Wildflower Spring

Austin, Kitchen Gardening, Nature, Photography, Wild (And Not So Wild) Life


Yesterday afternoon brought just the latest in a series of powerful thunderstorms that have blown through our area in recent weeks. Even with the power flickering on and off and the weather radio siren blaring on the other side of the house, it was impossible to ignore the view-blurring intensity of the rain coming down. It was a little unsettling, to be honest.

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The Littlest Canine

Family, Livestock, Wild (And Not So Wild) Life

You may recall me writing sentimentally about a little lost Chihuahua that stayed with our family through Christmas last year. Well, we grew so fond of “Cookie” that it didn’t take us too long to head back to Stray Acres Sanctuary and Animal Rescue and find ourselves a new furry friend: miniature variety.

So, let me formally introduce Shorty:

In this picture, taken after he’d enjoyed a ride in the bike trailer, you can see the true Shorty happy personality — all tail-wags, smiles, licks, and even wiggles, dances and jumps. There’s really nothing like a happy dog to put a smile on your face — even early in the morning. [click to read on…]


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.
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