Little Guy

baby opossum

On my walk to get the newspaper this morning, I found this little guy dead on the driveway. I first thought he was playing opossum! This baby opossum was not more than 1-2 pounds, not sure what happened.

We had heavy rain, thunder and lightening again yesterday late afternoon and all during the night. Around 9:00 PM we lost power until 2:30 AM this morning. Our creek is overflowing and my rain gauge shows we got 1.62 inches of rain yesterday. The mountain is covered in fog, light mist and low hanging clouds and our temperature is a cool 64 degrees F.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

“If life gives you limes make margaritas.”
– Jimmy Buffett

 

 

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Mountain Trillium

 

trillium

Pink Trillium

Yesterday evening took another short hike and found a few more trillium blooming. It is suppose to rain later today and I knew if there were any trillium blooming the rain would damage them.

white-trillium

White Trillium

pink-turtlehead-flower

Pink Turtlehead Flower

I also found a Pink Turtlehead flower!

Enjoy! 🙂

 

Bluebirds Building Nest

May 27, 2014

male and female bluebirds

Yesterday morning just before the sun came up I started watching these bluebirds building a nest. I watched them for about an hour and took nearly 100 pictures. These pictures were taken thru the window glass so they are not as clear as I would like them to be. I was afraid raising the window would scare them away.

bluebirds-on-house

The female was gathering the nesting material and would fly back and perch a minute before entering into the house. Sometimes the female would hand off to the male nesting material and he would go inside.

beautiful-female-bluebird

Most of the time she was gathering and handling all the nesting materials herself. About every five minutes she would fly out of the house to gather more material, fly back and start all over again.

bluebird-house-with-female-building-next

It seem like she would gather more pine needles than grass for the nest. On the above shot she couldn’t hardly get all of the material into the house.

blue-birds-building-nest

Another beak full!

bluebirds-perched

This is the second clutch or brood of the year for these bluebirds in this house and it is the fourth year that I have had bluebirds in this bluebird house.  Last year I count 4 different broods in this bluebird house. They will usually lay 4 to 7 eggs the first brood but average is 4 to 5 eggs and toward the end of the season they will only lay 1, 2 or 3 eggs.

bluebird-with-nesting-material

male-blue-bird

The male has the striking blue color!

male-eastern-bluebird

male-eastern-bluebird-going-into-house

female-bluebird-going-into-box

female-bluebird-going-into-nest-with-twigs

I really enjoyed watching them build their nest and got some great pictures! I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did!

Do you have a bluebird house? Have you had bluebird nest in your house this year?

2013 Bluebird post:
It’s Bluebird Nesting Time Again
Bluebirds Eating Mealworms
Bluebirds and Mealworm Feeder

 

Click this link to learn more about my unique bluebird houses!

gegorous bluebird house

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Flowers

 

white-trillium

White Trillium

We have been getting a lot of afternoon thunder storms with heavy rains. Yesterday in less than 45 minutes we had a little over one inch of rain. I took a short hike today and found the trillium blooming along with the Rhododendron.

white rhododendron flower

Rhododendron

As I am writing this post it is raining again and thundering like crazy. The rain is not as heavy as yesterday evening but it’s lightning a lot.

white rhododendron flowers

 

Have a great week everyone! 🙂

 

 

 

Delicious Cheesecake

May 24, 2014

Plain cheesecake

Who doesn’t love cheesecake? I love a good cheesecake, that’s why I make them all the time! My daughters absolutely love plain cheesecake with a graham cracker crumb crust. I have to admit it is very delicious and it is hard to only eat one piece! If you like cheesecake, you will love this recipe, it is so good!

This is my regular cheesecake recipe that I use a lot, it is very creamy. You can make the perfect cheesecake every time with this recipe. With this recipe you can easily change up the flavors by using a different crust, adding chocolate, add your favorite candy bars or maybe top is with fruit or chocolate, caramel, etc.. My wife likes me to add Butterfinger bars in the filling and on top drizzled with chocolate. I chop the Butterfingers into large pieces and place them in the bottom before pouring in the filling. The Butterfinger cheesecake is delicious!!

Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 – 3/4 cups Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter melted

For the filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
3 – 8 ounce packages of Philadelphia cream cheese
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract – use the best vanilla you can buy, it makes a difference!
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream

To get started, prepare your spring form pan. Be sure that it is assembled correctly so that it doesn’t leak at the bottom. I spread butter on the bottom and side, then insert a round piece of parchment paper to line the bottom. This will make it much easier to remove the cheesecake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust:
In a bowl mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Pour the crumbs into the pan. Spread using a spoon to cover the bottom and about one inch high on the sides.

best ever cheesecake

For the Cheesecake filling:
Set out the cream cheese and eggs, let them come to room temperature. In a clean mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese and sugar until combined, scraping down the sides of your bowl as needed. Blend in eggs one at a time until combined, be sure not to over blend the eggs. Blend only until the yolk is mixed.

best ever cheesecake recipe

best ever cheesecake

Now, add the vanilla, using a spatula fold until vanilla is blended. Add the sour cream, again using your spatula fold in the sour cream. Pour filling over the graham cracker crumbs and smooth the top.

cheesecake

Cheesecake filling poured on top of the graham cracker crumbs.

Before placing in the oven, wrap bottom of spring form pan tightly with 2 layers foil and place into a larger, deep baking pan. Pour water into large pan until water reaches about halfway up the sides of the spring form pan to create a water bath.

