Weekly Photo Challenge: It Is Easy Being Green! Different shades, textures, and forms of green from the garden.
It’s really simple–cut it in half, and eat it with a spoon. That’s how my Bolivian grandmother (who adored this creamy Andean fruit) ate it–delicately scooping out the seeds she encountered, and then savoring small spoonfuls of the custard-like flesh. I also love cherimoyas (or as I grew up calling them: chirimoyas), though I only ever ate them in Bolivia as they were impossible to find in the United States. But that has been changing, to the point that last week, they appeared in the “exotic” fruit section of my local grocery store. What a treat! I took some home, let them soften up a bit (they should be quite soft to the touch, but not completely mushy), and then dug in. Yum…. Mark Twain considered cherimoyas the most delicious fruit ever (having tasted them in Hawaii, after they were introduced there via Spain and Portugal)–and I’d have to agree. But don’t be tempted to bite into a seed; the insides are toxic.
This fruit is also known as a Custard Apple, and I get the “custard” part, but can’t figure out the “apple” part; perhaps it’s due to the shape? Because a cherimoya doesn’t taste anything like an apple. What it does taste like is an entire tropical fruit salad pureed into a silky, sweet, tangy custard. It’s a vitamin-rich (B6 and C) dessert in its own green cup. One day I may be tempted to make a cherimoya flan, or some cherimoya ice cream, or perhaps a cherimoya smoothie, but it’s hard to mess with perfection. Really, all you need is a spoon.
It’s that time of year–a time where I am loath to leave the warmth of my bed in the dark and chill of the morning, a coat is becoming a necessity, and the thermostat beckons. It is fall. But this crispness in the air brings with it a relief from the hot, muggy, dog days of summer and, even better, it brings vivid autumnal colors.
Here are some photos from a recent walk around my neighborhood and Rock Creek Park.
The much-hyped cicada Swarmageddon turned out to be a bust this past spring–at least in our area. Far from being a plague of biblical proportions, not a single Brood II cicada graced our yard. Local pundits suggested that perhaps the cicadas were put off by Washington, DC traffic….
But just because periodical cicadas (like the Brood IIs, which appear every 17 years) didn’t put in much of an appearance, that doesn’t mean other cicadas haven’t been going about their usual business. This morning, as I sat sipping my coffee, I glanced out the window and saw a visitor hanging on our screen.
It was an annual (or Dog-Day) cicada, and the visit was brief. Possibly because it was rushing to complete its checklist amid a rapidly ticking biological clock. Dog-Day cicadas are supposed to show up during the long, hot days of July and August. This is October–though admittedly, it’s been an unusually warm October so far. Today, temperatures are expected to hit 84 degrees F. And since it does feel like summer has dragged on and on, that Dog-Day cicada seems to be right on target.
According to folklore, these cicadas are seasonal barometers in one other way, too: once you hear them singing, you can expect the first frost of the season in six weeks. I’ll be on the lookout.
I love how flowers and foliage — and tree trunks and bark — look after it rains. The colors pop, and any beads of water that linger add nice visual interest. I recently walked around our neighborhood just after a rainy spell, and came across this very colorful, wet tree trunk with speckled bark. I’m not certain what kind of tree it is (any clarification on that is welcome), but the mossy green of the bark that remained on the trunk and the contrasting yellow-orange layer underneath really caught my eye.
Update 3-3-13: I think this may be either a Chinese or Lacebark Elm.