This is Tall Husband's Hibiscus at The Bunny Bungalow, with whom I held a conversation.
This past weekend, I gave the bungalow its Spring cleaning, while Tall Husband planted pots of lavender for me and replaced exterior light bulbs with a more economical variety.
Cleaning also includes the front porch. You know, of course, the front porch takes longer to clean, as I must talk to the flowers, meet the neighbors' dogs and children. Then I must salute the driver of the passing Coca Cola truck with my Diet Coke, so that he will honk his air horn in return. Also, there is the visiting cat who is always looking for a vacant lap. Then there is the weather to be discussed with any stranger who happens by. Oh! I forgot to mention there are treasures that must be gathered...a gray dove's feather, prickly balls from the sweet gum tree, tiny acorns from the old oak...
A country shack spotted near downtown Round Top, Texas.
If you looked at this photo and immediately said, "Awww," like you'd seen a puppies face, and then you started mentally coming up with color schemes and moving walls around, you might be a fixer-upper freak. When you see a place like this on This Old House, and your mate says, "No way!" and you're saying, "They only have to take off the roof, add two more floors, a couple of baths and a basement," then you might be a fixer-upper freak. You know who you are...and I want to hang out with you.
Note to Tall Husband: You are great at house mechanics: electrical wiring, plumbing and etc., but please leave painting and the aesthetics to me. The last time you got your hands on a caulking gun and brown caulking, the place looked like Betty Crocker got pissed and frosted our house.
When I was an Austin Teenager, this six-story tower was a drill tower for firemen, now it is Buford Tower.
When I was a kid, towers fascinated me. They still hold a place in my heart. As Tall Husband and I sat eating dinner in Austin, earlier this month, I glanced out the window and saw a familiar sturdy, brick tower and suddenly remembered it as "the fireman's tower." I had been a teenager in Austin with a student bus pass which allowed me to explore the city as I chose. This had been one of my favorite destinations, as unusual but functional architecture has always been a passion of mine.
I left Tall Husband in the restaurant and aimed my camera at the tower. I asked a young passerby if he knew anything about the tower and he answered that it wasn't anything special, it was just an old tower that rang out the hour. It surely wasn't worth a photograph.
Via Google, I since learned that the tower is no longer used to train firemen. As Austin grew, it became impractical to train firemen in the center of a city and in 1974 a new drill tower was built in a more convenient location. In 1978 Effie R. Kitchens, whose late husband had built the tower, provided funds for the restoration of the old tower and a carillon was added. The old tower is now the Buford Tower, named in 1978 for a Captain James L. Buford, a fireman who died in the line of duty in 1972, in an attempt to rescue a 15-year old boy during a Shoal Creek Flood.
Today the old 1930 tower has a new purpose: its carillon, called the Kitchens Memorial Chimes, rings out the time. As I stood there listening to its chimes, I thought about what the young passerby had said, then decided that the tower is something special; it's still standing after all this time...and so am I.
Our neighbors, across the alley, have been raising Monarch butterflies in a butterflynursery they got from the local science museum. The nursery has Butterfly Bungalow printed on it, so their bungalow is now known by that name.
Early this morning, Tall Husband found a Monarch Butterfly on the sidewalk. When he bent down to determine if the butterfly were alive, the beautiful insect feebly crawled onto his hand and clung for dear life. That's when Tall Husband called me into the garden.
After a few photos, Tall Husband told me he thought the butterfly was dying. "No! Please put him on the Honeysuckle," I asked. Tall Husband placed his hand near some Honeysuckle blossoms and the Monarch immediately transferred himself to the blossoms. After a moment, he spread his wings and flew high above the Morning-Glory covered fence and disappeared from sight.
Tall Husband and I planted the Honeysuckle next to the fence, near the old well. Below, it is already reaching toward the fence.
I had been longing for Honeysuckle, missing that soft fragrance and the sweet taste of its nectar...a childhood memory from Summers long ago. So last Sunday, Tall Husband and I went in search of that magical plant. We found it at Buchanan's Native Plants in the Houston Heights. They had only one plant left and a staff member warned that Honeysuckle is "quite aggressive." She smiled, though, as she recalled sucking nectar from Honeysuckle flowers as a child.
After reading about the plant on the Internet (it is considered a weed in some states, because of its tendency to overtake anything in its path) we became a bit worried. Would we return to the Bunny Bungalow one day to find it smothered in a tangle of Honeysuckle vines? Would we be forced to machete a path to our back door? Smelling the fragrant flowers, we threw caution to the wind and planted it by the wooden fence, near the old well. Next weekend we shall stretch stainless steel wires on the fence to form a trellis for our new vine...that is if it hasn't consumed the fence by then.
This morning I'm at My Ranchburger, preparing for a weekend at The Bunny Bungalow; however, I took some time out to plant some yellow Lantana and Sweet Basil in a large pot which already contains Rosemary, mint and apple scented Geranium. So, I have to confess, I forgot to water this large pot and some of the more fragile plants withered away (a euphemism for died.) Hopefully, Tall Husband won't yell too loudly about this transgression, if he sees I've replaced plants. He is a tender, attentive gardener and laments the passing of each plant, and my forgetfulness, along with a brown thumb, gives him occasion to lament..loudly.
I think my forgetfulness is the reason I love trees so much. If you forget to water them, they just put down deeper roots and grow strong enough to withstand our hurricane seasons. Remembering this, I looked up at a Crape Myrtle tree that Tall Husband and I had planted some years ago. What do you think I saw? Its first bloom of the season! You know how exciting that is.
When we planted this tree, it was about ten feet tall with a large root ball. We've all seen bad guys in movies digging graves. They make it look so easy. Well, let me tell you...digging even a small hole in the earth is difficult work. When it was my turn at the shovel, I couldn't believe the energy it took. After about ten minutes into my digging career, my shovel hit something hard...clunk. I screamed, "Buried treasure!" I had always said there was something special about this piece of land.
Tall Husband quickly came to the edge of the hole to take over. Refusing to give up the shovel, I dug faster, with new-found vigor. Finally our treasure was partially visible: "Old bed springs," Tall Husband said in disgust.
Before we got that tree planted, in addition to wrestling bed springs out of the ground, we had dug up a rusty old ax head, an old railroad spike, bucket-loads of rusty metal and pieces of dirty, disintegrating rags.
We had to admit it. The evidence was in: we lived on an old garbage dump. All our romantic notions about American Indians having hunted Buffalo here; about pioneers passing through...all gone. We are garbage people!
"Well, it doesn't look bad for a garbage dump," Tall Husband tried to reassure me.
Tall Husband, thank you for twenty-seven years of interesting marriage. We surely have some stories to remember and share. And, as I promised Taddie, we still love and cherish one another, though there have been times when neither of us was lovable or cherishable. To sum it all up, I would say, This has been an excellent adventure, Love.
Note: Taddie was Tall Husband's mother and a friend and mother to me.
Last week, on this blog, you saw some historic homes in Round Top, Texas... mecca for antique lovers around the world. We were there on a Monday and this famous, tiny town (population: 77 most days) was closed, subsequently, Tall Husband and I had the place to ourselves.
This is one last look around before we drive out of town on that famous two-lane highway.
Click on each photo to enlarge and to read signs.
Above is Pandora de Balthazar, European Luxury Bedding in Bybee Square. You can be sure I'll visit there the next time I'm in town!
Here's a quick look around Bybee Square.
And we say Goodbye to Mama Llama, because there is no one else around.
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