Friday, June 19, 2015


Have you been hearing the buzz about the latest book about decluttering and organizing? This one is from the Japanese point of view, and is called The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. The basic premise is that you have to do much more than just hide all your "stuff" in attractive organizers. In fact, she calls storage experts "hoarders." No, she believes that the only way to get one's home into shape permanently is to get rid of everything in it that does not give you joy. I have not read the whole book yet, but that alone got me to thinkin'. It got me to thinking about this wooden tray I bought to hang on my wall a few years ago.

My original intention was for it to be a place where I could bring all my bits and pieces of vintage ceramics, which I had scattered about the house, together in one place. I figured they would have more impact that way, right?

The only problem was that there were a lot more spaces in the tray than I had ceramics, and we know what people tend to do with empty spaces, don't we? Fast forward a couple of years and you'd find that every single niche was now filled with so much stuff that it was impossible to dust, and most of it wasn't even ceramics. Instead of giving me joy when I came into the room, it gave me anxiety attacks. Usually, I avoided looking at it altogether! Finally I decided it was time to do something about that. Enough was enough. In fact, it was way too much!

Know what happens when I enter the bedroom now? I find myself pausing just to stare at it. And smiling.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


I was wandering around downtown yesterday when something in the little flowerbed near Ino'z stopped me in my tracks. I've passed it a million times before, and recognize most of the plants there, but these little grassy clumps had a surprise up their sleeves! Instead of sending up the usual light, feathery plume, they are sprouting these gorgeous-ginormous seedpod thingamabobs that are just begging me to find a place for them in the Cantina Garden. 

So, I've got to know. What IS this fantabulous plant?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


I was in the kitchen yesterday morning, and when I glanced out the window I spotted the biggest, fattest deer I'd ever seen, down by the old church B&B. At least, I thought it was a deer. Because, well, deer, dogs and the occasional fox are pretty much the only four-legged critters one ever sees down there, and I knew it wasn't either of those other two. But then I noticed something odd about that deer.

She had a long tail that kept swishing back and forth!

Next time I looked, one of her bovine brethren was moseying across the road to join her. I saw two trucks pull up about then and assumed that was the owners coming to the rescue. But no, they were just a couple of looky-loos who went on their way. Then more cows made their break.

Next thing I knew, the whole herd was running amok!

I kept waiting for the owner to notice, but I guess he wasn't home, and I didn't know their name to look up and call. At that time, we were expecting another gully washer at any moment, so I grabbed the little Wimberley phone book to find the number for Animal Control. But, there was no such listing in either the white or the yellow pages. Then I ran to the computer to google Wimberley Animal Control. Nothing for that, but I did find something for Hays County. Unfortunately, the only phone number listed was for the animal shelter in San Marcos that they contract with. I called and left a message. A short time later I finally got the information I needed.

Sooooo, who do you call in small town Texas when the cows are on the loose? Why, the Sheriff, of course. Doh!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Last night I still had a few things left from my last Bountiful Sprout order and decided I'd better go ahead and cook them, just in case we lose power when the storms hit. Both items were old standbys that I've cooked over and over, but this time they each got a little tweak.

First up was the Baked Tomatoes With Goat Cheese recipe that I shared with you here. But, perhaps I should back up.

About once a month, while Hubby is over in Austin attending one of his discussion groups or hearing a speaker, he stops into Central Market to pick up some of my favorite tea (they sell Republic of Tea flavors in bulk!). Usually, he brings home something extra as well. He knew I was getting low on my favorite olive oil, so he decided to bring me something new to try. He's awfully sweet that way.

But, did he stop with just the one bottle? Of course not! He brought me all of these as well.

That's why we make such a good pair. He knows how much I enjoy purging and decluttering (I'm working my way through Marie Kondo's Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up right now), so as soon as I get a space emptied out, he fills it right back up for me! (wink, wink) Anywho, as I was assembling the tomato recipe, which calls for both olive oil and fresh basil, I remembered that one of those little jewels above was a basil flavored oil, so I added a dash of that as well. YUM!

