Tag Archives: Bumble Bee

Critters in the Yard

I was looking through my Blog Photo Folder shaking my head at all the photos I have collected and not used.  Yeah, I  know.  I haven’t been posting.  So today I’m going to share some of my favorite yard-critter photos.

One of my favorite denizens of the yard.  I am very fortunate to have a thriving community of these bug eaters.  Every spring I look forward to finding baby Preying Mantis's hopping about in my grass and shrubs.

One of my favorite denizens of the yard. I am very fortunate to have a thriving community of these bug eaters. Every spring I look forward to finding baby Preying Mantis’s hopping about in my grass and shrubs.

Here is a baby Blue Jay not yet fully molted.  He's trying to decide if I'm a big bad monster or not.

Here is a baby Blue Jay not yet fully molted. He’s trying to decide if I’m a big bad monster or not.

How do they eat hanging upside down like that?

How do they eat hanging upside down like that?

This could possibly be an adult Ant Lion!

This could possibly be an adult Antlion!

These are two of the crows that spend time in my yard.  We lost one of the adults last year, but three crows came back this spring.  There appeared to be four babies being raised this summer.  NOISY little buggers begging for food.  These are two of the adults in a quiet moment under the tree.

We have a family of crows that spend time in our yard. We lost one of the adults last year, but three crows came back this spring. There appeared to be four babies being raised this summer. NOISY little buggers begging for food. These are two of the adults in a quiet moment under the tree.

Yep, those cute little buggers ripped the lid off the bird feeder.  What was really hilarious was watching them "fight" each other through the plastic.  Eventually they realized they could each have "their" territory without the other one being able to touch them and they settled down to eat side by side.  I am happy to report that we scavenged the hinge from the old feeder (it goes clear across the back) and the lid is now intact once again.

Yep, those cute little buggers ripped the lid off the bird feeder. What was really hilarious was watching them “fight” each other through the plastic. Eventually they realized they could each have “their” territory without the other one being able to touch them and they settled down to eat side by side. I am happy to report that we scavenged the hinge from the old feeder (it goes clear across the back) and the lid is now intact once again.

Ahhh, Bumble Bees!  I love these guys.  I know spring has sprung and the soil is warming when I see the new Queens out and about having dug their way out of the dirt, their winter hibernation over.

Ahhh, Bumble Bees! I love these guys. I know spring has sprung and the soil is warming when I see the new Queens out and about having dug their way out of the ground, their winter hibernation over.

My son grabbed this photo for me one day.  We usually have about 5 pair of American Goldfinches running around.  But they aren't much for sitting still.  They will be molting into their olive green winter clothes soon.

My son grabbed this photo for me one day. (See all the squirrel pee on the lid?) We usually have about 5 pair of American Goldfinches running around. But they aren’t much for sitting still. Soon they will be molting into their olive-green winter clothes.

Please excuse the blurriness.  I was in a hurry to grab a picture before they all flew away or saw me and then flew away!  Oh, and not laugh too loudly either!  Because this was hysterical!  All of the birds you see in this picture are baby Robin's.  Some are fresh from the nest and others are getting their colors, but they are all youngsters. Plus a few that weren't in the frame.  It looked like all the parents just dumped their kids at the "pool" and left.  And those kids yelled and pushed and flapped; all of them wanting their fair share of "pool" time. The bird bath had no water left by the time they were done. :D

Please excuse the blurriness. I was in a hurry to grab a picture before they all flew away or saw me and then flew away! Oh, and not laugh too loudly either! Because this was hysterical! All of the birds you see in this picture are baby Robin’s. Some are fresh from the nest and others are getting their colors, but they are all youngsters. Plus a few that weren’t in the frame. It looked like all the parents just dumped their kids at the “pool” and left. And those kids yelled and pushed and flapped; all of them wanting their fair share of “pool” time. And in an amazingly short amount of time all the water was gone! 😀

YAY!  We have Chipmunks again!  Our elderly neighbors had become crazy cat people.  They and the cats are gone and small critters are coming back.  I saw a rabbit run through the yard the other day, too!

YAY! We have Chipmunks again! Our elderly neighbors had become crazy cat people. They and the cats are gone and small critters are coming back. I saw a rabbit run through the yard the other day, too!

Well, I'm thrilled for the moment.  I'm guessing it won't be too much longer and they'll figure out there are feeders in the tree and then I'll be bitching about all the seed they're stealing!

Well, I’m thrilled for the moment. I’m guessing it won’t be too much longer and they’ll figure out there are feeders in the tree and then I’ll be bitching about all the seed they’re stealing!  Look at those bulging cheeks!

Hope you enjoyed the critter pics!  Night!

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Recipe Post for Saver of Bugs

Life here is still a mess.  But neglecting me hasn’t changed anything except make me even more miserable.  So I’m working on shoving things back in place for myself.  Recipe posts for Saver is an easy way to get back into blogging.

Here ya go, Saver:

Rich White Bread

  • 1   cup milk
  • 2   tbls. sugar
  • 2   tsp. salt
  • 2   tbls. shortening
  • 2   pkgs. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115-ish – just not hot)
  • 2   eggs
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups flour

— Put shortening and milk in pan and heat till shortening is melted.  Add sugar and salt.  Let cool to lukewarm.

