The Daily Muse

Thoughts from an Austin Garden  -- February 2007


Last update: February 28


Buddha with paperwhite narcissus.


February 15 – morning


Forgive the long absence! We have been experiencing technical issues (best not to ask.)


It is a cold morning here in Austin but spring is not far away. Our paperwhite narcissus is blooming and the Carolina jessamine is beginning to show its color. It seems as if everything is lagging a week or two behind where we have found ourselves at this point for the past several years. I’m sure that this is due to the fact that we actually had a winter this year! I have been extremely busy in the garden and at work. Last weekend, I concentrated on cleaning up all of the perennials, herbs and ornamental grasses. I also did most of the major pruning of our peaches and other trees. This coming weekend will be devoted to spreading a compost / mulch blend throughout our planting beds.


I have completed most of the work on the new planting beds that surround our patio… our ‘Natchez’ crape myrtle is in the ground and I look forward to seeing it grow and take shape. I know that the current orthodoxy regarding crape myrtles is that they should NEVER be pruned, but I find that a bit too dogmatic. I love shaping them as they grow to create clean, flowing, sinuous forms. Don’t tell the garden police, please!


Our technical bugs are still preventing me from updating with new images, but we should have that resolved in a few days. (Cross those green thumbs for me!) I hope that you are well and wish you the best. More soon, I promise!


Mockingbird with possumhaw berries.


February 22 - morning


We have been experiencing glorious, spring-like weather with clear skies and comfortable temperatures. Things have gone from soggy to dry, but after all of the rain we received in January, I am not worried, at least not yet. I expect spring to arrive with a big bang this year after the cooler than usual winter and I look forward to the changes ahead.


I took  day off earlier this week and moved a truck load of a mulch / compost blend into the garden beds. I used John Dromgoole's "Sylvan" blend, which I have had good results with in the past. In addition to the compost and mulch, it contains agricultural molasses and greensand and so it is loaded with good stuff. When I was moving the soil, I had the chance to enjoy the company of our birds. Robins are busy hunting for worms throughout the garden, and flocks of cedar waxwings are circling the yard trying to get at the very generous crop of berries on all of our hollies. I say "trying" because every time a flock lands in our trees, our resident mockingbird chases them away. He is vigilant to a fault! Though, I mut say I admire his determination. However, listening to his rapturous singing made moving the mulch a real pleasure.


I saw our first daffodils blooming yesterday and I intend to take a few pictures after the sun comes up. We'll see if I can master our new picture management software and share those images with you. Until then - peace.


February 23 - evening


Weeping yaupon berries.


Slowly but surely, I am learning our new photo software...


My buddy, the defender of our berries.



The view through our new patio space.


February 26 - evening


A fountain at Laguna Gloria adorned with an orchid.


I spent a remarkable day with Barbara Brown Taylor today taping an interview for an upcoming program that I am working on dealing with new voices emerging from within the Christian Church. I felt so fortunate to be with her, she is deeply centered within her faith, yet so open to life and experience - living proof that faith need not be a closed door or a shuttered window. When we talked about the mystery of creation she told me of how she and her husband will pull a matress out onto the lawn of their rural Georgia home on star-lit nights and stare up into the heavens... happy and filled with reverence knowing that we are mere specks on a speck in a sea of creation so vast that we will never be able to chart it. I was reminded of Job's final speech where he declares himself to be "comforted" to be dust. We will be blending her distinctive voice with those of Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong, Richard Rohr, Joan Chittister, and Dominic Crossan. I'll keep you informed about the progress on this new production.


In the meantime here are a few pictures from All Saints Episcopal Church here in Austin where our interview was conducted...



The sower.



In the manger.



Lovely detail.


February 28 - morning


A chilly sunrise in North Dakota - this image was taken by my sister on her way to work.


It has been downright summery here for the past few days and I am hoping for a return to cooler and wetter weather. It has been over a month now since we have had a measurable rainfall so we have gone from the wettest January on record to one of the driest Februaries. Redbuds and plums are beginning to bloom across the city and things are beginning to leaf out and bloom in our garden. All that it will take is one good rain shower and we'll be off and running.


Missouri River bottom in winter.


Continue to March 2007

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