Carefully place pan in oven and bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes or until center is set and the top looks slightly dry. Don’t over cook or it will not be very creamy, keeping watching every few minutes until the center is set then remove from oven.

Cool cheesecake on a wire rack.

delicious cheesecake

wonderful cheesecake

Place pan into the fridge to chill overnight but do not cover the cheesecake. Remove cheesecake from pan after cheesecake has been chilled overnight. Remove from the spring form pan and place on your favorite cake dish! You are now ready to eat or you can add a topping or not. It’s great just plain! 🙂

super delicious cheesecake

It’s time to eat cheesecake! This is very easy and it’d very delicious but not fat free!!

to die for cheesecake

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day!

 

Making Crème Brûlée               Hot Fudge Cake

creme brulee       hot fudge cake and ice cream

Strawberry Pie                            Chocolate Cheesecake

strawberry pie       chocolate cheesecake recipe

Cheesecake                                 Red Velvet Cake

cheesecake     red velvet cake

 

Hosta

 

Hosta Sieboldiana-elegans

Hosta Sieboldiana Elegans

I wanted to share with you a few more of my hostas, I hope you enjoy the pictures and the variety!

Above picture; H. Sieboldiana Elegans is a large blue leaf hosta that makes a beautiful plant. As you can see this is a huge hosta with huge leaves. Sieboldiana Elagans flowers are mostly white with a lavender tinge and will attract hummingbirds!

hosta mix

I took this picture to show you the many different hosta variations, colors and leaf structure. There are mini, small, medium, large, huge and extra huge hostas in all color variations from yellow, green to blue along with variegated yellow, white, etc. To learn more about hostas visit the Hosta Library and the American Hosta Society.

Streaked Hosta Galaxy and Hosta Regal Rumor

Hosta Galaxy and Hosta Regal Rumor

The large streaked leaf hosta in the center of this picture is H. Galaxy. I used H. Galaxy a lot in my hybridizing as it nearly always gave me streak seedling which is needed is secondary crosses. Galaxy is hard to find and if you find someone that is willing to sell you a plant it will be very expensive.

The streaked hosta in the back is H. Regal Rumor. H. Regal Rumor is one of my registered hostas from my hybridizing. It has huge beautiful purple tinged flowers and is very fertile and sets seed very easily. There are many hostas that are not fertile and will not set seed. So if you are interested in hybridizing you need to be sure to purchase fertile plants that will set seed.

Hosta Blue Umbrellas

Hosta Blue Umbrellas

H. Blue Umbrellas is an upright growing hosta and has long petiole and huge leaves when mature.

Hosta Jack of Diamonds and Abiqua Drinking Gourd

The Hosta in the front is H. Jack of Diamonds and Hosta Abiqua Drinking Gourd is in the back.

Hosta Guacomola

Hosta Guacomola

H. Guacomola can be hard to grow but can make a huge beautiful plant.

Hosta Sagae

Hosta Sagae

H. Sagae is a variegated upright growing hosta and make a big show in the garden bed!

Hostas are wonderful plants to grow but like all plants they require special conditions. Every hosta has different shade and sun requirements. Before planting your hosta research to determine it’s specific shade and sun requirements. Hostas require acidic and aerated soil conditions. Add mini pine bark, (never use oak mulch) a lot of coffee grinds to your soil. Water and fertilizer regularly with a liquid all purpose fertilizer along with fish emulsion. I used the Alaska brand fish emulsion.

Slug and snails can be a problem and will be more of a problem if you over water your hostas. Many hostas can not tolerate slugs or snail as they will eat the leaves. However, there are many hostas with leafs that the slugs and snails can not eat. Pick your hostas based on the leafs if you already have problems with slugs and snails.

If your hosta just die for no reason you might have voles. Voles will eat the roots and kill your hostas from below ground.

Very rarely but it can happen is hosta petiole rot which is caused by the fungus Sclerotium rolfsii var. delphinii. Once you have petiole rot with a hosta it is best to remove the plant and remove all soil with four feet around that plant. I have seen the fungus Sclerotium rolfsii var. delphinii consistently with oak mulch. However, there is not evidence that oak mulch causes this fungus.

Check out my Bluebird Houses, they make great gifts and you will enjoy watching the Bluebird nest! Building Bluebird Houses are fun and rewarding.

male bluebird eating mealworms

I have been really busy making birdhouses this year, so far nearly 80 houses total. Coming soon a new Bluebird house!

bluebird nesting box

 

 

 

 

Siberian Iris

siberian iris

The Siberian Iris this year are very beautiful but it seems that they have more foliage than flowers! I took a few photographs yesterday after a mid day rain, you can see a few water drops in the photos.

siberian iris

I also have more baby iris plants than I need, it appears all the rain we had last year scatted the seed everywhere!

siberian iris

garden cart

Cathy at Words and Herbs posted jus the other day about her new garden wheels, so I thought I would post a picture of mine too! Cathy has a wonderful site, she loves gardening too!

My white rhododendron are about to bloom as well as a couple of my Japanese Iris, hope to post a few pictures later in the week. 🙂

 

Check out my Bluebird Houses, they make great gifts and you will enjoy watching the Bluebird nest! Building Bluebird Houses are fun and rewarding.

male bluebird eating mealworms