Hummingbirds

What a surprise! Here it is September 11 and I had a hummer come to the feeder! I thought for sure they would all be well on their way to their winter homes somewhere way down south by now. I had actually looked at that feeder this morning and thought I should be taking it down so it was on the list of “To Do” things.

The hummer today didn’t stop for a drink – it just came to within 4 to 6 inches of the feeder, took a look and then flew away again. I don’t know why it didn’t take a drink as the feeder is relatively fresh and I made it a bit stronger for them at this time of year.

Pure fluke that I just happened to look at that particular moment, for sure! No pics :( …  it was all too fast.

A Late Hummer

So … here I was thinking the hummers had all gone because I hadn’t had any at my feeders for the past two weeks. The nights are cool enough now and the dreariness of wet fall weather has made things rather dull and chilly.

Today I had a single visitor to the feeder – actually it didn’t go to the feeder, but was checking out the red Christmas light behind the feeder. It didn’t drink so maybe the juice is too old now.

I will make fresh just in case it comes back or in case there are more still around or passing through for fall migration.

This is the first time I have seen a hummingbird past the middle of August.

No pics today :( of this hummer. It didn’t stick around long enough for that.

Cheers,

Sue

Reflections at Chichester

I took the camera to Chichester yesterday – not much for bird life so I took some reflection shots. The water was very still and there’s quite a bit of fall colour still there.

There’s something about water that is so peaceful.

Cheers,

Sue

First Robin this Year!

Another visit to Chichester and more evidence Spring is on the way …

First Robin of the year

There were also 4 Bufflehead males and a female floating in the Sumac pond. Two of the males were vying for pairing rights with the female and their antics were quite humourous to watch. She’s playing hard to get, though, and paid them no attention while they scooted and flapped and strutted their stuff.

Male Bufflehead showing off

Two male Buffleheads competing for a female

Bufflehead Ducks - she hasn't made a choice yet :D

Spring is Springing!

The Red-winged Blackbirds are showing up again – must mean Spring is on its way!

I stopped in at Chichester today and a male was yelling his head off from the bullrushes. I haven’t seen one there for a few months.

First RWBB at Chichester in 2010!

I am soooo ready for Spring!

A Herd of Quail

Lots of California Quail at Chichester today.

Frozen Pond

Not much room for swimming at Chichester these days. These mallards will take what they can get, though.

Winter Goldfinch

A tiny visitor to the feeder today. When breeding season comes, he’ll be a brilliant yellow!

Moon decked out for Christmas

Chichester in the Fall

Mallard Pairs on the East Pond

Mallard Pairs on the East Pond



Late Afternoon Glow

Late Afternoon Glow



Wild Rose Hips

Wild Rose Hips



Snowberry

Snowberry



Permanent Resident

Permanent Resident - This female Canada Goose will not be heading south this winter - thanks to some idiot humans who broke her wing



Green-winged Teal Ducks stopping in on their way south

Green-winged Teal Ducks stopping in on their way south



Autumn Splendor

Autumn Splendor - The Centre Pond



Mallard Drake

Mallard Drake



Mountain Ash (Rowan) berries

Mountain Ash (Rowan) berries

Leucistic Canada Goose and Friends

I stopped in at Munson Pond today and found this leucistic Canada goose there amongst all the other geese, ducks and what-have-you at this time of year.

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At the other end of the pond, I found some Bufflehead Ducks and Redhead Ducks in with a herd of Mallards. I’ve never seen so many Buffleheads in one place before and the Redheads are a new bird for my list – am up to 118 now, I think.

Redheads, Buffleheads and Mallards

Redheads, Buffleheads and Mallards



Redheads, Buffleheads and Mallards

Redheads, Buffleheads and Mallards

Mammatus Clouds

This morning I was sitting here at the computer and just happened to look up at the right moment. Funny how that works, isn’t it? One has to wonder why that specific moment in time?

Mammatus clouds are a rarity, but this is the second time I have been fortunate enough to catch them with the camera here in Kelowna this year.

Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus Clouds

Corn and Chicken Chowder

CORN AND CHICKEN CHOWDER

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INGREDIENTS

1 lb bacon – diced into 1/4″ slices- optional
Cooked chicken – diced into bite-sized pieces (I nuked a large package of drumsticks then removed the bones and skin and cut the meat up)
2 medium cooking onions
2 cans niblet corn
2 cans cream corn
about a cup of diced celery
1 can sliced mushrooms – optional

Butter, flour and milk for the white cream sauce base.

