So Tiny

How nice would it be to spend the day on a yellow bloom? A tiny baby brown anole enjoyed the sunshine on Bartram’s Oenothera grandifloria.


Forsythia Sage

My Forsythia Sage has had a hard life. I brought it with me when we moved 20 years ago. I stuck it in a temporary bed while the landscaping was being finished and it has been there ever since. Unfortunately, it is not a great place and is probably too shady. The sage survived, but it is slowly moving south to get more sunlight. The Forsythia Sage must have hit a sweet spot this year and it finally bloomed.


Critters in the Garden

I always enjoy finding wildlife in the garden.  This has been the year of the  Copperhead.  They always seem to appear just where I want to work.

I found these Rosy Wolf snails intertwined on a flower stem.  I hope that means many more snails are on the way.

This Tree Frog blended in perfectly with a Moses leaf. I haven’t seen as many of those this year.

I almost stepped on the small turtle as it was trying to hide under leaves.

Another baby Copperhead ended up in my work space. Thankfully, I usually see them as I am reaching my hand into the bed. I wonder how many I miss. The Copperheads are pretty chill and will hang around to watch unlike the green garden snake I saw earlier that slithered away as soon as I came upon it.

OK…I thought I was done with this post and sure enough, I came across another Copperhead. I was dumping a load of gingers I had just cut down and there it was. As usual the snake was fine with a little photo shoot.


Bee Pandemonium

It is pandemonium at the hummingbird feeder. Just days ago there were a few bees and a butterfly.

A signal must have gone out to stimulate the need to get ready for the winter. The feeder was emptied in a manner of hours.

I used my long lens to capture the photos from a distance. I do not know if these are honey bees or wild bees, but maybe someone could help identify them.

The air is so crowded with bees, that I cannot get close enough to change the nearly empty feeder.


Sweet Treat for Pollinators

It was a busy day at the hummingbird feeder, but not for the hummers. A Monarch Butterfly had been visiting for a few days and I finally got a photo.

Bees are also interested in getting the sugar water. Every time they got close to the butterfly, it flapped its wings to shoo them away. The hummingbirds are currently feeding from autumn blooms.


In Bloom

We have no colorful leaves yet, but as my fellow Texans have been posting, we do have colorful flowers blooming. Above is a Pink Flamingo Feather Celosia. It pops up all over the yard and grows up to five feet tall. The flowers can be dried.

I am not ever sure what this plant is. It planted itself in one of my beds and thrived. From what I researched it is some kind of a wild Mist Flower or wild ageratum. Eupatorium coelestinum grows in this area and that is my best guess. All the pollinators love it, so the plant will stay.

Swamp Sunflower is another plant that waits out the summer before setting its bloom. It is a prolific reseeder and I had to pull up many of them. I left enough to enjoy their sunny flowers in the fall.

The Shampoo ginger (Zingiber zerumbet) prefers to make its red cones in the autumn.

I can never let this time of year pass without photos of my beloved Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis). It starts white and turns to deep rose at the end of the day.

Last year I had to cut the gangling shrub severely and was concerned whether it would come back as robust this year. I am not disappointed. Yes, we do not have the glorious colored leaves of the northeast, but we can have flowers all year, including the luxury to grow winter annuals.


A Perfect Day

It was a blue sky day. The humidity was gone and the sun ray’s felt just the way they should. A Gulf Fritillary Butterfly was enjoying the warm rays as well. I reached out my hand and the butterfly landed. It was a perfect day.


Pumpkin Flan

Pumpkin Flan

DSC_0739

I thought I would add one more pumpkin recipe.

Tired of watching others eat pumpkin pie?  Here is a great alternative that is gluten free.  I think it is better than pie!

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light-brown

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup canned cooked pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cup half and half

5 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract check for GF

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

*You will need a  9 inch cake pan and a roasting pan large enough to set the cake pan in.

Put granulated sugar into a 9 inch cake pan and set on the center oven rack.  Bake until sugar is melted about 8 to 12 minutes. Take out of the oven.  Swirl to cover  the bottom of the pan with caramel.  Set aside.  Be sure to watch carefully while in the oven!

In a large bowl whisk together next 5 ingredients.  Stir in pumpkin.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients.  Then thoroughly mix into the large bowl with the pumpkin mixture.

Set the cake pan with the caramel into a large roasting pan and pour the custard over it.  Put it into the oven and fill with hot tap water halfway up the sides.

Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until custard is set.  (Remove cake pan carefully from the water and let the water cool in the oven.)  Cool the flan then chill in the refrigerator.  Run a knife around the edge and invert on to a rimmed plate.  Enjoy!

This dessert is easy to take along.  Keep it in the pan  in a cold cooler.  Remove it from the pan  just before eating.

adapted from Martha Stewart


Pumpkin Custard, Naturally GF

And here is what to do with the leftover pumpkin puree. This is a quick and easy recipe that is naturally gluten free. As always, check all your ingredients for gluten.

The custard tastes great slightly cooled from the oven and is just as good after being refrigerated. The pumpkin custard could be dressed up with whip cream, a drizzle of the caramel sauce,and graham cracker crumbs sprinkled on top.

Ingredients

3/4 cup of canned pumpkin puree

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups of evaporated skim milk (one 12-ounce can)

3/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

————————-

1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons of cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon of salt

In a large bowl, whisk together the first 4 wet ingredients

In another bowl stir together the remaining dry ingredients and sift into the pumpkin mixture. Stir well and pour into four 3/4 cup custard cups.

Place the cups in a 9×11 inch baking pan and add enough warm water to come half way up the sides of the cups. Bake for 50 minutes until the custard is lightly browned. Cool on a rack.


Halloween Treat – Pumpkin Pie Martini

I came across this very intriguing drink while watching P. Allen Smith’s show. I tweaked it and made a Gluten Free version. I have to say, it takes a few sips to adjust to the surprising flavor, but it really is a fun novelty drink that could also be served at Thanksgiving.

This recipe is for one drink, but it should be easy to make ahead for a group by using some math to increase the servings. Pumpkin Pie Martinis would be a fun way to greet guests at some future gathering or fun to drink when you are just sitting alone in your COVID bubble, or fun to drink while trying to use this new WordPress.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of pumpkin puree (I used canned)

1 1/2 ounces of vodka (I perfer less, especially before dinner)

1/4 cup of fresh orange juice (fresh made the drink special)

dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

–MIX all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice, then shake it up.

Graham Cracker Garnish

caramel sauce (The recipe does not tell how to make this. I bought caramel ice cream topping or caramel candies could be melted)

gluten free graham cracker crumbs (GF graham crackers are finally on the market and I found some at my local grocery store. For everyone else, just use regular graham crackers)

–PUT the sauce and crumbs on two small plates. Dip the rims of the Martini glasses in the caramel sauce, then twist the rim in the graham cracker crumbs. Fill with the Pumpkin Pie Martini.

Now, what to do with all that left over pumpkin? Check out my next post for an answer.