Saturday, May 30, 2009

Baby Blue Birds and flowers

This is a photo of the babies 8 days after we first found they had hatched. They are at least 8 days old and just getting feathered out. I think they are due to fledge at 14 days, so they have a long way to go.

Blue Birds on day 8

We put up a wooden blue bird box complete with a baffle to keep predators out. It has a locked hinged roof that we can open up to see the birds. It's okay to open it as long as you don't open it too close to fledging. You don't want them to fledge early. You need to know how old they are before you open the nest. We're very careful not to do anything to harm them and we always let mom or dad know before we open the box, so they can have a chance to fly away. Our baffle keeps snakes and raccoons from climbing the pole and killing the babies. It also has metal hardware cloth to make sure there are no small holes a snake could get into. On our first house, there was a very small hole that a snake evidently got through and we lost the eggs. We vowed to never let that happen again if we could control it.

The babies are right in there

Blue Bird house with baffle

We have had rain and cloudy weather every day for about 2 weeks. It is finally supposed to be dry this weekend and lower humidity. We are considering a short camping trip to Reed Bingham State Park, but may cancel as we have friends coming from Tampa and need to tidy up.

This is also the beginning of Blueberry season. We found a u-pick blueberry plate in Wakulla Florida. We may head there.

We decided today was to be a day of work. Eleven acres of land means there is always something to do. We started out triming trees and bushes. We finally were able to get a burn permit so started burning all the yard debris we have collected all winter and spring. There was a LOT and we didn't get finished. Al watched the burn while I worked on mowing the pasture. It's about 4-5 acres and when you start, it seems like you will never get done. I got about half done before we quit. Al caught the pasture on fire (a little bit). Hopefully we can get another burn permit tomorrow and finish up. We had a lot of stuff to burn. We were told if you burn without a permit and the fire gets away from you then you are charged by the fire department for their services. We also feel safer getting a permit, if they don't feel it's safe to burn we don't want to. We're new to this country living and burning our trash.

The yard is getting pretty, everything is green, blooming and growing.

Here are some picures from around the yard.




Jalapeno Pepper

Green Tomatoes

Georgia Peaches

Uniquely South Georgia

Moving to Georgia required us to learn a different language. There are certain words, ways of using normal words and some things that are just different!

Some of the terms and things we have learned since living in Georgia.

Mash the button: In Georgia you don't push the button, you mash it.

I reckon: I guess

Crunk: When your car won't start. I crunk it but couldn't get it to start!

Eel: When you are sick you are eel.

Meelk: What you drink that comes from a cow is pronounced like this

Gem Clip: paperclips

Chicken Pilau: Prounced Perlu. It is a popular chicken and rice dinner southerners make frequently as a benefit for an "eel" person or during a festival. The southern pronunciation for pilau is "Perlu." I don't know where they get the "R" sound from Pilau, but that's the way it is pronounced. I promise.

Fixing to: I'm getting ready to go to the bank. Or chicken with all the Fixin's

Fried Fatback: This is actually just fried fat! I kid you not. It is like the fat from bacon, then fried. It's served at all the best all you can eat buffets.

Bidness: business is pronounced this way

Hep: May I hep you?

Huntin season: It's ALWAYS hunting season.

Grits: pronounced gre-uts. Yummy! Southerners know how to make them even better with tons of butter and cheese.

Fried Okra: As a child of southern parents (North Carolina), I grew up on okra, but Al didn't. He has learned to love it after we started growing our own. It's yummy dipped in cornmeal and fried.

Georgia red Clay: Boy is this stuff hard. Most of the soil on our yard is not clay, but occasionally Al tries to plant something in a heavy clay area. It's like a brick. It's also hard to get off of your car. The "Hidey Hole" was put in solid clay. It was fortunate they had a large machine to dig the hole.

He/she spit him out: That means the child looks just like his mom or dad.

How much does that baby weigh? About as much as a sack of taters.

Taters: potatoes

Maters: tomatoes

Buggy: Shopping cart is Buggy

Drunker than Cooter Brown: I guess every town has it's own Cooter Brown and he must have been quite a drinker

Cuter than a speckled coon dog pup: must be pretty cute

Monday, May 25, 2009

Planting "Pickles" on Memorial Day

Al does not like cucumbers but he is a big fan of pickles. He bought some cucumber seeds a few weeks ago, but whenever he talks about planting them, he calls them pickles. Today was the day he planted his pickles.

We also planted a few row's of Okra. We like Clemson Spinless. We are late getting them planted this year but they thrive in hot dry climate so they should be fine. Earlier this spring Al got 3 or 4 yards of mushroom compost. He dumped it in a spot in the old garden. That is where we planted the okra. The remains of the compost was there, so the okra should do well.

Our peaches are getting real pretty, but some little varmit keeps sampling them. We are finding partially eaten peaches all over. They are small this year. I don't think I thinned them properly. I've noticed since I have been picking them, that some are getting bigger.

We picked a few small bell peppers last night and noticed we have a bunch of Jalapenos. I have a secret recipe for Jalapeno Mustard. I'll be making some very soon.

We have had rain and cloudy weather every day for about the last 10 days. I finally got some mowing in yesterday and today. With 11 acres, it is an ongoing project. With our wonderful Grasshopper zero turn mower, it goes pretty fast. I do 95% of the riding mowing. Al gets to do the hand mowing, weeding, killing red ants, and rounding up the weeds! I like to ride the zero turn mower and he lets me!

