All Things Spring

Spring’s here!  I want to scream it from the rafters!  It’s like the whole world’s awake!  In Connecticut, we can actually store away the snow shovels, bring out our sandals, and pull out the yard furniture!  The season’s off to a busy and good start!

After a long winter, you really appreciate warmer days!  No more calls from Southern relatives to say, “Oh, it’s forty there?  Too bad, we have eighty-five and are drinking ice tea in the shade.”  (At least here in winter, Santa Claus doesn’t seem the least bit overdressed).   The last two weeks, we’ve had the grass turn green (as opposed to dead brown), the daffodils bloom, and the forsythia, our harbinger of Spring, pop out with flowers of canary yellow (the same color as the Queen’s Royal Wedding outfit).  Speaking of wedding, did you watch it?  Didn’t it seem to kick the world off to the start of a happier season?

This Forsythia bush is half-way to the end of its Spring blooms.  Soon it will shed all of its yellow flowers and be a solid green bush until next fall.

This week, our trees budded and birds, bees, wild turkeys, and butterflies can be seen again.  I was surprised a few days ago when I was setting the table and glanced up to hummingbird hovering right outside!  It was the Scout looking for the feeder!  It’s the earliest I’ve ever seen them.  I hung up the feeder, and we’ve been delighting in seeing our little friends fill up on their favorite treat.  I find the best hummingbird food is homemade (isn’t everything)?  Homemade is economical, too.  Simply dissolve one cup of sugar into two cups of boiling water, and let cool before filling a clean feeder.  Don’t dye the water red, and never use honey or artificial sweeteners, which could kill the birds.  If ants are a problem, invert a plastic coffee can lid with a hole poked through it, and hang on the same string as your feeder, above the feeder itself.  Coat the lid with vegetable oil, and the ants will stick to it before they can make their way down to your feeder.  Now, I don’t know how to keep woodpeckers out of the hummingbird feeder!  Last year, I had a crazy woodpecker slurp all the sugar water right out of my feeder every chance he could get.  It made the hummingbirds mad, and they’d buzz overhead when I was gardening, as if to tattle on the feathered hog!  Wonder if he’ll be back this year?

Can you see the little hummingbird in mid-flight?  We love to eat our meals in the kitchen while watching the birds get a meal, too.

Here’s a shot of the crazy woodpecker who kept draining the sugar water from the hummer feeder all last year!

The hosta bed’s sprouting, too, and I’ve been spraying them with rotten egg water to ward off deer.  My yard becomes a  “buffet” for the “rats with antlers”.  Our suburban town’s overrun by deer, and they seem to have no fear of people.  One day I was walking on the treadmill when I felt that eerie feeling of being watched.  Just on the other side of the window was a deer, munching my bushes and looking in at me.  Dinner and a show!  I’ve chased them out of the bird feeder as they dumped all my seed, cursed them when I find my hostas eaten to nubs, and wanted to cry when they trampled my flowers.  However, a sight I saw in the front yard has softened me a bit.  It was a mother deer with two little spotted babies, nursing… the sweetest sight!  The “twins” began playing with each other, kicking their heels up and frolicking in the grass.  Then, I saw Mama deer walk over to one, lovingly kiss the top of her baby’s head, and sweetly groom its ear.  I felt a kindred spirit to that deer…even mama deer are proud of their babies!

I love my hostas…but so do the deer!  Here one of my variegated varieties is newly bloomed.

Aha! Caught you…red-hoofed!

Speaking of mothers, Spring brings Mother’s Day, and I just had ten days with my mom, as she visited for Easter.  It’s the longest we’d gone without seeing each other, and nothing makes you appreciate your mom as much as a long absence!  For Easter dinner dessert, I made my new favorite recipe, Farmgirl Saturday Cake, found in the April issue of “The Cluck’, as well as MaryJane’s book, which you can pick up here:

Three generations for Easter dinner.

To end the week, I hosted my Sisterhood Chapter for Spring Brunch.  Nothing says Spring like Brunch!  Ali made moist, delicious Cream Cheese Carrot Cake muffins.  (Find the recipe at  We also had mimosas, tea sandwiches, apple crisp, cranberry scones, flan, and three kinds of quiche!  Here’s my favorite quiche. You can change it however you like, but I usually add cooked, drained broccoli:

Basic Quiche
1-1/2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese tossed with 2 TBSP flour

1 cup milk

3 beaten eggs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Mix well. Add one cup of whatever veggies or meat you would like (or a combo).

