Friday, July 24, 2015

~This Moment~

~This Moment is a Friday tradition, capturing a special moment from the week~

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to see.
The weekend storm that beat rainfall records in San Diego, for July... and we loved every drop. Maria is soaked, after dancing in the shower, and sitting beneath the shelter Alex and Max put up. Books, naps, cookies and milk... all the more enjoyable with steady rain spattering the nylon roof.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Passion For Lilikoi

Passiflora edulis. We know them as lilikoi... a good syrup over shave ice, a refreshing juice, and an amazing vining plant, with elaborate flowers and egg-shaped fruit. Thanks to Ruth, we have two vines taking over fences in our yard. Our chain link has never looked so beautiful. They grow fast, and happily, so we are already hoping we can whip up some of Janice's amazing passionfruit butter... but this depends on keeping Maria from eating all of them, straight from the vine!

The flower. It's quite a spectacle. Bold, and bodacious. With stories and details as intricate as the flower itself.

Ours are the smaller, purple variety. The fruit drops to the ground when it's ripe, but I try to get them before they fall. When they are ready, they slip easily off the vine. Also, they begin to shrivel a bit, then a lot, but unless they've become spoiled, they're usually only sweeter when they get this way.

It looks like our fence sprouted Martian eggs! The fruit is a lightweight, for its size, and feels hollow.

This one is about to drop. It's so much like an egg, it even has a hard outer skin, like the shell of an egg.

This specimen isn't fragrant, and it doesn't need anything else to make it more attractive!

I sawed this open with a serrated knife. It's not hard to cut, just a bit more than you might expect, like thin cardboard. Then, inside we find a rich jelly with slippery black seeds, and a distinctly tropical fragrance, tangy. Maria scoops it out with a spoon, and sighs and delights with each taste.

The flavor... it reminds me of pineapple with peach. I haven't actually paired pineapples and peaches, but that's my final answer.

Maybe you can tell me something about Passiflora edulis, confirm something... a visitor shared with me that the vine will only grow for seven years before the entire plant dies. Kapoot! Have you heard such a thing? She seemed quite certain of this fact. I suppose I could Google this, but sometimes I like to stumble upon information, or discover the answer in a conversation. Our neighbors have a massive vine, growing the width of their back yard, practically. It may not have long to go, and the thing is... a lot of neighbors have vines successfully propagated from the first neighbor's plant. So. What do you think? Will the junior plants of the original last only as long as the first plant? Does the seven years start from when the seed sprouts? Mysterious, mysterious Passiflora!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Five Good Things

Even if it is a Monday morning, sometimes it's easy to think of five, or more, good things.
1. Rain.
2. Heavy rain.
3. Two days of rain.
4. Summer rain.
5. Lightning, thunder, and rain.

See what I mean?

I kept pinching myself, all weekend long, because I feel we've had about the most interesting and satisfying weather one could hope for, in summer, in a drought. Saturday morning found all of us, cats, too, in our bedroom and watching the lighting, squealing to the thunder, and thoroughly thrilled with the copious amounts of water descending from the heavens. And for once, it was a real rainfall, and lasting, so we had to take measures. Taking measures is when you close your car windows, cover robots, find umbrellas, and check on your goats.

Poor Goats!

Poor, poor, poor, poor goaters. They want Hunter boots. They want LL Bean ensembles, and raised walkways. They cried for umbrellas of their own. In fact, Ada left the garden cottage and followed me back to her cottage when I came out with an umbrella. Dear Tasha inspected my umbrella, even testing it a bit, but she did not budge from the tiny kitchen shelf in the tiny garden cottage. There must have been a small lull in the deluge, because eventually, I found her in the chickens' cottage, and Ada beneath the chickens' covered roost.

Here's the thing: We built this marvel of suburban farmdom, our goat and chicken run, in the midst of a serious drought, when rain is so rare, we think succulents are actually incredibly beautiful garden plants {Yes, they are beautiful, but it's with some measure of disappointment that I forego lush beds of thirsty flora, berries, and ferns. I cannot deny this.} We call it an "open-air" barn, because the only thing going through it was air! There is no roof... just rafters, and hardware cloth. And that's been fine. It's been great, but when it does rain. Heavy rain. Two days of rain. Summer rain. Lightning, thunder, and rain. When that happens, mud happens. Mud. The kind of mud that makes a slurp-sucking sound and threatens to remove your shoes. The kind of mud that holds puddles. Muck mud. Dirty farm mud. Smelly mud.

Okay. I gotta stop... I am grossing myself out. Sorry about that.

Sorry, Tasha. Sorry, Ada. They hate the mud as much as the rain!

I really do intend to jot down some good things, but just bear with me... I need to say 1. Chickens are not bright, and maybe I am not either, because I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince them to roost in shelter, instead of in the absolute wettest spots. This exercise left me utterly soaked. 2. Humidity and heat are not good, and neither is cleaning out an open-air barn when it is hot and humid, and muddy!

Good Things...

1. Everyone was home, and we were together to enjoy a full weekend of fun and unusual weather.

2. The air smells good. {Away from the open-air barn.}

3. Sitting and stitching and laughing and sharing, with Diana and Maya.

4. Dropping Maria off for her first day of tech training, so she can be a technology expert and helper in school!

5. Beginning to appreciate that next week we will be on the road, visiting institutes of higher learning, while also enjoying the redwoods, and fern filled canyons, seeing elephant seals, playing Pink Martini CDs, and making happy discoveries.

Here comes the sun. Are you ready for the new week?