Saturday, July 3, 2010

Our first Hummingbird!

It's been rainy and gloomy outside and things have been quite dreary as far as my finding full-time employment is concerned, but on the positive, I finally got my Nikon D80 working again just in time to capture the first hummingbird at our feeder!John's parents got this feeder for me as a graduation gift. Last week I was looking through my Birds of Texas book to try and get an idea of when hummingbirds would be making it through the area. I wasn't expecting them for a little while longer, especially with the weather as cruddy as its been. Still, last week we prepared some nectar (1 part sugar, 4 parts water, boiled) and put the feeder right outside the front windows.

On Thursday, right around 5:45pm, John startled me by exclaiming, "There's a hummingbird out there!" I jumped up to look out and see and of course, I missed it. But constant vigilance for about half an hour paid off. It kept fluttering to the feeder, moving back and forth between the feeder and some purple flowers I had planted in the front to attract butterflies. (Now I know to keep planting more of them!) I stood at the window waiting and snapping photos, waiting and snapping photos. I wish it hadn't been so dark and dull outside! I can't wait to catch it on a sunny day and get some excellent photos! But for now, these will have to do.
Ruby-throated hummingbird

Friday, July 2, 2010


While weeding the garden (which I'll talk about in a future post) I came across some big (and little) surprises: Cucumbers! They were hidden under our giant cucumber leaves. One of the cucumbers was easily over a foot long.
Last night, we decided to pickle the ones that we hadn't already used in salads as such. It's our first attempt at making pickles. I'm so excited! We looked up some recipes for pickling cucumbers online and here is what ended up being our process:

First, we chilled the cucumbers in ice water for a little over two hours. Then, we sliced them all up and stuffed them in a jar with some halved garlic cloves, crushed red pepper, and some yummy dill.
Then we boiled some vinegar, pickling salt, and water. We poured the liquid into the jar over the cucumber slices. Apparently, you're supposed to then "process" the jar in boiling water for 15 minutes, but we skipped that part. After all, we were recycling an old jar and didn't really know how much it could take temperature-wise. The jar is now sitting in the pantry and the pickles should be ready in about two months. I can't wait!