Monday, July 30, 2012

Cardinals 2012

A recap of the Cardinals that nested by the kitchen window this Spring 
- their first brood of 3 fledglings 
- Mama Cardinal building her nest -

- Dad fueling up -

- sheathing is turning white & becoming brittle - 
siblings help pick sheathing off of head feathers

 - feeding is constant now for the parents - 
Dad is taking a shift

 it is getting crowded in the nest

 they're out! 
(got this one out of the street - Mama & Daddy were in a panic)

 resting while Mama & Daddy relocate the other two fledglings 

- staying in contact -
responds to every "peep" from Mama & Daddy

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No-Brainer of the Day!

If you aren't sure what to do with your husband's old undershirts that are not donatable because quite frankly who the heck would want to wear them after he's deemed them "smelly"?  Well, check this out.  

I saw these at Pet Supply Plus . . . DOGGY DUVETS!

This idea could also be used with floor pillows for the kids or any other pillow/sham you need to fill up.  I really like this idea because I hate to waste anything.  I realize it is a no-brainer, but I have destroyed, ruined, even melted throw pillow inserts (the melted ones were filled with synthetic material)  & this is a great way to recycle.  So easy to clean too.  It's just like doing a load of your husband's stinky undershirts!

Nikon Coolpix L120

Dan & I purchased a new camera awhile ago.  We went with a Nikon Coolpix L120.  It is basically a point & shoot, but it looks more like the fancy SLR/DSLR cameras.  One reason we went with this was the price.  The other reason, we're not professional photographers so spending thousands of dollars on a SLR/DSLR camera, lenses, etc was not practical at all.  So, for under $300 we went for it & don't have a single regret!

We have been MORE than pleased with this camera but were hoping for more zoom capabilities, etc.  While on Amazon one day I saw this . . . 
It is a kit that allows you to use lenses with your "point & shoot" camera.  On Amazon this kit cost only 30 bucks or so & it came with more than what is pictured.  An adapter to connect the lenses to the camera itself, a Digital High Definition 2.2X Telephoto Lens, 3 Filters, a High Def Wide Angle Lens, 2 cloths,  & that fancy brush thing.  

For those of you who are looking for a great affordable camera with some extras, I highly recommend this camera & this kit.  All available on!

MacGyver to the Rescue!

Oh home ownership how you are becoming a bad taste in my mouth.  And a mess on my floor, & a burden on the wallet & the testing of my sanity!  

The water leak.  A pinhole in the hot water line to the master bathroom upstairs finally let it's presence be known.  Late one evening we noticed a bulge in the kitchen ceiling.  What's that about?  Don't know?  Let's poke at it.  Ok. 
Can we please have just ONE project at a time?  No, of course not, don't be silly. 

This was quite a freak-out moment for Dan & I.  Granny, she was clueless & banking on it being a reason to send her back to the farm on her own.  Yeah, right.  

Well, thank goodness MacGyver showed up & helped us with this awesome funnel rig.
Luckily Dan & I are well trained . . . Ok, adequate enough at plumbing, we were able to repair the pipe.  

The ceiling?  Well, we were at a loss on that one.  We surfed the internet & talked about bead board.  My parent's have beautiful bead board ceilings in their addition with faux beams which Dan & I both agreed looked great.  But, could we really pull this off?  

It took me a few days (while Dan was at work) to pull down most of the ceiling in the kitchen & above the cabinets. Yeah, there is drywall over/on top of the cabinets. It sucked.  

Luckily, none of the wood joists were wet, but we still let everything dry out for at least a week while we bought supplies & planned out this new adventure.

Adventures in Soil Erosion Management


Yep, we did.   We cut the cable.  But, it got fixed & all was once well in the world of interweb & boob-tube entertainment.  Another thing we accomplished was planting around the giant Maple in the front yard to deter more soil erosion.  Blah, blah, blah.  We planted a bunch of stuff, ok!?

Over the past 5 years we have experienced some soil erosion during storms as well as the floods of 2009 or Floodmageddon 09.  Our gently sloping yard becomes a cascading waterfall, beautiful, but destructive.  Not only did the water take a lot of soil & grass with it, it also flowed into the front flower beds.  Most of the flowers & soil from the beds ended up at the bottom of the driveway.  Not cool!  
(water would cascade from the top left area where the lovely transformer & phone tower are located, around the tree, in front of the steps, down the walkway & thru the front flower bed)

(14 low/ground cover Junipers & 40+ plugs of Monkey Grass/Lily Turf. Only half of the mulch is down & there are more plantings to the left of the Maple tree, but you can see it taking shape)

Also, the corner of the yard by the walkway had dried up from the drought.  Weeds & ants abound.  I decided to dig it up & make a planting area for sun loving plants.
 Loropetalum, Wax Begonias & Lily Turf

I am still in the process of figuring out the best way to "edge" the corner garden.  I really hate landscaping bricks, like the ones here, so I came up with something for the edges that touch the concrete of the walkway & driveway.  What do you think?  

