Sunday, April 23, 2017

Lake Austin

Today, Toby and I aimed to venture new territory on our downtown walk. We parked under the Mopac Bridge and headed up Lake Austin Boulevard.

Pretty much all we saw was....Lake Austin Boulevard..


It was a nice, but rather boring walk, so I passed time taking pictures of pretty things, like this yellow blooming tree. We have a few of these in the greenbelt behind our home. They are beautiful with their spring blooms, but are pretty much bare the rest of the year....


There was also an abundance of Mustang Grape vines. Mustang grapes are edible, but they are more tart than sweet, so not as popular as concord grapes.....


We also walked by a community garden. I love the idea of a community garden. There's one nearby my house that I've been meaning to check out....


Hi, big guy.....


It was a rather hot day, so I was breaking out in a sweat. When we walked by Deep Eddy Pool it really looked inviting, and even better there weren't thousands of little urinating curtain climbers in it....



We walked along the Lake Trail back to the car....



It was a good walk and relaxing day. It was also nice being out and not pressed for time to get back home, because Skye has a license now and had taken our extra car to run her own errands.

I've slightly gotten addicted to watching Rachel Ray in the afternoons. Most of her meals are full of wheat products and high in calories, but I've learned a few cooking tips I didn't know from watching her show.

This morning, I took some time out in the kitchen to try out some new things I wanted to try. Since we don't eat wheat products, we miss things like crackers for dipping, so I tried these cheese "chips" I saw on Pinterest. Just 3 ingredients of Parmesan cheese, thyme and nutritional yeast. They were very good. Toby and Skye liked them too. I had to refrain from eating the whole batch myself....


I also had some tofu in the fridge that I needed to make before the expiration date. I'm not a fan of soy products, but I will buy organic tofu every once in awhile. I've always had a problem getting the moisture out enough for it to cook crisp and not mushy. I read somewhere you can put it in the oven and dry it out a bit before you cook it, so that's what I did. It turned out delicious and had a very "meaty" texture instead of the mushy texture I usually get.

Again, I had to refrain from eating the whole batch.....


As opposed to yesterday where I was pouring sweat, it was very unusually cold today, so I didn't venture outside except for our morning walk.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Freedom Rings at Sixteen

After months of classroom hours, lectures, videos and all the hoop jumping Texas requires for you to obtain a driver's license, Skye finally reaped her reward. She is now the proud owner of a State of Texas drivers license....


In turn, her freedom means my freedom. Gone are the days of taxi driving or random trips up to Sonic at 8:00 pm because somebody gets a craving for a half price slushie.  No, I won't miss that at all. I've waited for this day for a very long time!

Matter of fact, I plan on utilizing HER services with that forgotten grocery item off my list or simple errand that I just don't feel like getting out of the house for. I've become quite the homebody in the past couple of years. I much prefer puttering around in my yard, the greenbelt, or crocheting as opposed to fighting Austin's horrid traffic nightmare that I believe had to be spawned directly from Satan himself. Mama's gettin' too old for all that nonsense.

With the warmer weather, Skye and I have been enjoying sitting outside in the evenings. There was a nice sunset last night....







Last fall, Skye planted some seeds from the small Halloween pumpkin she bought. We had forgotten all about it, until we spotted these nice yellow blooms a few weeks ago. Looks like we'll have some pumpkins this fall, as long as the animals don't get to them first....



I also spotted this moss that looked to have seeds growing from the top of it. I don't know much about moss other than it needs really specific moisture conditions before it can grow......


 Skye was invited to an Easter Egg Hunt by some neighbors to a church near us. Skye was the oldest one there, but she seemed to have fun with it anyway. Since she's never been brought up with religion, I think she was curious how the "other half" lived. 

I don't think she was impressed with her church folk observations and made note how Easter Egg Hunts weren't actually "hunts" anymore. They just throw all the eggs out in a field and yell, "GO". I guess that's all part of the everyone wins social game we have nowadays.





Friday, April 14, 2017

Pretty Prickly Pear

One of my favorite spring blooms are those from the Prickly Pear. Although, the plant itself is not all that impressive, the blooms from them are a visual treat.

I especially love the ones with the orange blooms....







It seems like all the color at the park this spring has been in yellow and white....



I also love how this vine looks spiraling up the tree....


This is the picture that greets me every morning at the park. I love watching the cows graze. This morning they are hanging out under the tree....


HERBIE was at the "Little Mexican Joint", as Toby calls it, this morning.....




Saturday, April 8, 2017

Beautiful Day

We woke up to a beautiful day, so Toby and I decided to head downtown for a walk.

It seems downtown grows overnight. We frequent downtown often, but every time we go there's something new.

They've added these "platforms", I really don't know the technical term for these additions off the lake...





I always look like a tourist when we go downtown, because I'm always stopping to take pictures. I have a zillion pictures of the same thing I've taken over the years, but I just can't help myself....



This has been under construction for awhile, and I'm curious to see what it's going to be....


After our walk, we rewarded ourselves with a Purple. It was such a nice day, we sat outside on the patio, so we could people watch....


Two good reasons I'll never move away from Austin...HEB and Purple "Rita's!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Lost In The Woods, No April Fool's Joke!

The first day of April turned out to be a comfortable temp day, so me and Skye opted for a bike ride through the neighborhood.

