Thursday, July 28, 2011

To Clean or Not to Clean?

I know the answer...I must clean. Now comes the hard part...finding the motivation to do so. I hate housework. With a passion. Even growing up I knew Samantha had a good thing going and was too stupid to know it. Come on, who in their right mind is going to push around a vacuum when all they have to do is twitch their nose and the vacuum will run itself? Magic was totally wasted on her! As a sit here and survey the mess I must conquer, I am fairly certain that neither of the Darrin's was worth her sacrifice. I am sure my husband wouldn't care how the house was cleaned, especially if I wasn't asking him to help!

But Samantha doesn't live here, nor does Martha (as in Stewart), so I will have the joy of doing this work on my own. Though I do think a cool suction system from my bedroom to the laundry room would increase the value of my home significantly. Instead I will pop in an audio book and start the dreaded chores. Huh! Samantha...what a waste of a good witch!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Freezer Salsa

Tomorrow is salsa making day. I was hoping to make my salsa with fresh tomatoes this year, but my tomato plants refuse to set with this ridiculous heat! Oh well, I have a salsa recipe I really like that uses canned tomatoes that will work just fine. Generally I don't make a large batch, but with plenty of time on my hands and room in my freezer, it seemed a good idea this year! This recipe is just a basic guideline. You can change parts of it to suit your families taste preferences and it will still taste better than any you buy at the grocery store. And it costs a lot less too!

Homemade Freezer Salsa

1 large can whole tomatoes, do NOT drain
1 small or medium onion
2-3 fresh Jalapeños, or Habaneros if you are very brave
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cilantro, or parsley if you prefer
1-2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

You may add any or all of the following to suit your taste:
Black Pepper
Chili Powder
Green Chili's
Green Bell Peppers

Pour juice from tomatoes into blender or food processor and add all other ingredients except onion and tomatoes. Blend just to mix, then add onion and tomatoes. Blend to desired consistency. 
This makes the equivalent of two store bought salsa jars. You may keep it in the refrigerator about one week. It keeps in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Bon appétit ~Marla

Monday, July 25, 2011

When Children Lead the Way

As adults it is our job to teach our children, right? We teach them rules, manners, morals, reading, math and science. But as any good parent or teacher can tell you, we can often learn much from them as well. We can learn to see the world through more innocent eyes, learn to live with joy, be reminded of the priorities in life. This week I heard two stories of children who could teach us all a lesson, and I want to share those stories here.

First is the story of Ian and Nicholas. Both boys were attending a baseball game in Arizona. Nicholas, a Brewers fan, was tossed a ball by one of the Brewers players. When he misses the ball a ballpark employee hands the ball to Ian, a Diamondback (the home team) fan. Ian is thrilled, Nicholas is devastated. As Ian runs back to his dad, elated, the employee realizes his mistake and points this out to Ian. Ian good-naturedly returns to Nicholas' row and hands him the ball. Anyone who attends major league sporting events can tell you this is a rare event. Most adults who attend would probably shrug, say "too bad", and keep the ball. This boy did returned it with a good attitude and made another little boys day.

Even within this sweet story, adults who simply cannot learn are putting their spin on it. Some say Ian did nothing special because it had to be pointed out to him that the ball was meant for someone else. Others complain that a younger boy who whined was rewarded. For myself I see the lesson that sometimes we do things impulsively, not aware of how our actions may effect someone else. But when it is pointed out to us, we should hurry to make things right, and do so with a generous heart.

The second story is a beautiful tribute to a young girl's giving heart. It is the story of Rachel, a girl who asked for gifts for her 9th birthday to be in the form of donations to a group that provides clean water to families in developing nations. She had hoped to raise $300, but was $80 short by her June 12th birthday. She planned to raise more money next year. Sadly, Rachel was critically injured in an accident near her home in the Seattle, Washington area. She was taken off life support Saturday. Since hearing of Rachel's story, more than $100,000 has been donated in her name to My Charity Water

What a legacy this little girl left! All because of one small act of selflessness...the willingness to give up a few toys or electronics so that other children could have clean water to drink. Wow. There is just so much we can learn from these tender little hearts.

