Well, the tree swallows that were nesting in the nest box right next to the front door have gone along their merry way. (I think I heard a parental sigh of relief.) Normally when baby birds fledge (i.e. leave the nest) you will see them around the yard for a few weeks, trying out their flying skills and begging food from their parents from every tree branch. Not so with swallows, who spend their lives finding food on the wing. I wasn’t there for the actual event, but I have a deep appreciation for a critter who, never having flown before, or even completely stretched out its wings in a small nest box with 3 or 4 siblings, makes that inaugural flight by leaping into the air, trusting to instinct that it will all work out just fine…and it does. I was able to capture these pictures a few days before the babies departed, when they were clearly getting big enough to be ready to go.


The yellow edge to their beaks, which all baby songbirds have, to my knowledge, is called a gape.


No doubt the gape enables the baby to open up their mouths REALLY wide to receive breakfast, lunch and dinner.


The parents must be relieved when the young finally leave the nest, as doing this every 10 minutes for two weeks has got to be exhausting.

We took a trip up to Green Bluff, our local U-pick area, for several flats of strawberries. Most were frozen for later use, but I did make a fresh strawberry tart, which included a layer of homemade sweetened ricotta and last year’s jar of strawberry balsamic preserves. It’s OK to be jealous. It was REALLY good.


This is just ready to go in the oven.

Garden flowers continue to rock.


Borage. The flowers are edible, and the bees LOVE it.


Calendula Triangle Flashback from Territorial Seeds.


OK, I posted pictures of poppies last week too, but if your poppies looked this good, wouldn’t you keep taking pictures of them? Seriously. I’ll plant them every year from here on out.


The Zinnias, which I thought might just die in mid May, are coming on strong.


Asian Lilly with metallic bee. Got to love the green and orange contrast.


Malcolm, always happy to help in the garden…or at least purr in hopes of having his belly rubbed.


These tomato plants look like caca, but if these all get ripe, I’m in tomato sauce heaven. The variety is Beaver Lodge, a super early determinate.


Baby patty pan squash. SO much better than zucchini in my opinion.

Outside the “front” door, I have a recycling center that tends to get piled with stuff that needs to go out to the garage, garden shed or wherever. The other day, I noticed this spider web on it, covered in what I thought were small gnats that the clever spider had caught when the porch light was on. Then all the gnats started to move, and I realized it was a whole bunch of very little spiders. When disturbed, they all drop down their web lines like action flick heroes repelling down a skyscraper. Very cool.


Charlotte’s Web this aint.

Life, as they say, is good.

Miles Away Farm Blog © 2011, where we’re miles away from understanding mother nature’s mysteries, but we’re always thankful to have another day to wonder at her smallest details.