Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Urban Wildlife

Last night's speaker at my monthly Master Gardener meeting was from the Colorado Division of Wildlife.  Ashley gave a great lecture and slide show concerning the urban wildlife we have in Denver.  She pointed out how we have created a habitat for the red fox, raccoon, fox squirrel, skunk, coyote and many more. Just think about it, if you were one of these small animals would you choose to live in the desert or in an area where there are ponds for water, shrubbery to lie under out of the sun, gardens for you to pick your food and raised porches/decks that you could live under where you would be protected from the elements and predators?  Unfortunately, these animals usually feed on our spring and summer gardens, and that makes them not welcome visitors to our homes. Even though it seems counter productive, in some instances it's wise to set up a feeding station in the opposite corner of your yard to draw their attention away from your prized vegetables.
From is a recipe that will deter animals without the use of potentially dangerous chemicals. It is safe for use around pets and children.
Hot Pepper Repellent Recipe:
Ingredients: One Chopped yellow onion
                  One chopped jalapeno pepper
                  One Tablespoon of Cayenne pepper
Boil Ingredients for 20 minutes in two quarts of water.  Let cool and strain the mixture through cheesecloth.  Apply with a pesticide sprayer or a spray bottle.  This will deter just about any animal from an area where it is applies.  It will last about 3-5 days.  Reapply as needed.  Typically after maintaining it for a week to several weeks the animals will stop coming around.  May need to reapply sporadically as a "reminder".

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Day of Spring

Silly Squirrel.  I knew something was eating at my colorful crocus flowers.  Everyday, a few more are being nibbled away, and here's the culprit.  He was running along the edge of my fence with a yellow crocus petal on his head, rather amusing.  I suppose I can share; he must find them very tasty.  Bon appetit little guy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Butterscotch Babies

Made these Butterscotch Babies, a recipe from The Runaway Spoon.  Basically, they are brownies, except they are made with butterscotch chips. Next time I'll stir in chocolate chips and nuts just before they go in the oven to bake.  My mouth is starting to water just thinking about them.  Cut them small, they are very rich.
Butterscotch Babies
1 (11-ounce) package butterscotch morsels
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking pan or line with non-stick foil.
Place the butterscotch morsels and the butter, cut into chunks, in a large microwave safe glass bowl and microwave on high for 1 ½ minutes.  Stir the mixture until smooth and incorporated.  Microwave at 10 second intervals if necessary for the morsels to melt, stirring after each blast.  It’s okay if the mixture looks a little granular.  Stir in the brown sugar, breaking up any lumps.  Leave to cool for at least five minutes.  The mixture may separate, but that’s fine, just stir it back together.  When the mixture has cooled off, add the eggs and blend well with a fork until incorporated and the mixture has loosened up.  Add one cup of the flour, the baking powder and salt and stir to incorporate.  Add the remaining cup of flour and stir until everything is well incorporated.  You’ll use a little elbow grease. Stir in the vanilla.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool in the pan, then cut into small squares.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


If the Crocus are up it must be spring.  March 21st is just after this weekend.  I have a lot of tulips and daffodils that are coming up out of the ground, but surely the first sign of spring is a crocus.  For some reason the yellow ones are always the first up, followed by white and then purple.  Maybe that only happens in my yard, but it's the way they've always arrived.  Bright and cheery, don't they look like little yellow buttercups?  I ask you,  how can't you smile when you see that?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Orange Blossoms

This is my dwarf Mandarin Orange tree.  As you can see, it is loaded with blossoms right now.  During the winter it lives in a South window in my living room.  The smell of the orange blossoms is unbelievable right now, almost overwhelming.
When I step into that room, the fragrance is beautifully intoxicating,  I wish I could bottle it.  I think everyone should have a citrus tree in their home during the winter.  With their fresh crisp leaves and clean scent it would surely help to banish the winter blues.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sealing the wood fences

Almost finished with the pressure washing, sealing and reattaching the outdoor walls. 
Here, the 36" pieces are drying after being sealed with a natural transparent coating. So glad we were able to do this before everything started to grow again.  We have trimmed up the Wisteria, Orange Flame vine along with  several Honeysuckles- the yellow Halls Banks and Pink Lemonade.  Trimmed back the Hops vine that was left up all winter to remind us how fun it grows in the summer;  it'll start peaking up through the ground soon. 
Replaced the posts that were on the edge of the deck before putting it back together.  Today the shadow box around the hot tub was dismantled and cleaned up.  Tomorrow it will be back in place only looking a thousand times better.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cleaning the flagstone

With our spring like weather today, 63, we decided to put some hours on the pressure washer in the backyard.  Earlier this week, Bob cleaned the deck and has already put two coats of sealer on.  My job was to clean the flagstone paths that meander through the yard.  It was a messy job.
Here is the beauty- our Honda .  She's been working hard this week, but was up for the task.     
The flagstone looks so good.  Now we just have to wait for winter to be over, and spring to begin.  I think I'll go start some more seeds.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Herbs are sprouting

Yeah...Chives, Parsley, chamomile, basil, thyme and cilantro have sprouted.  This time of year, I am just waiting for something to come up out of the soil.  I am working at the ground everyday, but still can't get through the frozen part. Why does it seems like it's been such a long time since last summer?? On a side is my Dad's birthday.  He's 84, and still going strong.  Love him. xoxox