Posts Tagged ‘bird feeder’

Thursday, March 1, 2012

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Wednesday started off in a cloudy fashion.  I felt cloudy also.  As in, not energized.    You know the kind of feeling .. life is rolling along, full of positivity and energy.    Open to new possibilities and learning.   Then there is a blip.  So I was in a blip.  Hmmm. .. that could very well be a new adjective, couldn’t it?   As in “it was a blip situation” …:)

So I went outside to experience some positive energy from our yard .. to take a few moments to watch the birds.  Check out the ground, look for spring flowers .. that sort of thing.  Pondered walking over to Swan Lake, to see the ducks and watch for the local eagles .. I’d really like to see them.

Decided it really was time to stay home, study, spend some time in reading through the materials on organic gardening.  Not many classes left.

Brr .. chilly in the early morning.  Rain starting to fall.  I was determined to finally install the Lee Valley hanging saucer beneath one of the bird feeders.  A green circle of about 1 1/2 feet in circumference, which would be attached to the bottom of the feeder.   There was a cover for this saucer, which was full of holes for the bird seed to tumble into (instead of tumbling onto the ground!).

By the time I’d assembled (found!!!) my pliers, saucer, bird seed and was outside, a light rain was falling.  My hands were numb with cold, but I was determined that I was finally going to assemble this saucer thing which I’d bought before Christmas!

Deciphered the instructions, arranged the chain and attached to one of the bird feeders – I’d lost all track of time so really don’t know how long it took me to do that.  Anyway, as all gardeners know, time doesn’t exist in a garden   🙂

Finally, the bird feeder with the new saucer was placed carefully, hanging from a branch of the apple tree, freshly filled and awaiting the discovery of the birds.  A sense of accomplishment was strongly felt.  yeah.

Next, time to fill up the hummingbird feeder and the rest of the bird seed feeders.

And …. ta da .. there is a new addition to the village of bird feeders!  I finally broke down and bought the Mark Cullen covered suet holder, it’s cute, made of cedar, with a sloped roof, underneath is the suet holder.  It’s made specifically for the tiny members of  birds .. the darling little Bush-tits, the Red-Breasted Nuthatches and the Chestnut-Backed Chickadees.   Bigger birds (Junco’s, sparrows, European Starlings) kind of take over the other suet block.  So this is special for them.

Wandered around the back, inspecting the branches of the dwarf apple tree that we’d planted a long time ago.

Looked up to the sky and wow .. there is one of the eagles flying around.  I found it really amazing to be looking through the tight web of branches and actually see this magnificent eagle flying and .. I actually had my camera with me!  So I quickly drew the camera from the case, clicked it on and took a few pictures.  This camera doesn’t have an eyepiece, it has one of those little screens which doesn’t show clearly what you are looking at .. so it was really sheer luck that I was able to zero in and take some photos.

As the eagle flew in ever larger circles, I ran to the center of the yard and found it again .. and clicked away.  So very grateful that I was outside at that moment in time, and looked upwards.   An inspirational bit of time which filled me with joy at the sheer magnificent beauty of nature.

The eagle then changed direction, soaring effortlessly in another direction, lost to my sight.

Well, then.  I was able to see the eagle and saved myself a few hours from walking to Swan Lake.

Time to go inside and get some studying done.

And you know what?  Once I started going through my notes and the online lessons, I was transported away to the world of composting and the many lifeforms therein.

Quite the learning day for me . .one that I thoroughly enjoyed.



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Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012


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  Tuesday … such a beautiful day … decided to get outside and go for a long walk so that I would have exercise in the sun!

Walked down Blanshard … normal busy day … and so lovely when the traffic momentarily was hushed, due to traffic lights.

The lines on the roadway at one section were being repainted.  While waiting for a light to change to “walk” I took the opportunity to talk with one of the workers .. turns out that his company is involved with installing the heavier markings for the pedestrian walkway sections.  Which are composed of plastic .. recycled?  And … “supposed” to be environmentally ok .. but he had his doubts.   Walking onwards, I glanced over and saw the clouds of dust in the air as the workers were removing old lines and getting ready to paint new lines.  And I noticed that no one was wearing any sort of respiratory device to avoid inhaling the dust.  Hmmmm …

Anyway, continued on my walk to pick up some ink and printing paper.  High time .. the last time I’d purchased printing paper was so long ago, that I can’t really recall what year it was.  So, time to pick up another package.  We rarely print and it’s just nice to have a supply ready for the few times that we do.

