Saturday, February 4, 2012

'TIS THE SEASON: for precious little...

...or, at least, that was usually the case ere now. At The Bountiful Sprout, this has always been one of the two dreaded times of year -- times when we almost hoped that no prospective members would visit our website, wanting to check us out. We feared that if they saw nothing but a few varieties of greens and lettuces listed in the vegetable section, it might scare them away for good! So, imagine my surprise when I went to place my order last Thursday, and discovered so many things available for order that I had to pick and choose amongst them, for I knew I'd never be able to use them all before they went bad.

Baby carrots (the real kind, not the ones that have been carved out of older carrots and bleached), baby brussels sprouts, and little yellow potatoes (not from TBS) -- tossed with olive oil and a bit of sea salt -- ready to be roasted.
Not only did we take on a lot of new members when we opened our Fredericksburg and S. Austin branches, we gained several new growers and producers as well -- growers who must be fans of Eliot Coleman and his Four Season Harvest methods for extending one's growing season!  Thanks to several of these hardworking folks, our son had quite a feast awaiting him when he arrived from Houston last night.  There were the veggies above, roasted at 400 F. until they had crispy, caramelized brown patches on them.
There were several varieties of fresh baby beets, which were first roasted until tender in little foil packets. Then, when they were cool enough to handle, I removed their skins and sliced them into little wedges.
Next I melted a tablespoon of butter in a saute' pan, stirred in a tablespoon of frozen orange juice concentrate, tossed the beets in that until they were coated and warmed through, and seasoned them with a dash of sea salt and some freshly ground pepper. This was my first time to try the golden chiogga beets. Mmmmm. Much milder than the deep red varieties.

Meat from "happy" animals.
The veggies were served with a nice piece of ribeye and the cutest little lamb chops ever, also from TBS producers, which John marinated in his secret sauce, then grilled on the barbie. (It was in the 70's here yesterday!) I've never been a big fan a most lamb dishes, but when grilled like this?  Oh my my! Sorry I don't have any photos of the completed dishes.  Once my boy and his puppy arrived, I was too busy having fun to think about taking photos!  The vino did not come from TBS, but it did come from the Duchman Family Vineyards, just down the road from here.

A meal like this? In the middle of winter? That's what I call "livin' the good life!"

Friday, February 3, 2012


Nothing makes me happier than just hanging in a great little library. It's been that way since I was knee-hi to a duck, and my mom took us to story time at the old Lakewood Branch Library in Dallas.

Lakewood Library circa 1950
Image from
That picture above shows the library of my childhood, which just happened to be right across from the old Lakewood movie theater. What better way to spend a Saturday than with the kid's matinee at the movie and a trip to the library? They later built a much bigger, more modern library elsewhere, but it was never the same for me. You see, I like my libraries cozy.
I like 'em with fireplaces and comfy chairs, and a meeting room that people in the community are welcome to use.
A good fiction selection is to be expected, and a great children's department is mandatory, but it's the little extras that make a library really special. Things like four bookcases filled with multiple copies of all the best new novels, for book clubs or anyone else who wishes to check them out.
If they happen to bring in great speakers now and again, well, that's just icing on the cake!

Susan Wittig Albert, author of the popular China Bayles mystery series, set right here in the Texas Hill Country.
Yep, I'm pretty picky when it comes to my favorite hangouts. How fortunate, then, that we have just such a library, right here in Wimberley!
And it even has a rain tank!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I've had a very rough week. Last Saturday we had to go to a property owners association meeting.  They suck. Because I dreaded going, I spent way too long on the computer, then had to rush around like crazy to get ready, so I left some stuff out on the counter. That evening, when I was getting ready for bed, I reached for my towel and it wasn't there. "Um, John? Did you do something with my towel?" "Haven't touched it." I looked all around, in the hamper and everywhere else, and finally found it folded back up and on the shelf with all the clean towels.  Well, there's no friggin' way I would fold up a dirty towel and put it back with the clean ones, but if I didn't do it, and John swears he didn't, how did it get there?
A little while later, when I was ready to take my contacts out, I reached for my glasses case, but it wasn't on the counter where I had left it that morning. I looked all around, and finally found it mixed in on a shelf full of John's stuff. Then I opened the medicine cabinet and discovered that all the stuff I had left on the counter was now in the cabinet, but none of it was where I usually keep it. "Um, John? Did you clear off the bathroom counter for me, and put all my stuff away?" "Becky, I haven't touched any of your stuff!"

I spent the next few hours stewing over what could have happened. Could I have put things away in a hurry, and just crammed them wherever? No way! Could someone have broken in and taken a shower here, and used my makeup? Highly unlikely. Finally I gathered my nerve and approached John again. "Sweetheart, is it possible you could have had a blackout or something, and just don't remember doing any of this?" "Beck, when could I have done it? We were together almost all day!" That was true, but I could think of no other explanation.

