Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Incredible Edible....Flower?

A few weeks ago a neighbor brought me some prepared Prickly Pear Flower to taste. Hmmm...even though I find the Prickly Pear Plant interesting, I have to admit that eating any part the pointed thing never crossed my mind.  I've seen the "pad" part of the plant in the produce section of local stores but never felt compelled to give it a try.

Even though I politely turned down my neighbors offer - I prefer to do research on my own before I try strange foods from the wild - it intrigued me enough to do a little research.

The "fruit" of the Prickly Pear has an interesting history and also can be eaten as fruit.  On my next walk at the park where the plants are abundant I carried my gloves and a pack to carry my pickings in. Even though you can't see or feel them initially, the hairs on the fruit itself are like shards of glass. Once they get into your skin they are super hard to get out and are very painful to the touch....yes, I know this from experience.


Scald the hairs off before preparation....


The color is a beautiful magenta. At one time in history the "red" secretion was cultivated by the Aztecs and exported to Spain where it was highly valued by the Spanish, next to gold and silver to dye royal garments and military uniforms.....


I have to admit the fruit is tasty but a lot of work and care for such a painful small yield.

In my spare time I've been working on a few crochet projects. For my niece who started her college journey many miles from home I decided on this colorful pattern for a cozy, comfy blanket.

It was a fun project and it turned out quite nicely. I hope she will enjoy it.....


I also whipped up a few small projects. This one I sent back to one of my neighbors on the plate that she always so generously sends us yummy treats on....

Hot pad, pot holder, and coasters

I enjoy doing quick small projects that keep my hands busy when I'm sitting around with the family....

Coaster, key chain, bookmarks, car cup holder pads

Coasters and hot pads
With the arrival of fall I've been itching to get out and do some hiking. I've also got some exciting stuff coming up....a ghost tour trip downtown with a friend and a trip to Dallas to the Texas State Fair...and anything else I can come up with.

Barring no major emergencies, I plan on making the most of the next couple of months.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer End

As the end of summer nears, I find myself trying to hang on to the season. Usually, I'm ready for a little cooler weather by the end of a hot, Texas summer, but this year has been different. This year, the unusually cooler weather has made the summer season feel like it's ending before it got off to a good start.

In an effort to try to soak up every bit of summer before it disappears into fall, we headed to Barton Springs for the afternoon.

To my satisfaction, the crowds were sparse and the water clear and emerald.....







At the light at Congress and Barton Springs Road, I rolled down my window and got a good shot of the bat structure...


After we got home, Toby and I spent some time hanging out in the pool with our special Tequila concoction we invented during our South Padre vacation. Yum.

Oh! Last night we caught a glimpse of the "Supermoon". It looked more like a Halloween moon they way it was peeking out from the clouds....


Skye got a little more creative with her picture....


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Awesome August

Seems like the month of August flew by....seems like my LIFE is flying by.

I just wanted to take a few memories from August and post them here for my memories sake.

Skye went through few day phase of climbing onto the roof and watching the world from above. Like me, she is enamored by the idea of being able to "view" the horizon or a city line.


I enjoy seeing the big Texas sky. In Alabama, unless you were on the beach you were surrounded by trees. Don't get me wrong, I love trees, but where I'm from trees come with a generous helping of tree roaches which I AM NOT very fond of.



Backyard sunsets...one of my favorite things about my little, humble piece of property....


Skye practicing her art.....

Bo enjoying a dip in his pool...


Enjoying an afternoon cold beverage on a hot day....


Playing chicken with neighbors....

LOVE her little ringlets....


Bo cooling off in the shade after a run in the park....


Toby practicing his art....


Bo being Bo....


More awesome sunsets...


The "kids"....



More sunsets...


A pretty butterfly....


As simple and mundane as it is, I love my little insignificant life.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

40th on South Padre Island

This morning we packed up and headed out for our end of summer vacation to South Padre Island. Our end of the year vacations usually coincide with Toby's birthday so I guess you could call it a vacation/birthday celebration.

Texas is not known for it's beautiful beaches and there are very few along the coastline that are worth traveling to. In the years we have lived here we've heard through the local grape vine that South Padre is considered to be close in comparison to the Florida beaches. Toby and I finally got curious enough to make the 6 hour drive to see for ourselves.

The drive was an easy one, which is always a plus for me.

Once we got to Port Isabel located a couple of miles outside of the Island we stopped at HEB and grabbed a few groceries for the room....fruit, lunch meat, rotisserie chicken, cheese, soups, etc.

We got an excellent deal on our room. $80 bucks a night and a room with an ocean view. Can't beat that!! It pays to vacation off season.

DAY 1. 

By the time we got checked in and settled into our room it was too late to do anything but have an evening drink out on the balcony while listening to the surf and taking in the beautiful view of the ocean.


DAY 2.

The weather was beautiful today. The water was great! Clear and Blue. It was akin to the water at Gulf Shores....not as blue and clear as the Florida beaches but certainly beat any beach in Texas. I also took note the beaches and Island were a lot cleaner than Port A....and more touristy.

Toby was excited -as well as everyone else who was on the beach at the time - to have spotted a very large school of fish just swirling along right at the shoreline. If you look really good in this picture you can see the shadowed area of the school to the right of Toby...


Everyone followed the school for awhile until they swirled on out to sea.



We also had some tropical fish nibbling on us in the ocean. At first it freaked me out a little bit, but it helped the water was clear enough that I could see what was doing the nibbling.

DAY 3.

Toby's birthday today! We ate a birthday lunch at an Island restaurant. Good food!



Creepy pose!
Toby decided he wanted to parasail for his birthday, and he encouraged Skye to join him. Of course, I didn't want any part of this adventurous activity so I opted to stay behind and take Bo for a walk along the beach...




They had a blast! Skye couldn't stop talking about it and I think Toby had fun too...except for the part where his swim trunks tore down the back seam and his butt cheeks were revealed. Skye loved that part too.

DAY 4. 

Good thing we spent an enjoyable day on the beach on our first day there. The rest of the time we were there the surf was rough and there was a red flag warning. We didn't let that stop us from playing on the beach, nor did Toby let it stop him from boogie boarding in it, taking advantage of the surf.

Me and Skye made mermaid fins for ourselves...





The storm rolling in....

We also spent some time in the hotel pool....



We also checked out the Sea Turtle Rescue Center across from our hotel...

Poor guy




Some more random photos from our trip...










Bo protecting the balcony from the seagulls

DAY 5.

Homeward Bound! As much as I love to see and explore different places, I'm always happy to see my little yellow abode.