Purple Beauty Peppers

We’re currently being pelted by the remnants of Hurricane Patricia right now – so apologies for the picture. I would have preferred a much sunnier day to shoot, but was so excited to have some peppers that I couldn’t wait to share!

We planted 3 bell pepper plants back in May – and were really excited about enjoying some fresh-from-the-garden peppers. We waited, and waited, and then gave up. All summer long the plants grew larger, but never produced fruit. Looking back – I don’t think we gave them enough water. These Texas summers are brutal – you basically need to water vegetables daily, otherwise the plant wilts almost immediately when the sun rises.

Anyway – after a very disappointing summer with a whopping total of zero peppers, I was holding out hope for a fall crop. SUCCESS – finally! We have a few green bell peppers currently growing, but the most productive plant turned out to be our Purple Beauty. It’s just gorgeous and full of small eggplant-colored peppers.

In addition to the gorgeous appearance of the fruit – some believe that it’s also more nutritious. Apparently the deeper color of the pepper means it holds a higher number of dietary antioxidants – which is a win/win all the way around.

Can’t wait to harvest these guys!

Purple Beauty Peppers
Purple Beauty Peppers
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Benefits of a Backyard Water Feature

Our backyard is large – it takes up most of our 1/3 acre lot. I love the wide open space it gives us for a small orchard, garden and plenty of room for our chicken coop.  My favorite part however, is the water feature that we added. Ours is fairly basic and was built in the course of 2 weekends by a friend just starting out in the landscaping business. It turned out really well and is just as beautiful at night as it is during the day.

Our fountain at night
Our fountain at night

We love having a water feature in our backyard, so here a few reasons to consider adding one to yours:

1 – The Sound: The constant sound of water streaming into the fountain from the spouts is relaxing. There’s nothing like it to help mute the noise from the road and lull you into a quick nap on the hammock.

2 – The Fish: We have five really fat and happy goldfish that live in our fountain. I originally wanted Koi, but after learning that Koi are happiest in water deeper than 3 feet, I decided they probably weren’t our best option. Goldfish are often found in tiny bowls and jars indoors, which is really sad because they thrive with more space. Ours were 5 inches when were bought them a year ago and now the largest is over 10 inches. Monsters I tell you!

3 – The Plants: Water Lilies are just gorgeous. We purchased a Colorado Water Lily and were able to split it this spring, so the pretty pink flowers now adorn each corner of the fountain. I just also added some Swamp Rose Mallow to the back of the fountain – fingers crossed that it does well.

4 – The Wildlife: Our fountain is the major water source for our bees, who love to land on the lily pads and sip the cool water during the hottest days of summer. The fountain also attracts birds, dragonflies, and butterflies with the sound of running water. Birds land on the spouts all the time and drink from them, which I love to watch from the house!

5 – Curb Appeal and Property Value: When you look out our back door, the fountain is the first thing you see sitting at the end of the courtyard. It’s a beautiful feature that adds value to our home and makes our backyard an inviting place to hang out with friends.

Can you tell I’m totally in love with this fountain?

The First Egg

Five short months ago, we brought home 4 fluffy little chicks from the feed store in hopes of eating farm fresh eggs from our backyard.  After weeks of impatiently waiting (all me, Steven is super patient) the day has finally arrived – one of our chickens laid an egg! Rhonda, one of our Rhode Island Reds, has been exhibiting all the classic signs – submissive squatting, exploring the nest box, and her comb has been growing larger and darkening over the past week. Today she entered the nest box and sat for almost 30 minutes and then squawked like the coop was on fire – I was slightly concerned she was dying, but apparently this is normal?

Anyway – she ran out of the coop and over to the other chickens and I went to check the egg box and there it was! A tiny little perfectly shaped brown egg. So exciting!

Rhonda –  congratulations. You are officially my new favorite chicken. Now, go lay another egg.

She looks pretty proud of herself doesn't she?
She looks pretty proud of herself doesn’t she?