Our resident Brown Thrashers (Tina's) seem to be multiplying like crazy. We have found 2 separate nests and the nest in the arbor has been used twice this year so far. There is another on in the Wisteria. We are wondering if it is the baby from the first nest in the arbor. I don't know how old they are before they find a mate...? Today I caught Tina having a nice bath. She had been fluttering around with another Tina up by the garage earlier.

Brown Thrasher (Tina) having her bath

One of the first birds we found when we moved up here was a House Finch. We had never seem them before. They are colorful birds. We have not been able to see any of their nests. They come for dinner and that's about all we see of them. There are a lot of them though

House Finch

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Baby Blue Birds

Al came back home from Tampa last night and I finished my 3 day work week, so we're ready for a long week-end. Unfortunately it looks like it will be a rainy and cloudy Memorial Day week-end. We have some front sitting over the entire state of Florida and into south Georgia. That's okay though, there is nothing severe and rain is scattered.

We went into Cairo today and got some groceries and stopped at Cedar River Seafood for a late lunch. Al had his usual catfish and I had my chicken strips.

We made a golf cart run of the property earlier and found we have 4 new Blue Bird babies, and I mean NEW!

Newly hatched Blue Birds

Our resident "Tina" (Brown Thrasher has her 2nd batch also hatched in the arbor. She has 2 this time. Boy they don't waste anytime. That is the second nest for both. This is a picture of her sitting on her nest. The babies have hatches, so I guess she is sitting there to keep them warm or protect them.

"Tina" our Brown Thrasher sitting on her nest.

Both Tina and the Blue Birds have learned to feed from out hanging seed feeders. We buy only Sunflower chips. The birds love it and there is no waste. It's expensive but we have to keep our babies well fed!

We had a catastrophe here last week. When I came home from work, I parked my CRv in a different spot than it had been. I think it was in the Hummingbird's flight path. I found a dead Hummer beside my car. I was hoping it was just stunned. I even massaged it's little chest, but it was dead. The same thing happened last year when we moved our motorhome. I guess now that they are busy chasing the other Hummers away from their feeders, we'd better watch where we park our cars.

I am sitting on the back porch now right below a Hummer feeder. I have several that are upset with me for being here. I guess I will move my chair. I am trying to get some photos but I guess I am too close for comfort.

The garden is doing well. We have a bunch of Green Peppers and Jalapenos. We have alot of blooms on the Summer Squash but so far no squash. Our peaches are ripening, but are very small. You are supposed to thin them. I didn't this year because we didn't have too many and now I am paying the price for puny peaches. Some critter is having a hay day with them. There are a lot of partially chewed peaches! The corn which is inside the fenced chicken coop has some evidence of being chewed also. We just planted about 24 Asparagus plants this year. They were coming up real well but now appear to be chewed to the gound. Al saw a baby bunny coming form that area so we think he is the culprit for the corn and asparagus! We had a baby bunny around the chicken coop last year. He was so cute.

Every year, we go to Long's u-pick farm. They have wonderful vegetables that you pick yourself. A 5 gallon bucket is $6.00. We have our own tomatoes but never seem to have enough to be able to can them, so we find it's easier to get them from Long's. A good website to find` across the countryWe also love to can green beans. We do well with Okra so we can grow them our selves. We found that our Foodsaver vacuum sealer works well. I tried the ziplock freezer bags they were advertising last year. They were much easier and quicker than the vacuum bags and I got lazy so I tried them. What I found was that they don't keep your food fresh, you get the freezer taste and smell as well as ice and air inside the bags. With the vacuum bags, you put the food inside, vacuum them up and your food tastes just like it was fresh picked. I wasted a lot of very good blueberries using the other method. Never again. With Blueberries, you freeze them unwashed on a cookie sheet, then put them in the vacuum bags. For peaches, tomatoes, green beans and squash, I blanch them then flash freeze and then into the vacuum bags.

We also found a great Blueberry u-pick farm in Wakulla, Florida. It's about 50 miles. They charged (I think) $10 a gallon. We found other places including one in Thomasville that was very good, but the best were from Wakulla. They usually ripen early June around this part of the world.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cool Day in south Georgia

Al is off to Tampa again for his Pest Control work. We just came back from a 3 night camping trip to Seminole State Park. We had a nice time, but it was too short.

We have been having rain about every day for the past few days and today it got COOL! It didn't get above 59 degrees until after 5pm and then the warmest I saw was 68. It's nice! Rained off and on but no lightning or thunder.

I spent the day doing laundry and stuff around the house. Al had to stop back at a house at Steinhatchee Florida for a complaint call on a wasp job he did in a boat!

We have our baby blue birds now eating from our seed feeder right out the back door. It's nice to see them there. Mama has another nest. She has decided to use the same nest again. It's a good thing we didn't clean out the last one.

Juvenile Blue Birds

The summer flowers are getting very pretty. Here are a few.



Do not know the name of this vine like plant. It was brought from our home in Tampa. It freezes back every year and we think it's dead, but so far it has come back!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Warm weather and lots of baby birds

The weather finally seems to have settled down. No severe weather in the past 2 weeks. We have had one batch of Blue Birds, several "Nancy"s, Carolina Chickadees, and Brown Thrashers. We have another nest in the Blue Bird box we just put up by the garage. Hopefully it is a new Blue Bird family.

The garden is growing well, but the weeds are starting to get out of control. We have some small tomatoes and even picked a potato! I planted spinach in April thinking it would be too warm, it is doing very well. I guess it just doesn't fare well when it gets real hot.