Twin Tuesday – Choppy & Schooner Edition

OMG! If you haven’t been over to Travels With Choppy, you DO NOT know what your missing!! Get over there…. I’ll wait…. See? I told ya it was a hoot! Not only does Sarah twist our brain with finding Choppy in low places, she also dresses the anipals (well, at least Choppy) and gets us laughing with the howlidays posts. I love her ‘one photo posts’ with the furries, my inspiration for the below photo.

Don’t forget! Sarah is a published author now 😉 Do check out her work here.

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

OMG Asparagus… In April!

I think the earliest we’ve ever had asparagus was late April in 2015. Granted, this is one the first one to pop-up, however the others are never far behind. I’m so looking forward to fresh asparagus!

It was my first Friday back at work last week. The four months of three day weekends are officially over. Sad face. Only clocked in 46.5 hours. It’s still early.

Due to my co-worker’s health issue, I will going out in the field this year to plant the annual container flowers. How sick is it to be happy to be out in the field? I’m only doing it due to her bad health?  Sadly, that’s how life rolls.

Enjoy your Sunday! It’s going to be a beautiful one in the Midwest! I’ll have some beautiful pix from some of the pots we’ll be planting soon.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Show

 

Chippy Chipmunk ~ Tamias striatus

These guys are my adorable little bird seed removers. No one likes weeds  under the feeders 🙂

The genus name of Tamias is Greek for treasurer, steward, or housekeeper, surely because of how this little critter cleans up all the seeds on the ground, storing them for winter dining. The common name may have been spelled chitmunk from the native Odawa (Ottawa) word jidmoonh, meaning “red squirrel”.

Their average size is 2-6″ inches long, with a 3″ inch tail and weigh less than a pound. Chipmunks will live to an average of 2 – 3 years in the wild, however can easily double that in captivity. Sadly, these cuties are on the bottom of the food chain. Chipmunks will gather food along the ground, most times staying out of wide open spaces. They prefer areas with underbrush, evergreens, and downed trees, where they can hide from predators like bird of prey, foxes, coyotes, and snakes.

        

Clearly, this is a little boy chipmunk 😉  ||  A group of chipmunks is called a scurry.

These little engineers like to dig two types of burrows: shallow burrows for fast get-aways while foraging, and deeper burrows where the entrance can be up to 20′ feet long, where they nest, store food and hibernate. Chipmunks rarely venture further than 1,000 feet from their burrows at any time.

They feed on insects, nuts, berries, seeds, fruit, they also eat other creatures such as insects, baby birds, frogs and bird eggs, which they stuff into their stretchy cheek pouches and and bring back to their burrows to store.

I used to hear these chirps and think they were birds.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 

 

Reed-Turner Woodland Preserve – Spring Blooming Flowers 4-5-2017

Last weekend, my hubby allowed himself to get talked into a quick jaunt around Reed-Turner Woodland Preserve in Long Grove, Illinois. It’s a pretty small preserve at 36 acres. It was donated to the Long Grove Park District by Barbara Reed-Turner. It’s a fabulous little gem with so much diversity and wildlife to see. The town of Long Grove does have many activities such as Strawberry & Apple Fests, along with it’s quaint feel, makes for a great day trip. All of the following flowers were captured at the preserve. Since I’ve not had another blooming flowers in the past that’s remotely close to this one, I’m not linking back to any past blooming posts.

Winter aconites – Eranthis hyemalis

Aren’t they adorable? They look like little ballerinas.

Pussy willows ~ Salix discolor

Scilla Siberica – Siberian Squill or Wood Squill

Vinca minor ~ Periwinkle

Salem Lake

Bird Log – Lots of birds fly through here!!

Natural Stadium Seating

More Squill

Indian Creek

The only bird I can pick-out here is the White-breasted Nuthatch. An maaaybe a red-breasted. Their noise is a bit higher pitched.

I hear Redwinged Blackbirds, Robins and many loud ‘Clicky’ birds. I could see it was a midsize bird, but that’s it with the dank gray skies.

Lots of clean-up going on this spring.

Common snowdrops ~ Galanthus nivalis

Forsyhia

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Twin Tuesday – Eddie Two Hawks

Eddie Two Hawks isn’t a person, it’s a form of thought. I love the simplicity of the posts, along with the powerful message they bring. Eddie usually combines these words of wisdom with a beautiful photo, mostly consisting of flowers. Thank you for all the words of wisdom Eddie 🙂

Earth, Teach Me

Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.

– An Ute Prayer

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Burn the Fields!

Since I was focusing on my front foundation plant bed for the past two years, I passed on doing my veggie garden. We tried to keep it weed free, however weeds won the battle. Late last fall, we just cut it down to a few inches tall. We are planning to have the veggie garden back this season. To prepare for this, we needed to get rid of these weeds! An easy way for us to do this was to burn them. I’m a bit of a pyro. In my younger years, I would have loved to be the firefighter that battles the wildfires. I’m too old for that, however I am certified to work prairie fires. Of course, I can still have my fun in my own yard!! 

In lieu of using the normal fire starter method used for prairie fires (diesel) we opted for a harder method, however our method would not taint the soil. We used a propane torch. It got the fire started, however because we weren’t dropping drips of fuel, which would fuel a fire so many ways better, our method relied on the dryness of the plant matter and wind. We chose a 10 MPH wind, and used it to ‘push’ the fire along the bed. It wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done.

I’m not sure where my hubby got that pink firehat. They were being given out somewhere and it had somehow got placed on the shelf near the propane torch. He thought it was apropos for the situation. I just thought it made him look cute.

Like I said, this was not exactly a wildfire! This was as good as it got. I think those flames are reaching waist height.

In case you’re wondering why we are burning our fields, in short, our area “The Great Plains”, requires a burning now and then to cleanse the non-natives from the native lands. Non-native plants and seeds usually can’t survive the heat of the fires like our natives can. Ancient Native Americans learned this long ago. If you’d like to learn more, click here.

Burn, baby, burn!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Punked my Pups!

I don’t like to waste food, and lucky for the boys there was some left over ham from the weeks sandwiches. Instead of cutting it up and mixing it in, I decided to be an a$$hole and stick it to the bottom of the bowl, under their food >:-D

   

I don’t normally feed them in the living room, however I knew I’d be documenting their progress.

Oreo went straight to working on getting the ham out.

Breck was just gobbling! So much so, his bowl was rolling all over.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Irony

My hubby just installed our new, large, toyhauler mailbox last weekend. Our mail person is going to love it, as they can fit much larger packages in it and not have to drive up to the house to drop them off.

I do have an odd set-up for the front of my home. The true, front door is not convenient to use, as it drops you off into a small hallway in the living room. I much prefer using the garage entrance that then goes into the kitchen. Way more accessible to everything and a much larger foyer, so to speak.

I have a long bench right by this door that is out of the elements and a great place to leave packages, as I will see them walking up. The front door has no protection from rain. Even though I have blocked the front stoop from access with flower pots, it doesn’t stop them from hopping over and putting them there. It’s really only UPS and FedEx that does it. I usually have a note in the mailbox, telling the mail carrier to place them on the bench…

Since I had a new mailbox, I needed to write out a new note to hang inside, informing the carriers of my wishes that larger packages be placed on the bench. This was my first attempt. DOH!!!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl