The Bluebonnets In Our Front Yard

Family, Food & Drink, Holidays, Media, Nature

Taken while the boys were hunting for Easter eggs this rainy morning.

Posted by Free Range on Sunday, April 5, 2015


The Unkept Garden

Kitchen Gardening, Livestock, Nature, Photography

This year, I’ve been hemming and hawing about my spring garden, mostly lamenting that I didn’t start seeds weeks and weeks ago. “Is it worth starting now?,” I’ve been asking myself. “Maybe I’ll just give spring gardening a miss this year.”

My cousin messaged me on Facebook on the 16th, saying he’d put out tomato plants that day — putting my lack of any progress in very stark terms. It’s been a depressing topic, generally, which has dampened my enthusiasm and encouraged procrastination — and the more I procrastinate, the further behind I get.

But then I thought about the joys of harvesting basil, lettuce, tomatoes and especially sweet potato greens — which I didn’t even plant last year. [click to read on…]


My Favorite Mystery Tree – Harbinger Of Spring

Austin, Nature, Photography

My junior year in college, I somehow wangled my way into doing a semester abroad. It wasn’t easy. I had to convince the authorities at the University of Texas that — since they had a relationship with the study abroad program — it was 100% appropriate and customary that I could apply my scholarship funds toward this semester at an entirely different university in an entirely different country.

Once that hurdle was overcome, my parents’ objections weren’t nearly as strong as they would have been if they’d been paying out of their pockets. Plus, all of the classes I took abroad would apply toward my degree program, so I could still graduate on time or a semester early, it turned out. [click to read on…]


The Swedish Pancakes Of My Childhood [Recipe]

Family, Food & Drink, Livestock, Recipe

The best recipes often come with a story behind them. This week, looking for a nice basic red sauce, I came across the much-lauded recipe by Marcella Hazan that’s incredibly simple — so simple it’s surprised countless food bloggers with its deliciousness and depth. Food bloggers being who they are, this prompted them to tell their own stories of their experiences with this recipe, along with that of Hazan, who is credited with bringing authentic Italian food to American kitchens.

The writers’ tales, along with their telling of Hazan’s story, made making the dish all the more meaningful to me. (And Michael loved it even without hearing the story!)

Food and drink are much improved by backstories and memories. I think about the wine-loving journalist couple of Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, who once wrote the Tastings column for the Wall Street Journal. One of their signature themes was “Open that Bottle Night” — a manufactured occasion (like all occasions, when you think about it) to open that special bottle of wine you’ve socked away for “a special occasion.” Enjoying the wine with friends, they contended, made an occasion.
[click to read on…]


Comments Are Back… And More To Come


The past few weeks have been busy but I do have some good news to share. After much wrangling, I’ve managed to get the comment function to work on this site. It seems that the Disqus commenting system and/or the Facebook plug-in somehow conflicts with the software I’m using for the design, so it turned out that Disqus and Facebook had to go — at least for now.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had comments actually working here, so I hope some visitors come out of the shadows and make themselves known.

Besides doing techie things, I’ve spent many cold days lately perfecting the making of vanilla pudding. For a while there, I had our free range eggs, grass fed butter and local raw milk to make it with. It was exquisite. I’ll share my recipe in the coming days — why I ever loved pudding from a box mix is beyond me.

Free Range Egg Yolks, courtesy of our hens

Free Range Egg Yolks, courtesy of our hens

And there’s a larger topic I’ll be tackling — things I’ve discovered are as easy to make from scratch as they are to make from a box.

So, yes, there are recipes and techniques to come and it’s almost time for seed starting! This year, I’m trying some new things, and I’ll be sure to share the experience and the results as they happen.


More Area “Tiny House” Companies: Arched Cabins

Alternative Living Spaces, Design, No Waste

Photo via Arched Cabins.

Photo via Arched Cabins.

They call it the “Tiny House Revolution” — the apparently growing movement to downsize your living space to maximize financial security, independence, simplicity and freedom.

I don’t have stats to prove this movement is growing, only a sense of how often I’m seeing this kind of thing in the news and a gauge of my own web traffic — terms like “Alternative Living Spaces” and “living in a school bus” are consistently among the top things people search for that bring them here.
[click to read on…]