Friday, May 6, 2011


Friends Frank and Pamela Arnosky, owners of Texas Specialty Cut Flowers, and erectors of the big blue barn, have had one hell of a year.  Here is a list they shared with us, in their weekly newsletter.

"So this season so far we have had:
-Record winter cold with sustained gale force winds
-Record drought with no significant rain since Oct. and the driest March on record
-Record high temperatures in April
-Sustained 30 mph winds for the whole month of April, with humidity levels of 20% and temps in the 90's
-Record cold and near frost in May
-Grasshoppers and thrips in Biblical proportions
-Oppressive government intervention

Still possible in Texas (and quite probable):
Hurricanes  (water temperatures in the Gulf are at record highs for this time of year)
flooding- droughts in Texas are ALWAYS followed by torrential flooding.

We have never seen a year like this.  Frank was stung by a scorpion in the row cover yesterday, to boot."

So, today I'm feeling especially grateful for all my fearless, ferocious, farming friends and their vast supply of fortitude, who put up with all of this and more, but keep coming back season after season, year after year, to do a job that very few have the guts for -- least of all me!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I really, really hate it that my server will no longer allow me to post any pictures other than my own -- even if they are free stock photos!  So, you'll just have to use your imagination today.  Did you ever see the movie French Kiss, with Meg Ryan and Kevin Klein?  I love, love, love that movie, and have been playing the soundtrack in my car quite a bit of late, to set the mood for our upcoming trip.  I rarely ever watch a movie more than once, but I've seen that one at least five times over the years.  Now, imagine that I've got several photos from that movie posted here.  Perhaps there's one of Meg, white-knuckled as the plane takes off; and one of "Luc" following her through the narrow little streets of Paris; there's one of him leaning down to kiss her as she sleeps in their little train compartment; one of them dining al fresco with his huge family on their country estate; and of course, one of them holding hands as they stroll through their vineyard at the end.  Got the picture?  OK, on with the story.

Would you think me a complete and total wuss, if I admitted to feeling both elation and a soupcon of dread concerning our upcoming aventure francaise?  Unlike Meg's character, I've never been afraid of flying.  However, I haven't been out of the country since our kids were young teens, and though we once spent half our life in the air (or so it seemed) I am a whole lot older now, and airports are a whole 'nother ball of wax!  For one thing, these days I get all stoved up just sitting through a two-hour movie!  Then there's the niggling possibility that one of us could fall ill while we're away.  Still, all of that fades in significance, whenever I think about what awaits us on the other side, and about how long I've been dreaming about spending some real time there, some sloooooow time, and not just zooming in and out of Paris, with perfunctory stops at the Louvre, Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower.

Once we finally got our itenerary in the mail, along with a little guidebook about all the places we'd be spending time in as we cruise through southern France, the trip finally started to feel real to me.  John intentionally booked a three-day extension in Paris prior to the cruise, which means Viking's travel agents booked everyone who chose that option into a particular hotel, and they will meet us at the airport and transport us there, will take us on a little walking tour the first morning, and will transport us all to Chalon-sur-Seine, where the cruise begins, at the end of our three-night stay.

Quite by accident, though, their agent booked our flight out of Marseilles for three days after the cruise actually ends.  Since we hadn't paid for that extension package, we are completely on our own for making the hotel reservations, getting from Arles, where the cruise ends, to Marseilles (another niggling concern), and then getting to the airport at the end of our stay.  Should be tres amusant, non?

I had the brilliant idea yesterday of contacting my friend Pamela , who hails from Paris, Texas, but who makes a point of going to Paris, France every chance she gets.  I thought maybe she could could give us a few tips.  Well, low and behold, guess who had just departed from Paris that very morning?  Not only that, they had been staying in exactly the same neighborhood that our hotel is located in!  She was a fountain of information, including just which artisinal bakery we should go to each day, and the name of the street where Julia Child preferred to do her food shopping, and which happens to have many great cafes to lunch in.  We are ready for Paris!  Now if only we knew someone who had spent time in Marseilles.  That book I mentioned yesterday is making it out to be one of those shady seaport towns, where everyone is a smuggler or a pick-pocket ( kind of like Luc and his pals in French Kiss!).  Let's hope that's a broad generalization, for of course (niggle, niggle) that is the one place on the whole dang trip, where we will be completely on our own, with no one to advise us what's safe, and what isn't!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


