Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pleasant Places

When we were at Pleasant Places last week, we drove to Fredericksburg for a couple of plant errands. On the property of one of the plant nurseries we went to was this enormous live oak tree, obviously native to Texas.

You simply must see it to feel its stately and loving grandeur. Can you see me standing next to it in a black t-shirt? Don't I look tiny?

Texas A & M put the oak at 750 years old. Wow! I Googled old trees and one of the oldest-in-the-world recorded trees was 5,000 years old in Utah. It was cut down in 1964.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rose got porcupined!

This morning when I let Rose in the house, she looked a little different, as if she were wearing some kind of silly mustache. Well, she kind of was. She had a run-in with a porcupine and got the short end of the stick, so to speak. I thought she was a little more savvy than that because last night when John shot a skunk (I know, it's terrible) she was curious but knew better than to get to close to its stink.
John pulled the quills out with pliars. It's apparently quite painful for dogs but Rose was the brave Texan and never whimpered. We then put antibiotic ointment on the spots and gave her an Aleve. She loved all the attention! And now we have the quills on display on our hearth with the other natural wonders we've found here at Pleasant Places.

Our new remote office-Pleasant Places

John and I are at Pleasant Places for the week, having set up a trial run of our remote office down here. It's working terrifically, I might add. It gives us the opportunity to work during the day and do chores and needed pruning, mowing, and lots of sitting on the back porch watching the wildlife while it's still light. We love it!

It's been cool here so everything is not super-green yet. I took some pics of a few of the plants that are getting geared up for growth.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Truvia sweetner

Doesn't it look like cane sugar on the scrumptous strawberries? Ah, contrar, my friend, I have finally found a sweetner made from Stevia called Truvia. It's almost exctly like white cane sugar to me! Yipee! It's made by steeping the leaves of the Stevia plant. People have been sweetening foods and beverages with stevia leaves for hundreds of years. The taste comes from a natural ingredient from the leaves called rebiana. Rebiana is what gives Truvia™ natural sweetener its clean, honest sweet taste.
Truvia™ natural sweetener is a great alternative for people with diabetesand is also kosher certified. And all this with zero calories! Thank you Lord!

Dandelions for free!

It's early spring here in Texas, and that means dandelions abound, especially in our yard. I picked some of these edible beauties to add to salads and as you can see in the photo above, to add as a garnish to my grain dish, red rice. Don't you love the pop of intense color and the texture of the petals?

Think of ways to add panache to your presentation of a simple dish by using out-of-the-ordinary containers, such as this martini glass. And I love how easy it is to use a small bowl to mold the rice in and plop it out on a plate. It gives such a finished look to the rice, doesn't it?

You can also eat the green leaves of the dandelion plant. They must be picked when they're very young or they will be bitter.

Bon apetite!