I've been watching him like a hawk ever since.  I'm sure he knew I was watching him, and I'm sure he  resented it, but I couldn't help it. I was just so darn scared that he'd already had another stroke. I confessed my fears to the Muses when we met for coffee this morning, and later, when one of my sisters sent out an email to both me and Lex, asking us if we were interested in doing a mother/daughter getaway to Salado this spring, I said I'd have to wait and see how John was doing. I told them about the strange incidents that had occurred, and my resulting fears. A few seconds later my phone rang. "Uh, Mom? I guess I forgot to tell you that I came by on Saturday to take some photos of your bathroom remodel, and ended up moving a few things around." That girl is in such deep doo doo. If I wasn't so dang relieved and elated, I'd probably wring her pretty little neck!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Image from
I have always been a bit of a Pollyanna -- the type of person who tends to see the bright side in everything -- not just hoping for the best, but actually expecting it. But, I am also a very practical person, and believe in doing my share to ensure the best outcome possible. Leaving everything up to chance? Well, that's just plain stupid.

A lot of people my age don't want to look too closely at what's coming down the pike -- don't even want to think about the many ways in which aging is going to ravage their lives, much less talk about it and confront it! It scares the shit out of them, so they'd rather just keep their blinders on. But that's not me. I'd rather face up to my demons. Knowing that I've done everything I possibly can to be ready for what's coming, to avoid being a burden on anyone else, and that I have made my choices clear to all concerned, while I am still able to do so, is they only thing that will give me any peace of mind.

That bit about "being a burden"? That's a real biggie with me. My mom, well, not only did she believe it wasn't the least bit unreasonable for her daughters to give up their jobs and desert their families to come wait on her hand and foot, once our father was too sick to continue doing so, she pretty much felt it was her due! Not me though. I have never enjoyed being coddled or waited upon, and there is nothing that would make me more miserable than to know that my kids were sacrificing their happiness for mine. Which is why we have always been frugal savers, we both took out long term care insurance policies a while back, and why we are both in the process of filling out our Directives To Physicians And Family forms.

Is that enough? Not for me. You see, the thing that tore us up when our own parents were aging, was having to be the parent to their child. Having to force them to do things against their will. Having to force them out of their homes when they could no longer feed or care for themselves, much less take care of the house and yard. Having to take their car keys away from them when it became obvious that they were a danger, not only to themselves, but to everyone else on the road as well. Though we are both still fit as a fiddle, we are all too aware of how quickly that can change. And, as much as we hate to think about the day when we can no longer maneuver our tricky driveway; climb down to the rain tank to drain the eliminator or change out the filters and UV lights; deal with climbing up and down our outdoor staircase several times each day; protect all the pipes from freezing; keep all the beds watered, or even climb the tall ladders to change out light bulbs or smoke alarm batteries, we are going to think about it nonetheless.  In fact, we are going to do more than just think about it. We are going to make a plan! Because, as I've mentioned before, I prefer to make my own choices. I intend to make my own road.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


OK! I think I've finally had it with knitting dish cloths, tea cozies and little baby gnome hats.  Time to move on to something a little more challenging -- something that's been waiting on the sidelines for about two years now. This!
I found this pattern in the Spring 2010 issue of Living Crafts magazine, and knew right away that I'd be knitting it someday -- not just because the colors and patterns drove me absolutely mad (though they did indeed!) but primarily because of the story behind it, and how it gets made. You see, this is a blanket that is meant to be knit by a "tribe!"
Fiona Duthie, the author of the story, and her mother, both learned to knit from her grandmother, sitting beside her peat-fired stove in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. "Given this tradition of knitting, it was only natural that the family decided to knit a blanket for my brother's baby" -- a special blanket that would span generations, as well as the globe, with family members knitting squares in New Zealand, Canada, Vietnam, and Scotland.

Unfortunately, I don't have hardly any relatives who knit, so I may end up doing most of the work myself. It's made up of 56 individual 6x6" squares, in whatever pattern the individual knitter chooses, but all from the same coordinating yarns. When completed, the squares get sewn together into a blanket, and a knitted border is added. My daughter made me a beautiful new tote bag for Christmas (remind me to show you a picture of that!) which would be just right for carrying the supplies for one of these squares with me, wherever I go, so that I can work on it during coffee with the Muses, or while waiting in a doctor's office with my hubby. Brilliant, no?
Of course, I'm not promising either of my kids that one of these will ever be coming home with them to their house, even if they do produce grandkids -- not unless a whole bunch more relatives suddenly learn how to knit! No, by the time I finish this one, I'm thinking it might just have to stay right here on my sofa (which happens to look exactly like the one pictured above) for the kids to use whenever they come visit granny.  I might, however, send them home with one of these Knit Squares Dolls.
Now all I have to do is find the yarn.  Cross yer fingers, ever-buddy!

Monday, January 30, 2012


Running water! Water that you can actually hear from up on the road, whenever we talk our walks! With clumps of maidenhair fern, nestled under the shady ledges!

Debris left from the last flash flood which, oddly enough, occurred right in the middle of our two-year drought.
Our nature-made water slide/chute -- perfect for launching people, "toobs" and rafts.
The chute dumps you into our "swimmin' hole", which was bone dry for a good long while.
Maidenhair fern, starting to come back.
Yep, I think I could sit on one of those ledges, listening to that sound, just about all day long.  This makes me so very happy.