Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Of Robins and Snowdrops...Is it Spring Yet?

 The other day I heard a lot of chattering, I mean a lot of bird chattering outside my back door.
 When I looked out I saw  more Robins than I have ever seen in one place, at one time.  They were clustered in all of the large trees  out back.
 They are very distinctive in their movements and vocalizations.

 Usually they migrate away from Long Island for the winters.  But this has been a very mild season so far,
 the grass is still green and the soil hasn't really frozen. 
Robins were all over looking for food and berries.   Were they a little ahead of schedule?  This was still February.
 The snowdrops are out in force.
Maybe the birds and flowers are confused, but I loved seeing them all.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Here's a fun recipe, which has loads of fiber and healthy ingredients in a cookie.
 This oatmeal cookie was introduced to me by my friend Jane, last week.
 It calls for two (2) cups of unbleached flour, sifted.
 One (1) cup of wheat bran, which I could not find, so I substituted oat bran.
 One and one-half (1 1/2)  cups of oats, I used Old Fashioned, but she used Quick Oats.
 The next dry ingredients were one (1) teaspoon salt,
  and one (1) teaspoon baking soda.  Blend the dry ingredients in the bowl well, and set aside.  I transferred them to a smaller bowl.
Back in the large mixing bowl, cream two (2) sticks of butter.
 Blend in one-half (1/2) cup sugar,
 and one (1) cup packed brown sugar.
 Mix in two (2) eggs,
 one (1) teaspoon Vanilla,
 and add one and one-half (1 1/2) cups Chocolate chips.
 Blend really well so that the butter is mixed in thoroughly.  Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.
Onto an ungreased cookie sheet, drop either as loose bits or as I did, rolled blobs, (which is a little messy.)  Bake at 375 degrees F. for twelve (12) minutes.
 Excellent Chocolate Chip cookies for a healthy snack, stored in a plastic tub.

Jane's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
2 cups Flour
1 cup wheat Bran
1 1/2 cups Oatmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips

( I actually doubled this recipe to have plenty on hand for friends)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day 2012

 Red Roses the ultimate Valentine's gift.
Lipstick Red Amaryllis another idea.

Friendship: knowing the heart of another and sharing one's heart with another.

Cheers for a wonderful Valentine's Day 2012.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winter Flowers, Berries, and Leaves February 2012

It's hard to believe but we are almost half way through February here on Long Island, and we haven't had a very hard winter, at all.  Plants here are a little ahead of schedule as a result.  This is my Japonica out back with lovely orange-pink blooms. 
This is a small sprig of Winter Jasmine that survived the tree cutters this December.  Hopefully it will fill out this year.
Out front, a huge American Holly is loaded with berries, and shiny leaves.
The Callicarpa is loaded too.  Last year with all of the snow, Robins and Cardinals feasted on the berries, but I haven't seen them do this to date.
An evergreen shrub with orange berries.
The Sage plant is still steely green-gray and fuzzy.
The Mahonia is heavy with yellow blossoms that will turn into grape-like berries later in the year.  Birds love these.
Over time the Snowdrops have multiplied, and I plant them as boarders.
This is a Lenten Rose that I purchased last fall.  No flowers yet.
A lovely blue flower on the Vinca Minor, Periwinkle, or Myrtle,  ground cover.
I added a photo of a variegated Holly because the leaves were so interesting.  They can also show a edge of pink.
 This is a very large male Japanese Holly out back.  It pollinates the others in the garden.
 This is how the male holly looks close up.  It never berries.
 Something that surprised me was the Bamboo because it is an evergreen here.
 The leaves are very large, but I wouldn't advise planting a Bamboo unless you have a lot of room to let it spread, and it isn't near a pool or lot line.
 This is another surprising plant, a Vinca, Apocynaceae, Dogbane Family,  that I thought tender and only used in planters for the summer.  Then I saw it in someone's garden growing all over.  It had escaped from a summer pot and planted itself, so I tried some and it grew! I hope that I got the name right.
 Daffodils  trying to come up and bloom next to the warm foundation.
 This is a photo of Marsh Marigold leaves.  This plant has invaded my garden, probably from a nursery plant that I purchased.  Although it has a pretty yellow flower later in the Spring, it spreads like crazy and is impossible to eliminate.  People have come to the Jarvis House garden to dig it up.  I warn them but they want a ground cover and they see it here, in all of its glory. *Sigh*
 This is a white and pink vairageted Euonymus that is growing up the Walnut tree.  In another location there is another miniature Euonymus that is lime green and dark green.  They are lovely plants and grow slowly. Can't wait until Spring!  Surprisingly there is a lot of color in the Jarvis House Garden, even in February!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Nick the Boxer, N.Y. Giants Fan, Plays Football

This is Nick the boxer, my son's three year old rescue dog.
 Sometimes I am called upon to let him out during the lunch hour, while my son is at work.
 For months we have been playing football with a Giants ball.

 This is a really wonderful boxer who was left at a Pennsylvania shelter.  My son always wanted a dog, especially a boxer, and he e-mailed Adopt a Boxer Rescue.
 Nick is a really healthy and strong animal, and loves to run around protecting the ball.
 Nick is fierce football competitor, but a really gentle dog.
He loves to keep the ball away from me.  Our family got lucky when my son adopted this fabulous dog.  
Who could not love this face and spirit!