Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Critter Happenings

The birds and squirrels have found the feeders we put out just after Christmas.  I have had trouble getting photos of them, but have managed a few.

Around January 12, I was tickled to see this bird on the thistle feeder.  I think it's a dark eyed junco.

I included this one because I like the rake and ladder with snow on it.

A few days later, I saw a bunch of tracks when I got home from work.  If I'd have had my camera with me, I could have taken photos without my tracks with them.

Out the back door, I had trouble figuring out what kind of tracks these are.  They made me think of cats, but were laid out single file.  I just looked at images of squirrel, opossum, and cat tracks in snow, and these look most like the cats' to me.

Around the corner, where the gate to the driveway is to the left, just out of the photo, I'm thinking these tracks may be from mourning doves.  I did hear the whir of dove wings a few days ago as I was approaching the gate.

 I hope the birds were not still here when the other critter was, if it was a cat.

Look how nicely the tracks follow the shoveled path on the deck.

Another sign of critters is that the safflowers are being eaten when I'm not looking. 

This is what we see when we come home.  The sidewalk we usually use to get to the back door is to the right.  I have been seeing sparrows and juncos flitting about in the "habitat" we unwittingly provided for them.  They keep hiding, so I have had trouble getting photos, even though I hear them in there.

This is the view from the back of the house.  We didn't do as good a job cleaning up for the winter as we have in the past.

I want to find a spot for this bicycle in the yard somewhere in the spring.

I'm thinking about covering some of the items on the deck to keep them from being ruined by the birds, if it's not too late.

Just last week, I was excited to see a bird had finally found the window feeder I had gotten for Larry for Christmas.  I was wondering if he had put it too low, and the birds didn't feel safe eating from it.  A co-worker told me it's a black capped chickadee.  I looked them up, and I think he's right.

It comes, takes a few seeds, then flies off.  If it sees me, it may not even stop for the seeds. 

When I got home from work today, Tuesday, I saw that the suctioned part of the above bird feeder was still on the window, but the rest of it was not.  I went out to investigate and take more photos.

First, I stopped by the double suet feeder.  It looks like it really is squirrel proof.   I saw a pretty white bird with black and red on it when I came home from work a few days ago, which flew off when it saw me.  I think it was a small woodpecker of some kind.  I looked and saw some of the suet had been eaten. 

I've been noticing a little more of the suet eaten each time I check, so either the bird has been back, or other birds have also found the suet.  One of the cakes is almost finished.

 I was glad to see that the holder for the bird food was on the ground and not carried off by the squirrel(s).  Still, I would rather have had it stay on the window.

When I returned to the driveway, and was about to enter the back yard, I saw the birds hanging out on the deck.  I stayed put and used my zoom to get some photos of them on their various perches.  I heard a bird calling out as it was flying away, and thought it must be a chickadee.  When I listened online I figured out I was right.  They seem to be more shy than sparrows and such.  But even the sparrows fly off or hide in the stuff on the deck when I get too close.

This photo didn't turn out clear, but I included it because I had fun watching a bird land on the handle, causing the basket to tip while this sparrow kept its balance.  It didn't stay put long enough to be in the photo.  (Randy pointed out to me that these are house sparrows, not native to the U.S.  I should have mentioned that.  I am not thrilled to have them, but don't know what to do about it.  They seem to co-exist with other kinds of birds here, but maybe they do bad things that I don't see.)

 This bird watched me as I took pictures.

Two more sparrows came and landed near the one above.  I wasn't able to get all three of them on it.

A squirrel showed up all of a sudden, dashing off out of sight before I could get a second photo taken.  It sure is coordinated!

 This dark eyed junco was in my next door neighbor's yard.

There sure a lot of perches for the sparrows and juncos on the deck!

I've been seeing rabbits hopping about when I come and go without my camera.  I also heard the whir of dove wings when I went out recently.

Oh, and I recently mentioned I haven't had any dreams about gardening yet this winter.  Since then, I have had 2 or 3.  The main one I remember was that we lived in an old white house with a porch.  In front of the porch, was a patch of lettuce that some neighbors had just helped themselves to.  I was in a toot to go out and pick some before they came back.

I hope this finds you well.  I am behind in my blog reading.  There are too many to keep up with, but I keep trying to anyway.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Foliage Follow-up

I took photos of some of my house plants for Pam's Foliage Follow-up.  With my outdoor foliage resting under a blanket of snow, I enjoy the different colors, shapes, and textures of indoor plants.  Pam has some awesome outdoor plants in her post.

