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Cogitative





A distant relative

Lovely evening sky view from Bagby corner

Obsessing over Hibiscus flowers

Beautiful remains (apple brunoise) from the Brie Ringo at Uchi-Houston

    Walking around the Mission I happened upon a large puzzle of California that someone had glued to poster board and then left for trash on the sidewalk. Was great carrying it around that day. Found a place to display it.

Front yard blooms, fried plantains, January Vogue

Changing of the leaves

There is a saying  in Texas: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute and it’ll change.”

It is not uncommon for it to be in the high 80’s one day and a few days later it might snow. True story.

It is December, and last week we had some ‘winter’ weather. If you consider 30’s at night and high 50’s during the day, winter weather. Honestly, after living in the Bay for a few years it felt like just another day. Around these parts it means people immediately go shopping for sweaters, or pull out their winter clothes from storage. Yes, I have been wearing a scarf, it has been slightly chilly before 6 a.m. But today, what do you know, it is 79 degrees and I’m wearing shorts.

With the weather being so indecisive, we are still enjoying produce like tomatoes and spinach this late in the year. The trees are also changing colors. It looks like Fall. It is just beautiful.

I literally stopped (my bike) in my tracks when I saw this incredible tree today. Its leaves dripping with yellow, beckoning me to stop and clip some trimmings from it. Lucky for me it exists in yet another vacant lot, so I casually took a few branches that were hanging low to the ground. Casually.

There are tiny clusters at the end of the branches that look very much like Tallow berry but grey instead of white.
I arranged the branches in my white vase and set it in the kitchen. Works well against the yellow walls and matches perfectly with the squash.

Yellow in December. Why not?

Mysterious foliage

It’s always important to look up. You never know what might be falling….

As I strolled through Buffalo Bayou the other day, I caught myself -looking up-into the sky. What caught my attention was quite a lovely tree. From its branches were iridescent pockets of petals which gleamed like sea shells in the ocean. Had the ocean been in the sky.

 

So I proceeded to climb the tree. Just kidding.

But, as gravity would have it, some of these striking branches had fallen from the tree. To my luck. What a find this is. I only wish I had more.

I paired it with a few stems of some existing tallow berry and cotton. The more I admire this dried arrangement the more I’m thinking how nice this would look as a wreath or as a table arrangement.

It has a nice seasonal December feel about it without screaming ‘red’ and ‘green’. Back to the Bayou then…

and p.s., I have no idea what it is.

Coral Vine

I’ll admit I’m a fan of Twitter. What can I say, I don’t have cable and I engage in social networking. But really, it is entertaining, and informative, and even inspiring (quite often). Memorable moments in the past include: instant #earthquakeinsf updates and reading the live tweeting from #jamesbeardawards2011. That is just to name two. If you think about it, it is much more instantaneous than many major news sources. But perhaps you already knew that..

Today I uploaded an image of a beautiful pink flower I had just #foraged from a nearby vacant lot. The only glitch was that I had no clue as to what it was. Within minutes of posting I had my answer. Ash from ( the much admired and Austin based floral company) The Byrd Collective, tweeted back to me that it was in fact called: Coral Vine.

Here is what it looked like growing wild in the elements. A quick Google search revealed it is indigenous to Mexico, but grows quite well in Texas and the Gulf area. Further reading indicates it appears to be invasive (will cover everything in its path), it’s drought tolerant and the roots of this vine are edible. I’d consider these all perfect reasons to invest in this beautiful vine.

In the meantime, I took some trimmings for the road.

I tweeted back to Ash, that I’d love to pair it with orange tones and Antique hydrangea for a colorful fall alternative. Hot pink and orange is one of my favorite color combinations. The vibrancy of the tiny hot pink flowers is also quite a refreshing sight, considering days earlier, I featured simple green leaves in this vase. Nice, but not as exciting as Coral Vine.

Knowing it is close by, it will be hard to resist sneaking back over there to trim some more…

Wild mini-sunflowers

Considering there is/was a drought around these parts, I’ve recently observed wild over-grown bushes of mini-sunflowers just about everywhere. This can only indicate> the times we are living in aren’t as hopeless as they sometimes seem to be. Or that a few of Rick Perry’s prayers were answered? I’m sure flowers were in his prayers.

Needless to say wild-sunflowers are growing along sides of major roads, in big empty fields and lining a bike path I’m fond of taking. It is a nice sight, considering the wild-flowers that should have been (months prior) never bloomed to fruition. Here they are, now sprouting up after that last and brief rain.

Large sun flowers tend to grow vertically, but this wild mini-variety grows horizontally and all over the place. It is more like a hunched over and tangled web. Speckled with tiny yellow flowers weaved amongst the stems, it looks like a bush of weeds from a distance.. As soon as I spotted the bush below I knew that it could use some help by being pruned back. As well, it was slightly obstructing a walk-way. I thought some fall-trimming was in order.

One large stem yielded a nice wild arrangement. I decided to keep some of the dried pods (on the stem) in the medley and arranged the wild blooms in a vintage vase I dug up. I think the pods add a nice dimension and create a good balance in the arrangement between what is new and what is old. Balance is always the motive.

Nasturtium, succulent, orange

Last week I plucked these ‘weeds’ from the back yard. As I pulled and cut, an older gentleman stood watching me. As he watched curiously as I pulled, he pulled long drags from his cigarette. I was positive he’d tell me to stop cutting and pruning from this communal yard. But he did not. I secretly felt relief. After I explained to him the uses for nasturtium (in salads and as edible garnishes for his seasonal soups), all he could muster was “Those tomatoes sure need watering.” He also included, that he’d tell his wife of the nasturtium for salads. I can only hope he did.

I seem to use it more in vases than I do in my salad bowl. I should probably the gentleman’s advice and water the tomatoes. Then I’ll take my own advice and eat some nasturtium. Or use the flowers for garnish on a soup. Tomato.

Figs

You know I’m all about using what’s available aka what can quickly be foraged…this is what’s going on right now. I quite like it. Purples and greens. Fresh, unripe figs with vibrant little blooms.

And here it is in a more clustered fashion which I think I prefer slightly more. Should have found some brown sticks/twigs to add as a finishing touch. Trust me. Next time.

And for the umpteenth time: I’m just astonished  and dazzled by what grows under foot and above your reach. Makes store-bought flowers seem so ordinary. Nod for yes.