Posts Tagged ‘texas’

I have developed a seedy new habit… Whenever I see a robust and bustling garden, I have an insatiable desire to loot it.  Always begging for seeds and offspring plants at any opportunity presented.

In my third year of gardening, I can say that my style has been largely inspired by my Aunt Pam’s “tough and adaptable, natural and Texas native” planting creed.

This au naturel style is abundantly clear when meandering down her thyme covered stone steps… the entrance to her whimsical, butterfly-peppered sanctuary… filled with patches of periwinkle Plumbago, pungent Spearmint, and happy little clumps of Blackfoot Daisies. Continue walking, and the crunch of the crushed rock underfoot will fill your ears as you explore the P-shaped path of her little prairie garden… Strange old world herbs, utilized by long ago pioneers, bushing to the right… trailing Vinca (occasionally blooming with bell-shaped lilac flowers) ever so slightly grappling up the wall of her house for more space than the floor of the garden will allow it… Autumn Sage and Turk’s Cap to satisfy the greedy hummingbirds buzzing around them, all held ransom by a border of redbud trees and tall red yuccas (that always seem to be blooming with their ferocious crimson spires reaching towards the sky.)

Even in negligence, this garden would survive. In fact, without the dutiful hand of a keeper, the “daughter plants”, as my aunt would say, and “grand-daughters” …would pop up wherever the breeze or birds directed them to take hold.

I'm obsessed with my little rock garden, filled with different types of Sedum, Iceplants, Torch Cactus, Salvia, and Skullcap

This lovey Rock Rose seems to be doing well in my West facing garden of fire… for now.

This is what I want to emulate in my own garden. NATURE’S beauty. Not the fake, pointy, manicured nail of perfection. While cookie-cutter gardens are very beautiful, the maintenance involved seems tortured and insincere. I don’t need voluptuous ‘Knockout Roses’ and begonias to be satisfied with myself, er uh, I mean… my garden. 😉 It sometimes feels like I am surrounded by prisons of conformity and compliance.

                

 

But I also know, that when my garden is lush and thriving… I would do the same for my friends and family. Share in the joy of gardening.  Let the grand daughters go play in someone elses yard! 

I have also taken to collecting seeds from my own plants, and I relish discussing each variety. So far I have Salvia greggii, ‘Winecup’, ‘Nana’ Coreopsis, two types of ‘Rock Rose’, and I even took seed from my ‘Batface’.

Rock Rose and the White Crab Spider

Citronella Plant and the Lynx Spider

Will I ever have daughter, even grand-daughter plants in my garden?! I certainly hope so.

3 year old Salvia greggii ~ one of my FAVORITES

 

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Quiet, Strong, and Proud

Posted: February 28, 2011 in nature, texas
Tags: , , , ,

 

 

 

If you would know strength and patience,
welcome the company of trees.
~Hal Borland


Trees are so beautiful.  Barren and desolate in the winter… Reborn, neon, and untainted in the Spring.

Like a long lonely stream
I keep runnin’ towards a dream
Movin’ on, movin’ on
Like a branch on a tree
I keep reachin’ to be free
Movin’ on, movin’ on

‘Cause there’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
And before my life is done
Got to find me a place in the sun

Like an old dusty road
I get weary from the load
Movin’ on, movin’ on
Like this tired troubled earth
I’ve been rollin’ since my birth
Movin’ on, movin’ on

There’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
And before my life is done
Got to find me a place in the sun

You know when times are bad
And you’re feeling sad
I want you to always remember

Yes, there’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone…

~Stevie Wonder

Dr. Dog
The Palladium 11/11/10

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Dallas House of Blues 11/4/10
King Charles, Cadillac Sky,
and Mumford and Sons

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I will admit that I’m obsessive to the point of insanity… especially about music. And after listening to the poetic lyrics and classical instruments of Mumford and Sons, I knew they would put on an amazing show.  What I did not count on was the talent of the preceding acts to be just as grand.   

