Monday, 9 June 2008

Sunday Visitors!

The Visitor

"it came today to visit

and moved into the house
it was smaller than an elephant
but larger than a mouse
first it slapped my sister
then it kicked my dad
then it pushed my mother
oh! that really made me mad
it went and tickled rover
and terrified the cat
it sliced apart my necktie
and rudely crushed my hat
it smeared my head with honey
and filled the tub with rocks
and when i yelled in anger
it stole my shoes and socks
that's just the way it happened
it happened all today
before it bowed politely
and softly went away"
~Jack Prelutsky

Sunday's have always been a great time for visiting and for receiving visitors! Oh I do love a visitor or two, and yesterday was no exception to the rule that "It never rains, but what it pours!" I did get quite a few visitors of various kinds, that I'd just love to share with you this morning!

The visiting started quite early in the morning with the first one, Mr. Woodpecker. Mr Woodpecker has been coming regularly to our nut feeder for several weeks now, and quite a few times during the day as well. I can tell it's the same one as he has a whitish beak! That's quite unusual, because any I've seen in the past have all had black beaks. He perches on the feeder and hammers away at the nuts with his sharp beak which makes a tap, tap, tapping noise. I have been trying to get a picture of him for days and days, but he's quite shy and it always seems that as soon as I get my camera up and focused, he's gone . . . early yesterday morning I was quite excited as I finally did manage to get one snapped before he flew away! I think Todd said it was the Great Spotted Woodpecker, and actually, I can now say with a certainty that there are two that are visiting us, for as I sit here writing this, there is one on the feeder now, at this very moment, and this one has a black beak. Perhaps it's a Mr and a Mrs? You never know!

Our bird feeders are a very popular dining destination for wildlife of all sorts, and not just various birds. Mr Squirrel just loves dropping in on them, and very frequently as well . . . much to our annoyance! It's not that we don't love visitors, and not that we don't love squirrels, but he's such a greedy visitor and empties the feeders in quick time, leaving nothing for anyone else to feed on afterwards. We have tried everything to put him off, but not much seems to work. We once had a pizza pan turned upside down on top of the feeder, which he must have truly laughed at, for not only did it look quite funny, but it never slowed him down a bit. I tap on the windows with a wooden spoon and he just looks at me, then resumes feeding. Sending Jess out into the garden does put a run to him, but not for long, as he is back again in quick time as soon as she comes back into the house. He peeks down over the guttering as if to look at us and say "You can't keep a good squirrel down for long . . . " and the rapidly emptying feeder seems to bear witness to his words.

Late yesterday afternoon, Todd added another flower pot to the mix, only this one is turned right side up on top of the bottom one like a huge cup. This seems to be deterring him for the time being, but if I know anything about squirrels, it's this . . . they are quite ingenuous in finding ways to access your nuts, and it won't be long before he's sorted out a way to get back to these, upturned flowerpot or not!

We had just settled in for some relaxation when there was a tapping on the door, and who should it be but Daisie and Maisie from next door! Two little gerbils that had dragged their little boy over to sit with us for a time! They had grown ever so much from their last visit, and their tails have gotten even longer!!

One is grey with white spots on her nose and one is white all over, but don't ask me which one is which because I don't know for sure, although their little boy does! They're kind of cute to watch, especially when they are washing their faces. I'm not quite sure about having them over to visit for overnight or anything like that though . . . they're just a bit too mousy for my liking, and I'm afraid that they might get out and be running helter skelter around the cottage! What a time that would be! I dont' know that we could take all the excitement!

They soon got bored and left and went home, and then little boy came back for a chat and some chocolates. We got to talking about other visitors like the tooth fairy. Did you know the tooth fairy once left him £10! I was amazed. Teeth have surely gone up in price, as, when I was a wee girl, I never got more than 10 cents a tooth! At £10 a tooth, it was almost, but not quite, tempting to start yanking them out! We decided that the tooth fairy was quite fat, with little tiny wings, but most pleasant, and that she sounds like tinkling little bells wherever she goes, leaving little puffs of fairy dust in her wake, and everywhere she settles. He has actually heard her tinkles on various occasions! We came to the conclusion that her little house must be full to overflowing with little teeth that she busily keeps polished and ready . . . for when God needs them to pop back into little baby's mouths. It sounds a nice idea at any rate!

With all those visitors, you just know I had to be baking! I baked your Make Me Bake choice for last week, Morning Glory muffins, of course! I used to own my own coffee shop once upon a time, and these delicious muffins were the most popular item on the menu! I bet I sold thousands of these in my lifetime and baked even more than that! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

*Morning Glory Muffins*
Makes approximately 16*

Delicious muffins just chock full of all that's good for you . . . carrots, apples, pineapple, coconut, sultanas and nuts. These are scrummy and moreish and if anything even better the day after baking so do try to be patient and give these a sit overnight before you tuck into them. You won't be sorry. This is another one from my Big Blue Binder!

1 1/4 cups white sugar
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 TBS ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
3/4 cup sultanas
1 large apple, peeled and shredded (or two small ones)
(I like to use Granny Smiths)
8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained well (about 1 cup)
2 cups grated carrot (about 2 medium large ones, peeled)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted nuts (I use a mix of pecans and walnuts)
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup safflower oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly grease some medium sized muffin tins or line them with paper liners and set aside.

Sift the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Add the coconut, sultanas, apple, carrot and nuts. Stir to combine all together.

Beat the eggs, cooking oil and vanilla together in a large beaker and then pour the beaten mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture. Blend well until totally combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each one right to the top. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of one comes out clean. Cool in the pans for several minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

*Note - I always bake 12 muffins and a small loaf. Bake the loaf for about 15 minutes longer than the muffins.

PS. My little girl reading a book was not exactly what my commission wanted so I am offering it up for sale in my Esty Shop, just in case anyone was interested.


  1. that picture of the "tooth fairy" is so funny:) how fun to have all those visitors. my kids would've loved to watch that woodpecker-i don't think they've ever seen one before! and yum, those muffins looks scrumptuous-can't wait to try the recipe. thanks!

  2. Wow, sounds like you have been busy with visitors just like I have! We have many birds, particularly Baltimore orioles, so pretty in their orange and black! Those muffins are scrummy, I have made them before.

  3. Hi Marie
    What a delightful post today. I loved all your visitors! I love visitors too, especially the human variety.
    I used to make morning glory muffins all the time and I remember how good they were.I had forgotten all about them. It came from a Canadian recipe book, Muffin Mania I think it was called. It was a very popular recipe book in the 70's in Canada.
    I'm going to make them again,now that you've reminded me. Thanks.
    Hugs, Rhondi

  4. Lovely visitors I think!! and a beautiful and yummy recipe Marie!! xxxxGloria

  5. Love the bible words of today, are so special to me, specially today,thanks XXGloria

  6. I love "Sunday visitors", too! Friends and family are such a blessing.

  7. So lovely to see all your visitors!! The light squirrel especially!! I love when the great outdoor creatures come visiting too! Those muffins are fantastic! I just took the poll and am hoping the lemon meringue cake will be the week's winner--yum! Hope your illustration finds a new home :o) Look forward to chatting during the week, my sweet friend. Have a wonderful week ((BIG HUGS))

  8. What fun to see all your visitors and read about their antics.
    Those muffins sure look good.

  9. Marie - I loved reading your post today and I love the pictures.
    The muffins look great too of course!

  10. Dear Marie,
    I'm surprised with all the visitors that you had time to bake. I'd like to make the muffins but what are sultanas? I'm sure that I should know.... maybe I'm having a "senior" moment.

    Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. I agree with you and think we could be dear friends if we lived close.... but even at this distance I felt your hugs.

    By the way if your travels ever bring you to California I'd love to have you stay with us. We are about 35 min from Knott's, 45 from Disneyland and an hour or so from L.A. We have plenty of room and we enjoy visitors too..... especially the two legged kind. My email is staffansonl(at)charter(dot)net

    Have a good day. Love, Lura

  11. Those muffins sound delicious and what a cute name.

    I can't wait to try them.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  12. Those muffins look great! I understand the joy of little ones stopping by. I just went out to get the mail and the little girl from two doors down screeched she needed "HUGGIES!" and came pumbeling toward me. She's never hugged, nor really spoken to me before. I'm still grinning, and not just from seeing her gap-toothed grin!

    The babies got neutered today! :( I don't get them back until tommorow morning.

    Again, thanks so much for helping me out the other day. I told Libby you were my inspiration.

  13. I love those muffins! I've made some version of them before!
    The boy next door has a very rich tooth fairy. Ours only gives a dollar.

  14. What is a sultana?

    I always wondered what was in a morning glory muffin. :)


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