I made time.

Words are funny things, wiley creatures, slippery and shimmery. One makes time. Surely not. And yet…

Commonly on business trips, I do not make time. My usual work doesn’t stop its demands when the work on site adds its needs to the clamor of the day. And so I retire to my hotel in the evenings with my takeout and my laptop until past my bedtime. 

Not this time.






My children, I realized, do not know that a darkened forest tunnel will feel cooler, the air lighter, than the meadow they just exited. They haven’t learned the precise angle that is safe to traverse down a rooted path to a creek bed without tumbling. They don’t know that the quiet one walks, the more one sees. 

I have my work cut out for me making more time for the important lessons of childhood.

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A moment for green sheen.

Everything has a tinge to it these days. Cloudy. Dusty. Mossy green. There are oaks in these parts that grow dangling tassels that release pollen into the world. The wind conspires to help it along and soon enough everything is coated in a soft greenish yellow powder. Most people delay car washes until the trees have finished their raucous pollination. Not everyone notices when it coats the doorknob to the office or the top of the recycle bin and fingertips transfer the pollen from the outside world into the boxes of the day – the office, the car, the home. It isn’t as cursed as an allergy culprit as the clouds of juniper pollen (that causes cedar fever, go figure) that plague the area near the turning of the calendar to a new year, but for some it comes close.

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I took the moment today. I remembered my camera today. Today, I went for the usual walkabout with our pooch. But this time, I made time.

Before we got here, our yard had grass, trees, and roses. I haven’t pruned the crepe myrtles so I’m not sure they’ll bloom. I also haven’t pruned the roses. They don’t seem to mind.
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Walking down the street, there’s this fuzzy little thing coming to life.
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DH is particularly fond of this arrangement of Four Nerve Daisies, Blackfoot Daisies, and lavender.
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The snails here don’t seem to mind succulents. This one being nice and smooth, I can understand. I do find them on actually prickly ones in my pots though and wonder if spikes are to snails as spice is to us.
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What started out as decoy weeds have turned into quite the smattering of happy.
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Speaking of a smattering, these irises are having a joyous spring. This bed is roughly ten feet in diameter and the neighbor across the street from them has its twin.
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This little purple “weed” is not to be confused with…
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This little purple “weed” (who has wood sorrel neighbors that were dancing in the wind so much as to blur for the lens.)
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These “bushes” (most are grown to the size of trees by Texas’s standards of “tree”) are keeping the bees in a tizzy. (Bee butt!)
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The brightest smile on the block by a long shot.
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And soon to be the sweetest bite on the block.
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Speaking of those juniper bushes…
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As the clouds thickened, smothering the diffused bright light into a dimmer world, I came upon this treat. It reminds me of a childhood home where we had a snowball bush in the backyard and a giant bush of baby’s breath in the front.
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I do hope you’re able to take a little time to spot the wonders in your world. It’s a whole new way to take in a breath of fresh air.

Equinox and then some.

There’s also a super moon and a solar eclipse today. Busy day in the universe!
It’s been a rough day in the household today with life’s little hiccups all piling on heavy this week and culminating this morning. Nothing catastrophic. Nothing tragic. Just the wearing building and building too long.
It’s cloudy here with a light mist, so likely no eclipse or super moon for me. If you spot either, please do share.

I planted some of the tomato transplants last night with a baby in my lap. She was mesmerized. We helped DH reattach the fence to a reset fence post between plantings. I’ve sown carrots and beets that haven’t come up, and my peas are fighting the good fight against the snails though I’m not sure they’ll come out victorious. Chadwick’s lettuce is proving to be as reliable and sturdy as his cherry tomatoes, as they are the only seeds to sprout so far. And the teeny strawberry sprouts have the most charming little real leaves now.

Now if only the internet could transport scent, we’d be set.
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Thanks to Tina, I believe that I’ve learned this lady’s name: Martha Gonzalez.

I’d like to thank the academy…

I missed the Oscars this year. I’m not the biggest fan. I have never attended a party for the Oscars like folks do on occasion. But I do enjoy the inventive dresses and the sincerity of gratitude in speeches. I like watching folks have fun and it generally appears as though they do. That, and not watching commercials leaves me rather out of touch with any movies that have come out in the past however long and they show nice clips of each film. It’s like a fashionable comedy show full of trailers and gratitude.

