Rio Guadalupe Love

Today was our day to get out of town, so we decided to head down the most scenic highway we could think of, the road from Fredericksburg through Kerrville and on to Hunt, Texas. You may recall that I took this same drive when I attended the Bennett Trust Women’s Conference.

This time, Lee, Anita and I took things slowly, stopping for lunch outside of Kerrville at an excellent local Mexican restaurant, which happened to be on the banks of a dam by a creek leading to the Guadalupe River. It was our first glimpse of this winding waterway and its many tributaries, which many claim is the most beautiful river in Texas.

As we drove down the road, we enjoyed many crossings, then dropped by to visit some friends of ours, the Hudsons, who build and sell amazing hand-made lawn furniture. Lee has known Jack since high school. We got some great pictures and caught up. We should visit more often, that’s for sure.

Then we went back on a long road with many Guadalupe River crossings. I hope you like my photos through the car window!

The highway also wound through some of the most beautiful Hill Country ranch property there is. One reason it looks so great is that the ranchers have made a huge effort to remove most of the ashe juniper (cedar) trees, so the land looks more like it used to look.

I think one reason I find the Guadalupe so fascinating is that it goes through such semi-arid territory. And the banks are so white, thanks to all the limestone.

The terrain strongly resembles African savannahs, especially since we saw, for the most part, mainly African animals behind all the very high fences. This is the heart of the exotic ranching area, and it’s quite obvious. We didn’t see a cow other than one herd of longhorns, until we were almost back to Kerrville. There was one flock of goats, but otherwise, gazelles, antelope, pronghorns, and other animals I have forgotten since I visited the exotic animal organization headquarters filled the pastures (well, mostly it was empty, because of good range management).

The animals didn’t hold still, so no photos, but hey, you know what they look like: funny looking deer.

Tomorrow we hope to go somewhere and hike with at least one of my kids. More then!

Keep Looking Up

Look up! Hi sparrows!

Since I’ve been vacationing I haven’t forgotten to look up. Since we’re in a house over a garage, it’s easy to look up and see lots of cute sparrows.

This is just one of the many great ceilings we saw.

In the town, I discovered that quaint tourist spots are great for up-looking. There is a cool ceiling everywhere you turn, it seems.


Lovely gas lights.

And we’ve seen more gas light fixtures than I’ve ever seen in a short span before. The restaurant we ate at last night (Navajo Grill, with wonderful food that was too expensive for Lee, so he bought a burger afterwards), had lovely gas light fixtures, too.


Ceiling in the fancy men’s store. And great light fixture!

Every time I come to Fredericksburg it becomes a little less kitschy and a bit more aimed at the wealthy. We went to a men’s accessories and doo-dads store that certainly was not aimed at regular folks. But, it was beautiful and had a great staircase.


Ceiling in the Casa Santa Fe, where we are staying.

We intend to have fun today looking at Mexican pottery, and maybe finding a winery or two. Yesterday we just had an actual day of REST to celebrate the solstice. Ahh.

PS: I had a bit of trouble editing this, so the captions aren’t actually with the pictures. But I think you can figure it out.

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!

The Love of Karst

Expect scenery posts for the next few days! Sadly, I don’t have any great scenery from yesterday, because I was driving, and I’m not one of those folks who uses their phone and drives, especially on hilly two-lane roads. Forgive my stand-in photos.

Yes, Anita and I spent three wonderful hours (minus 15 minutes on Interstate 35) traveling the back roads between Cameron and Fredericksburg. It was glorious. The first part of the trip, heading to Florence, was all new to me. There are some lovely fancy ranches on the road we took.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When we got to more familiar territory for me, I got to show Anita all my favorite small towns, like Bertram, Burnet, and Buchanan Dam. This is the heart of the Texas Hill Country/Highland Lakes area where Lee and I looked and looked for just the right property to retire to before calling Sara and deciding to buy the Hermits’ Rest, instead.

There are beautiful hills, long vistas, the lakes along the Colorado River, and the BEST thing: the karst! All around Inks Lake and Marble Falls is the beautiful red granite (the same stuff that makes up Enchanted Rock). Much of it is right on the surface, creating breath-taking views.

This is our second year using the pop-up tree in a vacation rental. This also makes me happy.

I have to admit that when we crested a hill and I saw the lakes and the rocks, I got all emotional and started to cry. I really, really love this part of Texas. My heart filled with joy and I had to slow down to look at it all.

This area has the Canyon of the Eagles where you can take a boat tour that I have never been on, plus Longhorn Cavern, and so much more. Go there, if you ever get the chance.

Tried to get a free photo of a sunset as good as the one last night. Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

As we headed towards Fredericksburg, the sun was going down. Oh wow, there were shades of orange I’d never seen in a sunset, sort of melon orange. And as it got more and more purple, even the dead grass on the sid of the road reflected it, and the earth was awash in pink and purple. You can use your imagination, but it won’t do the real thing justice. It will live in my mind!

For the first day of a vacation, this was about as good as it gets. We got to our rental house, which is incredibly thematic. If there’s a Santa Fe kind of item, it’s here. We are really enjoying the rugs and pottery, and I’ll share more about it later.

We decorated for Christmas, and are ready for fun!

Look Up!

