Prickly Pear in blossom

prickly pear blossomThe Purple Prickly Pear cactus in front of our studio is in full blossom this week. The flowers last a couple of days, providing a very brief splash of color in the desert.

The petals make a very interesting addition to a salad, as almost all of the prickly pear cactus is edible in one form or another.

The flowers will soon disappear, giving way to fruit. By summer, the fruit will be bright red and ready for the picking. The pads can be harvested any time of year for nopalitas. They are delicious in a cold salad, or cooked in an omelette.

Fun with electricity
Yesterday (Easter Sunday) Mike was over to help me with the electrical work required to get the ceiling fan for the patio operational.

I had to tap into an electrical line that fed the patio lights. I had a bit of a surprise when, after turning the circuit breaker off, I git a jolt playing with the wires in the electrical outlet box. Close inspection revealed that there were to hot wires coming into the box, with a common neutral. That would sort of explain that extra red wire…

One hot wire fed the lights, and the other powered the outlet for the washing machine. I kept the common neutral, as it would have been next to impossible to snake another through the 1/2″ conduit to the breaker box.

On the ceiling, I had to cut into the conduit to add another box. One line feeds the patio lights, the other feeds the fan. I added a switch for the lights – not very convenient, but we do not use them too often.  I also added an outlet for decorative lights – the electrical box got awful crowded with five ground wires to tie together.

It was a simple job, but I would have liked to have been paid union scale for it – it took us 3 1/2 hours. Of course a lot of that was thinking and rethinking the layout – after all I don’t want to burn the house down!

This morning I am sitting down under the ramada, sipping coffee, the ceiling fan silently directing cool air in my direction. It is a pleasant way to end a three-day weekend.

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