Tag Archives: butterfly bush

Random Round-up

I was putting photos into my Blog folder and looking down at the bottom of the screen I found I had over 250 pictures in the folder.  Holy crap.  So while I haven’t been posting like I used to, I hadn’t totally stopped thinking about it.  Of course, some of these pix are old, unused photos because I never got around to  writing the post I was thinking about, but there are a ton of animal and flower pictures as well.

I’ve decided to start cleaning out the folder and posting the pics that have no special post attached to them.  Ten at a time seems comfortable to me.  Enjoy!

Our rhododendron bush 2 stories high.  It no longer exists as it was torn out to put in sewage lines.

Our rhododendron bush 2 stories high. It no longer exists as it was torn out to put in sewage lines.

I love butterfly bushes. If you want something that will guarantee you lovely winged visitors, put in a butterfly bush.  I have four.  Don't be intimidated by their size.  You can cut them down to 18" inches every spring.  One year for fun, I cut off all the branches below 2 1/2 feet and any branches pointing down.  They looked like giant candleabras when they bloomed.

I love butterfly bushes. If you want something that will guarantee you lovely winged visitors, put in a butterfly bush. I have four. Don’t be intimidated by their size. You can cut them down to 18″ inches every spring. One year for fun, I cut off all the branches below 2 1/2 feet and any branches pointing down. They looked like giant candelabras when they bloomed!

Blurry but still beautiful, an Indigo Bunting.  We occasionally get these coming through in early summer.  They are so lovely, but also very shy.  I took this picture from the kitchen and he still spotted me and took off.

Blurry but still beautiful, an Indigo Bunting. We occasionally get these coming through in early summer. They are so lovely, but also very shy. I took this picture from the kitchen and he still spotted me and took off.

These are the nests of the Organ-pipe (or pipe organ) mud dauber.  Yes, that's on my house and I left them there.  They originally started this nest at face level outside my front door.  Since I experience lingering pain with wasp stings, I was not impressed.  But it totally ignored me when I opened the door which surprised me and made me curious.  In looking up this wasp I found they are non-aggressive and won't sting unless hurt. But face level at the door wasn't going to work with the rest of the family, so I scrapped off the nest and sprayed lemon pledge on the brick.  They then moved the nest up into the corner and I let it be.  Did you know they hunt spiders to put in the nest for the young to eat?  Go here to find out more about this remarkable wasp.

These are the nests of the Organ-pipe (or pipe organ) mud dauber. Yes, that’s on my house and I left them there. They originally started this nest at face level outside my front door. Since I experience lingering pain with wasp stings, I was not impressed. But it totally ignored me when I opened the door which surprised me and made me curious. In looking up this wasp I found they are non-aggressive and won’t sting unless hurt. But face level at the door wasn’t going to work with the rest of the family, so I scrapped off the nest and sprayed lemon pledge on the brick. They then moved the nest up into the corner and I let it be. Did you know they hunt spiders to put in the nest for the young to eat? The adults drink nectar from flowers.  Go here to find out more about this remarkable wasp.

I've had this cactus for an untold number of years and two years ago it finally bloomed.

I’ve had this cactus for an untold number of years and two years ago it finally bloomed.

Judging not by the throw behind me, I can have Christmas out till February, this is the week after Christmas.  How do I know?  My BFF makes pfefferneuse cookies for us every Christmas and they generally don't make it to New Year's!

Me working on the couch.  Judging not by the throw behind me – I can have Christmas out till February – this is the week after Christmas. How do I know? Check out the plate of cookies.  My BFF makes pfeffernusse cookies for us every Christmas and they generally don’t make it to New Year’s!

 

Hermit crab on the prowl.  Love these little guys!

Hermit crab on the prowl. Love these little guys!

Phalanopsis orchid from a couple of winters ago.

Phalaenopsis orchid from a couple of winters ago.

And another.

And another.

A small succulent that bloomed even before I put it in a proper pot.  Unfortunately, it was one of over 20 plants that did not make it through this winter.

A small succulent that bloomed even before I put it in a proper pot. Unfortunately, it was one of over 20 plants that did not make it through this winter.

That’s it for now!

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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!

