Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Celebrating food and family, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  We hosted this year, were blessed with a houseful and to send leftovers home with everyone.

We had unexpected leftovers here too.  I'm thankful the Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) was still blooming when I looked out the kitchen window to see an errant male Blackchinned Hummingbird hovering among the blooms. The next day a female and the day after, another.  My feeder is back up now, just in case.

And I'm thankful the last guest had driven away before the powder-room toilet overflowed.  And when I plunged it (yech), the other toilets and the guestroom bathtub filled brown.  

Thankful too that we fixed it in the few hours before the next guests arrived.  

And that when the brown flood returned on Monday, a plumber came out within hours for a better fix.

Now, every time I flush and the water disappears, replaced by clear water, I'm thankful.  



Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Copper Canyon Daisies (Tagetes lemmonii)

A few nights ago we had a freeze warning.  Today, temps in the 80's.  Texas Hill Country weather...
My Copper Canyon Daisies (Tagetes lemmonii) don't care.

Native to Mexico and Arizona, the plants can take drought and alkaline soil too--even my thin-clay-over limestone. 

More good news, these tough, aster-family perennials grow well in zones 8a-11, with full sun and good drainage.  Over time, the plants sprawl, reportedly up to 6 feet high, but mine have never gone beyond 3-4 feet tall and wide.  Some winters they die back to the ground, and we prune back.  In mild winters my bushes have been evergreenish and I give a modest spring prune.

The dark green, ferny foliage smells like citrus or licorice or mint, depending on who's doing the smelling.  Deer don't like any of those smells, so the grazers take a pass.

Copper Canyon Daisies light up my wild space October - November when other flowers are spent, laying a banquet for  butterflies and bees.  And I love looking out to a thousand flowery suns.

Hope the views out your front windows are happy this Thanksgiving week. 

Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wurstfest 2010 -- 50th Anniversary

I've been trying for a couple of weeks to share this year's New Braunfels  Wurstfest with you.














This year's celebration was the 50th anniversary, complete with visits from German sister-city residents, contests, a fun run, sailing regatta, melodrama and more.

 






Not everyone eats smoked sausage (even sausage made from a proven 128 year old recipe), drinks beer (even good German beer on tap) or grooves to accordion-centric polka.  (Do the words 'groove' and 'polka' even fit in the same sentence?)

But if all the pieces came together on a beautiful evening, I bet you'd give it a try.
We had fun.  People wear getups that in any other setting would be considered Halloween costumes.

There's a strong poultry theme, probably related to the chicken dance, beloved of two year olds and the beer-sotted.
 
A night at Wurstfest offers the chance to drink beer with friends, sway in unison to the oompah and forget whatever needs forgetting until tomorrow.

I thought Denny and I might have had even more fun if we'd polka'd round the dance floor...although Denny says public humiliation is seldom entertaining to the participants...Maybe I'll find a Learn the Polka video before next year.  Or we could just drink more first.

For your own peek at Wurstfest in Das Grosse Zelt, here is 55 seconds--seeing grandma do the uber-polka at the end is worth the wait. 




Next year's Wurstfest is November 4-13, 2011. Don't say I didn't give you notice.

Ein, swei, g'suffa!

By the way, Denny posted his view of Wurstfest here. And I'd thought his main interest in Wurstfest was the sausage...



Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Opossum Evening

I never know what I'll find outside my front door...






 

Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Arrival of Autumn


In other climes, showy foliage signals the season.  We have a little of that here in the Hill Country.  Bald cypresses and sycamores by the rivers orange up.  

Banks of the Blanco River, Wimberley.----->


But the reason folks here say Fall instead of Autumn is that most of our foliage just turns brown and falls off.   



We usually mark the change of season in other ways.  

The arrival of the first Hermit Thrush, which I saw from the front porch last week one sunset-hour, but was unable to document because I was holding a glass of wine instead of a camera.

Our first Chipping sparrow flew in last week.  

By February, hundreds will feed just outside my kitchen windows.





















The most intense mark of the season is this guy:
He's stalking one of the does, round and round our house.  



And by the looks of her, he's already been successful.   


But he keeps trying.  


However you mark the change of season in your home, I hope it's good.
  
Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Breathe


  And feel the bright.

Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.