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.



The storm last night was fierce, the windows rattling as thunder boomed and lightning flashed directly overhead …

We took comfort in a handful of dewberries picked earlier in the day, sweetened with a bit of ice cream and a granola/streusel mixture for a deconstructed crumble (recipe at the end) …

This morning we woke to green and 3.8 inches in the rain gauge …

Fortunately, we live 300 feet above the Blanco River, which is at flood stage and rising. Not for the last time I think, “we live in a land of flood and drought.

The land this spring is a riot of grass and wildflowers, everything taller than we’ve ever seen things, especially the Mealy Blue Sage …

and the Yellow Indiangrass …

I tried to capture how much the soil and mulch moved in the downpour last night, but it defied the camera’s eye. Suffice it to say everything got scrubbed clean on the Rocky Road …

And so it was that I pondered green along with the Kindred Spirits (#Ragmates2019) in Jude Hill’s Patchwork in Perspective.

My first impulse was to pull out the luscious package of cloth purchased from Fiber on a Whim last year, a study in green …

But after watching Jude wander through her scraps, I took a quick look at this relatively tidy bin (which I was the result of organizing my cloth while waiting for class to begin) …

and then ultimately decided to root through the small scraps …

Given how much I use green (my grandkids can tell you it’s my favorite color), it was no great surprise that, in the end, it felt like I just won the lottery …


Recipe: Topping for a deconstructed fruit crumble

1 Tbs softened butter

1 Tbs cinnamon sugar

2 Tbs flour

2-4 Tbs homemade granola

Mix together and crumble onto a sheet of parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and crunchy (I gently nudged the crumbs every five minutes or so as they baked).

Use as a topping on fresh fruit and ice cream … or just nibble (I did both).


Wildflower wander/wonder

As many times as I’ve posted about wildflowers, when spring comes to the Hill Country, I can’t help but post again …

Prairie fleabane
Bitterweed (I think … maybe)
Prairie verbena

As always, looking for bluebonnets …

Then my eye espied a butterfly, but try as I might, I couldn’t catch it with wings open. Until I realized I could take a video, although even that was fleeting …

Which is when it occurred to me that a wildflower video might be a good idea …

Of course, I was fixated on the bluebonnet, but as I watched the video back at the house, it was the tiny coral berries to the right that caught my eye.

Wait, what? How had I missed them? And what were they?

So after dinner I went back out and this is what I found …

A tiny little succulent that looks green when viewed from overhead, its subtle coral only visible when viewed from ground level. And it was everywhere I looked, just waiting to be discovered.