Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bluebirds Nesting

It is finally Spring!!  Our bluebirds have a nest with five eggs.  The babies should hatch in 12-14 days once the female lays the last egg.  So we're thinking that we are on day 5, but it's just a guess.  Bluebirds are very tolerant of humans checking out their nest and even their babies.  We've greased up the pole that the house is sitting on to help keep some of the predators away.  Hope it works!  So far so good.

I was able to walk up to the box and peek in and there she was staring back at me. I tried to get another photo, but she flew out before I could take it.  I'll settle for this one! I stood back and made sure that I saw her go back to the nest and she did. Whew!! Maybe she just doesn't like her picture taken.  We'll give her plenty of space and check back in about a week.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Raising Butterflies

We have decided to raise butterflies.  After all, the Monarch butterfly population has drastically declined in the past few years. I don't know about you but we haven't seen but a handful of butterflies visit our garden in quite a while.  Wouldn't you hate to wake up one day and not see any butterflies??  I won't get on my soapbox as to why they are declining but if we don't start taking action soon, the butterflies and the honey bees (yes we are still raising them too) will disappear in our lifetime.

There is a butterfly habitat in our area run by a wonderful lady who is doing a great job bringing awareness of the decline in butterflies and educating the public on what we can do to help.  She was giving away caterpillars (or cats as they are called), so we decided to give it a try.  I had been planting different types of plants in my flower garden to attract butterflies for years.  What I didn't realize is that there are two different plants, "host" and "nectar".  The host plants are where the butterflies lay their eggs and the caterpillars eat the leaves until they form their chrysalis.  Once they become a butterfly, the nectar plants provide food for them.  So you really need both to complete the entire cycle from egg to caterpillar to butterfly.

Both my husband and I feel like two little kids watching the activity of the caterpillars and anxiously waiting for them to form their chrysalis and finally hatch.

Today we had our first hatching!!  Four Monarchs and one Black Swallowtail.

Here are two Monarchs just hatching and unfolding their wings for the first time.  The green chrysalis you can see in the photo below, will become translucent the day before the butterfly emerges.

It takes several hours for the new butterfly's wings to dry.

Here is a Monarch that is only a day old enjoying it's first taste of watermelon. Beautiful isn't he?

We have several more Monarch, Black Swallowtail, American Lady and Spicebush Swallowtails waiting to become beautiful butterflies.
Here is our 6 x 6 netted greenhouse, where the butterflies will hang out until they are ready to be released.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Morning Glories

Morning Glories.....the name says it all.  Beautiful blue flowers that come out in the morning, late in the season just when everything is ending and the colors of fall are upon us.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Time to harvest some honey

We harvested some honey from our busy bees recently.  It is quite the interesting process.  After pulling some frames from the hives it was time to release the sweet nectar.

Here is one of the frames after uncapping the honey.  After the bees deposit the honey, they place a cap of wax over it to hold it in place.   Taking a hot knife and running it along the combs, releases the sweet prize inside.  Isn't that beautiful color??

The next step is to to place it in the spinner and release the honey.  As you can see below, the combs are cleaned out and ready to be placed back into the hive so they can fill them up again.
The next step is to strain the honey for any impurities.  Just look at all that honey pouring into the bucket.  Dipping your finger in fresh honey.....doesn't get better than that!!
Now we're ready to start filling some jars.
We may get some additional honey this fall.  However, it's a tricky process.  You have to make sure to leave enough honey in the hive so that the bees can feed all winter.  We want to make sure they stick around for next year too!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Daylily Friend

The other day I went out to take a look at any new blooms that may have opened in the garden.  This is the first year for this daylily in our garden.  It's been so hot and dry in our area, I wondered if we would see any blooms.  Isn't it beautiful? 

When I inspected it, I thought "what is that"?  Upon a closer look, there was a tiny little frog that had found a place to rest.  He couldn't have been more than an inch in size.  I wondered why he picked that flower to rest in.  Did he just happen to land there?  Was he after some kind of insect?  Or did he just want to admire the beauty of the flower and the warmth of the sun before he was one his way?  Whatever the reason, I'm happy that he stayed long enough for me to take a photo.

Monday, May 28, 2012


We are so lucky to have the Orioles back in our yard this year.  They first appeared around May 8th.  When I looked back to see when they came last year, it was almost to the exact date.  I ran to put grape jelly out.  They have come back every day, several times a day.  So much fun to watch.  I've been trying to get some pictures of them.  They don't like it when I get too close.  So yesterday I tried several times and just ended up frustrated.  So I decided to take a picture of by baby Buddy.  He was just hanging out in the yard waiting for Mom to get done with the birds and throw a ball for him!  He is just the cutest dog, don't you agree??

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Where is spring???

It was so gloomy today and there is no color anywhere!  Where is spring??  I was digging through some photos and I found a few of some flowers from the past years.  I'll just keep telling myself "Spring will be here soon.......Spring will be here soon".

A peony from Grandma's garden.  I love the smell of this flower and the beauty of that tiny little speck of pink.  Beautiful!!
This Iris reminds me that I want to start an Iris bed this summer.  But where??

And finally, isn't this a beautiful color??