Sunday, August 14

Friday, August 12

Wednesday, July 20

Indian Fig

View the slideshow

The birds have long been at it but I've finally harvested my first tuna (fruit) from our huge Indian Fig (Opuntia ficus-indica) at Boydston Manor. They do require special handling to avoid the glochid tufts (spines). But it is easy enough slice the skin off the tuna.

The tuna has a pleasant fruity flavor -- perhaps a cross between a strawberry and a fig. The texture reminds me of a kiwi and like the kiwi there are plenty of seeds. But they are easily separated from the fruit in your mouth.

Ideally I would allow the fruit to ripen more before harvesting. But the birds have been aggressive.

I planted this Indian Fig from a paddle cutting I got from someone six years ago and this is the first year it has fruited. If anyone would like a cutting I'm happy to share. This cactus is native to central Mexico.

Monday, June 27


"Truth is not at risk because we express it in love." ~ Art Greco

And if I might be so presumptuous as to add, a truth spoken apart from love is never completely true.

Wednesday, June 8


My sense of the situation is that much of what we think and do is motivated by fear -- fear that someone is trying to take our place in line. But that very fear prevents us from realizing that we're standing in the wrong line and that the only reason others are interested in the line is that we're standing in it.
The Lord is on my side,
and I am not afraid
of what others can do to me.
With the Lord on my side,
I will defeat all
of my hateful enemies.
It is better to trust the Lord
for protection
than to trust anyone else,
including strong leaders.

~ Psalm 118:6-9 (CEV)

Thursday, April 14

Quinoa Experiment

There has been considerable interest in my quinoa experiment. I'm trying to figure out if it can be grown in the low desert and if so, what would be the best planting rhythm. This is the cherry vanilla variety. It's now up to 22 inches and is starting to develop flowers. I planted in the second week of January. At this point we have not yet had any days over 100°F.

Monday, April 4

Google's Self-Driving Bike

Google is not only clever, but they've also figured out that things work better when the company doesn't take itself too seriously.

Monday, March 7

Murder mystery in our garden

Crime Scene
I'm stupefied.

While tending the garden last evening I encountered a fledgling pigeon hopping around on the ground. He could fly -- but only about six inches before each crash landing.

My first concern was that he'd be easy prey for the neighbor's cats, which hunt in our yard. So, with the best of intentions I easily captured him and jailed him in a large bird cage that my neighbor Al gave me a few weeks ago. (I plan to paint it and fill it with potted plants.) Even though the lock on the cage doesn't work it is heavy duty and very secure with two concrete blocks wedged in front the door.

I gave the bird a pan of water, some seed, and a handful of straw. Then I covered the cage with an old bed sheet to help keep him warm in his first night out of the nest, which is in the eaves of the house about eight feet away.

This morning I went to the garden to free him from protective custody -- but the jail was empty! The sheet had been jostled. However, the blocks securing the door were still in place. There was a small blood stain on the wood floor in a corner of the cage. Assorted gray pigeon feathers, along with a portion of a wing, littered the ground about a foot away from the cage.

I've concluded that my attempt at protective custody failed. But I don't know why. There is no way that he could have gotten out on his own. And there is no way that a cat maneuvered into the cage -- unless the feline also returned the two 20 lbs blocks to their exact position in front of the door after gobbling up the young pigeon.

I wonder if a small snake squeezed in between the heavy duty bars. But if a snake ate the bird in the cage, how could the reptile, with its expanded girth, get back out? And why were there feathers outside the cage?

I'm stupefied.