Sunday, May 1, 2016

April, Abbreviated: 2016

It's May, you guys. How is it May? Almost half the year is gone already! On the plus side... it will be summer soon. Outside, the trees all have leaves or are actively growing new ones, the weeds have bloomed, the wasps are out *grumbles*, and we are on the cusp of humidity here in NE Kentucky. Yes, it is currently that short, maybe 2-week period we have here where the weather is warm and sunny, but the humidity is low. Because when the humidity kicks in, whew, it's tough to be outside in the afternoon. The garden is growing by leaps and bounds, to my delight. It also appears our bees have decided to stay. What I can I say? April kicked ass. Let's summarize the whirlwind that was last month-

• I timed my visit to the local library quite well. I stopped in on the first day of their annual book sale. First dibs at hundreds of various books!! I had a hard time narrowing down what I was going to get (I only have 2 hands, after all!), but in the end I chose a wide variety. I'm fascinated by the cult of Scientology, I still like young adult novels that go down like Tic Tacs, and really, who can resist a William's and Sonoma recipe book on grilling for $1? I couldn't. 

Book haul
• A picture taken at the perfect moment-

I'm just not creative enough, because I've spent endless hours (ok, minutes) trying to caption this shot. It looks like he's sticking his tongue out at me, but in reality, he was licking his chops :-)

• The hubby and I picked up a few hanging flower baskets to put out by our garden in April. Much to my delight, the butterflies around here love them!

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Black Swallowtail
• The hummingbirds returned! I was most excited to see them. Last year, I saw my first hummingbird on April 15. This year, it was April 21. We did have a lot colder weather in the beginning of the month here than we did last year, which might attribute to a later migration. Whatever the cause, my friends are back!

Back at watch.

• We got our bees in April! I've already regaled you all with the tale of the bees, so I will just reference that story here

About 10 days after the hubby set up the hive, he went in to see if the bees were building the hive and if he could find the queen. He wasn't messing around this time. This time, he suited up and smoked them a little bit. Smoking them changes something about the hives hormones for a couple of hours, and the bees become very docile. This isn't something they enjoy, so you don't do this very often. But, when starting a hive, you have to check things out a bit more. 

After an initial puff of smoke, he pulls out a frame and smokes them-

After going through a couple of frames, he comes to an empty one where the bees are building the wax themselves. I guess this is odd because he gave them several frames with a wax template already installed, so they wouldn't have to. I guess they like to work :-)

He found the queen though, which is great news!

Can you see her? Yeah, me either. It's like "Where's Waldo?" up in there. 

Here it is zoomed in-

So the queen is about a half inch down and to the right of the hubby's finger. She has a longer body that is just brown and smooth, not striped like the other honey bees. Anyways, it's great news that she is there and no one killed her, as well as that she didn't leave.

We got a little birdbath that looks like a mushroom and has a garden gnome on it to make a bee waterer for our guys. I read honey bees drown in bird baths a lot of times when they are looking for water. By adding rocks to the bird bath, it gives them something to rest on while they drink up-

For the birds AND the bees.
• April has brought so much wildlife to the homestead. More than I've seen any other year. Some wildlife I have pictures of, some are just way too fast for me, my clumsy hands, and my camera. Such as the packs of deer that pass through the yard. Some I have been able to get pictures of. First up- Mom, look away!-

Ugh. A Black Racer. This thing was huge. I was walking out to fill the bird feeders one day when I spotted this in a tree and almost had a heart attack. After screaming and running back to the house, I thought about it. Then I went back out and got a couple of pictures. I just had to. Black Racers are non-venomous snakes that live around here, and like to eat things like mice and chipmunks. I like chipmunks as much as the next person, but a chipmunk invasion is not needed by anyone. I'm ok with controlling the population. I also read they aren't much of a threat to pets either, as black racers are super-fast and will run from most anything. 

Interesting fact, I read this about Kentucky snakes- All venomous snakes in Kentucky have vertical pupils. All non-venomous snakes have round pupils. It's hard to see in the picture but the snake's pupils are clearly round. I got my info from The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, so I'm trusting those peeps. 

