A Butcher Knife, a Cup of Water, Some Sticks and Faith


I visited my sister in Burton again this past weekend. We jumped into my car and headed over to Lake Somerville to do a little birding. Along the way we spotted a Crested CaraCara, Black Vultures and once in the park, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Whimbrels, Sanderlings, Killdeer, Cardinals, Mockingbirds, American Coots, Ring-billed Gulls, Common Terns, a lone Cormorant and a Savannah Sparrow. The lighting wasn’t great, but we captured a few photos as memories of this outing. We headed home and had a lovely dinner…pork roast, sweet potato, vegetables and an apple crumble for dessert. After dinner we drove out into the country and tried to call up an owl or two. Unsuccessful, we went home and reminisced on a good day of birding.

Common Terns

One of the things I love about visiting my sister is hearing some of the stories from our childhood. Being older than I, she has some memories of our maternal grandmother that I don’t share. One of these was of a time when our Grandmother was visiting us at our new house in Southwest Houston. Grandmother had some azalea cuttings and she was determined to plant them all along the front of our new house. Armed with a butcher knife, a bucket of water, those bare cuttings and my sister Linda, she began directing the planting of those cuttings. She used the butcher knife to stab holes in the soil, instructed my sister to plunge the cutting into that hole and pour a cup of water from the bucket upon each one. Our Grandmother had great faith and she must have provided an ample amount that day because those azalea cuttings flourished and grew to be enormous, each Spring bursting forth with beautiful blooms to adorn the front of our modest house. My sister confessed to me that as she was performing this planting ritual with our Grandmother, she had serious doubts about those “sticks” growing. She thought that the effort was pointless and it was a big waste of time and energy. Yet she forged ahead and helped our Grandmother. I believe our Grandmother planted her own seeds that day…the seeds of a master gardener in my sister’s soul.

As we sat on her front porch overlooking her beautiful gardens, listening and watching the IMG_8380resident birds, we were witnessing the transformation of our Grandmother’s faith before our very eyes. Each plant, seed or cutting in my sister’s yard was lovingly planted, tenderly cared for, vigorously protected, and ultimately culminated in a peaceful place of repose. We sit on that porch drinking our morning cup of java, enveloped in the peacefulness of nature that surrounds us on all sides. It is a great place to reminisce, share memories and plant the seeds of our next adventures.

Happy bird searching!!!





Sister Linda’s Flower Garden

Hand tools

This past weekend I visited my sister in Burton again. Walking around her beautiful garden is a great pleasure. Gardening is therapy in our worlds… digging into the soft soil, smelling the earthy aroma, watching the squiggling earthworms as they burrow deeper trying to escape the¬†trusty shovel or trowel, the mystery¬†of planting seeds and the daily anticipatory excitement of watching for the appearance of the first green sprouts. My sister is a Master Gardener and the beautiful flowers that flourish under her tutelage are breathtaking.

Yellow Iris












IMG_7662 (1)
Climbing Pinkies

Spring is always an exciting time for any gardener. Winter clean up has been completed, seed catalogues perused, selections made, ordered, received and eagerly planted. Gardeners are optimists…always hopeful that each seed will grow and we can reap the rewards of our hard work of digging, hoeing, weeding and mulching….flowers to adorn our dinner table or a kitchen window sill and fresh vegetables from our gardens that enhance our meals throughout the growing season.

Purple Bearded Iris
Texas Brazos Penstemon?
Red Poppy

Each season brings with it the end of the flowering cycle, movement to the seed making cycle, dispersal or gathering of those seeds to save for sowing the following late winter. I have gathered thousands of larkspur seeds and shared them with fellow gardeners. The very larkspur seeds I shared were given to me by a complete stranger when I stopped my car one day and admired her garden. This is what gardeners do…we pass it on. Seeds are spread by birds, the wind, other mammals and of course from the hands of one gardener to another.

Lamb’s Ear and volunteer

And the beautiful flowers, blooming bushes and shrubs attract birds and bees who also participate in the life cycle process.

Visiting Mockingbird

So take a chance, grab a trowel and plant some flower seeds, herbs or tomato plants. It is a vastly rewarding and relaxing endeavor!

Happy Gardening and bird searching!!!