Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Evening...

Hi, Everyone...
I started taking pictures for this post much earlier this evening,
then started watching the news of the devastating Oklahoma tornados...
Prayers for all those who lost loved ones...their sad.
Beyond words.
Since I'm here, though, I will catch you up on the babies...
 photo may202_zpsde1f1953.jpg

This was last Friday evening, the thirteenth day...

One egg still had not hatched, but was cracked,

and a tiny bit of the little bird's "egg tooth" was visible...

It was impossible to tell if the tiny movements

were from the baby bird inside the egg, or if it was

just being jostled by the other babies...

 photo may203_zps22b9165f.jpg

I took this picture a couple of hours later...still the same.

I didn't have a good feeling about the last egg's hatching ~

 photo may206_zps14ce1cd7.jpg
(Just an aside...

When I was in Lowe's earlier Friday,

I picked up as many "Robin's Egg" color chips as I could find...

From greeny-blues to more aqua-y blues...

With just a little bit of shell that had dropped into the kettle Fairy Garden to go by,

the consensus was that Valspar's "Reflection Pool"...was the best match.

Jonathan I were sitting on the back steps with all these colors

 spread out before us...and this seemed to be the closest.

I think the eggshell had just a touch more "dustiness" to it...

a little tiny bit earthier...

but this would be gorgeous on a wall, wouldn't it?

I am just enamored with this color lately!)


Well, Saturday morning came, and I had to go check

on the babies...

Three fourth baby bird...

No evidence there had ever been another one.

I looked all around to see if it had been pushed out of the nest...

Nothing on the ground...

So I went in and did a little more reading up on robins and their eggs and nestlings...

Evidently four is a large "clutch"...

It's almost as if the fourth egg was a "spare"...and possibly was not

warmed by the mother bird enough after she was so busy gathering

food for the three already hatched, hungry babies...

There were so many scenarios, so many things that could have happened...

I read that the parents also could have sensed that the last baby was weak...

(or possibly had died before it finished hatching) and took it away ~

far from the nest ~ to keep scavengers away from the rest of the nestlings.


Someone once quoted me the line"Nature, red in tooth and claw"

~ from  Alfred, Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam A. H. H., 1850 ~

when I was lamenting something I thought was sad about an animal in the wild...

Things happen beyond anyone's control in Nature, just like the storms today...

I always want things to have happy endings.


 photo may204_zpsc965c6a8.jpg
 photo may205_zps881a822e.jpg

Yesterday afternoon...

Hungry, hungry, hungry!

And their eyes are beginning to open...

Can you imagine...darkness in the shell for 12 days...

then a few days of a bit of light, after hatching...

then, "Hello, big bright world!"

 photo may207_zpsddf9f189.jpg

This afternoon was hot and windy, and the babies

were hunkered down...Mama must have just fed them...

They are getting darker...the beginnings of pinfeathers...and have

doubled in size, I believe!

I don't see how this nest is going to accommodate three,(let alone four), babies!

Stay tuned.

The parents don't squawk at me so much, now. ;^)

 photo may2010_zps400715c3.jpg
 photo may2011_zps38341a23.jpg
Besides tuberoses, I think my favorite flower is Honeysuckle!

This variety is from a garden center (a Mother's Day present from my oldest son Mark

 and his boys, Cody and Nick ~ about ten years ago! I keep digging it up and moving it...) ~

It looks basically the same as the wild version,

 except the buds start out bright rose before they open up to white or yellow...

 photo may2012_zps88535ba6.jpg
My Bachelor's Buttons are blooming!

When I was small, Grandma Collier and I walked down the alleys...

(Safer than the safe, safe sidewalks of little Morehouse, Missouri!)

 I remember there being so many of these pretty blue flowers ~

and picking them, of course!

 photo may208_zpsce87de91.jpg
Look at this little fellow!!

He was running around wildly between the flats of seedlings

Mr. B had started on the patio...

