October 6, 2005

During spare moments today I tried to research two produce items–the African Horned Cucumber and the Fatali pepper. I learned that they originate in southern and central Africa, respectively, and that both have turned out to be other than I thought at first. The cucumbers, I just realized today, are those things I have seen off and on in the exotic section of the grocery store for years. They are also called Kiwano, although that is the designation given them after farmers in New Zealand began raising them in the 1900’s. The Fatali peppers are very striking. I have one mature plant from one remaining seed–this plant didn’t want to exist on our farm, but persistence paid off. I have many ripening peppers and will of course be stocking up on the seeds for next year. I knew they were hot, but I let my mind slip on just how hot. Last night I tried to remove the seed from one, and was rewarded by hours of burning skin from all the different places I had managed to spread the oil.  At least this time I kept it out of my eyes, I hate it when that happens. These peppers are habanero-like, but with a strong citrus overtone. I have the goal of turning the entire batch into a small amount of custom hot sauce for a good friend of mine that appreciates such things.

This last weekend I dug up many of my smaller hot peppers, and overhauled the bathroom in general. I have a large bathtub and window seat that is pretty much an indoor plant display. It gets messy in there. All plants went out for repotting or sprucing up, the whole thing was well cleaned, and re-arranged for winter. I will bring in more of the hot peppers before the frost, especially the Fish peppers. They are also from Africa, and quite possibly one of the most attractive vegetables I’ve ever raised.

I broke down and took our cat Sirrus to the vet. He has a plasma pododermatitis, which means in English that the large pads on all four of his feet have turned to custard and are ulcerating and bleeding. It is a not-understood autoimmune disorder, called "pillow foot". It occurs very rarely in otherwise healthy cats. He had to have some minor surgery, with drugs to follow to hopefully get the inflammation under control. With four bandaged legs and a plastic collar, he is thoroughly miserable at the moment.

This weekend will be the first weekend fully devotable to working on the property in a very long time. Many jobs large and small await, and the weather should be perfect.

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