Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Terrariums

I am anxiously waiting to start gardening outside but it's not quite time here in NE Ohio!
It's still 30-40 degrees most days.
That is maddening when it is now "spring" and the temperature won't co-operate!

I never made a terrarium before but thought it was a good way to get my hands in some dirt and do a little miniature gardening!

I read up on how to do it and watched some YouTube videos.
I went out and got some supplies spending way too much money on some things I probably could've found around my yard.
It's the little miniature figures that are hard to find that are just the right size.

The containers I did find around the house.
The first one I made in this covered container.

Starting with the stones in the bottom and building from there.
I named this one "Tea Time" of course.


This little fawn is hiding in the back.

My second one is much bigger (and heavier!)
I found this large covered container in my basement.  I've had it a long time and never knew what to do with it.
I'm making these on my kitchen counter and making a big mess.

This one is called "My Garden".  I have to find some mini vegetables to put in that fenced area!

I set it here to show you the size but it needs to be in a window with lots of light.

The third one is just in this small round glass open bowl because it has all succulents in it and doesn't need to be moist
Well, that's what I did in my spare time the other dreary day.

I also have to get going and start some flower seed indoors too.

SPRING, where are you hiding!!!!!

Shirley

Partying with "From the Farm Hop"




Friday, March 13, 2015

I Shouldn't Be Eating This!


Before I started counting carbs again I had gotten a tube of Pillsbury Cinnabon rolls!!
Well, I couldn't just throw them away and they would soon go out of date.
Well . . . .
I made a loaf of monkey bread.
I don't really like the glaze that comes with it plus there's never enough of it.
I made my own caramel topping.
I melted a stick of butter and added about 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar.
Added a splash of vanilla . . .
Then I cut up an apple in little pieces and added it to the glaze.
I cut each bun in 5-6 pieces.  Placed them in the bottom of a loaf pan I had sprayed with Pam.
Then just poured the glaze over it and put it in an oven at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes.
When done, cool for 10 minutes then turn upside down on a plate till it comes out.
Oh Yummmmm!
I shouldn't be eating this!!

Shirley

Sunny and 50!

This seems like such a big deal after the horribly cold and snowy winter we've had.
50 degrees seems like 70 at this point!!
When you have dogs and I have two, there is the wonderful spring time job of cleaning up when the snow melts.
  I spent an hour this morning just cleaning up the driveway and places where the ground isn't still frozen/.  It's too hard to walk on the snow at this point because it's covered with a thick layer of ice.
This will be an ongoing job now.
I filled the bird feeders.  However there is so much seed under the feeders now that I think I should just let the birdies and other animals that come at night, clean that up first.




My driveway is clear but it will take some time for the wall of snow at the end to melt down!!


I visited my chickens and sat with them awhile.  They all want to get on my lap at once!!
They are so happy that there's no snow in their run!!

Spirit watches the chickens but doesn't seem all that interested like Dexter does.  


I see my downspout needs fixed.
Along with a hefty turning of the compost pile and burning my big burn pile.  It will get even bigger as I clean up the debris in the yard.
I need to call my handyman and get on his list!!



Lots of evidence that deer have been in the yard; both front, inside the picket fence, and in the back.
All near the bird seed that I'm sure they like too.
I never see them though.
They must come way after dark.

It'll be so nice to see flowers beyond this sign instead of snow!!
Soon, I hope!!
OK, time for lunch and some tea.

Shirley

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

An Interesting Visitor


A couple evenings ago I just happened to be looking out my kitchen window and saw a good sized opossum (possum) coming out from under the porch to feed under my bird feeder.
I'm glad I remembered to take some video!!

It didn't seem to see me watching her and went on slowly eating.  Even after I showed it to Dexter who whined a little, she seemed perfectly content.  I've learned that their eyesight isn't the best.
In fact here's a few interesting things about possums.
They are the only marsupial in the U.S. and Canada!!
They don't carry rabies!
They have supper immunity systems and are immune from most diseases!
They are not rodents.
They are not dirty.  They constantly groom themselves like cats do.
(However an infected possum can be a definitive host for the protozoa that causes cases of EPM in horses.  So possums near horse barns are a problem)
They are good tree climbers.
They can grasp things with their tail but do not hang upside down.
The babies are born a short 12 days after breeding and crawl up into the mother's pouch where they connect to a teat.  They stay there until they are big enough to get around on the ground which is 70-80 days.  They stay in the dens with mom till they're about 3 1/2 months old.
The possum have numerous dens and move about every 3-4 days.
So this little guy probably isn't under my porch any longer.
I guess that's why Dexter isn't digging a tunnel to get under there!
They are omnivores.  They have been on earth since dinosaur times and that is probably due to the fact that they can eat anything!  They are scavengers.
Here are some good sites to learn more if you want:





