~Living a life of sophisticated domestication deep in the heart of Texas~

Monday, April 30, 2007

Another Tree Grows In Texas

Today I found this photo of a wonderful oak in Lake Texana State Park. It was taken by a gentleman named "BossJim" from one of my favorite gardening forums. He says that his family visits this lovely old tree every year to take pictures with the grandkids.

I'm awfully glad there is such beauty as this in Texas and will always be appreciative, coming from coastal Washington where the trees grow thick and tall.

I guess they don't call me a tree-hugger for nothing, and I plan to do what I can to keep my reputation.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Buddhist Holiday

April 28, 1253: The latter-day covenant of Buddhism is established.

On this date Nichiren founded the teaching of
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, setting in motion the deliverance of humankind.

O Happy Day,O Happy Day...


"That great day in the morning..." http://www.nbaa.tv/Nichiren/lifeofnich.html

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Tree Grows In Texas

I always learn something new when walking with SGTex. He’s great about that, showing me and telling me about Texas, my “new world.” Today’s discovery was about mulberries. I had no idea they grew on trees! I guess I believed the song, and never thought that they’d grow on anything bigger than a bush. And here I am, a real fan of all things berry, having spent summer days in my youth out in the fields picking (and getting paid mere cents for what one now pays dollars, btw~but I digress...) As he sampled the fruit of the tree, he said that this is just the right time for it. You get not-so-ripe tart, and then you get darker, pretty-ripe sweet.

Needless to say, I’m totally thrilled to make the acquaintance of a new tree that bears delicious fruit. I mentioned “mulberry pie,” and he said “mulberry wine.” Of course, I’ve located what looks to be like a good source of recipes, and I can’t wait to unpack the baking pans and see what we can stir up!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Square Nails

The other day I was working with an antique oval picture frame, getting it ready for a special photograph I plan on having enlarged. It so happened that I had to remove an old, velvet mat- so old, in fact, that the fabric disintegrated and the cardboard backing fell apart. No problem though, as I’ll just have the picture done that much larger. There’s a lovely, cracked bit of gilded border that will look better without the mat anyway, in my opinion.

The back side of the frame needed a little work, and in cleaning it up I pulled out an old, square nail. SGTex and I were talking at the time, and he remarked about just how old that frame must be. I do know it dates into the 1800s.

Something that has become a morning tradition with us is to share dreams from the night before, and I usually remember quite a few details. This morning, however, I couldn’t recollect anything in particular, but later in the day it dawned on me that I had been dreaming about a very special time spent in a very special place.

Atlanta, Idaho is tucked away in the hills, up near the Sawtooth Range. Many years ago there was only a handful of inhabitants, and that is probably still the case. We called them hillbillies, and they were. Lovely, funny people who did things their own way and rarely, if ever, came down from the hills.

Frank, our dearest and best friend in the world, had a cabin up there, which happened to be down the mountain from his enterprise, the Bad Bear Mine (gold). We’d spend wonderful times up there in the summer “moseying” around, doing not much of anything other than explore abandoned mines and the ghost town, visit in the cabin, ride horses and relax in the hot springs. Oh, and dynamite dead trees out in the meadow. It wasn’t all play, though. I enjoyed helping him with one of his hobbies, not just because it involved a somewhat wild and scary trip on the Hondas up the mountain, but we explored the abandoned shacks and cabins, all gray and without windows, wallpaper hanging in shreds revealing the old newspaper used for insulation. I’d sometimes sit down on an old porch step and see what I could read, and then get busy helping Frank search.

I wish I knew whatever became of the remains of Frank’s hobby treasure. I remember tucking it away in a cupboard somewhere, a long time ago... an old tin can filled with rusted square nails.

* * *

Picture of Atlanta, Idaho courtesy of website http://www.atlantaidaho.org/

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sign of Spring

"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark."

Rabindranath Tagore
Just a few minutes ago I had the pleasure of sighting one of these winged wonders, and it reminded me of what is just about my most favorite of Tagore's writings. The little hummingbird was buzzing back and forth, very determined and energetic, all business. I think he was searching for something, maybe materials for a nearby nest.
I know hummingbirds don't really sing, per se, but have more of a little "tweet." Still, it was nice to watch him from behind the lace curtains for those few minutes. He is a real beauty, and I'm wishing him the blessing of a safe and happy Spring.
On another note....we do know a lovely robin who lives nearby, and he regularly sings for us. To my way of thinking, there is nothing prettier than the morning, evening or after-the-rain robin song.
I won't be letting on to my little green friend, however...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Heaven In Your Mouth

...or, what is Tiramisu?

This question came up last night while talking about our upcoming wedding and what sort of souvenir sweets we might include in welcome packages for our out-of-town guests. Being the Googler that I am, I happened upon a charming website that gave some wonderful information and interesting history about this decadent dessert. I was delighted, as I love to learn about recipes and their origins, every little thing that makes a food item special.

I didn't know there were so many ways to do up Tiramisu! I'm looking forward to making it a twosome project in our little kitchen one of these evenings... Considering the rich history behind the rich dessert, we might want to be cooking in costume...

I'm glad he asked this question!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The sky goes all the way down to the ground!

You don't get that much where I come from (the PNW). Around Puget Sound, the evergreen trees are pretty dense and at times seem more black (well, very dark green) than anything else. Beautiful things, they are, but they do tend to shed all over the place and after a spell of wet, wet, wet are wont to topple over onto people's fences, homes and the occasional car.

Still, I can't complain that I got to grow up somewhere between tall, dark forests and the deep blue sea. My "old home town" landscape is changing as it's being paved over, but not so very long ago the valley was mostly green. Come spring, the fields turned from yellow daffodils into red tulips and summertime brought on acres and acres of berries. Just recently I remember eating what I expected to be the "last Washington raspberries." I tell you, that was a moment for me. I confess I had to hurry and get on the phone to Tex, tearfully asking about Farmer's Markets in our town. He promised that we would find a market, that surely there would be berries... Silly girl that I am, it tasted a quite a bit sweeter, and comforted, I really savored that "last local raspberry."
I love that man.

I'm trading the tall trees and lush green for something I didn't know I longed for~ the marvel of seeing for miles and miles with nothing to stop that heavenly vista of a blue, blue sky that goes all the way down to the ground...
Photo by Alex Martinez: Possum Kingdom Lake, one of our many planned getaways

Friday, April 20, 2007

Is this thing turned on?

Calling it a day....and it was good.