Sunday, May 17, 2009

Just for John: Blueberry Cheesecake Pie

I thought for sure that John would show up, fork in hand, on Saturday night when we cut into this ridiculously luscious pie. It's a graham cracker/pecan crust (made with a whole stick of butter!), topped with a layer of cream cheese whipped with sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice, topped with a layer of cooked blueberries. It was good last night, but even better for breakfast today.

See John, it was with authority when I wrote that Spork is only 99.99% evil. I am pure evil! ;-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cobblers, critters and rose rustling

The first cobbler of 2009 has been baked and consumed! It was made from the wild trailing blackberries, aka dewberries. The dewberries produce in the time between the strawberries and the "tame" blackberries. The upright (not trailing) wild blackberries are also producing, but they are... ummmm.... less than desirable. We have dubbed them vomitberries, if that gives you an idea of their flavor.

Dewberry cobbler

The "tame" blackberries are absolutely loaded with green berries, just beginning to turn pink. I use quotes around tame because for the most part they are huge plants covered with wicked thorns and they send up baby plants in every direction, 12+ feet away from the mother plants. Some of them are also sending out more blooms. I'm not sure if these will make berries, since they are so late, but you won't hear me complain if they do.

Chickasaw blackberry bloom

The raspberries are also covered in baby berries. The raspberries are interesting because they produce twice on each cane. Here in Texas they produce on the tips of the new canes in the fall, then again the following spring lower on the canes (the tip is dead by then). My understanding is that up north the canes don't produce in the fall on the first year, but instead produce twice in the second year - tips of the canes in the spring, followed by the lower branch berries in the fall. Either way we get two harvests of raspberries a year and that is a very good thing.

Baby raspberries

Once again we are sharing the stuga with a wide assortment of lizards, skinks, snakes and frogs. We have many green anoles, including this guy, who guards the water hose. He does not approve of my use of the hose, as evidenced by his liberal use of the stink-eye.

Green anole

This little guy was hiding in my compost container (aka, plastic Folgers coffee can) when I brought it in. When I set the container on the counter, he jumped out and it was an exciting few minutes while I battled Lucy and Daisy for his capture. Fortunately for the frog, I won the battle and he regained his freedom.

Green tree frog

I have been wanting to try rose rustling for a while, so I was happy when I noticed a rose growing from a mound of unkempt shrubs in front of an abandoned gas station. The rose had sent up large arching canes dripping with dark purplish/maroon flowers right through the center of the shrubs. I was so excited to find one I could rustle, that I planned for a week exactly when I would do it. Then when we got there, I chickened out at the last minute and Spork had to run over and do the clipping! He was very cool about it. I think he has a future in stealth crimes, as long as he doesn't have a plan that involves following whispered instructions.

Unknown purple/maroon rose "liberated" from the abandoned gas station

It is most likely Dr. Huey, which is commonly used as a root stock for grafted roses, but is also a pretty climbing rose in its own right. I won't know for sure until this one takes off (if the rooting is successful, that is).

Liberated rose in its fancy mouthwash bottle greenhouse

Finally, I received a surprise delivery of gardenia cuttings last night. Yay! I've been wanting to try gardenias and growing your own from cuttings or seeds is the most fun way. It's funny because the best part of gardening to me is fussing over the baby plants up to the point they really take off and grow on their own. Once they become part of the landscape, I'm pretty ho-hum on them and usually I have more babies in the queue or at least added to my list of plants to try.

Gardenia cuttings soon to be added to the nursery/plant ghetto