I look out my window and see a blessed sight - it is raining!!! The vegetables in the garden are giving out a collective sigh of relief. We are finally getting rain. Of course I've been watering the garden every few days with our spring water overflow, but, as my maternal grandfather said, there's nothing like rain for the garden. The hydrogen in the rain is good for it. Last year we were terribly dry all summer, but luckily the spring kept on springing. There must be a large reservoir of water under them thar hills!
Tonight we are going to friends' house to eat and sit around the campfire and I don't care if we have to hold up umbrellas - let it rain!
Oh my, the zucchini is overtaking our home! I gave some away for the past two days and still have bunches left, and more on the vine waiting to get big. I made zucchini bread today (see pics) and today I'll freeze zucchini.
My zucchini bread recipe:
(makes two loaves)
2 eggs 1 cup oil 2 cups sugar 2 cups peeled and grated zucchini 2 tsp. vanilla 3 cups flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp baking powder 1 tsp. salt 3 tsp cinnamon 1/2 cup nuts 1 package vanilla pudding Cook & Serve (do NOT use instant): you can substitute the recipe for pudding from the box of corn starch, using only the dry ingredients and the vanilla
Beat eggs until light and foamy. Add the next four ingredients. Mix lightly, but well. Mix remaining ingredients (except nuts) in a bowl. Add to the first mixture and blend. Then add the nuts. Pour into greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 325 for 1 hour or more. Remove from pans at once. Cool on rack. NOTE: You can freeze this bread, just wrap it well.
I also have yellow squash that needs eaten, frozen, and/or given away!
The hummingbirds are at their normal amount of activity now, or pretty much so. I'm making 8 cups of food about every day and a half. I use water and sugar - none of that red dye because I've heard it can cause birth defects in the hummingbirds. We have five feeders out and they STILL fight over them!
A couple of evenings ago, we went cherry picking at a neighbor's place. Got cherries enough for a pie and some to freeze. I spent all day yesterday making that pie. I'm not good at making pie dough, as you can see from these pics. My husband, who has mountains of patience compared to me, helped to piece the top together when it fell all apart. I had about given up. In spite of its appearance, the pie tastes delicious!
The garden is producing like crazzzzy now! I have zucchini & yellow squash up to my ears. I was able to give away some zucchini to company we had today. I wonder if horses eat zucchini . . . . hmmmm... I wanted to make zucchini bread but ran out of walnuts. Soon the tomatoes will be getting red. With our lack of rain, I have to water the garden every other day.
Meet Nacho and Uncle Earl. They are new members of the family of neighbors down the road. Uncle Earl is the (Mustang) horse who is actually a "she" but the owners insist she's Uncle Earl, but with no explanation as to why that name applies. Anyway, Earl has had some problems in the past with people and she needs a lot of patience so that she builds up her trust of people. She's coming along great, though. Nacho, the donkey, is great company for Earl and they seem to get along just fine.
On the hill next to our house a flame azalea grows. It grows in fairly dry open forests where pines and oaks predominate. The flowering period starts in April and goes up to June when the plants in the highest elevations come into full bloom.
I am saving my pictures from my computer onto what I think is called a flash drive, a lipstick-looking thingie. I have so many pictures that putting them onto CDs is no longer a viable option for storage. They take up too much physical space! So this flash drive has a lot of storage capacity. We bought two of them at Sam's Club yesterday (only $16 each) and I've almost filled the first one. I am deleting what I can but to be honest, I hate to part with any pictures I've taken, even the not-so-good ones, and I definitely can't bear to part with any pics of my Angel Kitty!
We've been seeing a couple of pregnant doe at our feeder. I mean one is REALLY pregnant, like as if with twins. I can even see their teats swollen up, with my naked eye. Anyway, today my husband says oh there's a doe out in the pasture, then he says wait - there's a baby! The doe was walking across the lower pasture with the fawn at her heels. The fawn only comes up to her knees, not much larger than a large rabbit. She paraded it around, then must have told it to lay down and wait for her. It laid down in the tall grass and disappeared from our view. Then the doe went into the woods on her own. Pictures will have to wait until it is closer. I like to think she was showing off her newborn to us.
I'm reminded of last year when our neighbor found a fawn in the woods and thought it had been abandoned. He brought it home, called us and told us he had one, carried it around, allowed his dogs to "play" with it (errrgh...) and it took some convincing to get him to relinquish it. Thank goodness he did call us so that we could intervene. He wanted to raise it, since he thought it had been abandoned. I know he meant no harm; he loves wildlife like we do! Some people just don't realize that the mother will leave the fawn in a safe, usually well camouflaged, place and return for it later. My husband put a rag over the fawn's eyes so it wouldn't follow him back, and took the fawn back to the log where it had been found. Since our neighbor had it for so long (all day), the fawn was imprinting on it and it wouldn't stop following him. Later that night my husband checked and the fawn was gone, so mama must have come back and gotten it. I must say, it was beautiful, with those big brown eyes. But -- the deer belong in the woods, not in your living room! Hopefully that message sunk in.
I think black snakes are really cool, especially to keep away the copperheads! We have some close to the house but as long as they stay OUT of the house, they don't bother me. This one was in our yard last evening and he didn't like us watching him so he climbed up the trumpet vine. Then he looked down at me from the roof. I think he wanted to go across the roof but it was too hot. So then I left him alone, but I got some good pics of him!
What is this? Three leaves at each stem end. Leaves and berries covered in soft hair. The leaves are mildly saw-toothed. I believe it is a shrub or tree because the stem is woody. I can't find it in any of my wildflower or tree books or on the net. There are several of them growing around our property.
I'm going to call these Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies, although I'm not sure that's what they were. I took the pic last year and came across it again today. The zebra swallowtails are out now and I want to capture them on film. I was amazed at how these eastern blacks flew in sync.
We notice fewer hummingbirds (Ruby Throated) are around our house than previous years. We've lived here since 2005 and every spring there have been dozens of hummingbirds. By now there should be at least 10 or 12 and by the end of the summer, with the babies coming along, dozens. But we only have maybe three or four!! It is disheartening. We have the same flowers, except the previous owner did have wild flowers growing at one side of the house that I haven't planted like he did. I do have some in the rock garden, but we have all the same other things, plus all the woods around. And they came around in the previous years we've been here. I hope people respond to my poll about this issue.
My husband gathered last year's manure from the local farmer's pasture and we piled it in the garden in the corner inside a tarp. Today my husband decided to take it out and lay it around between the rows and we are amazed at the number of earthworms in the manure! He said they were dripping off of his shovel when he shoveled the manure up. He should have had me take a picture of that, but I went down later and got a few of the worms inside bits of manure. This would only be exciting for gardeners, I realize!
Rabbits cookin' coffee -- that's what the locals call it. But here in this little hollow in East Tennessee, when the hills surrender their misty hostage to reveal the stalwart cedars growing by the stream in our pasture, I know there is no place on earth I would rather be. The welcome mat is out! Come and sit on the porch and chat with me awhile!