Saturday, October 26, 2013


Remember how, on my Autumn To-Do list, I said I was going to paint my pumpkins this year? Weeellll...not gonna happen. I don't need to paint them. Mother Nature painted them for me! It doesn't really show up well in any of my photos, but trust me, the hues on these beauties are heavenly!

They have a soft coral base that is brushed with a mottled blue-green that matches that large pot perfectly! There's just no way I can improve upon that, so I think I'll just leave them be.

Happy Fall Y'all!

Friday, October 25, 2013


I was planning to head to the hike and bike trail after lunch the other day but, as I left Inoz', I suddenly got a wild hair to take that hidden nature trail down by the river. It starts behind that little playground that's a couple of doors down from Inoz, and ends up down by the entrance to Blue Hole Park.

You may have to climb over or around a few fallen trees here and there...

and there's a new crop of mosquitoes since this last round of rains...

but I promise, the view will be worth it. You'll never guess who I met as I was finally coming out of the trees. A big buck! Would love to have taken a picture for you, but he didn't seem all that happy to see me, so I opted not to hang around long enough to dig my camera out again. On the way back to my car, I decided to cut through the Wimberley cemetery.

I've been meaning to go in there and wander around a bit ever since we moved here, and finally decided today was the day!

They say all the plots are spoken for now, and there's even a long waiting list, so I guess it's just as well that hubby and I plan to be cremated and scattered over our little hill. I did spot my friend High School Debbie's family plot though. She and her little family came here in the early days, before all the retirees discovered it. Guess what else I found? Our founding family!

 I just love old cemeteries, don't you?

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I was out of town on the last two Bountiful Sprout pick-up days -- first in San Antonio, then at Art Camp -- and the period before that was one of those awkward in-between times, when the farmers  had finished up with their spring/summer gardens, but the fall/winter gardens weren't really producing yet. So, perhaps I went a little overboard when I placed this week's order.

How could I resist a bouquet of fresh flowers, something we don't usually see being offered, and which came in a cute little pumpkin can? 

And then there was this new offering, from a vendor in Fredericksburg -- a little one-layer, gluten free almond cake! I don't usually buy gluten free, but I adore anything almond flavored, so how could I resist? I thought a little sliver in the evenings, with a cup of hot tea, would be just thing. Besides, it's almost my birthday, right?

For those of you who are new to the blog, The Bountiful Sprout is an organization that I had the great good fortune to help create when I first moved to Wimberley full-time, five or six years ago. We went out searching for local growers, raisers, makers and producers, who were using sustainable practices, then set up a website where they could list the products they had available every two weeks, set their own prices, and keep 92% of what they make. It is member owned and operated, mostly run by volunteers. Our only paid employees are the three site managers (now in Wimberley, Austin and Fredericksburg) who keep a small percentage of their sales in exchange for being there all day every other Wednesday to receive the products from the vendors in the morning, sort it into the members' baskets, send off items that need to be driven to the other pick-up sites, and take payment from the members when they stop by to pick their baskets in the afternoons. Anyhoo, back to this week's bountiful basket!

We have several egg vendors, but I almost always order mine from my friend at MV farm, since she is the only one who sells six packs. Her's was one of the first farms I ever went to inspect, and she ended up inviting us in to try one of her goose eggs, since we had never had them. Deee-lish! Today she threw in a couple of duck eggs for me to try. I've heard lots of people who are sensitive to chicken eggs, can still tolerate duck eggs. Plus, Deb says they are excellent for baking.

Apparently, she wasn't the only vendor who was in a generous mood this week.

In addition to the cucumbers, arugula, cherry tomatoes and green beans that I ordered, I had tried to order some beets. Unfortunately, they were sold out by the time my order went through. Well, someone underestimated how much they would be able to harvest, or miscounted, or something, and there ended up being four or five left over after the baskets were all sorted. So guess who got a couple of free ones?

I usually order two or three of Simple Pleasure's peanut butter protein bars every order cycle, but this time I also got a free sample of granola from one of our new gluten free vendors.

In the meat department (all from pastured animals, of course) I ordered some nice pork cutlets from Richardsons Farms, and a package of the cutest little lamb rib chops from Agarita Creek Farms, which we will marinate, thread onto skewers, and grill. Well, low and behold, they threw in that little bonus mini pack of chops as well!  I guess you have to have a generous heart to be a farmer, no?

