Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN PIGS FLY?
Well, I feed ‘em!
Of course, the pigs I feed aren’t pink with curly tails that go oink. No, I am not even going to talk about any of the 4 legged pigs that I feed, most of which go “meow,”
I am talking about the pigs that fly- those feathered bipeds that frequent the feeding stations in my yard. Of course, when I hurry out to the yard with the camera in hand, they quickly disappear so all I am left with are pictures of empty bird feeders. If we are having a bad snowy winter, I may have as many as 22 feeders going for the birds, some specialized (thistle seed only, sunflower seed only, peanuts, a covered ground feeder for doves and juncos, woodpecker feeders) some general mixed seed feeders and 2 feeding stations for squirrels and a food station for possums and coons.
However, since I got so much mail about the bathroom window shelf feeder, I thought I would do a bit on what I have learned about feeding the pigs, I mean, birds. First a close up of the bathroom feeding shelf:
See the screw eye and wire? The shelf is a cheap wire thing probably from K Mart for adding a shelf to your wall or cabinets. It is screwed in place then wired so it does not drop down. Put it at a slight angle so it will drain better in the rain or snow. An old cookie sheet is on that shelf. Be sure to punch some drainage holes in the cookie sheet especially on the lower end or all your seed will go sour. That is all there is to it. Now I have added the big piece of wire fencing to protect the little birds from the occasional hawk and the board in the back to help keep the seed out of the storm window track when the window is open, which is most of the time.
Squirrel baffles not only protect your feeders from squirrels, they help keep the seed dry in moderate rain. But sometimes it seems like there is no way to hang a baffle with its tiny hole over a feeder with a wide wire. I use a big twist tie, put it on the wire and up thru the small hole.
Got a smaller feeder and don’t need a big baffle? This is a pie tin – just cut a hole in it and slide the wire handle thru. I have discovered I need to put clothes pins on the top to keep it from blowing too far away from the feeder. It keeps the seed dry.
The wire enclosed feeders are great for the little birds, but beauties like the cardinals have a tough time getting much to eat from these feeders. They have to be kept clean or the seed sours and grass grows in them in the summer. And, they are hard to keep clean.
There are a number of “squirrel proof” feeders out there, some cute, some very utilitarian looking. I like them because they store a lot of seed and are easy to clean and the squirrels and coons cannot chew them to pieces as they do the plastic and wooden feeders. The only wooden feeders I have that have not been damaged by the squirrels are the thistle feeders.
Even with the baffle on the pole feeder, the coons sometimes decide to stage a raid and I have had to repair this feeder many times. But, the cats love to sit in the bedroom window and watch, so I keep it full.
The tall cylinder (on the left) is my favorite! It has a battery pack and is guaranteed squirrel proof. If a squirrel or coon grabs onto the bottom round perch that the birds sit on, it starts to spin and the 4 legged jumps off. Since I feed the squirrels at a different place, I do not feel bad about keeping them off the bird feeders. I do have to replace the squirrel feeders every year or two because they (and the coons) will chew the wood even though there is seed available. Go figure.
This sunflower seed feeder is kept dry with a plastic base from a hanging flower pot.
This little thing is a solar warmed water dish. It does get ice in it when the temps go into the teens, but it thaws fast in a little bit of sunlight. I have seen birds use it, but not often.
Things to watch out for – plastic parts, the squirrels will chew them to pieces quickly. Vertical seams on plastic feeders – they leak and then you have rotten seed. Tape helps but does not hold up in bad weather.
Got ice in your driveway? Or a light covering of snow? Even hard packed (but not deep) snow? Scatter bird seed on your driveway and all those little pigs will peck away at the seed and help break up the ice. Maybe their little warm feet help, too, ya think? Whatever it is, it sure works for me.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Yep, it really is snowing. Everybody is out in their yards taking pictures. I guess I started something.
Well, I was afraid it would turn to rain and all wash away and then nobody would believe me. This is Aunt Alice in the snow.
Spook went in his little nest and came out only for a bite of dinner. It really is warm in there!
Once we went 7 years with absolutely no snow. Now that was rough for a gal who had lived in Maine and the Poconos to take. I even lived one winter in North Tonawanda, NY - a suburb (sorta) of Buffalo.
It is getting dark, the snow is deeper, the birds are feeding so I won't go out to disturb them. It is still coming down pretty good... Maybe more pictures tomorrow!
Saturday, January 20, 2007
A COLD DAY
“Well,” my friend said on the phone yesterday, “I bet you are glad to have a day off from working out in your yard!” With temps in the 30s – maybe 40 – in the warm part of the day, no, I sure am not out working in the yard. Actually, it is more the wind than the low temperatures that keeps me inside. I HATE the wind! I hope I live long enough for my pine trees to grow back enough to block the wind from roaring around the house so hard the poor birds can’t even land on the feeders long enough to catch a quick snack. If only the pines grew as fast as the Leyland cypress.
The camellias look so sad and sorry. Well, from the street they still look like a bright patch of color on the winter landscape, but up close and personal I can see the brown bruising from the below freezing temps.
Debutante opened up a pretty new bloom in the sun today – but see the old bruised bloom behind it?
The windsock… OK, wind parrot, actually, has practically beaten itself to death blowing and snapping in the cold wind.
