May Musings, Milestones, and Harbingers of Spring

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It’s finally warming up and green, though today as I write, we’re in the middle of a little cool, rainy snap. Like most parents these days, I feel a bit crazed. The end of the school year is winding down and it seems like we’re running full-speed ahead. (I can’t wait for summer weather and some lazy, hazy summer porch-sitting)! Spring has certainly sprung in New England, and we’ve been as busy as bees!

The end of any school year is busy, but if you’ve got little ones- just wait until your kids are in high school! Time moves at warp speed. My daughter is a junior this year, but she’s already had to sit for next year’s Senior Pictures, take the SATs, and is having to start thinking about colleges.

The biggest excitement  recently was getting to see our daughter dressed up formally to go to her boyfriend’s senior high school prom. Of course, it was typical late-April Connecticut weather and it rained – all day. Though we couldn’t take pictures outside, other than the weather, the kids had a great, memorable time!  I love the dress and shoes Audrey picked out- a nod to vintage style. (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Wink, wink)! My best friend loaned Audrey a vintage evening bag for the occasion, and I was given the special honor of doing Audrey’s hair and makeup- a really special mother/daughter moment.

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Senior prom is such a memorable milestone, and we hoped the kids would have a wonderful time. (They are the cutest couple; my husband and I really like her boyfriend very much)! Time moves lightening fast when you have kids. Seeing your daughter ready to go to prom makes you realize just how quickly, in a blink of an eye, she and her friends are becoming adults. I’ve written the Suburban Farmgirl Blog since November, 2010, when Audrey was seven. So many of you have watched Audrey grow up! I promised you all a prom picture- don’t they both look great?

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Also in the blink of an eye, spring has sprung in New England! Leaves are popping out and there’s green all around! It’s been exactly a year since the horrible micro-burst storm happened with the terrible tornadoes that dropped trees, including on top of my home. (We still have downed trees to be cut up on our property; on the bright side we will have plenty of firewood for a very long time)!  I’m happy to see the flower beds popping up, and am looking forward to replacing some of the plants that didn’t survive last year’s storm. I’ve also started work on my garden, and cleared up the herb bed. I can’t wait to taste this summer’s fresh veggies!

The hosta bed is starting to awaken from a long winter nap.

The hosta bed is starting to awaken from a long winter nap.

In addition to flowers blooming, we’ve seen some other harbingers of spring such as young deer, foxes, and turkeys.

This robin was the first creature to say, “Spring is here!”

This robin was the first creature to say, “Spring is here!”

This beauty was visiting a nearby property. Hope he doesn’t want a chicken dinner!

This beauty was visiting a nearby property. Hope he doesn’t want a chicken dinner!

We have spotted a few butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects already.

A busy bee on my quince.

A busy bee on my quince.

Beneficial insects are so important to the balance in the environment. We need pollinators for our crops and food, and other, predatory beneficial insects to keep the balance of pests down. While there have been reports in places such as Germany and Idaho as having lower numbers of butterflies, according to a recent report by Cornell University, the numbers of Monarch butterflies are higher this year than they’ve been in a decade! That’s great news!

Ever have that feeling that you’re being watched? That was the case yesterday when I was in the kitchen. All day, whenever I’d turn around, something fast-moving would catch the corner of my eye. It turned out to be a hummingbird scout, buzzing at the window where I normally keep my hummingbird feeder.

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Sure enough, as soon as I put my feeder out, the little hummer was back to take a drink. I wonder if it’s the same little bird that “photo-bombed” me last September when I was snapping a pic of my fall flowers?

“Photo-bomb!”

Photo-bomb!”

Speaking of beneficial insects and hummers, watch your hummingbird feeders for the praying mantis. It’s hard to believe, but while this insect is an important beneficial (and the official State Insect of Connecticut), it can actually kill and eat a hummingbird! If you see one on your feeder, don gardening gloves and relocate it to somewhere else in your garden.

My lil’ spring peeps are now pullets. This month, I will be transferring them to the coop and getting the chickie-girls acquainted with the new hens. One of my new girls is named Cleo, because her markings make her look like she’s wearing eyeliner a-la Cleopatra!

“Cleo “ in that awkward pullet stage...

“Cleo “ in that awkward pullet stage…

My flock of chickie-girls have been loving the longer days, despite all of the rain. The “dust bath box” filled with diatomaceous earth is a hit with my hens, giving them a place to dust, which keeps them mite-free, especially in warm, wet New England summer weather. Purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth at the local feed store. In addition to a dust box, I repurposed a spice jar shaker, and shake a bit in the hen house after each cleaning (be careful to cover your nose and mouth so you don’t breathe it in).

