Sunday, June 16, 2024

A day in the life...

 I've been keeping plenty busy.  We were lucky enough to have a visit from my cousin in Oregon.  We did some hiking and went to a local museum.  Of course, there was lots of visiting and catching up.  It has been about 10 years since their last visit.  Time spent with family is always precious.

I have a male and female hummingbird.  They are very sporadic in their visits.  They aren't too scared of me and follow you around if you are wearing a red shirt.
My flowers are starting to get into full swing.  These are my bachelor buttons mixed with wild roses.
There are a lot of visitors in the garden.  I've had butterflies, bumble bees, and little gnats.
I just love bumblebees.  They just mind their own business and wander through the flower beds.  Never in a hurry.
My little orange irises are blooming.  They are such a happy group.  
Towering above them is our windmill.  It was in dire need of a makeover.  My husband repainted the red accents.
We sanded the base and then I re-stained it.  I went on a staining binge.  Nothing escaped my brush.  The sidewalk, bench, swing, empty birdhouses, and a couple of planters.  
It looks so much better.  It was surprising how much the red tips had faded.
The yellow rose is starting to gear up.  In a couple of days, it will be completely covered in blooms.  Nothing compares to the scent of this rose.  
The irises are starting to bloom.  They are one of my favorite flowers because they come in every color combination under the rainbow.
Not only is my lilac filling the air with wonderful scents, but the honeysuckle is also extremely fragrant.
I am overjoyed to be able to wander through the garden and enjoy the constant blooms.  What do you have blooming?  Do you have bumble bees?  What is your favorite flower scent?  I think the yellow rose is my favorite, but I'm sure I will change my mind with the next bloom.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Funny story...

I found a butterfly stuck in the garage.  I let it crawl onto my finger and relocated it to a more fitting home.

We put the hail netting up.  That should keep us from getting any hail. I don't have much to protect yet as the only thing up is my asparagus.
My super sweet husband built this wonderful screen for my strawberry bed.  The deer have walked through it and last year birds and chipmunks kept eating my berries.  They are certainly safe now.
I went to a quilt show in Rapid City.  My friend had a booth so it was nice to spend a few minutes catching up.
I liked these two.  The owls are cute.  I appreciated the quilting on the landscape below.
This was my favorite.   You can't see the material on the buffalo is fuzzy and longer.  It was breathtaking. 
So I said there was a funny story, here it is. We have a problem with voles.  They girdle trees and shrubs, eat my flowers, and nip my seedlings before they get a chance to grow.  Mousetraps don't work in the summer, because I end up getting chipmunks and even a junco once in a while.  Using an air gun ensures you kill what you are trying to exterminate.  We keep it on the porch by the chair.  Since we live in the middle of nowhere, you can hear when someone is driving up and make sure the gun is discretely down.  Except for today. I was trimming my roses when a huge vole almost ran over my feet.  He wasn't scared of me, so I grabbed the air gun off of the porch.  I got him on the first shot.  I was focused on finding him, when lo and behold, someone drove by.  I was busy looking for the vole and never heard them coming.  I cannot imagine what they thought driving by a girl in overalls, floppy hat, and walking around aiming a gun at her flowers.
Sometimes you can't make these things up.  Anyway, that is all I have for the week.  What was something funny you saw when driving around?

Sunday, June 2, 2024

A buzz...

You probably think my title is about bees, but actually it is about the return of my hummingbirds.  Last night while I was enjoying the fire pit, the female hummingbird started zipping around.  She is actually very quiet and just makes a low hum.  But this morning we were awakened by the male hummingbird, and I promise he makes quite the squeaking racket. We could hear him as he went completely around the cabin and checked out everything of interest.  Silly little bird. 
That isn't to say I don't have plenty of bees around.  This makes me very happy, because about 15 years ago there wasn't a bee to be seen.  Not even my bumbling bumble bees.  That is when I asked a friend if he would like to keep his bees on our property.  I promised flower gardens and orchards.

It brings me great joy to sit in the orchard picking dandelions and surrounded by every type of bee imaginable.  I think there is a quote that says the hum of bees is the voice of a garden and I must agree.  There is nothing more entertaining than watching those bumblebees try to navigate delicate flowers.

It is slowly warming up, though the winds are still very cool.  At least I am able to enjoy go outside the birds, bees, and blooms.  It will be a while before I have any berries.  What about you?  Any birds? Bees? Berries? Blooms?  Hummingbirds?

Monday, May 27, 2024

Busy busy as a bee...

 I had so much to do this weekend.  Even though it wasn't warm by any means, but gardening had to begin.  Even if I had to wear long johns.  I did take time to enjoy the daffodils and primroses.  How could you not be inspired by their vivid colors?

