Sunday, December 27, 2009


I love my garden and I guess I love toilet tissue at any rate the thought of not having it is most unpleasant.
And, each Spring I am amazed at how much toilet tissue goes thru our home – I always think it’s because of company. By now you are wondering if I count tissue rolls in my spare time, right?
No, I am not that daffy yet, but I save each and every empty roll from tissue and from paper towels, they go into the garage in plastic sacks along with empty egg carton bottoms. And, no, I haven’t developed a hoarder mentality either!
I love seeds, garden seeds, flower seeds, just any kind of seed. Looking at seed catalogues in the winter and ordering seeds in the Spring is second only to receiving the seeds in the mail, buying them at the nursery, and finding the packets I saved from the last year.
Now comes the fun part – I open all my seeds and dump each packet into a bowl with the packet laid at the top so I can remember what is what. I go to the garage and get all my sacks of empty rolls and egg cartons. I go to the front closet and the huge rubber tray we have for drippy shoes in the winter comes out and into the area with the rolls. I go to the nursery and get the best potting soil I can find. By this time things around our home have gotten real quiet and the other half of my team is giving me “The Look”.
With everything accumulated, I cut the rolls in half and line them up in the tray with the egg cartons at one end, then I fill everything with potting soil, get my little seeds and carefully put one in each roll, adding a little potting soil on top. I fill each egg slot in the cartons with soil and flower seeds go in there. Each group is carefully marked with the packet the seeds came in.
I very slowly drip water into each roll and into the egg cartons and sit the tray over a floor heating vent. Within 2 weeks all my little seeds are sprouts which I carefully tend until it’s time to put them into the garden. You can either rip the roll and carton parts away, or plant them, as they are paper and will compost while your plants grow.
This is the point where my neighbor will peek over the fence and pretend like he is not watching, I always want to jump up and yell “GOTCHA”.
Not a dime spent on little potting cups, and all those plastic bags are now empty and ready for next year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Puzzlement

Every year by the time Fall rolls around at my mountain home I am flat worn out. Not by the exertion of the garden, which I love, but by trying to keep the critters from eating all my efforts.
Perennial has a totally different meaning here. Here it means alive until eaten. It isn’t like we have a few hungry pests-we have hoards in strange varieties. At 9000 feet, animals that wouldn’t distain to eat a petunia at sea level make it a quick meal .This year I watched an elk cow eat a whole big bush in 20 minutes. Years of useless hollering and missed rocks rendering her impervious to my presence.
DP keeps a pellet gun by the door. It is the muffled yell and moan that bring him eagerly into the fray. Never would I actually say “DP get the gun!” The holes in the porch ceiling testify to the danger in that.
I have just been pondering for a long time now about why you can’t engineer flowers and shrubs to taste bad. I know what you’re thinking. Plant marigolds, nasturtiums and daffodils. I do!! That’s my point! If Nature made them taste bad to critters, I do believe that she wouldn’t mind a little help with some varieties that are pink and purple and white, etc.
Now all you organic guys don’t get your pants in a knot.
I’m just saying……….!
If you can make sweet corn, which is like heaven compared to field corn, why can’t you help flowers and shrubs out a little.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Organic Control of Garden Insects