The night of the show, my friend and I arrived to the House of Blues half an hour before the 8pm show time… only to find that we would have to wait outside in the cold until they decided to open the doors.  Herded like cows to slaughter, we squished our bodies with strangers and pretended that we were not about to pee our pants.  And things didn’t improve much as we blindly followed a teeming mass of hipsters shuffling their way to the GENERAL “standing room only” area when the doors opened at 8. 

Packed again with the other sardines, I started having claustrophobia induced visions of elbows in my back, and obnoxious drunk girls slurring in my ear.  Although, I was pleased that we had center stage in our direct line of sight about 10 feet back… I can only imagine how the poor souls felt that arrived late to find their spot by the beer bucket/bathroom line.  My pissiness quickly returned as I finished my 24 oz. can o’ crap beer and there was still no sign of the opening band.

Just then, the lights lowered and a lanky Patrick Dempsey looking man carrying a white guitar, with his hair literally piled a foot on top of his head, walked on stage.  I’m not going to lie… in my head I thought, “Oh great,  a cult leader-esque narcissist to sit through before we endure another opener’s bluegrass hoedown.” 

But then he opened his mouth…

KING CHARLES

When King Charles opened his mouth… he started singing in the loudest, most pitch perfect voice I have ever heard… complete with his own brand of witty, poetic lyrics, as well as hummingbird hands strumming on his white guitar.  There was instantly a unanimous “Who the hell IS this guy?!” buzz in the audience… his magical pipes having disolved any cynics in the audience immediately as he stood on stage BY HIMSELF casting a spell on us all.

I’m a sentimental soul, and even though everything he sang was magic, when he asked if there were any Billy Joel fans in the audience I may have shed a nostalgic tear.  And those tears may have multiplied as we sang the chorus to his very own version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” 

***for extra credit: Check out “Love Lust”
and my favorite from the concert (although, nothing I’ve found comes close to the live performance) “Ivory Road” 

CADILLAC SKY

As our hearts still thumped for King Charles, Cadillac Sky took the stage… With enough beard to fill a Giants baseball team, these  homegrown musicians won over the audience with their friendly and comical TEXAS skit:

“You know what we love about playing in Texas?”
[crowd cheers]
“Every time we say ‘Texas’ the audience screams!”
[crowd screams]
David Mayfield leans into the mic, and evenly says, “T-e-x-a-s”
[crowd ballistically screams]
And then he leans once more and speaks slowly, “Oklahoma”
[crowd BOOOOOS, then laughs]

I wish more people listened to this type of music.  They were so very talented on their ‘old fashioned’ instruments… it felt like HOME listening to them play… like only a sentimental southern TEXAS girl could appreciate.  Not only that, but these guys are the most hospitable musicians you’ll ever see… inviting the audience to meet them after the show and grab a free download card for 3 of their tracks.  It’s not like these guys are playing the Wreck Room, you know?!  Good stuff.

MUMFORD AND SONS

The first time I heard “the Cave” by Mumford and Sons, I was blown away.  So lyrically heavy that it sucks the breath right out of your chest while you listen, even though it would take a poet or philosopher to decipher the meaning upon first examination. 

It’s empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And all the faults you’ve left behind

The harvest left no food for you to eat
You cannibal you meat-eater, you see
But I have seen the same
I know the shame in your defeat

But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again
….{continues}

Yes, it may have been three hours after we had arrived for the concert when Mumford and Sons finally took the stage… but to me, the wait was worth it.  I don’t know that I’ll ever see another show with 2 different opening bands fitting so seamlessly with the headliner.

“White Blank Page” WAS a kick in the chest, as a friend so aptly put it… and when Mumford and Sons played “Roll Away Your Stone” another wave of nostalgia hit me and sent my heart racing with excitement, adrenalin, and love… a wave that I would ride for the rest of the night and into my dreams.  I woke up singing the lyrics of poets and humming the folk-rock harmonies of Englishmen.

