Thursday, July 24, 2008


In 2005 I blogged about the "World's most expensive tree", which I had pampered with an automatic watering system to save it from the regular summer droughts in Wimberley. Although this 2005 photo shows it to be a lot smaller than it is now, at least it was GREEN, even as the grass and weeds around it were brown from drought.

Last year about this time I blogged about our unusually wet summer of 2007, when EVERYTHING was green. The weeds pictured around our water storage tank got nearly as big as the tank! And all the plants got a bit spoiled with all that rain, setting them up for the perfect storm (or lack-of-storm) that 2008 has bestowed upon them.

So this year, our precious live oak tree is more than a bit stressed, as the many yellow and brown leaves in this recent photo show. I've since put it in the intensive care ward, and am pleased to report that it seems to be surviving... for another year, at least. The tree experiment is yet another great example that Mother Nature is not to be messed with. And certainly not to be outsmarted. Sooner or later, I won't be there to rescue it, and if this tree can't survive on it's own then it will become the world's most expensive DEAD tree.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Nifty to be Fifty

Four generations of family & friends,
22 1/2 strong, conspired to surprise me for my 50th birthday. And they did. Ann rented out the entire Inn Above Onion Creek near Wimberley for the whole weekend, just for us.

It's hard for me to sum up all the feelings I have about that weekend, but the top descriptor is easy: Blessed. I was surrounded by a wonderful group of people, all able to slow time down for one weekend together at the world's best B&B. No matter what the future holds, calamity or chaos, we have the miracle of that time together.

Also hard to describe my admiration for my bride, who put everything together starting late last year. With generosity and care for others that only confirms my long held suspicion that she's not really completely human, but some sort of angel from heaven. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Here a few more photos from the weekend:

Sunday, July 06, 2008

4th of July, Wimberley Style

We had our first experience with Wimberley's Independence Day parade this year, and what a perfect small-town America production it was. Almost anything qualified as a parade entry, from lawnmowers to unicycles to Power Company line trucks. Which explains how a town of a few thousand people can come up with nearly a hundred entries. These people really ARE proud of their town and their country, no matter what the world thinks of us right now, no matter how poorly the economy is doing. In fact, maybe this event is even more important when things aren't going so well. It's a chance to remember core values, treasure the really important things in life, and celebrate together. And celebrating in the bucket of a front-end loader is a pretty cool way to do it.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tell-tale Tuft

Can you identify the objects in this photo? I mean the ones in focus.

That vertical wire hangs one of many bird feeders at our Wimberley property. Seven years ago when I first started feeding the birds, there was not a lot of interest. Even from the birds. Over the years, and after many hundreds of pounds of birdseed, those feeders have become quite the popular place to hang out. A little TOO popular recently. I'm now suffering from STD (no, not that one) squirrel trespassing disorder.

Those clever little buggers have been getting ever larger portions of the birdseed for themselves, and are increasing their numbers at the peril of my wallet. Despite my efforts creating ways to keep them away. So, I have to admit I snickered when I say this tuft of squirrel fur on the feeder hanging wire, and imagined the indignity sufferred by one Mr. Squirrel for his thieving ways. They wrap their tails around the wire so they can hang over the feeders to eat, but this time his tail got caught in the twisted wire. I can just picture him flopping around trying to escape the wire's clutch, while a dozen birds sat by watching, cheering for the wire. One small victory in a war that I'm afraid has only just begun to heat up...