Shirley

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A First in the Hen House

Well, I collected my first "fart egg" also called a wind egg, witch egg, fairy egg or cock's egg.
They are not uncommon and happen when a tiny piece of tissue gets into the chicken's oviduct and their body mistakes it for a yolk and builds an egg around it.
It's about the size of a bantam's egg, the shell is usually harder and very often is yolkless.
This one was green so one of my easter eggers laid it.
Strange little happenings in chickendom!



Shirley

Monday, March 2, 2015

At My Bird Feeder

I've been keeping my bird feeders filled because of all the snow we've had.
I've been rewarded by seeing so many birds.
It seems they come in flocks of their own kind!!
A few days ago I had a huge amount of cardinals.  Then one day a flock of starlings flew in.
The last couple days I've had so many beautiful blue jays.

(Let me say upfront, that these photos are not mine but ones I found online.
Every time I went to the window with my camera, all the birds flew away and even when I stood there awhile, they kept away till my arms almost fell off holding the camera up.)

Blue jays are a medium sized bird; bold, aggressive and territorial.  They are easily recognized with their perky crest, bright blue, white and black feathers and noisy calls.
They are known for their intelligence, complex social systems and tight family bond.  They are monogamous, they mate for life or till one of the mates die.
They can be found in a wide area of places but like edges of woodlands with mixed deciduous and pine trees and especially oaks.  Their favorite food is acorns, but eat all kinds of nuts, sunflower seeds and suet.  They use their heavy black bill to crack nuts and open sunflower seeds.
They will feed at feeders but prefer ones on a pole as opposed to hanging ones.
Being a more dominant bird, they will chase smaller birds and even squirrels away to get the best pick of seeds and nuts!

They can produce a variety of sounds and can even mimic human sounds and hawk cries.
Blue jays are native to northern and central U.S. and southern Canada.

They breed between March and July.  Their nests are made from twigs, fresh roots and moss.  It is an open cup type of nest like a robin's.  The male usually brings the twigs etc. to the selected tree while the female usually does the building.
After eggs are laid and when they are hatched, it's the female who is on the nest and the male delivers the food to both mother and babies.  The blue  jays will defend their nests and fledglings, chasing other birds and humans away.
A blue jay's eggs range in color from light blue to beige with brown spots.
Fledgling blue jays are among the cutest of baby birds.


Birds are fascinating if you take the time to watch them.
There is a lot of information on all kinds of your back yard song birds.
I got much of this information from here:

Come spring and early summer I will be kept busy containing my barn cats and two bird dogs so the fledglings are safe after leaving the nests.


Think Spring!!

Shirley

Friday, February 27, 2015

Winter Thoughts and a Winter Walk

I love my kitchen in the early mornings when the sun shines in.  That can be rare in the winter but it was sure shining today.

After everyone's breakfast I decided to skip the gym and just stay home with my dogs.  I went out to fill the bird feeders and took my camera with me.
It is only 12 degrees outside but the sun is shining and there's no wind.
Honestly, I think I'm getting used to these temperatures.
It doesn't feel bad at all.

The hens are careful not to step in the snow and just go on the area I sweep if they come out of their coop at all!

Pepsi follows me where ever I go outside.  She loves when I reach down (or up) and pet her.
She's a great tree climber.
Mama cat is off hunting somewhere.



A-haaaaaa
I caught Dexter eating the bird-seed!!
He just discovered that lately!


I also put seeds and nuts on the picnic table for the squirrels so they don't ravage my bird feeder as much.
As you can see, the snow is up to the seat on the picnic table.

My compost pile is getting a lot of moisture.  I won't have to water it as much this summer.
Just a lot of turning.

There's a lot of little animal prints outside.
I also saw deer prints across the back the other morning.  I very rarely see the deer though.
I'm pretty sure these are cat prints.

But I think these tiny ones are from a mouse and they were headed toward my big brush pile.
They probably have a house in there.

Oh-oh, now Dexter is at the front feeder.

Spirit prefers to watch it all from inside.
If spring ever comes and the snow goes away, Spirit will be trained to the Invisible Fence and then she can run with Dexter and have a blast.

Well, there's slightly warmer temps forecast for next week however a snow storm is due here this Sunday.  8-10 more inches!
Wonderful!!!

Shirley
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