Nancy, got another one for you.

Engaged ,
Mar 04, 2018

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     These trees line the avenue where I live. Just about every yard has one. They're beautiful and very fragrant almost a sweet perfume aroma. My neighbor said she thought it was a wisteria but I've seen and smelled a wisteria it was more willowy and it's fragrance was different than this. My guess is it's a lilac of some sort but then again everythings a lilac to me as I'm just guessing. I can tell you this, the bloom only lasts a couple of weeks or so and then the rest of the spring and summer it devotes to proliferant large seed pod production . Can you tell what it is? Thanks; you wonderful botanist.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 04, 2018

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Have you ever opened the pods to see what's inside them? 

I'm guessing it's a Texas Mountain Laurel.

Mountain Laurel

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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Engaged ,
Mar 04, 2018

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WOW! That's it. Gee Nancy you are just so good at this...I'm totally blown away at how you nail these plants down. Alright, now I know what to call it. Thanks Nancy.

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Engaged ,
Mar 04, 2018

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Here's one I'm familiar with it's called Nopal Cactus. Down here in San Antonio just about any taco joint worth its salt has tacos of huevos con nopalitos or scrambled eggs and these cactus paddles. They're a chore to clean and prep. I'm not too awful fond of them myself just like I'm not a fan of Cilantro. Some folks use it liberally when they make salsa verde a green chili sauce but I prefer if they left it out. Don't get me wrong, if I had to eat 'em both, I'd eat 'em. These cactus are said to be packed with antioxidants and vitamins so I guess you could say they're a health food.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 04, 2018

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I've had Nopal Cactus.   I agree that it's an acquired taste.  But if you can learn to like it chopped up in salads or salsas, it's supposed to be really great for people with sugar imbalances.  Maybe that's why Nopal-eating native American's & Latinos didn't know what diabetes or hypoglycemia were until the "great-undoing" by white man's diet.  

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 06, 2018

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You guys eat cactus?   What the heck!?   Not even Desperate Dan could eat cactus, but he did once get the upper hand in an encounter with one — but hey, he was Desperate Dan, so no contest.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 06, 2018

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Trevor,

Most of us have sense enough to peel our cactus first. 

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
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Engaged ,
Mar 06, 2018

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Proof positive it don't kill ya. I recon after a while you don't even feel the spines anymore and it's just getting through the slimy flavor. That kid really wanted to win and win he did. When he stood up and stepped away I thought he was going to blow chunks. I like that head banger music though seem to fit the video.

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Engaged ,
Mar 06, 2018

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Hey Trevor, cactus man looks more like this one of which again; I haven't the slightest clue what it's name is? I guess I'll just call it "Cactus Man" from now on. Thanks

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Engaged ,
Mar 06, 2018

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Your right Nancy, it's an acquired taste I've just never been able to acquire it. A doctor friend of mine loved the stuff, Whenever we'd go out for breakfast; if the restaurant didn't serve Huevos con Nopal tacos he wouldn't eat there that was his standard for judging the place. He was eccentric like that. Not for me, first time I tasted them that was enough. Same with Cilantro, after tasting it, the flavor was so overpowering that it stayed with me the whole day even after brushing & gargling. I'm sure there are foods and flavors that don't agree with you healthy or not. That's the way it is with everybody right?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 06, 2018

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Fresh cilantro leaf is a pungent, slightly bitter cousin of the parsley family.  On the other hand, the seeds  from a cilantro plant (coriander) have a totally different aroma & flavor profile.   I'm not wild about cilantro leaf but I absolutely love  ground coriander.   

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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Engaged ,
Mar 06, 2018

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Coriander is cool. I really don't mind spices I'm good with most but I harken to the old adage of "...you can alway add more but you can't take it out once you do". So I tend to use a pinch less in my recipes. Heck there's spices out there I've never even use much less tasted. I'd never experienced Indian cuisine before till my friend introduced me to it. Chicken Tandoori, naan bread...yum I like it all and Indian cuisine uses a lot of spices I'd never tasted before.

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Guide ,
Mar 24, 2018

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I did not know that coriander were the seeds of cilantro. I never would have put that together.

Cool. Thanks

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Engaged ,
Mar 06, 2018

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What this one called. This is the last cactus that's planted in the yard.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 06, 2018

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I don't know much about cacti except that they store lots of water.  I had something similar to that growing in a big pot once.  If you cut it and it secretes a while sticky substance (latex), then it's not a cactus, it's a euphorbia succulent.   Don't eat it. 

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 06, 2018

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So where do you all live that you have cacti growing in your yard/gardens?  I once drove from San Diego to Phoenix, and was astonished with the variety of landscape, but the classic cowboy cacti are what stood out, as I'd never seen anything like it before.  That whole trip was a total culture shock.  Driving through the mountains on a highway where the west bound lane, was half a mile north of the east bound lane.  Mountains made from gigantic boulders piled up by giants.  A memory that stands out was leaving San Diego's coastal climate, and not getting out of the air conditioned car till we needed gas (see?  I can speak American ) and being hit in the face by a solid wall of heat. 

