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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Prickly Pear and Mint Ramblings

This is a bit of a split post the first half is all about Linux Mint and the internet and the back half is all about Prickly Pears. Without further ado we'll begin.

Linux Mint and online.

In the week I decided to test something out, I've noted already here that I created a dual boot system with linux mint so you either have a choice of Windows XP or Mint, but so far its been a closed system gated off from the Internet and intermittently receiving product updates by USB stick.  What we wanted to do was link it up downstairs where our internet connection is and let it run wild online.  Noting that it was a bastard to do with either XP and Vista (my system is old so you'll excuse us that we don't have windows bastard 8 running) we were just going to test to see if it would actually recognise there was a system there.

Remarkably it did first time, so we decided to run the service centre and update linux as well as bother about with firefox which I've used for years.  Your default page is Linux mint which also gives you a janky search to go with it.  We also added adblock because the internet is hell without it, and decided to also see if you could download stuff and add it, turns out you can if you use terminal and know what distro you are running but if you are unsure just look for it in the service center.  If I ever get a new computer I'll be sure to run mint to see if I can at least find out how to get online as i'll know it works.

In other news It looks like the latest updates to  NI. Reaktor, Skanner and Drive seem to be win 7 or higher only. I put this here as a Vista user it seems that 5.8 is the last version for us.

Prickly Pear.

This summer has seen some weird things flower in  the conservatory.  For starters we had a good year a lot of Echinopsis flowered for the first time in ages, helped along with the long hot summer we had.  I also had this flower too.

Bud back in June
When we came back off of holiday  there was this bud waiting for us and we thought that would be the end of it.  It would remain that size and not do much, how wrong could you be.

Three inches in all.
As the summer wore on this is what it eventually turned into a big tomato red flower with its trademark sensitive stamens.  This is quite the result as opuntias don't really flower in the UK as they require massive amounts of space and time (and I guess light as well)* to do well.  Some are slow growing but most rocket up throwing out pads replete with vicious glochids that will snag anything that will come into reach, so you can see why they are neglected. 
*Apart from that they are easy to grow and are remarkably cold hardy, we grow without winter heat and have never lost an Opuntia to cold. 

Anyway a few months later after the flower (it lasted one afternoon) had died and a green fruit was left behind I ventured back into the conservatory to see that it had coloured up and was now a deep purple.

The sad chumbero (size 1 inch).
After some deliberation I decided to take it off as it wouldn't get any bigger and stuff it into the kitchen first removing any stubborn glochids and other junk.  It stood there for about a week before I had the heart to eat it. 

All prepared.
The actual pulp and seeds itself was quite odd, it tasted a lot like a plum slightly sour and with a massive amount of juice.  The seeds themselves were bullet hard and are now back in the conservatory on a paper towel but I have to say it was quite pleasant.  The juice itself reminds me of beetroot and with all the attendant caveats about beetroot juice (it stains).  I wonder if it could be used as a dye my fingers are still purplish from cutting up the fruit, maybe someone with access to a lot of prickly pears and doesn't mind fingers like a pincushion could try it out.  I'll wait till the spring to sow the remaining seeds and see what I get (they will need chitting and preparing before sowing as like I say they're bullet hard).

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