Saturday, June 29, 2013

Baltimore Oriole Summer Update

This is a short update on the Baltimore Orioles which arrived back in our area of Wisconsin on May 1.
Oriole nest in Pin Cherry Tree.

Oriole nest that was built last summer (2012)  Usually they hide themselves in the trees so we can't see them.

This years nests were built a few weeks ago and now the young have hatched.   They must be very hungry because I am putting out one jar of grape jelly per day.  I love them, so I don't mind, but I need to buy several jars at a time.  I usually pick up six to eight jars whenever I go grocery shopping.

I have noticed that we have had very few bees this year.  Usually the bees are on the jelly too.  They don't seem to bother the Orioles but they do bother the hummingbirds.  I wonder what is going on.  I heard the bee population is way down and that is apparent here.

Orioles eating as much jelly as they can.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Strawberry Season in Wisconsin

Although they are about two weeks late, the strawberries are ripe in Wisconsin.  There is a very plentiful crop this year, although the recent rains may have some effect.  My daughter bought a twelve pound box from a strawberry patch near her home.  She didn't have time to deal with all of them, so she brought the rest to me.  I froze most of them and made a bowl of sugared and sliced berries for shortcake or ice cream with the rest.

Freshly picked Strawberries

It took no time at all to take the tops off of the strawberries.  I learned a long time ago that the easiest way to remove the tops is with a straw.  I think my sister's mother in law told her of this process.

Take a drinking straw and push it into the bottom of the strawberry.
Push the straw through and the top pops off.
The top is cleanly off and the little white core from the middle of the berry comes out too.

The only thing left to do was to put the strawberries on cookie sheets and put them into the freezer.  Tomorrow I will put the individually frozen berries in bags and return them to the freezer for later.

Frozen berries

Now it's time to eat an ice cream sundae.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Grandma

Today is June 27, 2013.  It would have been my grandma's 109th birthday.  She was born on June 27, 1904 and died February 22, 1988.  She was the oldest daughter in a large family.  She had an older brother who died when he was only one year old and another brother who died when he was eleven. Tragedy occurred often in the early 1900's.

Grandma as a baby.

Grandma is standing up in back behind her mother.
We figure from the approximate ages of the kids, grandma is about 12 years old in this family photo. 

Then in January of 1994, my parents moved into my grandparents house.  They started doing some insulating and remodeling.  When they went into the attic they found this photo of grandma. The attic was nearly empty, but the picture was sitting back in the corner.  No one had ever seen it before and have no idea when or why it was taken.  She looks quite young and is wearing a homemade dress.  The photo was in an oval frame with curved glass.  I never knew how to get it out of the frame without damaging it.  There are many of my cousins who would love a copy.  So recently I thought with the new technology, I would just try to take a picture of the picture.  I then cropped it.  I think it turned out pretty well.  I may have to work on it a little more before I send it to Walgreens.

Happy Birthday Grandma Ellen Dux

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Handle Bird Nests Carefully

Eastern Phoebe in the shadows.

Today I have another bird story.  It's going to give you the heebie jeebie's, but it's something to be aware of.  There can be a downside to providing nesting places for the birds.  I am talking about the Eastern Phoebe but it could be any bird.

Every year we have Eastern Phoebes nesting on the top log right under the overhang.  They use the same nest if they can and fix up a new nest on top of the old one.  They only rebuild if we remove the nest.

This is a nest full of Phoebe babies.

Last year was a very dry and hot summer.  We had Phoebes nesting in the front of the house but we took down the nest in the back.   This was the space my husband was using to build a screen porch for my dad.

Completed Screen Porch

When the porch was finished, we used it for a while, and then we went on vacation for about ten days.  While we were gone the birds were busy but we didn't realize it.  As soon as we got home and settled in, we started using the porch again.  As many of you know, dad spends hours out on the screened porch listening to his books.  He likes not having mosquitoes or flies to contend with.  After a few days,  he started itching.  First it was his arms and neck.  We thought it was so hot that he probably had a heat rash.  Then his chest and legs had little red itchy spots.  I hadn't spent much time out there because it was so hot.  One day I went out and sat for just a little while.  While sitting there, I started to itch and could see little tiny clearish white bugs crawling on my arms.  I looked them up and found out that we had bird mites.  They live in bird nests.  Boy did we move fast after that.  It is a big big problem if the mites get into the house.  We found a Phoebe nest had been built directly under the porch.  We took everything off the porch and hosed down the walls and floor.  Then we sprayed with Home Defense several times.  We put a carpet wall to wall over the decking boards.  The birds below had fledged so we were able to scoop the nest into a plastic bag and we cleaned below the porch.  We also hung a no-pest strip.  Now we had to heal up my dad.  We slathered him with calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream.  It didn't take long before everything was back to normal.  This year we check regularly to make sure no birds are rebuilding under the porch.

