Dog Eats Orange…Goes Bananas!

It’s not often you find a dog who loves oranges! Our old dog Molly used to love them. We thought she might be kind of weird. Well…maybe not?

Tonight, we were sitting out on the porch and I plucked an orange off of the tree to sample with my sangria. Cooper took his spot in the chair next to me and immediately started giving me “Cooper Eye”….the look he gives you when he wants something really, really bad. If he throws you that look,  and doesn’t get what he want’s? Look out,  he starts his Cooper tantrum. So of course I obliged!

Mmmmmm……smells lovely!

Ahhhhhh….yesssss!  Lovin’ It!!!! Loving it……I think?

Ahhhhhhhh……

Oh yeah….that did me right!

Please Mum….Cawn I have some moh?

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Prickly Pearadise

Tis’ the season to pick-a peck-of-prickly-pears (fruits)!  The end of October and into November is when they are plump and prime!

So, we spent two weekends (carefully)  picking, plucking and processing our colorful crop.

Then, turning the fruit into juice and preserving it for the rest of the year in  ice cubes… Here’s our process…

Not a particularly painless process, as you have to beware the pricklies. Plus the squeezing is a bit tedious….but it is worth it! Although, some may be asking why?…..

Prickly pear juice is packed with nutrients: Prickly Pears are low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. They’re also a good source of Calcium and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Magnesium. Plus it adds color and flare to various goodies such as pies, jams, jellies, fruit salads, fruit smoothies… just about anything with fruit! And of course…..Todd’s  famous prickly pear margarita….

With Todd’s ‘secret’ recipe!

And then there’s my new invention: The ‘TBY’ Sunset-

Mango juice and orange juice over ice (with 2 prickly pear cubes) and a liberal  ‘splash’ of vodka!

Or….The TBY Sunrise….(same recipe minus the vodka)….or not!

Not only is it really yummy and nutritious (-vodka), but it is also a drinkable work of art! Watching the brilliant magenta prickly pear cubes melting in the orange/mango juice is like watching a colorful watercolor unfold before your eyes! Even better + vodka!

Mesquite Mess-take

About 6 week ago, Todd and I decided to harvest the mesquite beans that were bursting on the trees! Something we had thought about, but never got around to actually doing it!

I had done a little research and found out that there are several ‘milling events’ around this area in the fall, to mill these beans into flour! We were really excited because we had a bumper crop of beans that appeared to be perfect for this process!

We selected the best beans from the trees and filled two 5 gallon pails, which should yield enough to make several loaves of bread….ahhhhh fresh baked bread with sweet mesquite dough! Every time I think about it my mouth waters…I can just smell it…

But, alas,  this vision will only be in our imaginations since we messed up our delectable plans with procrastination.

We were supposed to  place the beans in the oven right after we picked them, and bake at 120 degrees for 2 hours to make sure that they were dry enough to mill. Well, Todd put the buckets ‘o’ beans in the garage, cleaned and covered, to await the baking process. It was finally about 2 weeks ago, we decided to start the ‘bean bake’…..but bugs beat us to the punch! Arrrrggghhhh! Apparently, baking not only dried the beans, but killed any little buggy things that might be inside them! Oh well, another year, another lesson!

Full

I think a better word for Fall, is Full. Everything is full…. the rain gauge (almost 10″ this year so far!), the billowing, late monsoon clouds, cactus loaded with fruit, trees lush with leaves, critters feasting and getting ready to  hibernate, hearts getting ready for the holidays. It has to be the best time to live in the desert!

The white wing dove’s nest’s are still full, with the 3rd and final round of summer babies before they leave for the winter.

The prickly pears are bursting with a bounty of fruit, ready to pick now through the end of October. We’ve already been picking some of the fruit for our favorite resident…

T.L.’s favorite!…and she is certainly getting her fill before she hibernates!

Our other favorite residents, Jairy (the javelina) and his buddies, are bringing their little one’s around so they can fill up for the cooler months to come.

The birds are thick….migrating through the backyard, keeping Todd on his toes, trying to keep the feeders full.

Not to mention the hummingbird feeders, which get drained every night (this time of year), with the bats coming through to feed! Although luckily, the hummers have a few other sources in the yard for their sweet sustenance.

We are looking forward to our own sweet treats later this fall.We are going to get the mesquite beans milled into flour. We’ve collected and filled two 5 gallon pails, which will hopefully yield enough flour to make…um…..something…sweet???

We should also have a bumper crop of oranges, come February! There are literally hundreds of little oranges growing on the two orange trees in Todd’s Backyard.

We are truly thank-full to have made it through the Summer to enjoy this beauti-full and bounti-full fall!