Now I want to make this clear to you from the start, I am a Kansas girl, I was born a Kansas girl, will die a Kansas girl, and it won’t matter where I am relocated I will always remain a Kansas girl, yes, I have the ruby red slippers to prove it too!
I am not afraid of snakes, I am not afraid of bugs, rabbits, or other wildlife that may venture then the yard. I can remember as a child watching ants for hours, and putting little grains of sugar on the sidewalk to see them carry it off to their home (now you can tell my attention is easily captured, and I was an easy child to entertain).
The one thing that I am afraid of, I detest, and I have a full-blown hissy fit every time I see one is a Squash Bug! I hate em, hate em, absolutely without a doubt completely hate em. They appear overnight at the base of a squash plant, they bore into the stems, they suck all the life out of the plant, within days you have a limp pitiful plant where once little zucchini were growing.
I love organic gardening, one of my high school classmates brought me a pickup load of horse manure one time and it was the best gift I got all summer long. If there is a natural way to amend soil, fertilize, or take care of garden problems, I am all for trying it.
So, the first time I encountered squash bugs I started my research and there it was the golden words of how to get rid of them. You pick them off the plants, put them in a blender, add enough water to make a thin liquid, then spray it on the plants. The squash bugs pack up and leave, never to be seen again.
With the enthusiasm that only a novice could have, I picked bugs, picked bugs, and picked bugs. Brought the blender outside, put the bugs in, a little water and pushed the button ~ not enough water, off with the lid and more water, pushed the button ~ still not enough water. Off with the lid and put a lot more water in, pushed the button and ~~~
For crying out loud, I had forgot to put the lid back on, up came water like a fountain with pieces of mushed up squash bugs all over me, in my hair, on my face, all over my clothes!
I was running around like a demon-possessed being, into the house, into the shower, and after using all the hot water, I felt a little bit better, but I swear I could still smell the squash bugs.
Back outside, there sat the cursed blender with the residue of my arch-enemies The Mushed Squash Bugs in the bottom. I did the only thing a reasonable person driven to the point of insanity would do – into the trash went the blender, and into the car I went and down to the nursery.
Now I can’t just ask a question there, I had to go into the whole story and they are good at my nursery, very, very good, no one broke out laughing, but I could see their shoulders shaking when they thought I wasn’t looking. I think the fire in my eye would have kept anyone from laughing out loud at that point.
I found there are very few products on the market, organic or otherwise that will rid your garden of Squash Bugs, but a few non-organic applied to the base of the squash plant when it first comes up helps to deter the bugs from infesting.
To this day I can claim to be only a part-organic gardener, and the part that isn’t is the squash plants – and I really hate squash bugs to the bone to this day! And, every once in a while when I go to the nursery someone is brave enough to ask if I have squash bugs this year!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Worms, Worms, Worms, Worms

When our home in the mountains was built, an incredible unintended bonus was a huge unfinished cavern under the front wing of the house. It measures about 100 feet by 25 feet, for years it has been used to store junk. But we know that this is not its intended purpose-we just don’t know what. For years my Daughter, Lee and my Daughter-in-law, Dee (my partners-in-crime) and I have , at times, sat in a row facing it. Cocking our heads this way and then that, like Forrest Gump and the little Gumps. Hoping that at some angle it would provide inspiration for its intended use, to no avail.
Then came the Martha Stewart show on “Worm Composting”. Within the hour both the girls had called! This was it! The finely oiled machine kicked in. We were all doing computations on how many flats would fit and where we could scrounge the materials for the walk ways. Lee went on line and found the Styrofoam peanuts for the bottom of the flats and Dee called the dump to see if any contractors had dumped wood out there lately. We were rolling!
And then……
This is a phenomenon not usually seen in these parts, but I can say from distant memory, that when both of DP”s size 13 feet come down on the other side of an issue it gets your attention. The Girls, sufficiently removed by many miles from ground zero, felt the shock waves. “No, but Hell no!” was all he could manage. When he calmed down sufficiently to talk, he reasonably said, “Why don’t you start small and get a feel of it.”
That made sense to all of us. We ordered one batch of “Red Wigglers”, bought one plastic tub and started saving newspaper.
We were ready!............- for almost anything but pissed off, temperamental, picky eating worms. You can’t buy an inbred dog that is more trouble. Not to say I didn’t get the hang of it.
It was the day that they were unusually ticked about something and had crawled all over the sides and top of the tub that was my Waterloo. In my mind I saw them all over the floor, sides and top of the cavern, coming up thru the vents into the living room. Just the sight of the big bags of peanuts Lee had sent brought on anxiety attacks.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bonsai Gardening, or Not!!

Since our blog is about the adventures and misadventures of gardening outside the box, I thought I might share one of my fascinations (and honey there are a lot of them) with you.
This will be about gardening within a box, actually in a tray - did you know Bonsai is actually 2 words – Bon means tray and Sai means planting or growing.
I have just loved little colorful things, like an old mynah bird, since I was just a little pear ~ if it was little, shiny, or colorful, I had to have it, try it, or collect it, and nothing fits this bill quite like these precious little plants and trees!
It doesn’t matter where you live, everyone can have a bonsai tree and if you spend your year in different locations, they can relocate too – I suggest buying another makeup case just for this purpose!
Learning all you can about bonsai before you make your first purchase will save you time, dollars, and heartbreak – I remember my first was a Christmas gift from our son who said “They said you can leave it outside all winter, just water it”. I did and while it was evergreen it got browner and browner until come spring, all I had left was a pot of crispies ~ that was the “bon” and flakes, no sai.
You need a pot, and a tray, there are millions on the market, so get one that you love; then you need to decide on a starter plant or tree, or start one yourself from seeds.

