août 26, 2004

GoogleFight: Babette And Miladus

I was playing with GoogleFight and, as you can image, no surprises...


Posted by miladus at 05:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

août 24, 2004

My Texans

And here, after the flora and fauna, are finally some memories of the people in Texas—my parents, my cousins, and my brother and his boys, whose visit overlapped mine.

Dad set up his tripods so that I could take pictures during my visit. I had hoped to get the road runner, but he snubbed me this time.

Dad (dressed in his anti-chigger clothes) and his beloved tool room.

My aunt Wilda, in the guest bedroom I always share with her when I visit.

The parents in their Suburban.

Hurray! The last of the cabinetwork is finished! After eight months of construction, the bedrooms and kitchen are done.

When we went to Clark Gardens, Auntie hit her hand on a bridge as we zoomed over it at high speed in the golf cart, and I bandaged it for her after Dad removed all the splinters.

I had always missed out on going to the Catfish Café, down on the Brazos River: the best fried catfish and handcut French fries I've ever tasted. It's filled with Elvis memorabilia but parked outside are either big SUVs or Cadillacs, attesting to the local appreciation of the food.

This is the bridge over the Brazos. No comment…

Momma checking out the menu…

…and Auntie. After much indecision, we all had the same thing: catfish and fries, and although we got the smallest plate, we still couldn't finish it all.

On Saturday, Dad took the whole gang to the Granbury Opera House to see No, No, Nanette: good summer-stock theater. Here, the Opera House.

My favorite first cousin Jeanne waits with Mom and Auntie for Bill to park the car; the lady on the right chowed down the whole time and would not leave the picture: greedy in multiple ways.

The curtain inside the theater.

After the matinée, Dad took us all to Granbury's best restaurant, Stringfellows', in the old Granbury House, which has been remarkably well restored. In spite of a rather protracted power outage, the chef made us all first-rate meals and we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. Serious food.

Tuesday, my brother and his boys arrived. Here, Bill and his son Philip.

And my beloved nephew Erik, with his omnipresent Powerbook.

My favorite second cousins, Dawn and Joe, had the stamina to have the entire herd over for dinner at their lovely home in Fort Worth. (Brave people…)

My aunt Belle, Dawn's grandmother and Jeanne's mother, is still going strong at 90. I adore her: an elegant and gracious person.

Wednesday was a full day. First, we all went horseback riding. Here, Mom, Erik and the Headless Horseman.

Bill and his boys wait to saddle up.

Philip ready to go;

Erik and his pony both chomping at the bit;

While Dad tries a first time,

and then a second,

and finally gets on top with a little help from a stepping stool.

Mom and Dad hadn't intended to ride with us, but we convinced them to take the plunge. Mom happily up on Old Paint

We went down through the fields and along the middle of a creek.

Bill, on a rickety thing he called Old Blue Eyes.

And with our charming and patient guide.

I asked Bill to take over the video responsibilities while I took the still shots. After a bit of study,

He quickly figured out the video camera, and slung arouand like something out of Cat Ballou.

And here is a shot of everybody but me!

Mom in the saddle early in the ride,

and Dad.

On the way to the corral at the end of the ride,

both Mom and Dad were a bit tired.

Mom was stiff from the long ride and had a hard time getting off the horse, but Bill held her until her knees would support her again.

Which didn't take long—Dr. Pepper solves all ills! Not bad for almost 82.

Next stop: the shooting range, with Dad's carefully restored pistol and the little rifle he got for his 7th birthday. Mom watched us, ears carefully protected.

The whole tribe ready to shoot 'em up. I'd never shot a gun before. I was really very excited.

Pop was a bit skeptical of our shooting talent.

Bill, thoughtful as he watches his boys learn to shoot.

Dad explained to Philip how to use the rifle,

bracing the stock on his shoulder,

and aiming by aligning the sites.

Philip set his target as far away as possible and shot quite well.

Gun-totin' dudes.

Erik proved to be a good shot both with the rifle

and with the pistol.

A pleased boy with his target.

My brother in good form.

And even I showed a reasonable stance, although I did much better with the rifle than with the pistol (I bunched the shots, but all three inches to the right of where I thought I was aiming!).

We weary pseudo-Texans then repaired to the lovely ranch of my cousins Jeanne and Bill, where Bill, as always, cooked a magnificent meal in their enormous granite kitchen.

The ladies mostly stayed indoors in the shade, gossiping,

While my brother, Dad and Bill Betzel enjoyed the cool arbor outdoors under the live oaks.

The boys, of course, made a beeline for the pool.

Ranger, the Betzels' dog. He likes to sing along with my mother.

Bill is one of the most untiring, efficient and cheerful people I know. The lovely stone wall in the background is his own work.

A last shot to say goodbye to Texas: of the Betzels' longhorns as we left the ranch to go home to Two Trees.
Posted by babette at 05:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

août 23, 2004

Natural Texas

A few picture of the Texas wildlife, both animal and vegetal, from my trip last week. Texas is so different from the East Coast that I delight in recording it.

Two Trees at dawn.
I was happy to be back visiting my parents on the Texas prairie.
This is one of the most peaceful places I've ever known, and the house that Dad designed and built fits perfectly into the landscape.

