Simple request, right? A room with a view of trees. Sometimes the hotel is able to do that for me; other times it is impossible. What I have learned, as we travel the long highways of America (4,000 plus miles so far) is that I am happiest and most at peace when I can see trees.
Our car glove compartment, the side pockets, and baskets and boxes are stuffed with leaves and an array of acorns from oak species around the country. Props, clothes, suitcases, and, of course, too many books (is there such a thing?) are crammed into every inch of the car and trunk. I pity anyone who tries to steal this vehicle, which is like a moving museum. It has to be like a museum because I am talking to groups of inquisitive, intelligent children, like these that visited me at my Lemuria Bookstore event in Jackson, Mississippi.
The kids are holding up their thumbs so they can learn how owls grab and hold their food with their opposable (like our thumbs) talons.
Jackson is on the Southern Literary Trail, which includes the homes of Faulkner and my favorite, Eudora Welty. Her home is the most intact of all the author's homes, with stacks of books and other family pieces that make it look like she just stepped away from her typewriter to gaze out her window to the street (which is something she loved to do).
Piles of books everywhere. I loved seeing what Eudora liked to read. She loved mysteries (I saw Nero Wolfe and Ross Macdonald), she read John Clare's poems, Faulkner (of course), and I was happy to see the garden writing of Vita Sackville-West, and southern writer-gardener (who I adore) Elizabeth Lawrence.
Eudora's home, which has docent led tours (you need a reservation).
The fabulous staff of The Natural Gardener in Austin honored me with this great display of my Workman Publishing books. After my talk and signing, the visionary founder of The Natural Gardener, John Dromgoole, treated us to a personal tour of his gardens, which are sustainable, practical, water-wise, AND gorgeous.
The Kitchen Garden sign is hung from a spoon and a butter knife.
This is the charming and bountiful Kitchen Garden at Natural Gardener in Austin,Texas. Jeff and I spent an hour just sitting nearby and enjoying the scents and sights of all the birds and people enjoying the garden, which was designed by cookbook author and personality, Lucinda Hutson.
The powerful zings of color are signatures of Lucinda.
John took me on a tour of his gardens...
...which are watched over by this giant Mockingbird sculpture.
To get a sense of scale, John stands at the end of his Willie Nelson guitar garden of grasses. John is a visionary and wanted to honor "Trigger," Willie Nelson's famed guitar, with a special garden.
The sign above the rustic arbor reads, "Life's a journey-Enjoy it!"
I love this sculptural bench made with iron and rake heads for the back.
A perfect little spot for growing the tender greens that deer and rabbits love. They won't be able to get these!
So here I am in Stephenville, Texas, and I have a room with a view of trees, which makes me feel contented.
Tonight I give a talk to the Stephenville Organic Gardening Club at GreenMaker Nursery in Stephenville, TX, tomorrow we head back to Austin to tape a segment on "Central Texas Gardener" on KLRU (Austin PBS), which is produced by Linda Lehmusvirta and features Tom Spencer as my gracious host (not that Linda isn't gracious too). The show will air in December.
After Austin, we head to Tempe, Arizona's Changing Hands Bookstore. Maybe I'll see you there! Our California garden beckons us. Our grands want us home, and little Luke, who now weighs over five pounds, awaits us. I'll finally be able to hold him.
By journey's end, we will have traveled over 5,000 miles. We've seen glorious sights, met wonderful people, had great adventures, shared the sorrows of our northeastern neighbors, worked hard, and enjoyed every moment.
Sending love from the big, long, Texas highway,