— Sprinkle yeast on warm water and stir to dissolve.  Add yeast, eggs and 2 3/4 c. flour to milk mixture.  Beat with a spoon until batter is smooth and sheets off spoon.  Or beat with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

— Add enough remaining flour, a little at a time, first with spoon and then with hands, to make a dough that leaves sides of bowl.  Turn onto lightly floured board, cover and let rest 10 minutes.

— Knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Round up into a ball and place in lightly greased bowl; turn dough over to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

— Punch down, cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.  Turn onto board and shape into a ball; divide in half.  Shape into loaves and place in 2 greased 9 x 5 x 3″ loaf pans.  Cover and let rise in warm place until dough reaches top of pan on sides, fills corners and top is rounded above pan.

— Bake at 400 degrees 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.  Place on wire racks and cool away from drafts.  Makes 2 loaves.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread

  • 2  c. milk
  • 2  c. quick rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1  tbls. salt
  • 2  tbls. shortening
  • 1  pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 5  c. flour (about)
  • 1  egg white
  • 1  tlbs. water
  • extra rolled oats

— Warm milk and shortening in pan till shortening melts.  Add 2 c. oats, brown sugar, and salt.  Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.

— Sprinkle yeast on warm water; stir to dissolve.

— Add milk mixture and 2 c. flour to yeast.  Beat with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, 2 minutes.  Or beat with spoon until batter is smooth.

— Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl.  Turn onto floured board; knead until dough is smooth and elastic.  Place in lightly greased bowl; turn dough over to grease top.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Punch down and let rise again until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.

— Turn onto board and divide in half.  Round up to make 2 balls.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes.  Shape into loaves and place in greased 9x5x3″ loaf pans.  Let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Brush tops of loaves with egg white beaten with water and sprinkle with rolled oats.  (I usually skip bothering with the egg white and just use water.)

— Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.  (If bread starts to brown too much, cover loosely with aluminum foil after baking 15 minutes.)  Makes 2 loaves.

Shaping Regular Loaves

  • Turn risen dough onto board; divide and let rest as recipe directs.
  • Flatten dough with hands.  Then with rolling pin roll it into a rectangle.
  • Starting at the narrow side farthest from you, roll tightly.  Seal the long seam at the end well.
  • Seal the ends of the loaves by pressing firmly with the sides of your hands to make a thin, sealed strip.  Use care not to tear dough.  Fold sealed ends under.
  • Place loaf, seam side down, in a greased loaf pan.
  • You may lightly brush top of loaf with salad oil or melted butter.
  • Cover and let rise according to recipe or until doubled or until a dent made by gently pressing sides of dough with finger does not disappear.

Notes on Bread

  • When baking time is up, tap loaf lightly.  It should have a hollow sound.  If it doesn’t, put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes and try again.
  • Be sure to take the bread out of the pan to cool on a rack or it will get soggy.

Green Beans with Sour Cream

  • Can, Bag, or Fresh Green Beans
  • 3 to 4 Tlbs. of sour cream
  • 1 tbls. Parmesan or Romano cheese

— Cook and drain beans.  Add sour cream and cheese. (As you know, your dad prefers to double or triple the sour cream and cheese.  But this is the original recipe minus the sesame seeds that no-one would eat on the beans.)

Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 lbs. of potatoes (9 large)
  • 1 – 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 2 tsp. onion salt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbls. butter

— Cut potatoes into roughly 1 in or so chunks and boil until chunks mash easily with a fork.

— Drain potatoes and mash or beat potatoes.  Add remaining ingredients and mash or whip to desired consistency.

— These will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

— If you want to make these ahead of time and reheat, place them into a 2 quart casserole, dot with butter and bake at 350 until heated through, about 30 minutes.

Old Fashioned Fudge

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tlbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

— Combine first 4 ingredients in pot and cook at medium heat until a little dropped in cold water forms a firm ball that does not dissolve.

— Pull from stove, place on trivet and add butter and vanilla.  DO NOT STIR!

— Let cool 20 minutes and then beat until fudge begins to go from glossy to dull or flat looking.  Pour quickly onto a greased or lined plate or into a greased 8 x 8 pan if you want to cut into uniform pieces.  Enjoy!

Fur Babies and Other Critters

Not my idea of comfortable, but Stitch is happy.

Not my idea of comfortable, but Stitch is happy.

Out In The Yard

Our header today is:

A bumble bee enjoying the blooms on a White Profusion Butterfly Bush.

This is a Psithyrus, a cousin of the Bumble Bee, enjoying the blooms on a White Profusion Butterfly Bush.  They are the ‘cuckoo’ of the Bumble world.  The Psithyrus Queens invade the Bumble Bee nests and ingratiate themselves into the colony.  Once they are accepted they kill the Bumble Bee Queen, who stands very little chance because of the heavy armor of the Psithyrus. She then takes over the colony using the Bumble Bee workers to raise her Psithyrus babies.  Note the shiny, hairless, armored abdomen.  This is one way to help tell the difference between the Psithyrus and the Bumble Bee.

Night All!