Archive: » 2022 » May

Buried Inside the State Archives

AUSTIN — I am back in one of my happy places, doing research at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building, located across the street from the state capitol. Busloads of school children wander around the verdant capitol grounds beneath the pecan and oak trees while squirrels chatter at them. A field trip to the capitol is a fine way to end the school year. I first flip through the pages of an 1840 edition of the San Augustine Journal & Advertiser, a one-year run that appears to only be available in a print version at this library. Most of what I have researched has been...

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There’s a Tiger in the Grass

Olive, the dumpster-diving kitten rescued by daughter Abbie last summer after we finished eating at the Olive Garden — hence the name — has finally been allowed to venture into the Great Outdoors. She has been strictly an indoor kitty until this week and spent hours staring longingly out the picture windows into the backyard. My Beautiful Mystery Companion — aka the Cat Whisperer — and I were both leery at letting such a small creature out there where hawks, owls, coyotes and other predators abound. Olive watched with envy as Tater and Tot, her new older brothers, prowled the backyard....

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Death of a Stately Tree

Several months ago, an arborist from the Texas A&M Forest Service came to look at one of the large water oaks in the front pasture, which had a deep crevice at its base and clearly contained decayed wood. He took a quick glance and said the tree was a goner. He said the good news is that if it fell, the water oak would fall away from the house. Patching the crevice with foam or concrete, as was common in decades past, would do no good at all. I decided to just leave it and let nature take its course. Then in late March a fierce thunderstorm blew through, spawning a tornado that destroyed...

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Hurtling The Language Barrier

I spent most of a recent afternoon talking on the phone to pleasant-sounding people with distinct French accents. We plan to take a trip to Canada in late June, to visit the villages of the Eastern Township, a picturesque region in Quebec just over the Vermont border. It is the setting for Louis Penny’s popular Inspector Gamache series, which both my Beautiful Mystery Companion and I are engrossed in reading. We are excited to take our first real vacation in nearly three years. And I’m looking forward to exploring the area where my mother’s family grew up, and which I visited as a child. Crossing...

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