More Teeny Tiny Flowers

Today I am on a trip (so I wrote ahead of time), but I’m still thinking about the power of teeny tiny flowers to lift our spirits. You don’t have to be big to sparkle, shine, and make a difference in the world. Here are some of the little guys who brighten up the area near our old church building.

This henbit deadnettle looks like an orchid from this angle. It’s a teeny tiny thing of beauty.

When you get down on the level of these ground-hugging darlings, you often see even more tiny life. I mean, look at that little fly, or wasp, or bee (not sure, Master Naturalist Fail). That’s probably just a centimeter long.

Speedwell and a tiny friend. You can barely see these flowers if you are standing up.

I have noticed we have a lot of yellow and white tiny flowers. Perhaps those colors make them easier to see for pollinators that find them visually. In any case, this time of year, anything cheerfully yellow is fine with me.

Tihs is screamingly yellow creeping woodsorrel. I’m guessing those leaves are tasty and sour. There sure are lots of sorrels around here!

And I do need to share just one flower that’s not so tiny, because I was so happy to see it, an anenome! They were among the first spring flowers at my old Austin house. Some are white, some are deep purple, and some are a mixture. I always had to convince people that to me, they are not weeds, so I kept them. They die back quickly, anyway.

Anenomes pushing up from among the dead leaves.

Y’all have a good Saturday. No doubt I’ll be back to my “deep thoughts” series, but I’ll never give up sharing what’s blooming around me!

Egg Production UP!

Hooray! I can’t wait until tomorrow to share this! The winter slump is over, and the ten or eleven remaining hens are starting to lay again. Mandi and Seth (the weekday gatherers) report that every day this week there are more.

Buckbeak is very proud of his remaining ladies.

Today’s 7 is pretty darned good! The owl deterrent measures seem to have helped, and we think it went to other hunting grounds.

We’re the big mamas. Ready to make you some eggs! Thanks for feeding us all winter!

Now maybe we can get a few more. We’re still going to do more coop work. But I’m so glad they’re out of the winter doldrums.

Reblog and share please!!

I’m sharing this blog post, because the author coincidentally said pretty much what I was saying yesterday about why I like blogging. And yes, you can reblog my posts, too.

Forty Something Life As We Know It

As a Forty Plusser I learn about blogging on a daily basis.   The what, the how, etc.

This blogosphere world is real exiting.  I love to connect with fellow bloggers.   It is like meeting new friends, but not in person. My experience with blogging so far: people from all around the world connect with each other in a peaceful manner.  Bloggers connect and relate with each other about daily life and mutual interests.   I have not experienced  a single “social media fight”or snotty comment on WordPress.   Yes, I really like blogging on WordPress…  no keyboard warriors…   Maybe my circle of fellow bloggers are the “peaceful type”.  Lol!

Image result for image of wordpress

When I first set up my WordPress account I read about the rules, how to set up a beautiful blog, what to do and what not to do.   You know, technical stuff, but also stuff like blogging etiquette.

I absolute love the reblog button.   I have no problem with fellow bloggers…

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Imbolc: Spring Is Coming

In many parts of the US, Easter-time is when spring is celebrated. Here in Texas, the spring new growth starts around the beginning of February, at a time traditionally called Imbolc or Candlemas (or in US folk culture, Groundhog Day).

This is one of my favorite images of Brighid. It’s on sale right now, too. I had to borrow this photo, since I’m not at home to take my own picture.

It’s also the day sacred to St. Bridget or the goddess Brighid, depending on your tradition. She’s always been my favorite, since not only is she the Mother Goddess of Ireland, but she protects the hearth, the home, spinning and weaving, and fire! That’s why there is an “eternal flame” in Kildare, Ireland in her honor.

I was pretty thrilled to find a goddess who cares for all the things I care so deeply about, so I’ve always loved her. Back when I got to go to Ireland often, I visited her sacred well and cathedral many times. If you’re ever in Kildare town, check it out.

Here, though, I celebrate Imbolc by giving thanks to all the little plants and flowers that have kept me going through the winter (the very damp winter this year!). The little bluets are a real favorite, as is the chickweed I shared earlier in the week.

I’m glad I met Monique Reed, my botanist friend, because when she came to inventory plants on the ranch last year, she showed me how many wonderful tiny plants there are here at the Hermits’ Rest; you just have to look for them.

Looking at the tiny blossoms, the tiny berries, and all the plants that keep on going through the winter reminds me that we, too, have to keep on going through the dark periods, and just keep looking toward the light. That’s what the Imbolc season tells us, too. Spring is coming. Keep looking at the light and stay warm (yes, even those of you in the Polar Vortex right now!).

Hey!

If you want your own statue of Brigit or Brigid or however you want to spel it, I recommend you visit my friend Liana’s business, Sacred Source, and see some great options/

Why All the Blogging?

