Game Time Snacks

‘Kayso, I finished working out just before Monday Night Football kicked off (Cowboys vs. NY – GO COWBOYS!!), and I was a little hungry. I wanted a snack. Hmmm…let’s see what’s in the ‘fridge: leftover biscuits from yesterday’s brunch, 3-pepper gouda, arugula, and I had two lovely Cherokee Purple tomatoes sitting on the counter. Bingo! Added some Avocado Chipotle Lime mayonnaise and I was off and running…

A few minutes under the broiler.

Voilà! The sweetness of the biscuits was a perfect compliment to the spicy arugula, cheese, and mayo. YUM!

Paired with a cocktail of botanically-infused vodka over ice. Perfection.

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Concrete Jungle (9.21.2022)

I wanted this space to be a haven for wildlife as well as a beautiful sanctuary for us (and Ramses, of course). We had our share of rodents last year, but thankfully have not SEEN any this year. I say “seen” because I believe we have a rat that comes around sometimes at night. I suspect this because Ramses will not come to bed on those nights (I think he smells it.) and the next day one of my trellises is always leaning – as if something has crawled behind it thus causing it to fall forward. But these visits are few and far between. We get robins, finches, and other larger birds everyday. Some go for the seed in the bird feeder, while others forage on the ground for seeds that have been jettisoned. A few like to drink from the new bird bath.

We have three regulars frequenting the Hummer Café. One hummingbird is obviously female and also likes to sip nectar from the fuchsias and bacopa. Aside from birdseed sprouting up all over the place, our feathered guests provide great entertainment for all three of us!

Western Fence lizards are all over the place. The cinder blocks provide necessary hiding places from predators – like my cat!


Last month Ramses spotted the tiniest Western Fence lizard I’d ever seen. Fortunately, the cat was inside on the opposite side of the screen door. I squeezed my way past kitty and approached the tiny thing. It was not scared of me in the least and let me gently pick him/her up. That’s a warning sign. Sure enough I saw one of its back legs was dessicated or malformed, with little to no foot attached to it. The lizard was enjoying the warm sun so I let it be and went back inside. Cat stayed inside, too. (Very annoyed.) The next day I went out to the Concrete Jungle to water plants. Ramses in tow. I always know when he’s found something. It was in one of the pots. I looked and didn’t see anything. As there were dead leaves from the plant inside the pot, I stuck my hand in and rooted around to see if anything came running out. Nada. But the plant needed watering…after which I DID notice something. The baby lizard from the day before. I was sure I’d drowned it. Putting Ramses inside, I retrieved the little tyke. It was barely alive. Did he/she slip in there the night before to hide and didn’t have enough strength to climb out?

I was very worried. I decided this tiny creature deserved a fighting chance to live. I keep mini mealworms (these are TEEENY) around for my carnivorous plants. You can see how small this lizard is by comparison with the mealworms. I hoped they were just the right size for a baby Western Fence lizard.

I came back later and found all the mealworms gone! Spike (I figured a tough-as-nails lizard deserves an equally tough name.) had crawled out of the shallow pot and was drinking from a small dab of water under one of the planters nearby. Checked back about an hour later and didn’t see Spike, but could tell from Ramses’ manner that he/she had not gone far. I guessed Spike had snuggled under the purple alyssum for the night. Early the next morning I put three more mealworms in the same shallow bowl and set it next to the alyssum. Came back and they were gone, too! Although we’ve not seen Spike since, I’m happy he/she stuck around long enough to get a couple of good meals down. Rock on, little one!

From the 5th through the 9th we had a helleva heat wave here! We normally have the door open and the outdoor lights on in the evenings when it’s warm and one of those hot nights I saw something HUGE fluttering in the Concrete Jungle. My first thought was that it was a moth. I ran out to check and it was not a moth at all, but a Western Tiger Swallowtail taking refuge from the heat. That same week a baby skink showed up late afternoon and said hello to Ramses. (From the other side of the screen door, of course.) Unfortunately, it wouldn’t sit still for a photo op.

Bees have been coming and going pretty much all year. They LOVE the African Blue Basil and are finally cottoning to the oregano and borage flowers; and one bee in particularly seems taken with the heliotrope…and who can blame her? Look at the size of this flower head!

My dreams have come true.
This little bit of concrete heaven smack dab in the middle of Silicon Valley
has truly become a wildlife refuge.

