John and I both like rice pudding from our childhood days. Both family recipes used evaporated milk made in a large bowl filled with the rice mixture and baked in the oven, stirring several times as the skin formed.
Here are three different recipes all with slightly different taste and texture.
It seems everyone who likes rice pudding has a preference.
One is baked in the oven and the other two are made on the stove-top.
All can be made with or without raisins, with or without a sprinkle of either nutmeg or cinnamon and served with or without whipped cream.
A young, female Ruby-throated hummingbird preparing to land on a feeder.
Season after season, the return of hummingbirds to our feeders and flowers thrills me.
I never tire of their dashing and flitting and will always be captivated by these tiny birds with iridescent plumage.
Much to my disappointment, I never have lots of hummers at one time drinking at the feeders. Only on occasion have there been two at the same time. My birds are quite territorial and if a hummingbird flies toward the feeder while another is there, it will dart and both will zip away.
Oh, but the excitement, when outside, and I hear the hum of their powerful wings over my shoulder or catch a glimpse of one as it flits behind me!
Making a simple sugar mixture to keep the feeders full ensures we will enjoy hummingbirds throughout the season. We have three feeders and make fresh nectar once a week if the temperatures are low and twice a week if we are having very hot/humid days.
I have always done this on the stove but just began using the microwave. Either way, it takes less than 10 minutes to make.
To Make Hummingbird Nectar
1 Pour 1 part white sugar into microwavable container or saucepan.
2 Add 4 parts water; stir.
3 Heat in microwave (about 5 minutes on high power) or on stove top just to boiling and sugar is dissolved.
4 Allow liquid to cool completely before filling clean feeders.
Nectar can be stored in refrigerator for 1 week.
Keep feeders filled with fresh nectar as fermented and cloudy nectar can be harmful.
There is no need to add red dye to the nectar to attract hummingbirds and may be harmful to the birds.
Hummingbirds feed 5-8 times an hour
When to set out the feeders:
I live in zone 6b (southern New Jersey) and we have the Ruby Throat-ed Hummingbirds. I set my feeders out April 1st each year and have seen hummers at the feeder as early as April 8th. To check the arrival date of Ruby-throated hummingbirds where you live, visit Hummingbirds.net for a map of 2014 migration.
As the end of the season begins approaching, around late August, we notice many more hummers and they begin looking chubby as they beef-up for the up-coming southern migration. I have read to keep feeders up, clean and filled at least two weeks after you see your last hummingbird in order to help stragglers. I have seen hummingbirds, although infrequent, as late as October.
Hummingbirds are big eaters! Because their metabolism is so fast they need to eat frequently to prevent starving. It is very important that the nectar feeders be clean.
Once or twice each week, bring the feeders to the kitchen sink
Open (each is a little different in design) and pour out and remaining nectar.
Rinse under running water and using an old toothbrush or small bottle brush, wash/scrub away all traces of mold and dirt. Do not use soap.
Flush well with water.
Refill with cool, fresh nectar
Reassemble feeder container and hang again
As you can see, we have three different feeders. We see hummers at all of the feeders but I think they enjoy the ones with a perch best. The inverted bottle design is hard to clean and the round flat one is the easiest.
Since I seem to be most often in the kitchen (surprise, huh?), this feeder is at the back of the house and right outside the window over the sink. We have only dappled, afternoon sun here and lots of trees so the hummingbirds freely flit from feeder to tree and back again.
We have another feeder hanging on the front porch and I can see it as I sit at my computer. The hummers will even visit while we are sitting on the porch chairs.
The third feeder isn't far from the porch, hanging in the bottom branches of a tree and they frequent this more secluded spot as well.
In addition to nectar from a feeder, hummingbirds eat tiny insects and visit tubular-shaped flowers, using their long, tapered bill to obtain nectar from the center.
There are many flowers you can plant in your yard to attract hummingbirds.
Here are some we have growing that hummingbirds frequent. By far, the plant that is the biggest draw is the trumpet vine, however, be aware it can be intrusive by sending up many unwanted shoots
The two birds on the right in the above photo are males as evident by the bright, red band around the throat called a gorget. The dots on the throat of the bird on the left indicates it is not yet an adult.
Notice the feet as the bird perches on the feeder. Hummingbirds have very tiny legs and feet and cannot walk.
It won't be too much longer and our visitors will begin their long trek southward.
But I will be waiting for them again next spring!