If you are as impatient as I am a plant or tree is definitely the way to go, while I plan to live to be at least 100, I don’t want to spend all those years waiting for a tree to grow from a seed, I want WOW and I want it NOW!
A great starter tree is the Japanese Red Maple; I love this because the tree’s leaves change to bright red or orange in the spring and fall and a deeper red in the summer.
This tree works so well for an upright bonsai and you can train it so the little leaves are one-inch long or less. The trunk and tiny limbs can be green or red.
You will need tools and instructions on how to care for your particular choice. And from your care will come a lifetime of enjoyment watching your little creation evolve!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Debacle of the Electric Fence

In our high mountain valley there lives the rarest of all creatures, a really good and reliable handyman.
The love of my life, my husband D.P., has many talents- handy he isn’t. Thus Mr. Keller has ever and will forever more help us keep our home together. In a sincere effort to be handier like Mr. Keller, D.P. has invested in stacks of “How to books”. We have books on building, painting, patios, etc. But his favorite book of all time is Plumbing. It is a measure of what he has learned that when he got a book on wiring the last of the kids moved out. I mean it’s one thing to have no water.
You may wonder how this relates to gardening, that’s where the electric fence and Mr. Keller come in.
In an effort to save my gardens (or Deer Buffet as our older Son calls them) from critters I divined that I needed an electric fence.
So from a ranch supply place ,I ordered a reel of yellow tapey wire stuff and a box to hook it up to. I read the directions and proceeded to string it up and plug it in. All set! Right? But how do you know it’s working? I’m not touching that thing. That’s way below my Queenly pay grade. Kids are all gone-remember the wiring.
Now I’m not one to lightly contradict the goddess of queenliness “The Sweet Potato Queen”. But I know what I know. Hours of begging and even the “Promise” could not entice D.P. to “touch that thang”. Guaranteed to work my eye.
Enter stately Mr. Keller who can make anything work. After surveying the crime scene, all that yellow tapey stuff, he gingerly walked over to the fence and gently laid one finger on it.
Yeowwww! His white hair flew up and he did a half hop.
My teeth were clenched and my eyes squinted in a look of horrified concern. This was the only way I could stifle my laughter.
We continued down the fortification until we reached a place where I had flubbed up. In showing me how to fix it, it got him again! He pretended it didn’t and I pretended not to see. My shoulders only shook a little bit.
When we reached the corner where the fence started up the hill ,he bent over and pointed to a better angel it could take. In absolute horror-in slow motion, I watched him back in to the monster. In my head I was screaming “nooooooooo!” but no sound escaped my lips. This time we had full butt contact and it was a 2 hop jolt with arm flailing. I was undone, bent double howling with laughter, tears streaming down my cheeks. All poor Mr. Keller could manage was a pale, slightly sheepish grin.
I swear that I am not normally the kind of person who takes glee in others misfortune. I can’t tell you why this was so funny. I only know that even now whenever I notice the reel of yellow tapey wire stuff in the garden shed my shoulders shake.To my knowledge Mr. Keller was the only critter ever shocked by that fence. The moral of this story is that there are better ways to deal with critters in your garden.
I also know where you can buy some slightly used yellow tapey wire stuff and the box to hook it up to.
Real cheap