The best part about this solution to edging, it was FREE!  I collected sticks from all around the yard, cut them down to 6-7 inches with a jig saw, then using a rubber mallet, hammered them in one-by-one.  
Time consuming? 
Yes indeed.  
Do I love it? 
One reason is because when looking at the yard from the street, these sticks disappear into the mulch & do not distract from the plants.  The other, it is not bulky like the ugly landscaping bricks.  I gotta pat myself on the back with this one! I plan on taking the landscaping bricks which flank the walkway out & hammering in a few hundred sticks.

Oh, and did I mention IT WAS FREE!

The Birds & the Bees . . . & the Critters

This Spring & Summer so far has really been all about the Birds & the Bees & the Critters!  

With the yard & garden flourishing this year thanks to mother nature, the number of birds, bees & critters are on the rise.  

One reason we believe the birds & critters have been so numerous is because of the locally produced bird seed we have switched to.  Cole's Wild Bird Seed is locally produced in Kennesaw & distributed throughout the United States.  We purchase our seed at The Bird Watcher's Supply Co. which is also owned by Cole's Wild Bird Seed.  The seed quality & variety are incredible & the proof is in the busy feeder out back!  Not only do they sell bird seed, but they have a wide selection of feeders, books, & critter food!  I love me some squirrels & chipmunks ya'll, this is a known fact, but I have never seen such critter activity in our back yard in the 5 years we've lived here!  The pictures don't lie!
Old Chubs here is loving the Critter Feed

Black Capped Chickadees galore 

The newest critter to visit is really trying to fit that pecan in

Eastern Bluebirds - nothing better than those beauties 

While shopping at The Bird Watcher's Supply Co. we stumbled upon these great Squirrel Bungee Feeders.  The squirrels can't get enough of this stuff & it is hilarious to watch them jump, hang & dangle upside down on this silly contraption.  

Also, we discovered that The Bird Watcher's Supply Co. has a vast collection of bird feeders with some actually MADE IN THE USA!  We purchased this all recycled material, made in the USA feeder & the birds love it . . . I know, that is NOT a bird enjoying the feeder.  Let's get to that.  

One of the best seeds & really the only actual Cole's Wild Birdseed we buy is called BLAZING HOT BLEND.  I was reluctant at first, but read that birds do not have the heat/taste receptors we do (or squirrels).  The birds were lined up waiting for the feeder after filling it up with the Blazing Hot Blend.  

Just how hot is it?  

Dan decided he would taste HALF of a Sunflower kernel.  Well, he was soon in tears & chugging water!  It only takes one time for the sly squirrels to get a really hot kernel & they're off.  This guy soon realized that this junk was HOT! 

Finally, the Bees.  We have had our fair share of Carpenter Bees, but the variety of sizes & species this year in the Bees are definitely on the up & up.  They particularly love the Lavender, Echinacea/Cone Flower, and the Lantana.

Leveling Up this Spring!

Spring 2012 sprang up early & with it came many garden surprises!  Many of the plants that took a hiatus last year because of the scorching hot, dry Summer decided to come back in full force this year.  The Irises, plenty, the Lavender, fragrant, the Creeping Jenny, thicker, the Blue Hydrangeas were bountiful & I somehow managed to magically end up with a few more Ms. Huff Lantanas then I remembered planting!

  The Irises definitely appreciated the mild Winter & the early Spring!  They looked like billowy clouds!

The Creeping Jenny did a great job holding back the Wild Strawberry vines & pesky weeds!

This Hydrangea was bought last year & did poorly, but this Spring it is covered with beautiful cottonball-like blooms of blue!

Lavender in early April

Since the weather was cooperating I thought a few new additions to the garden would be quite beneficial.  Loropetalum, Wax Begonias, Petunias, Salvia, Blue Bachelor Buttons & a hardy helping of Dianthus capped off this years garden purchases.  Once again . . . LEVEL UP!



 Wax Begonias

Pink Dianthus 

Next Level:  Corner Garden & "Island"