Yoj to the World!

Anita and I have a quirky tradition that I guess constitutes a family holiday joke. My family is full of them, which explains the abundance of “Christmas owls” in the house that stem from a childhood experiece my brother and I had.

We are the Griswold family of our neighborhood. There are many lights and blinking things.

Anyway, our tradition in Anita’s and my household is to have a sign that says “Yoj” instead of “Joy.” You see, I had a sign with big red letters and lights that spelled out “Joy” at my office, back when I was big into office decorating. When we moved to the new “open office” minimalist desk spaces, there was no place for it to hang, so I took it home.

I spent at least 20 minutes looking for this dang picture.
Continue reading “Yoj to the World!”

What’s in Bloom? Who’s Happy?

Stork’s-bill lights up the lawn.

That’s the question I asked myself this weekend. So I wandered around with my head down to see what’s there.

I

Speedwell is so tiny, but it lights up the ground as it opens by midday.

was surprised to find the lawn (sorta) around our old church property blooming away. Granted, they were tiny wood sorrel, blue speedwell, and pink storks-bill flowers, but they were enough to keep at least four kinds of small butterflies happy.

These are prettier in person. Their bodies look blue.

I saw lots and lots of these lovely tropical checkered skippers, plus elusive little sulphurs and a hairstreak. And my friends the fiery skippers still are hanging around. Not bad for December.

The fiery skipper loves the wood sorrel.

Looking Up

When I looked up, I noticed the big oak tree (the only tree on the property) seemed to be shaking, even though there was no breeze. Then I heard a whole lot of chattering.

The tree is holding up well, even though it lost some limbs in recent storms.

The tree was filled with fat, happy squirrels. They ran up and down, jumped over branches, and tussled.

I’m a happy rodent.

Why were they so happy? Well, it’s autumn, and this tree alone has provided enough acorns for an entire city of squirrels. Why go elsewhere?

The ground is solid acorn. Busy tree.

I wish you the bounty and happiness these little guys have found. I also hope you are finding the life and beauty wherever you are. It’s there!

Maybe My Thumb Is Slightly Green

I actually think I’ve discovered the key to indoor plants: the right light. Duh. I know I’m not the first person to say that. Right? If you’ve ever read a plant book, I assume you’ve read about light requirements.

The white blooms with pink stamens are so lovely.

I did well with the orchids in Austin, but I have come to realize I finally got my Christmas cactus in a place they like.

This one is peachy white. Maybe I need to get a standard pink and peach one to go along with these two.

They didn’t bloom much at my old house, but since I set them in this window that gets bright light at the ranch, they’ve been really happy.

The first year we were here, the big one got over-watered and I thought it was dead. But nope! It’s white flowers bloom first, then the pink ones will show upon January (two plants are in there).

So many friends have very old Christmas cactuses, and I hope these live to a ripe old age. I was sad to lose my very old ones when we moved to Texas, but now I’m doing well again.

Share your stories of these beloved plants in the comments, if you want to.

Just Enjoy the Season

This row of cypress trees has only been at my office in Austin for a couple of years, but they already make a striking autumn display.

I often just walk around and enjoy whatever season we’re experiencing. It’s the last part of autumn here, and in central Texas that’s when the leaves change, and for a week or so, it’s really lovely. It’s been that way in Austin and Cameron this week.

The sky last night was very moody. It rained later. Too bad we hadn’t set up the weather station yet.

Last night I got home after a late meeting, just after sunset. The landscape looked so stark and beautiful in that light.

Brody the cattle dog sniffs the excellent smells of the mown hayfield.

The guys who lease the Wild Hermits land have just made hay out of our pasture, and the dogs love the smells. And the dead mice, no doubt.

I love leafless trees. The structure fascinates me.

Enjoy what I saw last night!

Carlton and Vlassic roll in…something.

Weather Fun to Come

Me with weird hair, my kids with lots of hair, and Lee with no beard. I knitted my shawl from yarn spun by a friend.

Yesterday was Lee’s and my tenth wedding anniversary! We married late, but this one is working! I enjoyed looking over our wedding photos yesterday, so indulge me while I share them.

My attendants, all still good friends, even if I don’t see them often since I moved to the ranch. Carolyn was South, Suzanne was West, Deana was North, and Susan was East.

We had our wedding on a labyrinth at our Unitarian Universalist Church, with my attendants representing the four directions. They were all good sports about it.

My funny big kids and funny little dad.

Having my kids and my dad there meant so much to me. We were all so happy. I have the kids ties with their family tartan as a remembrance.

We were surrounded by our dearest friends, which felt great. I highly recommend getting married in the center of a circle of friends.

What about the weather?

Well, it got chilly after the sun set in 2008, but I wanted to talk about 2018!

Ooh! Can’t wait to set this up.

Proof that Lee really knows me is the gift he found for me. It’s a weather station that’s WiFi enabled! He said he thought it was quite the gift for a Master Naturalist. Smart guy.

I’m pretty excited about the data we can collect with this thing. Wind will be really interesting; it’s so windy here at the Hermits’ Rest. And this will make Lee’s rainfall statistics more accurate.

I’m now ready for ten more years of fun with the Hermit of Hermits’ Rest!

Everything Is Broken

Sometimes the stars align (or something more scientific happens) and the same thing keeps happening to lots of people. I think it’s often just that we pay attention to things that remind us of our own lives and that people like to commiserate, so it appears a lot of folks are going through the same things.

an egg plate
An intact Longaberger deviled egg plate. I got mine during my intense basket-buying phase in the 90s.

The past week, things have been breaking. On Thanksgiving, my deviled egg plate took a tumble and smashed, probably because I didn’t put it away properly. But, darn, it’s discontinued.

We also lost a coaster when it jumped off the table.

broken clock
Poor concrete-colored work clock in a very Humpty Dumpty state. Should it be put back together again or replaced?

After I talked to friends this week, they kept reporting broken objects in their own lives. And when I went to the reception area at work, there was poor Erin with a very smashed corporate clock (but it was ugly anyway).

Maybe it’s a metaphor for larger things. When something breaks, you have to decide whether it’s worth it to try to repair it, or to start all over again with something new.

It sort of reminds me of parts of the world in general today (governments, health care systems, stuff I shouldn’t go into). At least some things CAN be replaced. I want to be sure to keep the natural beauty I love safe, because our planet’s the only one we have.