Dad's study, with the dawn sun reflected in his window.

Later in the day, looking out one of the living room windows to the sunflowers and prairie beyond (and one of the two live oaks to the right).

In spite of my fears of Texas fauna decimating the plants or the desert sun baking them, Mom's herb garden, my Mother's Day present to her in April, was flourishing in August. Legs: Mom and her twin sister, for whom I am named.

The Mint that Ate Cleveland (allusion to one of Steve McQueen's first B-movies): I also put in a "wet" garden (chives, basil, parsley and mint) in April, on the other side of the garage. In August, the mint had devoured the basil and was invading the driveway! Mom and Auntie were very pleased. Dad was less so when he kept having to drive over it.

Here, after I removed fully 3/4 of the mint, the stepping stone was uncovered and a tiny basil restored. Notice also Mother's much replanted (to find a less windy site) new rosebush, which is also flourishing.

Closeup of one of the "Arizona" rose rosebuds.

The Texas fauna is numerous and interesting. In April I saw a turtle, road runners and armadillos. One night in August, this tiny frog decided to visit the herb garden.

Some of the fauna, however, is less than friendly. Dad ran over this copperhead on his way out that night (I wasn't too eager to get close, whence the fuzzy photograph).

The next morning, it had been picked clean by the vultures…

…and later the same day, the ants took care of the rest.

That night, an enormous black widow spider (a good inch across the body at least) succumbed to Dad's Deet.

Friday morning we went to Mineral Wells, about a half hour from the parents' house, where one of the best herb merchants I've encountered, Ms. Boudreau of Boudreau Herbs, has this Texas birdhouse hanging in her garden.

Ms. Boudreau herself, ready to show us her many and often rare herbs (I got a Salvia apiana, which I had been trying to find for a couple of summers; she just had them sitting out with the more common herbs). I bought Mom and Auntie a few additions for their herb gardens and commissioned a few things for December. A major resource!

Some of Ms. Boudreau's herbs are in a greenhouse, others are out in the open under shade awnings, as here.
Then we went to the Clark Botanical Gardens, a remarkable garden in Mineral Wells (worth the trip, by the way), whose herb garden Ms. Boudreau designed and maintains. My cousin Jeanne's extensive garden at Two Lakes was designed by the original designer of Clark Gardens.

The Clark Gardens are enormous, and especially in the August Texas heat, a cart is a much better idea for exploring than walking. A charming young lady drove us around for about an hour, showing us the many different specialty gardens. Here, Dad in the front, with Mom and Auntie in the back.

At one hilly overlook, with a fountain aerating the goldfish pond, Auntie and Mom took a break.

Clark Gardens has almost as much wildlife as it has vegetation. Here, a butterfly at the Chapel…

…an 8-inch lizard on a tree trunk…

…guinea hens (omnipresent in Texas, but when roasted in France as pintade, Milad's favorite poultry)…

…and a crane flapping across the Japanese water garden.

The herb garden is spectacular: dry-stone walled and divided by crushed brick pathways. I expecially admired the old, weathered Arp rosemary tree.

Clark Gardens is also famous for its roses; it has one of the US's experimental rose gardens. Here, a view of a corner of the carefully laid out rose garden pathways, whose pedagogical order and arrangement reminded me of the principles of the Ancien Régime's Jardin du roi in Paris.

The waterlilies, and…

The beautiful Japanese bridge that leads across the water garden to the Chapel garden.

My father and brother (who came to join us the next Tuesday), taking a walk down the road from Two Trees in the hot afternoon sun.

Posted by babette at 06:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Posted by miladus at 12:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Desperately Seeking Larger Pot

We kept wondering why this rosemary was not growing. Now we know. It is happy in a larger pot.



Posted by miladus at 12:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

août 21, 2004

Herbs, Herbs, Herbs...

We've had an unusual summer here in Charm City: cooler and wetter than usual. The herbs (mostly planted under trees (a maple and a rosemary) are rather enjoying the exceptional conditions. Now that Babette is back home, they are even happier (since she takes such good care of them).







Posted by miladus at 09:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

août 20, 2004

Texas Mug

Babette is back home after an adventurous return from DFW via the wonderfully efficient American Airlines. Here she is having her morning tea in her newly acquired (thanks to Aunt Wilda) Rough Creek Lodge Blue Jeans mug (I guess you have to be a real Texan to get into something like this).


PS: For the uninitiated, please notice the darling armadillo (also a gift from Auntie).

Posted by miladus at 10:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Angel Heart

Our latest bloom: LC Angel Heart 'Hihimanu' AM/AOS.

angel heart

angel heart

Posted by miladus at 10:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

août 18, 2004

Texas Pictures

Babette is visiting her parents and they are busy consuming donuts at 5:00 a.m. She will have better pictures once she is back home...


The garden she planted last spring is seriously growing.


Wanda's Arizona Rose.


And Carl's forest of Tripods.

Posted by miladus at 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

août 08, 2004

Marthur RIP

marthurtombeau Marhtur's resting place.

Posted by miladus at 10:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

août 04, 2004

New Spice Rack


Posted by miladus at 08:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack