Hill Country Estate: People’s Choice Award-Winning Home

This home shows what happens when a team of eco-minded pros get to work. I wrote this article for Austin/San Antonio Urban Home Magazine on the 2009 San Antonio Parade of Homes Peoples Choice Award-winning home. The coolest part is that the entire home is green certified by the Build San Antonio Green program.

EXCERPT: “When builder Kevin FitzGerald initially saw the terrain, he knew he wanted to modernize without sacrificing traditional Hill Country style. He decided on what he calls “transitional”, meaning it could go either way. Moving from room to room, the home quietly surprises you; from old ship laps along the wall that create intriguing shadow lines, to a floating mirror replete with backlighting, the style is original, and even refreshing.”

To download a PDF and read more click HERE.

cig butts vs. herb garden

I quit smoking.

Okay, I lied. I am in the weaning phase in which I accept drags here and there.

But for all intents and purposes, I have quit. So, this morning I converted the flower pots on my back porch from ash trays to herb gardens.

Bright and early, I stopped by the local nursery in Silverlake, and confessed brightly to a big man named Jim that I didn’t know anything about… well, I waved my hands to the overwhelming selection of trees, flowers, shrubs, plants, herbs, soil, pots, etc. He asked me a number of questions about what I wanted, and we narrowed it down to herbs, especially ones that I could use for cooking.

That’s when he led me to an enormous outdoor shelf with an herb selection so varied that I suddenly felt giddy with possibility. Chamomile – fresh brewed bedtime tea! Rosemary – dried for my eye pillow! Basil- add to salads! And on and on. Jim let me bask from one end of the shelf to another, reading about the different strains and smelling everything. I settled on Lemon Balm to add to sparkling water or iced tea, Parsley for salads (it gives you good breath too!), Chamomile, and Basil. I bought a bag of organic soil as well as fertilizer, and a mini shovel. The whole affair cost me $35 (worth about 5 packs of cigs, a good trade).

I dumped the old cig butts and dry dirt from my three pots, and sat on the ground working the fresh soil through my hands as I refilled them. I remember a naturopath telling me to touch fresh soil everyday for its healing effects. I see why. I then gently planted the herbs and watered them. Let the green-thumbing begin!

(As I write this, they are dancing lightly under the California sun. It’s a happy day).

For Mom

Wind sweeps through the fields,
coercing a leaf from its branch

plunging this way and that,
in the great wide open.

Glimpses of the familiar tumble
out of view, in wild flashes,

then gently fading
into a horizon far out of reach.

Rain falls without warning,
and the leaf fills to brimming.

For abigail

She swallows you whole.
When her mouth opens,
you’ll spill forth in liquid laughter.

She bears you like lava, tumbling,
a renaissance of burnt umber,
streaked with sass.

You lie waiting,
until the fiery yang of new life
gently fades. Then she’s there.

Before you cool to harden,
she’ll swiftly collect you,
pressure here and give there,

loving you

into something beautiful.