Go where you will …

We are back from the beach, where so many family traditions were faithfully observed: shrimp pasta, fish tacos, apple uglies from the Orange Blossom Bakery, pizza from Nino’s, Heather’s fruit salsa, chocolate chip cookie dough, ice cream sundaes … the list goes on and on. And yes, I do believe food is love.

My daughters have their own tradition of dressing up on the last night and taking pictures in the glow of the setting sun. I especially like this year’s …

So now we are back and busy beyond words, with no time for stitching. Getting our house ready …

Hoping to move closer to help with the newest member of the family … but oh, how very much we will miss the land, this place we have called home for the past nine years.

Trompe l’oeil

What we see versus what we perceive has been much on my mind this week. First, after hearing a talk at the Wimberley Valley Art League during which Texas State University art professor Jeffrey Dell described his use of maquettes to inform his choices of color, light, and shadow in printmaking. And then again while looking at the sphere and cone shadow studies by Deb Sposa’s students over at Artisun.

And so, after some pondering, I decided to revise (re-envision) Southbound 35 Oklahoma Spring to more closely match what I saw versus what my brain wanted to depict (and yes, I know I didn’t see square clouds, but Anna Lisa’s comment yesterday made me realize each square is like a snapshot impression of the things I wanted to remember) …

Many stitches were removed and replaced with more lightly stitched overhead power lines, this time guided by a French curve (which I serendipitously found while looking for something else) …

And still more stitches were removed from the road, although my latest impression will probably require another reworking to get the perspective right before all is said and done …

But wait, there’s more! I also started testing out ideas for Moon Myth in the form of an appliqué sun and a reverse appliqué moon …

As always, I’m tempted to use the back instead, at least in the case of the moon …

but it’s still way too early in the process to make any hard and fast decisions.
And looking at the magical bit of Deb Lacativa cloth on the dark side of the moon reminded me of the colors we encountered on our journey through the lunaresque landscape of the Meramec Caverns last week …

dark beauty …

a false sense of great depth created by the high cave ceiling reflected on perfectly still water …

and a new appreciation for the limestone structures that may (probably) lie hidden beneath our own home in the hills …

All this was in my mind as we had our well tested by representatives from the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District a few days ago.  Before they arrived, I dug out the original well drilling records from the first owner of our property …

I always knew our well was over 900′ deep, which in my mind had translated into an imagined weeks-long drilling process. But  informed by our recent travels and thinking of this recent cave discovery in a nearby north Austin neighborhood …

along with listening as the education coordinator explained the average water level in our neighborhood is 350′ below ground, I began to look more closely at the drilling record and started to reconsider. Apparently, after 42′ of drilling, there was a free-fall through about 300′ of open space and then another 600′ of water before the end of the drill touched down on solid rock. So the drilling only took one day.   

Which leads me to believe that our little piece of heaven may actually be perched atop a vast cavern, the likes of which boggles my mind. Could this be? 

Gulp …

Inch by inch

Nancy’s question yesterday led to a picture walk around our five-acre homestead in hopes of providing some answers.

Our land was choked with brush and cactus when we arrived in 2010, much like this undisturbed back corner …

We have spent the past eight years clearing brush in hopes of encouraging the return of native prairie grasses such as little bluestem, sideoats grama, and yellow Indiangrass, with much success. It has all been done with hand-held tools (clippers and loppers), no herbicides ever …

The debris is then put in rows of compost that act as berms to slow flood waters along vulnerable areas …

plus a cover of dead leaves, grass and/or wood mulch to keep things dark and damp ...

After a couple of years (we are patient), we take off the dried-out cover, put that at the bottom of a new compost pile and congratulate ourselves on the resulting soil (hard to see, but there’s a 2-3″ mound of soil here) …

The rock gardens are in closer to the house and Don’s current project involves  taking away all the brush from a rocky area …

while leaving desirable plants like this thimble flower and mealy blue sage undisturbed …

unearthing loose rock for a planting bed …

that can be filled with GeoGrower’s Thunder Soil …

then planting natives (here a bush germander) …

and finishing the whole thing off with a covering of GeoGrower’s Magic Mulch …

plus the occasional wire cage as needed because deer-resistant doesn’t mean the critters won’t take a taste at times …

Needless to say, there’s a lot of sweat equity in our landscape, but what’s good for the garden is good for the gander (not to mention the goose).