Now that I have you itching everywhere, I will show you how cute the bird babies are, and why we always let them live under the eaves of our house.

Young Eastern Phoebe's who have just left the nest. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Facebook Recipe Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Crescent Braid

Today is recipe Tuesday and I'm going to review another Facebook recipe.  It was the Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Crescent Braid.  Here is the recipe.  I made half a batch.  It was quite good and easy to put together.  It was a little dry and I over baked it a little.  Make sure the chicken and broccoli are chopped into small pieces or it won't slice well.  It isn't a very pretty picture but food is harder to photograph than you might think.  I make another recipe that tastes almost the same, but I think I like it a little better.  Lattice Topped Chicken

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Crescent Braid

2 cans Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls

2 cups chicken chunks, cooked

2 cups cheddar cheese

2 cups broccoli, frozen, steamed and chopped

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1 egg yolk

Fresh rosemary

Prepare and bake like this:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, spread both cans of crescents length wise to form a long rectangle. Press each of the seams to form a single layer of dough. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cheese, broccoli and mayonnaise. Spread mixture over the center of the croissant dough evenly to create a log.

Using a sharp knife, cut horizontal strips 1 inch apart down each side of the crescent dough. Fold the dough strips over the top of the chicken mixture, alternating left and right to create a braid.

Brush the top of the braid with a beaten egg yolk and sprinkle fresh rosemary on top. Bake for 28 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

Monday, June 24, 2013

An Unexpected Piece of Family History

This is my great grandmother Anna and me.  I have written about her before.  She was born in 1869, married in 1893 and then came to America from Germany.  They traveled to the Neillsville Wisconsin area where some of her new husbands family lived.  They established their life and had seven children.  Then in 1906 her husband, my great grandfather, got sick and died.  Her youngest child was only seven months old.  Through a lot of hard work and gumption, she managed to survive and raise all of her children to adulthood.  We know quite a lot about her.  In fact, we still own the home she lived with her husband and raised her children in. 

Photo of the original home.

We have many documents and pictures of her and her children, but we don't have any photos of her husband.  We have a description of him from an old military book but that is all. 

My great grandmother and me in 1949
This is his obituary.
Dux, William (10 AUG, 1868 - 17 NOV 1906) 
William Dux died at his home in this city (Neillsville, Clark County) Nov. 17, 1906, after an illness of five weeks. His age was 38 years, and his place of birth was Germany. In 1893 he was married and the same year came to America. Since coming to Neillsville he has worked in the furniture factory besides taking care of his green house. He was a man of good morals, very industrious and a good citizen in every way. His death is a particularly sad one, as he leaves with his widow, seven small children. The funeral took place at the Lutheran Church Monday, Rev. Brandt officiating.

I didn't realize that there was a hint about him in this obituary until a couple weeks ago.  My sister Janice came for a visit.  She had a box with her.  She said that it was something she got years ago from our parents.  She didn't really have room for it and wondered if I would like it.  It was a special piece made on a scroll saw by our great grandfather.  From the obituary we learned that he worked in a furniture factory and apparently had a talent for woodworking.  I had seen this piece when I was young but always thought that my grandfather made it.  I asked my dad and he confirmed that it was made by his grandfather.  It needs a little repair, but there are extra pieces to accomplish that.

This is the piece.  I'm not sure if it has a purpose or is purely for decoration.

Extra pieces kept all these years.

Close up photo of the intricate design.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Missoula Children's Theatre-Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs

Last night we attended another performance at the Green Lake Thrasher Opera House.  It was the Missoula Children's Theatre performance of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.  This is the seventh time throughout the years that our granddaughter has participated.  Twice a year we are fortunate to have them come to Green Lake, Wisconsin.  They were here on January 26, 2013 to do The Secret Garden.

Missoula Children's Theatre-The Secret Garden

It is a wonderful experience for so many children of all ages.  They will remember it for the rest of their lives.  It is amazing what they can do in just one week.

Sorry for the wrinkled playbill, I just can't seem to keep them smooth.

Center of photo is our oldest grandchild and only granddaughter Melissa.

Melissa far right bottom.

Everyone had a great time.