On Camping, Cuttings, and those piles of Trump flags in dumpsters like Nazi uniforms in Berlin alleys, 1945…

First up: Camping!

So as previously mentioned, we and a few of our friends with kids went camping from October 29th to November 1st. We just couldn’t cotton to the idea of trick or treating, so a group trip seemed in the cards. Plus there has been a rush on camping during the pandemic, so it was also the only weekend we could find availabilities.

We went to a site an hour or so outside of Austin called Krause Springs and it was SO beautiful. Like… wow. Waterfalls, swimming holes, nice hiking, a spring fed pool… sure it wasn’t roughing it by any means (there were other campsites and bathrooms within view of our spot), but the camp itself was totally picturesque.

Krause Springs

There is one thing I hate about camping though, and that’s sleeping cold. And of course those turned out to be the COLDEST nights we’ve had to date. It warmed up again right after we got home on the 1st too… agh! We all survived, but few were well rested after that first, coldest night. Funnily enough no one wanted to be the first to complain so we all just sucked it up instead of commiserating with each other, at least until the next, more comfortable night was in the bag.

We took our niece with us (same age as our eldest) and she got up to pee EVERY night at 3am. As a good aunt, awoken by all the rustling, I went with her to the bathrooms EVERY night. I felt both like a martyr and a good aunt about it. Jesus of Niece-erus, as it were, having to leave a blissfully warm sleeping bag to walk in the cold to the bathroom building. And yet- there was beauty in walking in the cold air, with my niece, talking away at 3am as we walked under a full moon, crossing the dry creek to and from our campsite.

We took a long hike as a group as well- which was beautiful.

Here is a pic when the adults were picking a trail for our day hike and we didn’t realize until we got back that not a one of us noticed the trail we picked was the only one rated as “Difficult.” D’oh. The 4 and 5 year olds did better than some of the adults but we all made it through.

On Halloween we had the kids carve pumpkins, did an egg hunt for candy, I did face painting for all the kids, and they played games running around the campsite late at night wearing glow sticks. Oh, and we also took a nighttime stroll to a bit of an overlook to check out that amazing blue moon.

All of us (the adults) were super intent on making it a memorable and fun Halloween for those kids… I think we pulled it off. We all had a good time hanging out with friends too- it was really nice and has been few and far between this year. So Halloween #1 of the pandemic down, and it was filled with good friends and good times.

In garden news:

Everything is winding down in the garden. Most of the zinnias are pulled, lots of weeding and mulching still to be done, and the winter annuals and veggies are starting to go in. But while chickens don’t like the newly planted snapdragons, calendulas, or the pansies/violas they absolutely DEVOUR the decorative cabbages. Like… wow. And garlic chives. They will not leave the garlic chives alone. Gonna have to replace those and there might be some interesting flavored eggs in our future…

So as I’m taking stock of the garden, and the various pots to be brought in this winter, I realize a good number of my plants have come from cuttings- something I seem to have finally gotten a hang of after all these years.

I’m just proud I had the forethought to get 2 cuttings.

The cactus cuttings I took from my in-laws horse pasture have grown a significant amount this year. I’m finding the rock mulch may really be the secret to overcoming my previous trouble with both cactus and thyme plants.

Cardinal rule: If your cutting looks phallic get two.

The plumeria cuttings have grown so tall this year. The plant is looking a little rough as it prepares to loose leaves and go dormant for the winter. It’ll be ignored in the shed until spring once the really cold weather sets in.

The Castroville basil has been an absolute rockstar this year. Covered in flowers and bees, no pruning needed to maintain a perfect 4′ dome shape… it’s awesome. I am concerned I waited too long to take cuttings because the ones I’m trying to root right now sure are taking their sweet time…

We haven’t deadheaded flowers or done pruning and it’s been an amazing visual addition to the garden that in no way comes through in pictures.

There are more cuttings but those are the main ones. Last but not least from the garden before we get to election stuff:

Self seeded tomato under the sweet basil plant

This tomato, I think, must have found it’s way onto the patio thanks to the chickens LOVING the cherry tomatoes. Down the hatch and out the cloaca, and seeded on the patio, as it were.

It’s such a gorgeous little plant but oh such bad timing, little tomato! I have such a hard time weeding things like this- it reminds me of my first potted tomato plant in college that I couldn’t bear to throw in the dumpster when the season was up. I “let it go” on the creek bank behind my apartment complex like an absolute crazy pants. But I may try to get this one up and keep in a pot until spring. That might happen.

SO! While I was writing this post yesterday… the AP called it for Biden and there was no WAY I was spending the rest of that day blogging! (sorry!)

