Posted by: Rachel | April 15, 2012

the flowers that bloom in the spring…

What a great visit with my New York cousins. Their timing was perfect for viewing the local wildflowers, and since we had no rain last year (so pretty much no flowers) and far exceeded our usual amount this spring, the flowers are putting on an astonishing show.

Just in case you should happen to find yourself in Austin either in the next week or so, or next year during the “season” (assuming we have a good show next year, you just never know) I highly recommend driving out 290 past the “Y” (ask anyone) and doing the Willow City Loop.

I just found out about this recently. Amazing that one can live in a place for so many years and be so clueless… but luckily I have good friends who watch out for me. A friend told me about this, and I want to say thanks again!! Wow…

From Austin it makes a nice day trip. We did the loop in the morning. The “loop” itself is a 13-mile private road (and my thanks to the folks who live out there as well, for letting us drive through!) and you are not supposed to stop your car to take pictures. Seems only fair to the locals, so we followed the rules but boy, was it tempting! Beautiful…

Then, with our heads full of flowers, we drove to Fredericksburg for lunch. After lunch we poked around in the town for a bit and I found a wonderful kitchen supply shop. Oh danger danger…

I could have spent a full day in there. The place is a proper rabbit warren, room after room of shiny pretties in what was once a hospital/clinic. Lovely architecture and oh what goodies! A full room of beautiful chef’s knives, another of copper-ware, one of linens, skillets, casseroles, stemware… you get my drift? Oh la la!

I did good, though, and got away cheap. I only bought these few little bottles of essential oils. I just couldn’t pass ’em up!

5 tiny bottles of oils

too adorable!

Aren’t they just too cute? And mmmmmmm….

I’ve never actually used oils like these in cooking. The store had dozens of choices on display, but many of them said “flavoring” and included “artificial and natural” flavors. These, though, are all natural pure oils and they smell amazing.

My plan, such as it is, includes lemon-lime sorbet, adding a drop or two or mint (these oils are very potent) to my next chocolate cake, and I don’t know what I’ll do with the others but I had to get ’em! Any suggestions?

We had a fine visit overall. Lots of good food, mostly eating out, which was a treat. They’re back in “The City”, now, though, and I’m back in my yard, working. We did get to enjoy coffee outside most mornings as it wasn’t too hot, and that’s always a joy.

This week my loquats are ripe and I’m eating all I can get before the birds discover them. Mmmm… how does your garden grow? Happy spring, y’all…



  1. For a certain subset of us, the proper line is “the flowers bloom like madness in the spring” (google it) which is certainly true this year.

    • Oh how funny! I was thinking Gilbert and Sullivan (Google it ;-)) – never thought about AquaLung! Thanks…!

  2. Darn it! I wish I knew about that “loop” before Mom came to visit for Easter. There’s a nice field of flowers in Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock that we usually go take pictures in, it’s a city park so all are welcome. Lots of families were out a couple weeks before Easter.

    I’ve got a loquat tree too! I made a small batch of sugar-free jam with them. Ball makes small packets of pectin for two 8oz jars worth. Perfect for small crops of loquat 🙂 Besides that, my arugula is nuts and I’ve already had a couple red tomatoes.

    Happy gardening!

    • My loquats haven’t made it into the house — I just eat ’em in the yard and spit the (very pretty) seeds out ;-). Mmmm…

      No red tomatoes here yet, but plenty of greenies! Woohoo!

  3. Sounds like a great day out and the flowers are beautiful!

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