Texas, Travel

The Wild West

Compared to Houston, West Texas is like another country.  

It is wide open spaces with rolling hills and deep canyons.

It is where animals roam free

and cactus blooms add  their own kind of beauty.  As you can see, they are for looking, not touching! 

There’s not much to do in most of West Texas, but if you like to be away from it all and experience the great outdoors, Cibolo Creek Ranch, literally in the middle of nowhere, is perfect.

The decor fits the environment, rustic with wonderful accents.

While at the ranch, it’s OK to take siestas on the inviting sleeping porch

or lounge by the pool under blue Texas sky.

Before the day gets too hot, going with a ranch hand to explore the surrounding area is a real adventure.

The ride is teeth jarring and can be a little scary as the trail gets a bit close to the edge.

It appears that the craggy landscape is best handled by mountain goats who seem nonplussed by its roughness.

Though pretty desolate now, there is evidence that the area was once occupied, likely by Indians who were tough enough to survive its challenges.

As amazing as the sights are,

it’s good to get back to the ranch for a refreshing pause.  A stay at the Cibolo Creek Ranch doesn’t make the west seem too wild.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind




Wandering Country Roads

There’s plenty to do in Houston, but every now and then it’s fun to leave the big city behind and explore the wide open spaces that define Texas.

It doesn’t take long to see what rural Texas is about.  Cattle graze lazily in fields

and the sprawling metropolis is replaced by a series of small towns.

IMG_0456This time of year the landscape colored by wildflowers is spectacular.  No matter how many times I see fields of blue, red, yellow and pink my heart sings in appreciation of nature’s beauty.

Another reason to get out and about now is the Round Top Antique Show which these days is said to cover some 28 miles.  That means a lot of stuff to browse.  Now, I don’t need a thing, but that doesn’t keep my eye from wandering in search of the unusual or interesting.

IMG_0463Bottles never fail to get my attention.  These are truffle jars that when filled with mushrooms and cotton hold in the moisture necessary for preservation.  You can be sure that in my possession they would be filled with flowers to create a centerpiece for a tablescape.

IMG_0472Talk about an unusual flower container.  Take a look at this chemical beaker.  I didn’t buy one, but the temptation was great.  These were $175 each, a little pricey so I’m going to look into finding new pieces and creating the look.

IMG_0474These wooden mallets got my attention because of their varying shapes and heights.  In case you are wondering, they were used for barn building.  I wouldn’t want someone with one of those in their hand to get mad at me!

IMG_0489One exhibit featured lamps and chandeliers made from the most interesting materials.   For a fleeting moment I could imagine one in my eclectic mix of things.

IMG_9777Then, there were those things that reminded me of some of you bloggers.  White porcelain

IMG_0480and blue and white pieces are favorites of many of you.

IMG_0487Exhibits are in fields, tents and enclosed spaces some of which are beautifully displayed.

IMG_0488I have a hard time imagining how much dealers have to sell to justify the cost.   As one said, it’s always a gamble and you have to do a show knowing that you will win or lose.


A day or two of wandering among the exhibits is about all I can take and then I’m ready to get back in the car and wander the country roads stopping here and there to take a photo.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


A Different Kind of Ranching

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Texas ranches I think of wide open spaces under brilliant blue sky.

I think of cows grazing in those wide open spaces, occasionally looking up to see who or what is passing by.

I think of cowboys on horseback rounding up cattle or mending fences.

Well, that’s still happening, but on a visit to a friend’s ranch I learned there’s something new happening in ranching. Horses were replaced by ATVs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand where once cows grazed, there were all kinds of exotic animals

more common to Africa than Texas.

I never expected to see zebras roaming the pastures

or geese strolling those wide open spaces totally at home with their four legged friends. 

The only animal that wasn’t a surprise was the white tailed deer so common in Texas they become a nuisance.  I’m told they are thinned out (meaning shot) several times a year to keep their numbers down. 

As we ventured around the property, I didn’t see a single cow and couldn’t help but ask why cattle had been replaced with all these other animals.  The answer was pretty simple.  This rancher was no longer interested in raising cattle and without animals on the property he’d have a pretty hefty tax burden.  Judging from his ranch, it doesn’t seem to make any difference what kind of animals so long as they have four legs!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


On To Big Bend

Big Bend is a land of strong beauty, often savage and always imposing.

Lon Garrison

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABig Bend is one of the more interesting but least visited national parks in the United States.  There’s good reason for that.  Big Bend is not an easy place to get to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is not right off any super highway which means you better know where to turn to get there.  And, it’s a good idea to start with a full tank of gas because there’s no close place to fill up when the gas gauge nears E.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce there, the solitude and beauty of the place is overwhelming.  


and mountains.

