Archive | October 2014

Food

Menu

 

Susan

I am taking inspiration from the idea that was on the back of the menu when the sisters and I had lunch at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  This was from the U.S. Food Administration published in 1917!   It is so very appropriate for all of us today.  There is so much food available today, and in such variety.  When we were growing up, food was fairly seasonal:  apples in the fall, citrus in the winter, melons in the summer, and only iceburg lettuce.  Times have changed so much because of the changes in the way food is produced:  enormous farms with an emphasis on quantitiy not quality; and  transportation:  food literally from all over the world.  Of course I love that we have access to so much wonderful produce year round, but I think the availablity has made me less appreciative of food:  the actual process by which that kale or spinach or artichoke was produced.  One of the consequences of my thoughtless attitude is waste.  I frequently misjudge the amount of produce I need or will be able to use from lack of foresight.  Then it is thrown away.  Not good!  I am also just beginning to truly appreciate the farmers’ markets that are springing up around town.  The produce is local and most of the time it is organic.  It can be expensive sometimes, but maybe that will cause me to be thoughtful in my purchases.  I think the poster had it right in 1917.

The Sisters Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Susan

The sisters came last week for two nights:  what a treat!  We all love gardening so we went to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  Have you been?  The mission of the Center is to “..increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.” It really is a fantastic place.  It displays an enormous variety of native plants and demonstrates how they can be used in the landscape but it is also a research center to deal with dwindling water supplies, climate change, pollution and invasive species, all by harnessing the power of native plants. If you have ever found yourself somewhat pessimistic about the future of our planet, this will give you great hope and inspiration!  I have been doing a survey of my yard in view of this visit and am looking at plants that should not be there because they do not follow this concept.  The most obvious problem I have is my very large lawn of St. Augustine grass which demands water, even when it is not available.  I also planted “Heavenly Bamboo” or nandina domestica, which is extremely invasive in Central Texas.  If you do any walking in natural areas around town you will be shocked at the multitude of nandina plants growing all over the place.  And it is extremely difficult to get rid of.  I have dug up one bush at least 3 times but it always comes back!  I think we all need to view ourselves as caretakers of this earth.  Now, what am I going to do about all that grass?

Bits of Widsom

Sarah

Martha and I made a quick visit to Susan’s in Austin last week.  While there I bought a pair of yoga pants at Lululemon.  It’s a store that sells fitness wear.  All of the sales personnel are young and very fit!  (Probably a requirement to work there.)

My purchase was put in a very nice bag which I’m sure is covered in the price of the garments.  I didn’t pay much attention to the messages on the bag until I got home but found there’s some pretty good advice given:

  • A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, help you be at peace with yourself and offsets stress.
  • Friends are more important than money.
  • Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.
  • Drink fresh water and as much water as you can.  Fresh water flushes toxins from your body and keeps your brain sharp
  • Write down two personal, two business and two health goals for the next 1, 5 and 10 years.  Do this four times a year.  Goal setting triggers your subconscious computer.
  • Practice yoga so you can remain active in physical sports as you age.
  • Creativity is maximized when you’re living in the moment.

and finally

  • Don’t trust that an old age pension will be sufficient!

You just never know where you may discover a pearl of wisdom.  I think I’ll go get a glass of water and write down a few goals!–Then I’ll call a friend.

Gardening in the Fall

Angel trumpet in the landscape.

Angel trumpet in the landscape.

Sarah

For most Texans fall is a very welcome season.  That first cool front is invigorating.  The plants perk up too.  Of course fall has its chores in the garden, but getting them done when the temperature is lower is much more pleasant.

Fall is the time to divide and transplant lots of things.  I’ve been digging and dividing daylilies, society garlic and onion chives.  I have LOTS of Louisiana iris which could be shared.  Any takers?  Martha and I have been transplanting Mexican petunia to one of the beds at our church.  We’re also creating a daylily bed there. As always, I’m trying to rid my yard of liriope–and weeds!

Fall is also a time to assess the effects of a long, hot summer on the things I planted last spring.  I’m resolving to avoid planting begonias again.  They are rather fragile and just don’t seem to do well in my garden.  The plant that has really performed well is angelonia.  It tolerates both sun and partial sun locations.  I’m giving pentas a mixed review this year.  It seems like mine were healthier and showier last year.  My native chrysanthemums are covered in buds which are still very tight.  Hurry up!  Another small shrub that is blooming now is shrimp plant.  I prefer the variety that has sort of rusty brown blooms, but the yellow is nice too.  I also have quite a few naked ladies or hurricane lilies (lycoris).  They are always a pleasant surprise when they pop up in the fall.  Oh, that ground cover (green and gold) that I tried this year is doing well.  Hope it spreads.  I will probably plant dianthus and snap dragons for the winter months.  Just waiting for cooler weather which they say is on its way!

Ugh! Count Me Out.

Sarah

One of our readers commented that we wrote about things that we like but didn’t include activities that we don’t like. She listed several things that she enjoys and several that she doesn’t enjoy. That led me to consider what I don’t like or enjoy:
I don’t like competitive events that feature loud vehicles: I have no desire to attend the Indy 500, a nascar race or a tractor pull, but I would like to attend the Kentucky Derby—in a fabulous hat!

I don’t like eating out just for the sake of eating out. I detest paying for a huge portion of poorly prepared or tasteless food—or a small portion either for that matter.

I know many will disagree with this, but I don’t like birds or fish in the house. It seems sort of cruel to me to keep a bird who can fly caged and a fish who can swim the ocean or river contained in a tank.

I don’t like clutter. (I believe this is a trait I inherited from our mother.) Piles of paper, knick knacks, trinkets, collections of figurines, stacks of old movies or paper backs drive me crazy! I’m in two book clubs which means I’m accumulating books.– I’m about to make a donation to the library!

Finally I don’t like oversized things: furniture (Have you seen those chairs, usually with an ottoman, that are almost as large as a love seat?), vegetables (We’re going to eat them not enter them in the county fair!), clothes (rarely flattering) and vehicles (How do you park those monsters?)

Luckily for me all of the above are easily avoided. What’s on your list?