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