Mealworms

It seems I am trying to be gross with some of my recent posts but really . . it’s just life around here. 

First, I’ll give you a little much needed, and I’m sure – much appreciated, lesson on the life cycle of a mealworm!  :)

When I order them, they arrive as the larva, or the “worm”. That is the stage at which I feed them to the chickens or bluebirds. Before they were larva, they were eggs . . tiny little eggs, about the size of a speck of dust. I can say that I’ve never seen an egg . . the mealworm beds are full of them but I just never see them.

The eggs hatch out in 1 to 4 weeks, then they’re larva (worms) for 8 to 10 weeks. Then, for my purposes, they’re pretty useless, aggravating and nasty!

Then it turns into the grosses, weirdest looking little pupa. I feel sorry for the thing. No mouth, no butt, doesn’t eat, can wiggle a bit but it just sits there .. for 1 to 3 weeks and then it turns into a darkling beetle . . which I really detest. When they’re a few weeks old, they begin to mate, lay eggs and the process begins anew. The adult beetle can lay hundreds of eggs. So, I need the beetles in order to get baby mealworms.

But, I do not need a million beetles, laying 100 million eggs.

Mealworms

Mealworms

During the winter, I fed them (celery) but I didn’t thin out the beetles. It was cold and I just didn’t do it but I won’t let them go like that again.

The above picture was after I had picked out hundreds of beetles. This container holds 21 cups and it was close to full of beetles and worm “exoskeletons”.

Beetles

Beetles

The chickens were quite happy with their treats!  I figured there are enough eggs left in all the worm boxes that I don’t even need any beetles so I pulled out as many as I could get – I think I got all the live ones out and most of the dead ones.

Worm Beds

Worm Beds

All five beds are as clean as they’re going to get for now. There’s fresh wheat bran and chicken starter for substrate/bedding . . whatever you want to call it. They mostly eat celery, potatoes and apples. I seem to have the best luck with celery.

Mealworms

Mealworms

A few of the fat, juicy worms went into a bluebird feeder! I only put out a few at a time because they go in a cup and if it rains, the cup fills up with water and the bluebirds won’t eat the soggy worms.

Feel better knowing all this?

Rosemary Roasted Chicken

Roasted chicken is one of my favorite meals. You’ve probably noticed that almost every meal is my favorite but I really love roasted chicken. 

Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken

It’s so easy and can be a one pot meal, plus it can be left in the oven for several hours while I’m out working in the garden! Potatoes or sweet potatoes could also be added, if desired.

The meat was moist and quite delicious. You will notice the chicken is in a different dish. Once the chicken was done, I transferred it, along with everything except the juices, to a different dish so I could thicken up/reduce the pan drippings on top of the stove.

Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken

Rosemary Roasted Chicken
An easy and delicious one pot meal
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Ingredients
  1. 1 roasting chicken
  2. 1 onion, sliced
  3. 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  4. 6 - 8 carrots, sliced into 2 - 3" pieces
  5. 3 T. minced garlic
  6. 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  7. 1 lemon, sliced
  8. 4 T. butter
  9. 4 T. olive oil
  10. 1 cup dry white wine
  11. salt, pepper, additional seasonings for chicken (whatever you like - I use a cajun spice mix)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Rinse chicken and dry thoroughly! Season chicken inside and out with spices you like.
  3. Place 2 springs of rosemary and a couple of lemon slices inside the cavity of the chicken.
  4. Heat 2 T. olive oil and 2 T. butter in a Dutch oven. Saute onions til lightly colored and tender. Add mushrooms and continue to saute.
  5. Remove mushrooms and onions from the pot. Add remaining butter, olive oil and the garlic. Saute until garlic is almost starting to brown.
  6. Brush the garlic/butter mixture over the chicken and add the chicken to the pot.
  7. Place the remaining lemon slices and the rosemary on top of the chicken.
  8. Add the onions, mushrooms and carrots on top of and around the chicken.
  9. Roast in the oven, uncovered, until the chicken is done (165º). It usually takes 1-1/2 to 2 hours to reach this temp with the oven at 350º.
  10. Once the chicken is done, remove it, along with the veggies, and place them in an ovenproof dish and keep warm in the oven while the pan juices are reduced.
  11. If there's a lot of fat, you may wish to drain some off.
  12. Add the 1 cup dry white wine and simmer until the juices are reduced and thick enough to spoon over the chicken for a tasty sauce.
Notes
  1. If I know the chicken needs to be in the oven longer (because I'm working outside), I'll cook it at 325, or if I know I need it done sooner, I'll roast it at 375.
Patchwork Times by Judy Laquidara http://www.patchworktimes.com/

 

Wildflowers

Everyone knows about the bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush and the more famous wildflowers but with our abundant rainfall this spring, the wildflowers just continue to bloom. As soon as one variety stops blooming, another . . equally as pretty . . flower pops up.

The open spaces are just full of flowers!

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

A lot of these we haven’t seen before. I guess the seeds have been dormant, just waiting for sufficient rainfall to make them sprout.

It was a windy day when I was out taking pictures. I have no idea what most of these are called and I know . . I could do a little research but I’m just happy to enjoy their beauty and some day I’ll educate myself about some of the things growing around here.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

These little lime “flowers” are so pretty and dainty. They’re a vine and they grow up the trees and fences. Thank goodness they don’t have thorns because every other vine around here seems to have obnoxious thorns! 

Wildflower

Wildflower

Wild verbena is everywhere and it seems to last the longest. That’s one of the first flowers that starts blooming at our place and as far as I remember, it’s blooms all summer long . . just give it a bit of water and it takes over. It doesn’t mind if it’s growing in the rich garden soil, or among the rocks of the driveway.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

There are lots of purple flowers – some bright, some pale . . but always a lot of purple.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

It’s surprising to me that the weather conditions seem so harsh here – ice in the winter, heat and drought in the summer . . but yet there are so many beautiful wildflowers. Out in the country, there’s nowhere you can look that you don’t see wildflowers this time of year.

We should all take a lesson from the wildflowers and bloom where we’re planted, right?