Works in Progress: May 2022

The painted buntings are here–a cheerful sign that summer has arrived. So far, I’ve seen three males at once on the millet feeders, so our little breeding colony has returned for another year. And I saw a hawk flying low into the woods last night, which suggests that there’s a nest back there. (One year, […]

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Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon Fires

Sunday, April 24, 2022. This is the ridgeline behind our house in Pendaries Village, in New Mexico, two nights ago. The Hermit’s Peak fire started on April 6, when a prescribed burn got away from the Forest Service. The Calf Canyon fire (cause still being investigated) began on April 19, about 4 miles away–upwind, so […]

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Hermit’s Peak Fire & Dragon Drones

It’s been a crazy week here in Texas, watching a forest fire some 600+ miles away in New Mexico, hoping that the winds will die down and allow the firefighting team to bring in helicopters and a few buckets of water. The Hermit’s Peak Fire (#HermitsPeakFire) began 11 days ago, when a prescribed burn got […]

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Work In Progress: March 2022

The current cross stitch project is a fractal–more colorful in real life than in either of these photos. The pattern is complicated and intriguing and is trying to teach me to become a more disciplined stitcher. I stitch in a combination of techniques: “cross country” (working across the piece with one color at a time) […]

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O’Keeffe and Chabot: Something Always Nearby

As you might know, I’ve been working on another biographical fiction in my “Hidden Women” series–this one, about the friendship of Georgia O’Keeffe (the artist) and Maria Chabot. Their story has been hidden in plain sight in a massive collection of letters published in 2003. The collection itself is expertly compiled and gives us an […]

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Work In Progress: January 2022

For  my 2022 cross-stitch project, I’ve decided to do a fractal.  This is the one I chose. It’s more colorful than the photo, but you get the idea. Lots of interesting blending, precise geometry. It will keep me busy for the full year, I suspect.               I always enjoy […]

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Summing Up: 2021

Finally. Here it is, the middle of December, and we’ve just had our first hard freeze. The last few days, we’ve been in the 80s at Meadow Knoll, and more 80s are predicted for the coming week. But there are signs of winter. The winter birds–goldfinch, woodpeckers, blue jays, multitudinous sparrows–are showing up at the […]

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Passing Through

This is monarch migration time here at Meadow Knoll. We don’t see as many as we did when we first settled here in 1986. When we do see them, we treasure the sight, like these, taking a break from their journey in our woods. Also with us this time of year: queens, fritillaries, giant swallowtails. The […]

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In Bloom This Week: Gayfeather

This week, the Hill Country meadows are punctuated with purple exclamation points. This lavender beauty is gayfeather (Liatris spicata), or blazing star, also called snakeroot and colic root. Mrs. Grieve, in her Modern Herbal (not so modern: 1929) reports that the plant was used as a diuretic, as a topical treatment for sore throat, to treat snakebite, […]

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In Bloom This Week: Eryngo

This bristly beauty (Eryngium leavenworthii) is blooming all across Meadow Knoll this week, turning the fields a brilliant purple. I know what you’re thinking: that it looks a lot like a thistle. But it isn’t, although one of its folk names is Coyote Thistle–which you will understand if you remember that Coyote is a trickster […]

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