Heading North out of Phoenix a couple of days later was also outstanding.  Dead straight roads where you had to watch out for the bear-in-the-air who would catch you speeding.  Driving over a rise and being confronted with the painted desert — it felt like you could blink, and see a line of wagons heading west to the promised land.  BTW  How did the wagon trains get over the Rockies?   I'm going to have to go Google that now.

We have a nice climate here, but nothing like the US southern States.  We do have a wee anomaly by way of a Bird of Paradise (Paradisaeidae) that the locals say shouldn't grow this far south.  It's right under the eaves and just sheltered enough to escape the occasional light frost we get here. 

In case anyone is interested, I have a secret weapon for photographing flowers. The Lumiquest III mini softbox that I first found out about on David Hobby's Strobist site.  I use it with a 580EX in ETTL  mode via one of those coiled hot shoe extension cables. You have to hold the camera with one hand, and the flash with mini softbox in the other, and because you can position the softbox so close to the subject, you easily shoot at F22 with low ISO.  Being in eTTL it's all fully automatic, and to keep that true of the ambient light, I have the camera set to Av as usual, and set about -3 stops of Exposure Compensation, but you can decide how much ambient to allow. 

The other side of getting the light so close is that it represents a large light source with small subjects, so no nasty flash artefacts.  This giant weta was shot the same way, but there was no false background with this picture, so I had to shoot manual (which I hate because it is what photographer snobs, who don't understand how to light, swear by).  Moments after this was taken, the weta had eaten that entire hand and was nibbling half way up the arm it was attached to.

Right.  How did the wagon trains cross the Rockies?

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Engaged ,
Mar 06, 2018

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Those are beautiful shots Trevor. A speedlite is definitely on my list but I doubt I can ever get that level of detail with my Canon 18mp. Your no doubt working with a 30mp camera or higher. I'm happy just to be able to take hobbyist pictures. Now I could up the quality by getting better lens than what came with the kit; but again I'm not willing to pay thousands just for glass no matter how good the pictures. My sights are set on the modest EF-S 24mm 2.8, the EF 50mm 1.8 and some extension tubes although I may spend the extra hundred or so and get the 50mm 1.4. I still haven't decided on a dedicated macro 1:1 yet. These lens should up the quality of the photos coming out of this entry level camera. Maybe a ways down the road when the prices drop a bit more I'll try for a Canon eos SL2 24mp body as any lens I get for the Canon Rebel will fit the SL2. The Bird of Paradise grows well here in San Antonio as long as it's not in direct sun as the temps can easily get over 100 degrees in the dead of summer. Thanks 4 jumping in and posting these as they're sharp and clear as a bell.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 06, 2018

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Love this post! Thanks guys- I am a plant lover and grow all I can on the east coast or in a tiny hot house or two cold frames in 15 gal pots since the trees around are about 100' so shade is an issue as well as the roots...

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Engaged ,
Mar 20, 2018

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Here's a picture of our Orchids that are in bloom. Took this shot with my new Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 lens that just arrived via FedEx all the way from Ontario Canada. Only took 4 days from last thur to mon. I love the bokeh this shot is set at f/2.8, 1/125 ISO 400.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 20, 2018

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Haven't tried cactus, but I've wondered what it tasted like.  Got one like your first post in a pot by my front door.

Cool shots, Trevor. Never cared much for insects, and that one I'm sure I wouldn't like.

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Engaged ,
Mar 20, 2018

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Nice shot Chuck, folks down here plant these and agave cactus along the fenceline as security. Nobody in there right mind would jump into those two plants once they get big enough.

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Engaged ,
Mar 27, 2018

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I can't help it, and I'm not apologizing either I love flowers and plants of all kind and now that I'm armed with a wonderful camera and the flowers around here are blooming I'm not letting this opportunity to share with you their beauty in two roses I call the "Yellow Rose Of Texas" and "The Pink Rose of Texas" I wish you could smell their wonderous fragrant aroma it would linger in your mind the day long.

yellow-rose-of-texas.jpgpink-rose-of-texas.jpg

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Engaged ,
Mar 27, 2018

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I planted this miniature rose bush 4 yrs ago and this is the first year it's had blooms. This one is the first of the season and I am beside myself happy.

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Community Beginner ,
May 29, 2018

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   I'm also of the opinion that it's a wisteria.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 31, 2018

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Wisteria has a different leaf shape and color.

http://inspiredroombox.com/wp-content/uploads/wisteria-tree-wisteria-tree-wisteria-trees-for-sale-fast-growing-trees-1.jpg

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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