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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Out my office window.

I peer outside the window and see the animals running around.

Ground squirrel.

The squirrels hid when the hawk showed up.

Hawk.

They don't seem to mind the hellish heat we are experiencing right now.


Monday, July 21, 2014

I drove south to Hereford to visit with Ray and Robert.

I brought along prickly pear syrup, which they used for a colorful drink that rapidly attracted hornets.

Cheers! Ray and Robert.

I waded about in the pool.

Always nice to be in water.

We discussed life and all of its excitements.


Gin and tonics make me buzzed.

As the sun went down we went to the viewing area for the sunsety.

I am stocky.

The sunset became pretty. 

Yellow.

The company was nice.

White wine does not attract wasps.

The sky changed colors.

Pink.

I drove home in the dark and slept well, the insomnia of the past few weeks appears to have slid away from my brain. I guess getting the hotel project on Friday has relieved some of the worries.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Steve asked me to walk with him to the top of Tumamoc Hill. I complied and only had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath. For whatever reason, I have good visual acuity and can pick things out. Helps with putting together broken pots or spotting artifacts in the screen. As we were walking along I spotted a rattlesnake hiding in a bush next to the road.


Click on the picture and see if you can spot the rattlesnake.

I was pretty sweaty by the time we finished.

Steve.

When we got back I taught Steve how to make prickly pear syrup from start to finish. This batch turned out better than the last one.

In the afternoon I made cauliflower pickles from a recipe my mother sent me.


Blanch two heads of cauliflower, broken up into small pieces.

Four cups white vinegar, four cups water, four cups sugar, a diced onion, diced red and yellow peppers, mustard seed, red pepper flakes, turmeric, and celery seed.

Boil and let simmer for a few minutes to infuse the spices.

Made seven two-pint jars.

Completed pickles.

I also had a nap and it is only 2:58 PM.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Let's harvest some prickly pears.

My prickly pear cactus made lots of fruit this year. I decided to make some syrup.
Prickly pear.

I used my hotdog tongs to twist them off the pad, careful to avoid the thorns.
Close-up of fruit.

I filled my big pot.

Fruit-full.

A website recommended burning off the thorns, which seemed like a good idea. They lit up like a firecracker.

Impossible to hold the cactus fruit and take a non-blurry picture.

I blended the fruit one at a time. I mostly avoided making a bloody mess.

Blender.

I strained the pulp once, removing the seeds and shredded skin. I then strained it a second time to make sure no thorns got through.

Starting straining.

I was left with about 12.5 cups of juice. I added four cups sugar and 9 teaspoons lemon juice and starting cooking it down.

Cooking.

My house was already so hot I decided to make thick juice instead of syrup. I ended up 11 pints worth.

Canned. The jars are popping now.

Here is the irony. I don't really like prickly pear. These jars will be gifts to other more appreciative folks. I'll probably save one or two for All Souls Procession cocktails.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

My weekend.

On Friday night I hung out with Steve at the new World of Beer. We ran into Kameron and Hal and stood and talked. Steve and I then went off Bisonwiches for supper. I've know Steve since 1986.


Steve and Homer.

The next morning, Craig and Jesse arrived from Phoenix. Buddy did not like the wheels on Craig's chair. He was naughty and barked loudly.

We got in the car and drove to Parker Lake. A long windy road, State Route 83, stops at the lake.

Craig driving.

Lots of pretty barn swallows nesting and raising babies.


Swallows.

We rented a pedal/paddle boat and went out onto Parker Lake. We rapidly discovered the hell of pedal/paddle boats. Our legs were not happy.


Jesse agreed about this.


Craig.


On the drive back I admired the scenery. Nasty Canadians want to destroy a huge area of the east side of the Santa Rita Mountains with an enormous pit mine, leaching the crap out of the rock with cyanide, and then shipping the ore down the winding, 2-lane road to the train tracks to ship directly to China.

Pretty scenery.

Of course, I do not know if the mine will ever happen because many, many people are lining up to sue the fuck out of these people for lots of different reasons.

The sun made a pretty pattern on my camera.

Pink and green dots.

We went to BK's for supper.


Jesse and Craig waiting for supper.

This morning I got up and made pancakes, cheesy eggs, carmelized bananas, and veggie links. We then went up to Mount Lemmon to cool off. At the top it was 65 degrees (100 at the base).

The guys at 9000+ feet.

Picnic lunch of cheese sandwiches, Cheese Nips, and blueberries. A little beetle visited with us.

Beetle.

Craig likes blueberries.

They headed back to Tucson and I had a little nap. When I got up it started to storm violently.

Monsoon rain.

I was in the living room when I heard a weird nose. When I walked in the kitchen I saw water exploding through the wall. SIGH.

Water damage.

Even more water was coming down in the corner of the study.

After the rain stopped I climbed up on the roof with a broom and swept water off and found the leaking area. Tomorrow I will buy a big pail of the white roof coating to slop over the area that is leaking. YEAH!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

The little pink lily always surprises me when it blooms.

I have no idea what kind it is or where it came from. It just blooms in one of the pots in my front yard.


Pink!

Jesse and Craig are coming down so of course I had to make a cake. I decided on a peach upside-down-cake. Secret ingredient- some bourbon in with the peaches.



Five peaches, stick of butter, half cup brown sugar, vanilla, and some bourbon.

I made the batter and it is baking right now.

Batter up!

Buddy followed me around as I did my morning watering. I sat down on the back steps and tried to get a good photo with him.

Handsome!

He really hates having his picture taken, knows that sometimes the flash goes off.

Hard work being Buddy.

All I have left to do is vacuum and run to the store for some picnic items for tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Let's make Homer-made fig newtons.

First go out in the backyard and feed Buddy breakfast.

Good morning Buddy.

The fig tree is in my neighbor Dan's yard. About three years ago he stopped watering it and it mostly died. I have been watering it with the hose and when I empty and clean out Buddy's wading pool, so it is gradually coming back. I had to climb over the fence to get some of the figs. They exude a white fluid that makes my skin itch!


The fig tree.

I picked about 20 figs. Little bugs come out of the insides of many of them. I washed them and set them on the counter all day.

Figs.

I got home from work and told Puff he had to get off the table. 

He was not happy.

Snowball is always well-behaved.

He likes me the best.

I washed dishes, scrubbed the table, wiped down the mixer and started following the recipe (I used the second one on this page).

Flour, salt, cinnamon.

I blended the butter, sugar, two egg whites, and vanilla in my Martha mixer. After I added the flour and mixed it in, I put the dough in the fridge for two hours to rest.

I then chopped the figs, added a little sugar and lemon juice.

Chopped figs- the 20 or so made four cups.

I cooked it down and tasted it, not really sweet.

Cooked compote.

I rolled the dough out. It is very hot and humid and so it didn't want to cooperate. I cut strips and placed the fig compote on.

Assembling.

I rolled the dough over and tried to seal it with very limited success.

Ready to bake.

In the oven for about 20 minutes. They come out fairly soft.

Cookie.

They don't taste much like store-bought Fig Newtons, but they are still good. They kind of have a rhubarb taste to them.


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