From My Carolina Home

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Wildlife on the Mountain

Wildlife abounds in the country, and in the mountains we have been seeing more visitors lately. It is a true quote I heard somewhere that if you put food out, someone will come along to eat it. I had some scraps left over from cutting vegetables, and thought the squirrels would like to have the asparagus ends and squash seeds. So I put those out, and sure enough, it wasn’t too long before a guest came for a meal. This was after I had set out the apple cores and peels for the crows.

Squirrel buffet at From My Carolina Home

It took him quite a while to get up the courage to look over the edge of the pan and then hop in to take a bite, but he made short work of the squash when he finally did jump in.

Squirrel buffet at From My Carolina Home

This little young woodchuck (or groundhog as some call them) was digging in the meadow one morning last week.   I’m not sure what he found, but he seemed happy enough to frolic in the meadow for a bit.  It was so hard to get a clear picture as the lens was zoomed at far as it could go.  I must have taken a dozen pictures, and this was the only one that came close to being clear.

Woodchuck visit at From My Carolina Home

This raccoon came to visit a couple of times right at dusk.  He took advantage of the asparagus stalks left by the squirrels that I had neglected to pick up.  After I saw him the second time, I made sure to take the pan away.  The last thing I need is a raccoon tearing up the shingles, which I know they sometimes will do.  He can stay in the forest and we’ll get along fine.

Raccoon visit at From My Carolina Home

This little guy came by for a bite of seed. He looks a bit moth-eaten, but in fact those dark spots are his juvenile brown feathers that he hasn’t shed yet.

Juvenille Cardinal at From My Carolina Home

He is still learning how to grab onto the feeder. He fell off and flew away a couple of times before getting the balance to stay on while he ate.

Juvenille Cardinal at From My Carolina Home

It is always a surprise to look out the window and see a fox.  Usually by the time I grab the camera and get it turned on, then get it focused, the fox is gone.  But this evening, the sun was low in the sky, and only a patch of sunlight was available at the edge of the meadow, where the fox was sitting and scratching himself.

June 2017 Fox visit at From My Carolina Home

He must have a lot of fleas, as he was scratching and scratching.

June 2017 Fox visit at From My Carolina Home

I was amused at how long he stayed in that one spot.

June 2017 Fox visit at From My Carolina Home

He started sniffing around for a minute, and I wondered what he was up to.

June 2017 Fox visit at From My Carolina Home

Then, he wallowed on the stones in the drainage area that collects rainwater off the mountain and directs it to the drive and across to the stream at the bottom of the cove. Those stones are larger and probably made a good scratching pad.

June 2017 Fox visit at From My Carolina Home

He sat down for just a moment, then headed off down the road. Fun to see him stay for a bit, as he usually is just a flash as he lopes across the meadow.  He is so skinny!  But at least we don’t have any mice in the house.

June 2017 Fox visit at From My Carolina Home

On Thursday, a single solitary wild turkey was grazing in the meadow. It looks like a young one, cannot tell if it is a male or a female as it hasn’t developed any of the normal characteristics of a mature turkey yet.

Turkey June 2017 at From My Carolina Home

But, just for fun, I called to it. It looked at me, but didn’t come toward me. It also didn’t run away. It just went back to looking for acorns and worms, and ambled off at a leisurely pace.

Turkey June 2017 at From My Carolina Home

On the feeder, I managed to catch the wood thrush, the spotted breasted bird on the left.  He has been regaling us with birdsong for quite some years, and this is the first time I have managed to photograph one.  The female cardinal on the right has come by every evening now for a week or so.  I have seen the male courting her again, feeding her seeds from the feeder, a sweet sight.

Thrush and Cardinal at From My Carolina Home

It is quite unusual to see a thrush at a feeder, I am told that they like to stay in the woods and feed on the ground in the forest floor underbrush.  This is the first time I’ve ever seen one at all, much less at our feeder.

Thrush at From My Carolina Home

The story of identifying his song was interesting.  I had heard this bird for some years and never knew who was singing this particular song.  I looked on websites, and listened to snippets of bird songs for all the birds I knew were living here, but could not find this melodic birdsong.  I was able to record a video on my camera of just some trees with the bird song, and the video file came out at whopping 576MB!  DH showed me how to extract just the audio using a program on our computer, and export it to the desktop as an MP3 file, at a much more manageable 487kb.  I then sent the file to the wonderful people at the Ornithology Lab at Cornell University.  I got an email back the same day from a very nice guy named Matt, who identified the song for me as a Wood Thrush.   I’d love for you to hear it, but none of my normal outlets will upload an MP3 file – not Flickr, not Youtube, not the blog.  Oh well.  If I figure something out I’ll let you know.

