Thursday, February 23, 2012

Backyard bird count...

Make sure you count everyone down there!
Last weekend was the backyard bird count.  I have been an avid participant every year since we built our cabin (2002).  There is always some strange event that happens.  One year I had 50 Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finches.  Another year 1 Hoary Redpoll which is rare and I was questioned.  Last year a red-tailed hawk nabbed one of my birds.  That led to a bit of a question do you count the eaten bird or not?  If I remember correctly I counted him.  This year it wasn't anything so dramatic, but still I have to wonder.  I had two common redpolls stop by only for the count.  Never saw them prior and haven't seen them since.   Guess they just wanted to stand up and be counted.

A disgruntled looking redpoll.
A hungry common redpoll.

A handsome Goldfinch.

Full feeders.

Final tally:

1 Blue Jay
6 Goldfinches
4 Red Breasted Nuthatches
1 White Breasted Nuthatch
6 Chickadees
6 Juncos
2 Female Downy Woodpeckers
1 Male Hairy Woodpecker
4 Pine Siskins
2 Common Redpolls
2 Crows

I hope everyone enjoyed the bird count as much as I do.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I won! I won! A new Benelli shotgun...

I guess the planets aligned and for once I was lucky.  Now let me explain, first you have to participate in things to win and I am notoriously cheap.  If I fork over $20 there had better be something worth $30 going in the other hand.  So when this young boy talked me into opening my dusty wallet and handing over $20 for a raffle ticket, my husband about had a heart attack.  He is the one that normally feels pity on the souls of little children selling things, not me.  There was just something about how hard the young man was trying. 

Two days later and no phone call.  Guess I didn't win, but wait there was a message on my cell.  Mrs. Fuller you have won a new gun.  Wow, really?  I called and the gentleman explained that my name was drawn.   I told him the young man that was selling tickets deserved some praise, because he had worked so hard.  The gentleman explained that the gun raffle was to benefit youth shooting sports.  The young man was an avid shooter, but couldn't afford a gun of his own.  The young man's name would go in the hat for every book of tickets he sold.  I immediately asked if the young man had won.  Truly, I was going to give my prize to him if he had not won.  Yes, yes he did win a gun the man at the other end assured me.  He was a very happy boy.  I thanked him for letting me know and hung up. 

A few minutes later he called back.  After looking at the tickets he thought I would like to know that I was the last ticket in the last book the young man had sold.  It was the ticket he had won on.  

To be honest,  knowing that young man's efforts paid off made me happier than winning a gun for myself.  Still, I might go play the lottery.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Spring dreaming...

Ta Da.  My new watering can came today.  It is a metal Haws can.  I'm in love.  It holds 2 1/2 gallons.  Can't wait.  4 more months and I can use it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day surprises...

Ok, my husband and I do not celebrate valentines day.  Eight years ago he made me a potting bench for V-day and eight years prior to that I got him a deer print.  Real romantics, huh?

I guess the love bug got us this year.  He surprised me with these incredible chocolate dipped strawberries:)  I surprised him with Chubby Chipmunk Truffles, music, bubble bath, and wine.  I'm here to say my raspberry wine was meant to be enjoyed with chocolate!   Needless to say it was a fun romantic evening.
Our unusual celebration was not the only surprise for Valentine's Day.   The night prior Ella really set to barking outside.  I ran out and called her back into the house.  She doesn't usually bark and she was quite restless the rest of the night.  This morning we found out why.   Those are mountain lion tracks.
That is my coffee cup for scale.  Not a monster lion, but any lion is big enough.
  This is our garage.  The tracks go back and forth in front.  They also went right up our sidewalk to the steps of our porch.
Not the Valentine's surprise we really wanted.  Ella will now have an armed guard with her when she is outside.

I hope your Valentine's Day was filled with pleasant surprises


Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Orleans French Bread...

I'm going to try to make homemade bread once a month. I decided to make New Orleans French Bread this month.  It makes four small loaves that I use for garlic bread.  Since garlic bread is about $3.50 in the store, I figure I'm saving some money. 
 New Orleans French Bread
1 pkg. Yeast         2 T. Sugar
2 1/2 c. Water       1 T. Salt
1 t. Sugar            6 1/2  Flour
Add flour mixture and knead 8 minutes.  Place in greased bowl and let rise 1 1/2 hours.  Turn on floured surface  for 15 minutes.  Knead and shape into 4 small loaves.  Cut four slashes.  Bake 15 minutes at 450 degrees and then 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

While waiting for the bread to rise, Ella and I went shed hunting.  Lo and behold, I found one.  We looked everywhere and couldn't find the match.  It was tiring for Ella.  

My rug is getting bigger.  I'm having a hard time keeping it flat.  If anyone has advice I'm open to it. 
The bread is done.  Not the prettiest of loaves.  It has been a while since I made this recipe.  They are difficult to form.  They always end up chubby:)  Before freezing them, be sure and cut them in half.  This comes from experience trying to cut open frozen loaves. To  make garlic bread I add garlic butter, Parmesan cheese, and re-heat them at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.  
We finally got the honey from our hives.  That is one of the most beautiful colors there is.  I haven't tasted it yet, but I have faith it will be perfect.

Needless to say things are busy here in cabin country.  It has been cold, crisp, and it  still winter.  

Saturday, February 4, 2012

We are in business...

My husband made two more shelves today.  One is of course rustic cabin style and the other is country.  He is having fun. 

Meanwhile, I am in the process of making pear wine and just bottled up some rhubarb.  I really like my Rowdy Rhubarb.  That $35 wine making kit from Midwest Supply was a good investment.  I have really enjoyed the results and I like that it is low pressure hobby.  If I want to mess around with it I do, if I don't have time then it can just sit longer.  So far I've made wine using:  Service Berries, Buffalo Berries, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Grapes, and Chokecherries.  This is the first time I have bought fruit for wine making.  We thought we would try pears.  I thought it would be a complicated process, but it is simple and the results are worth the effort. 

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.  February is here.  Four more months to spring:)   

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A second life, indoors...

My talented husband has been laid up for two months, unable to do anything other than watch tv, listen to me, and look at the walls.  It would drive lesser men insane.  Instead, it caused him to be very creative.  He took two old barn wood boards and some shed antlers and made a nice rustic shelf for the cabin.  Here are the results..

Rural Thursday Blog Hop