Dear Sunday Letter readers,
We spent the 4th of July weekend in Austin with our daughter and son-in-law. We’ve not done much traveling since the pandemic, and it was marvelous to get away. It was especially fabulous to see Kelsey and Preston! We packed lots of greatness in three days including food, family time, music, sightseeing, and even some gardening.
Seriously, Austin has the best of everything.
Take a look at this plant library we saw in the cul-de-sac of an Austin neighborhood. It’s a version of the Little Free Library idea—a library of plants! We have a seed drawer in our Little Free Library, and sometimes in our neighborhood, people leave plants on the curb for folks to take. This goes above and beyond.
What a fun way to share plants and keep Austin green.
Our backyard became a certified monarch waystation two years ago. Now, we have an option for raising butterflies inside with this butterfly insectarium from Acorn Naturalists. The screened box isn’t large enough to raise more than a few monarchs a time, but it will be fun to watch them up close knowing there are no predators on our back porch.
I’ve been doing this same thing at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (cleaning the butterfly house and insectary), so I thought why not enjoy the process on a smaller scale at home? I already have two quests staying in my new butterfly house.
Happy birthday to me!
Yes, yesterday was my birthday. Another trip around the sun is always cause for celebration in our family. And boy I am feeling the love. I’ve heard from so many friends and family, received lots of fun gifts and cards from family, friends, and neighbors, and had a Birthday Eve dinner at Meiji in Fayetteville. It was delish!
My sister and I leisurely walked around the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market on my birthday morning. It was almost like the jaunty music on the square was just for me. I bought green beans, Brussel sprouts, and cucumbers. Everything looked so fresh and yummy.
It sure is nice to be able to enjoy normal things again, I only hope it lasts. In Arkansas, our COVID infection numbers are increasing at an alarming speed. (We are one of the states with a ridiculously low vaccination rate. Well, we rank low in many categories, but that’s another story.)
I’m not someone who lies about my age or mourns my lost youth. I’m 59 now, and yes, that’s a number that seems oddly impossible to me. As a kid, the amount of time from one birthday to the next took FOREVER. Time moved at a different pace— whether waiting for a lake trip or school to let out for summer or even a cake to cool so that it could be iced—the hands on the big clock in the den never moved when I stared at it.
Now? Time races like a bullet train.
I spent many childhood and teenage birthdays at the lake. Several adult birthdays came and went at the lake too. My 21st birthday was memorable for many reasons, but mostly because I spent it in Tokyo as a college student studying abroad. This year I ate Japanese food without traveling anywhere. Last night, I spent my birthday evening at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks working at the Firefly Fling. What a magical event! (I’ll do an entire post about this later.) Bottom line, I wore flowers and butterflies in my hair. What more could a birthday girl want?
Bye for now, friends. Maybe next week’s Sunday Letter will be longer. It could happen.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.