Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday 2.17.13

We’ve had an easy winter…so far….saw 38* on my thermometer on the rear deck this morning. It’s now reading 52*.

Wood stove has been going steady all night. Kept it at 65* inside. If it were inside instead of in the Florida/screen room, it would do a better job…but we don’t have many nights in the 30’s. With it in the screen room I can have a fire in the morning, even during the summer…and by 10am I can have all the doors open.

Wood rack is full for tonight. Fire going and sun shining into the screen room is making it nice and warm. I have the thru wall vent fan going, drawing heat inside.  Almost 72* in here now….but the sun will be going behind the trees shortly…and it will cool off in a hurry.

I love cooking on it. Made pot roast yesterday. Great for spaghetti sauce too, and any thing that needs to simmer awhile.


My Bottlebrush bushes are full of buds and a day of rain has started it blooming. This smaller one is in the back yard and the Painted Buntings love it for cover while taking turns at the feeders. I have 4 feeders here. 2 on the pole and 2 just to the right of the big tree. One is a platform on a cable for the squirrels. They can run out the cable and avoid the cats. The Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Titmice and Cardinals share it with them.  The other is a platform feeder on a PVC pole. We set that up for the Doves so they wont need to feed on the ground..also to avoid cats.

The Bottlebrush would be bushy all the way to the ground but I keep it cleared so the cats cant hide under it.


The two in the front yard may as well be called trees, they are that big. You can see all the buds on this one. My 2 smaller ones have buds but no blooms.


My Tangelo and Navel citrus trees are budding…..a freeze could kill all the buds on them and on the Bottlebrush.


I’ll be out early in the morning hosing all the trees and plants down. If there is a frost and you can rinse them off before the sun hits them, sometimes you can save them.

I’ve several caterpillars in my Butterfly House.


There are at least 18 Monarchs that are about an inch long, and 7 tiny hatchlings. If I’ve counted that many you can add several more. It’s hard to see them all, even the big ones.


It will be another 5 or 6 days before any of them will head to the top to pupate and then another 11 or 12 days in the Chrysalis before they emerge as butterflies. It’s a fun process to watch. During warm weather, caterpillar and chrysalis stages are only about 9 days each. Cold weather takes longer.

Even though it’s cold, I’ve seen several Giant Swallowtails and a Tiger Swallowtail feeding on the Bottlebrush, and lots of Honey Bees. Wish some of them would move into my empty hives. Keep your fingers crossed…..March is swarming season.


  1. We are still having heavy frosts and the garden is pretty dull. Love your bottle brush trees I miss those from South Africa. Looking forward to seeing your butterflies hatch. Diane

  2. The sun is out in SD this morning, but everything is still sleeping. What a pleasure to see green growy things starting to blossom!

  3. So much green for mid-February -- and caterpillars too. Great post.

  4. Beautiful photos! I love the wood stove. Cooking on one is something I'd love to do one day. If we ever get our cabin built that's the first thing going in.


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