What is the wildlife doing at your place?

 

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March Mountain Living

Looking out of the kitchen window earlier in the week, there were about 22 turkeys in the meadow. I took this to be the female flock, and it had grown from the 13 or so that usually come by. I decided to try to sneak out to the veranda to get a picture of them before they all moved into the forest. Moving slowly, trying to be quiet, I eased out of the door onto the veranda with camera ready. Much to my surprise, Bert and Ernie were in the group, and their heads came up immediately. Then they began running toward me! Oh rats, I hadn’t brought any bread out!

February Turkeys 2017 at From My Carolina Home

So, here they came. Bert, the larger and more dominant one, did a full fluff and tail fan, trying to impress me. He was trying so hard, that I went back inside to get them a bite.

February Turkeys 2017 at From My Carolina Home

Magnificent, isn’t he?!! Yes, they both got several bites of whole grain bread. Out in the meadow, part of female flock left behind stood like statues watching the boys strut, while the others had already melted into the forest. None of them ventured up closer. I thought later that was probably a good thing, I really don’t need to be supplementing the diets of that many turkeys!

February Turkeys 2017 at From My Carolina Home

Bert gobbled at me loudly a couple of times, which I find hilarious. I talk to him, and he answers sometimes. Ernie is quiet, never says a word and doesn’t generally fluff up. But he is attentive, and gets his share.

February Turkeys 2017 at From My Carolina Home

One more wildlife picture I haven’t had a chance to show, the turkeys came by one day in January with their deer friends. The deer are so skittish that I rarely get a picture of them. This one was taken from inside the Carolina room in the back, so they couldn’t see me. So fun to see wildlife around here!

Turkeys with Deer at From My Carolina Home

The picture is dark, and this bird has the sun behind him so it is hard to see.  His slate grey back, spotted chest and skinny legs point to being a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Although he was beautiful, I hope he doesn’t stick around, as they prey on small song birds as well as small animals.

Hawk March 2017

Sunday morning, we were treated to a rare view of our local deer herd, six females grazing in the meadow near the neighbor’s split rail fence. The nice zoom lens on the camera got some fairly decent shots.

Deer herd visit -1

It was a quiet morning, early, and they all seem to be grazing contentedly.

Deer herd visit -4

The least little movement or sound will scare them off, so I didn’t even attempt to go onto the veranda. Still, they were gone in a few minutes, taking the trail into the woods that the foxes like.

Deer herd visit -5

Up on the feeder, the goldfinch flock was hungry. They seem to be getting a bit brighter with the warm weather, but not to their summer color yet.

Goldfinches March 2017 - 1

Goldfinches March 2017 - 3

Chickadees, nuthatches joined the group later in the morning.

Chicadee March 2017

This little guy was the recipient of a bonanza of acorns. I had picked up a basketfull last fall, and started scattering them out this week. I know that springtime is the lean time for these guys. DH thinks I am crazy to do this, but the squirrels need to eat too.

Squirrel March 2017

We had a couple of nights of really cold temperatures, so I made one of my suet cakes and DH hung it up for the little birds. The chickadees found it pretty fast.

Suet feeder March chickadee 2

Later I saw this female hairy woodpecker on it too.

Suet feeder March woodpecker

Then a real surprise on Wednesday morning. A large group of wild turkeys were in the meadow. Thinking that it was the girls with Bert and Ernie, I went out to the veranda with some bread heels. But, it wasn’t them! It was another flock, 17 birds in all with 3 males. Two of them are in full fluff and tail fan, the third is on the right with his tail feathers almost up.

Mountain Living at From My Carolina Home

I grabbed the camera while they strutted and preened for the females. At one point two of them stood absolutely still, while a couple of the girls looked them over. I love to see them do this. After all, it is March, and mating season for turkeys.

Mountain Living at From My Carolina Home

They kept strutting, and totally ignored me and my bread offering. Later, Bert and Ernie made an appearance right when DH was going to leave the house. We know from experience that they will show a bit of aggression towards the car, gobbling loudly and chasing it. So, I gave them a bread treat and we waited until they had moved on for him to do his errand.

So, what’s going on in your neck of the woods?


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Dealing With Those Pumpkins, and a bit of Mountain Living

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is done and we are well into Christmas decorating, the orange pumpkins need to go.  Baking the little pie pumpkin is easy, and will provide wonderful fresh pumpkin for use in recipes.  All you need to do is cut the pumpkin into halves and scoop out the seeds.

Pumpkins 1

Place cut side down in a baking dish.

Pumpkins 2

Place in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.

