Found a little bat today

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of bat

Look what I found hiding in a recess in one of the small structures on my property. I was out doing maintenance today and found this little guy ... After a bit, he flew away but was kind enough to let me take pictures first.... :)

Bought a new mower

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of mower

I'm getting tired of buying used riding mowers... But yet I need a riding mower because of all the damage to my knee. I'm at  about the point in my life where I will not be able to use a push mower anymore. But every time I buy a used riding mower, I get ripped off.

So today I went to Lowe's and bought a brand new riding mower... This is a small model, with only a 30 inch cut. But that's exactly what I want. It will fit nicely in my barn, and I don't need much more than that. I will let you know how it works out!

It's been a most unusual winter

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of snowy garden

It's been a very unusual winter. Usually, the Seattle area average is 14 inches of snowfall a year. And that's just an average... We really rarely see that.

This year, we are close to 30 inches total for this area. every time the weather man says we are just about done with the snow, we get hammered again. Yesterday we had nearly 4 inches. The day before, nearly 3 inches. And both days, a dusting was predicted.

It's been beautiful, and it's been interesting, and it's been fun. But I'm tired of it. Bring on Spring!

2019 - It's on!!

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of seedlings

Yay! After an unusually cold and snowy winter, I am able to finally start gardening! Here are some of my early starts. I did have some out in the greenhouse, but then it got very cold and very snowy for a very long time. They did not survive. But the ones inside on heating mats are still doing great!

The smell of Quince in Fall

Submitted by jimwcoleman
 Photo of Quince on tree

I am not sure what I love the most about my Quince tree.. that it is loaded with brilliant fruit well into Fall, or the wonderful pineapple-like smell of the fruit! This tree is nine years old and never disappoints!

Just wish I knew how to better use the fruit. I made Quince jam once but it didn't rock my world... I do have a friend who makes Quince vinegar, I think. I am sure she will love this bounty.

Meanwhile, I love them for their color and smell!

Homemade bee fondant

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of homemade bee fondant

With winter coming, it's time to make bee fondant (sugar candy) for the bees to consume while over-wintering. I found a couple of recipes on the Internet and combined them to come up with this one. I poured the mixture into plastic sandwich lunch containers lined with foil. This recipe was enough to fill two such containers to the top. You will need a good candy thermometer:

8 cups sugar
16 oz water
1 tsp white vinegar

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil.

Boil uncovered for three minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should be clear when done.

Canning tomatoes

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of tomatoes on kitchen counter

Getting ready to can the second batch of tomatoes this season, with lots more coming. Canning tomatoes is hot, tedious work, but, like I say...

The only thing I hate more than canning tomatoes is not having canned tomatoes available when I need them.... :)

So here goes.... Turn on the stove and being out the ice bucket...

Midnight visitor ...

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of buck in our backyard
Photo of another buck in our back yard ...

Lately, we've had an overnight visitor. All the fires have driven the wildlife deeper into our neighborhoods and the animals are hungry!

I have been putting apples out on the lawn to feed the deer. This was after we noticed that they came through and totally cleaned out all our annuals and perennials! Here, two different large bucks came through on two different nights. This is eight feet outside our back door. :)