The Daily Muse

Thoughts from an Austin Garden  -- September 2008


Last update: September 19


Chartreuse sweet potato vine serving as a seasonal groundcover under our cypress allee.


September 7 - morning


Despite brutally hot afternoons, there is definitely a change in the air... during the early morning hours there is a hint of coolness that is promising an end to what has been what of the most difficult summers we Central Texas gardeners have ever faced. Thank goodness! Now, if only it will rain again we will be in good shape!



Blue mist flower and blue glass mulch.







The pond and cat-porch wide.


And now for something a little different...


Whatever it takes, right John?


One of my favorite garden ornaments right now is a "Texans for Obama" yard sign. After watching the spectacle of the Republican convention last week, I feel very proud of this addition. In the past I have written about the "spiritual discipline against resentment." Well, after watching the Republicans it is easy to see they have no spiritual discipline whatsoever - in fact, Governor Palin's speech and most of the other sneering rants that oozed from the podium were the spiritual equivalent of resentment stoking. The R's have taken a page from the very worst identity politics of begrudged charlatans like Al Sharpton and and are now claiming to be the victims of terrible, condescending "elites and the media." They wear their alledged victimhood like thorny crowns, whining about their mistreatment. Never mind the fact that the so-called conservative movement has held sway in Washington for most of the past thirty years, and that Fox News and dozens of other media outlets are little more that propaganda machines for Republican party. Meanwhile, the Democrats have passively allowed the Republicans to engage in disasatrous wars and drive the nation ever deeper into debt while the so-called "media elite" has gone along for the ratings ride. What we witnessed last week was McCain's final capitulation to the very same "agents of intolerance" (his words) who once savaged him, spreading lies about the legitmacy of his daughters, his sanity, even his sexuality. So much for McMaverick! I thought mavericks weren't supposed to sell their souls.


We need to be very clear about this, the alleged "conservative" movement is now a sham that has disintegrated into corruption and cronyism while diminishing American power in the world and bringing our economy to its knees (if not the knees of the nations that actually own us!) Real conservatives don't tax their grandchildren. Real conservatives don't cheat veterans. Real conservatives don't ignore the constitution. Real conservatives don't pillage the earth without a care for tomorrow. Real conservatives don't whine and wring thier hands about how put-upon they are. The truth is the Republicans are not "conservatives" at all, they are reactionaries. The party of Lincoln has become  the party of George Wallace and Elmer Gantry - a shot-gun marriage of old fashioned greed and willful ignorance that is whipped into a froth of bitter resentment every four years. Governor Palin is George W. Bush in a skirt - a pretty smokescreen of train-wreck family values happily allowing herself to be used as a distraction designed to make people bury the hope for real change under a smoldering pile of fake resentments. While preaching bi-partisanship, McCain has chosen the low road of divide through fear politics. Shame on us all if he succeeds.


Give generously:



September 11 - morning


Hurricane Ike is now bearing down on the Texas coast - landfall is expected somehwere between Galveston and Corpus Christi putting Austin in harms way. As much as we need the rain, I think we are very unprepared for tropical storm force winds and the potential for serious flash flooding. To prevent them from becoming flying projectiles, all lightweight outdoor lawn furniture, hanging baskets, and other hanging garden ornaments should be secured now.


Houston seems to be in even greater danger. I expect evacuations to be called from Galveston and southern Harris County soon. Austin may be called upon to serve as a shelter site - if you belong to a community of faith that would like to respond to this emergency, please visit the following website to learn about the right way to do that:


Take care!


September 19 - morning


What an exhausting week!  The hurricane missed Austin but wreaked havoc on the upper Texas coast, flattening the historic city of Galveston and causing massive disruptions to the Houston area where my parents live. My folks came through OK, but are still without power. I made an emergency trip over there to bring them groceries and a generator and was really shocked by the amount of debris. When I made my way into their neighborhood, I drove between two walls of tree limbs and lumber that lined the street... trees and fences were down everywhere, but their neighborhood was spared any flooding. I am hoping that their power will be restored before the weather heats up again! Everyone seemed fairly calm, but without the cooler than normal temperatures that we have been enjoying, I think there would have been riots in Houston by now.


The hoped for rain from the hurricane never materialized here in Austin, we had a couple of days of blustery wind, but no damage whatsoever. We have all been enjoying the season's first cool front which has lingered over the region since last weekend. I am hoping that another front will make its way through soon. Meanwhile, in the midst of everything, I have been hard at work in the garden and have several re-design projects for the coming weeks. New pictures soon, I promise!


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