Saturday, February 26, 2011


Just when I was thinking that life in Wimberley couldn't get much better, along comes this -- our new hike & bike trail!  It begins not too far from my house, running along the bypass between RR12 and 3237, then it turns towards town.  Once complete, it will take you all the way to the Blue Hole, which is undergoing some big transformations as well.

It seems our little village has got hold of some state and/or federal funds, which are going towards turning the Blue Hole into a regional park, complete with gate/bath house, community pavilion, trails and overlooks, amphitheater, soccer fields, basketball court, volleyball court, bathrooms, gardens and more.  It's all part of the Mayor's plan to make Wimberley "the fittest little town in Texas" -- a fairly daunting task, considering how Texas usually ranks on any kind of fitness poll.  It got me to thinkin' though.  I'm thinkin', if our city government can come together to accomplish something of this magnitude, why can't we figure out how to handle our water and sewage problems?

Just this week yet another huge development, with plans for yet another huge water-sucking golf course, was given the green light -- despite the vehement protests of the hoardes who showed up to lobby against it.  You have to wonder, who's in whose pocket?  And what good will this wonderful park project be, once overdevelopment causes Jacobs Well to quit flowing altogether, as it did temporarily, for the first time ever, during our last dry spell.  Jacob's Well is the source for all that is good in the Wimberley Valley.  Without it there is no Cypress Creek, and without that creek, there is no Blue Hole.

All the more reason, I suppose, to make the most of all this while we still can, which is why John and I decided to take advantage of the absolutely gorgeous weather we've had this week, to do a little 'splorin!  With the clear blue skies, crisp temps in the upper 60's, the smell of freshly trimmed cedar all along the pathway, and glimpses of rolling hills between the treetops, I found myself traveling back through that wormhole that often takes me straight to my youthful summers in Creede, Colorado -- which led me, once again, to say "It just doesn't get any better 'n this!"
The end, for now, until they complete all the work in the park.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Contents of one of my Bountiful Sprout Baskets

In the three years that I've been on the board of The Bountiful Sprout, the one comment that I hear most often, and which disturbs me the most, is "That stuff's just too expensive.  How can it cost more to buy direct from a local farmer than it does to get it at Walmart?"  Well, because it costs more per pound for a small farmer to raise a cow in a field of grass, using humane and sustainable practices, than it does for a big conglomerate to pack 'em into feedlots, stuff them with corn, and shoot 'em up with hormones -- especially if they are having it done in South America or somewhere that doesn't have the same restrictions that we have to abide by here.  I wish that wasn't the case, but it is, and I really don't know how to fix that.

I hate it that low-income people can better afford to eat at McDonald's than to eat real food, but I guess that is nothing new.  Back during the depression, when Helen and Scott Nearing left the big city, started their little homestead in Vermont, and wrote a book called The Good Life that later convinced thousands of hippies it was time to "get back to the land", it was for that very reason.  They believed it was much easier to be poor in the country, where you could grow a few veggies and have a few chickens, than it was to be poor in the city.  So, I can understand why the urban poor today have to buy groceries at Walmart and eat at McDonalds.  I just don't understand why the wealthy do it.

In her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver's husband Steven wrote "Most consumers don't realize how much we're already paying for the conventional foods, before we even get to the supermarket.  Our tax dollars subsidize the petroleum used in growing, processing, and shipping these products.  We also pay direct subsidies to the large-scale, chemical-dependent brand of farming.  And we're being forced to pay more each year for the environmental and health costs of that method of food production."  On the other hand, a small farmer who uses organic practices builds rather than depletes.  His methods require extra time and labor, and he bears higher costs for packaging, marketing and distribution.  "But the main difference is that organic growers aren't forcing us to pay expenses they've shifted into other domains, such as environmental and health damage.  As they're allowed to play a larger role in the U.S. agricultural economy, our subsidy costs to industrial agriculture will decrease."

So, next time you are forking out money for doctors and specialists; next time you purchase a passel of pills, tonics and supplements; next time you visit a spa, guru, masseuse, yoga retreat, nutritionist, personal trainer or acupuncturist; next time you sign up for Jenny Craig, eat at a restaurant or purchase food that someone else has prepared for you, ask yourself this: why is it that I am willing to spend so much on all of this, yet I balk at paying a little extra for a piece of grass-fed beef?

Know what I'm gonna say, next time someone tells me that the stuff at TBS is too expensive?  "Put your money where your mouth is!"

P.S.  For those of you who still aren't sure just what TBS is all about, be sure to pick up the spring issue of Edible Austin, due out March 1st!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Mr. Bee leads the way.

I was headed out to the laundry room yesterday when I suddenly caught the faintest whiff of something delightfully, well, honeyish.  I paused in my tracks, thinking "Hmmm, this is familiar, and I think it indicates something important, but I don't quite remember what..."  Then a buzzing brown blur whizzed past me, landing on the boxwood shrub to my left.  Oh yeah, that's what it means.  It's SPRING!
Boxwood Blooms

Spring always catches me off guard here in the Texas Hill Country.  It was just a couple of weeks ago that we were finally coming to grips with winter: our first serious deep freeze predicted; first reports of burst pipes; first snow, etc.  Then, last week, I read a post on facebook from a gardening friend, and found myself thinking "Whoa!  You mean to tell me I should have started sprouting seed potatoes weeks ago, and they should have been in the ground by Valentines?  How can I possibly be so far behind on my gardening chores?  It can't be spring already!"  Mr. Bee begs to differ.
Agarita buds, ready to burst.

If the Boxwood is blooming, then the Agarita can't be far behind, with an even headier honey scent, and we know what that means, don't we boys and girls?  It's almost Grape Koolaid Season! (the delicious scent you get when our native Texas Mountain Laurel blooms, all over the Hill Country)

Oh my gosh, I'm soooooo far behind on what needs to be done in the garden before then!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Thanks to John's new "Nanny Cam", we now know exactly who visits the Cantina Garden.