Friday, April 16, 2021

Early Spring in Bloom + Unusual Produce

Isn’t spring a wonderful season…one of rebirth and rejuvenation!  It is especially true this year as our ability to move around more safely has finally become reality.  Get those vaccine jabs and we can toss the pandemic…and Covid-19 into the trash can of history.

Not too many words this time…mostly just visions of spring!

This has been our cheery vista as seen through the sliding screen in our front door…

One early view of our redbud and dogwood trees in our back yard.  Love the subtle color contrasts.  We like it when the dogwoods bloom while the redbuds are still in bloom.  One year they even bloomed exactly at the same time.

Laurie planted her ‘crops’ already…in this case sweet basil and Italian parsley.  She also has thyme, mint, Italian basil, sage, germander and rosemary in those same or similar pots on our back deck.  Those last 6 herbs mentioned seem to survive winter after winter.

This is the flower of a Mt. Airy Fothergilla…sometimes called a bottlebrush shrub.  I prefer the close-up just for the delicate detail.  Fothergilla is a deciduous shrub that is native to the Southeastern USA.

All the birds are nesting and/or feeding their young now.  The cardinals live in our front bushes and hang out in our magnolias.  The hermit thrush just seems to have decided that with all the available food, this is a good place to hang out.

This male blue bird has been harassing our front windows.  In this case he’s hanging out, checking out and sometimes attacking his own image in the window over our front door.  We have to keep the blind closed on one of our bedroom windows or he continually attacks himself!  Next year we will move the birdhouse on our front porch to a new location…

As you can see, our bluebird is guarding his nest closely!  He's quite aggressive and he doesn't stray far from his home... Laurie's sister Karole gave us the birdhouse...and she's quite happy that we have nesting bluebirds! 

Walking through our neighborhood, Laurie took a photo of one of several azaleas in bloom…

She also photographed these lovely 'carpets' of ground hugging flowers in a neighbor’s yard.  We just love spring!!

Now for some unusual produce we spotted in a local grocery store.  At least these fruits weren’t familiar to us.

I must say…those spikes on these Kiwano Melons are hard and sharp!  We found this fruit on display in the produce section of our local Ingles Supermarket.  At $4.98 each we wondered about their uses and desirability.  These melons are now grown here in the USA…

The Kiwano melon or African horned cucumber, is an annual vine ripened fruit in the cucumber and melon family.  It is a traditional food plant in Africa.  Along with a couple other members of the cucumber/melon family, this melon is one of the very few sources of water during the dry season in the Kalahari Desert. 

Ripe fruit has this orange skin and lime green, jelly-like flesh.  Some people think that it has a nice fruity taste, perhaps a combination of banana and passionfruit or of banana, cucumber and lime.  It has a texture similar to passionfruit or pomegranate.  FYI, when David Letterman first tasted the Kiwano on-air, he described it as ‘damned near inedible’.  A bit of salt or sugar can reportedly improve the flavor but the seed content increases the difficulty in eating this fruit.

This display of Red Dragon Fruit is what initially caught my attention.  If nothing else, they are spectacular and colorful.  At $5.98 each, I would hope that they taste good and are easy to eat.  Dragon fruit or pitaya/pitahaya is the fruit of several cactus species native to the Americas.  There are both sour and sweet versions…the latter being the pitahaya.

Pitahaya and pitaya are commonly known in English as ‘dragon fruit’, a name used since 1963.  With its leather-like skin and scaly spikes, one can see where the name came from.  This fruits texture is sometimes considered to be like that of the kiwifruit because of its black, crunchy seeds.  Dragon fruit is used to flavor and color juices and alcoholic beverages and the flowers can be eaten or steeped as tea.  The small black seeds inside the fruit are edible.  The fruit itself has been likened to a mix between a pear and a kiwi or a kiwi and a melon.

I’d try both of these fruits…if someone bought them for me!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. So good that you guys can get out and go again. I'm afraid we may be missing our azaleas blooming this year.

  2. That bluebird certainly has the neatest decorated house in town! I will let you try the new fruits...and I'll watch your face!

  3. so lucky that you have nesting a bird, bluebird ....
    we tried, but failed. The birds fly away....

    Have a wonderful spring

  4. That produce was new to me as well, Dave, and not sure if I would be adventurous enough to try them. Laurie's herb garden looks well and the spring blooms outside your door were great to see. I know how much you are both enjoying those outings now.

  5. Lovely pics, friend David. Thank you! Spring is kind of on hold here. Snow coming our way soon, But that is no news ... smiles ... I still expect to put in my garden by mid May as always ... grass is still brown and trees are still bare and then all of a sudden spring and summer happens fast and furiously. I do miss the cuckoo calling in Europe in May. Although ... the cuckoo is kind of a nasty lil fellow ...

  6. Dear David these a really lovely spring pictures!! I love all these and especially the firt picture is lovely, your front door ! hugs and love and take care

  7. Hi Dave! Your Spring pics are the best! I love the redbud and dogwood trees. We had them and azaleas in Louisville and I really miss them here, great trees! I posted about dragon fruit way back when, with enough rum and coconut milk it's OK, and thankfully it didn't cost that much. That bottlebrush shrub is unique and looks exactly likes its name, who would've thought. You take care and have a wonderful spring week. Snow is on the way here tonight but they're promising it will be in the 70's late next week... That's according to Tom! 😉