Sunday, May 20, 2018

Never say never...

 Three years ago, on a whim, I decided to try and make dandelion wine.  I thought it would be simple.  Just pick a bunch of dandelions and throw them in some sugar and yeast.  Of course nothing is easy.  Research says you have to separate the green from the petals.  This is not an simple task and it makes your thumbnails look like they have been burned.   I swore I would never do that again.  Then four months later I tasted the wine.  It was amazing.   Now the yearly dandelion de-petaling tradition begins.  It took five hours to get five cups of petals.  This isn't work for the faint of heart or weak of back.  My goal is to make two batches this year.  I am actually hoping for dandelions in the orchard.   I have learned that one should never say never, because you never know:)
I have a few more birds for the bird list.  I also saw two oven birds.  The fourth new bird this year.  I was not able to get a photo of them.  Below are a few more birds to add to my 2018 bird count.
Black Headed Grosbeak
 Pine Siskin
 Hairy Woodpecker

 Western Tanager
 I can't help but take a million photos of the Western Tanager.  They are so vivid.  I also enjoy his song.  It was a great bird watching weekend.  With one exception, I cannot get a good photo of the nuthatches.  It is like they know I'm trying to get a photo of them.  My checkered lilies are blooming like crazy.  They have even reseeded themselves into the forest.

This was my weekend project.  My brother made this little toad house.  I put it on a bed of moss and surrounded it with some stones from Denmark.  I think it makes a nice display.   I wish we had toads here.  I would be in seventh heaven. 

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Springtime...

 The crocus are blooming.  and the daffodils are up.  We have had drizzle and rain most of the week.  I have avoided washing the windows on the greenhouse, because I was sure it was an arduous task.  Much to my surprise, all I needed was soap and water.  The windows cleaned right up.  It made a huge difference.  

 The turkeys are in full swing and it has been fun to watch them parading around.

I added quite a few birds to my 2018 birding list today.  We went fishing on our property along the Belle Fourche River.  I was able to capture a nesting couple of geese.  It took forever to get a photo ot the Yellow Warbler.  That little bugger is fast and does not sit still for long.

I have the token mallard.  A pair of wood ducks flew over, but they were too darn fast for my camera.   I have searched and searched and decided the fellow below is a Yellow Rumped Warbler.  If you think otherwise, please let me know.  I also got a fuzzy photo of a brown thrasher and another bird I have yet to identify.  It made fishing difficult.  It is hard to sit quietly when one is trying to get photos of birds.  
I hope you all had a fabulous mother's day.  I wish my mom could have been along.  She taught me to love catfishing.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

My big year...

 Gumbo Lily was talking about it being a big year for her and the grands when it came to bird watching.  This seems to be my big bird watching year.  Again I have logged a new bird, but first lets see my old visitors returning.  The white-crowned sparrow above sounds like a freight train going through the woods.  An elephant would make less noise.
 The spotted towhee is very pretty, but his call leaves a lot to be desired.  It is the worst screeching noise I've ever heard.  I had three last year, but so far he is the only one to return.


 This beauty is my newest addition. It is a sharp-shinned hawk.   Not to be confused with the Cooper's hawk.  It took forever to identify.  It came down to the tail feathers.  The sharp-shinned tail feathers are squared or forked, while the Cooper's is rounded.  It was a beautiful bird and I was so happy to have time to take some photos.  Of course, you can see below that I wasn't as happy about where he perched.  He flew off before picking any birds out of my feeder.
It didn't take long for the birds to return.  This house finch was trying hard to look sassy for the ladies.  I was overjoyed when I saw a chickadee checking out the new birdhouse.  Unfortunately,  I don't think it moved in.  Maybe if I put a screen in front of the hole he would peck his way in.  

I got a ton of bird watching and gardening done this weekend.  I am overjoyed that spring is finally here.  I have logged 49 birds at our cabin since building.  I just need one more this year to hit 50.   I know I will keep my camera on the porch, because you never know who is going to fly through.  I hope you all had as wonderful a weekend as I did.  

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Melting...

The snow is slowly melting.  I don't have much activity in my gardens.  It looks like everything survived, except perhaps the hydrangea I planted last year.  I am happy to see the peonies my mom gave me last fall made it through the winter.  There isn't much to do yet, but I did get my birdhouses stained and installed.  I certainly enjoyed the warm weather and sunshine.  The wild pasque flowers are just starting their spring display.