Common House Gecko – (Hemidactylus frentatus) Originally from Asia, these geckos spread globally by ships and then adapted to the climates of South America and the southern parts of N. America, 3 to 6 inches in length, nocturnally feeding around areas of easy prey; such as areas with an abundance of bugs due to lights on buildings and houses, translucent beige spotted bodies with striping on the tail help them camouflage to brick and siding, large circular pads on their feet help them to cling to walls and even ceilings… We have lots of these little cuties on our house. Over the spring and summer months we would watch a group (of up to four) feed on our bathroom window when the moths and flies would drone to the light at night. I’ve photographed many House Geckos, but I’ve only held two (not counting all the geckos I cared for at Planet Pet). The first was a small adolescent that had probably been in the house for days without a substantial source of food… I cornered him and took him outside. The second was an adult that I spotted outside on the brick just before a summer storm… I still can’t believe I caught him! All he had to do was climb out of reach… but he didn’t. He just kept circling the same column until I was able to gently grasp him in my hand and pluck him from the wall.  After a few pictures, I finally let him go and he did not hesitate to run out of my reach this time. As I watched him go, I felt like he had shared something special with me.  I love Geckos… they seem so gentle and soft, fragile almost.  Geckos will easily drop their tail if they are threatened… I learned my lesson with a Giant Day Gecko at the pet store.  I felt horrible.  Sometimes they recover and heal without any problems, and sometimes they don’t survive it.  The tail regenerates, but is never the same.
  
Texas Spiny Lizard –
(Sceloporus olivaceus) 7 to 11 inches in length, usually grey to beige in color with some black spotting or stripes, males usually have blue patches on the sides of their belly, long toes with sharp claws for climbing bark and rough terrain, sometimes mistaken for Horned Lizards because of their spiny appearance.

The Spinies I’ve seen on nature walks and in my garden are VERY fast. I’ve only caught a few because of their ability to climb out of range in a split second… and they tend to be shy, staying in brushy, safe areas. I will say that I run into these guys more after a rain. They seem to love basking in the sun with the added humidity. Their natural habitat is in areas with mesquite trees. When challenging each other for territory, the males will have push up contests… until one gives up and runs away. Predators of these little guys include: Roadrunners, snakes, raptors, coyotes and foxes.

The first lizard that Riley ever held was a Spiny… it ran up his arm, then his back, and onto his head.  My cousin found one laying a clutch of eggs in a hole dug out of her rocky garden ledge.  I was thrilled when I finally spotted this female in my garden!  She’s SO shy… she won’t let me anywhere near her.  Especially after I tried to catch her by my Star Jasmine one day. Ha!      

  

 
Green Anole – (Anolis carolinensis) 6 to 8 inches in length, found in warm humid climates in North and South America, long slender tails and toes, ability to camouflage in ranges of color from green to grayish brown… but healthy, non-threatened adults are usually bright green, males have a large pink flap of skin called a dewlap under their jaw that they aggressively display during courtship or territory disputes… raising their head up and down and sometimes appearing to shake it back and forth. I usually find these guys in houseplants, green vegetation, or more tropical areas. These are pretty easy to catch… aside from the booger that I chased around at my cousins for a half-hour.  Anoles seem to be the ballsiest of the three, and after the initial shock of being captured they will hang out for a while.
  

I’ve never been bitten by a wild lizard, only lizards bred in captivity… and then, only twice. Seems like I should move on to snakes, since I’ve caught all of the usual lizard suspects in our area. I still hope to eventually spot a true Horned Lizard in the wild. (Phrynosoma cornutum), also known as the Horny Toad. Fun fact: they squirt a stream of blood, mixed with a foul smelling secretion out of their eye… into the eyes and nose of their predators, to keep from being lunch. Pretty darn cool.