The lack of rain now exceeds the lack we suffered during the 2011 drought. Back then we held our breath as Bastrop flames raced toward our farm. We could smell the fire and feel that loss was imminent. And there was nothing we could do but wait. Though more than half the trees on our farm died of drought, we were spared.

This past week, I suffered a bout of PTSD as great smoke plumes, once again, blanketed our farms in Bastrop and in Austin. Again, we were fortunate. Those who suffered most are east of our farm, in Smithville. Our hearts go out to them all.

If you are new to Austin or don’t have a visceral reaction to smoke, you might enjoy reading Randy Fritz’s book, Hail of Fire. He recounts how his family lost everything in the 2011 fire, including his beloved Lost Pines.

What a strange time we are living in.

To add a little perk to this week’s bouquet, we’ve added beauty berries. Yes, you can eat the little purple balls, you could even make jam. But this week, they are all about beauty. Finding bits of pretty in a crispy landscape aching for reprieve.