Such a lovely day I really enjoyed the long walk.  In about one and a half hours I’d walked to Staples and then on to Save-On Foods and then home.  Really, really, really wanted to visit Swan Lake, but really, I knew that I would spend at least a few hours wandering around.

So I opted to return home and hit the books again.  Going over terminology, looking up information .. preparing for the gardening class in the early evening.

Enjoyed watching the birds flying in the yard … I’m still at the kitchen table, with my little Toshiba laptop and books & lined cards for notes.  The birds love the clear bird feeder that is attached to the kitchen window, the window blinds hide me so they don’t notice me as I watch them cavorting around.  So sweet.

Tuesday was a good day … I really wanted to play outside, but decided that a little discipline was in order, thus I stayed mostly inside.   Slowly, ever so slowly, I’m understanding a little more each time .. of how the soil, plants and air interact.

Nature is a wonderful thing.



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Wednesday, December 17, 2011

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  So much for bragging about living in the best little place in Canada .. Victoria, B.C.!  And posting sweet little pics of frost-tinged plants … oh how sweet!

Winter blasted us starting yesterday and continued full force today.  Yesterday would have been night #1 for my Organic Master Gardening Course at Royal Roads.  And also, Youbou’s interim acupuncture treatment was booked in the early afternoon.

Snow came pouring down yesterday .. stopped for a while .. sun shone brilliantly ..and then was tucked away .. replaced with driving snow.

So I had to cancel the acupuncture … and .. the Gardening Class was cancelled .. due to the weather.  What are the odds that, after waiting for years to finally enroll for a stellar gardening course .. on the first night of the series, snow caused the class to not happen.  Murphy.

And tomorrow’s class is cancelled also due to the snow.  Argh to the 100th power, I say.

I kept busy though, laundry and housework wait for no (wo)man it seems.  Yesterday I was met with 3 shocked feline faces as I swept through the house, dusting, vacuuming, and – yes, ladies and gentlemen .. the washing of the floors.

Three sets of eyes followed my initial activity as I became one with the zen of my cleaning energy.  Even dear little Youbou stared at me unabashedly while I moved through the rooms.  I guess they were trying to figure out what brought this on.  It’s usually DH who ministers to the cleanliness of the house. 

For the floor – buckets of hot sudsy water enriched with that most useful of cleaning products “Pink” .. which is no longer even pink, that’s how environmentally proper it has become.

Hours passed un-noticed as I focused on scrubbing, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, washing …. I was really in that flow of housework.  I try not to connect with that part of my being too often.   Saving that energy for the garden .. much more satisfying.

Anyway .. on with the snow story.   This morning I shovelled my way into the back yard.   A vast expanse of snow transformed every surface and I slipped off of the sidewalk area several times.  In my quest to fill the bird feeders …did that several times during the day.

Spent long periods of time outside, watching the many birds flutter back and forth .. at times a few of them nearly collided with me, so intent were they in the quest of food.   After awhile, they just ignored my presence as they hopped around the surface of the snow, doing their little scratching dance movements .. seeing the sunflower seeds.

The hummingbird feeders kept freezing and I kept taking them inside the house to defrost.  I plan to pick up a few more and then, if a freeze happens again, I’ll just move them inside/outside.

Interesting developments with the front feeder.  Aft first, I’d defrosted it and hung it in the usual place .. on a branch in the cedar tree at the side of the house.  A few hours later, I checked on it and .. fully frozen!  So, inside, defrost .. and this time .. I hung it by the front door.    Happy to see the little Anna find it and feed away.  Then, the little darling flew up and down, to check out the location of the feeder, flew around in a sort of loop, and then hovered right outside the window … looking in at me!  For a long few minutes, he did this .. and I could see clearly his sparkly red coverings close up.   I think he was thanking me!  Then he settled down at the feeder an supped for awhile.

Awhile later, I was looking out the front window and could see the Anna sitting on an ivy leaf by the feeder.  He looked up at the feeder and then over at me, repeated this look .. look …look .. so finally I went outside and, sure enough, the nectar (3:1) had frozen .. so I went through the defrost again.

Later, still .. I was looking out the front window .. and notice that he had alighted on one of the little perches.  Stuck his beak into the flower and then had trouble .. he was trying to remove it, but it was stuck . .and he began to move about as if he was in trouble.  This happened a few times .. he was trying to get the nectar and somehow, his little tongue had become stuck onto the frozen solution.

