Thistle Surprise You

Ha!  Get it?  Sometimes I'm so punny, I just can't stand it.  That's just my opunion, you understand.  Oooooh, Snap!  Okay, sorry.  But here's the thing:  when Erik was up for dinner on Monday, we noticed that the artichoke plant was blooming!  Take a look at this:

Is that the coolest thing you've ever seen?

When I showed you the artichokes a few weeks ago, there were about eight buds on them. Now there are about a dozen, with more coming. Just now I googled about harvesting artichokes.  We are probably already too late with these.  Honestly, I'm not sure how to know when they are ready, even after reading this information about them.  I wasn't really expecting artichokes this year, and yet, there they are. 

They are nasty, thorny things.  When I see something like this, I always wonder who in their right mind decided to try to eat one the first time.  "In their right mind" might be the key words in that sentence.  And, while we're talking about this, whoever got an idea to eat a raw oyster for the first time...not that I would eat a raw oyster any time, but some people like them.  In my mind, it seems as if it would be like swallowing a big wad of snot, but that's just me.  I do like them breaded and fried, however.  Dee-lish.  But, I digress.

The plant is loaded with buds.  Without using some sort of heavy-duty gloves, I'm not sure how one would harvest these, let alone eat them.  They are definitely not your grocery store variety artichokes.

I walked around on the other side of them to get some different light, and I discovered a bumblebee asleep in the flower.  It sat there motionless, as if in a trance, when all of a sudden

it backed up out of the plant and flew away.  I think I must have disturbed its slumber.

Just to give you some scale, here is another bumble bee on a wild thistle that I captured while hiking in Ecola State Park on the Oregon Coast several years ago.

Oh, and by the way, little Smitty was feeling his oats this morning.

Lately, he's been scampering up trees.  He never gets very high before he sort of looks around as if he's surprised at this strange power he has to scale tall trees.  Then he backs down again without ever going very high.

The bobcat walked through the yard again the other day at almost precisely the same time I saw him the first time.

I wish I could get a sharper image of him, but this one shows off his coat pretty well.  And notice how short his tail is.  I'm not sure I could get a sharper image even if I set the camera on a tripod.  He's quite far away, and I'm using a long lens, so there isn't much light hitting the sensor.  If he would hold perfectly still, I might be able to do it, but he's always on his way somewhere.  A cat on a mission.  We're used to that around here.

Speaking of missions, my mission is to get one more batch of pasta sauce before we leave on Saturday.  I have enough tomatoes, I think, but they aren't as ripe as they might be.  I'm going to give them one more day to ripen and make my pasta sauce tomorrow.  But we finally decided to cut into the indigo rose tomatoes.  Here's what they looked like.  They are just slightly larger than a golf ball, and they have changed from purple to mostly a pretty bright red...more on the orange side than a regular tomato.

They don't look a lot different from a regular tomato when you cut them open.  You can see the purple blush they have at the edges of the slices.

I added them to our salad the other night.  Frankly, I couldn't really taste any difference from a regular tomato, but they were good.  They take a long time to ripen...longer than the other tomatoes.

And I just want to say that Erik called last evening and said that Mae was awake and in good spirits following her back surgery.  Everything went well, although the surgeon said there was more work to do than they had anticipated before making their incision.  I'm just hoping the surgery will give her some relief from the pain she's been experiencing for months.  Erik was able to take another day off from work today, and so he'll be with her when she goes home from the hospital today.  We're keeping our fingers crossed for an uneventful recovery and a return to full mobility.  Thanks to all of you who sent your well wishes.

Finally, I want to acknowledge my 700th follower, Susie, who blogs over at Susie's Sunroom.  Thanks, Susie, for putting me over the top!  And this is good news for you too because it means that I'll be adding a 2nd prize to the mix when Fun Fact Friday Freebie resumes with a giveaway on October 5th.  You won't want to miss it because I will have some nice fabrics for you.

Today I'm doing some fun stuff.  You know, laundry and cleaning all the dead or soon-to-be-dead food out of the refrigerator.  I'm starting to fear that something might reach out and pull me inside whenever I open the refrigerator door these days.  Safety first, I always say. It's dangerous territory around here, I'll tell you.  What with bobcats, killer tomatoes, monsters in the refrigerator, not to mention rocket-propelled kittens, you never know what terrible fate might be waiting just around the corner.  In fact, I think I might wear my helmet today...just...in...case.  

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

Diann said...

It is so cool that you are growing artichokes. I've never known anyone who grew them and have never even seen them growing-in person that is!

I also wanted to tell you that I really enjoy reading about Smitty. He's quite a character.

Teresa in Music City said...

Congratulations on 700 followers! So glad to be one of them :*)

giddy99 said...

Those artichokes are FASCINATING! I wonder if they would grow here (middle Tennessee)...

Kate said...

Glad that Mea is doing well after the surgery. I wish her a full recovery.

Love the artichokes, very pretty. I had no inkling that those things would flower.

otterdaughter said...

Local blues artist Duffy Bishop used to sing a little ditty called the Oyster Song...I shall have to pop in my cd and refresh my memory of the lyrics. ;)

And my grandfather grew artichokes in his garden too. I stayed well away from that end of the patch!

Dana Gaffney said...

I'd grow artichokes just for those flowers, amazing.

Snoodles said...

Congrats on reaching 700 followers! Will I be ostracized because I admit that I've never tasted an artichoke? LOL So glad that Mae is doing well...and praying that she'll make a full recovery in the world's fastest time! :)

LethargicLass said...

so much to comment on :)

I always wonder that same thing about foods... who decided to try this, and why? LOL

So glad Mae is recovering now.

Love the colour of the artichoke flower!

Smitty, you stay on the ground young man... no trying to get firemen to rescue you!And keep your eye out for Bob!

quiltzyx said...

Yep, I've thought the same thing about artichokes...that guy must have been REALLY hungry! I've never seen one in flower before. They are gorgeous! I would snip those thorns off with my kitchen scissors & pop one of those in the steamer ASAP. yummmmmm.

Best wishes to Mae on a very speedy recovery & no more pain!