Saturday, July 30, 2011

Unknown flowers

First off - I love wildflowers.  One of the first books I ever bought myself was a book on California Wildflowers.  I used my allowance to pay the bookstore off and bought that book and a book about animals.  I was 10 maybe.  I was so proud of buying my own books.  I still have them.  So as I've moved and grown, this love of wild plants has pretty much stayed with me.  I have to know what they are and if they could be useful.  Included in my job list is working with a friend who would wild food forage and I would usually go along.  So I know bull cane is edible at certain times a year and where to pick mustang grapes, how to make agarita jelly and buffalo plums (which are actually legumes). 

So when i was helping Blinda - my landlady with her community garden I found a plant that I just can't identify.  It's slowly driving me nuts.  It's either wild or an excaped variety of sunflower.  I can't seem to get a good picture of it and I cannot identify it.  I know there has to be a picture somewhere but who knows. 
If anyone reads this and knows what it is please let me know.

It is a Cowpen Daisy.  I was happy I figured it out finally.  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Greener times

I found this photo I took in the spring and marveled at the greenness of it.  It's a Ten Petaled Anemone or a Texas Anemone (Anemone berlandieri ) which I happen to love but many people consider it a weed.  It comes in a blueish color as well as this white but I think they are so very special.  Right now the area where it lives in my back yard is brown and crispy.  Nothing alive there thanks to the over 100 degree weather and the drought.  I snuck a dribble of water in the area since my sage and my rosemary were looking peaked.  Hopefully we can get water and things will green up.  I always marvel at how quickly weeds bounce back.  As I look outside my window I see tiny wild petunias blooming with no additional moisture.  I'm always amazed at how no matter how stressed or horrible we think something is...nature seems to be able to produce beauty from it.  . 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Watermelon Summer

One of my favorite foods n the summer is watermelon.  How could anyone not enjoy the cool watery fruit especially now that the seeds are missing from it.  (Although we shouldn't dismiss the childish practise of spitting watermelon seeds at siblings).  My brother and I often had seed spitting contests and would manage to spit a great many at each other until my grandmother would catch us.  We were being vulgar -- one of her favorite words to denote lowness of character.  As children we ate the rattlesnake watermelons with the highly attractive green and white zig-zaggy stripes on them or the dar green it was almost black with a yellow spot on the bottom variety..  Now we eat the roundish seedless variety.  I've always wanted to grow them but they take a good deal of moisture to grow them and these days it's probably better to buy them from someone who grew them to keep the bills paid.  They never tell you the names of what you buy in the store - not like the apples or the pranges.  Everything is just watermelon-- seedless or seeded.  
Watermelon is also one of the fruits my SO will eat on a regular basis.  He even cuts up chunks for the fridge so they stay nice and icy. The rind that's left he takes and tosses it outside so the squirrels and the birds get some extra moisture.  The backyard squirrels hold and eat it like corn on the cob.  We find the dried up tough skins lying about the dead weeds in the back.    It's been so hot and rainless both of us worry about the outside wildlife.  We have bowls of water out, which unfortunately, the grackles view as a public toilet so they crap in it all the time.  We're constantly cleaning it out.  The other day I found a small headless bird floating in the water which makes me wonder if we have a serial killer of some sort.  I dumped the body out and when I went back to clean it up, it had mysteriously vanished.  (dun, dun, dun.) 
   It's been so hot the various small birds sit around with their mouths open panting (birds don't sweat so they pant.)  Well Gene couldn't stand it anymore and bought a cheap little circular sprinkler.  We hooked it up to the hose and hang it from the bushes around the house, dribbling enough to make a small waterfall for the birds.)  They love the shower - the cardinals especially.  I've been trying to catch one of them for a risque shower shot but they see me coming with the camera and run away.  I guess no one wants a picture of them in the shower.  I did manage to get a shot of the sprinkler in the bush.  I knew we have to be careful about water usage but we only water the bushes and that's only because our landlady is so proud of them.   If it helps the various birds - warblers, wrens, cardinals and the blue jay family - then I hope no one begrudges it.