Bring on the Light!

This is me sending you peace and kindness at the solstice. Have a cool Yule!

Yule greetings to all you blog readers! Thank you for being there, and for brightening my life with your likes and comments. I wanted to send you a personal Yule greeting, since my work commitments didn’t allow me to write cards or anything.

This time of year always makes me feel closer to the rhythms of the seasons and to the wonders that the Earth keeps showing us. As the morning sun came into my east-facing window today, I marveled at how far the sun moves between the seasons. And then I thought of my southern hemisphere friends who have the same marvel, only on their longest daylight of the year.

Our small but bright portable tree makes the dime-store bows sparkle merrily.

This year in particular I have really appreciated all the holiday lights around homes and businesses. They honor the ancient traditions of burning special fires (Yule logs, outdoor trees with candles) to make the dark days cheery and bright. I have my pop-up tree here at the rental house, but I know my solar lights at the ranch are greeting passers-by, and our sleigh of trees cheers up the Austin house.

Anita and I drove around our Austin neighorhood last week and oohed and aahed just like when we were kids riding around with our parents. I remember that my mother really loved to ride around Gainesville, Florida to look at lights way back in the 60s. No innflatable Star Wars characters or projected lights on houses back then, but w did enjoy silver trees in people’s windows, and lots of huge electric lights. (I will share Fredericksburg lights, and I hope lights from Johnson City later this week!)

I’m captivated by the shiny highlights in the flowers on the poinsettia. As all us fans of botany know, those white things are leaves.

Even in winter, there is much beauty to be seen, so I am wishing you the time to take a look around you and savor the changing seasons with your own family, friends, and communities.

PS: I have a whole bunch of subjects I want to share, so get ready!

Meadow of Meadowlarks

When I woke up this morning, my Facebook feed was full of beautiful pictures of the heavy snowfall in North Carolina last night.

Gina’s puppies didn’t even wait for daylight to check out all their snow. Photo credit: Gina Loffink

My friend Gina has two labradoodle puppies who experienced the joy of snow for the first time, and I just had to share her photo of their adventure.

Here it’s just wet and cold, but still beautiful. When I looked out the front window this morning, it looked like the ground was moving. My binoculars revealed there were dozens and dozens of Eastern Meadowlarks bobbing and hopping in the meadow.

If I go out and take pictures, they’ll fly away. So here’s a stock photo.

It’s great to see them in such large numbers, because they are one of the species in decline due to loss of habitat. I’m happy to say that our meadows full of native plants (and tasty bugs) are just what these guys want!

Meadowlark migration from Giphy.

Welcome, winter visitors! Migrate here any time!

Weather: Why I Started This Blog

The dogs do like it when the runoff becomes a stream.

Did you know I originally intended to mostly write about the weather and flowers in this blog? I guess it’s taken off a life of its own, where I share whatever I’ve been pondering at any time.

The driveway puddled up impressively, but it’s already getting better since the rain let up.

But weather! Yes! We’ve had 2.25 inches of rain in the past two days, which means that yet again, we have lakefront property and a raging stream.

At least Walker’s Creek didn’t come over the bridge, though the neighbor kids’ school bus got stuck yesterday and they had to bring in another bus. At this moment, I can see the creek from my desk window, a thing that only happens w hen it the trees have lost their leaves AND there is a flood.

The rain means even big old Alfred comes inside. He didn’t bother our houseguest, Matt, at all.

This year’s been a big one for flooding. I hope it doesn’t get too much wetter over a number of years, or we won’t be semi-arid anymore and different plants will thrive. I’ll be here watching if it does.

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!

Moving Slow

Everyone has those times when even the simplest task becomes a burden. For me, it’s been getting my car inspected to renew my license plates.

First, the dealership forgot to do it when I got its yearly checkup.

Then, when I finally remembered to do it in Cameron, the place that was open didn’t do it, and the place that would do it was closed.

Yesterday I left work early to take care of it in Austin. Turns out Siri thinks a lot more places do inspections than actually do. I went to four places, patiently waiting to be spoken to, only to find out many car repair places don’t have an inspector.

By the time I got to the Lamb’s near my house, I could not wait 1.5 hours.

Today I went back. 1.5 hours again. Fine. I’ll buy myself a nice mug and a snack at the new Starbucks. I’ll live.

Have a smooth day

I do hope your mundane tasks go more smoothly than mine!

PS:

Ha! I was wrong! I clicked “send” on this blog and immediately got the call that the car was done, in only 45 minutes. That was just enough time for a pleasant cup of coffee and blogging. Yay for the Lamb’s on Far West!

First Freeze of Winter!

Carlton says, what the heck? As that thing that used to go round and round is now a lawn ornament. (Photo by Lee Bruns)

It’s finally not raining! But, wow was it windy for a couple of days. As you can see, it blew off our wind sculpture, which had been there since we built the house. Wow.

We also officially had our first frost of the year this morning. It’s always important to note these things if you’re trying to be a naturalist or gardener. Farewell to those last tomatoes that were trying to appear!