Thursday, June 11, 2009

Latest Creations and Goings-on

I was really hoping for some sunshine to take this picture in, but it doesn't seem as though that's going to happen. It seems like all it does is rain around here lately. But, this here is my latest cupcake creation. It's strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting dusted with pink glitter and nonpareils. I also made the rose on top out of fondant and then coated it with pink luster dust, sadly the picture doesn't pick that up very well. This weekend I will be trying my hand at my first tiered cake, so we will see how that goes. I think I might go for a topsy turvy theme, and I am a little skeered about it, hopefully it wont be a complete disaster.

And on another note, here are a few pics from around the yard over the past few weeks. I think this ladybug was doing more than just hitching a ride. =) I can honestly say I have never seen anything quite like this, it was pretty amazing watching them zoom around on the rock like that.

Saint Jude watching over the garden. Poor guy has an aphid in his beard. On some of the other pictures it was on his forehead and then on his mouth, I didn't even notice it until I had the pictures downloaded.

And last but not least, how about some blue skies with Iris'. I sure would love to have blue skies back! At least with a picture, we can pretend.

Friday, June 5, 2009

4 Little Robins

Andy and I recently witnessed something pretty awesome. Baby robins from eggs, to birth, to flight, all in our own backyard. Here is a time line, for the most part, of their journey.

And so it began. After hanging out in the nest for a few days Momma robin finally laid her eggs.

After a few days of constant nurturing from both momma and papa Robin, the babies finally hatched. This is day one of life for these 4 little creatures.They have an awkward charm about them, and although they look like something from a horror movie, you can't help but say 'awww'.

Day 2 and their transformation already begins. They start to change color and the fuzz on their bodies becomes more prominent. They spend all their time sleeping, getting ready for the busy few days ahead.

Day 3 and these little guys are nothing but HUNGRY! Any small movement or sound around them triggers a symphony of open mouths, hoping for a juicy worm.

Day 4 and they continue to sleep a-lot! It seems as though they have a schedule. Up until about 6:00 pm there isn't much movement in the nest, but momma and papa robin begin feeding in the evening hours, and it's then that chaos begins. Each little creature vying for the biggest piece of the worm. They've started making little chirps by this point, but their eyes remain closed. It's absolutely amazing to see the physical transformation that has happened over the past 23 hours! Their wing feathers have started to come in!

Day 5 and momma robin didn't feel like having any visitors. It was a stormy day and she opted to keep a close watch throughout the evening. Papa robin would check in on occasion to make sure all was okay.

Day 6 and it's not hard to see that this little one, "chubs", ALWAYS gets the first worm. If you notice in every picture he always has his mouth open; Awake, sleeping, rain or shine, this little bugger always managed to get fed first.

Day 7 and the little ones finally begin to open their eyes. I love the fohawk each one of them sports, they are cute little fellas, not so alien-like anymore.

Day 8 and my presence at the nest becomes more of a curiosity for them. Each one of them with eyes now open, start to consume the nest and it's clear that they wont be staying for much longer. Their coats have continued to change dramatically overnight and throughout the day, and yes, "chubs" still has his mouth open down there in the right hand corner.

Day 9 and the nest no longer looks comfy and cozy. Momma and papa robin continue to take excellent care of the group and seem to thank Andy and I whenever we turn the sprinklers on. We have made worm picking pretty easy for them. (Yes "chubs" we know you are hungry.)

Day 10 and it's looking like a pile-on at the end of winning sports game. You have to feel a little sorry for the little guy on the bottom. "Chubs" has been well fed and it's apparent he is still wanting more.

Day 11. It's the day before take off and "chubs" has decided he would like a 'closed-mouth' closeup before his departure. Looking as though he has gained some wisdom over the past hours, it's a silent understanding by all that it's getting close to the big day.

And this is where I get a little angry at myself. On day 12, 3 of the 4 little robins slowly made their way out of the backyard. "Chubs" was the first one to depart no doubt, and was never seen again. The other 3 continued to hang out in the back for a while, spreading their wings slowly and getting used the notion of flight. I had pictures of them perching in the backyard, but upon uploading that batch of photos, something happened and they ended up getting deleted. Left behind, was the runt of the group, the poor little guy that was always on the bottom and last to get the worm. Frail but determined, he spent the next 3 days in the backyard.

