Friday, June 5, 2015

Our New Supply of Compost is Coming In Handy

Every year we struggle with our yard.  The soil is so sandy that it doesn't hold enough moisture and nutrients.  It is green in the Spring, but soon only the weeds survive.  It means we don't have to mow as often as many other people but that is the only advantage.  I won't use chemicals and tons of water on the yard, so that is the way it is.  Next to our sidewalk, near the front porch, the grass does not survive the winter and the soil somehow erodes away.  My husband usually takes some our our good compost mixed with some top soil, and fills in the space.  Then he puts down grass seed.  We water it often and eventually get some decent grass in that area.  At least it looks nice for most of the summer.

We are always making compost.  We have two compost bins.  One is an active section and one just sits until the compost is ready.  Last week my husband cleaned out the left side of the picture.  The right section will now become the inactive section and the empty section on the left will get the new scraps.  We put almost everything in the compost except meat and things that don't decompose.  Some shredded paper and peelings go into the worm farm but most end up in the compost bin.

This is the compost we get.  It takes several years to get this beautiful dirt.

It is a good thing we have a fresh batch of compost.  We definitely need it.  As I mentioned we plant grass seed next to our front sidewalk near the porch.  It has been growing great and was almost ready to mow.  Now we have to start all over again.  When I went outside this morning, this is what I saw.

A snapping turtle had piled up all the new grass and dug down into the soil to lay some eggs.

I thought she was dead.

She was fine and here she is leaving the scene of the crime.

Either this turtle or another had already dug up another area of the yard to lay eggs.  Then, as usual, a raccoon came along and dug them all up.  It is amazing we get any baby turtles.  I guess they lay so many eggs because they know that most of them won't make it.  I have written about this subject for years.  Here is one blog from a couple years ago

The raccoon really dug up the yard searching for turtle eggs.

This happens every year so we as humans have to learn from it.  We need to be patient and plant new grass seed after the turtles are finished and not before.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mother Deer and Her Fawn

It is finally nice enough for my 90 year old dad to sit out on the screened porch.  He spends most of the day out there listening to his books or just listening to sounds of nature.  Between the frogs and birds there is always something going on.  Every now and then I go out to see if he needs anything like coffee or a snack.  I usually sit for a short time to tell him about the bluebirds or any other activity I have noticed.  I tell him about what animals appeared on the trail camera during the previous twenty four hours.  Last night we had some rambunctious raccoons, a fox, a lot of squirrels and birds and one solitary deer.  We were talking about the deer and how we should be seeing some fawns soon.  As we were talking, I heard splashing in the water.  I thought it was a duck scurrying her babies to safety, but I got out of the chair to check.   Right below the deck in the reeds I saw a deer.  She was splashing as she walked through the shallow water.  As I looked closer, I saw she had a fawn.  I ran for the camera just as she was trying to cross the water.  She was able to jump across but I worried that that baby would drown.  It didn't, it swam.  The little fawn swam to the other side.  I was able to capture a couple pictures, but I wish I would have seen them earlier.  You may have to look closely to see the fawn because she is still very small.

A few days later it was raining.  My husband called me into the dining room to look out the window.  There was another mama deer but this one had twin fawns.  They were chasing and playing, and weren't paying any attention to the rain.  It was such a wonderful experience to see.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My Experience Making Bridget's Cradles

About six weeks ago I saw a television piece that got my attention.  It was about knitting small cradles for families who have lost babies between 14-26 weeks gestation.  Many of these women want to hold their babies but because they are so small and fragile, it is very difficult to wrap them in a blanket.  These knit or crocheted cradles make it easier.

I contacted the Bridget's Cradles website and applied.  Soon I received the specific instructions and the acceptable yarns to use.  I bought pink, blue and yellow yarn and began making them.  I reacted to doing this in a very unexpected way.  I had a very hard time at first.  As I was knitting all I could think about is that some day a dead baby would be laying in the cradle.  The first night I even dreamt about babies who have died.  I miscarried my first child, but I don't think that was the reason this was so hard for me.  I think it was just the upsetting idea of why these cradles are important.  I almost didn't continue and took a short break.  Then I got an email from them thanking me for doing this.  It is getting a little easier because I know it is helping families during a very difficult time.  I am almost ready to mail my first batch.  I will continue for a while.  There are no expectations as to the number of cradles, so I will make as many as I am comfortable with.

Each set consists of the cradle, a small prayer square and a tapered blanket.

The cradle is to hold the baby.  The blanket is for inside the cradle to cover the baby and the prayer square is for the family to keep as a keepsake knowing it touched their child.  Prayer squares are also given to those who lost their child in the 1st trimester.

I crocheted some and knit some in different pattern stitches.

If anyone else is interested in doing this, either search Bridget's Cradles on Facebook or go to their website

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole

It has been quite some time since I posted a Tuesday recipe.  The reason is partly due to laziness and the other is my recipes were getting very boring.  This recipe itself isn't that interesting either, but the way and ease of preparation works out great.  I like not having to pre-cook the pasta.  This recipe is also fairly low in calories

Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole

1 box whole grain rotini pasta (uncooked but rinsed)
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup pepperoni
1 small can sliced black olives
1 jar (16-24 oz.) pizza sauce or pasta sauce
1/2 cup water
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray or use a slow cooker liner.
Brown the ground turkey with the onion, garlic and green pepper.
Rinse the pasta and place it in the slow cooker.  Stir in the browned ground turkey, sliced black olives, and pepperoni.  Pour on the pasta sauce mixed with 1/2 cup water.  Stir again to mix well.
Top with the mozzarella cheese.  Cover and cook on low for four hours (don't peek).