Late Spring Bounty, Plus Drama, of Course

As the days grow longer and longer here in Texas, our harvest starts arriving. It’s lots earlier than in other parts of the US, where nothing’s ready until August, but hey, it gets hot here early.

Some Good News

This has been a great year, too, with the rain continuing to fall much later than usual. It’s raining now, in fact, and it’s only 79 degrees (too bad it was up to 93 at the end of our horseback ride this morning).

My shadow and the garden. Beans are to the right. Giant squash is in my shadow.

I think I’ve mentioned that our neighbor Tyler started a vegetable garden this year. Yesterday, as I was looking for chickens, I peeked in and saw a really, really big yellow squash. And Tyler is out of town.

So, this morning after putting up the horses and Fiona (who went with us on our whole ride and caused no trouble), Sara and I went in and harvested the giant squash and zucchini that were lying under the large, healthy vines. We have to hand it to Tyler, his fencing and netting combination have worked great to keep meddling animals, birds, and others out of his crops. We left him plenty of small squash to harvest for himself once he gets home.

Our buckets did not hold all the hugs squash, so I got creative. (photo by Sara Faivre)
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Update: Bobcat Lair

I’m in a car, so I have time for a few updates. Over at the Austin house, it’s been a good spring, thanks to all the rain. I’m really happy that all the perennial plants we got last year made it and have bloomed.

Another plant that surprised us in its survival is Anita’s monkey paw plant.

The Texas mountain laurel just had two blossoms, but it’s pretty small still. It’s growing now! Too bad I didn’t get photos.

Such a beautiful plant. And cold-hardy.

I was really happy to see the Althea bush blossoming. It’s a beautiful plant. I love bicolor leaves, and the pink flowers have been great. It looks good all year.

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Hermitage

A bunch of stuff beyond my control has come up, so my posts will be short, and perhaps sweet for a while. I’m having to be more hermit-like.

It’s a downer of a time, anyway. Horrible storms everywhere, people having accidents or injuries throughout my circle, friends and loved ones in mental pain.

Quite wavy, isn’t she?

I was glad to save this long rat snake from getting run over on Monday. I wasn’t so lucky today, when a roadrunner turned around and ran straight in front of my car. I said a big blessing.

My gardenia never looks good. This was a nice surprise.

At least when I got home to Austin, I had flowers to greet me. Flowers always help, as did hugs from Anita.

My Althea has rebloomed!

What Gives a Person Nightmares (and more Gainesville Stuff)

Here’s more on our adventures in Gainesville, Florida. My hometown!

One more stop

This is 6th St. in Gainesville. The postcard was mailed in 1905.

We had plenty of time, so we visited a small museum that highlighted Gainesville history, the Matheson Museum. There was an exhibit on modern buildings of Gainesville, which featured many places familiar to me from the 1960s.

We drove by Neunan’s Lake, the subject of this post card, but not from this angle. It still looked like that when I was small.

We also found postcards of old Gainesville and some books, one on the plants and animals of Alachua County. That book will take me back to my college days when my boyfriend and I would drive all over the back roads looking for armadillo, turtles, and deer on the side of the road.

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Airboat Adventure

After the shrine and a vitally important coffee stop for Lee, we headed off to, um, somewhere in the middle of Florida, because I’d decided I wanted to go on an airboat ride to see some nature.

Lee and Anita actually having fun

Where we went was actually in Kenansville, Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park. I think Lee was a bit dubious, but Anita and I were up for it. The drive there was beautiful, and the facility was pretty cool. Touristy but clean and organized.

The one-hour ride itself was everything I’d hoped it would be. What fun! We were on a large lake, and could see a prescribed burn off in the distance.

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A Strong Sense of Place

Prior to finding the Hermits’ Rest, I knew it was possible to have a physical attachment to a specific location. I may have written before about how my body feels better when I’m in the place where I grew up, in Florida. Is it magnetism? Pleasant memories? A placebo effect?

I don’t know, but I’ve become attached to our ranch just like with Gainesville. When I get to the creek, my body relaxes and the clutter lifts from my mind. Just like that.

One possible explanation is that I really knew the plants and animals, the weather patterns, the sounds, and the smells where I grew up. And over these past years, I’ve become that familiar with the ranch, working pretty hard at it with all my Master Naturalist classes and book learning. Oh yes, and just by being observant. Doing this has made me a part of this place.

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Guest Post: The Baby Magnolia

By Bonnie Roberts

Today I’m sharing a story my friend Bonnie shared when I asked for what brings people joy. I loved it so much that I want to share it with you all. Here’s her little tree’s story:


I recently planted a native Sweet bay magnolia, along with some other native plants in my yard. It is still a sweet, tiny tree. I did not expect to see blossoms this year, so was thrilled to see it has a couple of buds.

This flower has been working on opening for the past week. We have had a cold, rainy month in Maryland.

The slow, patient opening of this flower has made me stop and appreciate that we need to allow ourselves to take the time necessary in order to accomplish things. Be kind and patient with your self and your grief.

Sweet bay magnolia working on a blossom.