Saturday, December 31, 2011

Interesting. Just northeast of Copano Bay on the way toward Aransas Nat'l Wildlife Refuge, the soil is black and rich like that of our hometown. Familiar.
Foggy day on Copano Bay. Crossing on the fishing bridge, fog creates the illusion that our truck is driving vertically. Hiking today.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sunset coaxes creatures from their daytime leaf-caves. Russet robins and crimson cardinals poke around the fallen leaves seeking food. Winter in the woods.
Copano Bay was smooth as a giant pane of glass today. Warm air and bluebell skies tricked me into thinking it was spring. Foreshadowing of nature's treats.
Busy year continues into 2012! We are not taking on new clients at this time but will gladly add yours to our waiting list.
At last, I went for a run today. 5 laps from the gate past our camp in the woods, along the cable fence and gardens, and to the "island" and back. I'm back.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


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Bye bye skeeters

Found recipe online for natural, safe and (so far) effective mosquito repellent: 2T. Olive oil + 15-20 drops castor oil. Slather on about once an hour.

Wild wildlife

Raccoons opened our fridge--it was full. They ate trail mix and flour but left produce and cheese. Took dog food and trash. Forgot to put away again. Grr.
Now testing mobile capability...again

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rainy Days and Sundays

Yesterday it rained all day, and I was reminded that I prefer hot and dry to cool and rainy.  Droughts are paradise for me...partly because this weather "suits my clothes", partly because business always seems to get a boost.  All day I complained.  Wah wah wahhhh.  I love Texas weather, though.  We have only two seasons: hot and dry, and cool/windy/rainy.  Toward the end of the hot season (like now) we have a sneak peek into the second season.  That blip of cooler temps, blustery wind, and sideways rain hints it's time to start looking for windbreakers and long pants.  In our choice of lifestyle, it also means we need to refill propane tanks, move the portable heaters out of storage, and make travel plans. 

This year, it looks like we might remain in south Texas for the winter.  There are plenty of significantly historical sites here that we want to explore with Sage.  We have some writing to do, a little planting and definitely a lot of planning for next year.  The possibility of an annual south Florida sojourn is not completely out of the question; we just won't get to take a whopping five weeks this year.  That's OK.  Having the flexibility to choose where we go and what we do -- and when -- is one of the reasons we have chosen this lifestyle.

Second season weather yesterday made me cranky.  I can't sugarcoat that fact in any way.  I really really (a million reallys) loathe feeling cold.  But my mobile and sustainable lifestyle affords me freedom and independence that offset the discomfort of days like yesterday.  First, we own our home and vehicle outright.  Second, maintenance on our tiny home is very inexpensive comparatively and nearly all of the upkeep can be done by us.  When we need a change of scenery -- literally -- or if we have unsavory "neighbors", we just move.  Sage is learning about nature first-hand, so she relates to plants, animals and weather patterns in an intimate context.  These are her friends and family, she believes.  Ask her when you meet her about honoring the life of the papaya...her attitude toward all living things will be clear in her explanation.  Really, in every way, this lifestyle benefits her education.  I should dedicate a post entirely to that topic...

The point is, choosing this lifestyle has benfitted us more than it has inconvenienced us.  The hardships that occurred during the first year merely taught us what it really means to be mobile.  Already in year two we are improving the way we live, work and travel together.  We have purged more items from our day-to-day setup as well as down-sized our storage room.  Frankly, paying rent to store things we might/might not ever use again is not a sustainable financial decision.  Sage is rapidly outgrowing clothes and toys, so if an item is not being worn or played with, it goes.  Of course, one-of-a-kind or irreplaceable gifts will continue to be stored.  Small, educational toys seem to be her favorites anyway...Both of our laptops crashed this year and we chose to replace only one.  We discovered while one of us uses the computer the other plays with Sage, or makes dinner, or replaces something on our vehicle.  After The Crash we intended to replace our truck with another four-wheel-drive vehicle.  However, we have found that most of our travels are along highways between Dallas-Ft. Worth and Corpus Christi.  It would be convenient to have off-road capabilities when we camp on the beach, but it is not mandatory.  All summer the sand has been packed so we could drive pretty much anywhere we wanted.  Other improvements related to our energy consumption, for example, are coming soon.

Preliminary work has begun on our 2012 schedule, and so far it looks like we will make our first trip north sometime in March.  Exact dates will be announced soon; we are eager to help you restore your slice of Texas!

