Saturday, January 21, 2012


It won't be long now until I can harvest my first mushrooms, so I've been going over some of the suggested recipes on the Back to the Roots website, trying to make up my mind just how I want to use them. Should I make a stroganoff? What about clam-free "chowdah", or moos-coos (mushroom couscous) There are lots of pasta options, like fettucini with mushrooms and spring herbs, garlic sesame soba noodles, or yummy mushroom pasta. But then there's that delish-sounding risotto, or that wilted spinach salad. So many choices! I plan to try them all, sooner or later. But, the more I think about it, the more I am certain that, the very first time I cook with them, I should keep it as simple as possible.  Maybe just a quick saute' with a bit of real butter and fleur de sel, so that there is nothing to distract me from their just-picked yumminess. Ah, yes. That's the ticket!

Friday, January 20, 2012


The Bountiful Sprout had a listing for "Baby Brussels Sprouts" this week, and since those were one of the few veggies available this time of year, and since I now know just how yummy they can be, if cooked correctly, I ordered them. When they described them as "baby", they weren't just a whistlin' Dixie! Are these precious, or what?

Last night I had some leftover pork tenderloin that I decided to make Cuban-style sandwiches out of, with mustard and dill pickle. At first I couldn't think of what to serve with them, but then I remembered these babies.  I tossed them with a little olive oil and sea salt, spread them out on a cookie sheet, then roasted them at 400 F. until they started to caramelize and get those nice crispy brown splotches on them.  Man-oh-man, were they ever tasty.  We ate them with our fingers, like popcorn or chips!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


 Woohoo!  Signs of life!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I have a very liberal-minded, outspoken friend who lives in an extremely conservative community in east Texas.  She has to bite her tongue a lot.  One day, when she was cutting across one of their fields with her  young granddaughter, she asked the little girl to "Come over here Sweetheart.  It will be much easier to walk if we follow the road that Grandpa made with his tractor."  "No!", the child replied. "I want to go this way. I want to make my own road!" Needless to say, my friend was so very proud of this little rebel-in-the-making, she came straight home and posted about it on facebook!  It got me to thinkin'.

Miss Becky, between her two better-behaved sisters.
I guess I was a lot like that little girl growing up.  Hard-headed, my parents called it.  My life would have been sooooo much smoother, if only I could have kept my mouth shut.  If only I had never questioned or disagreed.  If only I had always done as I was told, without insisting that there be a good and logical reason behind it, instead of the usual "Because I said so, that's why!"

This is actually my high school graduation, not college.  There aren't any pics of my college graduation. I headed off to get married as soon as classes let out, and left for Indonesia the next day.  I suggested they just mail the diploma to my folks!
Things would have been so much easier if only I had used that Home Economics degree to find a nice, cooperative husband who would have brought me straight back to Dallas, so that I could follow the path they had laid out for me, being the devoted daughter and mother who never strayed from their sides, instead of falling for a guy who took me gadding about all over the world, flitting from one godforsaken place to another.

Easier?  Smoother?  Most likely.  But could it possibly have been any more wonderful? I think not. Nope, sometimes, a girl's just gotta make her own road.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


This year I...
finally got a full-time housemate -- one who came with an awful lot of baggage;
got a second blog, Miss Becky Goes Abroad, and started writing down the stories of our time overseas, at long last;
reconnected with a good friend from the olden days, who also found her dream home in Wimberley, and is about to become my neighbor;
went on a T.A.I.R. with my two sisters (Thomas Annual Inspirational Retreat) to Salado;
finally got that uber fun screening procedure done -- the one I've been putting off for seven or eight years;
got to help three Muses...
and one best friend, celebrate their big Six-Ohs;
got to take two fabulous trips with the love of my life;
and was able to assist The Bountiful Sprout in reaching their long-dreamed-of goal of opening a branch in Austin.
Best of all, I got to watch both of my kiddos settle into happy, healthy relationships, and flourish in careers they are passionate about.  What more could a girl ask for?
 It was a very good year.


I just happened to scroll back through this years photos, looking for something in particular, and it made me realize what an amazing year this has been.  Can you believe that it has already been a whole year since the moving van loaded with all the stuff from our Houston townhouse showed up on our doorstep here, and my hubby became my fulltime housemate at long last?  Anyhoo, it got me to thinkin' that it would be really cool if I could do one of those photo collages here -- the ones that show snippets from all the important things that occurred over the last 12 months.  Only, I don't know how you do that.  Can anyone give me any hints?  Is there a gadget for this?

Sunday, January 15, 2012


My hubby has a new project -- reworking the bed beside our fire pit. Between the deer, drought, distance from the house, and solid rock it sits on, nothing much we have planted so far has thrived, other than the surrounding grasses and weeds that keep trying to creep in. Since I am not fond of digging holes with pick-axes or dragging hundred-foot-hoses around, I've been doing my best to ignore this bed. Fortunately, my hubby doesn't seem to mind either.  Nor does he mind wrestling with huge, heavy plants with dagger-like barbs. Therefore, he's the perfect man to design and install agave/yucca beds, which is what he is doing here.  They are fairly deer resistant, and once established, they shouldn't need much water at all.

Yesterday he woke up wanting to drive out to The Natural Gardener -- probably the largest, best-stocked nursery in Austin -- to look for a few more plants.  I decided to tag along, even though it was a frosty 30 degrees out at the time.  We expected the place to be deserted.  I mean, who buys plants in January, right?  Boy, were we surprised to find there wasn't a single parking spot left in their lot at 10:00 a.m.! A fellow in a bright orange vest leaned in our window to tell us that they were hosting some kind of fruit tree lecture that everyone and his dog had shown up for, and he directed us to the street that runs along the back edge of their ginormous property.  We drove along the entire length of it without finding any spaces, then another day-glo-vested fellow waved us towards a church parking lot up on a hill across another busy road.  That's when John said something along the lines of "Forget This!"

As luck would have it, we got a bit turned around trying to find our way back out to the main road (this nursery is very remote), and ended up taking "the scenic route" out via Barton Creek.  That's how we ended up stumbling upon lovely little Barton Springs Nursery, a place we had visited once years ago, then sort of forgot about.

Image from
We were able to park right at the front entrance, pretty much had the place to ourselves, and John found plenty to spend his money on, including this...

Yucca gloriosa variegated -- interesting, twisty blades with beautiful coral streaks
and this...

Bronze Dykia -- a cute curly one with a lovely lavender tinge.
and this.

A nice evergreen ground cover, Dwarf Pink Myoporum,  that should fill in around the larger, sculptural plants and help to keep the invading grasses at bay.
Oh happy day!  So you see, it's true -- bigger is not always better!