Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Jeri,s Garden Tours, soon to come.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 239th Birthday!

  Happy 239th Birthday America!
"A Republic, if you can keep it" Benjamin Franklin
" The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more" John Adams
              We actually ended up celebrating our LIBERTY, our Freedom and our INDEPENDENCE on the 4th of July, rather than the 2nd.
 This is a good time to actually read the Declaration of Independence.
We have strayed far from the original intent of our forefathers, but I will still put my hand on my heart and thank God for my country.
 James and I have been watching the series "John Adams". I highly recommend, It is so excellent.
You can find it on "watch  instantly" on Netflix, 
Sorry, I meant Amazon Prime
Happy Birthday fellow Americans!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Batch of buns and back to the drawing board....

Greeting friends!
I hope you are enjoying your June
Usually, by this time in the summer, we have dozens of wee babes waddling round the Hollow.
 BUT... this has been a bad year for babies. Not a single gosling egg hatched out of 21 eggs, poor Alice and Mathila...they tried so hard. No ducklings have hatched despite 3 sitting ducks. My peahen, although she sat on 3 eggs for over 30 days, only hatched one baby pea-chick which died the next day.
To top it all off, My favorite gander, whom I have had for 8 years, died of unknown causes.
Okay, enough gloomy stuff, we get enough of THAT in this world.
Thank goodness for blogs, they are a wonderful escape. Now, I will keep it light.
Despite all the losses, our animal family is growing, as you can see below....

ALL NEW, but none are finished!
We did, however, finish the Dovecote, just need a bit more thatch roofing.
The top is for the doves, the bee-skeps open up to store seed and sunflowers,
which is put in the open bird feeder.
Doves are seed eaters, not bug eaters, else I would not have designed in this manner.
The 3rd shelf holds a bar bee hive for honey bees and beneath that is a feeder full of corn 
for my ducks and geese.
The bug haven stands at the end of the structure.

 The gardens are all weeded.
 I even had enough success with my Lavender to actually spare a bundle of it
without trimming it off all of the plants. I am very stingy about plucking flowers. I like to leave them in the garden for all to see. How about you?

I planted 24 Lavenders this year and all are producing blooms, although still youngsters.

 It is time to get back to illustration. There is a new book in the works which I actually started late last year. Thus far, 7 drawing are complete.

I am happy to get out the pencils once again. I miss my pencils when I am away from them for too long, for I love to draw!
So do tell, how are you spending your summer?

Friday, June 19, 2015

In celebration of June.

In the sultry summer's heat,
 the happy daisy faces greet....
 us with a smile...and repeat..
a SYMPHONY of bloom.

 Future Feathered Flyers
and those  EARTH BOUND
in tune with Mother Natures 
 The signs of life are   

for anyone to see.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

New rabbits in the works and a Bee haven for you to build.

In between  building projects and continual garden care, I've been working on a few Hares

 and  a small gray pussy cat holding her Felix the cat doll.

 Part 3 of the Building Project:
 A few weeks ago, I posted about solitary bees and gave a few examples of small "bee houses".
Today, I present to you a fun project: Building a Beneficial Bug house.
This is a straight-forward project but I was grateful that James took over the basic building chores
because he is better with the power tools than me. That should not stop any woman from making this, if you are familiar with using tools. We used leftover rough-cut boards from our barn building.
One piece is cut with a 45 degree angle for the roof, this is the back of the bee house.
The 2 Side pieces are attached to the peaked back using wood screws.
Equal size boards create the finished roofing.

You may be asking yourself, "Why the heck would anyone go to all this trouble to attract a bunch of bugs!!? Is she crazy?"
Actually, it took less than 2 hours to build it and
you will soon see that I am not nuts.
 You can build this at any size you wish, that is why I did not give measurements. Ours is about 4 feet tall because it is meant to fit into a particular spot.
We added 5 shelves to our roofed "box", it is finished.
This is the fun part:  Go gathering!
We want items that will be a comfy-cozy nesting place for the GOOD Bugs. WHY? Surely they can find their own hotels without OUR help. Yes, they can... and sometimes that is   INSIDE your house. If you  have ever had a ladybug invasion, you know what I am talking about. 