Jonathan carefully caught a dishtowel...we watched him for a few minutes...

then he let him go in the herb garden...he was just the tiniest little (furry) mouse

I had ever seen! (Yes, I have seen the "pink" babies...this little guy was

much cuter...:^)
 photo may209_zpsc35673b3.jpg
 photo may2014_zps85eb57cf.jpg
 photo may2013_zps568c8b7e.jpg

And last but never least, Cyrus...

in Tallulah's new bed...

He doesn't think he's too big at all!


I will probably not be blogging for a few days...

Jonathan's graduation is in just 3 days!

So much to do, I don't even know where to start.

Everyone stay safe...heed the weather warnings...

(That's the only thing I don't like about Spring; the unsettled weather...)


Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Robin-Watch", Day 13!

And then there were three!
Just a quick update on the baby robins...
Hopefully the fourth egg will still hatch ~
I didn't bring the step-ladder outside this evening, just used a little garden step-stool,
and I am so vertically-challenged that I didn't get the best photo,
 but you can see the third baby!
I won't keep you ~ I am SO behind...
Unusually behind, even for me, answering your sweet comments!
Please know how much I truly appreciate each one ~ ♥
ONE WEEK  from tonight until Graduation ~ (Eeek!)
 (And right after we have cake, oldest daughter Mandy and Jonathan

 leave for a week in Ireland ) ~
Maybe then I will settle down and be a better blogger! :^)
 photo may162_zps8bfaaf6e.jpg
 photo all_zps84351e34.jpg
One more thing.
Heaven, is this not??
I don't know whose Heaven it is, but I want it.
I said this morning that it was ALL I wanted, then I kept adding little things,
a stack of books and a bed and potty inside...
and a place to paint...
and was called on it...for the additions...;^)
Still. So close.
I HAD the possibility for almost this exact set-up," house-before-last"...
this looks like the porch and everything...
Alas, the cute little house really couldn't stretch to accommodate more than moi...
(and kitties...)
so I had to admit we needed a bigger house.
Now I am ready to go in the opposite direction again!
I will try to find out who to give credit (it is from Pinterest)
for this Little Piece of Heaven and post it later.
Have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day Twelve...Baby Robins! And a Fun Surprise for Me...:^)

Evening, All!
Day 12 of the "Robin-Watch"...and Babies!!
Here again is the nest the parent robins built week-before-last in our little willow...
(I was worried, it is so low!)
 photo may411_zps744863a4.jpg
I wish now that I had gotten the step-ladder sooner,
so I could have gotten a "regular" photo of the eggs,
but this mirrored-image is kind of interesting, too.
 photo may411_zps603356d8.jpg
Love the egg color!!
This photo hasn't been enhanced at all...
(I have a piece of shell that was "tossed" from the nest...I want to take it
to the paint store and match the color exactly!)
Okay, here we are at Day Twelve already!

Two of the eggs have hatched today!...

(Sibling is behind/beneath this little babe... look at that fuzzy little head!

 ~ And the little "egg tooth" on the tip (on top) of the beak!)

I guess it makes sense that the eggs don't all hatch at once;

they are probably laid a day or so apart ~ I need to look that up!

 photo may151_zps00ec4fe8.jpg
 photo may152_zpsbbb7972b.jpg
 photo may153_zpsd3a93c78.jpg

Hopefully the other two eggs will hatch tomorrow!

Also, I was honored to be asked to be part of a feature about

Fairy and Gnome Homes on a Disney blog; ~

 photo may154_zpsdb759308.jpg

This is the Fairy Houses and Gnome Homes photo from that segment, by Marigold Haske.

Here's the link to take you directly there...there are all sorts of interesting

things to see!

Thank you so much, Marigold! (Don't you love her name?)

That's all for this evening!

Stay tuned, more baby-photos tomorrow!



Monday, May 13, 2013

Sugared Rose Petals & Figgy's Lemon Cake...

This post took a little longer than I thought ~ ;^)

Good evening, everyone!
 photo may132_zps1648b093.jpg
The roses are in bloom!

Just "Knockout" shrub roses here so far...