Last month, I wrote that I was having some luck with borage seeds.

Well, look at these beauties now!

I’m growing these from seed from now on. The plants are so much stronger and healthier than ones I’ve purchased as seedlings.

Thanks to the warm weather, my Bishop’s Cap peppers are finally maturing. They are tasty, too. Not hot. Zingy.

Speaking of the heat wave…my Datura (aka “Dot”) EXPLODED with blooms the week before. Thank Goddess I got photos because the 100+ temps melted them all away.

At Night in the Jungle

Where all the colors just seem to POP…

I’d like to say my work is done BUT as you know, gardening is a work-in-progress…

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
– Audrey Hepburn

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Happy Caturday! (9.10.2022)

By Prince Ramses XII

Whew! What a week. SHE says we’ve beem im a “heatwave”. Dom’t kmow what that meams but it’s beem very hot these last few days. Spemt much time loumgimg om the chest im the bedroom. Mice amd cool.

There are TWO cats livimg across the way. Ome is all black amd the other is what SHE calls a “tuxedo”. SHE has some pretty stramge mames for thimgs.

SHE also says that cat people belomg to a secret club, with a special lamguage omly felime lovers umderstamd…

If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.
– Mark Twain

The difference between dog people and cat people: dog people wish their dogs were people. Cat people wish they were cats.
— Simon Sinek (@simonsinek) June 23, 2018

Research shows dog people tend to be outgoing, conscientious and rule-followers. Those who are cat lovers tend to be more quiet, sensitive and nonconformist. [source]

“Dogs are assholes”
DOG PERSON: YOU’RE an asshole!
“Cats are assholes”
— Mara “Get Rid of the Nazis” Wilson (@MaraWilson) September 3, 2015

Psst…we’re secretly happy our people are part of the clowder amd we love them very much. (But dom’t tell amyome or we’ll have to kill you.)

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Steve Grimmett: 1959-2022

Considering my undying love for Mötley Crüe, one might be surprised to hear that the first CD I ever purchased was Grim Reaper’s “See You in Hell” (1983). Grimmett’s sustained note at the end of the song “See You in Hell” always amazes me, as it was recorded without effects. It was all Steve. And THAT’s why I purchased the CD.

According to vocalist Steve Grimmett in a 1984 interview, “Dead on Arrival” [from See You in Hell] is about his friendship with Brian Field who was involved with the Great Train Robbery. [source]

Grim Reaper’s songs made it into many of my Mëtalaerobix classes. I loved turning my students on to new artists. Being one of my favorite Heavy Mëtal bands from the 80s, I dearly wanted to see them live; but, sadly, it was not to be. You will be missed, Steve. ❤

Steve Grimmett: 2nd from right

Steve Grimmett
August 19, 1959 – August 15, 2022

Love that 80’s hair!

From the album, Rock You to Hell (Crank. It. Up!):

GRIM REAPER…Nick Bowcott on Steve Grimmett: “He Was a Glass Half Full Guy…He Was an Exceptional Human Being”
GRIM REAPER Vocalist STEVE GRIMMETT Dead At 62 Years Old
80’s Blast::Grim Reaper
Grim Reaper to release new album
@ Wikipedia
Grim Reaper Vocalist Steve Grimmett – The full in bloom Legacy Interview – See You in Hell
GRIM REAPER – Interview with Steve Grimmett and Nick Bowcott from 2015

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Edible Delights::Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

One of our neighbors gifted us a boatload of cherry tomatoes. We’re right in the middle of our yearly heatwave so I knew these wouldn’t keep for long. What to do, what to do, what to do? I know: roast ’em!!!

The recipe is so simple. Dump the tomatoes in a large rectangular baking pan (single layer, please). I cut up a large onion and scattered it on top, along with three garlic cloves (halved). Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I also sprinkled plenty of Chef Josef’s Garlic Herb Seasoning Blend on top. (Chef Josef’s was one of the vendors at this year’s Sunnyvale Art & Wine Festival.)

Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes, or until the tomatoes have “popped”.

That’s it! This is great as a side dish, over fish or chicken, spooned onto big slabs of sourdough, or tossed with pasta…

I added about 2/3 of the roasted tomatoes to 1# of cooked pasta
(I used a combo of orecchiette and farfalle).
Then threw in some arugula and feta (which made it a bit creamy).
Serve hot or warm.

Bon appétit!

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