Monday, October 03, 2011


For the past year we have juggled three separate blogs while scaling back our home and business so we could together.  If you have been following our story, we hope you will continue to travel with us as we make improvements to our mobile odyssey.  Beginning now, we will post about happenings, our adventures, as well as sustainable living concepts here at nativerave. Using labels (aka keywords or tags) will allow readers to quickly locate posts within specific topics.  At least I hope so...Please bear with us as we debug the new website and streamline the blogs.  If you have not, we will occasionally mention the other two blogs so that you may catch up, if you are interested. covers the months of planning leading up to September 15, 2010, when we officially began this journey.  Only a few posts were made after that date, and they mostly address some of my personal experiences. begins just before we departed and includes some of the planning, building, packing and all of the adventures beginning 9/15/2010 through this morning.  Since one of the guiding principles of this odyssey is simplicity, it seems logical that we would simplify the written accounts of our experiences.  This is no longer an experiment; it is the way we together.

Stay tuned for a flurry of activity to come: links to news and other announcements, short pieces about places we visit or projects we work on, and more developed articles about topics relevant to sustainable landscaping and living.  Thank you for the past year of adventures; please keep reading!  Green blessings, y'all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Article in GreenSourceDFW

Check out this great article written by Kristy Alpert of GreenSourceDFW about us.  Thank you for recommending us, NativeDave Disciples!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

September meeting dates

Hi gang!  I know this is last-minute, but we have one more appointment time available for September, if you are interested.  This Monday, Sept 26th, we have a 10am timeslot open; let me know by Sunday evening if you want it.  Thanks!  We will be back a few weeks later toward the end of October.  Dates will be posted soon...Happy Autumn, y'all!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Summertime and News

With spring all but over, we are working hard to wrap up before transitioning to our summer schedule.  A lot of changes will also be taking place as we slip into fall.  Recently we confirmed an exciting new project for the City of Denton that will keep us hopping through June.  Another fabulous opportunity was offered us; more about that after it has been confirmed.  We will be ramping up our presence in other markets and have already begun to garner interest in those places.  Life is good, truly.

Today through Tuesday the 14th we will be finishing up an installation for Native Mom (David's mother.)  She has always been very supportive of us and our mission to make positive changes in our community, but she really stepped up when we had The Crash in March.  For six weeks we stayed with her in her new home while we reassembled our lifestyle and livelihood.  This installation is our thank you gift to her.  The rest of the summer will look like this:

June 15th - 19th: Corpus Christi
June 20th - 22nd: Austin (presentation on the 21st at the Keep Texas Beautiful conference)
June 23rd - 28th: Dallas-Ft. Worth (presenting a design to City of Denton on the 27th at 1p, meeting with Marissa H. on the 27th at 6:30p)
June 29th - Aug 21st: Vacations, fall planning
Aug 22nd - ???: Dallas-Ft. Worth (on the 25th in the evening we will be speaking to the Dallas Organic Garden Club)

Fall schedule as well as information about new meeting dates, new services, new markets, and more, will be announced soon.  Wishing you and your family a spectacular summer!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

April (and early May showers) bring May flowers

Our schedule is in bloom!  And so are our ideas for making our sustainable landscape services available for more folks.  Check back in the coming weeks for some exciting news!  We are thrilled about sharing it with you.

We will not be taking on new custom design projects until the last week in May.  That includes online design projects.  However, we will be setting appointments for notes and sketch and notes only consultations beginning Tuesday, May 17th.  Please indicate your preferences with regard to date and time, and service, when you contact us about setting an appointment.

Tuesday, May 17th: 12:30p, 3:30p and 6:30p (available for notes and sketch and notes-only consultations)
Wednesday, May 18th: 10a, 1p and 4p
Thursday, May 19th: 12:30p, 3:30p and 6:30p
Tuesday, May 24th: 12:30p, 3:30p and 6:30p
Wednesday, May 25th: 10a, 1p and 4p

Thursday, May 26th: 12:30p, 3:30p and 6:30p

Beginning Tuesday, May 31st, we will be available for new custom design projects as well. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Celebrating Earth Day and Easter

Tonight is night four in our redesigned and rebuilt tiny-home-on-wheels.  If you are interested in following our mobile odyssey (now in its 8th month), we hope you will hop over to our other blog:  Reducing our footprint (again) is a daily ritual and a common theme of Earth Day events; there are scheduled activities planned all over the world to commemorate Earth Day this Friday and through the weekend.  Celebrations honoring Christ's resurrection also begin this Friday -- Good Friday -- and continue through the weekend, culminating with Easter Sunday.  We wish you and your family a meaningful weekend whether you worship Mother Earth, Christ, both or another higher power.  Blessings, all.