A Denuded Loquat Shrub
I can't believe I've awakened to temps in the 40's the last couple of days.  That's freakin' ab-normal for this time of year in Texas.  Of course, that's not to say I'm not lovin' every minute of it!  In fact, for the first time in weeks, I actually have the urge to get out and work in the garden.  Between the heat and a bad case of the Quadruple D's (Disheartening Discouragement due to Deer Devastation), gardening has not been real high on my priority list of late.  Oh, and speaking of DDDD's, I saw something the other day that I never thought I'd see in a million years.  I saw my husband...

John's Old BB Gun
...with one of those in his hands!  He was actually sitting on the steps outside, practicing with it.  Granted, it is just a BB gun, but even so, this is my hubby we're talkin' about!  My hubby the marshmallow, who just love, love, loved all the little deer on our property, and wanted to put out corn for them every day!

Apparently, now that he's getting into gardening, he's starting to sing a different tune.  It might have been that thousand or so dollars worth of new trees and shrubs that he had to use a pickaxe to dig holes for, only to have them all completely denuded within a couple of days, that sent him over the edge.  Or it might have been the way that one deer, when John caught him red-handed and hollered to scare him away, just stood there arrogantly and flipped John off (or whatever the deer equivalent of that would be).

I guess it's up to me to save John from himself, for I know my hubby.  If he ever did manage to shoot an animal with that gun, and it actually did cause the animal some harm?  Well, he'd never be able to live with himself.  I probably couldn't live with him either, 'cause he'd be draggin' around here with his chin on the floor for days!  Sooooo, where can I hide that BB gun?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Do you ever get awakened by a whirling brain?  Like, perhaps you have allowed yourself to float along in sweet oblivion for a while, not really paying attention to how full your plate was getting.  But, as it turns out, your subconscious self was paying attention, and now she has decided it's time for you to get with the program!  So, while you are enjoying that sweet dream, she kicks into overdrive and starts churning and sorting, making lists and spinning wheels, until finally there is such a ruckus going on in there that it jerks you wide awake.  At 4:00 AM.

I don't think that has happened to me more than once or twice since I quit my job and moved to Wimberley, but it happened this morning -- with a vengeance!  Just this Sunday I had told DH that I was really looking forward to having a few days where I had nowhere I had to go, and nothing I had to do, but obviously, I was kidding myself.  I enjoyed one full day in the land of denial, snuggled up and enjoying every minute of this freakish cool front that blew through (even though it failed to bring any of the promised rain), but then my brain decided to snap me back to reality.  It reminded me that I am actually hosting a little party here in a few days, and not only have I done nothing to prepare for it, I still have a pile of boxes in the dining room, waiting to be unpacked.  It also reminded me that I leave for France in two weeks, and have done nothing whatsoever to prepare for that, either!

Well...maybe there is one thing I have done.  I did buy that book pictured above, and no, it's not just another excuse for wasting time.  It's research!  It just so happens that, completely by accident, John and I ended up with three days to kill in Marseille at the end of our river cruise, waiting for our flight home.  Since we knew less than nothing about that town, and part of this book actually takes place there, what better way to learn about it than via a "lighthearted which picking the right restaurant, choosing the best dish on the menu and, of course, finding the perfect wine (and female companion) to accompany the feast is every bit as important as catching the thief." -- Los Angeles Times

So, guess I'd better quit dilly-dallying here, and get back to that research!

Monday, May 2, 2011


 Dear Hubby is working back in Houston this week.  The upside is that, since there won't be anyone trying to lure me away from the house with one fun thing or another, I can spend as much time at the computer as I wish, and I can just eat leftovers or an egg for dinner if I so desire.

The downside is that...well...there will be no one to tempt me away with one fun thing or another, I'm gonna spend waaaaaay too much time at the computer, my dinners are gonna suck, and it's awfully hard to snuggle via Skype!