METHOD

1. Fry the bacon bits until transparent and remove from pan and put on paper towel to soak up the fat
2. In bacon fat in fry pan, cook the onions and celery until slightly browned
3. Add the mushrooms to the onion and celery and brown them, too.

Remove from heat and drain well. Set aside.

Make a white sauce in another big heavy pot – big enough to hold the whole soup mixture.

I am not sure if I know how to tell you how to make a white sauce because I do it by feel and have been making it for years without a recipe. But it basically goes like this:

In your big pot, melt 1 cup (1/2 #) of butter (or marg)

When it starts to sizzle, add a little bit of white flour – maybe a quarter cup. Stir it in. I use a whisk.

Add a little more flour, stir it in.

Add a little more flour, stir it in.

Keep doing that until it gets very thick and looks really dry, but don’t let it burn! Stir constantly!

When it gets really thick, add a bit of milk (I used whole milk but 2% is okay) – maybe a quarter cup. Stir it in.

Add a little more milk, stir it in.

Add a little more milk, stir it in.

Keep slowly adding milk and stirring constantly until it looks like thick cream.

Then dump the cans of corn into the cream sauce, add the onion mixture and the bacon bits and the chopped chicken and mix it all together.

If it is too thick, add more milk or add water. I like it thick like gumbo

Adjust the salt and pepper and serve it up.

Extras go in the freezer for another meal later …

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I am a huge fan of cooking and freezing because I don’t want to cook a full meal for myself every night. This way I get decent, home-cooked food without a whole lot of everyday drudgery and effort.

Hope this strikes your fancy

Cheers,
Sue

A Good Day for Homemade Soup

Tonight I made the most delicious soup I have ever eaten. Thank goodness I made a big pot full (is there any other way when you’re making soup?).

It rained so much and so hard all last night and today that I was eyeing my wood pile and wondering if I had the makings for a raft for Buddy and I.

Good day to make soup …

CREAM OF VEGGIE SOUP (with bacon)

1 lb bacon cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 large onion – diced
1 small bag of baby carrots
1 head cauliflower – broken into florets
1/2 head broccoli – broken into florets
1 small bag snow peas, cut into 1″ pieces
1 can peas – not drained
1 can niblet corn – not drained
1 can peas and carrots – not drained
1/2 bunch celery, diced
about 8 big cloves garlic – sliced
1/4 cup sugar
salt and pepper to taste (actually, I never taste anything until I sit down to eat it)

Cream of Veggie Soup

Cream of Veggie Soup

Fry the bacon until transparent. Remove from fat and put into large heavy soup pot.

In the bacon grease, fry the onion and garlic until browned. Add to soup pot.

Throw in everything else. You shouldn’t need to add any extra liquid because you use the liquid from all the canned veggies.

Boil it all up until everything is tender.

Remove from heat and blend it in a blender, food processor or with a mixer or immersion blender until smooth. All the liquid will get mixed in and will be creamy.

* * *

Make a white sauce in another big heavy pot – big enough to hold the whole soup mixture.

I am not sure if I know how to tell you how to make a white sauce because I do it by feel and have been making it for years without a recipe. But it basically goes like this:

In your big pot, melt 1/2 lb. butter (or marg)

When it starts to sizzle, add a little bit of white flour – maybe a quarter cup. Stir it in. I use a whisk.

Add a little more flour, stir it in.

Add a little more flour, stir it in.

Keep doing that until it gets very thick and looks really dry, but don’t let it burn! Stir constantly!

When it gets really thick, add a bit of milk (I used whole milk but 2% is okay) – maybe a quarter cup. Stir it in.

Add a little more milk, stir it in.

Add a little more milk, stir it in.

Keep slowly adding milk and stirring constantly until it looks like thick cream.

Then dump the blended veggies into the cream sauce and mix it all together. Adjust the salt and pepper and serve it up.

What could be better on a cold, wet day? I ate so much my tummy hurts.

