Chocolate

Chocolate

Oh, prepare to experience severe cravings, those of you who love chocolate. I admit I don’t comprehend at all anyone who doesn’t adore the wonder that is the cacao bean. When I wrote Regency Romance many years ago, the heroines of well-to-do families would start their day with hot chocolate. This may be the real reason I wrote Regencies, lol. I could relate to the love and pleasure of it. Is chocolate one of your guilty pleasures or are you indifferent?

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas

As many of you know, I enjoy gardening and have from the time I had my first home as an adult. Both my mother and her mother were avid gardeners. My grandmother in particular grew a mass of sweet peas every spring and summer that seemed to climb to the roof on her simple string frame. She had a lot of bud vases and kept them full with her sweet peas. Her home was fresh and fragrant to say the least. Since I live in the desert, I haven’t tried to grow them, but I’ll bet I could over the winter. They’d be done by April when the hot weather arrives, but seeing these videos and collecting the photos reminded me what a great addition they are to both the garden and the home.

Seals

Seals

There are two basic kinds of seals: True seals and eared or fur seals. True seals live in the frigid waters near the Arctic and Antarctic. These seals have thin skin with plenty of blubber to keep them warm. Eared seals are furred seals and need that fur for their warmth. They live in the ocean between Asia and the Pacific Northwest. They also live off the coasts of South America, Antarctica, southwestern Africa and southern Australia. One more hitch: Fur seals and sea lions are more closely related than true seals and fur seals. Of the pictures I’ve gathered, I’m honestly not sure whether those seals with ears are fur seals or sea lions. See what you think. 

Argentina

Argentina

Few countries have such varied geography as Argentina. From the rain forests in the north, to the Andes Mountains in the west, a long coastline on the eastern side of the country, to the plains region of the Pampas, to the magnificent glaciers in the south, Argentina is a magnificent land. It is a country of immigrants, 97% of which are European. In addition, 50% of the population is either Italian or mixed Italian. There is even a Welsh population that speaks their native language. It’s the birthplace of the Tango and the resting place of Eva Peron.

Walnuts

Walnuts

I have always liked walnuts from as far back as I can remember, perhaps most notably when they were included in mom’s fudge. Another favorite dessert featuring walnuts is carrot cake, one of the most popular cakes today. But walnuts also do well in salads, casseroles and stir fry’s. 

Daylilies

Daylilies

I am a big fan of daylilies. They’re one of those plants that works hard, looks pretty most of the season and blooms and blooms. I have only one daylily in my desert backyard, but it lives in what I call my ‘furnace’ zone. This angled portion of the garden doesn’t yet have enough shade so that June through July, the poor daylily gets fried then vanishes only to reemerge the following spring. The first time it showed up after months of having ‘disappeared’, I was so surprised. I thought it was long dead. But after doing a little research on the daylily, I have a new goal to buy more plants and put them in areas where I know they’ll get a good portion of shade during the hottest times of the day then we’ll see how they do.

African Penguins

African Penguins

When I did my blog on Cape Town earlier this year, I learned for the first time there were penguins in Africa. So, I decided I would have to do a blog about these wonderful, flightless birds. They live in a colony at Boulders Beach, an aptly named portion of the coastline near Cape Town since massive boulders line the shore where the penguins live.  From the videos below, you’ll see that African penguins are adorable, fascinating and somewhat used to having humans around. 

Venice

Venice, Italy

In an earlier post, I featured masks from the annual Carnival of Venice. In the background of a few of the photos was the beautiful, extraordinary city of Venice so it was only a matter of time before I returned to this unique ‘lagoon’ city. Venice has over 25 miles of canals and is a car-free zone. Transportation is all by water, whether the water-buses, water-taxis or the famous gondolas. If it has one major problem, there are too many tourists in the busiest times of year. Yet, who doesn’t want to see this land of enchantment?

Apricots

Apricots

My husband enjoys fruit and eats a lot of it. I don’t, but here’s why. Years ago, my mother had an apricot tree. The ripe fruit from that tree was beyond anything I’d ever tasted before or since. I can still picture it, the spread of the canopy and lovely leaves, what the fruit felt like in my hand, and how much juice each apricot produced. The whole experience of eating a tree-ripened apricot absolutely ruined me for fruit found in most markets today and I find I have little interest in eating any of it. I have a similar reaction to tomatoes and can’t wait til I figure out how best to grow them in my rockbed of a desert garden.

Dog Roses

Dog Roses

These lovely, wild, simple roses can be found in hedgerows throughout the United Kingdom and will bloom during June and July. In the fall, the red hips appear full of all kinds of goodness, from natural healing remedies to just the right flavors for syrups and wines. In the U.S., the dog rose can be found growing wild in various parts of the country especially along roadsides and coastlines. But there’s more. The petals of the dog rose are considered a wild edible and can be plucked and eaten while out for a hike.