Blessings ~Marla

Friday, July 22, 2011

Patience is a Virtue

Do you ever have problems peeling your boiled eggs? My mom always had beautiful boiled eggs. They peeled perfectly, never a blemish. As an adult whenever I boiled eggs for deviled eggs they looked like a rat had eaten part of them! I could never get the peel off without mangling the egg. I tried all kinds of tips to help with this and none seemed to work. Finally I started thinking about what my mom used to do. She sat her eggs out ahead of time for at least an hour. She used the boil then simmer method versus taking them off the heat and covering them after the boil. She chilled them after cooking with cold water and put them in the fridge. She peeled them after they had been in the fridge for awhile. I started using this method...worked like a charm, perfect eggs!

So what is the point here? Simply that being patient can sometimes make a huge difference in the desired outcome. When I made deviled eggs I wanted to achieve the end result as quickly as possible. My mom's way took a great deal more time and patience on my part. How many of us have seen people make one bad decision after another because they don't have the patience needed to wait for right person/job/education. Without foresight,planning and a little patience you end up with a mangled version of what you wanted in the first place. 

We are society of impatience; fast food, instant mashed potatoes, microwave pizza, 24 hour grocery stores, movies on demand, and of course, credit cards and loans. Not that these by themselves are bad, but as adults we practice patience so rarely that our young people have few examples from which to learn it anymore. A wise man once said...

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.  ~John Quincy Adams

This is what we need to be teaching our youth. Maybe it is time to take his advice to heart.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shaking off the Dust

I do not like to argue or debate with people. It is frustrating, raises my blood pressure, and it doesn’t change anyone’s mind or position on a subject. That is why on social network sites I am amazed at the people who are goaded into an online debate by others. If I post something and another person just can’t let my opinion stand without putting in their two cents worth, I ignore their post. I don’t feel the need to have the last word. Nor do I have to assert myself by seeking out posts I don’t agree with and posting a rebuttal.

As a Christian I used to struggle with this. Didn’t I have to keep after people who hadn’t accepted God’s plan of salvation? I mean, what about the Great Commission?

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20 NIV

Over the years and with maturity I have come to the realization that most people are unlikely to be moved to change on any topic until they are ready. Be it religion, politics, or any other subject. Constantly yelling my opinion every time they assert their own only serves to annoy them and make me look argumentative.  Once someone knows where you stand on an issue, little purpose is served by constantly reminding them of the fact. Now if they don’t agree I shake off the dust and move on.

“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town."  Matthew 10:14

One last thoughtIf you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. ~Abraham Lincoln. In other words, if the person has little respect for you, they will not listen to anything you have to say. Just some food for thought.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Shrimp Boil

Todays post is borrowed from a blog I follow called Skip to my Lou. It is an adorable site with lots of craft and sewing projects and the occasional recipe. I love shrimp and I love eating with my fingers, so this is a wonderful idea as far as I am concerned. Though the party is a shrimp boil, you could use any shellfish you desired for your party. Just please invite me! Please check out Skip to my Lou for more fun ideas! Bon Appetit ~Marla

Shrimp Boil

A shrimp boil is one of my favorite parties -----no dirty dishes. This is also a completely portable party. My favorite spot is on the beach. When we have a large crowd, we borrow an extra turkey fryer or two. The following recipe uses 1 large 34 quart turkey fryer with a strainer basket that goes almost to the top of the pot. One pot serves about 10-12 people.
First cover your entire table with freezer paper, shiny side up. Let the cooking begin!
Fill turkey fryer about 2/3 full of water. Bring to a boil and add 2 pkgs of Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil in a Bag, 1/4 - 1/2 bottle Zatarain's Shrimp and Crab oil, 1 cup of salt and garlic. Boil for 15 minutes
Add potatoes, boil for 7-8 minutes
Corn goes in next for 5 minutes (if corn is frozen you might need to turn up the heat for a minute to get your water boiling again)
Add kielbasa, cook for 8 minutes
Add onions, and squeeze lemon juice into pot and then toss the lemons into the water, boil 3- 4 minutes (oops picture is wrong - add the garlic at the beginning!)
Add shrimp and cook 5 minutes or just until shrimp turns pink.
Turn off the heat, immediately pull basket from the water and let drain.
Pour contents of basket onto your freezer paper covered table
Serve with sliced baguette sprinkled down the table and bottles of squeeze butter, cocktail sauce and spicy mustard. Remember NO knives, forks, spoons or plates allowed! This is all finger food and condiments are squeezed directly onto the table! When finished just roll up the paper and give everyone a finger wipe! A big thanks to our dear friends Jeff and Cathy for showing us how to have the best party ever!