So, inside, defrost and outside again.

With the back feeder, the solution was the same .. so .. inside, defrost .. and then I hung it from a eave near the kitchen door.   Tomorrow I’ll keep checking and I think that I might just trudge down to Canadian Tire and buy two more feeders, as backups.

Sigh .. quite a day .. more tomorrow.

And so I’ve posted pictures from my lovely walks at Swan Lake and Christmas Hill.  Walks taken in the days before the snow.


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Monday, January 16, 2011

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  I’ve  been spending a fair chunk of time lately entering my gardening book data into an excel sheet.  I know that I have acquired many excellent books and I’ve leafed through them from time to time as I’ve relocated them from one room to another.   From the shelves of one bookcase to another.

But I’ve never really spent a lot of time just flipping through the pages, looking for information that just pops out at me.   Actually reading and highlighting sections (these are my own books, after all and I’m free to draw pictures, write notes … all those things!) for quick reference at a later date.

And I just have about 50 or so more books to go.  Then I’ll go through the house and collect any spare books that I’ve left in various rooms.

Next .. guess I’ll make a list of my birding books.   Followed by my craft books .. of which I have a good supply.  Art, beading, (Bedouin in particular – lots of creative ideas for painting in those pages), watercolour … I have quite a variety.

We’ve been experiencing a light dusting of snow here lately …. a little reminder that winter is still here.  Wandering around the yard I see many bulbs were popping up all over the place … new growth emerging for the new year.  I’d planted such a variety of bulbs throughout the front, side and back yard … it will be a nice surprise to see what pops up.  My lovely garden-neighbour has given me a variety of bulbs over the years and this year I’ll try to identify them.

Oops .. another “to do” .. is to map out what is growing where.  I’d started this project last year and then life became crazy busy with all my activities .. so I kind of ran out of time.

Light is dawning .. time to place the hummingbird feeder outside at the back … I’d brought it in last night, to avoid the frozen mixture that awaited the birds yesterday morning.

Some reminders of the beauty of tranquility and trust .. in the garden.   A few days ago .. I was standing quietly …. watching that lovely little rotund bird.  The one that is supposed to be a Junco .. yet I cannot find a photo in any of my bird books.  This little bird is not afraid of me … he (she?) stands quietly, feeding on luscious treats he finds in the ground cover .. as he does the shuffle-shuffle dance.  Little feet moving forwards and backwards.   Enjoying the peaceful quiet as I temporarily live in his world.

Another reminder came a few evenings ago.  Little Anna was at the back feeder.  He would take a few sips, then he would lean back, whirlwind wings steadying him as he perched there, tiny talons firmly gripping the little bar… take a few glances to ensure he was safe, then a quick sip and he’d lean back again.  Then, after repeating this a number of times, he finally relaxed and simply sipped at the nectar .. content that nothing was going to harm him.  He fed for quite a long time it seemed … at least a full minute.  A companionable moment in time.  

Unexpected rewards of gardening.  Priceless.  And very precious.

I’ll try and post some of the “snow” pics tomorrow .. Our main computer is being fixed by that wonderful store “Mother’s Computers” … the machine has been shutting itself on and off for a few days, problem was getting worse .. so it was time to take it over there for a looky-loo.  And a quick glance by the techie, once the cover was removed (and he showed me how to easily do that when I clean the insides in the future)  told him that the power pack that was originally installed was of a very cheap variety!  I’d had the ‘puter built for me at a little shop, many years ago.    Even new, today, the boxes don’t cost much, maybe $50 or so .. so I was left to wonder .. why did the original shop not put a proper one in, if they were so cheap!

I’ve only dealt with this store a few times and each time I’ve been impressed with the sincere assistance, down to earth helpfulness of the personnel.   I trust them, based on my past dealings.  And, once I can justify getting new equipment .. I’ll purchase from them. 

Anyway .. time to go outside and put up the hummingbird feeder for my little backyard guys.  And refill the feeder at the front for the family there!

Time to get on with my lovely daily life on this lovely new day of the week!

Update .. just came in from .. guess where .. the yard!  Spent some time filling up the birdfeeders with more seeds, added lots of black oily sunflower seeds.   As I was doing this .. heard a series of chirps from the birds as they started to gather in the trees.   Placed the hummingbird feeder in the little arbour. 

