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As part of the landscaping project seventeen new trees are now lining the driveway approach to the house. Alternating Basham crepe myrtle with Mexican sycamore we should soon have a wall of canopy providing privacy for the front area of the house. Fortunately, they are all in close proximity to the well so any water used to get them established will not come from the rainwater cistern.

The crew is also removing some of the larger rock debris from an area where the stone masons cut rock for the outside of the house during construction. As a result the wild grasses should fill in more evenly and perhaps cedars will eventually come up in the area.

With cloudy, misty mornings and slowly warming temperatures I hope the new native grass seed that I am working into some of the bare areas near the house will take root and get established this summer. It looks a bit like a moonscape in some areas now but soon it should blend in with the grasses on the rest of the hill as the season turns.




I’m thinking about growing some olive trees on the hill in Hermosa. I may be senile or dead before they get all gnarly and look really cool but what the hell. I think I’ll do it anyway.

Harken back, if you will, to the February 18 post and the very sad picture of my backyard. After a full month of weeding, tilling, transplanting, mulching, painting and power-washing, it finally all came together on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in late March. I had just enough energy left to pour a big glass of wine, put on some Marvin Gaye and slide into a very hot spa. I submit to you Exhibit A: The transformation.

Oh, Shit!

So, you pull a few weeds, cut down some sketchy bouganvilla from the previous season, put it all out by the curb for the heavy trash and retreat to the kitchen. Looks like Spring will start in another week or two.

So let’s cook something good to eat in the meantime…

You are now subjected to photos of stuff in my garden….

The Frog dude below watched me weed out the Irises and pull up the remaining Zinnias last Saturday. He seemed to enjoy my company as he was in no hurry to move along while I worked around him. He also waited patiently while I went to retrieve my camera. We chatted for a while and he was a rather good listener.

Today I removed the spent cucumber vines and a fair number of weeds from the garden. For the second year in a row, the cucumbers produced like gangbusters and a few new recipes were tried to accommodate the bounty. My favorite was a cucumber soup that contained a bit of avocado, green onion and a hint of curry powder. Very refreshing for lunch on hot Houston afternoons. Kudos to Carolyn for the outstanding preparation of this fine soup.

Surprisingly, the sweet red bell peppers continue to produce in the stifling heat. Must be a variety developed in some outer layer of hell. Aside from that, about the only thing remaining in the vegetable area are the herbs and a few leeks that I am trying to coax into producing this fall. The rest of the beds are full of flowers, including the crape myrtles and oleanders, both of which appreciated the rains we had this month. The sunflowers at the back near the fence are becoming robust now and should put on a pretty good show in August. I sense that they do not like playing second fiddle to the zinnias.

Sunflowers coming on

Zinnias reaching for the sky

Bouganvilla leaves in the pool

Red bell peppers almost ready to pick


This is a terrific site for architecture and design. Lots of beautiful photos capturing the creative process. House Fausto is one of my favorites.

Since the leaves started turning green in March, I have been on quite a tear.  Motorcyle riding, fishing, gardening, travel and learning a bit of photography.  After all, isn’t that what Spring is for?  Now it’s insane clown hot every day, so I have reverted to indoor activities, especially reading.  And this summer’s theme is depth psychology.

I have been attracted to the work of Carl Jung for nearly 20 years, going back to my days of studying theology with the Episcopalians and Roman Catholics.  There was a lot of fascination with the collective unconscious, dreams and archtypes in those circles and a willingness to entertain different approaches to the God-idea, even among some of the more doctrinal folks.

Now, a few years after setting these lines of thought aside for ageing like a good cabernet while I indulged my happy hedonist nature, it’s time to uncork the bottle and savor them once again.  (I just can’t let go of those hedonistic metaphors).  About a hundred pages into Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious I realized that perhaps some warm ups were necessary.  That is some tough going right off the bat.  So I picked up Memories, Dreams and Reflections to gently stretch my mind in preparation for the more challenging essays in Archetypes.  Jungian therapist Robert A. Johnson’s biography Balancing Heaven and Earth also helped get the mind focused again.

So the symbols – some new, some old, are stirring with meaning again.  I had begun to suspect that they were dead for me forever but I should have known better.  Now though, some of the old ones are stripped of so many of the romantic trappings that I enveloped them in before.  And an old symbol viewed with fresh eyes is privilege not to be taken for granted.

Labyrinth at University of St. Thomas - Houston

Labyrinth at University of St. Thomas - Houston