What I love most about this recipe is that, not only is it simple to make and absolutely delicious, it's pretty much a one dish meal for the two of us. All you need is a bit of toasty baguette or focaccia to sop up the juices!

For dessert we had a simple little galette made from our remaining fresh peaches.

When it's just the two of us, a whole pie is too much to have around, so I go with a simple one crust galette or tart instead, which can be made with just about any fruit, alone or in combinations. You can make the crust from scratch, but I usually keep a box of those Pillsbury ready made crusts in the freezer, and they work just fine.


Preheat over to 400 F. Cover a cookie sheet with a sheet of baking parchment or a silicon baking mat. In a bowl, gently toss fruit (1-1.5 cups raspberries, or 1 pint blackberries, or 3-5 sliced nectarines or peeled and pitted peaches, or any combination thereof) with 3 T. sugar and 1 T. cornstarch. Lay pastry crust on cookie sheet and place the fruit mixture on the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Gently fold and pleat the border up over the filling. Bake for 30 minutes, until crust is brown and the juice has formed. Cut and serve once cooled and set.

So, that's the basic recipe, which is quite delicious as is. But, if you really want to take it over the top, try adding some of this!

Just roll the entire tube of almond paste out into a circle and lay that over the pastry, before topping it with the fruit filling. Not only will the flavor curl your toes in delight, the paste also forms a protective layer that keeps the fruit juices from soaking into the crust and making it soggy. Try it, you'll like it!

Monday, June 15, 2015


See how far up the bark is stripped on those trees across the river? That's how high the water rose during the last flood.
My plan for today was just to share with you these photos that my hubby took around town this week, and to talk about how grateful we are that the water is finally going down, it was clean enough for the Blue Hole to open finally, most everyone has power again (though Time Warner still has issues), most of the businesses are now open, most everyone has a place to stay while they figure out what to do about their flooded/demolished homes, and the town is finally getting back on its feet.

But then, yesterday, we woke up to yet another thunderstorm and screeching phone alerts. By the time it stopped we'd got another two inches of rain, and the water was starting to rise again. As I was getting ready for bed last night I noticed that they were planning to lift the flood watch at 1:00 AM, so I finally started to breath easy.

As I was setting my phone in its charger, before crawling into bed, I got a message from our daughter. "Better go stock up on groceries tomorrow. More storms headed this way on Tuesday. Some areas could receive as much as 10 inches by Wednesday." That can't be right, I thought, rushing to my computer. But, sure enough, there's a 60% chance of more rain this afternoon, then, beginning at 11 AM tomorrow, and every single hour after that for at least the next 24 hours, there's a 75% chance or more.

The Blanco River swept over the RR12 bridge with such force that it mangled the guard rails.

If we get even a fraction of that, it's pretty much a given that we'll be trapped on this side of the creek for a while, and we may even need to shelter neighbors who live on the low side of our street. So I started making a mental list of things to pick up from the store, like a ham and bacon, maybe a roast chicken. Then suddenly it hit me. FUUUUUDGE! If we get that kind of rain, not only will we be stuck at home. We'll probably be without power too -- and possibly for much longer than last time.

So... what food can I buy that doesn't need heating, cooking or refrigeration? For the life of me, just about the only thing I can think of is PB&J! Or eating veggies straight out of a can -- pretty much the most depressing meal in the world for a foodie. Help please! There's got to be more than that to eat when your home is without power. Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Guess what I spotted early one morning this week, as I was heading down the outside staircase to check on the Cantina Garden? 

Our first baby of the year! Can't believe he/she stayed put long enough for me to tiptoe back up the stairs and into the house to grab my camera.

Of course, these young 'uns have no problem whatsoever squeezing their little bodies between the cedar posts that form the perimeter of our garden, and will likely be in there wreaking havoc any day now.

Still, these up-close-and-personal encounters are kinda worth it, dontcha think?