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

If It Hops, and It's Ears Flop - It's Public Enemy # 1

After spending most of the winter going thru seed catalogs, finding just the right seed for each vegetable for my garden plot, it was time to order. By the time the order arrived, Spring was just peeking around the corner. All those wonderful seeds, I lined up the packets in what order I wanted to plant. I ordered garden stakes so I could tell just what seed was where, I lived gardening, I dreamed gardening, and as soon as possible, there I was, twine on the ground, stakes in one hand and my wonderful packets in the other.
The rows where marked, the stakes on each end, the twine in between, the furrows made, and the seeds sprinkled and covered. The wait began –
And, just as nature intended, the seeds germinated and tiny little plants started to pop up. Here came the lettuce, the spinach, the radishes and onions, and finally the green beans. I was so proud of my garden, taking pictures to send all my friends of the baby plants.
Then one morning, as I strolled to see and measure the overnight growth, I stopped dead in my tracks, my jaw dropped and tightened, my eyes squinted, my backbone became stiff as a board – what had happened to my garden!!! I no longer had green beans, I had an entire 2 rows of little stems with no leaves, no tops, just little sticks – the rabbits had found the garden and devoured all of the green beans.
I sent a queenly plea to all my fellow gardeners – what to do and how to do it ~
De-fence was the solution, spray it around the perimeter of the yard and the rabbits will not cross it – two cans later, the task was accomplished. Three days later the sticks were growing leaves again and all was well in my garden kingdom.
Day 4, I walked to the garden, the beans were sticks again and a rabbit was happily hopping thru the fence between me and my neighbors. The De-fence had failed. Out went the plea again – what to do?
In poured the suggestions, each of one was tried in this order: talcum powder (they ate the lettuce), human hair (they ate the spinach), dog hair (they started to nibble on the okra), hot pepper flakes – the rabbits enjoyed salsa. My neighbor went to the nursery and came home with Hot Wax Pepper in a spray. She had replanted her beans and they were up just one leaf – she sprayed and sprayed, and the next morning – sticks, not a leaf in sight. Then someone suggested dusty miller – so off to the nursery I went, bought the last 4 in town, they were leggy and they were wilty, but they were dusty miller, so I hopefully planted them and watered them like they were gold.
Lo and behold, either the rabbits found better food to eat, or my plants got too big to be tender, or the dusty miller worked the trick, but they quit eating the okra, which other than tomatoes and peppers was all that was left. They still came into the yard, hopping around looking for something tasty, but I thought I was finished with the worst of them.

Then, just before the first frost, I was looking at the baby clematis my sister had planted for me in the spring and it was gone, just gone, chomped off at the top of the cup I had around it.
After a few choice words and more research I am back at the point to last spring – hopeful, wondering what I can do to keep the little hoppers away from my garden, and ready to invest in chicken wire or hardware cloth to surround the garden, the new plants, the yard, and maybe even the neighborhood! Anyone with any suggestions, please post on this blog – they will all be taken to heart!
It is so undignified to see a Queen chasing rabbits out of the yard in her jammies!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Does A Bear ..........................?

I must preface this story by relating another one to you - One morning I called this Queen's home. Her husband answered and I asked for her. In his most formal tone he told me she was unavailable. I said "Well, what is she doing?" He started laughing and said "She is out in the yard, she has climbed a tree to look for a mother bear". The fun just never ends!!!

In our part of the country when you have just related the most bizarre tale, purported to be true, the almost immediate and universal response will be a cocked head and the word “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww?” At which point the purportee will, with the most solemn of faces say, “Does a bear s……….. in the woods?” There is no more solemn oath in these parts. And I for one know this to be true in a big way.

This time of year, late fall, all the critter’s memory of a hungry winter begins to kick in and they go on an eating rampage. We usually have a couple of grumpy ole bears up here who are still kind of picky, sniff the meager outside offerings and go away. This year we had the cutest yearling. He was an almost round ball of fur, about 100 pounds. He hung around for a couple of hours, smelling the bacon and eggs we just finished and peeking in the side lights on the door trying to find a way in to that smell. He finally gave up on that and sat down on the front porch to ponder “What’s next?”

Suddenly, he ran off with his tail up! I gingerly stepped outside to survey any damage. All over the bottom step was a residue of white powder. “What in the world?” Then I saw the bag, a brand new bag of Epson salt ready to be mixed for one last feeding for my beds. It was empty.

Don’t ever ask me if a bear s……..s in the woods.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Starting a Vegetable Garden

After many years of living in the mountains, my husband and I moved back to the place of our birth and the home of our hearts – The Great State of Kansas!! It was late summer when the move was completed and once everything was unpacked and put away; the next order of business was planning a garden – a real vegetable garden – which we had missed so much in the past several years.

So, I surveyed my little estate, picked the side of the yard where it was protected from the wind, but got a lot of sun and declared “This will be my garden!”

