We have two bird baths, but I have never seen a bird near either of them, although both are refilled regularly. In the last few weeks, since large black ants invaded the hummingbird feeder and forced us to add an ant guard, we have seen several birds light for a drink. The hummingbird is not happy with this arrangement.
It has been one of those lazy, icky days. Storms, clouds, and now more rain. I have spent most of the day on the computer, goofing off on the last day of my three-day weekend. I worked Memorial Day, so Friday was my holiday.
This has been Simon’s morning, afternoon, and most likely, his evening. Life could not possibly get much better for this spoiled, indoor cat. He gets all the food and petting he wants, but mostly, he gets to sleep in a warm house during the torrential downpour, which was accompanied by high winds. He barely noticed the storm.
So far, we seem to be getting just the right ratio of rain and sun to take care of the garden. We have hardly had to water lately. The tomato plants are growing like crazy, loving the new Black Gold mulch that we planted them in this year. The plants are growing so fast that we have barely managed to keep them staked. The new perennials I planted in the place of the ugly evergreen bushes are looking great.
Some of the natives that I planted in the back yard are starting to look quite at home. Several of them are actually spreading, so hopefully, they will displace some of the weeds by next year. This pale purple coneflower is one of the first of the new natives to bloom.
I see that Simon is awake now, and watching the rain. If even Simon has stirred from his cardboard box of slothfullness, I should probably go and be productive also.
Well, I guess I know who has been eating my echinacea and gazania leaves, and creating a few other holes in garden plants. I spotted him out the window today and figured he would be long gone before I could get my camera and go outside. I managed to get pretty close because instead of hopping away at first, he froze–trying to become invisible, I suppose.
Tonight he was just munching on weeds. He can have all of the violets and clover that he pleases, but I was more than a bit annoyed when I discovered that the gazanias that I planted in the herb garden to add some color had been mowed to the ground. I plan on making a rabbit-deterring concoction this weekend to spray on the good plants that he finds so tasty.
So far, the tomatoes and peppers are looking good, and yet untouched by rabbits. Hopefully, they will stay that way. All of the garden is looking great.
We have been enjoying some good bird watching too. The hummingbirds are hit or miss. We have seen them, and then they disappear. I read that they often are absent in May because they are feeding insects to their babies, so I am hoping to see more of them later this month.
We have had plenty of colorful birds on the feeder lately. We even had an indigo bunting for a while, but he moved on. The towhee and American goldfinch have been frequent visitors, along with the other regulars. I tried to peek into the bird house tonight to see if the wrens had babies yet, but I couldn’t see. Unfortunately, I discovered that the other bird houses contains bees. I will be staying away from that one!
We had a productive weekend filled with weeding, planting, trimming and brush removal. Hopefully we managed to avoid the poison ivy.
I planted all of the native plants that I got at the Reflection Riding Arboretum in the backyard in what the real estate listing for this house referred to as a butterfly garden. In reality, it was a large garden area that hadn’t been maintained in quite some time, but it contained a lot of butterfly bushes. I trimmed them way back this year, and have been slowly adding natives back into the area.
I planted several perennial varieties that I am hoping will spread over the next few years, and I also planted some butterfly weed, parsley, dill and fennel from seed to be host plants. So, hopefully, I will have tons of butterflies when all of the plants start flowering. So far, I have only seen one Tiger Swallowtail. We are also anxiously watching for our hummingbirds to return. They are in our area now, but not at our house yet.
The pink, red and white azaleas and wisteria all popped into full bloom this week, so of course, the bees are having a big time.
I followed the coolest dragonfly through the garden today and finally managed to get a photo. We usually don’t see many dragonflies in our yard. I also startled a rabbit, but only got a quick look at his fuzzy white behind as he hopped away. Three out of four of our birdhouses have nests, and I could barely see the eye and beak of what appears to be a little wren in one of them. I have no idea who the other nests belong to, but we are hoping for a spring full of babies.
Of course, the other favored wildlife around here includes the chipmunks. I know they dig way too many holes, but they make up for it by being so adorable. I need to buy some peanuts for them and make them really happy.