The cats struggle to find a warm spot out of the wind. God forbid they should go in their nice toasty heated little boxes. Yes, heated – there are vents in the wall to the furnace room so the inside of their boxes are never below 50 degrees even on the coldest days. But, they like to be in the sunshine if at all possible or at least behind a tree out of the wind.
So, I am told, on days like this, I am supposed to curl up in my chair with a good book. So why can’t I just relax and enjoy the day inside? WHY indeed! Guilt! That is why. Working out in the yard is my excuse for not doing all the things I need to do in the house. The cold weather robs me of my excuse for avoiding my inside chores. Rats! (No offence, rhodent!) Even the violets look better from the outside looking in. Well, maybe not.
So I try to sit and read for a few minutes… and then I get sleepy. We can’t have that – so I grab the camera in one hand, the cane in the other and go out to get up close and personal with the cold weather. It is really going to snow today????? I walked out on the east end and noticed I can actually see my next door neighbor’s house and barn. See it over there?
I guess I really need to fill a couple of those feeders, especially if it is going to snow. The cats’ favorite bird feeder is the shelf feeder I built outside the big bathroom window. The piece of wood just prevents the seed from clogging up the track on the storm window. The wire keeps the birds safe from the hawk that knows there are lots of little snacks on this shelf. There is a shelf inside usually occupied by Rascal where he sits and chatters to the birds.
I planted this Acuba and Nandina when I moved here. I have to chop the Acuba almost in half every year so I can get to the feeder. A small colony of sparrows lives in the Acuba. It is more private than any curtain!
The greenhouse plants look warm and cozy. It is 38 outside, 74 in the greenhouse.
I am so glad so many of you enjoy sharing my yard and cats with me. How cool to be able to share the day to day moments of life with complete strangers hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Thanks for looking and thanks for letting me know you like my efforts!
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Today the windows are closed; the peepers are silent. The only sound is the wind and a flock of snow geese flying over. Well, they say winter is about to arrive. They say this after weeks of way above normal temps, and several days of temps in the 70s! Mosquitoes were beginning to swarm. There were clusters of bugs buzzing around and around in circles no doubt confused with the world being a bit out of sync. The roses and daisies are putting out new growth about 3 months ahead of their time.
Weeds are starting to flower that we usually don’t get to see until April or May.
The grass is green. And I was glad to see that I am not the only idiot to have my mower out in the middle of winter. I heard then saw my neighbor’s mower while walking around taking pictures of things blooming a month or 2 ahead of schedule.
The white camellias have started to bloom
As have some of the later red camellias. See the white pattern on the petals?
The pussy willows are putting out their soft little catkins.
Is this a flower bed or the cats’ bed? This is where they take their naps in the summer... but it is January! See the daffodils coming up behind Spook?
The pansy garden is getting prettier and prettier, just in time for another blast of cold air.
Punkin is really enjoying the warm sunshine.
It was 62 degrees when I got up this morning and looked out at the camellias next to the carport. Two hours later, it was 52 degrees and windy. By dinner time, it was 20 degrees colder than the day before. Tomorrow morning, they say, it will be in the 20s!
It was tough getting a picture of Aunt Alice as the wind was moving the bush too much to get a clear shot. I took 4 or 5; this is the only one that was sharp. I picked the prettiest ones to have on the dinner table. I picked pieces to try to root even though I have never been successful. Maybe this time!
I have enjoyed having fresh flowers on the table everyday. Soon they will be bruised from the wind and cold. That will be sad. But it would be fun to have a bit, just a bit of snow.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Spring Peeper Pseudacris crucifer
Interesting name, but I think I'll stick to "peeper"
Spring Peeper (RealAudio sound sample) can be found on
http://www.naturesound.com/frogs/pages/peeper.html Now multiply that sound by a hundred or so........... and you have my back yard!
The picture is from this site from this site -
THE WINTER GARDEN - January, 2007
Well, the first week of January has almost been down-right toasty! Saturday, January 6th, it got up to 74 degrees here on Possum Lane. I even sat out on my Adirondack chair (the one I haven’t gotten around to putting in the barn) in a t-shirt and got some rays! It was almost hot in the sun! I guess that would seem normal in some parts of the country except I live on Virginia’s Eastern Shore!
This is Aunt Alice, one of my favorite camellias.
It has been great to have windows open and to work out in the yard without a jacket on.
I know we have had warm days before in January, but this seems to have set a record for December and January – something like 24 or more days of continuous above temps. So, I decided to put a few pics on here of some of the other flowers in the “winter garden” and not repeat the same camellias or pansies that have just been on here.
I will include several different pics of Aunt Alice, as all her blooms are different and I can’t decide which is the most beautiful.
The pansies will improve if the weather stays warm enough. Some of them are just getting started, as you can see. They have only been in the ground less since Christmas Eve.
Soon, just wait and see, the pansy garden will blow you away!
Thanks, Bobbie, for the pansies!
FuzzButt’s grave. Her golf ball is fading, but is still there. Sometimes Spook will play with it and bat it around the yard.
The Saint Francis garden sure doesn’t look like much in the winter! But, just wait till spring!
I planted many of the camellias along the edge or just in the edge of the woods – or what was woods before we had to cut all the pine trees down. Finding them blooming away this time of year is like a big totally unexpected surprise.
The daffodils are up about 7 inches, but that doesn't make a very exciting picture.
If I could add sound, I would have the sound of peepers on here. They have been peeping for several weeks, now.