A Little Catch-Up

Random Thoughts

The past week and a half has been one of sleep deprivation.  Life has not been cooperating.  It has felt as though the sleep gremlins have been conspiring against me.  I do not function well without sleep.  I can lose whole days to the haze.  I won’t bore you with a litany of all the fun I’ve had.  I’ll just give you the top three: 1)  Weird dream.  I spent an entire night in a kayak on a creek that wound through houses and trees and restaurants.  The really weird part was a strange guy who appeared on the back of the kayak and kept falling asleep and falling forward to lean on me.  I was exhausted by the time I woke up.  2)  Frustration.  Going to the bathroom at ten till four am and seeing my cat shooting out of my room away from me.  I turned my flashlight on to see what was going on and found that the cat had puked all over the bed.  Lights! Action! My rushing to strip the heavily winter dressed bed before the puke made it to the mattress didn’t do much for the rest of the sleeping household.  Later that morning after washing the sheets and pad I went in to make the bed back up and found someone had puked on the blankets while I ate breakfast.  And 3)  Anger.  Somehow, without heavy lifting or slipping or falling I have managed to hurt my back.  I’m sucking on the Motrin bottle, popping muscle relaxants, and walking around with my Tens unit stuck to my back.  If there is no improvement by Monday I’ll be heading back to the doctor’s office.  ARGH!

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As I was sorting through a pile of papers I found this quote from my calendar and it just struck a note.  “Chaos is the score upon which reality is written.” — Henry Miller  It  has just seemed totally topsy-turvy around here.

I decided to take a look at Henry Miller as I’m not very familiar with his work.  I found many useful quotes but this one just fit in with what I’m trying to do this year (attitude adjustment).  And after basically losing a week and a half doing nothing more than just barely what needed done I needed the reminder.

“Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes.  Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly.  Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end.  What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, strength, if faced with an open mind.  Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” — Henry Miller

Now if I could just get some sleep!

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My son has set up a folder of beautiful pictures he thinks I will like and has set them up to rotate every so many hours as my background on the computer.  When I finished reading my blogs this morning and shut down the internet, this bright and beautiful flower plus bees popped up.  It made me smile and feel good for the first time in days.   I live for summer.  And I haven’t planted sunflowers in years.  I think they need to go on my ‘to do’ list for the garden.

wwww

Life At Our House

I had to take Saver back to school back on the 13th.  You’ll just have to take my word for it when I say her room was a mess and that we did eventually find her floor.  (shaking head)  She wouldn’t let me take pictures of her room so I’ll give you pictures of our trip out instead.  It got interesting for a little while.

Note:  Saver took these pictures.  I was driving.  Actually she took about 76 of them which I weeded down to about 20ish.  I’m giving you 8.

It was overcast but clear.  I love looking at cuttings.

It was overcast but clear. I love looking at cuttings.

Then we came up over the hill and saw this.

Then we came up over the hill and saw this.

And then it got like this.

And then it got like this.

And this!

And this!

Then it started to clear.

Then it started to clear.

I really liked the shot of this tree.

I really liked this gnarly shrub.

And then we could see again.  Sort of.

And then we could see again. Sort of.

My daughter said this picture HAD to be put up.

My daughter said this picture HAD to be put up.

Fur Babies and Other Friends

My son took this picture around Thanksgiving I think.  This is my little food thief.

Me too!

I want some too!

I managed to get a picture or two of my Hermies hanging together.  An almost large Hermie with a smalll Hermie.  Ignore the reflections of Christmas tree lights.

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All together now...

All together now…

Out in the Yard

In keeping with the sunflower, I went in and found some summer pics I hadn’t used.

That's a butterfly bush with a Hummingbird Moth coming in.  I just could not get a good picture of them.

That’s a butterfly bush with a Hummingbird Moth coming in. I just could not get a good picture of that moth.

And one of our summer denizens.

And one of our summer denizens.

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I’m going to leave you with the…

Mug of the Day

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Note:  In keeping with this screwed up week and a half, I have had to edit this post I think 4 times now.  Pictures were added from my media file (WTF?) that I didn’t choose and words/sentences/paragraphs/titles/pictures were randomly being eaten (how many times do I have to put this mug back in?).  Sooooo, let’s try this again.  (Dammit I have to be up at 6 am!!!)