I had prepared for this moment for over a month- knew EXACTLY what I was going to do the second Biden was declared the winner, even if it was dead of night. Luckily it was late morning though:

It spans curb to curb across our street and is done in soft pastels (much brighter than sidewalk chalk) and locked in with 2 cans of Rave hairspray. Did I spend time researching this? You bet your ass I did. And the sentiment… it’s exactly what the feeling was as well as being one I figured angry Trump supporters would have problems vandalizing.

We went out for a socially distanced hamburger (was meh) then a walk through our park. I wore my “Democratic Women of Comal County” shirt and got 3 compliments on it and a few glares. The glares were delicious, lemme tell ya.

Later that day we had a family dance party in the living room, walked around the block in the moonlight, and played chess. And of COURSE we (adults) drank champagne while listening to Kamala Harris and Joe Biden speak. I will say I honestly DID get a bit misty eyed at the shout out from Joe Biden for all the poll workers and volunteers who kept the election going and facilitated such a huge turn out in the face of this pandemic. It felt good to hear. I really tried to do my part, and I am proud about it.

SO! Let’s roll it back a week though and talk the ELECTION itself! How did it go? What was it like?

Your friendly neighborhood Democratic Alternate Election Judge in the 10 minutes I had for lunch and was out of a mask

So I actually REALLY enjoyed working the election. I loved the whole team, Republican and Democratic volunteers alike. We formed such a cohesive group, everyone supporting and joking with each other. There was one very stick in the mud male Republican judge, but we even wore him down with our good moods and he had a laughing fit so hard in the afternoon he had to go sit down. As we left at 8:30 that night (after starting our day at 6am) everyone asked the presiding judge to take all our names down (clerks, hygienists, and judges alike) because we all want to work together again at the next election. That you can work for 14 hours straight with people and not be sick of them is pretty amazing, honestly.

it was GREAT to just be a good citizen of the town, help and be thanked by folks you could just TELL were with the opposite party to yours, and still only care about the sanctity of the voting process itself. That vibe permeated the whole thing- that “we’re here for you” intention to it all. It went very easily, with only two kinda irate folks (GUESS WHICH PARTY) but SO many more people who thanked us for the work we were doing. There was no violence or intimidation… which we’d been prepared for but it thankfully never materialized.

The most memorable event of the day was the lady who walked up with a soft sided pet carrier over her shoulder. I asked her what was in it (expecting a puppy, maybe a kitten) and she said “Oh, it’s my monkey- could I bring him in with me to vote?”


So like, where does one even GET a marmoset? Asking for a friend.

My answer to her question was: “Ma’am, I’m positive the answer to that question is not covered in my training handbook, so I’ll allow it as long as it isn’t a distraction to the other voters.” A goddamn marmoset. Wow.

And now… well! The vast majority of the Trump Train trucks are gone from the roads, though there still are a few around. Almost all of the houses with Trump signs or flags have taken them down. All the bluster and bluff of “WE ARE THE STORM” fizzled away in just a matter of days. Y’all were not much of a storm, more of a weak ass drizzle, when it all came down to it. But even if they WERE a storm… we’re the goddamn SUN, motherfuckers, and sunlight PREVAILS.

I do wonder if a hundred years from now people will still be flying Trump flags the way they still fly Confederate flags? Remember, both the Trump administration and the Confederacy only lasted 4 years, so it would make sense, I guess. Both are losing flags- so as far as I’m concerned they’re welcome to mark themselves as such if they choose.

I’ll leave you with some of the driveway art my brother in law has been doing for months now:

Quite a talent, honestly.

9 thoughts on “On Camping, Cuttings, and those piles of Trump flags in dumpsters like Nazi uniforms in Berlin alleys, 1945…

  1. I thought of you last night, Lauren, when Joe Biden thanked all election workers, you all deserve a huge pat on the back (remotely delivered) for making sure that our election was safe and secure. I wish the outgoing president had not demonized the process so much, it’s going to take a long time to restore confidence in elections . . . .
    Loved the street art that you and my great nieces created, and also love your brother in law’s sidewalk art, cool stuff!
    I have so many questions about your beautiful gardens, but will leave it at just one for now: do you eat the leaves of the Castroville basil, or is it decorative?
    Imagine putting in winter crops, geez, I just pulled the snow blower to the front of the garage, it’s going to shut down up here in Minnesota soon.
    Anyway, I’m proud to have you as my niece and I love your lively posts. Val C.

    1. Thanks, Aunt Val!

      It never REALLY gets cold enough to ever be without some kind of crops here- even the oregano and thyme are evergreen! You’re welcome to snowbird it with us anytime you get sick of the cold white stuff!

      Since the Castroville basil is some variety of Thai basil it has a VERY different flavor profile from the sweet basil we also grow. I guess we could eat it in pho soup… but so far I haven’t made any recipes that call for it. For us, so far, it’s purely decorative.

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