In praise of slow

I’m fortunate to have reached the age where going slow is possible. No more 9-5 workdays, with attendant child-raising (as wonderful as that was for us, and now is for our kids) …

P loves accessorizing
J and J
J and J love their rough-and-tumble lives

These days, keeping in step with the slow food and slow cloth movements, I eschew fast-track solutions like Round-up herbicide and weed my driveway by hand, even though it’s over 300 feet in length …

and when I recently set my sights on removing invasive Malta star thistles, I pulled each one up by the roots and then put them on the burn pile rather than composting (in hopes of destroying the seeds) …

Afterward, I picked up the phone and took a picture walk for Grace and others who enjoy that sort of thing. Be forewarned, I took quite a few …

and then downloaded them en-masse into WordPress … where I now discover it is difficult to insert text. So, I’ve inserted captions below each picture instead …

a new baffle, meant to slow the water from future gully-washers as it races down the east trail
heavy cedar mulch (actually Ashe Juniper) covering bare soil from last week’s rain
Prairie Verbena, the seeds washed down the trail from higher ground last year
the Seussian bloom of a Sensitive Briar (or Brier, if you prefer)
our own “Fields of Gold” with thanks to Sting for the tune that wafts through my mind whenever I walk the floodplain in springtime
Bitterweed setting seed as a butterfly flits out of frame to the left
remnants of last week’s rain on the floodplain
Mountain Pinks beginning to make themselves known
tart Agarita berries, ripe for the picking and eating
prickly pear cactus budding and blooming
Stonecrop living up to its name
a Rio Grande turkey track, with my hand for perspective
Texas Storksbill, as large as I’ve ever seen it on the floodplain
another Prickly Pear bloom showing off
a glowing patch of rock lichen
a new-to-me bloom … its name needing to be found
Texas Thistle … and if you’re wondering at how many plants carry the name Texas, all I can say is it’s a big place
a non-live oak oak that has self-seeded … a rare thing, so we’ll hope it continues
the super-abundance of spring rain has everything reaching up to the sky
ripening dewberries beckon to be eaten
Mealy Blue Sage stopped me in my tracks with its intense color
I checked on another new-to-me flower-in-waiting ….
and last, a lighter shade of Mealy Blue, with the normally recumbent Pink Evening Primrose climbing its stems to grab some sunshine

One final thought … as I walked the trails taking pictures, I considered how much I love blogging. True, these pictures could have been posted much more quickly on Instagram, but I get so much more pleasure in telling the story of how they came to be … giving them context … going slow.


Looking in the rear view mirror

We just parted company with two wonderful house guests from Virginia who are family of family … what my dad used to call out-laws. It was our first opportunity to really get to know each other and we found much in common.

It was also their first trip to the Texas Hill Country, so we took them on a glass bottom boat to see the springs that form the San Marcos River …

Texas-style brisket was a must …

and while we did the obligatory tour of the Alamo and the San Antonio Riverwalk, I most enjoy introducing folks to the Missions National Park with its excellent introductory film about the land and people of central Texas …

And of course, you can’t leave without hearing some live music, preferably at Gruene Hall …

We also walked the land, naming the critters and trees and wildflowers that are now so familiar to us. The cochineal (scale insects) that live on our prickly pear cactus came up repeatedly, as did some of the other dyestuffs I’ve experimented with. 
You can scroll down to the index and click on any of the dye links to see more, but for now here’s a peace patch hand-dyed with commercially sourced cochineal. The words are used with permission from Gill in the UK and the accompanying book about cochineal was a gift from Anne in California …

As with all the others, this patch will ultimately be seen from the back …

Because I like being a little different …

I almost forgot … here’s my take on Caesar salad that N and ML enjoyed while they were here. This is the amount I usually make to serve two of us.
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1+ tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 to 1/2 clove of garlic, microplaned
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs mayo
pinch of salt
Whisk and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve on chopped Romaine with grated Parmesan Regianno and croutons.

Road trip!

We’re trying our best to encourage our soon-to-be-born granddaughter to arrive sooner rather than later. Since having a party for a 20-some people on Easter didn’t do the trick, our next gambit was a 170 mile road trip. The draw was an Indivisible rally in Kerville focused on environmental issues as our member of Congress is (ironically) the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, but currently hell-bent on dismantling the EPA. The rally featured several speakers ...

and a roadside sign-along …

after which we headed home at 75 mph, as I tried to take pictures of wildflowers ..

And for those of you who think Texas is flat and dusty …

there is a reason we call it the Hill Country …

I confess, we did stop along the way to pick up a souvenir …

What’s that to the right, you ask? My hastily wrought rally sign …

which may see a little more action this coming weekend, unless our granddaughter decides to (finally) make her appearance.