Put on some Zydeco
(zi-dee-coe) music and have a great time!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Deep in the Heart of Texas

I'm not as young as I used to be. After a whirlwind trip to San Antonio, filled with activity, it took me a full day to recuperate! I have also discovered that along with the exhaustion came a great deal of back pain following 10 hour plus car rides. Used to be 16 hours in a car was not even an issue. I am definitely starting to feel older. All that aside, the trip was actually a wonderful experience.

I love San Antonio and have been there several times. My brother was stationed there twice while in the Air Force, and my husband and I honeymooned on the Palacio del Rio 28 years ago. Our last visit was two years ago. This visit was with my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, her mother and my son to attend a couples shower in their honor, given by her family. The weekend was jam packed with plans, including my meeting this large extended family.

I had a blast! I have never met a group of people so warm and accepting and with such a sense of fun. They made this gringo feel like one of the family, helping me learn a few new Spanish words via Mexican Bingo and restaurant menus! They reminded me of the family I grew up in. A family that played cards and ate big meals together, where Aunts and Uncles and cousins never worried about the little things, disagreements were quickly forgotten, grudges were never held, and you were accepted and loved no matter what. It was like coming home.

I made sure that my son understood how very blessed he is to be marrying in to such a warm, loving family. They are rare, and he is lucky. He is gaining a wonderful new set of grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins who will love him like their very own family members. My future grandchildren are very lucky!
It was a reminder of what family should be. Eager to spend time together, not from a sense of duty, but because they truly enjoy each others company. Gracias a mis nuevos amigos. Ustedes son gente maravillosa.Te bendiga!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tasty Tuesday:Adventures in Foods

How adventurous are you when it comes to food? I think of myself as being pretty adventurous, but maybe not as much as some of my friends who have lived in other countries. I will try almost anything, though not quite to the level of Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods. So for this Tasty Tuesday I thought it would fun to take a look at some foods I enjoy that may not be mainstream yet, though some have become significantly more mainstream than when first tried them. There are also a few foods that I have tried that were not on my list of enjoyable experiences!

When I first tried sushi it was around the late 1970's. My #1 brother had me try a piece of tuna. It was raw, and I was totally turned off sushi until the early 1990's when my #2 brother talked me into giving it another try. He started with California rolls and sushi containing cooked items first (sushi is NOT always raw fish), and worked toward the milder raw fish. I have loved it ever since. (With the major exception of Uni, Sea Urchin, bleh!)

My first cruise in 2004 was also my first taste of escargot. YUM! It was love at first bite! No, the thought of eating snails does not bother me one little bit!

Rabbit (Domestic)
This was actually a staple for me growing up. We raised show rabbits and usually had about 200 rabbits at any given time. Those not good enough to show or breed made their way to our table. My mother fixed and served rabbit like other moms did chicken. Chicken was a treat I ate at restaurants, not at home. Guess what? It really does taste similar to chicken! I have never eaten wild rabbit and have absolutely no desire to do so.

Venison (Deer), Elk, Moose
These all came to our house via relatives in the northwest who traded with us for rabbit. We sent them rabbit, they sent us all kinds of yummy goodies.

Raw Oysters
Sorry, not a fan. Found them to be slippery, salty, and made me gag. Now if you want to grill them, bake them, or make them into soup, I am right there. Just don't care to have them raw.

Rocky Mountain Oysters/Lamb Fries
Two different names, same part of the anatomy, different donor animal. Actually quite good, but I admit, this is one I have trouble getting past the thought of. #2 brother introduced me to this and to the raw oysters mentioned above, as well as...

Chocolate Covered Ants
Actually pretty tasty! Just goes to show that you can put chocolate on anything and make it taste good!

Nice mild taste, reminiscent of quail. An uncle from Oklahoma provided this treat.

Frog Legs
Watching my brothers Bull Frog hunt was half the fun of this dish. The other half was watching them jump all over the skillet as mom fried them! Yummy!

Beef Tongue/Kidneys/Heart
Great if cooked properly! Which my mom did quite well!

Black Caviar
Not impressed. I much prefer red salmon roe sushi style. 