With the help of my husband and grandson and an entire winter of working (no, it doesn’t always snow every day and it isn’t always cold in Kansas in the winter) we dug out shrubs and found 18” of lava rock on the ground underneath – now I do not know who created lava rock, but there is absolutely no space in my vegetable garden for them. I started with the lofty goal of picking up 20 pieces per day in the most Queenly of manner. It soon became apparent that this method was netting me zero progress! So, we scooped, we put 3 trugs in the dumpster each week, we scooped some more, we took giant boxes full to my step-mother on the other end of the State, we scooped some more. We offered it to local landscapers who offered to trade what they wanted to get rid of to us for ours. We swore that it was giving birth to little pieces each night while we slept. One week I got carried away with what I put in the dumpster and was presented with a note the morning after pick-up that said “Too heavy to lift” and all my lava rock left in the dumpster. Seemed we would never get to the end, and since Spring was right around the corner by then, we borrowed my Godson’s pickup and after three trips to the landfill with the pickup loaded to the max, we were finished with the lava rock. The landfill is an experience no Queen should ever have and fuel for another story, but believe me it doesn’t take many minutes there before I was a real “Prickly Pear” and pretty well finished for the rest of that week – poor little muscles!

Next step – prepare the soil. Sounds easy, doesn’t it, well, let me tell you that is not for the weak at heart! You beg, borrow, rent, or buy a rototiller – and once the gas and oil are full, a mystery never totally solved by me, you start it and away you go – this is the most muscle-building experience known to woman-kind – unless you are training for Miss Universe – and this one doesn’t involve oiling your body, just the machine! There is a rope, there is a little rubber handle and there is a lot of yanking, many invoked blessings, and finally it sputters – this is when you are supposed to keep one hand on one part, another hand on another part adjusting it, and use your foot to hold the whole thing together until the adjustments are made and you are once again upright and composed.

After three trips over the designated area it was time to pick up the grass clumps and rake – carefully judging the weight of each clump to avoid the “Too heavy to lift” note, we filled in all the bare spots that we could find in the yard and tossed the rest in the dumpster, which by then was my most important garden tool. Of course before you can toss any into the dumpster, you must do the “shake, shake, shake” with it to remove any precious soil from the roots.

Time to amend the soil – a Queenly brew of peat moss, horse manure, compost, and staying as organic as possible, no chemicals on the garden. Again, the rototiller, if there is any doubt in your mind what part of your body is flabby, I recommend about three minutes behind a rototiller, anything that is not firmly affixed to bone will shake and rattle, and roll!! So, strolling behind it like a drunken sailor that job was finished.

Finally it was time to do the final raking and sit down with a long tall glass of tea and a stack of seed catalogs that would have killed me if it had fallen on me. What to plant and where to plant it, so many ideas and so little space and room – although I was reminded the space was 27 feet long and 20 feet wide – it seemed so huge when it was being prepared and so small when it came to the planning stage.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Plant's Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray my leaves the Deer don’t eat
And when in spring, shoots I make
I pray they get a tummy ache
The End

As much as we all love our gardens, it is time to put them to sleep. Sleepless gardens are a pitiful sight.

And besides we have other Queenly duties to perform now, what with the holidays and all.

These are the things we do to ensure they have sweet dreams and gain strength for the coming spring.

1. We wash everything down with: 1cup mouthwash, *1cup chewing tobacco juice, I cup dawn.

Put into a sprayer and work from top to bottom on all perennials. *We buy 1 pk. Of chewing tobacco in the spring, put it in a half gallon container and fill with water. It lasts all season and is a good alternative for organic bug control.

2. We spray with dormant oil and weather protection like “Wilt proof”. Again from top to bottom. Wilt proof is also good to protect your plants from sunburn in the heat of summer.

3. Final feeding for all our beds, bone meal and Epson salts, spread according to directions. Mulch well, we like shredded cedar bark for bug control.

Say “Nite, Nite! Sleep well, don’t let the bugs bite!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Prickly Pear Queens Guide to Gardening