Last, but not least, I ordered two six packs of live kale plants -- half Lacinato and half Dwarf Blue. Only, when I pulled them out of the bag, I realized that quite a few of them had already been potted up to 4-inch containers, which means they probably have better root systems, and will grow a bit faster. Which means I'll be eating some more of that Crack Kale I told you about all that much sooner!

So you're probably wondering how much all that locally raised deliciousness (most raised organically, even if it's not "certified" organic) set me back. Well, I'll tell you. It cost me eighty nine bucks -- which may seem like a lot if you are used to buying your food at Wally World. But after working with these farmers and producers, and getting to know them and the loving care they give to their animals, and all the hardships that Mother Nature throws at them on a regular basis? Well, to me it's worth every last penny, for I've finally come to understand the real cost of real food. As my cheese-making instructor Lisa Seger explained to us at camp last week, "We small farmers are just like everyone else. We'd like to be able to afford a movie ticket once in a blue moon too!" Now if only we could convince the government to shift some of those subsidies away from big agribusiness and all that corn, over to these hard-working people? Well then, the costs might come down a bit, and we'd all be a whole lot healthier, huh?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I've got a background, of sorts, ready to go in one of my journals, but no idea where I want to go with it. No, that's not true. I've got ideas. Too many, in fact!

It's sort of dark and watery-looking in some places, while this area above made me think of a weeping tree with cascading white blossoms. The first thing that came to mind was one of Monet's lily ponds, so I thought about adding some lily pads and a little arched bridge, using Jane Lafazio's transparent overlay technique.

But then I spotted a sweet little lamb or goat hiding in this section here, with droopy ears and a cute pink nose. Perhaps I was meant to play around some more with Juliette Crane's whimsical animals?

On the other hand, I've been flipping through my stack of art journaling magazines, and have earmarked at least a dozen pages with new-to-me techniques that I'd really like to try. On top of that, there are multiple projects in each of the on-line classes I have taken this year, which I never even got around to, and could possibly use this background for. One of my favorite instructors, Junelle Jacobsen, just opened up a new class that was positively oozing with my kind of fall and holiday goodness, and I came THIS close to signing up for it. But then a little voice screamed "Stop! No! You still haven't finished half the projects from her summer class!" And you know what? It got me to thinkin'.

When I was a kid, I had this "Stuff-To-Do" cigar box. I had filled it with a dozen or two folded strips of paper, on which I had scribbled every fun activity I could think of. Things like "Put on a Circus and Make Neighbors Pay to Attend" or "Write a Play and Make Neighbors Pay to Watch" or "Filch all Mom's Cups and Kool-Aid and Make Neighbors Pay to Drink."  Whenever my pals and/or I fell into a state of ennui, I'd reach for that box and pull out a slip of paper.

So here's what I'm thinking. Maybe I need another cigar box. An "Art-Stuff-To-Do" box. Whenever I see something I'd like to try -- an interesting technique, a certain color palette, or even just some kind of art supply or tool that I've been neglecting -- I could write it down and drop it into that box. Then, as soon as I start feeling that art-itch and have a little window of time, but no specific project in mind, all I'd have to do is reach into the magic box. Makes me go all tingly just thinking about what I might pull out -- exactly the way I felt as a kid!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Perhaps you've heard me mention Mima's (mee' mahs) once or twice before -- that place where, if I don't show up for a made-from-scratch chicken fajita taco at least once or twice per week, they send out a search party! Well, this is their back patio -- the perfect place for hanging out, now that summer's sweltering heat has finally abated.

 Is it any wonder why I love it so?

Monday, October 21, 2013


It just occurred to me that, though I've mentioned the gourmet meals we were served at art camp, I've yet to show you a single picture of food. That is because I didn't remember to take any, until the very last day. How un-becky of me! So, at last, here is Lucky Star's version of a light lunch.

Almost every meal included a huge bowl of fruit salad. This one also offered build-your-own chalupas, with beans, taco meat, grated cheese, queso fresco, lettuce and tomatoes, and a variety of salsas. I opted for a bean chalupa, some of their delicious white cheese queso, and of course, a yummy brownie.