Well those are just a few items that came to mind. I have tried lots of different dishes when I  travel, in fact I tend to seek them out. Ceviche, lamb, duck, goose, pheasant, quail, and chicken gizzards to name just a few. This weekend I hope to try goat at a Mexican restaurant we are going to. I haven't tried Alligator yet either...but it is on my list. Two items I absolutely will not eat? Liver...nasty no matter what animal source or how it is cooked. Veal...will not order it since I was 14 and read about how the calves live out their lives. 

I would be interested in hearing about any different foods you have tried....please share!

Bon appétit  ~Marla

Monday, July 11, 2011

Organization is the Key!

Or at least I am hoping it is! I just spent three straight hours organizing my pantry! In my defense I will mention that my pantry is actually a small 6x6 room. It houses not only food, but all my small appliances, carpet cleaner, mops, brooms, etc. So this was not a small task. I took my label maker in with me and went crazy. I found things I had forgotten I owned, things I have not used once in the ten years I have lived in this house. Those are going to goodwill. I found four containers of bread crumbs...that seemed a bit excessive to me, perhaps I will hold off on buying anymore for awhile ;)

(OK, small disclaimer....this is not a pic of my pantry....mine is nowhere near this empty!)

This is all part of my belief that becoming more organized can help me save money in the long run. I did the same fun thing with my large upright freezer that had been sitting in the garage unused for the past few years. It is now freshly cleaned and in the basement with cute little baskets in it that have tags denoting what hides inside. A dry erase board on the door helps me keep track of the meats I have inside. This way I can buy in bulk during sales! Great ideas, right? I have discovered the joy of freezing things like butter, blueberries, and even fresh herb ice cubes! I can see the savings adding up! Maybe.

The problem for me is in the follow through. I can organize like a pro! It is sticking with it that is the problem. All it takes is a few times of being in too much of a hurry, or dare I say it, too lazy, to put items away properly. The next thing I know the pantry is regurgitating out into my laundry room and the freezer is an iced over tomb of unknown foods. I glance in, shut the door, and suggest eating out. 

This time I have promised myself to reign in my ADD and keep on the task set before me. I am helped in this mission by my supportive husband and children (biological & in law) who have openly scoffed at my ability to stay organized. I am now more motivated than ever to prove them all wrong! I can conquer my disorganization! I am woman, hear me roar!!

.....But prayers for this endeavor are appreciated ;)


Saturday, July 9, 2011

So You Think You Know Me?

Labels. As humans we feel the need to put them on everyone. Republican/Democrat. Liberal/Conservative. Right Wing/Left Wing. Pro Life/Pro Abortion. Pro Choice/Anti Choice. Pro Gun Control/Anti Gun Control. Animal Rights Proponent/Hunter. Law Abiding Citizen/Criminal. Capitalist/Socialist. Evolutionist/Creationist.  Pro Capital Punishment/Anti Capital Punishment. Evangelical Christian/Mainstream Christian. I could keep going, but I’m sure you get the picture. We use labels to define the people around us every single day. But are we correct in our assumptions? Do we know the individual we are labeling as well as we think we do?

Here is an exercise for all of us. Copy the labels above and think of a friend or relative that you think you know fairly well. Now circle each items as you believe it pertains to them. Now looking at the labels you have selected do you believe you have an adequate grasp on this person’s inner most thoughts and beliefs? If you do, then you, my friend, are guilty of stereotyping. I look at the list above and know if I had to choose “either or” labels for myself it would be a poor representation of me as a person. It would give absolutely no insight to my soul, my thought processes, my hopes, my fears. And yet we do this continuously to others, and then believe we “know them.”

I am a registered Republican, my son is a police officer, I love animals, and I am a member of an Independent Christian Church. Think you have me all figured out? You might be surprised! When I start to agree with every single thing that my political party, my favorite news station, or even my pastor says, I have quit thinking for myself and simply become a mouthpiece for others.

So the next time you are around a friend or relative who you believe holds very different views from yourself, take some time to talk, calmly, without an “us versus you” attitude, and find out what they really believe and feel. You may find that despite very different labels, you really do have a great deal in common in the end. And if not? Well then, maybe you can come to see that their worth as a person has little to do with the labels they wear.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Afraid to Prune?

One of the hardest things for me to do in my yard or garden is to prune. I have a small Japanese Maple with a branch growing into my patio area. It looks ridiculous and is growing the wrong direction. It is in my way, and still I put off lopping it off. It’s the same story with my tomato plants. They have dying areas that need pruned and I will put it off until the entire plant is suffering for it. I keep wanting to give those still living parts a chance, but often it is to the detriment of the entire plant.

I like analogies, so I began to consider this idea of pruning as it applies to my own life. For example, while I am hardly a hoarder of the caliber seen on TV, I do have way too many “things” cluttering up my house. I can never seem to get every room, drawer, or closet all cleaned and neat at the same time. I keep way too many items that I should trash or give away, and as such it affects my entire demeanor and my entire house.

On a more personal note, I have some bad habits that I need to get rid of as well. Things I hang on to for dear life instead of lopping off so that I will be better off in the long run. I’m sure everyone has some of these issues as well. Things you know you need to get rid of in your life in order to be healthier or to feel better, but you just can’t seem to let go of.

As a country we do this as well. We watch our politicians trying to balance the budget in a society that is afraid to lop off the half dead limbs. Meanwhile the tree is struggling to survive. I’m sure if I took my pruning shears to Washington, neither major political party would like the results!

So my challenge to myself is to start lopping off some branches. I know it won’t be easy, and likely will even be painful, but if I want to be at my best it has to be done!

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful  John 15:1-2 NIV


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thursday Travels; Millennium, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico is rather unique for a Caribbean port of call. It is a very large city, with a population of over 400,000, but relatively safe to get around. This was factored into our decision to not book an excursion for this port. Old San Juan was within walking distance of the pier, and it was quite safe to walk there on our own. It was also a money saving decision. Even a 2 hour bus tour of the city cost $30-$40 per person as a ship excursion. What we didn’t know was that San Juan was to be our introduction to independent tour operators.

As we left the pier we were accosted by people with signs hawking their tours. A man approached us and asked if we had booked a tour. He had a small bus and was offering tours of the city for $15 per person. Several passengers had already loaded onto the bus, so we decided to take the plunge as well. The bus was older, but clean and well air conditioned. The tour leader spoke both English and Spanish. We were definitely being adventurous, as we had no idea what we were in for, and no guarantees were given.

The tour was absolutely wonderful. They began by driving us through some of the districts of San Juan, discussing the history of the city as we traveled. Our first stop was the Playa del Condado beach area. There we spent time viewing the ocean and enjoying the seaside park and fountain area.

Our next stop was the Puerto Rico capitol building. This was a beautiful building, and we had an hour to explore it. But most amazing were all the Christmas decorations, both on the lawn of the capitol and inside.

 Most surprising was the nativity scene set up inside the capitol building. Though Puerto Rico is a US commonwealth, they are self-governing, and have their own constitution. It was very different from the states with our interpretation of the separation of church and state.

Next was a tour of the Castillo de San Cristóbal. A Spanish fort built in 1783; it was fun to explore, especially for the guys. At the end of our time at the fort the tour took us to Old San Juan to be let off. The tour had lasted 4 hours. We had definitely gotten our money’s worth, and I had learned that independent tour operators can offer a great alternative to the more expensive ship excursions!

We finished our lovely day in Old San Juan, walking the cobbled streets and checking out the unique little shops. On the walk back to the pier we came across an outside market and enjoyed the homemade goods offered for sale there. Overall one of my favorite ports and one I look forward to exploring more extensively on a future visit.

Next stop: St. Thomas and St. John, US Virgin Islands

Bon Voyage ~Marla

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Texas Road Trip

In just over a week I am traveling to San Antonio, Texas. Normally when I have a trip planned I am pretty pumped up about it. Although I am looking forward to this trip, I noticed a lack of excitement about it that is very unusual for me. Then it occurred to me…it is because I am not planning this trip.

This trip to San Antonio is for a couples shower for my son and his fiancé. Her mother’s family that lives in San Antonio is hosting the shower. I was kindly invited along, and I am sure I will enjoy myself, but I am totally out of the loop when it comes to planning the trip. This got me thinking, why does this impact my anticipation of the trip so much? Am I a total control freak? Well maybe a little, but I don’t think that is really the answer. I just plain enjoy planning trips! Heck, I like to help other people plan their trips! I really missed my calling as a travel agent J

I actually came across an article on how to get the most possible enjoyment from your vacation. One of the tips was to get travel brochures, maps, etc. for your destination and to spend the months prior to the trip pouring over these. They said it would give you a vacation “high” of sorts, long before the actual trip. Well, hey! I’ve been doing that my entire life!