A number of years ago, I quit writing in my blogs (I had one on knitting and one on traveling in our RV). I basically quit reading them, too. I found, at the time, that all my blogging friends had moved to Facebook and were posting updates there, or in Instagram.

I used Blogger for my first blog. It is apparently still there, with a happy message from 2011 and some depressing things about my dad dying.

Why did I blog before?

Throughout my life I’ve enjoyed keeping journals. Writing my thoughts down helps me process. When I found blogs in 2005, I was thrilled to be able to journal without writing by hand, and at first kept a private blog (which I think my spouse still does, but who knows; it’s private!).

Then, I discovered many cool people on email lists (another love of my past) blogging about knitting, sharing their work, sharing their patterns, and interacting with each other. It was so great to share photos and instructions, as well as what was going on in our lives.

Continue reading “Why All the Blogging?”

HOAs: Love or Hate?

We readily admit that one thing we love about the Hermits’ Rest ranch is there is no Home Owner Association or HOA to deal with (just me, Lee, Sara, and Ralph having a meal and discussing stuff).

Our little villa. Note narrow hilly street.

In my previous Austin house, I was in the Meadows of Brushy Creek HOA, which was a big one with lots of people. I admit that in 20 years, I never attended a meeting, though I did give my proxy a couple of times. I thought of them as those busybodies who told me to weed my plants right after my husband left me, along with a broken lawnmower.

On the other hand, I was glad they were there to keep the place looking presentable, get public things repaired, and all that. I guess I didn’t love them or hate them; I just chafed a bit because I’m not much of a rule follower unless I think there’s good reason.

Example of why the landscape needs work. These are the irrigation lines. They are no longer UNDER the dirt or rocks.

My friend, Mike, has been president of his HOA in southeast Austin more than once. I enjoyed his tales of complaining neighbors, argumentative meetings, and having to make hard decisions. It did not sound like my cup of tea.

Here we are at the Northcat Villas

As soon as we bought the Bobcat Lair and ran into all the problems with the City of Austin and permits (see our Bobcat Lair page on our business blog), we figured we’d better attend neighborhood meetings, so either Lee and I, or Anita and I have been going ever since.

Continue reading “HOAs: Love or Hate?”

Senses Working Overtime

Yesterday was a beautiful day, and whenever that happens, I’m sure to take a walk or two during the workday. I use that time to make plans for meetings and figure out problems, like I said in my previous walking post. It helps me think.

Can you spot the bees in the sweet olive bush?

Moments after I stepped out of the building, my spirits lifted, and I happily thought to myself, “Sweet Olives!” Once again I gave thanks that my sense of smell is very good and that some smart landscape designer put sweet olive hedges all around the building where I work.

They trim up nciely to make a hedge.

These plants (Osmanthus fragrans) are among the earliest to bloom, and make January and February very pleasant throughout the southern USA. The sweet olive has beautiful green leaves, making it a nice hedge plant or small tree, depending on how you prune it.

Just one tiny flower can be enjoyed for hours.

But the best thing about the plant is its flowers. They are tiny and white, and grow in not-very-showy clusters. But who cares what they look like! They smell fantastic. They are sweet, but not overly so, like many white flowers. I took one tiny blossom back to my desk and enjoyed it all afternoon.

People aren’t the only ones to enjoy the sweet olives, too. I saw many honeybees pollinating away, and even some houseflies enjoying the nectar.

I smelled this one. It smelled great. I like those landscape roses, even if they are getting a bit ubiquitous.

My nose continued to be happy as I walked around the building, because the roses are continuing to bloom, as they have all winter (they are that nonstop kind). The good news is that they do have a nice scent, though not as strong as a damask rose.

They call it sweet alyssum because it smells very sweet. And is a great edging annual.

Then, as I continued my walk, I smelled something very, very sweet. I looked down, and there, smiling at me, were some beautiful sweet alyssum. They were planted with dianthus, so, if you lean over before walking in the neighborhing buildings, you get a sweet, spicy mix. (Aside: I always find the purple ones more strongly scented, which is also true of solid purple pansies and the purple variety of lantana, which smell fantastic if you get close to them.)

The different textures in these bushes helped me forget about the cigarette I had been smelling.

Luckily, most of my other senses also got to enjoy themselves, since all kinds of plants are budding out, and there are always songbirds trying to drown out the traffic noise from US 183. The last part of my walk was bad for the nose, though, since a guy got ahead of me and lit a cigarette. That gives me the wrong kind of sensual overeload. I always wonder if smokers realize how many other people their habit can affect? (I know some do!)

Bird News

Speaking of birds, I have good news. The Swainson’s hawk pair that nested at the office appear to be back. And I was very surprised to see a caracara (Mexican Eagle) fly over outside my work window this morning. You don’t often see them in such an urban setting.