Hope you enjoy this one, too

Cheers,
Sue

Blau Kabis

I made my German cabbage recipe a couple of days ago …

Blau Kabis (Blue Cabbage)

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1 large head red cabbage, cut in 1″ chunks
2 or 3 apples, cored, peeled and quartered
1/2 lb bacon, cut in half strips
1/4 cup sugar
salt and pepper to taste

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In a large heavy pot, throw it all in and add water just until you can see it. Set on the stove and bring to a boil. Simmer for several hours.

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Drain and serve hot as a veggie with pork chops or pork roast. I got lazy and just put mine in a bowl this time and called it supper. Love this stuff. The bacon cooks as it simmers and gives a smoky flavour, the apple gives the sweetness and the cabbage is well, just cabbage, but all the gassiness (sp?) is removed by the sugar that was added.

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The German people quite often mix fruits and veggies together for a main meal. I have another recipe called Birnen, Bohnen und Speck (Pears, Beans and Bacon) that is super good, too.

Hope you try this one – it is delicious and a new way to enjoy cabbage.

Cheers,
Sue

The List Grows to 112

At Chichester today I added to my Bird List. The list I keep is a little different from most birders’ lists in that my species only count if I have photographed them.  Some birders keep Life Lists, some Yearly Lists and some Monthly Lists – or all three. While I may see them and identify them, or hear them but not see them, they don’t count until I get a picture of them and add them to My Bird List. Simple, eh?

It is always exciting when I can add to my list.

I have five new birds to add today, plus new pictures of some already on my list.

Here’s the new ones:

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT

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RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET

Ruby Kinglet-2009-10-06-DSC_8106

Ruby Kinglet-2009-10-06-DSC_8638

Ruby Kinglet-2009-10-06-DSC_8644

Ruby Kinglet-2009-10-06-DSC_8676

Ruby Kinglet-2009-10-06-DSC_8679

ROCK PIGEONS

Rock Pigeon-2009-10-06-DSC_8349

Rock Pigeon-2009-10-06-DSC_8353

Rock Pigeon-2009-10-06-DSC_8365

DOWNY WOODPECKER (female)

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I already had a Male Downy Woodpecker on my list from last winter when one visited my suet feeder but I got this new one today, too …

2009-10-06-DSC_8664

BELTED KINGFISHER (female)

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GREEN-WINGED TEAL DUCK (female)

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Among the other birds I saw and photographed today, but which were already on my list, were Black-billed Magpies, Yellow-rumped Warblers,  Song and House Sparrows, dozens of Mallard Ducks, Northern Flickers, Gulls, Oregon Juncos (the first I have seen since the spring so winter is coming :( ), …

… and this scene from “The Birds” …

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Cheers,

Sue

A Gift from the Wild Birds

Wandering around today outside my shack, I found this gift from the wild birds.

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I love sunflowers! My kitchen has a sunflower theme.

Thanks,  Birds!!!

*I’ll fill your feeders in the morning!*

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I’ve been cooking again …………

Super simple and oh, sooo filling. One was more than enough for me! The rest will go into the freezer for when I get too lazy to cook.

STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS

zucc1-DSC_2503

4 zucchini about 8-9 inches long (and kinda fat around)
1 lb ground beef or mild Italian sausage meat
1 medium onion – chopped fine
4 cloves garlic – minced
1 small green pepper – diced
8-10 medium mushrooms – sliced thin
1 680mL (15 oz) can tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

zucc2-DSC_2499

Wash and slice zucchini in half lengthwise. Cut off ends. Place on foil- covered cookie sheet. Hollow out the seed part of the zucchini with a teaspoon to make a “boat”, leaving about ¼ inch all around. Chop up the pulp and set aside.

Brown meat in frying pan. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. Add green pepper and mushrooms. Add pulp from the zucchini. Add tomato sauce. If it’s too runny (you want it firm) add some torn-up bread (I used a hot dog bun).

Spoon mixture into zucchini boats. Top with shredded mozza.

Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes for firm zucchini or 35-40 mins for softer zucchini. You can also nuke the zucchini for a few minutes before you fill the boats.

Serve with salad or noodles.

Hope you try it.

Cheers,
Sue

A New Bird for my List

I was at Chichester today looking for a Red-necked Phalarope, but couldn’t find it.  Instead I found this small seclusive Brown Creeper …

2009-09-26-DSC_6915

This little fella makes 108 on my Bird List.  Maybe I’ll find the Red-necked Phalarope next time I go.

Sparrow in my beans

This little female House Sparrow has been playing in my beans …

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