Last week I noticed an unusual amount of activity on the front porch. Despite the fact that I'd filled the ferns with balled-up paper and frequently rotated them to discourage nesting, a pair of very persistent house finches had, indeed, made a nest in one.
This was a short-lived inconvenience for us, because after only a day the fern had been knocked over and the egg smashed on our steps. Was it an animal or snake? I don't know. I didn't hear them for a few days, and then I heard house finches singing around the other side of the house. I hope they were able to make another nest in a better location!
We've nearly finished our little outdoor fireplace area by the pond.
It's nothing fancy, but the citronella torches help keep the mosquitoes away and we love seeing all the creatures that are drawn to the water.
Here's a white-tailed deer just across the pond.
We see the little muskrat almost every day.
We've had an absolute explosion of southern toads. You really can't go outside without stumbling over one.
More often heard than seen, this grey tree frog is resting up for his nighttime performance.
Finally, we have "the goz." I used to see them multiple times a day, but now that they're older and ranging further from the pond I don't see them nearly as much. I just got a glimpse of them the other day and see that they've nearly shed their neck and face fuzz and taken on the tradition colors of adult geese.
Closer to the house we have the lazy anole lizards, always out in the sun.
In the front yard, I noticed a squirrel who seemed to be...drinking?...from one of our trees.
Upon closer inspection, I realized that it was the tree that, last year, had been leaking the yeasty-smelling fluid. It's still leaking.
This is slime flux and there's nothing we can do. It's a bacterial infection and that bacteria causes a pressure build-up within the tree, which is relieved by these foul-smelling leaks. We just have to cross our fingers and hope for the best. I would hate to lose another tree.
Our gardenias are nearly done for the year!
I'd guess we had another week, but many of the blooms are starting to take on that tea-stain tint that occurs right before the buds drop. I've been filling the house with bouquets and just as quickly changing them out, because the buds only last a day or so inside.
I know it seems like I have completely stopped baking, and I've definitely slowed a little bit, but I still bake on a regular basis. I just bought some almond meal and am planning on trying my hand at making macarons this week, if I have time. I do have a very simple recipe to share today, from the Annie's Eats site. Greek yogurt, pureed strawberries, some lemon zest, and a dash of vanilla...
...freeze in some cheapo popsicle molds, and you've got a really tasty and healthy treat (although Todd recommends adding a little bit of sugar to give it some extra sweetness).
Recipe here. Easy and perfect for summer. Have a great week!