Saturday, May 12, 2012


Not only have I been taking a class called the Art of Wild Abandonment, I've also created my first ever Wildly Abandoned flower bed! Normally, I'm all about design and composition -- about getting the perfect combination of colors, heights and textures. However, after planting everything we had purchased at the nurseries last fall and early spring, I still had this one bed that was mostly empty, and I was feelin' kinda lazy. Plus, it's the bed that the deer have easiest access to, so I didn't want to put a whole lot of money into it. The only things in it were three rudbeckias and that amazon dianthus, all picked up out at the Arnosky's big blue barn, and a sprig of lantana that had barely managed to survive the drought and freezes of the last couple of years. Since I also had a veggie drawer in my fridge that was full of leftover wildflower seeds, I decided "What the heck!" I mixed them all together and just tossed them out, then added a few liatris bulbs, a division from my big Magilla perilla plant, and decided to just sit back and see what happens. I thought it might be fun to take pictures of it every couple of months, just to see how it changes through the seasons. Hmmmm, now that I think about it, maybe I should call it my Seasonality bed!
The magenta-colored dianthus, a cool-weather plant, was the first to come into bloom. I cut off it's towering stalks and brought them into the house for Easter. It's still giving us a nice splash of color, but I expect that will fade as the weather warms up. Next to pop up were the pink and white cosmos flowers (from Wildseed Farms), followed closely by these precious little orange and yellow Persian Carpet butterfly zinnias (from Renee's Garden).
The lantana (Irene, I think) has finally filled out and come into bloom, and the tall liatris stalks are just beginning to show some color...
but it looks like these rudbeckia blooms will be stealing their thunder before long.
As you can tell from the pictures at the top, I haven't thinned out the seedlings, or done much of anything, really. Like I said, we're just gonna sit back, and see what happens. Could be interesting, huh?

Friday, May 11, 2012


The older I get, the less enamored I am with "festivals." I hate the mosh-pit crowds, I can't take an entire day of blistering sun anymore, and I sure as heck don't need to buy more gee-gaws for my house or eat any cheesecake-on-a-stick. Still, there is one festival I don't mind going to. The Old Pecan St. Festival in Austin.
Pecan St. was the original name of what is now 6th St., and once a year they close it off for the weekend, and open it up to all sorts of vendors and purveyors of hand-crafted and repurposed or rejuvenated goods. I like it because it's smallish -- get there when it opens, and you can be finished before lunch. I go for all the color-mad eye candy.

Food Trucks
Agua Fresca
Ear Adornments

Need a pair of spats or a steam punk pocket watch? This couple will soon have a brick & mortar location down on S. Congress -- I believe it's to be called "Dandy."
A possible future replacement for my current Mini - the new, sporty Mini. Only problem would be deciding who drives that, and who drives the Prius wagon. Perhaps we could assign days?
The one thing this guy adores as much as (possibly more than) our daughter -- blue raspberry sno-cones!
This portrait was assembled from a million individual wood chips.
I did cave in and buy one very cool necklace that I didn't really need, and came away with a nice little sunburn on the back of my neck, but it was a small price to pay for the never ending photo-ops, don't you agree?

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Mansfield Dam is just up the road from the restaurant.
My brother, who is a big fan of celebrity chefs and their cookbooks, drew my hubby's name for Christmas last year. His present? A very generous gift certificate to Hudson's on the Bend, who's specialty is wild game. We just got around to using it a few weeks ago, as we were waiting for the switch to daylight savings time (it would be a very long drive home in the dark, with all the deer and what have you).

Part of the extensive herb garden surrounding Hudson's.
The open-air bar area.
One of many small, intimate dining rooms that make up the restaurant.
Unfortunately, I must not have had my camera set right, for none of my food pictures turned out. I have just four words you -- foie gras, creme brule. 'Nuf said. (no, not foie gras flavored creme brulee - two separate courses!)

Not just one creme brulee. Three -- all for me!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


P.S. In case you can't read it, the carpet bag on top says "fear of soaring." The cords kinda got in the way!


The deer have not touched anything in our beds or pots since I pulled out the last of the veggies in winter - not even a nibble in John's big new beds. He thought he had it made, but I reminded him that we've had plenty of rain so far, and there's a lot of other stuff for them to feast on. I told him it might be a different story, once the summer dry spell sets in. "Besides, the babies aren't even here yet." All bets are off, once the babies arrive.

Then, day before yesterday, I noticed one of my pots had been chewed to bits. Not just any pot, but the big one on the porch. The one closest to the front door. The very last one they would normally mess with. Hmmmm. How odd.

Later that same day, shortly before noon, I was heading down our driveway for a trip into town. As I approached the copse of cedars right next to the drive -- the one where the deer enjoy napping in the heat of the day -- I spotted one deer squatting, as if she were about to her business. "Sorry Ma'am, didn't mean to intrude!" A few feet past, I suddenly slammed on the brakes. "Hey, wait a minute! Deer don't squat to do their business! They just let it go plop, plop, plop down our driveway as they walk along. They never even pause!" Again, how odd.

Well, yesterday morning in the wee, wee hours -- before the sun was even up -- I spotted something that had me running for my camera.
Yes, something is indeed afoot!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Ya gotta love people who are really passionate about something -- especially if those people are willing to share what they learned the hard way, through trial and error, to make things a little bit easier for you.  Take Mr. Gani here.
He and his lovely wife are members of the LAMP program at UT, like my hubby. Nine years ago they moved into a nice little newly-built home in the Austin suburbs, near Southpark Meadows shopping center. Backyard sod was not part of the builder's "package", so Mr. Gani said "Fine, I'll just grow a few herbs and veggies instead." These did so well that he then added grapevines to cover the fence, and some fruit trees around the perimeter. When he ran out of room there, he took over the two side yards as well, and is now creeping into the front.  At some point he added two 1,500 gallon, low-profile rain tanks (which sit below the fence line), solar panels on his roof, and of course, those compost bins you see behind him. Did I mention that he grows it all organically?
Now those trees are fully grown, and laden with figs, peaches, pears, satsuma oranges, kumquats, loquats, lemons, pineapple guava and pomegranates.
He even has a couple of olive trees, and taught himself how to cure the olives! Hard to believe this lush paradise was achieved with nothing more than compost and a bit of cottonseed meal. I'd say he and his wife, both vegetarians, probably eat quite well from this tiny suburban plot (they even grow chick peas for protein), and I'm just ever so grateful that he is willing to share his giddy joy with others, and teach by example!

Monday, May 7, 2012


Latest art-journal page to "spring" forth from my online class -- but one which has not yet been journalled in.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I ask you, what could be better...
than sitting outside at the Corral Theater, on a gorgeous Hill Country evening, waiting for The Avengers to begin...
by the light of a silvery moon? And not just any moon -- a super moon!

Oh, ok. I suppose there is one thing that could have made it better. Those people sitting all around us, who brought yummy things like tubs of homemade guacamole and gourmet pizzas and bottles of chilled wine? Well, they could have offerred to share!