Kia hora te manno
Kia whakapapa paumamu te moana
Kia tere te Karohirohi

May the calm be widespread
May the sea glisten like the greenstone
And may the glimmer of summer dance across your pathways

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WOW! THIS IS A REAL TREAT.

A week or so ago I noticed a couple of birds at the feeder I had not seen before and looking at their color shape and body size, I thought they could be juvenile Grosbeaks who hadn't grown into their adult colors yet.


You can imagine my delight and surprise, when I downloaded the pictures to my PC and took a closer look. The first thing which came to my attention, was the shape of the beak, "that is not a Grosbeak I am seeing" I told myself, so out came the 'bird book' for positive identification.

Previously, I had seen a picture in my book of "Birds of Washington State" of Crossbills, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think any would be visiting my garden.

Red Crossbills are finches with highly specialized, crossed bills and long, pointed wings. Male Red Crossbills are brick-red with black wings and no white wing-bars. Females are greenish-yellow with black wings and no wing-bars. Juveniles are streaked brown. The bill size of Red Crossbills varies considerably and correlates with distinct habitat and food preferences as well as flight calls. These characteristics can be used to split Red Crossbills into eight distinct types, and it is likely that the species will be divided into multiple species in the future.

Because of their nomadic behavior, it is difficult to specify locations where Red Crossbills may be found. They can be abundant in Washington when there are good cone crops, and thousands of birds sometimes wander into the lowlands and coast from late summer through winter. However, their presence throughout Washington varies annually. So I may not see any again at my feeders. I feel fortunate to have seen, and taken pictures of the ones who did visit.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BEER BASH TONIGHT

All slugs and snail invited.

I have never has so many slugs and snails in my garden. All there because of the unusually cool wet weather we have had. I have used slug bait ( non toxic to birds and animals) but ran out, and there was a bottle of beer (years old) in the cupboard. We will see if the slimy ones, care that the beer is outdated.

Monday, June 28, 2010

THE GOLDFINCH FAMILY



The Goldfinch youngsters and parents have been visiting the feeders in droves.
I love to watch the impatient juveniles, flutter their wings and chirp until one of the parents feeds the rowdy youngster.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

BAD FEATHER DAY

How's a bird supposed to look handsome and well groomed, if all I get is wet. This rain has to stop sometime soon!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

SQUIRREL OR ME, WHO WILL WIN THIS GAME?

I had a lot of fun with our resident squirrel, but I don't think the squirrel was amused as I was.

As I passed by the kitchen window I noticed said creature, let's name it Sajiv, meaning lively, about ready to climb into the bird feeder. I tapped on the window and Sajiv ran up into the tree, so I stood where Sajiv would not see me, waiting for him to come back down.
When he cautiously came creeping down the tree towards the feeder, I would once again tap on the window. *chuckle* He would freeze in his tracks and you could almost read his mind, "will I run or stay?" he decided to scuttle off again.


Sajiv, giving me the 'is she serious, look' before streaking up into the high branches of the tree once again.

I continued to play this game with Sajiv for quite some time, tapping on the window every time he would get near the feeder. I am sure the squirrel was becoming quite frustrated being scared off every time it tried to get to the seeds, but I could not resist watching the look on Sajiv's face every time I tapped on the window.

Sheesh! can't you leave me alone?

I knew I would get tired of the game before Sajiv
, and I did, so I finally left the poor wee thing alone to eat.

Friday, June 25, 2010

SINGING THE BLUES, MAKE THAT THE... GREENS

I love green, but there is so much of it at this time of year. Usually by now, my garden is a riot of color but with the lack of sun here in the Pacific Northwest, the plants are slow in showing their color. Please, please Mother Nature, throw the sunshine switch. The photos were taken early this morning under an overcast sky Sighhhh! so they are a little washed out from the camera flash.

FRONT GARDEN

The fence is attractive, although it does hide the plants until you get closer, but if it wasn't for the fence, all the garden would be, is a salad bar for the rabbits.

So far, I have a couple of Wallflowers, Lychnis coronari, yellow Columbine and Jacob's ladder blooming.

The Hosta is not complaining, and is doing it's thing under my rustic tee pee structure like thing, and the Monarda is reaching for the sun. There are some self sown love in the mist plants struggling to make blooms even though they are only about a foot high.

To the left of the dirty birdbath (note to self, clean the birdbath) are Shasta daisies just covered in buds, behind are Asiatic lilies not at all happy, and showing it in very small flower buds.

In the rear of the garden ferns and grasses are making for a nice display of feathery greenness.( Photo taken on one of the sunny days.)

CARPORT GARDEN

More bunny proof fencing surrounding the carport garden. I don't care for the unattractive chicken wire, but that is what is going to have to do for now. There is a Salvia on the corner of the carport, which is usually at least three feet tall and covered in gorgeous blue blooms, and a Helianthus growing right behind which towers over the Salvia.

Behind the carport, I have a varied selection of plants, everything is pretty much planted in "gay abandon'

The grass in front of the garden is on my 'to do list' and so are the weeds snuggling in between the flowers.

VEGETABLE GARDEN

A little bit of Kiwi ingenuity. The tomatoes seemed to be slow in getting going, so I rigged up a little plastic semi-greenhouse thingy, to perhaps provide a little more warmth for the tomatoes. seems to be working, as the plants have put on a spurt of growth.


