My daughter gave me this plant four years ago. I’m always surprised and delighted when she blooms. 🙂
My daughter got up early to make homemade vegan biscuits, to eat with apple butter from yesterday’s fun. They were delicious!
It was a gorgeous day, temp in the 50’s in the morning, so we set off for a short hike and sat by the Deerfield River for a bit. It was really great to be out in nature. So much beauty in this area! If it weren’t for the winters, and being far from grandbabies, I would want to live here.
We went a bit farther down the road, to Shelburne Falls, investigating the shops, not buying much, and then had a really delicious lunch at Hearty Eats.
Then we enjoyed walking across the bridge of flowers. So beautiful!
We found Mo’s Candy store at the other end, and I got some fudge for the trip home – hopefully I won’t eat it all, and can share some with the husband when I get home!
I’m so glad I go to spend time with these children of mine, 2000 miles from home.
Smog hung heavy over Houston as I headed west out of the city. It was 80 degrees at 8 am, with the promise of heat and humidity. Mile after mile of flat grassland flashed past as I drove the familiar route down 290. I was super happy to be on the road again.
I always love it when I get to Washington County, known for being “the birthplace of Texas”. It’s like a magical change. The landscape morphs to rolling hills, with long white painted fences edging the roads, cows grazing on lush green grass, remnants of summer flowers still blooming. The sky, by this time, was blue with ever changing white clouds, and the sun was shining.
I decided to stop in Brenham, at the Bluebell Creamery. It was only 9:30 in the morning, but I couldn’t pass by without getting a generous scoop of ice cream for only a dollar! I chose Millennium Crunch, an all time favorite. In case you didn’t know it, Bluebell ice cream is famous in Texas, and I was raised believing it was the best ice cream in the world. I guess I still think it is.
I enjoyed the rest of the ride to Austin, arriving at my daughter’s apartment just in time for her to fix me a delicious lunch sandwich. She is vegan and I am vegetarian, and we enjoyed lightly sauteed tempeh with avocado, lettuce, and tomato on rye bread, with plantain chips. I forgot to take a picture.
We just had the one afternoon, and really just wanted to hang out together. Since it was so hot (in the 90’s by then), we decided to stay in and watch a movie. We chose The Out of Towners with Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis, and it didn’t disappoint. I’m going to have to check out the remake with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn.
We wanted to go out and take a walk in one of the wilderness areas, but decided to wait til the sun was down. It was time to think about food again, and this time I was treated to a bowl of batter fried tofu, rice, and sauteed veggies. Again, deliciious and satisfying.
After that we took a short walk through a forested area nearby.
I’ve been to Austin dozens of times in the 12 years since she moved here to go to college. Usually we and siblings who have been along go to restaurants, shops, events. It’s different now, and not just because of the pandemic. This time it was about just being with this one special person, and for me, experiencing anew the gratefulness I have for this human’s presence in my life.
Crisp fall morning
Cat chasing squirrel
Smell of pines
The night we went to the beach to look for a mother turtle was magical.
We were led by Eddie, a young Italian biologist working among fisherman on the Nicoya peninsula. His mission is to educate them about sustainable fishing as well as to do his part in preserving the sea turtles.
There were no lights other than the red light from his headlamp. Brighter lights disturb the turtles. It was a perfect clear night, and the multitude of stars seemed low enough to reach out and touch.
As we walked almost blindly, there were what seemed to be a lot of rocks or shells. Eddie shone the light at our feet and we were simultaneously delighted and horrified to see thousands of small hermit crabs scurrying around! It was impossible not to step on them, but Eddie said that our weight would just push them into the sand.
Finally, Eddie told us he had spotted an Olive Ridley turtle, but we all needed to stay back while she dug her hole. When she began laying, he said, she would go into a trance and wouldn’t be aware of our presence. When he said we could, we circled around her and watched in wonder. It’s hard to see in this picture, and you can google and see lots of clear pictures, but this is me sharing my experience of this amazing act of nature.
As we stood in awe, Eddie informed us that he had discovered that the turtle was missing a back rudder, and he suspected that the hole wasn’t deep enough. Turtle eggs are highly susceptible to predators such as raccoons and dogs, who often steal them as they are laid or shortly after. So he said that when she was finished, we would dig them up and relocate them to a deeper nest in a safer place on the beach.
After the eggs were laid, she covered them with sand, and, turning in circles, patted the sand down. This took about 20 minutes, and we could see that she was hindered by her lack of a rudder. We followed her as she made her way in the starlight to the ocean, cheering for her as she reached the water, never to see the fruit of her labor.
Eddie immediately started digging up the nest, and allowed someone in the group to assist. We were all awestruck as the count went up and up until the total of eggs was 108! The eggs were placed in a bag and passed around so we could all feel it’s weight – quite heavy! Imagine the work – this sea animal, beautiful in the water but awkward on land, hauling her already heavy body, made even heavier with these eggs,50 feet over land before releasing them from her body and returning to the sea.
While we were engrossed in the task of rescuing these eggs, Eddie spotted another turtle. By the time the last egg was recovered from the first nest, the second turtle had begun laying. We again watched the act with a reverent awe, and as this mother, with all her flippers intact, began her dance of covering the precious eggs, we could see the perfection. She patted, and twirled, and rested a bit, then repeated this over and over until she was satisfied with her work.
After we cheered her on her return trek to the ocean, it was somewhat anticlimactic to watch Eddie locate a spot to rebury the eggs. It was all a wonder, though, and I will always hold that night in my heart as one of the most amazing I have ever experienced.
Here is a link to a youtube video of an Olive Ridley giving birth, covering the eggs, and going back to the sea. It is very cool, but doesn’t capture the magic of being there on the dark beach under the blanket of stars being a part of the mystery of life.