Dear Sunday Letter friends,
Last week was certainly a welcomed change from the prior week. Yay for seasonal temperatures and a bit of sunshine. Tomorrow we welcome March, and soon thereafter, spring.
I’m pretending spring has already sprung. Even with recent sub-zero temperatures, our daffodils and tulips and crocus are poking right through the soil. In another few weeks, winter will be a memory.
Yesterday, I pulled my three spring/Easter decorations from storage.
Call me ready. I may go ahead and set my clocks forward-ha.
One of the most important things we did last week was spring clean our bird feeders. I scrubbed the feeders with a mix of bleach and hot water (1:10 ratio) while John raked up all the hulls and seed from the ground. After the bird feeding frenzy of the week before, our feeders were super nasty. Disease can rapidly spread through a bird population if feeders aren’t cleaned regularly.
After scrubbing the feeders, I let them dry in the sun before refilling. On a 75˚ afternoon, they dried quickly.
I didn’t take a before picture because no one wants to see that ugliness.
But look how nice the after pic is…
It’s almost as though the Hitchcock-ish flock of robins that surrounded our house never happened. As the snow melted, the flock moved on, (thank goodness!). A small habitat can only support so many mouths.
Now, our familiar bird friends feed in peace—the finches, chickadees, cardinals, woodpeckers, and a few robins who nest here each spring. Oh, and the squirrels, of course. They wait patiently underneath for seed that falls.
Balance has returned to our corner of the world. At least for now.
You know how cauliflower is the new French fry? Well, yes, that may be a stretch, but you know what I mean, right?
This week, we made a pasta dish substituting regular noodles with cauliflower noodles from Taste Republic.
Is there anything cauliflower can’t do?
If your stomach protests against gluten, you’ll likely agree that gluten-free noodles made from cauliflower is a meal changer.
I mean, for real. Look at my forkful.
Taste Republic’s linguine noodles are flat and thick and cook in 3 minutes. Topped with John’s spicy bolognese sauce and lots of parmesan, we enjoyed quite the feast.
FYI, this isn’t a sponsored post. I just believe it’s important to share good finds, especially in the case of tasty, gluten-free, healthy options. Each serving is the equivalent of 2 servings of veggies and 4 grams of fiber.
We bought our cauliflower pasta at Sam’s. According to the Taste Republic company website, it can also be purchased at Whole Foods, HEB, and on-line.
I’m a fan!
Spring is definitely around the corner when the solitary bees begin to emerge. I saw three this week!
Solitary bees (mason bees, leafcutters, sweat bees, mining bees) are the first pollinators of spring. These little gems are out trolling for nectar, often finding it in the tiny little weed flowers growing in the grass. Unlike honey bees that live in colonies, solitary bees (as the name suggests) are loners. They mostly nest in the ground, but also in wood or in hollow twigs. They are basically harmless to humans, and won’t sting unless you threaten them.
Pay attention, and you may notice little conical mounds of dirt in your yard, almost like an anthill. This is a solitary bee nest. There’s a solitary bee nesting site near Old Main on the campus of the University of Arkansas. The nesting site has been active for over a decade. (Maybe I can get by there in the next few days and look for bee activity. If so, I’ll report back.)
I saw a paper wasp last week too. Lots of people are especially afraid of wasps. Like bees, they are beneficial pollinator insects. As long as they stay away from the porch and mind their own beeswax, I’m glad to see them.
You might remember the insect hotel I made a couple of years ago. The purpose of an insect hotel is to give solitary bees a place to nest. I can’t say for sure one of the bees I saw had taken up residence in our bee hotel, but maybe! As proprietor, I run a pretty loosey-goosey hotel. Bees can come and go as they please, without officially checking in with me.
This week, I plan to inspect the hotel, clean it out, add fresh ‘linens’.
It was a very big week for Gracie. After having her final round of puppy vaccinations, we have officially started taking her for walks through the neighborhood.
She did pretty well for her first time. And each walk gets better.
We’ve been waiting for this milestone. This little girl needs LOTS of exercise.
From wired to tired.
Things Momma Says:
The birds don’t like my cooking.
Thanks for reading today’s Sunday Letter. My reviews on the books I read in February are coming in a day or two, so tune back in!
Before I go, tell me something great that happened to you in February.
Happy March (almost),
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.