Alchemy

Spring is coming to the Hill Country after a hard (for us) winter …

and so, as I am wont to do, I walked the land. Then returned to find this post

over at Mo’s blog. Marti’s pennant of cloth dyed from the land and her words invoking alchemy.
Coincidentally, before I walked, I had begun my own dye-play using windfall galls from the live oaks, their previous inhabitants long since gone. I wrapped the galls in thrifted linen, tying them off with a variegated thread that I hope will bleed. Then dipped the whole in warm black tea and hung the results in the Texas persimmon …
Note: this was spectacularly unsuccessful!

After which I walked, surveying our latest prickly pear cactus whacking …

the end product of which will be more berms …

within which the alchemy of sun and rain will disintegrate the grass-topped mounds into the black gold of compost ..

Likewise, the mistletoe-choked cedar elm has been safely downed and chipped by arborists, soon to line the trails that meander through our land …

Walking down the east trail I came to the cactus corral …

Once a bare patch clotted with cactus, it is now full of grasses and the bright green promise of thimble flowers.
The burn pit is also full of brush cut back to make way for more prairie grasses …

Beyond it, the floodplain is beginning to bloom …

As my eye scanned the land seeking the first golden eye, it caught instead on an intriguing spiral of stone …

Nearby, the last remnants of a much-needed rain …

A flicker of color led me to the corner of the property where surveyor’s tape fluttered …

marking the edge of the land now owned by our someday next door neighbors, our bid having been too little to secure the acreage for ourselves.
But we have more than enough here and always there is something …

Picking up the empty shell, I wondered at its one-time inhabitant. Had it perished on the droughted floodplain? How ironic those two words are. But water is the key to our land of flood and drought. 
Which is why the avian font (Barry’s term, much more appealing than “bird bath”) is drunk dry by the deer as often as not …

Filling it …

I noted yet another flutter from the corner of my eye …

a black butterfly with iridescent blue spots above …

and an orange/red spot below, just visible as it flew away. I will have to look it up.
But for now, I am sitting beside Don’s newest garden …

waiting for the almost-full moon to rise in the east and hoping to hear the call of Sandhill cranes as my Remember 2016 cloth reminds me 
they come at the end of February …

as surely as spring follows winter.

Work in progress

We built this fire pit early on in our tenure …

and named the immediate vicinity …

But then came drought in 2011 and with it our realization that the fire pit was ill-advised. So we turned to other projects and the Rocky Road filled with King Ranch bluestem …

KR bluestem is a non-native grass. Better than nothing, it does hold the soil, but is shallow-rooted and crowds out more desirable native grasses. So this week Don decided to start pulling the KR out and I joined the party …

exposing and then moving loose rocks around the zexmenias …

little bluestem …

milkweed …

side oats gramma …

and best of all, yellow Indian grass …

just in time to let the good seeds fall on newly disturbed ground …

Golden.

Connections

I had been stitching the placket cloth with what were stream-like bands of color …

But today it struck me that they wanted to be connected, hence the faint traces of future channels.
It puts me in mind of the connections I’ve made through the blog community, particularly during the Peace Pin Project. 
This past week I received a gift of hand-dyed cloth and a beautiful wrapped stone from Lisa at Kaizen Journey

The stone especially intrigued me …

so I ventured onto Lisa’s blog 
and found my way here …

and then went beyond, to her beginning. It was a wonder-full going.
I also went to see Peggy at Woman with Wings
where yet another pin had landed …

Likewise, Little P is on her own journey, here lifting her head to better see her world …

then resting in Pop Pop’s arms …

And the antelope horn milkweeds are spreading their wings …

bursting open …

sending their seeds out into the world …

giving to the future …

It’s all of a piece, if we just take the time to see.