The whole darn snake in shrub-like tree.
I found a colorful turtle under my black-oil sunflower seed bird feeder one morning-

Sassy little dude, he was.
The Red-Headed Woodpecker returned! I hadn't seen him/her since the disastrous changing of the suet flavor.

And probably my most exciting window-watching payoff to date-

A fox! Oh my gosh, I was entranced. These are beautiful creatures. I never got a shot of his tail, as he turned and ran really fast when he noticed me watching him through a window, but his tail was gorgeous! Full and red, with a white ring at the top. After doing a little Internet research, I found that foxes like to eat corn in the summer. I was baffled at first, because when I went out to where he was eating, I saw he was eating in the same exact vicinity of the corn I put out for deer. Apparently he likes it too. I also read that they aren't likely to attack a pet. I'm always with the dogs, and he runs if even sees me in the house. Plus, we are putting up a fence soon. I'm not too concerned with Mr. Fox.

• As I mentioned before, the garden is poppin'. Potato plants have sprung-

Radishes are turning the best color of magenta ever. Truth be told, this radish is long gone. I already ate it, and it was pretty darn tasty :-)

Carrot Seedlings-

More strawberry growth-

Spinach seedlings-

• It was kind of sparse month for recipes, thanks to my mini-vacation and sporadic posting schedule, but here are my favorites-

• And finally, on the last day of April (yesterday) this was my yard-

That's 4-truckloads of dirt sitting right there, waiting to be moved about the yard. Part of it we are going to use to build raised flowers beds around the house, and part of it will be used to fill in spots of the yard to make sure our fence is level.

It's just waaaaay too much dirt to have sitting in the front yard.

Oops, I know I said finally, but that was about April. And today is the first day of May, which happens to be a very special day. Today is my dad's birthday, and also our nephew's birthday! I thought I'd throw out a flashback for Dad's birthday-

High School Gradulation, circa 2001. Ah, back during the days I colored my hair on my own. Girls, I know you hear me. Dad, Happy Birthday!

And happy birthday to our nephew Gavin!

Race for the Cure, 2015
Another month on the books. Jessica out :-)


  1. What an interesting post!

    You two are busy and enjoying life.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Thank you FlowerLady! Yes, busy busy busy seems to be our motto these days! :-)

      I hope you have a great week too FlowerLady!

  2. What a month! The garden looks like it is coming along nicely and so much wildlife! Here's to a great May!

    1. Thank you Carlee! The garden is doing great! I took most of those pictures about a week ago, and there's already so much new growth. There will be a big difference between May and April, that's for sure!

      Have a great day Carlee! :-)

  3. I love your hanging flower baskets - and also the hummingbird and woodpecker shots. I do miss Kentucky...but not the humidity once it starts. Have a great week, my friend!

    1. Thanks Keith! I'm loving having flowers in the yard, they are so pretty! I would miss Kentucky too, although I too could live without the humidity :-) I hope you have a great week too!

  4. I can't believe how much wildlife is around your house! I can see you live out in the country but reminds me of where I grew up - I hated those stupid grass snakes too!!

    1. I've really tried to encourage the wildlife here. I like being surrounded by wildlife, it makes me focus less on the awfulness of humanity right now. I've got 4 bird feeders, 2 hummingbird feeders, a mealworm suet, a normal suet, 2 birdbaths, I put corn out for the deer, and tons of weeds and overgrowth. Lots of things to eat and places to hide. Plus, yes, we are pretty well out in the country. I've inherited my fear of snakes from my mom, I just can't handle those suckers :-)

      Have a great day Kelli!

  5. Such beautiful wildlife pics. I didn't see the snake at first, and had to scroll back up, then got goosebumps when I did! Then I laughed at what you did after finding him! Totally something I would do :)
    Did I spy a VC Andrews novel in your books? I was so up on those back in the day, I should check them out again.
    Enjoy those hummingbirds!!

    1. I can't image what my neighbors must think. I'm always hollering at the dogs, screaming when I see a snake or a wasp lands on my arm... They probably call me the crazy neighbor lady. Especially since they can't really see me, they probably only hear me. LOL :-)

      And yes, VC Andrews! I used to read her books when I was in high school, I couldn't resist picking one up. Turns out, they still go down like a fine wine. Only took me 2 days to finish that book!

      Have a great day Kris!