Monday, April 25, 2011

Florida's Birds

I am so fortunate to live in a place with some of the most gorgeous and spectacular wading birds in the world.  Sarasota is home to a plethora of exotic shore birds and giant tree nesting birds.  From Brown pelicans to Great Blue Herons and Roseate Spoonbills we have them all.

Yesterday was Easter Sunday so I decided to make it a photography day.  I am still wanting and hoping to get a longer lens for shooting photos of birds, but for now, the one I have will have to suffice.  The amazing thing is, these birds let you get very close to them.  In fact, I had put my camera in the car and decided to go wet my feet in the warm Gulf water and as I walked into the water, birds flew in from all over and started to surround me as if I had provided a smorgasbord for them and they were all coming to the party.  When I saw this crazy conglomeration of birds coming at me from all sides, I had to walk back to my car and get my camera.  I really couldn't believe my eyes!

I went to a favorite spot where there is a rookery full of heron nests and pelican nests in the trees and I always find interesting birds here.  Then I took a run over to Sarasota Jungle Gardens to shoot some photos of one of my favorites, the American Flamingo, one of the most amazing birds to behold in person.  They of course have a huge selection of parrots and Cockatoos.  Here are some photos from the day.  I hope you enjoy them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chicky, Chicky Baby

When I lived in Montana, I raised chickens for the fresh eggs which I have missed something awful since selling my home and 2.5 acres there. I worried about having chickens in a place that has hot, humid summers and hurricanes, tons of rain etc. but so many people here have them with little to no issues, I figured why not? So, after a ton of researching and shopping around for feed supply stores, I found a local place where I could buy some baby chicks (peeps). In the past I've purchased from McMurray Hatchery but you need to have a minimum order of ten to order from them so I went with the local shop that pretty much had what I wanted. Although I did want some Americauna's which weren't going to be available until the end of March and I didn't want to wait that long. What I did end up with was two Buff Orpington, two Rhode Island Red and two Barred Rock pullets. At least I hope they are all hens. I'm a bit concerned about one of the buff's which is considerably larger in size than it's partner! Please, please, please don't be a rooster!!

Next deed to be accomplished was a home for the babies once they outgrew their cardboard box.  I found a local guy who builds chicken coops and had him build me one that would work for the size of my yard and number of chickens I had to raise.  This is nothing compared to the palatial estate my Montana girls had but it would have to do for Sarasota, FL!

As soon as the babies were big enough to handle being outside with night time temps in the 50's, I transferred them and their heat lamp to the great outdoors where they have been ever since.  They are getting big now and hopefully should be laying eggs by late July or early August.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Good Way to Enjoy Spring

This is one of my favorite spring recipes and first appeared in FUNGI Magazine's very fist issue back in the Spring of 2008.  The article written by David Work highlights this fabulous recipe for the most delicious quiche you've ever had with the premier spring ingredients of morels, asparagus, caramelized shallots, chives and goat cheese.

Give this a try, you won't be disappointed!