Our family will be spending these holidays together; therefore, we will not be conducting official business this Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  Monday the 25th we will be back at it, doing our part to restore Nature.  We would love the opportunity to help you resurrect your slice of Texas with a plan that conserves, preserves, restores and celebrates natural beauty.  If you are available midday-ish on the 25th, we have one appointment available.  Next availability is the week of May 2-6th.  We are grateful for blessings in abundance this spring, despite our unfortunate collision in Austin that destroyed our truck, camper, adventure trailer and many of our personal property.  Nobody was injured, and the tools of our trade (e.g. laptops, phones, plant reference books, etc.) were unscathed.  Life and work, and our mission to make positive changes in our community will carry on.  Thank you for the opportunities and support you have granted us...many more blessings to you! 

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Spring Schedule

This is the most exciting spring we have had since 2008 when we began the year with a newborn and our busiest new year ever.  The economy seems to be strengthening, because we have had a full schedule every week since the first of February.  FEBRUARY!  Even when we and our "mobile adventure unit" were buried under five inches of snow, our email box was flooded with requests for our new client questionnaire and meetings.  Thank goodness the slower pace of 2009 and 2010 seems to be almost forgotten...

This year we have changed up our meeting schedule a bit.  Mondays we are working on revisions and mailing design packages.  Tuesdays through Thursdays we meet with new clients.  Fridays are dedicated to working on designs, and Saturdays are for events or meetings and working in-office on designs.  Design presentations are conducted by phone and email and can be scheduled just about anytime Mondays or Fridays when we are in-office.  Evenings we sometimes meet with new clients, sometimes present designs.  Sundays we gasp for air...and prepare for the next week!  Of course, we will always do our best to accommodate your schedule if you have only specific days and times you can meet.  Just let us know your preferences when you request a new client questionnaire.

As for events...this Saturday, April 9th, from noon to 1pm, catch us at the Denton Redbud Festival.  We have a special relationship with Keep Denton Beautiful.  Over the past four or five years we have collaborated with them on some incredible community projects, such as Project Post Oak and Denia Garden.  Currently we are in the proposal phase of another fascinating sustainable landscape project, and we hope to make an announcement about it soon.  So exciting!  The Redbud Festival will be a great event to learn more about living and landscaping sustainably.  Hope to see you there!

Next Saturday, April 16th, we will drop by the Heads-Up irrigation booth at the Live Green in Plano Expo.  They will have our card available at their table, but we want to drop in for a bit to chat up some folks we haven't seen in ages.  Some have never met Sage, our little wildflower.  Hope to spend a few moments with you there, too.

Friday the 29th we will be speaking at Coppell High School as part of their Earth Day expo.  Looking forward to meeting some of you leaders-of-tomorrow!

If April showers, then May's flowers will bloom abundant meetings and events.  (Crossing all our petals.)  So many wonderful things are happening for us (and you, we hope!) despite The Recent Unpleasantness in Austin.  Our truck is gone, our camper too.  Our trailer will live on, modified.  If you would like to see pics, we invite you to take a look at our business page on Facebook.  Lots of pics of plants and nature there, too.  Just search for (business page, not group page.)  Happy viewing, all.

And to all, wishes for a spectacular spring!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A Pause in Our Path

well it was a nice rig...
 Our mobile adventure is on hold at the moment.  Last weekend, as we travelled through Austin toward Dallas, we were nailed by a driver who failed to stop at a stop sign.  Our truck, camper, trailer and most of our belongings were destroyed, but everybody in both vehicles appear to be fine.  Fortunately, we were blessed with generous family, friends and passersby who helped us collect our things and put them (and us) somewhere safe.  At this exact moment I'm not exactly sure what our next step is in terms of our journey, but our mission to conserve, preserve, restore and celebrate Texas' natural beauty is unchanged.  We are still open for business and eager to work with you.  We hope you will understand that our response to your inquiries might take a day or two as we work quickly to reassemble our life and livelihood.  Email is the absolute best method of contacting us but feel free to leave us a voicemail message, too.  We promise, we will get back to you as soon as we are able.

Thank you to the Travis County Sheriff's Office, Reyes Towing of Austin, David and Joe of Joss Growers of Hutto, Carrie the Good Samaritan, the daughter of the other driver, our loved ones and facebook friends who have helped us in myriad ways.  Your offers of generosity have touched us deeply and we are forever grateful.  Sending you all love and infinite good luck!

