When I was younger, I used to wonder why magazines only showed old folks bird watching. Now I know. Birds are hard to watch. They fly in, eat, bathe, poop....then fly off. Quick as a wink. The only people who have time sit and WAIT with binoculars in hand are retirees. Retirees tend to be older. I'm not saying youngish folks can't do it. But I can't seem to work it in. Between family, work, errands, chores... and the rest of daily life, I don't get to bird watch as much as I'd like. And when the rare occasion happens that I do have time, life undoubtedly interrupts. But sometimes, I get the rare treat to watch the birds. I only get a few glimpses but it is enough to tide me over until the next time. A couple years ago we had 3 broods of hummingbirds. There were 12 individuals...that I know of...and they stayed until November, the longest any of them have stayed since. One day I was reading on the front porch because a storm front was blowing through. There was little rain, just a really nice summer breeze. All of them came to feed before the storm. They were all OVER the feeders, squabbling over the 3 in the front yard. They didn't care that I was on the porch, but every now and then, they would fly up to me and squeak. I'm sure they didn't like me there but I stayed still and enjoyed about 2 hours of their antics. They didn't move off until the rain started really coming down. Last year, we had the brood of blue jays I posted about. I got to watch them a few minutes twice daily....such fun to see them. I love to watch the interaction between the adults andthe juveniles. Then on Friday, I was lucky to see a pair of cardinals come into the back yard. The female took a couple of minutes to bathe. It was so much fun to watch her. When she was done, she hopped up to the fence and shook the water off and fluffed her feathers before flying off.
The male was in my wildflower garden, snacking on the seeds I planted. I always overseed because I don't have the heart to shoo them away. He finished snacking, then hopped up to inspect the nesting materials I have in the tree. (btw, someone has been doing some serious harvesting of those materials, the dog hair is pretty much gone and the lint has been yanked almost free.)
He had just hopped close enough to grab some when a squirrel came up and scared him off. Of course, the squirrels need nesting materials too so I guess they have been harvesting from the same source.
In all, I spent about 15 minutes watching the 2 birds but it was just enough to tide me over until next time.
A hummingbird scout is in our yard. He is so dark and plump and happy.....we saw him for the first time Saturday morning....just 1 week after putting up a couple feeders.
The photo is blurry but who cares! Just LOOK at his throat! The green doesn't really show up but that red is unmistakable.
He flitted between the 2 feeders and rested in a tree about 20 feet from them. He would stay there for 10 minutes at a time, soaking up the sun's rays. Here he is almost invisible in the branches...until you spot that red.
I always gets a surge of excitement when these little guys are in the yard. And we usually have lots of them. I think it is because years ago I rescued a hummingbird out of an old web in our garage. It was exhausted from fighting and just covered in silk. Feet, beak, everything...good thing it was a cobweb and the resident spider had moved out. I held him and carefully cleaned him up...his little heart drumming in my palm. When I took him out to a tree, I cupped him and carefully turned him to face away from me so he wouldn't fly into me in his panic to get away. I opened my hands but instead of flying off, he turned around in my hand and sat still for a moment. Then he looked up at my face and peeped before turning back around and flying off. He landed in a tree about 5 feet in front of me so I stood there to see if he was going to be okay. Then, he flew back to me and peeped in my face again before he flew over the house across the street. I was 22 years old and I've never forgotten that feeling. It was simply amazing.
Over the years people have emailed me telling me how perfect my life seems
to be...if only! It isn't that bad things don't happen....I just don't post about it on my blog often. It feels weird to do that. Like airing dirty laundry.
But......there is a saying that bad things come in three's. If that is true, our family should be all caught up....for awhile....I mean....seriously. First, we had a lightening storm two weeks ago. It blew up our computer (literally, it caught on FIRE...) and also blew up our daughter's Play Station 2 in the same strike. (The lightening ran down the outside internet connection into the house.) Then last weekend our water heater broke and needs to be replaced. Then to top THAT off, I found out Friday that I am out of a job next year....the school budget was slashed and my job of the last 4 years is gone. This...after finding out last month that I needed a crown and Matt needs oral surgery. This after finding out both cars need MAJOR work. Ok....so how many things IS THAT? 8, right? And not a one of them is an inexpensive fix. So I cried Friday night. I really needed it. And this isn't just now happening. Stuff like this has been happening since moving here in '07. It was like we fell into a bad dream or are cursed. I mean it, really. As soon as we moved here, crap started happening and hasn't stopped yet. (maybe its the house?) So now that I wrote this, it feels wrong, like I'm a whiny
baby...because so many other people have it so much worse. We seriously
have SO many blessings and I am so appreciative of that fact. But I'm leaving it here...because even though
we ARE blessed, bad things do happen and I'm just trying to get through
it, just like everyone else. I keep telling myself that God has a plan and that everything will be okay. Oh, and to breathe. Yea....that helps too.
