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Let's see, where were we?

This week has been a whirlwind. For Thanksgiving, which I didn't photodocument at all, I spent the evenings assembling a Portobello Wellington and a passion fruit pie. FWIW if you find yourself in possession of some passion fruit juice, simply substitute it in place of the lime juice for a key lime pie recipe. That said, I'm inclined to agree with sytharin, who found the resulting pie too sweet. Perhaps next time I will increase the amount of juice, and withhold the powdered sugar from the graham cracker crust.

We wound up with a great complement of delicious things. sytharin caramelized brussels sprouts and some sweet potatoes she grew in the garden last year. She also made a green bean casserole and some jalapeno-cheddar biscuits. There was stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, onion pie, and vegetarian plus non-vegetarian gravy. The works. Everyone ate until they groaned.

Our parents came down from Seattle, so on Thursday I took them for a tour of the lab, and on Friday, sytharin showed them her workplace. Then we went to visit the UC Botanical Garden and had a wonderful time strolling around and checking out the collections. There are a LOT of plants packed into that space, which I suppose makes sense when you think about the mild climate and history of the place. I look forward to going back for another visit.

I did take a couple of photos in the garden.

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden
View of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz from the upper part of the garden (you may have to view the full-size image to see).

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden
From the cactus and succulent house. Their arrangement and informational signs were excellent because they included discussion of cactus poaching. I hadn't thought about it, but confiscated poached cacti wind up going to places like this Botanical Garden to live out their lives because they can't be rewilded for a whole host of reasons. The people working at the garden care for and propagate the plants that grow quickly enough to reproduce, but they also maintain some fascinating rare and endangered plants. The cactus and succulent house consists of an open section where you can walk among the plants, and a fenced-off section where you can peer in and observe both display plants and the rest of the plants grown there. They had a couple of those "living stone" plants that were in bloom, which were really cool to see.

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden
UC Berkeley Botanical Garden
Some California representatives - a coastal redwood and an amazing gnarly buckeye.

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden
We enjoyed watching the salamanders in the Japanese pond. Also, I LOVE maples, and the maples in the garden had fabulous colors.

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden
Upon spotting this aloe, we all whipped out our cameras.


Meanwhile, on the home front, sytharin's Sharry Baby orchid has begun to bloom:
On the verge of blooming
Three days ago...

Sharry baby blooms
Today. Its fragrance is just starting to develop.

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