Stay tuned...this journey will be back on the road again soon.  :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pics are coming, the PICS ARE COMING

Soon we will be migrating a slideshow or -shows of images to this blog.  Previous projects, pics from contractors of projects currently underway, native plants "in action", the whole nine.  I'm really digging the new stuff...yes, pun intended.

Request a free quote

How to request a free quote: 1) send us an email requesting a free quote and we will respond with our new client questionnaire; 2) return your completed questionnaire with a few photos of the project site.  Upon reviewing your information we will respond by email with a free quote.  How to proceed: We will next need your survey or plat plan and payment.  1) Online projects: surveys may be submitted via email or "snail mail".  Fees must be paid upfront in-full either by personal check or PayPal.  2)  In-person projects: should you opt to meet with us in-person, please indicate in your questionnaire days and times that are usually most convenient for you.  Typically we meet weekdays at 10am, 1pm or 4pm.  However, we recognize that evenings or weekends are sometimes more convenient for our clients.  We will make every effort to accommodate your scheduling requests.  At the end of this meeting we will collect your survey and a deposit equal to one-half the design fee; the balance will be due upon receipt of the hardcopies of your design.

When to expect your design

Turnaround of your design depends on the time of year.  In peak months (March through June and September through November) you may expect your design within 2-3 weeks.  In off-peak months you may receive your design in 5-7 business days.  We will not commit to "rush jobs" because we believe that to create a truly custom and sustainable landscape design, one must have extensive knowledge of plants and natural processes, be blessed with artistc creativity and the ability to communicate both clearly to clients as well as contractors.  This process takes time, if it is to be done correctly.  Just before your design is completed we will contact you to set up a phone meeting to review your design.  After presenting your design, we will allow you a few days to mull over our suggestions and submit a request for minor modifications.  When the revision (if any) is finished, we will send you a digital copy of your final design before we mail your design package.

Services and Fees 2011

Fees are based on the size and scope of your project, and whether the service is completed online or in-person. Most suburban residential clients may expect: $400-600 for design packages; $225-300 for notes and sketch consultations; $150 for notes only consultations; and $75 for 30-minute site visits. Online fees are discounted by 20-30% (more, in some cases). Quotes for our services are free by email and/or telephone. In-person quotes are considered site visits and are therefore $75. All fees are collected when services are rendered except the in-person design, as will be explained in the "request a free quote" section.

Design packages include one 24x36" master plan (digital only), two 11x17" laminated copies of your design with plants and materials listed on the back, care and maintenance instructions, list of nurseries where you may purchase the plants we recommend, and our invoice for your balance due (in-person projects only).
Notes and sketch consultation packages include one hardcopy of your sketch, a plants and materials list, and a list of nurseries. You will receive these items at the end of the meeting. Clients requesting the notes only consultation or 30-minute site visit will be responsible for taking notes.


Check out our facebook page!  Simply go to and search for  Lots of photos and updated information about how we work.  More updates coming soon!

Monday, February 07, 2011


Our website and blog will get makeovers soon.  They are starting to show their age.  ;-

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Nature's Wintry Gifts

our rig under apx 5" of snow
Despite our best intentions to escape winter, cold weather followed us everywhere during our month-long sojourn through the southeastern United States.  Stalked us, to use a plant metaphor.  Most days we had glorious weather as we wandered along the Gulf Coast from South Padre Island, TX, to Key West, FL.  But then -- snap -- the temperature would drop, and off we would go to points farther south.  By the end of January we had completed our "Border of Blue" tour and were racing back to DFW-Denton to teach a course at the Dallas Arboretum about landscaping to attract and sustain wildlife.  The weather here was spring-like: sunny and 70s with a light breeze...until the day we made the final push across Texas...As we trudged north from Corpus Christi, it seemed like the weather grew more bitter, degree by degree, with every mile.  By the time we reached south Dallas ice had been on the ground for hours but roadways were still slick.  Vehicles spun out all around us.  Some unfortunate motorists became stuck on overpass ramps, and they slipped around on foot after abandoning their cars tethered to the guard rail.  It was a frightful experience.  And a bit annoying; the stow-away known as Old Man Winter had been travelling with us, uninvited, for far too long.  But we did it, we really survived the harrowing drive to reach our destination.  Everybody hunkered down inside our camper for a few days. 
Coralberry, Symphoricarpus orbiculatus

David revised a design or two and continued working on a draft of another.  We talked about improving our presentation for Saturday's class at the Dallas Arboretum.  Brainstormed about improving our website and making our services more efficient, more appealing to audiences of all ages.  Nobody felt "cooped up" because we were making good use of the time.  Our class ultimately was cancelled due to inclement weather; look for an announcement about a rescheduled date and time.  After two days the air warmed, sun smiled, and frozen stuff began to melt.  Outside, finally.  We enjoyed playing in the snow with Sage -- her first interaction with the cold white stuff. 

