• Gardening

    Helping Hands Community Garden

    Chris didn’t waste time finding the community garden where we could get some plots. The garden itself is different than the one my mom and brother have at the Common Grounds garden, a bit differently run and definitely less activity from individuals. In fact, we were able to score two plots for ourselves and then Chris is working on four other empty plots since no one else is managing them. The extra food grown will go to the food bank next to the plot. Another difference is that we barely see anyone else tending their crops other than a few people, and even those people will water everyone else’s plots,…

  • Thoughts

    Settling In

    Leo and Samson came home with us last weekend. They’d been at my parents’ house for a year and a half, far longer than I’d initially imagined. Since then they’d eased into life with my folks, and had been a good fill in for when Red, my parents’ cat, lost his sister Yoda last year. I think it helped ease the loneliness. And Leo, the most rascally of the two cats, came to not whack my parents unless especially spooked or ready to rough house. He also learned to give them head butts, something we are mostly able to do on command with him by making kissing noises at him.…

  • Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    Texas Wildflowers | Vernonia missurica, Missouri ironweed

    While we were doing our field work in the Big Thicket this late spring and early summer we kept coming across this plant in its pre-blooming stage. No one could figure it out until finally it was identified by Ron Lance. And not much later the plant started blooming and it was beautiful! The tell-tale white stripe in the leaves helped us identify it later on without blooms. This particular plant was photographed at Tandy Hills. I was relieved to see a plant I knew among the many unknown prairie plants that abound the preserve. There were a couple of bugs we tried to photograph that were hanging out on…

  • Gardening

    The Fall Crops

    Our new place doesn’t really offer us any place to grow anything, though our landlord, who lives next door, offered to till up some space for us. Since we are only hoping to stay six months before finding a place to buy we didn’t want to mess up his yard for that short period of time. So, Chris did some research and found the local community garden, Helping Hands. We are set up with two of our own personal plots and will be taking care of three additional plots until someone else gets those. In addition to growing our own vegetables and fruits, leftovers and extras will go to the…

  • Texas,  Travel & Places

    Wordless Wednesday | Moody Gardens Rainforest Part I

    *Ok, nearly wordless, but the next several Wednesdays will be from the trip, so they will be wordless. I worked at Moody Gardens in 2001-2002, my senior year of college, as an Interpretive Naturalist, the people who man the touch tanks and talk about the exhibits. We recently went back for a visit a few months ago. The aquarium was still the same, the same smell, the same sounds, and mostly the same exhibits, but the rainforest was completely re-done after Hurricane Ike did some flood damage to it a few years ago. Here’s some of what we saw.*

  • Gardening

    Pumpkin Beginnings

    Chris planted pumpkins seeds at my mom and dad’s house before we moved. Here’s a bit of the chronology of the first few weeks. We’re guessing they will be ready around Thanksgiving. I’ve never had luck with pumpkins in Florida, bugs got to them fast and even if they lived long enough to bloom, nothing was pollinated. I’m interested to see what kind of luck with have with these. Casper and Big Max were the seeds of choice. Anyone had luck with pumpkins? I’m interested in organic methods, too. Please share!

  • Texas,  Thoughts

    Local Flavor

    Last weekend we moved to our new house in far-far-far Northwest Houston. So far out we’re not even in Harris county, but we’re close enough to all of the far suburbs that it is easier to call it Houston. Except we’re in the ‘country’. There are more country-ish places out there, but this is pretty much the most country place we’ve ever lived except the hotel we stayed at in San Augustine, Tx last fall for work. *That* was country. We were out in the nearest big town to us, Tomball, checking on various things like furniture and getting the various sundry items to fill up the house so it…

  • Family


    My nephew was born on Thursday making me an aunt for the third time. Chris and I drove back to DFW for the weekend to spend time with the family and meet the latest member of the clan. He is *so* sweet! I was glad that Chris got to see him as an infant since he did not meet Zoe, our niece, until she was a year and a half. I took a zillion photos but I pulled these out quickly to post. I’ll be going through more of them this week. Low light conditions for the most part kept me at ISO 800 or 1600, though I was able…

  • Wildflowers

    Texas Wildflowers | Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum, Texas bluebells

    This annual Texas native is not very common, though we did see the ones shown above at Tandy Hills. The subtle blue-purple flower deserves more respect than it gets, being out shown by other grand Texas natives like the bluebonnet. You may know this genus as also Lisianthus, which can be found at garden centers. Wildflower.org suggests their rarity is due to their beautiful stature and having been picked too much that they cannot reseed. In the gardening world there are many varieties and cultivars, so you’ll be able to find some variety. More information: +A really good write up on the Eustoma genus and the differences regarding the species.…