Monday, August 31, 2020


A skunk exploring our backyard.  
Covid19 has affected most areas of our lives, but I'm grateful that it has not affected our backyard, except in a positive way, I'm able to spend more time back there.

Four things happen in our backyard every August that let us know that summer is quickly coming to an end and the fall season is a mere few weeks away.

1. These beautiful yellow flowers bloom along the fence.

They are called Jerusalem Artichoke, a part of the sunflower family.
We hear the roots are edible, but we prefer the Goldfinches eating the seeds.
 2. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird population increases in our yard. We usually have a couple adults with us through-out the summer, but in August we start seeing juveniles as well.

A juvenile fueling up for his first trip south.

3. Skunks make our backyard their favorite hang out! (Good thing we don't mind them)

Checking out the flowers.
Three of the sometimes five that have been around.
Walking through the pollinator garden.
Our ground bird baths become the skunks local watering hole.
I posted this one because I think it's pretty.
They all seem quite happy in our backyard! 
4. The Baltimore Orioles who arrive in May disappear around the end of June or so and reappear in August with the families they have raised.

Papa (top middle) over seeing 3 feeding.
Two enjoying a bath while Papa watches. 
 We're pretty sure we had three families of Baltimore Orioles this year, as we had a dozen in the yard a few times including three adult males.

It's been a great summer in our backyard for the wildlife and for us. 

Friday, August 21, 2020


I don't consider myself a great cook. I get by, simple ingredients, simple but tasty meals. Maybe that's why I love dining in restaurants so much, trying new foods that I wouldn't attempt at home. Having someone prepare it, serve and clean up is a big bonus too.

When we were in stage one of Covid19 lock down a neighbor offered me a code for 3 free meal kits from Hello Fresh. Since I was working from home four days a week, and cooking more, I thought I would try it out. I was hooked from that first box, and have ordered more since.

For me, it's kinda like a cooking class in a box! It comes with recipe cards, and most of the ingredients are pre-measured. You only need a couple pantry staples to whip up a restaurant quality meal. I've cooked with ingredients I never have before and have learned some tips and tricks I will continue to use. I don't get a box every week, it depends on what we have going on. I'm looking forward to trying some new recipes and reordering some favorites. They offer lots of variety every week to pick from and the high quality ingredients is noticeable. I  also love how all the packaging is recyclable.

Here are a few pics of some of the meals I have made.

The first meal I made from Hello Fresh, Southwestern Pork Tacos with Tomato Lime Salsa and Cheddar
Zucchini and Lemon Linguine with Peas and Pesto
Saucy Taiwanese Chicken Thighs with Bok Choy and Scallion Rice
BBQ Beef Meatballs with Smashed Potatoes and Broccoli
Moo Shu Pork Tacos with Stir-Fried Veggies and Sriracha Mayo
Steak with Montreal Spiced Shrimp with Grilled Zucchini and Heirloom Tomatoes
Chinese Almond Chicken with Garlicky Bok Choy and Rice - One of our favs!
All my recipe cards.
Who would of thought I'd be able to get Rob to eat all these new dishes, but we've both enjoyed everything we've had. Trying this meal kit service was one of the positives during this somewhat negative time.

Friday, August 14, 2020


Our private green space.
I have always loved our backyard. It is where we spend the majority of our spring and summer weekends, and as long as the fall weather holds, you will still find us out there. This year though, a different word comes to mind when I think of our backyard, grateful. 

When we went into lock-down back in March, spring was on it's way. For bird nerds like us, that means the arrival of the migrants, some who will visit our backyard on their way further north, and others that will remain with us for the spring/summer season. It also means a variety of other visitors, some furry and some of the other winged variety.

Our backyard not only provides shelter, food, and water for our wild friends, but it provides us with a place to unwind and de-stress. The antics of our wild friends also provides us with endless entertainment and a sense of joy. It's easy for us to spend hours back there, and we are grateful that we have this space to do so. I know having this private oasis of ours has helped us deal mentally with the pandemic. Our backyard truly is our sanctuary.

Please enjoy some photos of some of our spring and summer visitors.

The Baltimore Orioles are always pretty hungry when they arrive in the Spring. 
This Red Squirrel enjoyed our bird feeders for a month or so this past Spring. I named him "Timbit"!
Cedar Waxwings courting in the yard. 
We had a chipmunk around regularly for the first time in four years. 
I saw this guy nightly for months, he's my friend, and still around.
My favorite summertime visitor. 
I've taken over sugar water and feeder cleaning duty since I'm working from home.
I don't see the opossums much anymore, as I'm usually asleep when they come through. 
August means skunks in our yard!
The birds are not the only wildlife who enjoy the bird baths.
The skunks seem pretty happy in our backyard. 
Rob's pollinator garden is attracting some nice butterflies, like this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. 
Black Swallowtail on Bee Balm.
Baby raccoon.
Our Northern Cardinals are here year round, and "Papa" has a mate and raises a family yearly. 
In a few weeks we won't be seeing many of these species, we are enjoying them while we can.

Friday, August 7, 2020


Monarch Butterfly
Last weekend was the first day trip Rob and I have taken this summer. We ventured over to the Urquhart Butterfly Garden to see if we'd get lucky and see some pollinators we don't get in our backyard. As much as I enjoy our backyard, it was nice to be "out" doing something we enjoy this strange summer.

We hadn't been in a few years and we saw a few different species of butterflies and dragonflies this trip. It really is a lovely little spot to visit.

Colourful flowers.
Silver-spotted Skipper
Snowberry Clear-wing Moth
Red-spotted Purple Butterfly
Looking for butterflies!
Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Amberwing Dragonfly

Rob got pretty excited when he saw this next Butterfly, he thought it was a lifer, but we had seen one, once, four years ago at this very place. But we had much better and longer looks at it this time around.

Giant Swallowtail - side look
Giant Swallowtail - back look
Rob is working on our own pollinator garden in our backyard, this special place and the pretty winged things we see here are a good incentive.