Bliss done right

Charlie gives me another lesson in a blissful way to spend the afternoon.

Charlie gives me another lesson in a blissful way to spend the afternoon.

Cats have this wonderful way of actively sleeping, working so hard at resting and yet still achieving it in a natural way. It never seems forced. My favorite thing about resting cats is the sense of calm that they impart on me. Their bliss becomes my bliss.

Charlie's relaxed repose becomes my bliss.

Charlie’s relaxed repose becomes my bliss.

Results are in, Spring still my favorite season

I was thinking of putting "Your Ad Here" on the stone next to my rain gauge.

I was thinking of putting “Your Ad Here” on the stone next to my rain gauge.

Much of what I think about water these days has to do with rain. When I grew up in south Louisiana, I took water for granted. It rained a lot, we lived right next to a bayou and there was water nearby in every direction.

Now I appreciate every drop. Gardening viability, tree health, drinking water supplies — these things are on my mind frequently. The first real post on this blog was about rain.

This is a rain gauge that Julie gave me for our anniversary. Who knew that 21 years is frog yard art! So far I’ve been very glad to see this little garden helper get plenty of action. The frog seems okay with it too.

This frog and I love the same things - being in the garden and rain.

This always ready frog and I love the same things – being in the garden and rain.

Critter Avenue

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Critter Avenue
Down past the feral cat village and the compost pile lies the bamboo grove. The mysterious path, best navigated if you are less than a foot tall, winds on down Critter Avenue past the tree where the pair of Great Horned Owls share their song on even the darkest of nights. In the daytime hawks and crows cast unfriendly glances toward each other and each evening the possums and raccoons hurry along in route to the scroungers buffet. Who knows what else traverses this urban nature passage…

This path is an urban wildlife thoroughfare.

This path is an urban wildlife thoroughfare.

 

Hot Peppers Fend Off Approaching Cool Nights

Three varieties of peppers (banana, serrano and my very spicy surprise guest) and many more beautiful colors.

Three varieties of peppers (banana, serrano and my very spicy surprise guest) and many more beautiful colors.

This was a great year for my pepper plants. Of course, here in Texas, I’m not about to claim that statement actually means very much considering how well the darn things grow. But this year brought a crop that I was particularly pleased with.

I grow my peppers in pots and have done so for a number of years. They don’t need to be in the ground and it is a ready way to save the valuable real estate of my raised beds for other plants that appreciate the space more.

This year I chose four varieties (and ended up with five): jalepeños, serranos, banana and cayenne. I planted two serrano plants but one of them was mislabeled and turned out to be something else and very hot.

One of these things is not like the other - serrano on the right and something labeled serrano on the left that turned out to be much hotter.

One of these things is not like the other – serrano on the right and something labeled serrano on the left that turned out to be much hotter.

One thing  I did differently this year was leave some banana peppers on the plant for longer and let them turn red. I always like growing these because they are are a good substitute for bell peppers (which I also grow sometimes). They mature faster, require less nutrients and care, and are more productive than bell peppers usually are around here. The taste is similar and they are good raw in salads or cooked in pasta sauce and stir fry.

This year, due to the abundance of banana peppers on the two plants I grew, I let some stay on the bush longer than I normally would. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful series of colors the peppers turned. In addition to the shot below, the first image in this post shows some of the deep yellows, oranges and reds that were part of the ripening process.

Banana peppers left on the bush until they turned red - beautiful and great tasting too.

Banana peppers left on the bush until they turned red – beautiful and great tasting too.

The other thing I noticed about these well ripened peppers is the way the flavor evolved. I still enjoy the green ones but the red ones had a fuller, more mellow flavor with a nice hint of peppery bite — somewhat like a red bell pepper.

Today is the first day of November and I shouldn’t be talking about this in the past tense. All my plants are still producing and until we have a hard freeze, they should be able to keep going. It’s not unusual for me to have peppers until just before Christmas. With a little effort I could probably protect them and keep them going even longer, but I just let them go when the weather gets colder.

It seems that every year there is one particular crop that stands out and this year it was these beautiful and delicious peppers, although  I never did catch the name of the blazing hot uninvited guest.

Not to be outdone by the banana peppers, some members of this year's serrano crop turned a brilliant vivid red.

Not to be outdone by the banana peppers, some members of this year’s serrano crop turned a brilliant vivid red.

Weird Image Wednesday [150722]

Nature in the city

I’m always interested in the ways nature manages to survive in the concrete jungle. This tree (I think it’s a hackberry) is growing inside a sign pole. I also like that it happens to be a No Parking sign. It was completely trimmed out a while back and now it has grown back. I drive by this every day, to and from work, and finally managed to stop and take some shots of it.

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BackOfSign

NoParking