Carrying a light aluminum ladder and refill for the hummingbird feeder in the front yard … I walked through the extremely light covering of snow to my destination.  Along the way . .. thinking back to last year .. brr .. there had been quite a bit of snow .. I’d worked away, shovelling the sidewalk, and had even built a snowman.  Thankful that there wasn’t much of a snowfall here this year!

So I worked away …set up the ladder .. unhooked the feeder .. undid the lid and filled it up.  As I stood at the top of the ladder, holding the full bottle in my left hand .. ready to hook it securely onto a branch .. Isuddenly heard a whirring of little wings and voila!   Up flew a tiny hummingbird .. it was looking for the feeder and appeared to be a little puzzled to see it  .. but not in the usual location. 

He darted here and there .. trying to figure things out.  There was the feeder.  Not in the normal spot.  Hmmmm ..  he darted from one yellow cage to another .. and .. joy of joys … he settled onto the little cage directly in front of me .. and only inches away from me.   How very precious was this moment, I cannot say.

I would have loved to have taken a picture ..but stayed motionless … not wanting to interupt this most magical moment.    Looking at this tiny little being, perched securely on the little red bar, wings neatly folded tight against his little body as he contendedly sipped away at the nectar.   Trusting my presence.   I didn’t dare breathe all the while .. just drank in the incredible beauty of this most precious period of time.

It’s treasured moments like this that nourish my soul and add to the magic that is nature and gardening. 


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Friday, January 13, 2011

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 Another sunny day is promised today!  With the possibility of a tiny little sprinkle of snow on the weekend.  I can handle that.

Yesterday was sunny at times .. chilly for sure.   Went outside to place the newly scrubbed bird feeder outside … and refilled all the containers.  Plus, fresh block of seed filled suet.

Glad to see that the birds are still nibbling away at the fat in the suet holders.  Not sure if I mentioned a little trick for squirrels .. something I learned in a conversation with a Thrifty’s employee, a few months back.

This lady’s grandfather used to feed the birds and the squirrels also.   For the squirrels, he would spread peanut butter between pieces of cardboard.  Then, the  clever squirrels would separate the cardboard, holding the sections in their little paws and it would look as if they were reading a book.  Sounded like a lot of fun.  And he would take photos of the little guys.

There was a fluffy grey squirrel outside, yesterday, gobbling up seeds that had fallen from the feeders.  I went outside to chase him away and he tried to camouflage himself in the tree .. hey, that didn’t work.  So then he spent time leaping from tree to tree .. seeing if I would go away, thinking he was gone.  Uh uh, mister .. so finally he gave up and ran away.

I did buy a large planter saucer that would hang beneath the bird feeder, to catch any wayward seeds.   Time to figure out how to attach that to one of the feeders.  Seems like a good project to tackle today.

Posted some pics of my lovely walks at Royal Roads and the Esquimalt Lagoon … and again I was pleased that I’d taken a wrong turn, thus discovering (for myself) those venerable old trees.  Moss laden branches .. so beautiful.

Tempting to travel out there again today .. but .. time would be better spent working on continuing to catalogue my gardening books.    I still have about three more shelves.

Still enjoying the entering of details, though, and this project allows me the opportunity to just leaf through the books.  Finding out amazing treasures .. lots of good ideas.

And I am so looking forward to starting my gardening course.  A wonderful series of time spent learning and talking about gardening.  Sheer bliss.  Plus, meeting other like-minded persons.

It feels absolutely fabulous to finally have the time to spend on my passion for working with the soil.  For so many years, I’ve taken a large quantity of my vacation credits to spend time in the  garden.  Seemed normal to me.  Now, I’ve progressed to the point where I have started my wee little gardening business.  And am adding to my gardening knowledge with classes.   It just keeps on getting better.

I must admit, when I was visiting Royal Roads, walking along a pathway alongside the Camosun Horticulture centre, seeing students digging away in a walled garden .. I felt a pang of longing to be in that course.   For many years I would have wanted that, however, it is true .. it is never too late to become the person you want to be .. or to do the things that you want.

I’m not interested in travelling the world … I like where I am.   But I am able to delve into the many layered worlds of gardening and the joys that unfold through that portal.  So for that I am eternally grateful.   And the adventures that happen along the way are treasured.

Anytime, time to get up and get going .. on this most beautiful day!  I have keyboards to tap, tickets to buy, places to go!

