Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Plumeria

  Earlier this month in the Saturday edition of the Chronicle there was a picture of a Plumeria flower in the gardening section. Mom says she saw it and thought to herself, 'That looks familiar. We have a Plumeria. Where is it?' But all I know about it is that all of a sudden she looked up and said. 'Oh God! We forgot to take out the Plumeria!' 
  We had placed it in the garage because it was too tall to put in the green house with all the other plants that need protection from the cold. When we found it the poor thing was growing two small shoots despite being left without water or sunlight.
  Now the plant has leafed out and is about to bloom. Got to love a Plumeria. It's a real trooper, unlike all the other plants that wimp out on us. I'm looking at you Gardenias. That bit was Mom.  'Wintergreen, catnip.' That was me. 

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Amy in the nest

 Amy, one of our Ameraucana hens, has gone broody. After a few days of being screeched at when I picked eggs, Mom and I decided to mark some eggs to put under her. The eggs should hatch around the 10th of July. We write the date and swirly lines on them in pencil, because writing on them in pen or marker can supposedly poison the chick by soaking through air holes the shell. She's got eight now, but the other hens keep laying in her nest, often with her in it, once when I picked eggs there were ten eggs under her.
  We tried putting Amy in one of the wire cages in an open section of the barn, because we were afraid that one of the hens would break the eggs while trying to lay in Amy's nest. But she didn't like it. She got really anxious and wondered around the cage clucking. So we moved her back in the hen house.
  Hopefully, she'll like the broody pen better once we move Mohawk and her clutch out. It's less open which I think was the problem with the cage. We put cardboard and pieces of a bag from feed around the nest in a corner of the cage to try and make it feel more private, but we didn't want to enclose it too much because then she might overheat and I guess it wasn't enough for her.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Abraham: The good, the bad, the rooster

This is our Ameraucana rooster, Abraham. We usually call him Abe. As you can see he's a very good looking rooster. We got him from my uncle's daughter. She had him and Silkie rooster and they weren't getting along. Since a hawk had just killed our buff rooster she offered to give us Abe. I wish I'd have taken a picture of him when we first got him; you almost wouldn't believe he was the same rooster. He was a lanky teenager, and smaller than the hens. Now he's a sassy bruiser, taller and wider than the lot of them.
 But calling him sassy is being kind. He's a jerk. Every time we go out to check the chickens he sidles up to at a lest one of us giving that person the evil eye. Three times actually flew up at one of us (usually me) trying to get that person with his spurs. When he does that I grab him and dunk him in the rain barrel. Unfortunately, thanks to this drought the level in the barrel is too low to do this any more. I guess we'll just have to use the hose on him. Which is what we do when sidles up and pecks us. Just the other day he pecked Mom's hand while she was putting ice in their waterer, so we soaked him with the hose. Even wet he's still large. The bum. Every time we leave the hen house he crows, even when soaked to the skin. As if to say, "And don't came back." I'd like to think he'd treat any intruders the same way.

~Sorry I forgot to worn everyone, but this is Thursday's post.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Carrot Cake

 I know I published it before, but I really love this cake and I it makes such a great Easter dessert I wanted to republish it. I will be making one this Sunday.

 The first time I made this recipe I burned it a little. (it still tasted pretty good) I don't know if it was because I used the second hotter baking suggestion or because I used too many carrots. The second time I baked it at 300 and started measuring after the 4 carrot so I didn't end up with almost an extra cup of shredded carrots and with nothing to do with them but put them in the cake. It worked out better this time, whatever the problem had been. The first cake had a bicarbonate after-taste (at lest to me) so I used less baking soda in the second. (Mom says it's one of the best cakes I've made) Well, without further a due here's a recipe for really good Carrot Cake. There is a printer friendly version at the end.

                                                       Carrot Cake

2 cups flour                                                     4 eggs
2 cups sugar                                                    1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
1-1/2 teas. baking powder                               3 cups grated carrots (5-6 medium carrots)
2 teas. baking soda                                          1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teas. cinnamon
1/4 teas. ground ginger
1 teas. salt

   Mix together all the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs and add oil. Add the egg and oil mixture to the dry ingredients and beat. Stir in carrots and nuts. Pour into 3 greased 9 inch cake pans and either bake at 300 for 45 minutes or bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.

            I didn't really like the cream cheese frosting recipe it came with so here is a repeat of the one I posted earlier with a recipe for Humming bird cake. I used 33% less fat cream cheese.
                                           Cream Cheese frosting

1 8oz package cream cheese              1 cup chopped pecans
1 stick butter                                       1 cup flaked coconut
1 box powder sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter. Add powder sugar (a little at a time until desired taste and consistency is reached). Mix in vanilla. Stir in pecans and coconut. Spread on cooled cake.

And here is a printer friendly version:   Please let me know if there are any problems using the link.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Aquarius Wave Earrings

  They are made out of polymer clay that I shape by hand to look like a wave. Once I have nine I combine them into a row of three, then add the rows together.
   Most of the time the wave symbol  for Aquarius is two rows, but I thought three rows of three waves would be more lucky and look better too. It was hard to make out what the earrings were at first, so I panted the crest light blue. When I was digging through the paints I found a container of glitter and thought, 'Sparkly waves, cool.' Belatedly I thought it might look like sunlight sparkling on the water. I use another piece of clay to secure the surgical steel earring stud and they're ready to bake.  What's great is that, because I bake them after I paint and add glitter it becomes part of the clay. They are 7/8" wide and 3/4" tall and come with a snug fitting surgical steel earring back. Because they are hand shaped there may be slight variations between earrings.
 (The plant it's siting on is a Cotton Lavender, Santolina Chameacyparissus, that I'm growing in a pot in front of the green house.)  
Buy your own here:

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Where are they now? (An update on the chicks)

Right now the chicks are smack in the middle of their awkward 'teenage' stage and looking more like birds of prey having a bad day then anything else.

For some reason the two black chicks have a couple of white spots on them. (Mom thinks they might be half barred rock.) Handful has two of them on her neck. The youngest chick has a dusting of bronze her shoulders and although you can't see them in the picture she has a few white specks on her wings and legs. As you can see Miss Munster is getting white feathers with black speckles (funny because the Ameraucana girls are orange with black speckles.). These are going to be some interesting looking chickens.

Mohawk is an amazing mom she taught them how to eat and drink, attacks anything that comes too close, and lets them have first dibs on food, except for scratch grain; she uses her body to block the chicks and eats the grain so fast you'd almost believe you had never put any in. We gave her a sandbox and she spends a lot of time in there.
She hates cameras for some reason.

Right now Mom and I are in the planning stage of a new chicken house. We have a line drawing of what we think we want, but still aren't sure about it.  Mostly we don't know what to use for the bottom. Wire, plywood, wire then plywood, plywood and cinderblocks, or just put it on the dirt? We're leaning towards just putting it on the dirt.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Name that gourd

This post is really just a bunch of weird/pretty things I found  in the garden and an update of what the 'herb' (it's mostly flowers) garden looks like now. I might do a more in-depth post on what's in the garden later on, I'm not sure. 

They have leaves like this
One has a guard on it  
   Three of these came up in the garden and neither one of us knows what it is. All three grew into vines like the one to the left here.  Mom thinks it may be one of the ornamental gourds we tried to grow last year. But we throw a lot of the seeds from what we eat into the mulch and the mulch goes straight into the garden, so it really could be anything.

   This is our purple cone flower. I thought it was cool the way it starts out yellow-green and then turns purple. I like this picture so much it's now my desktop background.


   My mom's zinnias. She loves them, apparently they were one of the plants her mother loved and planted almost every year.
   Below are my four o` clocks, the oregano- with it's pretty white flower clusters-, and the rosemary plant. For some reason the yellow four o`clocks are only open in the morning while the pink the red ones open in the afternoon and are usually closed by then. Next to it and below the two are photos showing how the garden looks now. That's Faith sitting on the cinder blocks there. From now until 6/16/13 use coupon code FATHERSDAY for 5% off your Bats Bizarre purchase.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Nasty Bugs

The garden isn't doing that good this year. It was too cold to plant anything for the longest time and now it's too hot for anything to grow. I don't have any picture of them. I'm hoping it's a good sign that I couldn't find any to photograph today. I'll try to get more/better pictures of these nasty pests, but for now if you go to and type in the bugs names in the search box you'll get more than enough good photos of the horrible things.

This a (terrible) photo of Stinkbug eggs and hatchlings. They're relatives of Squash Bugs, they look like them (except Squash Bug hatchlings are red), both suck the juice out of plant and fruits, both lay there eggs on the underside of plant leaves, and they both release a strong smell when squished; Stink Bugs smell weirdly peppery and Squash Bugs smell like sour apple candy. Which is the best thing I can say about them. I'm so mad at these things I've taken to squashing them with my bare hands, I also do this because the tricky blighters kept getting away when I used my shoes.
  Like far too many garden pests they don't just attack one type of plant. These buggers get on everything, and when the plants aren't enough for them they go after the produce; leaving tomatoes and peppers, and even apples with horrible rancid brown spots on them.  I haven't found anything to kill them other than finding them and smashing them by hand, but I have found that watering the plants makes them crawl to the top of the plants which makes them easier to kill. It seems like they don't like catnip, (last year I had a catnip plant hanging from the overhang on the greenhouse and  nether of the pepper plants that were growing in pots in front of it had any problems with them)  but I haven't been able to really test this out because none of the seeds I plant came up.    

    This is a bad picture of the flat, copper colored eggs Squash Vine Borers lay up and down the stems of squash leaves. If the base of your plant turns yellow-brown and your plant starts to wilt it's probable the victim of these red bodied and grey winged bug's grub. Especially if you find piles of yellow-brown material on it's stem. I've been crushing all the eggs and adults I can find. And mom is burying all the squash plants, like the one you see to the right, hoping that the plants will make more roots at different spots on the plant so they can survive an attack form these wasp look-a-likes. It looks like one of the plants might make it thanks to this, but it too early to tell. 

I don't know what's eating up the squash leaves.                                                          

We're also having problems with Tomato Horn Worms. Which are voracious green caterpillars that if left unchecked can eat an entire tomato plant in a couple of days. Before I used to feel bad for the caterpillars that predatory wasps used to lay eggs in, but after a couple of years of having these nasty things, which by the way do not limit themselves to tomato's, gorge on our poor plants I now cheer on any wasp I see buzzing though the garden. 

   I'm going to be busy all day this Thursday so look for that day's post on Wednesday. Bats Bizarre is having a Father's Day sale. From 6/2/13-6/16/13 use coupon code FATHERSDAY for 5% off your purchase from Bats Bizarre. This coupon doesn't include the cost of shipping.

                    Thank you for reading Bats Bizarre's official blog. Have a bat-tastic day!