Pumpkins 3

Scoop out the pumpkin, it will be the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Pumpkins 4

I store it in a container, for a day or two until I can get to baking. I measured the output of this little pumpkin, it came to 2-1/2 cups of fresh pumpkin. The aroma is wonderful, fresh and no preservatives!

Pumpkins 5

So, what to do with the other jack-o-lantern pumpkin? I didn’t want to just throw it away. We don’t have a zoo nearby to give it to, did you know that hippos love pumpkins? On the advice of a few readers, I decided to split it open and put it out for the turkeys. I sprinkled it with birdseed, also a reader suggestion, thank you Linda, Susan and Valerie.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 1

Then the stupid turkeys didn’t show up that day. So the little birds got all the seed. The next morning, I saw the turkeys in the meadow, and walked out to the veranda with a piece of whole wheat bread, and called to them. They came directly up to get their handout.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 2

Then they spent half an hour pecking at the ground, and walking around the pumpkins.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 3

Circling around and ignoring the orange treat, they were making that cluck-purring sound.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 4

Pumpkins for Turkeys 5

After a while, I got bored, and went down to the sewing room. A bit later, DH called me up to see them actually eating the pumpkin.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 7

I didn’t want to disturb them, so I took a couple of pictures from inside the house.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 10

First one, then the other one got a beak full.

Pumpkins for Turkeys 11

Oh, and I have to tell you a funny thing!  Our mailbox is down the mountain from the house so it is rare for the postal delivery guy to actually come up here.  But yesterday, the box from Back Side Fabrics wouldn’t fit in the box so he brought it up.  I heard this noise out in the front, and came up from the basement and out to the veranda to see what the commotion was.  The two male turkeys were trying really hard to run him off, and I had to laugh as they chased him around his jeep pecking at him and gobbling really loud.  Then he turned around and began to chase them off, yelling and waving his arms around.  When he came up to the house, winded, with my box, he said they had followed him from the house down the hill, running behind his jeep the whole way up the mountain!  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I encourage them to stay, LOL, or that the pumpkin halves in the yard were for them!  Nor did I tell him that they chased my car down the hill as I went out earlier in the week, feathers fluffed, tails up and gobbling the whole way.  They are getting really bold.

Anyway, now that I have the pumpkin all baked and ready to use in a recipe, I need to decide what to do with it.  The links below are to my original pumpkin recipes.  Which would you choose?

Spiced Pumpkin Cake Donuts

Spiced Pumpkin Cake Donuts at From My Carolina Home

Pumpkin Orange Bread

Pumpkin Orange Bread ~ From My Carolina Home

Do you have a leftover pumpkin?


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November Visitors on the Mountain

The last few days have seen some really amazing sights.  Having a camera with a really good zoom lens has helped to capture some spectacular pictures of our regular visitors.  Often I am unable to grab the camera fast enough to get good photos of the visitors, but this week was a banner week. First, early one morning the turkeys came by, this time the two males had joined the female flock, and they were showing off. I love it when they fluff up and strut, and this particular morning was one of those very rare instances where they gave a magnificent display.

November Turkeys at From My Carolina Home

The two males seemed to be in competition parading around the females.

November Turkeys at From My Carolina Home

They both puffed up their feathers, spread their tail fans and strutted their stuff for quite a while.

November Turkeys at From My Carolina Home

The funny thing is that the females seemed unimpressed, they kept pecking at the acorns, and didn’t pay a lot of attention to the poor guys.

November Turkeys at From My Carolina Home

Marvelous, aren’t they?  They would fluff up and stand for a moment, then slowly turn in a circle in order to show off from all sides.  Then they would take a few steps in one direction and turn again.

November Turkeys at From My Carolina Home

It was like they were in a pageant!

November Turkeys at From My Carolina Home

Poor boys, doing all they could to get the attention of the girls and not being very successful.  Look at me!  Look at me!

November Turkeys at From My Carolina Home

After a while, the whole flock moved off to the woods, with the boys still strutting their stuff as they went.

November Turkeys at From My Carolina Home

Then, one of the four foxes living nearby made an appearance. I first spotted it walking on the driveway circle, and it strolled over to the meadow. I was in such a hurry to take photos, this one was between the railing on the porch from inside the house. I was afraid to go outside as I thought the noise would make the fox run away.

Fox visit November at From My Carolina Home

Magnificent, isn’t it?

Fox visit November at From My Carolina Home

It sat on the edge of the meadow for a minute….

Fox visit November at From My Carolina Home

scratched under its neck…

Fox visit November at From My Carolina Home

looked around a bit, then wandered off to the forest.