So I guess I’ll pull out my Texas travel guides and start planning. It really doesn’t matter if my plans aren’t used…it’s the anticipation that is half the fun! Plus I already found out we are going to my very favorite restaurant in San Antonio…La Margarita…it doesn’t get better than that!

Adios ~Marla

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Freezer Dill Pickles

It is time for me to start picking my cucumbers. This year I planted cucumbers specifically for pickling. I had planned to can them, however since my pantry is full and my freezer is empty...I decided that I will freeze them instead. I came across the following recipe which is sworn to make nice crunchy pickles.

Freezer Dill Pickles
1 pound cucumbers, sliced 1/8" thick
3/4 pound yellow onions, sliced 1/8" thick
4 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
Mix cucumbers, onions, salt and water in a 2 quart non-metal bowl. Let stand 2 hours. Drain after stand time but do not rinse. Return vegetables to bowl and add sugar, cider vinegar and dill weed Stir occasionally until sugar completely dissolves and liquid covers vegetables. Pack wide mouth jars or plastic freezer containers leaving 1 inch head space. Seal tightly and freeze. Defrost in refrigerator or at room temperature.
Well, there you have it! I’ll let you know how they taste.
Bon appétit! ~Marla

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Noisy Backyard

American Robin

I have a very noisy backyard. Peaceful, but certainly not quiet, it is full of the sounds of birds singing and squirrels chattering. I love it! We live in an older neighborhood with mature trees of many different species.  Looking west from my back patio it is hard to believe you are in Kansas. In the summer the sun only makes to the ground in about 1/3 of my backyard and 1/4 of my front yard. I love the shade and the birds love the trees. Add to that a small pond, birdbaths, and a tangle of honeysuckle in one corner, and you get lots of birds checking out the area. Then of course there is the food.

Just off our patio there are seven bird feeders and one squirrel feeder. I can sit in my family room and see all of them through the large sliding glass doors.  The feeders are all different types and all contain different feed. They overhang an area that houses a maple tree and they have no grass below them, so the ground feeding birds love the area too. Here is a look at the birds who have visited so far this year. These pictures are not mine. I haven’t gotten good at catching them on film through the glass door. They are just representative of my neighborhood birds.

House Sparrows, Female & Male

The house sparrows are one of my most frequent visitors. They eat mostly the songbird blend.

House Finch ~ Male & Female

My next most frequent visitors are the House Finches. They come in small flocks to eat almost anything I put out. They seem to prefer the safflower seeds, which surprises me. They don't even go near the finch blend I put out! 

Northern Cardinal ~ Female & Male

The Northern Cardinals are my favorite feeder birds, and they are here year round! They love the black oil sunflower seeds best.

Brown Thrasher

The Brown Thrasher likes the dogs water bowl! Primarily an insect eater, like the Robins they don't use the feeders, but they do hang out on my patio a lot!

Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy Woodpecker doesn't hit the feeders often, but will show up about once a week for some black oil sunflower seeds. They hang off the feeder as seen in the photo.


The Wrens are my smallest visitors, as I didn't get my hummingbird feeder out in time to attract any Hummingbirds this year. They generally eat the song bird blend.

Common Grackle

My least favorite feeder birds are the Grackles! Loud and obnoxious bullies, they can drive away all the other birds, even the Jays and Squirrels! The only feeder they can use now contains safflower seeds, which they dislike, so they mostly eat off the ground now, which helps.

Blue Jay
The Blue Jays are pretty, but bossy and loud! They love peanuts in the shell! Of course they have the Grackles and Squirrels to compete with for these.

Mourning Dove

The Mourning Doves keep busy cleaning up under the feeders. I love the cooing sounds in the morning.

Next year I hope to have a Oriole feeder and to get my Hummingbird feeder out early enough to attract those species. As the summer progresses and fall comes, I usually see a few more feeder birds. One nice thing about all the birds...we have practically no mosquitoes!

Have a wonderful day! ~Marla