Since we had our kitchen remodeled last March, I now have a west facing shelf I can put a few plants on.  I've had these plants for several years.  They spend the summers in the shade on our deck.  The two on the shelf above these are a bit leggy, so I didn't show them.  They probably aren't getting enough light, due to the awning that is on the window.

The herbs in the garden window are doing pretty well.  The bay tree needs to be cleaned.  The African violets are not doing so well.

Rosemary plants, with oregano in the middle pot.  There is a sprig of thyme toward the back of the pot.

This rosemary does not look as good, but it may do better once summer gets here.  I almost didn't bring it in, but figured I'd give it a try.  That's 'Naomi' next to it.  I like the shape and dark color of the foliage.

I've had this pothos for a few years, too.  There's one in the picture on the wall above the plant.  The books are in the picture, too.  I mirrored as much of it as I could on this sideboard.  Maybe I'll show the whole thing in a post sometime.

The next plants are in the room that used to be our computer room, and now holds our grandson's toys.  This is the fourth winter for Larry's rabbit's foot fern.  It's been in this pot the whole time, and I don't know how we'd go about transplanting it.  It sure seems happy, though!

I'm thinking this begonia is 'River Nile'.  This is its third winter.  I gets loads of small whitish blooms.

I have both green and red oxalis plants in this pot, which has survived around 4 or 5 years.  It dies back a bit if it gets drier than it likes, but when I remember to water it again, it grows new leaves.

This summer, I added some dirt to the pot of this plant I got from an estate sale about 4 years ago.  I didn't realize when I bought it, that the plants were coming out of dirt that only came up to about half of the pot.  I have to take this to the bathtub to water it, now that I don't have a hook above the sink like I used to before the remodel.  I used to just let it drip into the sink after I watered it.  Someone here identified it for me awhile back.  I'm thinking it's a relative of wandering Jew.

Can you believe that the plant with the huge light green leaf is related to the one next to it with the reddish smaller leaves?  I assume they are, anyway.  They are mother of thousands or millions.  The green one must have dropped its babies already.  Some of the other leaves have some.  I've let both plants get too crowded by not taking out the little plants they've "birthed".

I hope you had a great weekend, and balanced your time well between the things you need to do and things you want to do.  That's a challenge for me.  I have tomorrow off, and hope that's the day I make a huge, visible improvement in the room I'm moving clutter around in, trying to find spots for things, some of which really need to make an exit.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Taking Liberties with GBBD

I have one plant blooming this January Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.  It's the rosemary plant that bloomed last winter, as well.  It's in my garden window.  There are a number of African violets, in various degrees of health.  Maybe some of them will be blooming in a month.

'Naomi' is finished blooming.  The other holiday cacti in the smaller pots have had a few blooms, but also have some nubs that haven't yet.

 I thought of going out into the cold to take photos of seedheads, but I've already shown some lately.  It occurred to me that I have flowers in some form in every room of the house I go into, so I went around and took lots of photos, most of which did not turn out decently.  I have been working on organizing and getting rid of clutter in a room upstairs, so these photos include dust. Don't look too closely if you are faint of heart.

Dining Room:


Entry Way at the Back Door:

Living Room:

KJ's Toy Room/Computer Room:

(That's a phone book on the bottom of the pile that says something about a law office.  We are not using the services of any lawyers.)

Stairway to Second Floor:

Base of Steps:

Our Bedroom:

(The only reason I have this Roseville vase is because it had been broken and repaired.  Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to afford it.)

The Room I'm trying to Clean:

I grew all of the flowers and dried them except for the next ones, which are part of a wreath type thing I made in a class a number of years ago.  It's down, because I need to sort through and get rid of most of the flowers in.  I normally only keep dried flowers around 2 or 3 years, sometimes fewer.

I came across this photo of a young me from over 15 years ago, at our previous home.  Even though the peas are loaded, they still have some blooms on them.  I need to get some rabbit fencing so I can have a crop like this again.

I am excited to think that in a month, it will be the middle of February, and I may be able to get started planting my early crops.  I've already told some of you that I've decided to enjoy seeing your springs unfold, and not feel sorry for myself while I wait for my turn.  I look forward to seeing what you have blooming.   

The days are getting longer.  Yeah!