My wonderful husband got me a hummingbird fountain that was solar powered.  I know it looks crooked in the picture, but I assure you it isn't.  He is very sweet, and we kept our eyes open all weekend for a hummingbird, but they aren't here yet.
My raspberries finally came in the mail.  I was super excited and glad to get them in the ground.  I know you are all thinking it looks like I planted them in the shade.  The thing is my neighbor had an amazing raspberry patch and it was in gravel, no water, and on the north side of his house.  I'm hoping for the same results.  Half the patch is some of his raspberries he gave me and the bottom row is some I planted 2 years ago.  All are doing well, so now with these additions the patch is done.
The orchard was filled with dandelions and that means dandelion wine.  I don't know why, but time spent picking dandelions or berries is very soothing for me.  I loved sitting in the sun, smelling the black current blooms, choosing the biggest dandelions, and listening to the bees at my feet. Heaven on earth.
My greenhouse is doing good.  I have to put collars around everything to keep the voles from munching them.  They did get my lettuce.
This is my herb container.  Filled with rosemary, sage, and parsley.  Some of my favorite herbs.  
My Pak choi, banana pepper, and giant pumpkin are all doing well.
Despite the cold winds, I was able to plant my outside bed with corn, beans, broccoli, cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins.  I have to put collars around the squash and pumpkins.  With all the wind it took quite a bit to anchor them down.
I got the bears out to do their annual fishing.  I love the sound of the fountain.  Sitting on the porch with a cup of morning coffee the world sounds grand.

I made my mom's amazing rhubarb crisp recipe. I forgot to take a picture of all the rhubarb I harvested and there is more to be picked and chopped. 
Dakota Rhubarb Crunch

4 c. dry Rhubarb
1 c. Sugar
2 T. Cornstarch
1 c. Water
1 t. Vanilla

2 c. Flour
1 1/2 c. Oatmeal
2 c. Brown Sugar
1 c. Melted Butter
2 T. Cinnamon

Put dried rhubarb in 9x13 glass cake pan. In a small sauce pan combine sugar, corn starch, water, and vanilla. Cook until thick and clear stirring constantly. Pour over rhubarb and cover with topping. Bake at 350ยบ for 1 hour.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes to make and probably 1 hour of baking

That wasn't the only good food.  My husband brined and smoked one of the turkey breasts from the turkeys we hunted and harvested.  Delicious.  He cut them into chunks and made kabobs with peppers, onion, and tomatoes.  I never liked wild turkey until he started brining and smoking them.  Now it is one of my favorite meals.
I am thankful to all veterans, especially those that laid down their lives for our country.  If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be enjoying such a peaceful life.  If there is one thing I have learned, it is that freedom isn't free.  I hope you all had as fruitful a Memorial Day weekend as we did.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Out and about...

It has been a busy two weeks.  My niece held a graduation party last Friday.  They had a band and good food.  It was a great time. It is always a good thing when family can get together in celebration.  She enjoyed her quilt, but as the norm, I didn't get a picture of her opening it. 

After that we drove on to Minnesota to see my husband's family.  We had a good visit.  My mother-in-law told me that Darlene had turned 80, so we had to go see if the barn was painted in celebration. 

I can't wait to check in 10 years and see how they make it into a 90. 
I did some goat wrangling with my niece, Maya.  I found that it is much easier than trying to deal with cows when calving.  My years of goat tying as a kid came in handy.  I really dislike goats but have to admit those little buggers were pretty cute.
My husband and I went for a little walk.  I was joking that I would find some morel mushrooms.  Turns out I wasn't joking.  I found four monsters.  If you have never had a morel mushroom, I promise they are amazing.

We got home just as the daffodils and tulips were blooming.
My bees are looking good.  Luckily, they have plenty of apple trees, a flourishing crabapple, and several currents to keep them fed.
The wildflowers are blooming like crazy just down the road.  I love walking that way as every weekend the blooms are different.

My sister got me a soil test kit for Christmas.  I tried it on my outdoor vegetable beds.  It seems I am deficient in Nitrogen.  It also shows the beds could use some more potash.  We will see if it makes a difference.
Every year this rose-breasted grossbeak wanders through for a few days.
The sapsuckers are doing their yearly mating dances and rat-a-tat-tats.  
The grossbeaks are settling in and the Western tanagers are also found their way to my feeders this weekend.  I had a mountain blue bird fly through yesterday, but I'm sure he was on his way to somewhere with bigger meadows.

Wow.  A lot happens in a couple of weeks.  What spring birds do you have flying through?