Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Autumn in the Hill Country

The coming of Autumn in the Texas Hill Country is marked by the sound of breathing. Every living thing, having survived the desiccation of August, inhales and releases.  The breeze of collective sigh caresses hills, streams and meadows.

Esperanza in bloom, a welcome sight to migrant hummingbird stragglers.

In good years, there are autumn rains; gardens return to green and flowers sprinkle the landscape.  This was a good year--three big rains and multiple drippy days since September 4th.       

I thought you might enjoy a look; after all, happiness should be shared.

Our back "yard" has no turf but plenty of bloom.

The cardinals have eaten all the berries from the beautyberry bushes on the right and are working on the tall ones to the left now.

Out front, the dwarf barbados cherry bushes were so surprised by recent rain, the plants put on a flush of flowers to go with the berries already on the branches.

From our kitchen table, we watch cardinals snacking on berries as we eat breakfast.

Juvenile male cardinal at brunch in July. His plumage is fully red now.

The pigeon berry plants on the porch are another cardinal draw.

For the cats too, since they're dedicated bird-watchers when they're not playing.

Alexa (the pint-sized attacker) joined us in early September as an 18 ounce stray.  Denny and I were surprised when Ernest didn't eat her.  

She thinks he's the best toy.  He thinks she's a nuisance.  By the time it gets cold here they'll be sleeping together.

My schoolhouse lilies were a month late to class this year, blooming at the beginning of October.

Mother Nature keeps her own time.

We're savoring the views, more this fall than ever. We've listed our home for sale; ready for something smaller.  

But I'll treasure the sights and sounds of this place.

Copyright 2009-2013 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Monday, October 14, 2013

It doesn't get any better

We sipped a glass of wine as the sun set and told each other how lucky we are. Seventeen years and we're still good together, better together than apart.

It's also seventeen years since I was diagnosed with fast-growing breast cancer.  Denny married me 10 days after the cancer surgery, before we knew how bad it might be, or how long I would live.  

Most newlyweds don't know how long they'll live; but most don't wake up wondering if this will be their first and last Christmas together or whether they'll have a fifth anniversary.

We celebrate our anniversaries as if they were national holidays. This year we opted for an evening out at one of our favorite wineries, Driftwood Estate Winery & Vineyards

Al fresco dining with fine wine and sunset views on the most beautiful night of the year. 

Followed by dancing to music by cowboy troubadour Bret Graham

Some years back we took swing-dance lessons, immediately followed by remedial swing-dance lessons. We still swing like novices but it's so much fun we don't care.

I wore the necklace Denny gave me on our Palo Duro Canyon anniversary.

And winery owner Gary Elliott stopped by our table to congratulate us and pour a glass from his private cellar, the Driftwood Estate sold-out 2010 Lone Star Cab that took Silver, Best in Class at the 2013 Houston International Wine Competition. A treat.

After we got home, 2.1 inches of rain fell on our acre. If you're a Texan, you know rain is a rare gift.  

We had a wonderful night. The best anniversary ever. But then I always say that...

Copyright 2009-2013 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Spaces -- Stories of people and their places

A house is more than shelter--our homes are refuge, comfort, self-expression, sometimes art.  

I've begun finding and writing stories of people who've created homes that fit them, and how they did it.  I get to meet interesting folks.  And I learn something every visit.

From Sandy in Horseshoe Bay, I learned to make lemonade.  Her powder room had a leak for which tile had to be removed and she had no matching tile.  But she had imagination.  Now the bathroom floor is one of her favorite spaces.

Lory and Gary's story of creating "retopia" in a wildlife refuge was published in the San Antonio Express-News a couple of weeks ago:  A retiring life in the country.  

My stories are about Hill Country folks and homes but ideas are universal. You may find something you like so I'll post my articles here as they're published.  

And I'd love to connect if you have ideas to share.  Making our houses into homes is part of the art of life.

Copyright 2009-2013 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.