 Spring is finally here!  I enjoy watching the gardens wake up in the spring.  I hope your weather is as wonderful.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunshine...

The weather was super warm, the sun was shining, and I was busy.  
 I started quite a few of my seeds.  I tried some new things; strawberry spinach, artichokes, cabbage, califlower, and cutting celery.  I planted more lettuce and peas in the greenhouse.  A few weeks ago I started some lettuce, bok choy, and spinach.  Most of it came up. I think some of my seeds are past their prime, as I notice one the of lettuce strains didn't germinate.  The strawberry bed is ready for the plants I ordered.  I also planted some potatoes.  They should do fine since the ones I put in the worm bin won't stop trying to grow.
 Today I heard my first frog.  It is somewhere in this mud puddle.  I could have kissed it.  Not because I'm looking for prince charming (I already found him), but to celebrate spring is finally here.

 My husband is working on a large wood project in the barn.  This means scrap lumber.  I made three bird houses out of leftover wood.  Two chickadee houses and one robin house.  I took down my bumblebee/chipmunk house and put up the little house I made last year. They need stained, but I'm happy with the results.  For scraps they turned out pretty good. 
It was a busy weekend.  I was overjoyed to get out and enjoy the sunshine. The greenhouse was in the 100 degree range.  It was like a sauna.  Hopefully, I will get some tenants in my new housing development.  How many bird houses do you have?  Are you planting anything new in your vegetable garden?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

That's all I've got...

The big blizzard missed us.  We didn't get 18 inches of snow or driving winds.  Four inches and cold weather.  My thoughts go out to the ranchers, as I know the prairie was hit much harder.  Not the best weather for calving.  All we have going on are the tom turkeys are strutting.  That is it.  That is all I've got.  Just waiting impatiently for warmer weather.  

I hope April is more productive for the rest of you.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Stay focused...

We received more snow.  There isn't an end in immediate site.  I have decided to just focus on projects and not even think about gardening.  I did peak into the greenhouse while shoveling.  I see my seeds are up, but there is too much ice and snow to get in.  I just have to stay focused on the inside. Have I mentioned how difficult this is?  

 I bottled some Prairie Chokecherry and Red Letter Raspberry Wine.  I have made a batch of wine every month.  A friend gave me a ton of chokecherries.  I am very thankful for that, as I don't have much luck with chokecherries here.  They get half the wine.  She must like it because she gave me gallons of berries this year.
 I have been making energy bites to take to work.  This week I tried apricot/coconut.  It was pretty simple:

1 c. apricots
2 c. unsweetened coconut shredded
1 t. vanilla
5 T. honey

I blended everything, except the honey, in the blender.  Then I added the honey and rolled them into balls.  They will go in the refrigerator and, hopefully, I will remember to take some to work in the morning. 
My husband and I try to make Sunday's special.  Ella and I go for a hike (or snowshoeing).  Then my husband makes a wonderful meal on his smoker/grill.  I had a spa day today.  I soaked in an epsom salt bubble bath.  I even used a clay mask.  Then if it is snowing, which it has every Sunday for the past few weeks, we take a nap.  I work on some projects and do some yoga.  It is very restorative.  Today I refilled my spa supplies.  I made a sugar scrub out of sugar, olive oil, and lemon juice.  Then a hot oil hair care with 1 cup of honey and 4 T. olive oil. 
 Making a picnic blanket quilt was also on the Saturday agenda.  The blue blocks were leftover from another quilt project.  That was a project where I definitely miscalculated the number of blocks I needed.  I used up the leftover blues along with some yellow scraps I had lying around.  I still have enough material to line the inside of the picnic basket.  That will be next weekend's project.   
 Ella and I got out to stretch our legs.  We got 8 inches of light and fluffy on Friday, but that became hard and crusty by Sunday.
 As you can see, there is more snow in our future.  
I am working hard to stay positive.  I am thankful that my husband and I make Sunday's a special time for us.  I am grateful that I live in a place where I can take my dog snowshoeing for a mile out, off leash, without worrying about a car or other people disrupting our peace.  I appreciate that on weekends good friends text, e-mail, or call.  Life is good, despite the never ending snow.  What is your Sunday routine?