campus. We would often throw together a picnic on the weekend, and invite our special guys to join us at our favorite creek-side park. One time in particular is etched indelibly upon my brain. It's a Saturday. We're in the park. I think it was the 4th of July (not really, but maybe). Someone pops a Chicago cassette into the boom box, and the next thing you know, we're all singing our little hearts out to Saturday, In The Park. Now that was cool - like a scene from a movie!

Then, however, along came personal cassette and CD players, i-pods and such, with headphones. Instead of music being something to share, it became a way to cut ourselves off from one another. A way to keep people at arm's length. I have stacks of such gizmos dear hubby has bought me - most of which never got used. You see, I don't really enjoy music unless I can sing or dance along, and if you are singing or dancing to something no one else can hear, well, people think you a tad strange, don't they?

I am no longer a total Luddite, though. As you can plainly see, once blogging and facebook proved their worth to me, I jumped in head first! My newest love, though I was slow to embrace it, is Netflix. Ever since the advent of Reality TV, I haven't had much reason to flip the dang thing on. Oh, I enjoy watching the occasional PBS mystery series, and I'm still loving Big Bang Theory on Monday nights (after all, I'm actually related to people who belong to RPG groups, own multiple Renaissance Festival costumes, speak Klingon, and live for ComiCon), but even the best series will begin to pall after a while. That's why I luuuuuuv my netflix!

You wonder why I was slow to jump on this bandwagon? Well, it was because John was making all of the selections at first, and he is a member of that group I described in the paragraph above. Eventually he made the mistake of showing me how to sign in under his account, and make my own selections. Then I figured out, all by myself, how to shoot my choices up to the top of the que. I won't be surprised to learn one day, that their recommendation-generating software got caught in a fatal loop and fried itself, while trying to analyze our combined selections and spit out one of those reports for John.

I do so love those reports, though. If I glance through and weed out all suggestions with two or less stars, and titles such as "Mars Needs Women!", I am left with recommendations for some truly magnificent movies and mini-series that I might never have discovered on my own. Here are a few of my favorites so far. Hope you enjoy them!

  • The Girl in the Cafe
  • State of Play (the original British mini-series)
  • Doc Martin (a British TV series)
  • Outsourced
  • Songcatcher
  • Dear Frankie
  • Julia Child: An Appetite for Life
  • Two other biographies - the one about Beatrix Potter, and one about Mrs. Beeton, the author of the famous manual for housewives, but I don't remember their exact titles
  • Amelie
  • Lackawanna Blues
  • The Impressionists (a TV series)
  • The Last Sin-Eater
  • Monsoon Wedding
  • Son of Rambow

Monday, February 15, 2010


You may recall, from my recent story about pulling focus, that I made up my mind to quit focusing on the big picture with regards to my new garden. Instead of letting myself get overwhelmed by the seemingly insurmountable number of difficult things I must accomplish, I decided to focus on one tiny thing at a time that seemed doable. Here are the results of this week's endeavors:

  • about six inches of poor soil removed from each of the three smaller beds
  • one truck-load of good 60/40 soil-compost blend hauled in
  • remaining poor soil in one and a half beds fluffed, de-stoned, and raked smooth
  • cardboard weed barrier laid down on one bed, then topped with the black gold we hauled in
Result? One little bed, out of about a dozen, is now ready for spring planting. Woohoo! Plus, John got one tiny peach tree planted, and spread a bunch of native grass seed. He does so love spreading seed. Every year he goes through the Wildseed Farm catalog, and several of these boxes show up on our doorstep. So far, all of his many, many pounds of wildflower seeds scattered each fall have come to naught, but he has great expectations for this spring, thanks to El Nino and the rain she brought us. I hope his faith is rewarded, my Little Johnny Wildseed.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I kept teasing John by telling him the present I got for him was "the coolest thing ever!" He responded with " Well yours is hot, baby. Hot!" Turns out, we were both right. I got him a full summer's worth of gift certificates to

his favorite sno-cone stand (cool!), and he got me a can of my favorite blood orange tea, and several bags of my special Big Train chai latte mix (hot!). We know each other well.

Oh yeah, almost forgot! Remember Clifford's Wine Bar, formerly owned by friend Lisa? Well, in order to have more time for yoga instructing and Guy Town performing, she sold the wine bar to Isaac, who has renamed it Ike's Wine Bar & Brew Pub (or something like that). Soon as we heard about the amazing four course meal he was planning for Valentine's, and at such a reasonable price, we got our names on the list. Sooooo glad we did! Especially liked the little aperitif that he threw in as a bonus. He called it "Love Potion #9", and it was made from Prosecco (an Italian bubbly) and a passion fruit juice blend (a hint of grapefruit, maybe?) with fresh berries afloat in the flute. Now, I'm not much of a drinker - especially not champagne - but this was yum-may!