But I missed it this year. Only the backstage cameras were streaming online for free. We have had cable television twice before. For three weeks back in 2006 wherein we watched one movie and cancelled the subscription, and for six months twelve years ago when it was included in our rent payment and we couldn’t afford any other form of entertainment most of the time. We had an antenna for a few years, but the roof on this house is so very high and well, #becausebabies.

I’m rambling.

I won an award. The friendly and thoughtful NovaScotiaRoots awarded me a prize. As a result, I am honored and am to answer ten questions:

1) Favorite flower
Pride of Barbados became my favorite flower in August of 2003 behind a Taco Bell in Phoenix, Arizona during a gasoline shortage. I was fortunate enough to have my camera handy and mindful enough to use it that day to capture this photo.
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I didn’t learn its name for eight years.
It’s become quite popular in the past four years and can be found in many landscapes around Central Texas these days.

2) Favorite veggie
Oh, man. Really? Ummm…that’s hard. To eat? I don’t know that I can choose. To grow? Also…eesh. I like them all! Let’s pretend I chose one and move along.

3) Favorite garden picture (insert it if you can)
This isn’t my garden, or even a garden really at all, but each May in parcels of the valley around where I spent my teenage years there are fields of red clover to take the breath away and replace it with an awe of the magic in the world.

Red Clover near my folks’ house

4) Favorite season
Summer in the Pacific Northwest. The fields are brown, the trees are green, the air is hot and dry all day and crisp and cool all night. The streams gush with melted snow and the music is always perfect for the windows down on back roads.

5) Biggest defeat in your garden
Growing non-veggies from seed. Herbs and flowers have a much steeper learning curve and I’ve yet to take the time to study. Thanks to a the lovely and talented author of Palm Rae Urban Potager I have a new toy book to play with read all about such matters.
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6) Biggest challenge in your garden
Climate. But that is probably pretty common, no matter the climate. I suppose unless it’s soil. It gets hotter than hot here, for longer than long. “Full sun” means “morning sun” here and with the heat comes the need for water through a constant drought. Hot peppers need shade cloth before July is over simply to stay alive. They won’t produce again until September usually if I can keep them alive through the summer months.

7) Your next big project
I’m six months into my first big project at the new house. Time moves differently with a little one and what I previously would’ve been able to accomplish in two weekends will take the better part of a year, I think. The project? Building the vegetable garden.

8) Your gardening partner you are most grateful for
For all of the tough questions, this one is a no-brainer. My DH is the best gardening partner I could ask for. He’s full of great ideas, solid instincts, and is no stranger to hard work. He was the main caretaker for the garden all last year spring when I was pregnant, arranged a weekend of garden building for my birthday this year, and helps me remember to keep the sprouts alive these dark winter days. Yesterday was our twelfth anniversary. He rarely gets me red roses (not to say he rarely gets me flowers, for that would be an untruth.) But sometimes, and he knows just when, they really hit the spot.
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9) Your favourite quote
As a bit of a quote-a-holic, this is also a tough question! I have a few that I keep handy to remind me of what I find important. I’ll share some of those:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
― Walt Whitman

Ok, I must stop here, because if I don’t, I’ll be posting quote after quote as though I were planting them to thin later.

10) What are you grateful for?
It’s interesting you ask this. I’ve recently taken on a personal challenge to be consciously grateful (and somehow put that gratitude forth) every day. I’m grateful for the health and happiness that there is in the world, and the patience, hope, and healing where there isn’t health or happiness. I’m grateful for blue skies when they come and rain that is deep and short. For earth to dig in and songs to sing. For my memories and my future, my family and my friends, and all of the wondrous creatures that make up this beautifully weird world we live on.

Flowers from afar.

We went to Juneau in July to visit DH’s best friend. A day out to see beautiful Tracy Arm (14 hours on a boat but we got to see whales and glaciers and seals, oh my!) and the Peanut was a champ. A day of hiking abandoned mining towns, taking a tram to a mountain top, hiking said mountain top, and then a day where DH went fishing and the little one and I traipsed about downtown Juneau to pick up some gifts, take in a berry crepe, and see the sights of a cutesy downtown. Juneau has some lovely flora in July…

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Does anyone know the name of the lovely rosy orange flowers above?

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Or the funny pink ones?

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That also come in purple.

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Any guesses on the name of the fuzzy white ones?

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These look like strawflowers to me, unless strawflowers have a more appropriate name…

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So cheerful for being upside down.