Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Breakfast Buddies. 3.29.16

The Opossum is not the most beautiful creature. Long face and rat like tail...but we love seeing it come in the yard.

It does not come in every day but it does show up once in awhile. I am hopeing it is a female and will show up with some little ones on her back.

I was surprised to see it accepted by the Raccoon.

I had tossed some old cat food from the feral cat feeder into this brush pile...They ate together for over half an hour.

I toss birdseed in the driveway for the squirrels and doves....this Raccoon joins them as well as this turkey.. She comes in sometimes twice a day. The squirrels and doves do not mind the Raccoon...they know the difference between it and the cats.
I wasn't able to get a good picture of the turkey...if she sees the slightest movement she is gone.
I do enjoy my critters.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Greenhouse...3.21-16 to 3-23-16

Jim got tired of buying milkweed plants. He figures this will pay for itself.
 We put it on blocks in case it does not do well here....we can move it...
 This is a Queen caterpillar....they eat faster than the plants can grow.
 This is a Monarch caterpillar....almost big enough to find a spot to pupate.
 Queen laying eggs.
 This is one of the milkweed beds...it's just starting to come back. We had to buy a bunch of plants to put in here.
 This is the second one....starting to grow.

 This was the top of my Butterfly house....we took it apart to put plants in. I started little seedlings in the beds but the butterflies laid eggs on them and the little caterpillars ate the seedlings...That is why we need a screened greenhouse.

The other half of the butterfly house.

Jim is a hard worker...does not stop unless I make him "take 5". He's putting the 2 x 4s around the top.
 He put a board for a peak.  Now he is using the sabre saw to cut the tops off the landscape timbers.
 almost done.....you can see the 3 beds he put in. A bottlebrush in the middle and milkweed in each corner.
 When he got all the vines out of this area it opened up 3 nice Needle Palms.....

This is why they are called "Needle" Palms...
 all the extra has been cut from the top....the peak installed and all the cross support.
 He cut 3/4 inch strips and screwed them to the edge.

then we put plastic down to hold the water. This way we can go away for a few days and not worry about watering the plants....if going to be longer we can put a soaker hose around the edge.

all screened and water on the tables...they dont leak yet.
 This morning I did some transplanting...Jim figured these would pay for the greenhouse. The milkweed in these pots were $5 each.
 I have more seeds that are just starting to grow. After I get them transplanted they will go in here too.
I will collect all the seeds I can and maybe we can keep up with the caterpillars.
We went to a flea market last weekend....I could not pass up this sign...love the expression on his face.  Looks great on the wooden building.




































Since we have beehives ..I am hopeing that if a bear comes up the road he will see this one and go the other way.. My neighbors saw one in the road less than a mile from here.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Our backyard...03/2016

When we got back from the Tin Can Tourist meet ..I put the catfood that was in the "feral" cat feeder out for the Racoons. I have 4 that come in regularly..I put them to work by tossing dog food in the weeds...when they get done most of them are trampled down.
 The African Blue Basil has bloomed all winter...I can always tell when there is nothing in the area...the bees are all over this.

 The Zebra Longwings have been laying on the Passion Flower vine all winter...Here are a bunch of caterpillars.
 Spotted this weird looking bee.  black and yellow like a Bumblebee but had lime green eyes.
 The Painted Buntings have been here since late October...I have at least 6 Painted like these and 5 greenies...the greens are either juvenile or female.


 When Jim cut down this tree he took the top part and put it on the stump....a Racoon is checking it out.

 The Squirrels and Birds are not the only animals that use the birdbath....even though I have a "frog" pond at the end of the deck that has water in it from the condensation dripping...2 use that and 2 use this.
They climb up and down this branch of the Bottlebrush Bush.
 My "Pink" hive had a lot of bees on the front. I've seen several very nice orientations and lots of pollen going in ...so I removed the robber screens and one of the reducers...looks like I need to remove the other one.
 This area behind the bee hives was a big tangle of vines. Jim cleared it out. He then built 3 4'x4' boxes. We put a Bottlebrush bush in the center of each and 4 milkweed plants....one in each corner....Bee food and Caterpillar food.
 One of the boxes...the Bottlebrush will be awhile before it blooms. More African Blue Basil in the the 2 pots.
This Palm tree must have blown down ...started to grow again and blew down again....it curves around the box.


This is our wetlands....there are several Needle Palms and a milkweed bed around the birdbath...they are in boxes because it has standing water after a big rain. The one with the white flowers on the top..to the right of the feeders...is a Butterfly Tree....at least that is what I was told.
Everything we plant is food for the bees and butterflies and caterpillars.We use no pesticides or herbicides so there is plenty of insects for the bats..birds..armadillos..possums..raccoons...we have a few holes in the lawn and lots of weeds...that weird skirting around the feeder pole keeps the Racoons out. I also have a squirrel feeder on a pole.

Monday, January 18, 2016

We have several stumps that will not split... Jim  cuts them almost through with the chain saw ..


He then uses the maul/splitter to quarter them  

This is his latest tool....he made this for the quarters to sit in so he can cut them up with the chainsaw.

We don't waste anything....our wood splitter died so we have to use some Yankee ingenuity.

This is what we end up with

 Still have a few more to go....
  

This is one of our original wood piles.
 This is the other...we now use them for the kindling.
 After taking down several trees this summer..(.trees that were getting hollow inside and could have fallen on our home during a big storm)...Jim built this woodshed.

This is the wood stove that is on our screen room/porch. 
We built this room for my Mother when she was here. It has sliding doors so it can be closed in. This stove  is what we heat with during the winter. If it is below 60* we have a fire. Jim even put in kitty doors so the cats could come in and enjoy the heat.   I have chili cooking on the stove....great place to do stew and spaghetti sauce...                                                                                                          
I don't think I would enjoy Florida this much if I could not have a wood stove and a reason to use it...not that I'd want to live in VT or NH again....toooo cold.  I enjoy snowy photos on others blogs.