Thursday, August 30, 2007
Purple Prince Zinnia
Something pretty to look at after the ugly spider.
Shirl said in her blog that, "house sparrows have been included on an updated list of species and habitats which need protection".
I just wanted to let her know that she shouldn't worry about the sparrows since most of them are at my house right now.
These pictures were taken through the landing window, (glass and screen), so they aren't very clear. I never deadhead my purple coneflowers, no matter how ugly they are in the garden because the goldfinches love the seeds. These are about the only pretty birds I have around here and I want them to stay.
These are the first instar black swallowtail larva and I didn't notice the other critter in the middle until I saw it on the computer screen. I don't know what it is but I hope it isn't going to eat my caterpillars.
Isn't it amazing that these odd looking caterpillars are going to turn into a beautiful black swallowtail butterfly.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I guess I'm a little bit offended by that comment and I'd like to expound on this subject just in case there may be others who think I need to give up gardening and take up knitting.
Not too long ago I posted a picture of a praying mantis eating a beetle. I was excited over actually seeing a mantis eating something. I wasn't horrified at the thought, because it was expected behavior. I knew that praying mantis are beneficial insects because they eat harmful insects. Again, it was expected behavior.
I love to observe nature, and I know that there is a food chain cycle. Even though it is natural, it did make me sad the other day when I saw a neighbor's cat eating one of the birds at my bird feeder. I felt like I had caused the bird to be bait, but I knew it was expected cat behavior and wasn't shocked by it.
I've watched the hummingbirds fighting over the feeder for days and it was fun to watch because it was expected behavior. I already knew they were very territorial. What was unexpected behavior to me was the fighting to kill. It was shocking to see the hummingbird stabbing the obviously already injured hummingbird in the head trying to kill it. I thought a few days before that they were fighting to kill and was concerned, but thought, no, they wouldn't really hurt each other. I had no idea they could be so vicious. I thought they were just cute little interesting birds and had this sweet image of them in my mind. It was a shock for me to witness such unexpected violence.
Most of us would be shocked to see a dog viciously attack another dog, for some it is sport, for most others it would be horrifying to witness. Watching the hummingbird attack was just as shocking for me.
I'm just a city girl, always have been, I don't knit, never have and don't plan to start now, but I do love flower gardening and learning about nature, even with the unpleasant and unexpected lessons.
Edited to say: Obviously some guys feel differently about hummingbird fights. The hummingbird on this blog is actually bloody from a fight.
A volunteer sunflower in the back yard near the bird feeder.
This grasshopper was hiding out in the moonflower.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
On July 12, I posted a recipe for zucchini bread, who would have thought that that one post would generate so many hits on my blog. It tells me one thing, it must have been a very good year for zucchini. A few days ago I checked my blog stats just out of curiosity, and I saw quite a few entry clicks for the zucchini bread, so I counted them; in just one day, 42 out of a hundred people that visited my blog did so for the zucchini bread recipe.
I've also gotten a lot of hits for the squash casserole and the restaurant style salsa. I guess there are a lot of people harvesting zucchini, squash and tomatoes now and looking for ways to use them. I hope they will try the recipes and enjoy them and whatever the reason for the visit, I'm so glad they came to Robin's Nesting Place.
These first three pictures were taken with my Sony Alpha-100. I don't use it much because I only have the lens that came with the camera, and it doesn't do macro very well with that particular lens. I had just ordered a new lens hood for the camera and got it in the mail today. That helped a lot and the pictures are better than usual. I'm not used to using an SLR so I need lots of practice.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I got this little gardening apron, for a couple of dollars, while my mom was here on one of our shopping excursions. I used it today for the first time. It has really deep pockets, great for my camera, garden scissors, (used for dead heading), and my gloves, ( I use latex gloves and sometimes need several pairs while I'm working).
I got the three grasses planted today, but it was so humid I couldn't stay out. Hopefully in the morning I'll get the rest planted.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
This verbena bonariensis is by far the most popular thing in my garden. I don't think I'll deadhead these and just let them drop seed.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Here is my recipe for Turkey Pepperoni Stuffed Crust Pizza with step by step instructions for those who may be a bit intimidated like I was.
Place the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed.
- 1 cup warm water (I place mine in the microwave for about 50 seconds to warm it up, if it is too hot it will kill the yeast.)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2-1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 -1 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
- 1/2-1 tsp. Italian seasoning and/or pizza seasoning (optional)
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 tsp. powdered milk or non-dairy creamer
- 1 tablespoon yeast
When the cycle is complete, sprinkle flour onto your work surface, place the dough onto the surface, knead it a little, and form the dough into a ball, using as much flour as necessary so that it doesn't stick to your hands or the work surface.
Roll or press the dough to flatten it into the desired shape.
I recently started using a pizza pan with holes in it and it makes the very best crust, it's perfect, and also eliminates some of the steps in the recipe. Definitely worth every penny.
If you use a regular pan or cookie sheet, sprinkle the pan lightly with cornmeal to keep it from sticking.
Lift the dough and place it into pizza pan.
Press the dough to the edges of the pan. To stuff the crust with cheese, (optional, but trust me, it's delicious with this crust), cut strips of mozzarella cheese and wrap the edges of the dough around the cheese. Press the edges firmly to completely enclose the cheese.
If you use a pizza pan without the holes, you should use a fork to poke holes in the dough to keep air bubbles from forming. Also, if your pan is small and the dough is thick, at this point you need to precook the dough for 5-7 minutes before any toppings are added to make sure that the dough gets fully cooked. The dough cooks perfect every time with my new pizza pan with holes, but before, with regular pans, I had to precook the dough.
Top with pizza sauce, (Trader Joe's has my favorite sauce).
Top with mozzarella cheese.
Top cheese with pepperoni slices, (I use the turkey pepperoni because it isn't as greasy).
Bake at 400 in a preheated oven until cheese is melted and lightly golden, as in the picture at the top.
Here are a few other pizza "recipes" using this same tasty dough:
Easy BBQ Chicken Pizza (One of our favorites.)
Prepare dough in bread machine as directed.
Boil about 5 chicken breast and season with various seasonings according to taste, (minced onion, garlic, salt, pepper, Cayenne pepper). When it's done shred the chicken and pour on some of your favorite BBQ sauce, (mine is KC Masterpiece Original). Mix well and then place the BBQ chicken on the prepared pizza dough.
Top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 400.
Garlic Cheese Bread
1 recipe of pizza dough
butter (room temperature)
Mozzarella Cheese (or favorite cheese)
- Prepare dough in bread machine as directed.
- Roll and press dough into an oblong pan that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal (to keep bread from sticking).
- Spread softened butter onto the dough.
- Sprinkle dough with garlic powder.
- Top with your favorite cheeses (I use mozzarella and Parmesan)
- Bake at 425 until cheese is melted and lightly golden. It is best when it's not overcooked.
You can use this pizza dough to make pizza with any topping you like. A lot of times I divide the dough and we each make our own personal pan pizza, (one dough recipe makes three good size personal pan pizzas). When we do this I usually make myself a vegetarian pizza with roasted red peppers, black olives, onions, jalapenos and mushrooms.
I apologize for the crazy spacing on this post, for some reason Blogger wouldn't allow me to space properly.