It is rock formations

Santa Elena Canyon

and canyons, all formed millions of years ago by volcanic activity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is green valleys along the Rio Grande,

Rio Grande 1the narrow, shallow river that serves as the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

Big Bend

It is native grasses swaying in the wind

and here and there an abandoned ranch or dwelling where a family once lived.  It is hard to imagine surviving in such a challenging environment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABig Bend is sunriseOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand sunset and so much more, but that can wait for another day.  Do come back to share the grandeur and mystery of this captivating national treasure.

i so appreciate your visit and especially the comments you leave behind


Wow Us Wednesday



Let’s Go West

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith all it has to offer, Houston is a great place, but from time to time it’s fun to leave the big city behind and go exploring.  Come along and let’s go west.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom Houston to San Antonio, there’s not a great deal to see, but once past  San Antonio, scenery changes dramatically.  First comes the rolling Hill Country, quite different from Houston’s flattness.

IMG_6243In no time at all that gives way to wide  open spaces and an 80 MPH speed limit which means making pretty good time on the road.

IMG_6250About the only thing dotting the landscape is hundreds of wind turbines which make Texas the largest provider of wind power in the country.

IMG_6406First stop on this adventure is Marathon, 8 hours from Houston and quite a bit above the sea level we are used to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Marathon’s main attraction is the historic Gage Hotel and its excellent restaurant.  It is the reason most folks choose to stop in Marathon and reservations are often hard to come by.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat being the case, we opted for Eve’s Garden, a funky B & B.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith all its bright colors and unique architectural features, Eve’s struck me as a west Texas version of Gaudi.  It was astonishing to learn that the construction is of bricks made with recycled paper, clay and water.  That made me think all that paper I recycle is worth something!

Eve’s provided many an opportunity for photographs as everywhere there was something to catch the eye.   I doubt that Bernie left this sign behind, but it was interesting to think his appeal reached even the smallest of Texas towns.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs night fell, the rooftop proved a great place to capture the waning sun,  a sight seldom seen in Houston.  Such color made me think about how it could be incorporated into one of my woven pieces.  Nature provides such great inspiration for creativity.

With morning came a delightful breakfast, made so by a colorful presentation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst on the menu was a grapefruit topped with an impressive meringue.  How could I not find out how to do this!  Once the meringue is heaped on the grapefruit, it goes in the oven for about 4 minutes.  Sounds easy enough, huhn, but I forgot to ask about temperature!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext came a fragrant frittata, and if one desired a little kick there were lots of hot sauce choices.  Who would have guessed there were so many?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith appetite satisfied and glimpses of Marathon in the rear view mirror, it was time to move  on to Big Bend, a national park you won’t want to miss so stay tuned.

i so appreciate your visit  and the comments you leave behind

Random, Table Settings, Tablescapes, Texas



Now you may not think about Houston being a big time rodeo town but for the next three weeks it’s just that.

BarebackRidingThere’ll be bronc busting,

BarrelRacing barrel races for the gals


 chuck wagon races and so much more with nice payback to the winners in every event.  The real winners though are the  young people who year after year receive generous scholarships which help them continue their education.

IMG_5968This time of year means cowboy hats and denim,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmaybe even a prize winning steer showing up for a spell.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHungry cowboys and cowgirls will gather round to tell tall tales

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAas they enjoy a cold Lone Star, the national beer of Texas.

IMG_5970Tables don’t have to be too fancy,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbut whatever fills the bowl better be hearty and good.

chicken chiliI’m thinking a good bowl of chicken/white bean chili and jalapeño cornbread will be just right.


It’s a fun time of year all right and when you are driving the streets of Houston you better be prepared for whatever is in front of you as you head to the rodeo and a concert by your favorite country/western singer!

i so appreciate your visit and especially the comments you leave behind


Tablescape Thursday

Inspiration Thursday

Full Plate Thursday

Foodie Friday

Texas, Travel

Traveling the Back Roads of Texas

Hill CountryTo track down the wildflowers, heading west from Houston on I-10 is a good place to start.  Now there’s not a whole lot to see between Houston and San Antonio unless you get off the freeway and explore those back roads that give you a glimpse of what most of Texas really is.

small town TexasMuch of small town Texas has fewer than 5,000 folks, and some of those towns, especially what used to be the business area, have seen their better days.  

small Texas townNo matter how shabby a place appears, there always seems to be a sweet church rising to meet the blue Texas sky.

small town TexasIMG_4306IMG_4305
IMG_4299Here and there are some surprisingly cute places like this one serving a delicious lunch

IMG_4307and having a garden shop and nursery chock full of tempting things.

pickups/bar b queBar-B-Que is a favorite food in these small towns and if that’s what you have a hankering for, you’ll be in luck.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a pickup, you’re still welcome

Texas country facesTexas country facesTexas country facesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand can have a bite of lunch with the good ole boys!

bluebonnetsThere was a time when all the wide open spaces were cattle ranches,

Texasbut these days there’s no telling what kind of four legged critter is being raised.

Hill CountryYessir, I like exploring these back roads and sometimes Pa and I find us a porch and just sit and rock and take it all in!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind