Feeling Friday

Friday evening and the white-winged dove makes its plaintive cry somewhere nearby. Sometimes they are relentless, going on and on like a lonely vendor in an out of the way stall at closing time, crying out to passers by as it tries to make a few more sales before having to go home to a hungry family.

This is that Friday time. This is that time—that expectant time that feels so full of possibilities, so full of freedom. This is that time—that time that never quite was and never is, always nostalgic without having any definable basis in past events. This is that time—filled with falsehoods and nothing solid, yet always feeling wonderful just the same. It’s that Friday evening feeling and the plaintive cry of the white-winged dove fits it perfectly.

Sunset on a Friday evening

Sunset on a Friday evening

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Little square pops in my yard

The Spring morning sunlight has my yard popping with color

Please be sure to mouse over the photos to get the full effect — I love my theme but until the photos become active they are somewhat muted.

On clear mornings I enjoy watching the sun shine through the small bright leaves on this althea in my backyard.

On clear mornings I enjoy watching the sun shine through the small bright leaves on this althea in my backyard.

I would have never planted this ornamental plum myself (it was here when I moved in), but I have grown to love the variety of colors that it can appear based on lighting, season and time of day.

I would have never planted this ornamental plum myself (it was here when I moved in), but I have grown to love the variety of colors that it can appear based on lighting, season and time of day.

Here's a closeup of one of the althea leaves. Even the background has popping spheres of color!

Here’s a closeup of one of the althea leaves. Even the background has popping spheres of color!

What Texas Spring photo series would be complete without these. They may be used in photos a lot but the colors are still quite beautiful when one takes the time to look closely.

What Texas Spring photo series would be complete without these. They may be used in photos a lot but the color really is beautiful.

These dianthus (pinks) overwinter well and bloom profusely season after season. They are an incredibly dependable source of color.

These dianthus (pinks) overwinter well and bloom profusely season after season. They are an incredibly dependable source of color.

We planted this coral honeysuckle several years ago and every year it gets more full of blooms - with minimal care on our part.

We planted this coral honeysuckle several years ago and every year it gets more full of blooms – with minimal care on our part.

Omarpops

Even Omar wanted to get in on the act and popped up on the yard cart for a little morning sun and meditation.

 

Having fun with shadows & light

Chasing shadows and light can be great exercise

The shutters and multi-paned windows in our house often create some interesting shadows and beams of light on our floors and walls. The best times are early in the morning and late in the day. I have learned to run for my camera as soon as I notice something interesting because things change fast and and if I don’t act fast the effect that inspired me can quickly disappear.

Spent some time yesterday morning staring at the floor...

Spent some time yesterday morning staring at the floor…

Many of our windows have some pretty old glass which can create some mysterious and interesting lighting effects.

and yesterday evening staring at the wall.

and yesterday evening staring at the wall.

 

 

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.