Fox visit November at From My Carolina Home

It is wonderful to live with all this wildlife. Mountain living at its best!  I saw on the news that the black bears are going to be later in hibernating this year because it is still so warm, and there have been more sightings in residential communities north of us.  I haven’t seen any here lately, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t around.

What’s happening in your neighborhood?

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A Hint of Autumn in the Mountains

The calendar says October, but there hasn’t been the needed cold snap to turn our leaves to the autumn beauty we anticipate. Friday and Saturday did bring some much needed rain, and I was happy to spend the days inside. With some projects finished and others not yet begun, it was a perfect day to clean up and clear out some things. I do want to thank all the readers who emailed me concerned about our well-being with hurricane Matthew churning up the coast. We are very far inland in the western NC mountain area, and only had a couple of days of light rain. The winds picked up just a little, but not bad. There is one tree on the mountainside in the back that is showing some red color, everything else is still green.

Early October at From My Carolina Home

The flock of nine wild turkeys seem to have decided our place is good for breakfast and supper, as they are showing up a couple of times a day now. In the afternoon, while they were distracted by the acorns and bugs in the meadow, I crept outside to the veranda with my camera to try to get a good photo of all of them.  The trees behind them should be turning beautiful gold and red by now, but are really slow in changing.  It has been too warm and dry.

Early October at From My Carolina Home

Wild turkeys are a little like meerkats, when they hear something, all of them stop, raise their heads high, and freeze.

Early October at From My Carolina Home

I remained motionless, holding the camera and my breath until they relaxed again.

Early October at From My Carolina Home

Must be some good pickin’s in that meadow.

Early October at From My Carolina Home

I watched them for about 10 minutes, as they moved slowly down the meadow and melted into the forest.

Early October at From My Carolina Home

This flock appears to be all females and juveniles.  There are two males that come by too, but they are not with this group, at least not yet.  I do think that later when it is getting cold, that the two males will join this group.  I am pretty sure they did in previous years.

Early October at From My Carolina Home

So, we are waiting for Autumn to don her burgundy and gold, for the chill of October and a fire in the fireplace.  I am looking forward to wearing a warm sweater, enjoying a bowl of homemade soup with fresh crusty bread on a blustery day, baking with pumpkins and apples, cuddling up with a quilt and reading a good book.  For my Canadian readers, Happy Thanksgiving!!  I hope you enjoyed the turkey photos I saved for today.

Early October at From My Carolina Home

Until Mother Nature cooperates with a show in the trees, keep making your autumn leaf blocks.  If you missed Block One with the Aurifil giveaway post, click on Autumn Jubilee Quilt Along. For my northern hemisphere readers, are the trees turning color where you are? For my friends in the southern hemisphere, what is blooming now?

autumnjubileelogo


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August in the Garden

Every time I say something about the garden, it conspires to prove me wrong.  In July, I said that I planted the johnny jump ups too late to get any flowers.  Then not a week later, here they come. I really cannot complain as I love their sweet flower faces.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

More little tiny buds are showing and I hope to have a lot of these soon.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

Then I said I was disappointed in the dianthus in the flower bed, and then they went to town blooming.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

The caladium is getting a lot bigger. I’ll have to repot it soon.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

I put a saucer from one of my larger pots out in the yard near the bird feeder for the birds to use. Contrary little things haven’t touched it.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

These white begonias must love this heat, every one of the pots that has them is blooming profusely.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

And more begonias.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

The verbena is still producing pretty purple flowers, surrounded by those begonias.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

The last thing I said was that the hydrangea was just about done. Then it decided to put on a new show, with copious blooms in a dusky pink…

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

one gorgeous bloom in deep lavendar…

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

and one in a blueish hue with some purple and white, all on the same plant. At the same time!  I think this one will deepen to all lavendar over the next week or so.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

Of course, the torenias are still going strong. These baskets will keep going all summer and well into fall.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

Then there were the visitors this month. A small flock of wild turkeys is back, which usually doesn’t occur until September. I am hoping for cooler weather soon.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

With the longer lens on my camera, I can get much better pictures of the wildlife now. These males were fluffing their feather against the rain, and I was hoping they would spread them and strut but they didn’t oblige me.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

The one on the right here is a juvenile, likely hatched this spring.  I think this small flock of five is all bachelors.  Hard to say though, as the young ones don’t have their red coloring on their heads or the feather wattles they will get later.  But the females don’t turn red or grow wattles.  Either way, I just like watching the wildlife as it strolls by.

August in the Garden ~ From My Carolina Home

They stayed around for quite a while, eventually working their way around the house and up the mountainside behind the house.

What is going on in your garden?

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