Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Petin and Persimmons

Howdy! It's been awhile, and I had fully intended to write a "November Update" but a world of sickness this Autumn has sort of kicked me in the lungs and left me wheezing on the sofa watching the colors change from inside. Super spouse has been keeping the winter greens alive and mother nature has been doing her, what am I good for?

Gathering peppers, chili petin.
I added 5 of these babies to some soup the other day and nearly burned my tongue out of my mouth! Jeebus. They are destined to become infused oils for "Festivus" gifts.

Looks like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree doesn't it? It's our sweet fuyu persimmon just before I relieved her of fruit.
First year's December bounty! We have 4 chili petin and one persimmon tree. My Mom made persimmon pudding for Thanksgiving from the local ones in Kansas, which are tiny by comparison, but very tasty. Mine are destined to be cut into Marinara sauce for spicy Northern Italian pasta dishes this winter. They are currently softening up in the kitchen.
Both of these plants are an excellent addition to your central Texas Garden. How ever you want to call your "bird pepper" petin or pequin...there is a difference you know, one being round vs. pear shaped, and orange vs. red...both come from the Family-Solanaceae, Genus-capiscum
both grow wild and often along fence lines, which is why they are commonly known as "bird-pepper," believing that they had to pass through a bird to germinate...which isn't true. But, if you have it in your garden and watch closely, you'll see that the birds fight over them! They are colorful and draught tolerant and mighty tasty! I've found some interesting suggestions: mash up a few and stir them into scrambled eggs, add 3-5 in your crock-pot with beans, torture foul mouthed children...while at the same time teaching them a valuable lesson,
don't eat red berries!
They rate 30,000 Scoville Units of heat and WILL bring tears to the eyes, so be sure to wear gloves when handling.
I also can't sing the praises of the fuyu enough! They are, as far as I know...fairly disease free and uber low maintenance! Some folks say they are the best fresh persimmon, but I prefer the cooked flavor with garlic and's very complex and unique. Try it!
I guess, that's what I'm good for...bossing the family around and doing something with the stuff we grow!
Happy Gardening!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three For Thursday

Look who we discovered, Randy and I while having a Bourbon on a perfect November night...

Otus Asio, Eastern Screech Owl
Isn't it sweet? The 2009 class of the Travis County Master Naturalists built boxes to be distributed around town...I brought several cedar boards from my old fence to recycle and we pulled the pattern off the internet.

It's been just over a year! He woke up tonight around 5:20 and came up to watch over our yard.

Wildlife Habitat...check!
By the way,'ve got 2 days to sign up for the Winter Bird Watch through the Cornell Orinthology Lab...check out this site:
Thanks to The Violet Fern for the suggestion!

Happy Gardening!

Photos by my daughter Autumn Kervella

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy HalllllLLLLLOOOOOooooowwWWEEEeenn!

OOOOooohhhh! Isn't it perfect out there? Top of the season to you! It's been a glorious day and I simply must share! Evil, skeletal, rocking, unicorn is all dressed up to scare the ba-jeebus outta little-ones and I can't wait to see 'em out tonight in all their scary finest! Devoted spouse aka... Beer-man is dutifully working on his computer after our busy morning of hunting and planting.

The beautiful Autumn berries are out tempting the fall migration and the wind is blocking out the traffic noise just enough to make the bird-song sharp!

Yaupon Holly

Pigeon Berry

I love it when the peppers turn red on the vine! We put in the last of the fall plants: parsley, dill, sorrel, more Swiss chard, cilantro, winter kale and I had to replace the thyme.

Yikes! Wild outfit for a faaAAaancy Butterfly to wear for Halloween! She's one of many on the Shrimp plant.


There's an abundant late influx of caterpillars this year! The butterfly garden is full of these beauties nibbling on the bronze fennel!

Our lovely old fashioned, native Fall Aster, feeding the pollinators and providing some cheeriness!
Ruby Grass
The grasses are in tip-shape around town, and in the back yard waiving in the breeze.

Patrick-O'Lantern? hehehe...

Burgundy beans
Spouse found out from reading the last post that I was snorfeling up the beans, so it's become increasingly hard to find my afternoon snack!

Chili pequin (petin)

This is the first year I decided to collect the chili pequin, the birds seem to be ignoring them this spiced oil has been put on the to-do list.

Texas Pecan
We went out early this morning to do our "big people" trick-or-treating and gathered a few bags of pecans that had fallen onto the sidewalk and street!
Mexican Marigold
This is the craftsmanship you get when you let your daughters boyfriend carve the pumpkin...something I'd never do, but I must give a shout out to the Rangers who have put my neighbors in an exceptionally good mood, especially when the Longhorns seem to be "asleep at the wheel"...hehe...local flavor, if you know who lives in this hood.
I thought I'd unveil my new blog name on we're taking a turn for the slacker here at Conscious Ungardening...slacker-gardening is quite scary to the uptight gardener...Boo!
I hope you stick with me as I take a giant step back and consider what can do without me, in my garden.
Happy UNgardening!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunday Morning in the Garden

Truth be told, I've been spending a lot of time in the garden and just "being there" has been trumping writing about it. Homestead TV isn't the same without the chickens, but I'm putting my time in never the less...noticing the backyard birds and mentally moving things around. The three year downsizing plan is underway and the fantasies about moving and being someplace else are so intoxicating that my head is swimming...I wonder where we'll go? Spouse says, "someplace with a Research University...a policy program" my mind I just see trees.

