Today started with me massively over-sleeping, and of course I’m grateful for the ability to oversleep when I know so many people who can’t sleep through the night. I’m grateful that my first zoom of the day friend was gracious and understanding when I was half an hour late. I’m grateful for ample firewood so I don’t feel the need to scrimp on a chilly grey morning, and Wren is grateful for a thick cotton rug on the hearth. Today is the first time she’s stretched out in front of the woodstove, and I’m grateful she’s comfortable to do so. I’m grateful for a quiet Saturday to rest, read, and catch up in the kitchen.
I’m grateful that my strategies for salvaging the two Datil pepper plants worked, and I was able to harvest enough ripe Datil peppers to make this delicious hot sauce recipe from Chili Pepper Madness, with homemade tomato sauce and paprika, honey, garlic powder, and apple cider vinegar. It was crazy to choose to grow Datil peppers–they’re a St. Augustine, FL, specialty, and I might have known they’d need far longer to mature than the growing season here. I may not try to grow them again for that reason, but I sure am glad I tried them this year. After simmering the ingredients for about 25 minutes, I blended them and got two squeeze bottles full of a fruity spicy sauce, with a touch of sweetness. I’m grateful for shedding the label I gave myself decades ago of ‘can’t handle the heat.’ I can handle a little bit more heat today than yesterday, and more yesterday than the week before. And it’s been fun and fascinating to grow all these different hot peppers this summer, and play with how to use or preserve them.
I’m grateful for the intangibles in a day; not to be confused with the immeasurables, but including them. I’m grateful for the feeling of joy of just waking up alive, for the excitement and potential I feel at the end of pranayama class with a beloved teacher and the sense of understanding that passes between us even on zoom; for the joy of teaching and the sincere caring for the students in my classes (and graduates) to whom I can offer some help and guidance in navigating challenging lives; for the sense of humility I experience knowing that I’m just a step or two ahead of them on this journey to peace and contentment in a culture that demands more of us than we can realistically expect to render. I’m grateful for the facets of my life that I experience and treasure every day which cannot be captured in a photograph. Also, I’m grateful for those moments that can be.
Today winterizing began in earnest, deep-cleaning the sunroom in preparation for bringing in all the cacti, geranii, potted herbs, and a few peppers that I can’t bear to lose to colder nights. Above, one of the two Datil peppers, which I dug up and potted to bring in so that I can at least have a chance of some ripening. These hot peppers are native to St. Augustine, Florida, and apparently need a much longer season than I could give them here. Below, I also potted up the single Tabasco pepper plant, which took so long to produce blossoms, then flourished; but alas, it hails from Mexico and the US gulf coast states, and also wants a longer season than I could provide. Hoping these two pepper plants, and a little Scorpion that hasn’t even flowered yet, plus one of the Jigsaw peppers, will all thrive in the sunroom for a month or two more, without spawning aphids.
I’ve created a monster! My goal in spring was to have Wren trained by fall to race around the yard and find Biko quickly and consistently. She is doing an excellent job of that, when she can tear herself away from nibbling on the lush green grasses brought up by an extra rainy September. She runs ahead of me checking under sagebrush, rabbitbrush, juniper, and sits down when she finds him. However, when I pull him from his burrow each evening to bring him inside, she jumps at him and follows me, dancing around as I set him down in his indoor spot, then barks and sits down beside him to tell me she’s found him again! In the mornings, she yips and prances until I follow her into the laundry nook where she finds him yet again; each time expecting a treat, of course. And of course she gets one.