Saturday, October 9, 2010

Frost, peppers, and thanksgiving.

The first killing frost is expected tonight, so that led to a flurry of activity in the garden. I have a bunch of tender plants in pots that I try to keep through the winter, so they had to get under cover. I also had to haul in the pepper crop before they get frozen and turn to mush on me.

One of the plants I'm bringing in is some bougainvillia, which gave me a nice show this summer. It's already been a little singed by light frost, so hopefully I can bring it through the long dark ahead. I am really fond of these plants -- they were very common in Malawi where they grew on and over everyting, and so I usually have some funny memory triggered when I see them on my doorstep.

My mini-pomegranate  is also on the way in. It can take a few chills, and I usually let it lose it's leaves for the winter, but I prefer to do this gradually. Plus I want to keep the neato fruits from freezing.

On the pepper front, I got a pretty good yiled of Aji Limon from a couple of plants I kept in pots on the front step.

The little troopers are still optimistically blooming. You can tell that this plant is from the Capsicum baccatum  species from the yellowish spots in the middle of the flowers (other pepper species don't have these spots). The baccatums are native to South and Central America, and have lots of heat combined with an interesting fruity flavour. The other commercially grown pepper species are C. annuum (the typical bell peppers, jalanenos, cubanelles, etc...), C. chinense (the habanero gang), and C. frutescens (the tobasco types) -- just so you know in case it happens to come up over diner or something. The baccatums are far and away my favourites.

I've left a bunch of pods on the plants just in case they happen to make it through the night and we get another warm stretch. (I'm optimistic too!)

The last of the optimistic gang is this pineapple sage, who is just starting to set some blooms now (it may be a pile of mush in the morning, but bless its heart for trying anyway).

Out in the garden, I caught the Egyptian Onions in the act of taking over the planet. You may recall from other posts that these onions form little bulbs at the tops of the leaves. Once the bulbs get heavy enough, the leaves bend to the ground and the bulbs start sprouting. Well -- here's the evidence. The leaf is the beige thing coming out of the bulbs (it has died off now that the baby colonists have taken root).

While poking around the onion patch, a buzzing caught my ear. Some bumble bees were making the most of the sunny day. (This is why I leave weeds all over the garden -- someone usually likes them.) Note that it is almost impossible to take a good picture of a bee.

On the bug front, this was the year of the spider. There were huge webs all over the place this year -- usually with huge spiders in the middle of them. This one caught my eye, resting in the arms of one of my ginkgo trees. One that didn't catch my eye was the one I stupidly walked through almost every morning -- it was between the basketball net and the car and I was almost always too drowzy to remember the determined dude who replaced it every day.

And now on to giving thanks. I picked up the latest Saveur the other day, having been captivated by the "25 greatest meals ever!" promise. This proved to be a moderate letdown, since they were more like the "25 most memorable meals from the 25 people we picked to contribute to this issue! Ever!" However there was a real gem in there. It was Lunch Lessons from Dean Koontz. I don't know if I thought it was great because Mr. Koontz is a real writer, or because he had a good story to tell -- probably both. Let me share with you the closing words of his piece.

There is a tender truth that I have realized only after decades of living: We are often blind to the fact that we are in the presence of grace, and that whether we are having a sandwich on a river bank or on a park bench, we ought always to remember that maybe, just maybe, we are in the company of saints potential.

Amen to that.

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