Coralberry with Wild Rye (Elymus canadensis)
Plentiful plants are putting on a show now.  Possumhaw and coralberry display vibrant berries against the bright white blanket enveloping them.  Native possumhaw (Ilex decidua) berries may be red to orange, sometimes yellow; coralberry (Symphoricarpus orbiculatus) berries are fuschia.  Tiny sprigs of Texas Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) have emerged and look ready to do their thing soon.  Patience!  Grasses, like Wild Rye (Elymus canadensis), are wearing their tan winter clothes.  Birds peck seed-treats from the melting snow but so far no signs of other wildlife.  When you plant native plants, every season boasts abundant beauty. 

Give us warm weather and high humidity, and we feel comfortable.  Give us arctic blasts of snow and ice, and we still find ways to give thanks for nature's gifts.  Throw another log on the fire.  Celebrate your time is precious.  Bundle up, y'all.  Don't forget to check out our adventure blog for more tales of our mobile lifestyle that allows us to together.  Go to!
Grasses in Dallas' wintry garden

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

An early spring

Mother Nature has lulled us into a feeling of eternal winter with successive storms bringing bitterly cold and snowy or icy conditions.  Even for us optimists, remembering warmer weather is difficult when temps outdoors plummet below school zone speed limits.  Few people are thinking about landscape design this time of year -- usually, that is.  Usually, we get a few stragglers in January and February, then shift into warp-speed design mode March through June and September through November.  This year is different, already.  This year, a lot of new clients have been lining up for meetings in February.  Could this be a sign of big changes ahead?  Let's hope so.  The more opportunities we have to share our message about sustainability, the better.

We still have one appointment left at 4pm on Monday, February 7th, and three appointments on Tuesday the 8th: 10am, 1pm and 4pm.   Monday at 10am and 1pm, and all three appointments on Wednesday have been confirmed!

This Saturday, February 5th, 9-11am, we will be teaching a class about landscaping for and with wildlife at the Dallas Arboretum.  Please visit their website to learn more about the class and to register:

After this class and a few days of meetings, we will head south to Rockport for a few days and then return to DFW-Denton around March 1st.  Exact dates TBA.  Also in March, we will participate once again in City of Allen's Sustainable Landscape Series.  Come hear us Saturday, March 12th, 10am to noon.  Here is their flyer:

Looking forward to helping you restore your slice of Texas, y'all.  Bring on spring!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Look! A new year...

Hope 2011 feels like heaven for you!  This is going to be a fabulous year, we think, so we are taking some time to prepare for all the many wonderful opportunities to come.  We will not be taking on new clients until February 1st.  You may email us before then to start the process -- i.e., obtain our new client questionnaire, etc.  Response time might be a little slow but we hope you will be patient with us.  We promise, your final design will be well worth the wait.  :)

So...for the remainder of January we will be wrapping the Deep South leg of our mobile odyssey and preparing for spring.  This journey has been a healthy blend of professional research and personal enrichment for our entire family.  Saturday, February 5th, 9-11am, we will be teaching a class about landscaping with and for wildlife at the Dallas Arboretum.  Monday through Wednesday, February 7-9th, we will meet with new clients.  Then we head south again for phase three of our ongoing project in Rockport, Texas.  Tuesday, February 23rd, noon - ?, David will discuss sustainable landscaping practices and native plants for the Texas Gulf Coast.  This program is sponsored by the City of Port Aransas.  The following week at the same time, same venue, I (Christy) will speak about our mobile odyssey as a sustainable lifestyle.  Saturday, March 12th, 10a - noon, we will present a program about sustainable landscaping practices on behalf of the City of Allen. 

Whether you are in Dallas-Ft. Worth-Denton, Austin-San Marcos, the Corpus Christi area, or anywhere in between, we are available to meet with you.  Typically we reserve a few days before or after our speaking engagements for new client meetings.  If you are interested in working with us to restore your slice of Texas, please do drop us a line at