View from the Bird blind Bar

Camera in hand, I headed out to see what's up in the yard on Saturday morning. We've had an abundance of fall harvest fruits and veggies and it was one year to the day from last years I was mentally calculating the losses and blossoms.

Philippine Violet
I lost two Philippine Violets, this is the last one. 3 trees are gone and I'm afraid we'll be loosing a 50 year old Vitex this year. Some would say "Not a loss" because they're invasive, but she is glorious and covered with bees and butterflies when she blooms; I hang my snake graph from her branches and she keeps my Bird blind Bar cool. When the American Elm is gone, I know my heart will break. The years of drought are taking their toll.


I've long forgotten the actual name of this hidden beauty, I had to move some over grown Gregg's Mist flower to see her...she's not in the right place to thrive.

Yaupon Holly and Desert Willow Vine

This is the best of the photos I was able to get in the wind. The Yaupon is covered in berries and the DWVine is decorating her with silly pink trumpet shaped flowers. I think it was Diane of Sharing Natures Garden that recently asked about what is in the wrong place in your garden and I've been blowing that, through my mind as well.
Fall Aster

The Fall Asters just keep on coming...I'm so glad I brought them home from the Green Garden several years ago, the native white ones get so tall and fall over...but I love them for the bees.

Burgundy Beans

Yesterday I stood by the beans and ate the first of the seasons harvest! 3 tender purple pods!

(You have to celebrate the small victories...I was alone, chewing and smiling with closed eyes facing the sun...counting my blessings.)

Japanese Eggplant

I brought in the first of the fall eggplant harvest, 10 perfect slender fruits, the leaves are laced out but the bugs must find the skin bitter, as do I. We'll be making Baba ganoush for supper!

Fuyu Persimmon

The Fuyu's have all turned a lovely halloween orange! Still a few months until harvest, but we dug into the last of the pomegrante this morning...delicious!

And then, something gold caught my eye.

Hiding in the middle of a 3ft. Chili Pequin was this jade beauty!

Lazy me has yet to figure out how to use that micro-setting on the camera...but you can still make out the baby form within.

Sunday morning, I went out to check on her and there she was, gently expanding and contracting her new wings!

She hung out for quite some time before moving on, her chrysalis casing remains.

Monarchs, some of my favorite magical garden friends.
Happy Gardening!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day October 2010

Carol of May Dreams Gardens invites gardeners around the world to share what is blooming in their gardens on the 15th of each month. I'm a day late this month, due to a nasty bug that I'm still here are the shots, sans commentary. Hope everything is lovely in your garden!

Pigeon Berry
Mexican tarragon, one of the predictable yellows of Autumn.

Due to the beautiful rains we've been having the rose, Cecile Bruenner is having a lovely flush along with the Canna's which are towering over my head.

Delicate chocolate flower blooming in the shade.
Turks cap

Shrimp plant

Canna lily
Mexican sage, cuphea, rosemary and Texas sage are buzzing with bees.
Thyrallis and Texas sage
New gold lantana and pony's foot
The blues...plumbago and rosemary

The umbrella shaped blossom of eggplant.
13 fruits by today's count. Eggplant
One of 4 tomatoes still in production this fall.
Fuyu persimmon, 17 on the tree now and there were only 2 perfect pomegranates. This is the first year of production. I put them in last spring and snipped the fruit off so the roots could get established. We've also been eating figs daily off the two tiny trees that died to the ground this past winter.
Geranium, companion plant to roses, she came back to bloom with them.

Peggy Martin in profile.
Knock out
Pouty Belinda's Dream
Echenacea, purple cone flower.
Thanks for dropping's the list of bloomer's not shown:
Autumn Sage
Butterfly Weed
Butterfly plant
Passion flower vine
Purple trailing Lantana
Black and Blue Sage
Blue Mealy Sage
Majestic Sage
Mexican Petunia
Fernleaf Verbena
Goldeneye Skeleton
Crape Myrtle
Chaste Tree
Cross Vine
Society Garlic
Fall Obedient Plant
Fall Aster
Tick weed
Old Blush Rose
Coral Vine
Tropical Sage
Rock Rose
Desert Willow Vine
Cherry Barbados
Yaupon Holly (berries)
Martha Gonzales
Philippine Violet (white)
Gregg's Mistflower
Patrick's Abutilon
Happy Gardening!