Saturday, May 31, 2014

Summer in Paradise

I've written before about my brown thumb, or inability to keep plants alive. Ron's quite talented in that regard, but my skills are being tested. My friends have me watering their plants for them in their absence, and I do become quite anxious because I can't tell if I'm doing it right or not, because I don't know what healthy looks like until they're not. It's getting very warm here, over 100 every day and closer to 110 often. Then there's the added concern everyone has over the cost of the water: we pay 7 cents a gallon for our water (I think, it may be 7 pesos, can't recall). Nevertheless, the overall goal (per mi amigas) is to just keep them alive, they don't need to be flourishing.

Yesterday, I accidently left Jan's drip system on for 11 hours instead of 1 hour. Forgot. That'll cost me...So her plants may be flourishing shortly.

Bette's drip system is getting an overhaul this weekend by Al and us. The timer doesn't work anymore, and several of the little dripper things need replacing.

Karen's plants are flourishing with only weekly watering. Go figure.

And MY plants! Here's my little brain cactus, producing it's SECOND flower! It sends out a long stalk, blooms one day, then nothing. But it's gorgeous and smells amazing!
Brain cactus flower. And Luther.
AND! One of the big Saguaros in the front has decided to blossom for the first time. The bees love it.

I've decided to water the blooming things in our own yard more often despite the cost because it's so fricking hot. If I'm drinking like a fish, I figure they need more also? And "flourishing" would be nice to see, for once. That Saguaro gets more water than the other Saguaros because it's next to our pitiful Bouganvilleas that I'm trying to coax into covering that low cactus-rail fence.

Then I'd been reading about some of the trees we have, and discovered the local Seri Indian tribe utilize their seed pods. I've asked Jack to make me a press (involves using a jack, like for changing a tire?) I found plans to make one online, a Mother Earth-type website. So I go around collecting seed pods into baggies, and hope to someday have Jojoba Oil for lotions and hair care, mesquite flour (yeah, right, like I don't even bake with regular flour), and Palo Verde sprouts and peas.
Jojoba nuts. Same size as and resemble acorns.

Palo Verde Seed Pods
Here's how Desert Harvesters CLICK says to do it:

EAT: Palo Verde flowers can be eaten raw in salads or candied for use in desserts.

Although they can be eaten raw, both green and dry/brown stages of seeds may be most easily digested when blanched, sprouted or cooked.

After blanching green pods, salt and eat the green Palo Verde seeds from the shell like edamame. Or use them in salads or soups, as garnish, or sauté or roast with seasoning.

Dry seeds are best eaten simply sprouted, or sprouted and then parched/roasted. To sprout: soak overnight and then rinse daily until seed coat splits open and sprout emerges. Remove sprouts by squeezing the split seed coat. Rinse with clean water and then use sprouts raw or lightly cooked. To parch/roast: Sprout seeds just until the tiny root emerges (1-2 days). Dry seeds in the sun, solar oven, or conventional oven set to 150 F. Once dry, put seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat to cook until seeds pop. Season with salt or other spices.

Ron grew this Palo Blanco from seed, so I've been harvesting it's pods to grow some more. The ones that grow naturally on the short cut road to Kino Nuevo are tall, willowy, feathery and graceful. So far ours is stunted and bizarre, sort of a Dr. Suess tree...
Palo Blanco Seed Pods

I moved the screen porch furniture around for better conversation areas and ocean/wildlife viewing. The futon usually has a dog sprawled across the whole thing, but the glider and rocking chairs are comfy too. And now I can fill that big dog water bowl from the hose outside.

That thing in the middle is the Dos Palmas First Aid station, with defibrillator and oxygen.

Hummer watch, and Bette's Mint plant, alive but not flourishing.

So that's what I've been up to. Plus a lot of Jammies days, TV, and googling stuff. Patricia's arrived, which livens things up a bit, and I do still go beachcombing/clamming early mornings on the ATV. That will probably have to stop as it gets hotter, but not yet.