Al Fresco Weekend

Jamie Oliver's "Mothership Tomato Salad"

Doesn’t this salad look delish? I can assure you IT WAS. I saw Jamie Oliver make it on his show recently and immediately downloaded the recipe so we could have it. (Recipe here) We had it with a dinner of grilled veggie quesadillas yesterday — what a wonderful and healthy meal.

Trails at Orion Oaks



We also got plenty of exercise this holiday weekend. Aside from trapping chipmunks (see below) and doing other yardwork, we went hiking and biking. On Sunday we hiked at Orion Oaks park in Lake Orion. As this was our first time on these trails, we didn’t know what to expect as far as woods or open meadows. Turns out they have a lot of open meadow trails there, and since it was a hot day (mid 80s), we only lasted about 90 minutes. We decided to go back another day to explore other parts of the trail system.

On Monday we biked the Polly Ann Trail north of Lake Orion. This time we waited until around 5 pm to start, hoping the heat wouldn’t be as bad. It was a good thing we did that, because the parts of the trail we rode were mostly open to the sun. Along with the hills, that made for a good workout. We rode for 90 minutes that day too. I wish we’d been able to fit in some kayaking too, but we’ll make sure to get on the water next weekend. Summer is just too short here in Michigan to let any weekend go by without some kind of outdoor activity!

Baby Cardinal (click to enlarge)

Bird News: We’ve got baby cardinals in the yard! Yesterday we saw the parents feeding two babies near the feeders. This was the best pic I got of one of the babies. (I went outside in an attempt to get a better photo, but they took off whenever I went outside. So I had to settle for a picture through the window.) Just love the baby birds!!

What’s that? You want to see my newest hummingbird photo? Sure! Isn’t she adorable?

Notice her tongue sticking to enlarge

Chipmunk Update: So…Eric trapped and relocated 10 chipmunks this weekend.  My concern over moving them was lessened a bit when I noticed that the other chipmunks paid no attention to the ones that got trapped. We watched the traps so nobody would have to stay in one too long, but even so we saw other chippies eating on the ground within a few inches of the trap containing another chippie, paying him no attention whatsoever. I couldn’t believe it! Maybe the one on the outside was thinking, “Good riddance” to the competition. Funny.

In addition to the trapping operation, I covered the stone wall beside the feeders with a brown plastic tarp. Now the chipmunks can’t climb the wall to the food anymore, so unless they find another way up there, I think we’ve solved the birdfeeder problem. Still have to deal with their damage in the garden and yard, but I’m hoping a good sprinkling of bloodmeal around will have some impact there. Feeling optimistic now.

From past experience with deer and other critters in the garden, I know that it usually requires several different tactics in combination to be effective in deterring the most persistent creatures. So I think I also need to be more proactive in clearing the ground under the feeders too; the chipmunks have a ball digging in the mulch for seed. Up till now I’ve left it alone because we enjoy the mourning doves and juncos who feed on the ground. But choices have to be made now, and reducing the chipmunk numbers is priority number one for the time being.

P.S.  By the way, I’ve just started updating my blogroll over there on the right sidebar. Thought it would be nice to share some of the blogs I subscribe to — who knows, maybe you’ll find one there that you enjoy too.

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