(I REALLY want Eden roses...♥)

but they are pretty, still ~

 photo may133_zpsd9cc0556.jpg

...And fragrant!

 photo may131_zpsdae7dd4d.jpg

I gathered petals...

 photo may137_zpsaaba98a6.jpg

...and used basically the same technique as with the Candied Violets,

except this time instead of just egg white and water for the "glue"

I stirred in about a third of a cup of powdered sugar (per a Southern Living recipe).

The petals were easier to dip and sugar-coat than the violets!

 photo may138_zps354ad387.jpg

Now I just need something to use them on...

I know! Cupcakes!

(You can see how adventurous I am in the kitchen...:^))

How about lemon cupcakes?

Here's something I saw on Pinterest...

Instead of spooning the batter into the cupcake liners,

(I'm really messy with this, especially if I'm in a hurry ~ )

I poured it from the batter bowl into a gallon zip-lock bag,

supported in a large quart-sized measuring cup...

and then cut off a corner to "pipe" it into the liners...

 photo may139_zps9f19f2cb.jpg

It worked! Not messy at all...I cut a little too much off the corner,

(so it came out a little fast)

but I'll know next time...

 photo may1310_zps95d2dea2.jpg
Hmmmm....always follow the directions on the box! ;^)

 photo may1311_zps473373d4.jpg
 photo may1312_zpsa7094494.jpg


These actually had a little more flavor (besides sugar) than the violets...:^)


Okay, I think I am "baked out" for a few days...

Jonathan got to eat this experiment, too.


Now for a stroll through my little "shade garden"...

(Shaded by the house...sigh...I'm really missing BIG trees!)

 photo may134_zps3f75638c.jpg
Isn't this fern handsome?

His name is "Dudley"

 photo may1316_zps8b8c855a.jpg

My favorite fern; Japanese Painted Fern...

I love the cool silvery-green fronds with their purple ribs!

 photo may136_zps01ca2340.jpg
My hydrangeas have gotten huge in their third season!

Full of blooms...♥


A couple of photos of the kitty-boys, Leo and Cyrus...

 photo may1314_zpsd783c1f7.jpg
 photo may1313_zps59855e37.jpg
It was supposed to get really cool here last night and tonight...

"Unusual weather we're having here", to quote the Scarecrow!

It really didn't get as cool as it was supposed to,

but I brought in my Kimberly ferns that daughter Katie got me...

~ (just in case) ~

and the kitties have acted like they are in the jungle!

Tallulah slinks through them, walking low...

The boys just like to lie in front of them,

 pretending to be big jungle cats!

 photo may1315_zps959549cf.png

Now here's my Figgy story...

Figgy ~ "Figaro" (from Pinocchio) ~ was my first kitty, Pat-Pat's, kitten...

He was kind of a grey version of Cyrus....

I adored him.

One day I decided it was Figgy's birthday ~ or if it wasn't, it should be ~

so Grandma Collier said we could bake him a cake.

I said I thought he would most like a lemon cake.

(Every time I see, or read about, or make ~ okay, that's rare ~

a lemon cake...or like the lemon cupcakes I made tonight...

I think of this ~ ♥)

Grandma helped me make a list,

and I went to the store all by myself to get the ingredients

 (it was a block away, and in a very small, and safe, town...

also right across the street from Aunt Anna's house.

 I was probably watched more than I knew!) ~

I remember how grown-up I felt with the buggy and my little list,

passing the candy aisle right up.

(I was five, I believe.)

I carried my brown paper sack of ingredients back to Grandma's

and we made the cake...

it even had lemon icing...I remember using real lemons,

not the lemon-flavored mix like I used tonight!

I'm not sure if Figgy ate any of his cake,

but I'm sure it was offered to him...

It had candles, too.

I wonder if Grandma had any idea what a lasting impression

that afternoon would have on me?

We had such a good time!

Have a great Tuesday, all!