On day 14, Andy and I spent time in the backyard, watching the many pep-talks between mother and child. Momma robin would pick out a juicy worm and sit on the fence egging the young robin to 'come and get it'. The young one would then run along the fence line in the garden chirping with the utmost determination. He would flap his wings with all his might and would flutter back down to the ground before making it to the top. Momma would then come down and give him comfort and a juicy worm and remind him, that nothing is worth giving up on.

After about 4 hours of watching this little one give it everything he had, and witnessing mom console and cheer him on, he finally made it. Now perched on the fence line and wobbling to and fro he made it to a lilac bush and hasn't been seen since. We can only assume that he has become strong enough to fly like the others, and go on to make a family of his own.

It was really incredible to watch! Andy and I were amazed everyday at the little changes that happened and how each one of them was so different. Also amazing was the incredible amount of dedication momma and papa robin gave to their young. Momma robin is already frequenting the nest again, and it will be interesting to see if she has another batch. I will keep you posted on what happens.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Insight for the day

Sometimes helping your fellow man requires you to get a little dirty. Even if it means having to stick your arm in the local Chevron dumpster.

And a verse for the day;

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It flows to low places loathed by all men.
Therefore, it is like the Tao.

Live in accordance with the nature of things.
In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
Stand by your word.
Govern with equity.
Be timely in choosing the right moment.

One who lives in accordance with nature
does not go against the way of things.
He moves in harmony with the present moment,
always knowing the truth of just what to do.

- 8th verse of the Tao Te Ching

Monday, June 1, 2009

Who Knew

I was never much of a baker, but over the past few months I have developed a desire and love of creating fun with all things edible, particularly cupcakes. Here are a few of the creations I have come up with so far, and I hope to post lots more in the future. Fun to make, and tasty, it doesn't get much better than that. I hope to someday be as good as the people I get my inspiration from; But for now, I will just enjoy the fun and smiles they bring.

This was what I gave Andy for Valentine's Day, and it was essentially the kick off to my cupcake craze. They were Red Velvet Cupcakes with Buttercream frosting and crushed peppermint candy canes on top.

This one was for Mother's Day. It was a vanilla cupcake with Vanilla Frosting, and the flower on top was my first try at molding chocolate. Of course, it needed some pink and yellow nonpareils to top it off.

Getting a little more brave with the molding chocolates, I attempted these butterfly cupcakes. The cupcake was vanilla, and the frosting was buttercream.

And last but not least for today, these were this weekends creation, and my first try at using fondant. It's an orange cupcake with cream cheese frosting, topped with a fondant flower covered in luster dust. I propped this yummy cupcake on a decorative rock in my backyard in front of our garden for a closeup.

Moments Too Easily Missed

Today, while running some errands for work, I passed a school. With my window rolled down I could hear the cheerful chirps of the young children playing about. My eye was suddenly drawn to a slight young boy sitting all alone on the curb, his knees to his chest, arms firmly wrapped around them. I felt sorry for the boy, wondered why he was in such dismay. A frown began to plague my face, when at that apropos moment; two beams of light grinning from ear to ear began to make their way towards him. One dressed in a pink dress, daisy janes and those cute little white socks with the frills at the ankle, the other with a peppy step, and pig-tails swaying to and fro. The boys head began to perk up, and with a smile on my lips, tears began to stream down my face. How many moments we miss too consumed with the busy nature of life. I was so glad I had witnessed the moment, but was sad knowing there are so many like it gone unnoticed. When we are children we want to get ‘big’, and the time can never go by fast enough, always waiting anxiously for that next birthday, the proverbial desire to grow older. And as an adult I find myself wishing time would just slow down a bit. Moments passing by ever too quickly to stop and really enjoy the small moments that can make it so incredible. So my advice for the day would be to just stop for a minute, open your ears, heart and mind to something you may have otherwise missed, it’s the little moments that really matter. And if you see someone with their head in their hands, be that person to lift their spirits.

Here is a fairy that I made a while back, hope it brings some magic to your day.