Fences are made for one reason: protection. I grew up in the country on a small farm, so I know the importance of fences. Their protection serves a two-fold purpose; to keep something in, or to keep something out. Despite what they’re made of, how pretty they are, how strong they are–the singular purpose of a fence is protection.

I recently walked up to a fence and rested against it. The fence didn’t waver or move. It’s a sturdy fence constructed of wide, evenly spaced slats nailed firmly to solid, square posts that are sunk deep into the earth. Because I had helped to build the fence—because I knew details about its construction—I also knew several facts about this particular fence. I could stand on the fence, climb the fence, sit on the fence, lean against the fence; that fence was not going to collapse. It was a fence I could trust to fulfill its purpose and serve as my own personal settee or jungle gym as needed. There was not a “No Trespassing” sign on the fence. There was no need for one. The property on this side and that is mine, though I have nothing pressing to take me to the other side of the fence any more—no business to conduct or work to do over there. I had, for all practical purposes, forsaken that part of the property. So, I simply walked up to the fence, rested my arms against the top slat, and looked at the land that lay beyond. . .


FM 362

In Texas, there are FM roads. It stands for “Farm to Market” and harkens from days gone by. I used to live off of FM 1960–which is now a 6 lane road with a turn lane down the middle lined with all manner of capitalism run amok–and several Sonics.

Where I live now, there are also several FM roads, but my FAVORITE to drive is FM 362. It is about 5 miles longer than my normal route but, on days when I have the time or just want to, I take that way home. It’s 18 miles of curves and hills and pastures and beautiful Texas country vistas.

Once you get to the road I need to turn down to get home, it’s becomes woods again, but if you go the additional 10 miles to the end, you start getting into the very, very beginnings of the Texas hill country. It is worth the drive. So, on Saturday evening, I took my little camera and set off to photograph some sights. . .but discovered that I can simply hold my camera and click, click, click away as it focuses on the yellow line (as did I for those of you worriers) to get shots of the drive–not necessarily what I set out to get, but it made me happy. I took about 300 shots, but I won’t put them all here. You’re welcome.

Thought Pollution

No. . .my thoughts are not polluted. I just have too many OF them. . .like noise pollution. My brain has so many thoughts crammed into it that I cannot even voice them. Some good–some bad–some triumphant–some distressing. They are all jumbled in there in a big gyrating lump like a bunch of bees. I am so grateful for a healthy mind (though I’m sure some would question my mental health), but there are times I wish I could tone it down in there.

This has been sitting, forgotten, in my “drafts” on my blog. I originally wrote this May 22, 2008. I feel much the same tonight. I am categorizing my blog posts (Stephanie. . .I’m workin’ on getting all of the book posts in one place) not because it is necessary, but because it is something that CAN be done, and once done will be completed. Unlike laundry, or dishes, or papers to be graded, or swishy, swirly thoughts, categorized blog posts shall remain categorized and not HAVE to be categorized, or folded, or washed, or graded, or thought, or attended no, not even ONE MORE STINKIN’ TIME.

I find that incredibly appealing at the moment.


I love a good list. In fact, lists are just good all the way around. Here is a Monday list.

1.) Embraced the day warmly.
2.) Had the day bite me in the tires. Sort of. Two of mine were low, and so my fancy tire monitor indicator light came on while I was too far away from a gas station. Eventually stopped, aired up said tires a bit but had no gauge with which to check air pressure. Went to Wal-Mart with NO LINE, and got tires checked FOR FREE. I DID tip the helpful attendant. So glad nothing was entirely flat. I CAN change I tire. I just don’t WANT to.
3.) Taught school.
4.) Graded a lot of papers.
5.) Went to Hobby Lobby on my lunch to buy blue ribbon.
6.) Taught more school.
7.) Went BACK to Hobby Lobby for MORE blue ribbon.
8.) Went to Victoria’s volleyball practice to deliver blue ribbons–cut into separate lengths while sitting at stop lights along the way.
9.) Brought daughter home.
10.) Foraged in pantry for enough ingredients to cook an entire meal. Penne Pasta, spaghetti sauce, hamburger (in FREEZER, NOT pantry).
11.) Cooked
12.) Walked
13.) Sat down. Big mistake.
14.) Talked to a couple of friends on the phone, one being Sarah who is having a bloggy celebration. Go here to win free stuff.

Have the specialtea

Tea shop front

Our wonderful neighbors had told us about a little house that sold food “up the road.” Turns out it’s less than a quarter mile, so we hopped on our bikes and sallied forth. It was a nice day–cool and a little overcast. Perfect weather for the menu.

They serve soup d’ jour (it was seasoned pinto bean that day–really good) and a slab of cornbread for $2.50. The kids got Belgian waffles–2, homemade with strawberry glaze OR maple syrup, fresh cut strawberries, and fresh whipped cream WITH pink sprinkles for Victoria. $3.50. That’s right, home-cooked food for all four of us, $12.00. AND bike ride. AND really, really cute decor–your general teacups, etc. but also lots of family mementos and framed advertisements from days gone by.

One of the proprietor’s, Joan, lived in the house until she was 12. They moved it from Houston to the country, stripped all the wallpaper, linoleum, vinyl, and other detritus to reveal the gorgeous pine wall boards and floors inside, and painted the outside a WONDERFUL shade of red. She put some of the old textiles in a shadow box–one of my favorite features–and has several small albums of the “redo” on a table for customer perusal.

We were all enchanted.

Tea shop sign

I got permission from the owners to post the photos and sign (free advertising for people in the area), but here is their website.

It was a LOVELY day.

Fungi, Flora, and Lichen

We still have no grass in our “yard.” I used that term “yard” very, VERY loosely. We have dirt. We have weeds. We have lichens and fungi. We have FLOWERING weeds. We have weeds that do a fine IMPERSONATION of grass but not a blade of real, live (in Tony’s book ONLY St. Augustine qualifies) grass.

We still, however, have beauty. And yesterday morning I went in search of it WHILE wearing a sweatshirt. Bliss. Here is what I found. Click on the pictures to see closeup.