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Just a quick post to say
 I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day!
I know I've posted it before, but I just had to share this picture of my Mom,

 Betty Collier Launius, at 6 years old.

 photo may12-1_zpsb6d959e6.jpg
Have a great week!
(I think I'm going to try Sugared Rose Petals tomorrow...

stop by to see how they turn out!)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Ladybird" ~ (or Bug!) ~ House Tutorial...

When I was small, I thought it was so confusing to hear Ladybugs
 referred to as "Ladybirds"...(that was First Lady Mrs. Johnson, right?)
Weren't they bugs?
I probably read this somewhere...maybe a book I had called them that.
Anyway, Cornell University refers to them as Ladybugs, Ladybirds and Lady Beetles.
You can read more about them here...
They are so good for the garden!
So, even though they are not birds, the Fairies can refer to them as such if they want.
And provide little houses for them.
 photo may114_zpse213d8c7.jpg

Here's what I used; a marble-sized amount of lavender polymer clay;

a tiny bit of brown clay, an acorn cap, a sort-of straight twig

(I used chopsticks for the first ones, and you can do that...I rubbed a

little brown antiquing gel on them ~ but this looks better, I think);

liquid polymer, and a little Pearl Ex mica powder.

A paintbrush was my only tool.

 photo may115_zpsbdeec3e5.jpg

Condition the lavender clay well by kneading it until soft;

roll it into a sort of egg-shape; flattening the ends a little.

You want your house's roof to have a little overhang,

so you may have to adjust the amount of clay you use, depending on the size of the cap.

I used a drop of the liquid polymer as "glue", but if you don't have any,

just pretend that you do and put the "roof" on, anyway ~

then you can use regular glue to attach it permanently after it's baked.

The liquid polymer just saves a step.

Set the house aside for now.

 photo may116_zpsd8085014.jpg
I could have used a toothpick for the perch...

I knew that a twig that small would be too fragile...

But I liked the fact that I could make a tiny snake of clay,

bake it, and then cut it to size with scissors and it would look

more like a miniature "dowel"; the look I was going for.

I rolled it out super-skinny and baked it for 30 minutes.

 photo may119_zps48dc4b9c.jpg

While waiting for the perch to bake, I used the end of the brush handle to make a door.

Then I used the handle again to make texture on the surface of the clay.

The house will probably be a little misshapen now, but you can re-shape it

and give it texture at the same time...
After it had cooled completely (it will be too soft and flexible to do this
with while it's still warm), I pushed the perch into the clay, right under the door.
Then I removed it and put a drop of liquid polymer in the hole
before replacing the perch. I also trimmed it a little more with scissors at this point.
 photo may1110_zpsfec78aed.jpg

Use the paintbrush handle (it's much sturdier!) to make a hole in the bottom

of the house for the twig. I used a drop of liquid polymer here, too.

 photo may1111_zpse7588a72.jpg

Lightly brush with a little Pearl Ex powder, and bake for 45 minutes at 275° ~

(Using Premo...refer to specific directions if using another clay.)

 Ta-Da! ~ You have a Ladybird Ladybug house for your Fae!

I think they would look cute in a potted plant, too.

 photo may113_zps89362061.jpg
 photo may1114_zps32a0d7dc.jpg
 photo may1116_zps6d885691.jpg
Update on the robins...

I read that it takes 12-14 days for the eggs to hatch, and I think this is only day 8...

In the meantime, the parents watch me carefully when I go near

their little willow!

When the babies hatch, I will take pictures every day. :^)

Just to reassure myself, and maybe some of you, I looked this up about baby birds  ~ ♥


 photo may1112_zpsbdabcfde.jpg
 photo may1113_zps3759742b.jpg

Cyrus has chosen a new napping-spot, I discovered this afternoon ~

(Look at his little tongue...he often leaves it sticking out a little ~ I think it's so cute!

Sometimes it's way out...)

His spot is behind the door, behind the sack of kitty food...

He wants to be sure he's the first to know when I put more in the bowls!

 photo may1117_zpscc816dc3.jpg

And finally, Tallulah ~ helping me from her little cushion by the computer...

(If she doesn't have this, she sits on the keyboard...)

Have a Happy Mother's Day, all!