Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hummingbirds, Part 3

The hummingbirds are so intent on guzzling at the feeders, they don't mind my presence as much, so I was able to get some pictures of the swarm. They're drinking as much as the can, in preparation for their trip south. They'll be leaving soon, heading to Mexico. I keep reminding myself of that every time I buy another bag (or two) of sugar and every time I refill one of the feeders. Even with three feeders up, the smallest one needs to be refilled twice a day.

The weather lately reflects the reality about living in the desert: temperature extremes. On the same day the high temperature is 93, the low temperature is 44! Yesterday, the previous record high was 87, but we hit 90. This has definitely been a long, hot summer and I'm ready for it to end.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Thai Food

And now for something completely different.

If you love Thai food, but don't live near a Thai restaurant, or don't want to go out, or if you want to make some yourself but don't want to bother with a long list of ingredients, I have the perfect solution -- Trader Joe's Thai Red Curry Sauce.

This is NOT a paid endorsement (although if Trader Joe's want to pay me, I'll happily accept and amend this blog to note that); I'm just a very satisfied customer.

I cut up boneless chicken breast into bite-sized chunks and cut up mushrooms and onions because that's what I had in the crisper. Next time I'll probably add red bell pepper. Use whatever meat (or not) and veggies you like. Saute them in a very little bit of oil until done, then pour in the Red Curry Sauce and stir it around until heated through. Serve on rice. Enjoy! Yum!

The sauce is perfect balance of curry, chili, coconut, and whatever else is in there. It has a nice little bite, maybe "medium" on the hottness scale, so some people may want to add some more chili, but for me, it was perfect.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Country Morning

I love living in the country! Where else can you see the sight I just saw a few minutes ago? A boy, perhaps 12 years old, was riding an ATV on the dirt road in front of our house. He was holding a leash. Attached to the other end of the leash and trotting behind the ATV was a sheep!

I've seen this boy in previous years walking his sheep, on a leash, on the road, but this is the first time I've seen him using an ATV to walk his sheep.

This is the kind of thing you don't see in the city or the suburbs.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Late Summer Daze

These wildflowers are "volunteers" growing near our front gate. We didn't plant them, but they come up every year. I'm not even sure what kind they are. The wild sunflowers are starting to pop up on the sides of all the roads around here, especially Blueberry Hill.

Here in New Mexico, the wildflowers don't bloom in the spring; they bloom in the late summer and early fall. I'm glad to see them blooming for two reasons. First, they're so pretty and second, it means the end of summer is in sight. I decided yesterday that I'm really REALLY tired of summer and ready for fall. It hasn't been that beastly hot of a summer, but it's definitely been a humid one, more humid than usual. And we've been running the swamp cooler a lot. It keeps the house relatively cool, but it makes it more humid inside, too. Sometimes it just feels cool and clammy in here.

This morning was great. First thing in the morning, it was only 50 degrees. The air felt wonderfully cool. I took my mug of coffee out to the screen room to drink it and enjoy the coolness. It's like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. In only a couple of weeks, the air will be cool and crisp like that every morning and evening. I can't wait!

Monday, August 6, 2007

More Hummingbirds

I'm still trying to get a good picture of all these hummingbirds, but it seems to be impossible. Or at least it takes a lot more patience than I have to stand out there and let them get used to me so they'll come back to the feeders. There are three or four times as many as in the picture. Even with three feeders up, the small one will still be emptied in twelve hours or less. This morning, after filling the small one and the big one, I was completely out of sugar, so I went to the store and bought 2 four-pound bags. They'll both be gone in a couple of days, I'm sure.

This is the time of year we start referring to it as "an infestation of hummingbirds." The cats really enjoy watching them (through the windows, of course).

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


It's hard to get a good picture of the hummingbirds. They're very skittish and fly away when I go out into the yard. When they come back to the feeders, they fly around so fast, only stopping briefly to drink. At the height of the feeding frenzy, there's a hummingbird on each of the 16 perches with more birds hovering around impatiently, sometimes chasing the other birds away from the feeders.

We had to put up the third feeder, "the big one," on Sunday. Before that, even with two feeders, the small one would be emptied in 12 hours or less. We're going through a lot of sugar! We don't buy the commercial hummingbird nectar; we make our own. Fill the feeder one-third full with sugar, then fill with hot tap water, shake until the sugar is dissolved, then hang. The birds seem to really love it when it's fresh and hot. Kind of like Krispy Kreme doughnuts; they're best when they're freshly made and hot.

We get a swarm of hummingbirds like this every summer. It starts out in late April with one or two birds, then four or five, and by mid to late July, there are too many to count. It will be like this for two or three weeks, and then gradually, one by one, they'll head south. By the end of August or beginning of September, when the nights are chilly and almost down to freezing, there are one or two hangers-on, and eventually they'll leave, too. Then we take the feeders down, clean them out, and put them away until next April.