Posted by: Rachel | July 6, 2013

an omnium-gatherum

I was thinking of calling this “bits and bobs” but when I saw “omnium-gatherum” as a synonym, well, I loved it. Sounds a smidge Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, don’tcha think?

fig tree with partially eaten fruit

some for the birds, some for me…

Anyway, I just got back from the Saturday market in town. I got off easy. I only came home with a quart of goat milk. I’m already up to my ears (or nearly so) in tomatoes, and yesterday I had the first figs from my trees, and friends brought me a bag of peaches, so I was able to withstand those temptations. Mmmmm….

I met up with my birder friend at the market and I was glad to see her. I always am, but especially so today as I have a weirding in my garden. Something has been draining one of my hummingbird feeders at night. I don’t have any outdoor lights near that feeder, and I couldn’t imagine what was going on.

hummer at feeder

dang that’s sweeeet!

When I described this situation, she said “oh, that’s bats”. I was not affronted by this seeming comment on my mental stability (or lack thereof) since I know that Austin is home to the (I believe) largest urban bat (Mexican free-tail to be specific) colony in North America.

We love them! They eat mosquitoes… but they don’t need to be feeding at my hummer feeder! So I will try bringing the feeder in at night for the next few evenings to encourage them to eat skeeters instead. I’ll keep you posted!

After the market we walked over to Con Olio on 2nd Street. I’ve shopped there before though I’m not sure I’ve mentioned them to you. See, I used to be a purist about my olive oil but, well, this flavored (oh excuse me, infused) stuff is fun and good!

The folks who work there are very happy to help you sample every flavor they sell, and they seem to truly love their products. Oh, and they ship…

Again I got off easy. I only bought a bottle of their lemongrass mint balsamic vinegar. Wow to the wow… I think it will be killer on fruit salads, and I’m going to try a little in my smoothie tomorrow morning! Mmmmmm…

On a totally different note, I got an email last week from the folks at World Peas, a new Austin start-up, describing their products and asking if I would be interested in reviewing them. Never one to turn down free food, especially one with a name that clever, I said I’d love to try their Hungarian Garlic peas.

bags of pea snacks

the opposite of mushy!

They generously sent me a packet of each of their flavors. Wowza! I haven’t tried them all yet, but the Hungarian Garlic peas (oh my yes, please!) are already gone. Crunchy good and slightly addictive. Mmmmmm…

And here I had this great idea about crushing some of them up and coating a nice piece of fish before cooking it… guess I’ll have to go actually buy a bag and try that!

I must say I’m a little leery of the Sichuan Chili since I am not a fan of hot per se, but I’m very much looking forward to trying all the other flavors! Again, thanks for the goodies!

They did ask that I mention their kickstarter page. They’re trying to raise enough money to launch a new flavor (their hope is to raise $17,000 by July 19th and they are almost half-way there), and if the flavors I’ve tried (again, thanks!) are an indicator, it should be good! So… I gotta say give peas a chance… Ow ow ow…

Oh, another thing! Last Sunday I took a free ice cream making class at Williams Sonoma. What fun it was and I learned quite a bit. I can’t share everything in this one post, but expect ideas for frozen desserts shortly – especially since July is National Ice Cream Month!

And yes, I know some of you folks are not from around here – I vote for International Ice Cream Month – what do you think?

I think I had better go pick more figs before the birds (or bats!) get ’em! More soon and a recipe of some sort next time, I promise!



  1. That’s so interesting about the bats! And you are right, the lemon mint balsamic vinegar is wow to the wow. I like putting a dash of it on the cold asian noodle salad that I can’t seem to get enough of during the summer.

  2. We have a very young fig tree (we planted it April 2012) that only produces a handful of figs so far. However, the birds have gotten every single ripe one. I’m all for sharing once the tree is producing more, but any suggestions for discouraging the birds from eating our tasty fruit? I don’t really want to do netting since the tree is also very significant to us (we planted it as part of our wedding ceremony in our backyard). Any suggestions would be most awesome. 🙂

    • Ah,the birds… Two ideas. First you can hang old CDs in the tree. The movement in a breeze and the reflective nature will help keep birds at bay. Second, buy (at a thrift store) a skinny necktie (ideally brownish with spots), cut off about 8 inches of it and drape it along a branch. The idea here is to emulate a snake. Move the “snake tie” around every few days.

      Nothing will keep a fig tree totally bird-free but I do both of these things and I think it helps. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  3. I think that it is great that you have bats…they really do help with the mosquitoes. Even with the heat, it’s nice that your tomatoes are still doing well and there is nothing better than fresh figs.

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