Parsley, onions, strawberries doing well. The strawberries have been our dessert for the past week, so no complaints there. Beans are slow in reaching their maturity, I am satisfied with the cucumbers growth, lettuce is liking the cooler temperatures, as are the peas.

I have many of my potted plants stashed in this corner of the veggie garden, so they will get sun, if it ever shines, and also to keep them away from pesky rabbit nibbles.

First of the peas starting to fill out the pods.
So all is not gloomy in the garden, there are good things happening. Strawberries are being enjoyed every night for dinner, lettuce for salad every night, kale for our pet rabbit, soon peas for dinner, and plenty for the snails and slugs *grin*

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Black-Headed Grosbeak





The Black-Headed Grosbeak is a welcome visitor to my garden, arriving mid-May. The first sign they have arrived is the robin- like song of the males, and the sharp woodpecker -like calls of the females. This male was quite curious about my presence, and stopped chowing down seed long enough to glance at me before resuming his meal, but when I got too close for his comfort he flew away, but not before I snapped his picture. I was very pleased to capture such clear pictures of this beautiful bird, showing the stunning color and details of his feathers, and cheeky expression.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

BLUE JAY CONQUERS DISABILITY

This Blue jay proves how determined some creatures are in the animal world to survive.

If you click on the picture you will notice that the top half of the jay's beak is missing and probably wonder how it manages to eat.

This one has overcome his/her disability by scooping up the food with the lower part of it's beak. I sprinkle seed out on the beam especially for this bird and chase away the other birds until the jay has eaten it's fill.
I managed to video the bird so you can see how the jay feeds.

video

Saturday, June 19, 2010

HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY

The sun is shining today, the air is warmer, and I spent most of the day in the garden. As many of you know, the weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been uncommonly cool and wet, so I have not done much around the yard at all. In fact my mood has been rather gloomy like the long days, but now the sun is shining, I have perked up and hope summer will truly be here to stay.
Even though we have complained about the over abundance of rain, the plants in my garden are looking lovely, and I am happy that I have not had a problem with mildew as some other gardeners have.



This pot of stock, lives in a corner of my vegetable garden, and fills the air with a wonderful fragrance.



The hydrangea has smaller blooms this year, but look how many are on the plant.



This rose I was going to toss out, but changed my mind and planted it on the outside of the fence surrounding the vegetable garden. It seems to be happy here, so for now, it can stay.

Anyone know the name of the pretty pink flower?

Friday, June 18, 2010

MY DEER IS MORE HANDSOME THAN YOUR DEER

This young buck came strolling through our property under my watchful eyes. I was just waiting for him to stop and stretch his head over the fence around my flower garden, to snack on the flowers, but he wandered on by. I think he was focused on finding a nice, cozy place to sleep for the day. When I tapped on the kitchen window he looked up, and stood long enough for me to snap his picture, before disappearing from view.
Handsome fellow, don't you think?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

STRAWBERRIES GALORE

Yesterday I picked all these luscious berries, and all from the runners planted just last year, which I pinned into pots for planting out later on. If you want to save money, you can very easily do the same. I see no sense in wasting all the lovely runners the strawberry plants send out, so I will be doing the same again this year too.
Now to make some shortcakes and whip the cream.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BUSY CHICKADEE MOMMY

Patience child, I will get to you in a moment.

OK kid, if you want to eat while hanging upside down, that is all right by me!

Hey mom, can't you see I have my beak open? so please feed me.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

THIS IS NOT LIQUID SUNSHINE

Here on Whidbey Island, in the Pacific Northwest, we have had an unusually wet Spring. Today it is raining again, and it seems to me, that Mother Nature is disregarding the fact, that the first day of summer is just twelve days away.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the rain as the garden is loving all the moisture, and I don't have to use my irrigation system, but on the other hand, the weeds are taking over. Oh well! we have to live with what Mother Nature throws at us.

Nestled in a pot of hostas and ferns, the resin Tui I brought back from New Zealand is getting a bath.

Crocosmia bowing under the weight of the raindrops.

Mercury like droplets of water, clinging to the Nasturtiums.

If we get much more rain, the stepping stones and pavers will be submerged, and I will be looking for my gumboots.

I do love the fact that I don't have to spend time watering all the outdoor potted plants. This pot is sitting underneath a pine tree, and at this time of year the tree is releasing lots of pollen, which coats everything in the surrounding area. The pansies have now been washed clean of pollen, and are showing their true colors.

One nice thing about getting a good rain shower, are the beautiful diamond like raindrops clinging to the flowers, and when the sun does begin to shine, the flowers sparkle like the jewels in a store front window.

Not many flowers blooming here yet, but that will change withing the next week or two, if we get some sunshine in between the showers. The forecast shows sun for this weekend, but I will not be home to see it. I will be at Bank's Lake on a camping trip with the Fishin' Club we belong to.


"Raindrops on roses, foxgloves are bowing........."

Little chubby Buddha, soaking wet and still smiling.

The ferns have never looked better. They have been growing in this part of the garden for just two years, and this year is the first time they have grown taller than the fence, which incidentally is surrounding the garden to keep the rabbits out.