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Monday, January 9, 2012

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The weather has been kinda rainy for the weekend .. that just adds to a nice lazy ambience.   The hot summer sun will soon be here, so might as well enjoy these relaxing times.

There seems to be a scarcity of birds in the yard … looking out, I can’t see the Cooper’s Hawk in the wild and crazy tree .. but he must be somewhere in the vicinity.

Yesterday, late afternoon, I went out side to check on the bird feeders .. .nary a bird in sight at first, then, slowly, the chickadees started arriving .. followed by the Juncos.  So sweet.

I stood very still and the Chickadees forgot about me .. they chirped away in their happy fashion.  Took turns landing on the suet block, little legs firmly attached to the grid of the suet cage, pecking away … choosing a little sunflower and flying away to a nearby tree branch to nibble on the delicacy.

Glad that I had shovelled another layer of leaf mulch onto the garlic bed .. as the birds like to do their shuffle shuffle dance over there.  Nestled snugly in the leaf mulch pile are my latest garden plant treasures!  Not exactly sure where I’ll be placing them ….yet.

Spent some time entering more garden books onto my excel sheets … finding more and more information as I leaf through the books.

Much of the same information is spread throughout the books .. wording is a little different, but most carry the same message.  About what to plant where, how to best propagate a variety of plants.  How to organically take care of pests in the garden.

One book mentions that swallows like to feast on tent caterpillars .. yea .. I’ve seen them around the yard in the spring.  And of course the chickadees are renowned for this also, so I’m hoping that the caterpillars won’t be too much of a problem this year.

Last spring I kept on top of the tent caterpillars, removed most of them when they were in the beginning stages.  I’ve read that the best times for this is in the early mornings and evenings .. when the pests are in the tent.  I did miss a few last year, but they were neatly tucked away.  Anyway, as a result, the trees retained the majority of their leaves.

I’ve heard tales that the caterpillars really aren’t that bad ..sure, they eat leaves, but the leaves grow back.

Soil testing .. I’ve been finding out that you can easily test acidity etc. using vinegar .. baking soda .. .for a quick and easy evaluation.

Well … more later .. it’s back to the books for me. The first gardening class starts in a few days and I plan to research as much information as possible for this.

Lovely .. .lovely .. lovely…

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Friday, January 6, 2012

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Heavy rains yesterday … combined with the Cooper’s hawk‘s presence in the wild and crazy tree .. resulted in another day without the birds in the backyard.

I’ve become so used to see them, enjoying all their antics .. and the absence of their presence in the yard is quite a blow.

The hawks nest in the vicinity and although I’ve seen one or two passing through the yard .. I’ve not seen one hang around quite so much.

So towards late afternoon yesterday I was quite pleased to see the return of the little guys .. the Dark Eyed Juncos, the Nuthatches, the Chickadees, the Thrush.

They needed to feed quickly as night was falling, so instead of going outside and upsetting them .. I took photos of them through the rain spattered window .. and they came out well!

I’m slowly making progress, entering the hundreds of garden books into an excel sheet .. and along the way, reading through these books .. gleaning the treasured gardening information that they contain.

I start my Organic Master Gardening Course next week .. quite looking forward to this.  And then there are four other components, which I will take, and these all lead up to a diploma in organic land care .. it will take a couple of years but that is something to work towards.

These “wintry” days are good for us .. a time to slow down.  Relax.  Cocoon.  I know that these chilly days will soon pass, summer will be here and again .. there will be those long long days with many hours of activity .. so I’m taking the opportunity to relax now.  Time to do those “indoor” activities now so I can ignore them once the warm weather arrives.

And I do have so many plans.

For now though .. it’s back to entering all those books and enjoying the time to look through them.

Here is a quote that was attached to a recent e-mail .. I found it to be quite uplifting and want to share this: 

“Each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand mediocre minds appointed to guard the past.” 

Maurice Maeterlinck

Ok, I found this quote to be quite intriguing, so, of course, I had to look for more information on this person .. and here is a link, complete with a photograph:   http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1911/maeterlinck-bio.html   From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

He was born in Belgium.  Looking at his photograph, I see such thoughtful, dreamy eyes .. quite a handsome guy .. and very philosophical.

I find it interesting to see that he meandered to the bees, gardens, mystical things and all those wonderful creative elements of the universe. 

More positivity … sigh


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