Dust bath time!

Dust bath time!

“Ahh...Sun!”

“Ahh…Sun!”

The girls have been so happy and laying lots of eggs. For Easter weekend, I made my favorite deviled eggs, using a classic 1950’s recipe as a base, then adding my own twist. Deviled eggs are a great snack or appetizer, and make a lovely Mother’s Day brunch treat. I found the 1950’s milk glass egg plate, new old stock, at a flea market last year.

D4383236-06A0-44AD-AED4-52C18F87B7CATo make my special Deviled Eggs, I use six eggs, hard-boiled. Peel the eggs and cut them in half. Scoop out the yolk and place in a mixer bowl.  On low speed, mix the scooped-out yolks with 2 TBSP mayonnaise, 1 tsp. white vinegar, 1/2 tsp. pink salt, a dash of black pepper, 1/4 tsp. paprika, 1/4 tsp. dried dill, and 1/2 tsp. dry mustard. Beat until creamy, and spoon the yolk mixture back into the egg whites. Sprinkle with additional paprika.

So dear readers, I’ll see you when the next Suburban Farmgirl Blog post goes live on June 11th. I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day, and get a bit of downtime! I’m looking forward to a slower pace this summer, spending time with family and friends, especially my daughter. Time, just like the seasons, is fleeting.

0561A7AC-E75C-42E4-90D2-A300E7DA70A8Happy Mother’s Day!

Until next time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

 

Leave a comment 12 Comments

  1. Laurel Pries says:

    Beautiful post, Nicole!!

  2. Marilyn says:

    Audrey is a beautiful young lady. She and her boyfriend make a lovely couple. Thank You for haring these photos.Glad Spring has come to your area.
    Marilyn

  3. I loved how your daughter looked, the dress was wonderful.
    I enjoy your blog and every time I see a vintage trailer, I think of you.

  4. Beverly Battaglia says:

    I enjoyed reading this blog, Nicole. Pictures are good and i did not know about the dust you mentioned,and what makes it different! I will try your deviled eggs recipe, sounds so good. I did not know about a praying mantis eating hummingbirds.
    Love, Mother

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mama, Yes the dust keeps the chickens healthy and mite-free. I also love YOUR deviled egg recipe, and make it from time to time, too. Love you so much. Nicole

  5. Sandi King says:

    Hi Nicole;
    I saw a picture of a mantis with a hummingbird in it’s clutches on Facebook and I was shocked to see it. I also didn’t know they could eat a bird, even a small bird. I love both of them and was thinking about making my pond and garden mantis friendly, but not now and also I read that purple martins, which we now have in our birdhouse, will also eat mantis’ so everything is a meal to something. We also have a cat that lives outdoors and catches mice, rats, robins, squirrels, bluejays, starlings, ground squirrels or chipmunks, and he doesn’t eat them, just kills them, so I am wondering if he is weeding out the weak and old, which is good for the species, and actually makes them stronger. He gets plenty of food in our garage where he sleeps and hides from the marauding dogs in our area, who have chased him up a tree, off our porch and he, so far has always made it to the garage pet door we put in for him. Our dogs do not bother him and we keep them on leashes or in a fenced area of our yard. I love your spring post and your pictures of your daughter and her boyfriend and the prom dress. Wonderful. So glad she likes vintage. I fear modernization has left the best of the best to be wanting. I love vintage and comfort.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sandi, Your hummers should be okay as long as you watch for mantis insects landing on the feeder. If you see one, just relocate him. In all my years, I have only seen one on my feeder once or twice. The praying mantis is a good garden beneficial. You’re right – something is a meal for something else, and you can’t stop the natural food chain.

      Thank you for the compliment on my daughter. I am so proud of her. I think the whole vintage loving thing is on it’s way back with her generation. Millennials don’t particular care for vintage, but I see my daughter and her friends going back to it. Maybe there is hope, lol! I love vintage. It is all so much more stylish and made better compared to anything new! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Bonnie B says:

    What a beautiful young woman your daughter has become! Her dress was lovely. And…..it’s been such fun watching her grow up. I’m one of your earliest followers and have enjoyed sharing in her milestones. I know you will keep us all up to date on her graduation and college choice. And…..you are so right – time just flies during those years and doesn’t slow after either. lol

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Bonnie, Thank you so much for all of the kind words, and for being a longtime, loyal reader! It means so much to me. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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