#Adventurous? Try Prickly Pear

Ok, we have used our prickly pear fruit many times in fresh fruit cocktail. However, we have never used the lobes or paddles of prickly pear. Fresh, bright green ones are best. Cut off just above the joint on the stem.

This time, I wash the lobes and remove the thorns. You can gouge them out or rub them with a knife. For the finer thorns, use wire wool and rub it over the lobe (nopales). Try to keep the green skin.Cut off the tough, outer edge of the lobe. Wash and chop or thinly slice a lobe.

You can boil it in water with chopped onions and vinegar.Drain then add it to a dish like an omelette. How did it taste? It tastes of green runner beans.Maybe add some prickly pear lobe to a simple salad of onion, tomatoes and cucumber or perhaps a stir fry.

Prickly Pear lobe for a stir fry

Prickly Pear lobe in a stir fry.

Mexico-love sombreros and Prickly Pears!

 

 

Enjoy #Figs

We pruned our fruit garden tree quite drastically last spring. As a result of the shock to the trees, we expected a few fruit, if any, this year. To some extent, we have been proved wrong.

For breakfast, we’re enjoying figs from our black and green fig trees with our muesli and yogurt. More figs are ripening.

Figs (chopped) with muesli and yogurt

Our figs with muesli and yogurt for breakfast

However, the few pomegranate buds fell off the pomegranate trees.We’ll have a big celebration for the one remaining pomegranate fruit!

 

Why Are You #Worth It?

It’s important to preserve our sense of worth. Occasionally, think about your life now. Is it going the way you wish? What have you done (today) that makes you feel proud (a song!)? Be positive and mull over these things. They can be simple. Perhaps they involve work or home, interests or family and friends. Make a mental note of the good things. Quietly allow yourself to be satisfied, pleased.

Fuschia

Simple achievement-Each year this fuschia survives the winter (7 degrees centigrade) in our garden.

We don’t have to tell others unless we feel they are happy to share our thoughts.

By being positive about our achievements, however simple, we give our lives a meaning. This way we feel a desire to continue, maybe even with more goals.

Let’s keep trying!

 

Crafty #Cicadas

As I went for my morning swim, I met a new companion. It was sunbathing on the handle of the pool steps.

Cicada

Our cicada visitor

It was content and so it didn’t want to move.

Cicada 3

Our laid back cicada

I placed my dry towel around it gently and carried it to a shady area.

Cicada 4

Resting on my towel

Again, it stayed put. A sudden vibration and blur and it was gone. It had darted to the fruit garden.

Can you see it?

Cicada 5

Camouflaged in the fruit garden

If you have some die back on the ends of your tree branches, this may be due to cicada damage. This is where the female cicada has cut a slit to lay her eggs and so the tips of the branches have died. In our case, a Ficus tree is affected. The nymphs remain below ground eating tree roots for years. Eventually, they appear for a few months and make noisy sounds as they call for a mate. The males die after mating. Hard luck!

 

Burning Garden #Refuse

It can be a problem removing garden waste.You may not have adequate transport to take it to a recycling centre or tip. Perhaps you have to pay to have it collected or accepted by the recycling centre. Maybe you need help chopping or sawing large boughs so more cost.

It’s time to feel the burn! Are there regulations about bonfires in your area? Try an old oil drum. You may need to pay for delivery. To remove excess oil, have it cleaned out first before you buy it. Alternatively, turn it upside down for some time. You may need help carrying it. Make sure your waste is dry before burning.

Oil drum, well used

A well-used oil drum

To prevent smoke travelling to other areas, choose a windless time of day. We peep round the curtains and arise early if it’s still outside. Occasionally, we burn in early evening if the air is still. Position a full watering can or garden hose nearby. Place the oil drum on level ground away from overhanging branches. Fill it with your dry garden waste. Use a rod to push the waste away from one side. With gloved hands, light a fire lighter using a match stick. Drop this down space you made at the side. It’s easier and faster with two people. One collects the bundles of wood while the other feeds the fire. Leave a “fire break”  around the drum.

Remember the drum is very hot. Pour water over the final ashes. Check  on the oil drum after use. It takes some time to cool down.

Oil drum with ashes

All that’s left of a drum full of twigs and branches

Job done!

 

Useful #Avocados

Do you like avocados? I like them but I have to disguise them for one family member. I serve them chopped or mashed and sprinkled with salt and lemon juice. Maybe I place them under chopped beetroot so the taste is disguised! For breakfast, I like them on wholemeal toast sprinkled with home-grown chilli flakes.

What to do with all those avocado stones? I allow them to get wet under a garden sprinkler and hope for shoots.

2016-06-01 Avocado stones

Just a few avocado stones

I may also place them in the soil around a plant in a shady container. They are watered regularly. The avocado stones enjoy the warmth. Eventually, they develop leaves and a strong tap root. Now I plant them in sunny and shady places. I think those in shade will thrive. The young avocado plant in full sun may not be so successful. We’ll wait and see. I surround them with chicken wire to keep them safe from our dogs who like to chew young, tender leaves!

2016-06-Avocado- young plant

A young avocado plant

As trees, they take some time to fruit but the foliage is attractive. I prefer them as a group or in a row.

Try A Speedy #Lemon Pudding

We find our lemon tree laden with fruit from about December to May.

2016-05-22 Lemons- last ones on our tree

Our last lemons

The lemons are irregular in size and taste pungent.

2016-05-22 Lemons-our irregular lemons

Our irregular lemons

For our daily waking up drink, we use them sliced in hot water and honey. When there is a glut of lemons, I make a speedy lemon posset. I just whip about one pint or half a litre of cream. When it is firming up, I add the juice of about six lemons. Sugar is added to taste. I freeze the posset in bags to eat with a sweet tart.

Lemons slices are good for wiping dust off indoor plant leaves too!