Skye asked me if I wanted her to show me the creek her and her friend Philip found a few weeks ago.

The creek looked pretty muddy and murky, even though there was evidence that it's a fishing hole....


After seeing it, I realized that we have been down to this creek before a couple of times several years ago. We haven't ever been able cross it and explore farther because there appears to be no crossing to the other side other than wading through the creek.


Skye inherited her exploratory nature from me, so all that had to happen was for one of us to suggest crossing the creek. If Toby had been with us this would never had happened. He would have warned us of what bacteria that may be lurking in the water or lecture us on all the reasons we (he) should NOT cross. Today, the "boss" was not with us, so together we made the decision to cross the creek.

With me and Skye both game, we decided the best way to cross would be to take our shoes off and walk across on a shallow portion of the creek downstream. As Skye was taking off her shoes, I decided to take my chances and try and cross the creek on my bike. I didn't get far before I plunged feet first into the water and ended up having to walk my bike across after all.

Once we made it across it was some nice shady trail.....




We also came across a small snaky looking pond....


....and had to cross another portion of the creek that I didn't get a pic of.






Putting her shoes back on after we were confident we had crossed all the creeks...


We were really in our element and having a good time exploring but, it was at this point in the pic below that we heard a loud vehicle engine coming through the woods. Mind you, we were about a mile into the woods so we couldn't see any civilization at all so the sound of an engine coming down the makeshift road made me a tad nervous.  All I could envision was a Jeepers Creepers scenario where we get stalked, raped and murdered in the woods.

What I really wanted to do was to jump headfirst into the brush and hide from the truck, but I didn't want to appear crazy because I had watched too many scary 80's flicks back in the day.

As the truck rounded the corner there were two Redneck men in it dragging behind them a canoe full of fish. They seemed nice enough and did a hat tilt to us, asked us if we had seen any rattlers and drove on by. I wasted no time high tailing it on down the path, just in case these guys got any bright ideas of coming back for the two helpless ladies in the middle of the woods.


Soon we came upon another pond. I knew where we were at at this point, because we had been to this pond before. It was a bit disturbing that we found a shovel leaned against a tree with a machete on the ground next to it. Now my imagination was really beginning to run wild. Even though Skye was not initially worried about the Redneck men, me being nervous about them rubbed off on her, so she picked up the machete and put it in her back pack...you know, just in case...


It's at this point things took a turn for the worse. The path seemed to bend back around to where the Redneck men possibly were, so we decided to try and venture back the way we used to come. The old walking trail was all grown up, but we felt confident that we could make our way out through the thick brush.

We had both made the executive decision it would be better to be bitten by a rattler, than raped and murdered by Rednecks.

This would be the last picture I took, because my mind had gone from exploring mode to self-preservation mode...


We fought our way through thick brush and mesquite trees until it got so thick we began to loose our bearings, and since we were traveling down the hill we lost track of the rooftops from the neighborhood too.

It was pretty scary out there. Every time we stopped to access our position, the bugs and flying insects took us as a food source. This sent Skye over the edge because she has a phobia of wasps and flying insects.

We were only getting deeper into the brush and thorny Mesquite, so we decided we would have to turn back and chance the Redneck men. We did have the machete this time though.

Luckily, we spotted another trail, that I suspected would take us back to the neighborhood. As the other trails did, it came to a dead end at the brush and mesquites which was getting very frustrating. It seems the trails were made by trucks that led to the fishing ponds, and we accessed there was only one way in and one way out.

Finally, we got so close to the rooftops that we just said "fuck it" and trudged on through massive bluebonnet patches and crossed our fingers that we didn't get snake bit, since the rattlers love to hang out in the bluebonnets.

We had to laugh about it later. We both wanted an adventure and adventure is what we got! Next time we will go out there better equipped and on foot instead of the bikes, and definitely a weapon or two.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Downtown Day

Today the Blanton Museum of Art downtown, was having a block party, so we headed down there to pass our Saturday away.

Mostly, we checked out the art displays and collected free food samples.

Afterward, Skye requested we walk around downtown.....



We passed through the Capitol. I'm a fan of architectural photography, so I find churches and the Capitol to be very photogenic....







Some new wall graffiti on Congress.....



Homeless person memorial.....


Skye's 16th birthday is next week. I had to sneak in a pic of her in her new dress. I know, I can't believe she's wearing a dress either!!!!


She's been really sweet lately. I'm watching her slowly morph from an angsty teen into a young lady.

Here are some photos I've taken on our morning walks. I love the serenity of this park bench under this old oak tree. The park bench faces a farm with cows grazing. Maybe one day I will have the time to come sit here and just enjoy this little slice of nature...


Bluebonnets in bloom...


Sometimes things will just catch my eye because of the colors in contrast, like these green leaves against the textured gray tree...


Or these pretty pink primrose against the backdrop of a fallen tree....


Last week I cut my grass for the first time of the season. I couldn't bear to cut down these primrose, so I left them as a little patch in my yard....





Skye bought this cactus for her birthday last year. This is it's very first bloom ever...just in time for her 16th.


It was a beautiful day, with a beautiful sunset to end the day. I sat out on the patio with a glass of wine while Skye worked out...hahaha. We have two different ideas of relaxation, hers being the healthier option.