The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The poor man's fig

Scrub Jay having a snack

There is a very old, very large prickly pear cactus in my yard that is bearing fruit right now. I don't enjoy cooking at all, (really not even a little bit,) but if I did I could make jams and jellies, or strip the paddle-like leaves, slice and cook them into all sorts of meals. It has a texture like a string bean I am told.
This California ground squirrel is about 5' off the ground

These cactus grow around the world in places like Israel, Africa, Mexico, Brazil and Spain. Malta and Sicily use the fruit to make a liqueur and it has commercial uses as well.
This little guy is a good 10' off the ground

Cattlemen in the US grow it as feed and boundary fence for their cattle. The spines are burned off with a propane torch, and the cattle are rotionally grazed on it from year to year. Reportedly, it has more nutritional value than corn and other feed, and is far easier and less expensive to cultivate.

I didn't cultivate mine. I simply took possession of it when I bought my home. Unrestrained, the cactus shown in these photos has grown to a height of over 20'. It's taller than my house and produced more than 30 figs this year. The number is rapidly diminishing however. As the critters enjoy them on the plant, they loosen and fall to the ground. The squirrels can often be seen hopping across my lawn with cactus fruit in their mouths. Maybe they like to cook.


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