My roomie went for the chicken tortilla soup and one of their stuffed avocados.  I believe that was also the lunch where they served the fabulous mystery beverage. Usually there were pitchers of iced tea and water sitting on every table when we came in, but that day the tea had an unusual red tint to it. One of my table-mates tasted it first, and declared it to be a pomegranate tea, but when I tried it I thought it tasted more like a strawberry lemonade. We were both wrong. Turns out they had actually taken dried hibiscus petals and steeped them in boiling water to brew a tea concentrate, to which they then added lime juice, honey, and more water. Perhaps now you understand why we are all raving about the food! Of course, after 38 years of being a wife and mother, the simple luxury of sitting down to three meals a day that someone else prepared would have been more than enough. And no clean up!

Saturday afternoon was free-time. Some of us had worked up quite a sweat in our morning photography class, so we headed down to the river to take advantage of the paddle boards, canoes and kayaks that were at our disposal all week, at no extra charge.

A few even paddled further down the river to check out the mass of migrating monarchs that were rumored to be there.

Others went off to an outdoor yoga class, to get a massage, or to keep an appointment with one of over 100 horses that are kept there in the camp's beautiful stables. Me? I did what I'd been dying to do ever since I set foot on the property. I grabbed that neon-green sling float out of the back of my car, and just floated. Ahhhh...

That evening after dinner we headed back to the ballroom. This time, however, instead of listening to a speaker, we were there to shop!

Any camper who wished to pay a small table-fee in advance was able to set up a booth at our little "maker faire." Many who had their own etsy shops and what-have-you, had brought lovely things to sell, including my roommate Kelley, from whom I purchased this adorable box of three little handmade journals.

If you have ever tried your hand at making monoprints using a Gelli plate, you'll know that it's somewhat addictive, and you end up with stacks of printed paper that you're not quite sure what to do with. Well, Kelley actually teaches Gelli printing classes, so imagine her stash! Clever girl that she is, she has come up with dozens of crafty ways to use them, such as these little journals of hers.

Now all I have to do is figure out what I want to do with my wee box of them. I'm thinking they might be perfect for the little travel journals I've been thinking about doing. Perhaps I should start with one to commemorate my first stay at Lucky Star? Mais oui!

After we'd made our purchases, it was off to the fire pit for a farewell sing-along with Mandy. Ah, parting is such sweet sorrow. Sunday morning we woke to pouring rain and fall-like temperatures (at last!), had one last breakfast together -- this time with huge, mouth-watering cinnamon rolls -- then loaded up our cars and headed off in every direction, with much hugging, exchanging of phone numbers and email addresses, and vowing to keep in touch. Until next year!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


My big goal today is to finally finish unpacking from my five days at Lucky Star Art Camp, which ended a whole WEEK ago!  What can I say? That's just how I roll. I have plenty of excuses, of course, the primary one being that I needed to play with some paint, while everything I learned was fresh in my brain! This was the result:

Speaking of little girls who feel like dancin', have you seen this? Sometimes a gal's just gotta do it the way she feels it, right Alexis Lane?  Now back to Lucky Star. I still haven't told you about day four -- which was so jam-packed, I will have to divide it up into a couple of posts!

On Saturday, our last full day at art camp, I spent the morning in a photography class on self-portraiture. Our instructor was Vivienne McMasters, who came all the way from Canada to teach us how to "Be Our Own Beloveds." You'll never guess what I discovered, right off the bat! That little point and shoot camera that I've been using for years now, and taken a gazillion pictures with, none of which had me in them? Well, it has a built in timer!!! Who knew? Even more amazing is all the fun things you can do with a timer, other than just running over at the last second to squeeze yourself into a group photo.

Many photographers are kind of camera shy themselves, and actually like having an excuse to be behind the camera, rather than in front of it. Therefore, Vivienne eased us into it gradually, having us first take some shots with just a hand or a foot in them.

Next we experimented with lighting. She said, oftentimes, when you see a bad picture of yourself and declare yourself "unphotogenic", it could just be bad lighting. So we tried just standing in one sunny spot, snapping "selfies" as we faced into the sun, to the side, back to it, etc. I kind of like the fuzzy-halo look you get when the sun is behind you.

Last, but not least, she turned us loose to play with our timers. Most important step? Do a goofy "shake it out" dance before each shot, so you don't look too stiff and posed!

My new goal in life? Figuring out how to catch leap shots, so I can learn how to Potter!