Pour into an unbaked pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Some of the happy faces of my Sisterhood Chapter

Jackie shared a new book she’s reading, How to Sew a Button and Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew  by Erin Bried.  I’ll be picking one up myself, as it’s a fun read full of anecdotes as well as practical “farmgirl-type” tips. Catching up, we all laughed, trading recipes and gardening tips.  My favorite’s from Dina, who’s decided to simply pull out all the flowers from her beds in order to avoid the deer!  A bit extreme… but it would work!  We all brought lapwork, but didn’t pull it out…we were having too much fun just being together!

So farmgirl friends, I wish you well with Spring chores, and wish all a Happy Mother’s Day!  (Don’t forget to make time for yourself)!


  1. grace gerber says:

    Sounds Wonderful! All those smiling faces and such sisterhood… I will have to check out the book – Always up to adding to my skill sets. Have a wonderful Spring.

    You have a wonderful Spring, too.  Thanks for reading!  -Nicole

  2. Ali says:

    Thanks Nicole! I enjoyed watching the hummingbirds at your house so much that I went to Agway and bought a hummingbird feeder for my deck, so I really appreciate the homemade recipe! Can’t wait to try the quiche recipe also!


    Ali, thanks for your recipe, too.  Let me know how many hummers you see at your house!  -Nicole

  3. Sarah says:

    So that’s what ate my hostas last year! I had no idea deers loved hosta. Now I know!

    Sarah, they eat mine down to the nubs, and unfortunately they don’t grow back until the next year, so they end up looking awful!  If I am vigilant with my spray, they don’t eat them, but as soon as it wears off or rain comes, they go right for them!  -Nicole

  4. Laurie Dimino says:

    I always enjoy reading your blog…so fun and entertaining. I also love all of the pictures.. its so neat to see everyone’s little corner of the world that they call home.
    Farmgirl Smiles,
    "Little HenHouse on the Island"
    Farmgirl Sister#1403

    Oh, thank you Laurie!  Farmgirl hugs to you!  -Nicole

  5. Heidi says:

    Smithers is greatly concerned that Bonnie can’t seem to chase away your deer. He swears that as your "small but mighty" chief of security the landscaping will remain intact. That and all your math problems solved. Just sayin’.

    Heidi, tell my little Smithers that while he IS "small and mighty", he may not be able to stand up against the red-tailed hawks.  Just sayin’.  Hugs, Sweetie! -Nicole

  6. Debbie says:

    Hi Nicole!
    I hear ya on the arrival of spring. It always feels as if it takes forever for it to get here! I’ll have to try your quiche recipe… We are always looking for ways to use up our backyard chickens eggs! Your farmgirl chapter gathering looks fun too.
    Happy Spring!

  7. Rose says:

    Another wonderful blog that gives this out-of-town friend an glimpse of what you have been up to lately. Everyone in Chicago is ready for spring and a nice summer also! Thanks for the grandma book reference. It sounds like a fun book to read when one has a spare moment or two. And the advice in there is probably timeless. The 3 generations of females part of your family looks beautiful in the picture!

  8. Nancy says:

    Hi Nicole,
    I enjoy reading your blog. Our hummingbirds are out here too in Sandpoint. But you have the wrong amount of water for the sugar solution. It is one cup of sugar to FOUR cups of boiling water. That is what is written in my hummingbird books.


    -Nancy, I prefer to make mine sweeter, especially in the beginning.  You can use more or less, if you like.  I find when I use less, we do not see the amount of birds we do when we use more. -Nicole 

  9. Susan says:

    Thank you for the hummingbird feeder recipe- would you believe I just today received a feeder from my MIL and put in calls to my mom and sis, because it did not come with the info. And now, just randomly browsing Mary Jane’s low and behold…sisterhood, indeed! Now I’m gonna fill my new feeder and hopefully meet some new neighbors. Happy Mother’s Day!

    Susan, enjoy!  Thanks for reading, and have A Happy Mother’s Day, too! -Nicole

  10. Betty McTiernan says:


    Thank you for the beautiful brunch. It was nice to reminisce on your blog. The recipes you gave us are wonderful. And what a beautiful picture of you and your mom with your daughter. Stay as lovely as always,


    Betty, thank you for the gift of your friendship.  You are a blessing in my life!  -Nicole

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