The main insects I am trying to attract are the Solitary bees and those insects which feed on garden pests.

 Straw and grasses stuffed in pots and gourds will attract Lacewings and Ladybugs. Lacewings eat aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and thrip.

Bamboo tubes and pierced 1/4" holes in logs are nesting holes for Mason bees and dozens of other Solitary Bees.

The bricks will house members of  Wasp family. Wasps have a bad reputation. I have been stung many a time; however wasps  are relatives of the bee and provide a useful service as the great hunters of the insect world. Without them we would be over-run with insects. Grasshoppers, beetles and chewing caterpillars are victims of the wasp, and that is fine by me.

 Earwigs will gather in the crevices of  pine-cones, lichens and old bark. They devour aphids as well.
I concentrated most on the nesting holes for the Mason bees, because I really want these wonderful pollinators in my gardens.
But just as importantly, to me anyway, is that this structure is aesthetically pleasing, in fact, I find it rather BEAUTIFUL

I've already had a little critter checking out the apartments.. but it is a firefly, I think he is just being nosy.
I think some of my blogger friends may be very interested in building one of these Bee and Bug Havens.

This is all part of the grand plan. We will have the entire project pulled together and posted next week!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pull out the power tools...

Part 1 
Your ever changing Garden
There is a constant and amazing metamorphosis taking place in yours and my garden, each and every day.

We are treated to a changing palette of color and form each week. In fact, you must keep on your toes in case you miss something; the little pink primroses that were here last week, may have completely gone to seed this week. The Peonies that burst into an exuberant mass of bloom will soon be dropping their sweet scented petals all over the tiny Dianthus that have just begun to open  up in 20 shades of pink. And best enjoy the foxglove  whilst they last, they are fleeting beauties.
 It is all so exciting!
Part 2
Power tools; Building something COOL
This week, I put away my needles, wool and thread and pulled out my wood and power tools. I am a woman with a mission.
This is an old nesting box that has been up in our barn for ages. 
I am going to reinvent it  
  I started by turning the 4 compartments into 8 compartments, adding a shelf in the center of each.
Each section is a spacious 10'x10' and the interior is re-painted white.
 Next, I cut piece a of wood to enclose the front completely.
  Using my Bosche jigsaw I cut doorways, 8 of them.
I sanded all round each doorway, giving it a smooth surface and a bit of age.
Next, I made little corbels and "porches" for each doorway;
painted them and securely screwed corbel to porch. (  I put to use James's flea market find, the antique vice!)
   Somehow, I ended up with 2 extra corbels, I will keep them...just in case.
After painting the front GREEN< my best color, I attached the landing porches beneath each door. By now I am sure you know this has something to do with a rather large bird.
 Green paint... a red tin roof, a bit of trim...
 It is not the most elegant DOVECOTE,
 in fact it is a plain Jane,
 but my carpentry skills are quite limited AND
 there IS a method to my madness...
 Remember this from 2 weeks ago?
James built it for me, and I asked my readers to guess it's purpose.
He needs only to roof it.
 The English Reed thatch, (underneath Aretha and the bee hive roofing),
will be layered on the roof. James will add 3 shelves beneath the roof.
My Dovecote will be on the top shelf right beneath the eaves....nice perching areas for these:
Adult morning doves - they like the bird seed in the pan on the ground but I've seen them at the feeder, too 
 (Photo courtesy of Pinterest)
 It is my fondest wish that the Mourning Doves that visit our place will use these apartments to nest.
(I just changed the White paint on the trim and porches to "Belgium Waffle" it is more of a cream color.)
Tomorrow, I am building the item that goes on the second shelf.
When it all comes together, you will know why I made such a simple Dovecote.
 Until then, happy Gardens to you!

 Here is a nice article that was written about me this week in a Pennsylvania Gazette: