Sunday, February 26, 2012

Luscious lichens and shredded bark

I saw these most amazing lichens on a tree trunk at a local garden nursery last fall. Aren't they gorgeous? They are the colors of the sea.

I was also fascinated by the bronze-colored shredded bark on this conifer. I wish I'd made note of what it was, although now that I think about it, it wasn't marked. 

A pair of bluebirds continues to show every intention of setting up housekeeping in the nest box just outside my office window. Last fall, I put a good-sized wad of soft cat hair I'd collected inside that box, for the comfort of the woodpeckers or other songbirds that occasionally shelter there in bad weather. I haven't noticed the bluebirds removing those gifts from Waldo and Luther, so I trust they don't find them objectionable. Me wonders if they will use it to line their nest or just build on top of it. We shall see.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hints of Spring

I've noticed a pair of bluebirds showing interest in a nest box here that's usually dominated by house wrens.

And the snowdrops are in bloom!

Tonight's dinner was black bean pumpkin soup. Oh so easy and mighty good.

Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup

1/2 cup chopped onion
3 or 4 garlic cloves
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups cooked black beans
1 can of pureed pumpkin
1 can of diced tomatoes (I used frozen, from last summer's garden)
1 T. cumin
1 t. cinnamon
freshly ground pepper

In a big pot, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil til soft.
Puree the black beans and tomatoes in the blender with half of the broth.
Transfer this and the rest of the broth to the big pot.
Add the pumpkin and spices and cook for about 40 minutes.

Very good with a salad and crusty bread, like Trader Joe's Rustico Bread.