Until next time, happy gardening!
It has been a year since I exchanged vows with the man I love in front of family and friends. I was beyond nervous. We didn’t rehearse, and had only halfway planned the way things would go when it came time for me and my girls to come out and join the men folk. The thought of saying vows and being the center of attention was not something I relished. I didn’t trip and fall, I repeated my vows correctly, and I didn’t spill anything on my dress. Yes, it was a successful and happy wedding day.
We just got back from celebrating our first anniversary at Mountain Harbor Inn, in Dandridge, Tennessee. We stayed in the Forever Yours suite, which for some reason, I couldn’t remember, so I spent the weekend calling it the Yours Truly suite. They provided a breakfast buffet in mornings, but the really special thing was the desserts. Those desserts about wrecked months of just recently successful dieting.
While there, we visited the Bush’s Baked Beans visitor center. The museum relays the history of the Bush canning business. Douglas Dam was built by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1942-43 to create power and control flooding downstream, and the lake is a big part of the area. According to the video we watched at the center, the original Bush family farm was flooded by the creation of the reservoir.
Back at the inn, we got to go on a pontoon boat tour of the lake. The lake levels are controlled by TVA, and were way down from summer levels. It is a beautiful place, and we hope to go back another time when the levels are up.
We got back home just as the rain started, but we managed to quickly plant our new azalea bush before it got too wet. I spent the next hour painting concrete stepping stones, which you will probably see here later, and picking daffodils. Many of them are growing so far from the house that we can’t enjoy them outside, so I brought some in. The only problem with that is Simon. Simon is a seven-year-old orange and white indoor cat who doesn’t always know what is food and what isn’t. To him, flowers are food. Twigs are food. Paper is food. Because of Simon, I know that if a cat eats a daylily, it costs $900 at the emergency clinic to save him from probably kidney failure.
Because of Simon, the flowers are now safely behind a glass cabinet door.
I decided that I wanted to have a beach-themed Christmas tree this year, so I’ve been busy making ornaments. After spending weeks pouring through Pinterest posts for inspiration, these are the fruits of my labor. This will be my first Christmas living in this house after spending 22 years in my old North Chattanooga home. I have always had a real tree, which I love, but it was messy enough with hardwood floors. This house has carpet, so we will have fake trees. We will put one in the large picture window and the other will be the beach tree in the living room. I probably already had enough ornaments for three or four trees. I have a weakness for all things Christmas, and can usually be found in the clearance aisle the day after Christmas picking up more ornaments that I don’t need.
Here’s the “how to” portion for anyone who is feeling crafty.
Cookie cutter ornaments:
I got most of my cookie cutters from The Cookie Cutter Company. I used Activ Clay from Hobby Lobby, and rolled it to about 1/8″ thickness. I also used Makin’s Clay Texture Sheets to add texture to the ornaments. I used a toothpick to make a small hole for hanging. I placed them all on a cookie cooling rack to dry for two days and then used craft paint, glitter and jewels to decorate them. I finished them up with a coat of gloss glaze, linked here, but less than $2 at Michaels.
These are so much fun to make, and super easy too. I made round ones last year. I found these at Hobby Lobby. This is the Pinterest link that I used.
Painted glass balls:
These are kind of tricky, and hit or miss on success rate for me. Pretty much, you put craft paint into the balls and move the balls around until the paint covers the inside. I carefully coaxed some paint into blank areas with canned air. After my paint dried, it left some blank spots on the glass, but I added more and it filled in fine. I used this Pinterest link.
These are pretty self-explanatory, but I glued pendant holders from Hobby Lobby and earring wires to the shells and embellished with beads that I already had.
Shells in glass:
Well, they are shells in glass. Tiny shells plus glass ball. Sand is optional. I couldn’t decide whether I liked them better with sand or without.
I didn’t have any potatoes the first time I made this dish, but made it as directed the second time. It is delicious either way. The first time I had to buy tomatoes, but we have our own now! You can find the recipe here: