Thursday, July 26, 2012

Creating a Hummingbird Hotspot

I've written a few posts about hummingbird plants like Hummingbird Bush , Standing Cypress,   Firebush, and Mexican Oregano. 

But I hadn't written a blueprint for making your yard a hummingbird hotspot, until now--via this hummingbird haven article I wrote for the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle.  

The article has design criteria, considerations and feeder technique in addition to a plant list.

Divided into sun and shade, the list includes scientific names, notes about water requirements, deciduous-ness (I know, but it should be a word), deer resistance and alkaline soil if needed.  

Most of the plants are zones 8-11 although some will take more cold.  A few species should have been noted as annuals (standing cypress and pentas, and pineapple sage might be an annual depending on winter.)

I know all the plants in the article attract hummingbirds, we've grown them and seen hummingbirds hover at them. 

Our back garden,today. Can you spot seven hummingbird plants?

Watching hummingbirds frees the mind to fly.  I hope there's room for hummingbird habitat in your space--for your health and theirs.

Copyright 2009-2012 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum

The entrance to the oasis is almost hidden off a busy road in central Austin, but the search is worth it.  Three acres of green, jeweled by imagination made bronze and stone--48 sculptures of pain, love and joy, belief and whimsy amid tall trees and slow water. 

Charles Umlauf taught art and created sculpture at the University of Texas over a span of 40 years, eventually donating approximately 100 pieces and his 3 acre garden to the city of Austin.  His work graces national and international sites, but the Umlauf Sculpture Garden holds the largest collection. 


He was a master of the human figure and of conveying emotion.  


The earlier pieces on display express the pain and despair of WWII atrocities. The gaunt figures and haunted faces of those sculptures still speak.








Later, love was a favorite theme.


He must have loved the love between mother and child,

the pleasure
and the joy of romantic love.


Some works are philosophical.



Man's desire to transcend.


















And the risk.

Around a bend in the path, animals frolic.

A rhino ponders.





And a hippo smiles.









For $3 you can gift yourself with a few hours of pleasure at Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, 605 Robert E. Lee Road, Austin, UmlaufSculpture.org, 512-445-5582.

Copyright 2009-2012 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Rio Grande Racecourse

Overhead is a clear blue sky, a blue that takes your mind to forever.

Except you can't keep your eyes off the high desert hills, jagged pink and brown cones, remnants of ancient seabeds thrust high by geologic collision. 

The road runs miles beside the uneven edge of hot rock against blue sky. The constant line of  contrast and clarity clears the mind's clutter. After a half-hour's drive, you're awake to the moment. 

Even an impending whitewater moment, when your raft rocks in a sideways slide over unseen rocks and you wonder if this is the time you'll flip. 

You don't, today. 



But your heart pounds and you dig your paddle in deep, and you whoop as you plunge over a drop. And at the end of the ride you can't stop smiling.







To gift yourself with a river experience, call (800) 544-1181 or click Los Rios River Runners.  Then go. 

Copyright 2009-2012 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red, White & Blue

The locals take to the water to beat Hill Country holiday heat.
Summer Tanager

Ladderback Woodpecker
 
Western Scrubjay

And Painted Bunting wanting to know if a guy could get a little privacy here. 

Happy Fourth to you and yours, hope you're cool too. 


Copyright 2009-2012 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.