So, I have been playing on pinterest, trying new recipes. I decided to give this wreath idea a go too....
The idea is to make a wreath out of pipe insulation. Why? Because it is uber cheap and usually in the garage somewhere in your husband's junk. Which also means you can raid your husband's stuff and not have to change out of your pajamas in order to make a wreath. Because you are a lazy crafter....like me. I tried it. It worked. Sort a.... Here it is on day one: Cute right? Not bad for a free tube 'o' insulation and some fabric from my stash...and a dollar store shamrock.
but a couple days later....
see that space under the shamrock? yep...it is getting bigger. and a couple days later, this is what it looked like...more like an oval...
By the end of the week, it looked like one of those yokes you put on a mule before plowing your field!So I had to take it off and squish it back into shape...... I decided that even though I'm a lazy (and cheap) crafter, I'd rather use a coupon at Hobby Lobby and buy a wreath form than squish my wreath every few days. But since I've already made this one, I'm keeping it because I'm too lazy to make a new one.
Last week I woke up with laryngitis on Monday. The kids fell out laughing because I sounded like the chocolate lady from Sponge Bob Squarepants: It WAS funny...but by Wednesday, it wasn't....as it turned out I had some awful virus that left me with those ulcers at the back of my throat....along with fever and fatigue. Friday I had my dental appointment and thought my dentist would take pity on me and not do the procedure. WRONG. He just laughed and put on his gloves......yikes. I needn't have worried, he is the BEST DENTIST EVER. The rest of the weekend was a big blur....until today. Today, I woke up feeling really good and worked in the yard with the family. It was 78 degrees and we did some cleaning in the garden....prepping it for spring. Dean and I are ruthless gardeners. We seriously don't take care of our yard in winter. If it can't survive, we won't plant it. We do that because we go out of town often enough that we don't want to have to ask neighbors to care for our plants. Guido already needs a haircut!
Look how lovelyBun-Bun is looking, with a soft layer of moss now behind her ears.....
We planted some nasturtium, lettuce, leek and arugula seeds....as well as, tomato and basil plants. Nothing new, that is what we plant each year. But we are planting less basil because I have too much leftover in the freezer. I can always plant more mid summer if needed.
See the chicken wire? Yep...our resident squirrels tore this little space UP last year. This year, there will be NO ACORNS planted by their deft little paws. My little blue chair was also repainted and replanted. Before long, the entire fence will be covered in morning glory vine...
I discovered some lettuce that had volunteered to grow. We have 5 plants about this size. Almost ready to harvest. I love volunteer plants!
My herb garden is quite robust and only needed a little soil added to perk it up. Last year I lost the parsley and cilantro but this year both are doing quite well. The cilantro needs cutting back though....and the green onions need to be harvested.
I found sweet Gimley under the alyssum....he is so happy spring is around the corner.
We cleaned up Angel's wildflower garden and put out tons of wildflower seed.....she will be so happy once they all grow up around her....sorry for the dark photo....some storm clouds came up and I snapped it not realizing I needed the flash!
I even put out 2 hummingbird feeders in case some scouts are in the area.....they will be returning soon and I want them to know they are welcome.
The last few weeks have been jam packed with after school activities, dentist appointments and other time sapping things. Not enough time to craft......bah. At least I've managed to keep trying new recipes....a few didn't make the cut but most did. One tilapia recipe was so awful, we literally walked to the trash and threw it out. What a waste. I tried several recipes from pinterest....click on the name to go to the link. Some photos here are mine, some are theirs. You can tell the difference since I take awful food photos! If you are on pinterest and want to see my recipe changes, I put them in the comments on my "pinterest, tried and true board." This one is Cream Cheese Monkey Bread. I made some changes including drizzling caramel sauce over the top when serving......guess it was good...it was gone in one fell swoop and declared a keeper! Too bad I don't eat cream cheese.....
I made another type of bread in the same manner called Parmesan Pull Apart Bread....with good results. It is perfect for those times when you don't feel like baking "real" bread....or for a menu stretcher.
Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti was by far the biggest hit lately. Oh. My. Gosh. Good. I jazzed it up for us Louisiana folks....but the basic recipe is good too.
Hamburger Steaks....something we southern girls know how to do, right? I used to make this years ago before I met Dean. Don't know WHY I
stopped...but won't make that mistake again. I doubled this recipe and
it was ALL eaten. Dean and Matt groaned all night from eating so
much. I added onions and mushrooms....and it was just like home....without the black pepper crust daddy used to do. That gravy was killer on baked potatoes!
Last but not least is this soup called Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup. The name is a mouthful...but the soup is a good one. I did a few things differently basically using what I had on hand at the house...and oh my goodness, it was awesome....especially if you like tomato soup. I made some hefty grilled cheese sandwiches to go along with it. The family LOVED it!
Today starts the weekend...(yay) and I get to start it off with dental work (boo). Maybe I should have saved some of that soup!