Yes, look up and you can see all sorts of new things. I need to tell myself this often, since I spent an awful lot of my time looking DOWN, to see what kinds of plants, bugs, odd items and such are below my feet.

Pipes make a nice grid, plus bring the ever-popular “pop of color” to the ceiling in my office building.

But, by always looking down, I realize I do miss a lot, like the tin ceiling in my favorite restaurant, Dutch Towne. Or, like I found out last night, I miss the patterns cast by the mod light fixture in the place where I’ve been getting my hair cut the past few months.

The light fixture has bloomed into a flower.

It’s a good thing I looked up last night, since I won’t be going back to that location again.

I decided to see what I could see by looking up at my Austin office. It’s one of those open offices with unpainted concrete floors and no drop ceilings, so you see all the infrastructure. That’s supposed to appeal to millenials, you see. They like the industrial look, I’m told.

They’ve missed a big model train environment in these wire cages that hold all the wiring.

I have to admit you see some things that you can have fun using your imagination on. I keep wishing they’d put a model train track on these long tracks of wired that go all over the place.

Mmm, cozy pillows. Except they are full of fiberglass.

And the giant air conditioning duct that makes the very loud “white noise” we enjoy daily looks like it would make a very nice pillow.

This makes me dizzy. Maybe it’s a quilt pattern.

And while I admit that I looked straight ahead to see this, I keep wanting to turn the acoustical foam tiles in the recording studio into a game board.

So, if you are somewhere that doesn’t excite you visually, just look up! There may be a pattern, a shape, or an object that sparks your creativity right over your head.

Austin, You Make Me Smile

I love a mule in a hat.

Anita and I were driving to our last haircut by our current hair person (she’s moving to Dripping Springs). Glancing up I saw the totally Austin spectacle of Santa riding a bay mule down South Congress.

Don’t let the trees fool you. He’s right in front of St Edwards University.

Yee-haw, Santa.

Ok. We looked it up. That was Sam Gray Horse, who rides the mule all over town. Here’s an article!

So shiny! Blinding!

Also I made the nail lady in Cameron do fancy holiday nails. I guess I’m all set.

I Can See for Miles

Sunday I needed to play tech support for my Master Naturalist and artist friend, Pamela. I love the detective work aspect of figuring out why a computer doesn’t work.

Greetings from the chubby dog statue.

I’m happy to report that I got her frozen computer unfrozen and set her up with WhatsApp so she can talk to her friend in India.

If you had binoculars, you could see the ranch house.

Then I got to have fun looking at her art-filled home and garden. One highlight was verifying that yes, you can see the Hermits’ Rest from her house.

You can also see the huge black scar across the land that a new pipeline is making. That thing goes through the whole area. At least land owners get compensated. As I recall, these companies make big efforts to put things back the way they were, judging from Lee’s dad’s old farm.

Happy faces on the deck.

After looking around outside I toured Pamela’s art studio and gallery, where there is much clay, tools, and a kiln where she makes beautiful pottery. Her work has both humor and grace to it. So, of course I love it and had to get some.

I got this one for me, since it reminds me of the labyrinth where Lee and I got married. It had been waiting a long time for the right person.

I’ll let you all know when her gallery re-opens! She’s renovating it now. You can find her work in the cute shop in Rosebud, too. Yes, Rosebud is a real town near Cameron. (Aside: I write much shorter sentences on my phone, so this text seems a little disjointed. I promise to use my computer for the next post.)

Fu dog, not by Pamela, says bye!

Like I was saying yesterday, it’s never dull around here! The people are both fun and fascinating. I’m so glad to be at the Hermits’ Rest.

Small Town Joys

What a beautiful setting to sit with Santa Kyle.

A great part of living in a small town is community theater, which Cameron is great for. Jonathan Deal and the rest of the Milam Community Theatre board have been making some changes, but it’s still fun!

We went to last night’s performance of “A Fairy Tale Christmas,” which was cute as the Dickens. Dickens is capitalized because the play mixes the Scrooge story with fairy tales. I wore my Bah Humpug sweater.

Lee and I kept introducing each other to people, my Master Naturalist friends and his Rotary friends. And we knew most of the adults in the play. The child actors were all very good, with the smallest boy showing real talent.

Mandi and her fellow pigs. Photo from Milam Community Theatre.

Mandi made a great pig, and the pigs even brought me and my sister up to dance. The highlight, though, was Mandi’s dad, playing a hip hop King Midas. Hard to explain but hilarious.

There were cookies and cocoa, plus Santa photos afterward. Kudos to the team who worked on this cute play.

A Winter Ride

Today was beautiful, sunny and cool, but not cold. It was a perfect day to saddle up the paints and explore the big pasture.

Sara and Spice survey the cow pastures. The ranch house is in the distance.

Apache was amazingly well behaved as we warmed up, but Spice had a hard time when Sara went to mount her and the men working with unhappy bulls decided to turn them loose. So much yelling and mooing!

But she was fine after that, and we checked out many interesting things, including delicious sedge in the wet spots, Mandi’s house across the road, many pretty heifers, and a fascinating stick.

Things that interest horses are very different from what interests us!

I was both chagrined and happy to realize I’d forgotten to leave my phone at the tack room (because I don’t want to fall and break it). The light was golden and bright in the late afternoon, though, so having the camera let me record these moments.

Happy Saturday, everyone.

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