Welcome to our new blog mostly about the adventures and misadventures of gardening outside the box. All of us self-proclaimed queens and domestic goddesses owe at least a debt of gratitude to the mother of all Queens, “The Sweet Potato Queen” who taught us how to have fun.
Now you may be asking yourself “Who in the world are the Prickly Pear Queens?” and “Why in the world would anyone want to be a Prickly Pear Queen?”
I am here to tell you that we are not Prickly Pear Queens because we are Prickly (most of the time unless unduly provoked - in which case a little sugar solves that problem) and we are certainly not pear-shaped (more like those little yellow tomatoes some of you grow that are just a little bigger on the bottom) but we are most definitely Queens and since we both have deeeeep roots to the Southwest and a love for all growing things – what an honor to be known as “The Prickly Pear Queens”.
We will be growing our court by adding new queens. We urge you to share with us your unique and creative adventures in gardening. So ….. if you wish to become a part of this august body, you might want to pick your favorite fruit or veggie to be Queen of now while the picking is good. You know something like “The Hot Tomato Queen”.
Each month we will hold a ceremony on-line and award a prize for the funniest adventure in gardening.
Not to say that this is not going to be a site that values serious gardening and gives (mostly) good advice and tips. Just not in a serious way. All of us know that for every hot, sweaty way to accomplish something in our garden there is a hilarious alternative.
As my wonderful ole Granny used to say, “There’s more than one way to skin a Chipmunk.”
(And since they are the sworn enemies of mountain gardeners, I’ve tried most of them.)
Now, let me show you what I mean about funny stories that contain useful information:
The Rock Garden
Half of my gardening life is spent at 9000 feet. Here the soil is 90% rock and the growing season is the blink of a gnat’s eye. Ten years ago I got my heart set on a rock garden on the hillside opposite our home. To say this is a work in progress is an understatement. It is now 50 feet long. That’s 5 feet a year. Do you know what it takes to dig a hole for a 5 gallon shrub in a hillside that’s 90% rock?
Like all gardeners, I can’t resist the end of the season sales. 75% off! My heart races – my mind goes numb. That is until I get the 14-5 gallon shrubs home. My numb mind comes back with a thud. It’s late October and I have about an hour and a half to plant them all before it freezes. So, armed with a rock breaker, a hammer, my husband’s new screwdriver set and a spade, I embark. Twenty minutes later I have a 6 oz. cup size hole. Three days and many “Son of ……..” later, the pieces of the screwdriver set are buried under a pile of rocks my husband will never notice ad I’m stumped and pissed. “Think you bit off more than you can chew?” from my husband was the last straw.
Then it came to me!! I ran to the garage and grabbed the high pressure nozzle and 50 foot of hose. Then, still dressed in my go to town clothes, I let it fly! Whoa Gussie, it was a sight. Red clay, mud, and rock of all sizes were flying everywhere. No telling how many chipmunks packed up and left for good that day.
I can say in retrospect, this is probably better done in a “Hazmat” suit with a visor. Never had so much fun gardening. 14 holes in six hours!! That’s a record in this part of the country. If you’re my kind of gardener you have a hundred of these stories.
. It grows in the desert regions of North America. The fruits are used for the juice and the pads are used as a vegetable.
OK, Enough of that.
And, I want to share the official Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly Recipe with you:
1 ½ cup Prickly Pear Juice
3 Tablespoons of lemon or lice juice
1 Package Powdered Pectin
3 ½ cups of Sugar
How to get that juice – first you pick a quart of the prickly pear fruit and that should make 2 ½ cups of juice. Which brings about another problem – How to pick the fruit. Use a pair of long-handled tongs, or a fork, or for the more brave at heart, you can try leather gloves.
Wash the fruit under running water, then use a brush to clean (any spines left on the fruit will soften during cooking and should come off after the fruit is strained (notice that word ”should”), if they don’t you will need to use your tongs or a fork to get them out.
Steam the fruit until it is tender and soft. Mash and strain it using a jelly bag or a fine sieve. Do not add water. Set aside to allow juice to settle. For clear jelly, do not use the portion containing sediment.
In a saucepan, measure out 1 ½ cups of juice, add 1 package of powdered pectin and bring mixture to a fast boil, stirring constantly. Add lemon or lime juice and sugar. Bring to a hard boil (one that cannot be stirred down with a spoon) and let bowl for 3 more minutes. The timing is very important to get the mixture to set up properly.
Remove from the heat, skim off the foam on top, and pour into hot canning jars, leaving ¼ inch space per jar. Wipe jar rims and put on flats and rings.
Process for 10 minutes in boiling water bath.
This makes 6 one-half pints of jelly.

Now that your jelly is setting on the counter and looking so pretty, it’s time for a little break for you!
Prickly Pear Margaritas
1 oz. Tequila
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz fresh orange juice
½ oz Prickly Pear juice
¼ oz Cointreau
1 hot chili pepper – fresh or dried
Ice and Kosher Salt
The pepper for this recipe should be seeded and diced, then combined with the other ingredients in a shaker. Once combined, allow the ingredients to sit for 15 minutes, then add ice and strain out the pepper and the ice before serving. Moisten glass rims with lime juice and dip in kosher salt. Pour into margarita glass, garnish with lime slice and enjoy!
Until next time, warm days and starry nights to you –
The Prickly Pear Queens