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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Relief from the boredom

Thankfully at this time of the year, there are the pretty blooms of Hellebore's to break the dullness of a sleeping winter garden. I always feel as though Spring is just around the corner when the Hellebore's start to bloom.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Macro in a mason jar

Gardening gone Wild has their first "Picture This" photo contest of 2011 underway. This one is most interesting, and I thought challenging. The idea is to place your subject in the bottom of a jar of your choice, rest your camera on the lip of the jar, and take your photo. Read more HERE
I decided to go with an Autumn theme, by first by placing the jar on some pretty pressed maple leaves, then inside the jar I have pine needles, bark and a pine cone nestled on top.
I thought the round sides of the jar hints at an edge for the nest of pine needles and bark, holding the pine cone.


The Spotted Towhee is a large, striking sparrow.

Male Towhee, Junco in front.

Male Spotted Towhees have jet-black upper parts and throat; their wings and back are spotted bright white. The flanks are warm rufous and the belly is white. Females have the same pattern but are warm brown where males are black.

Spotted Towhees are also at home in backyards, forest edges, and overgrown fields, and like to frequent our seed and suet feeders during the winter months.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Colorful visitor

Similar in size and shape to the American Robin but slighter in build, the Varied Thrush is a boldly patterned bird.

The Varied Thrush is similar in behavior to the American Robin, but more elusive. Much of its foraging is done on the ground, usually in dense cover, although sometimes it forages on open lawns and roads. The Varied Thrush's song is a unique fuzzy, metallic whistle on different pitches.

Like other species of thrushes, Varied Thrushes eat a combination of insects and berries, shifting seasonally. In winter, they feed on berries, seeds, and acorns, in trees or shrubs or on the ground. In summer, they prey on insects and other invertebrates.
This one seemed to enjoy the seed and fruit suet cake on the feeder.

Varied Thrushes are altitudinal migrants. They generally breed at middle to high elevations. They head down into the lowlands in winter. In late winter and early spring, they may wander to more open areas, and then in March and April they return to their breeding range. Winter range may depend on severity of weather.
I enjoy watching these colorful visitors when they visit my garden.

Monday, January 03, 2011

And so it has begun

A brand New year full of promises, and surprises of good and not so good to come. We have to take the good with the bad and make the most of it.

We have had a couple of weeks of dry very cold weather with the temperatures in the 20's and below, but the forecast this morning is for rain coming up, and temps. in the balmy 40's

Whoo hoo!!, bring it on.

First thing every morning, as the coffee brews, I switch out the humming bird feeder. I swear the hummers are hanging out close by watching for me to hang the unfrozen sugar water filled feeder .
No sooner than the feeder is in place, than I hear the whirrr of wings as they zoom in for food. Poor wee things, it must be tough for them during the coldest of days.

Then the feeders are filled and suet put out for the other birds, who also seem to know my schedule, and wait eagerly for breakfast.

Even the shy little nuthatch isn't slow in making an appearance at the suet feeder, as he seems to zoom in as soon as my back is turned as I make my way back indoors, for my first cup of nice hot coffee. Brrrrr! I will be happy when it warms up again.

Last night the Christmas trees were finally de-nuded of their finery and are ready to be dismantled and carried downstairs to be stored until November, when we will drag them back upstairs and decorate once again for the Christmas season. I have begun to wonder, how many more years I am going to be able to go through all this ritual, as I am not getting any younger. Sighhhh! it is going to be a sad day when I can no longer be able to decorate the way I do now.

I kept a couple of sturdy dinnerware boxes which have handles, to store some of my most delicate glass tree decorations, these still need to be taken downstairs. At least all the trips up and down those stairs can be counted as exercise, as I sure can do with some after all the goodies I consumed over the holidays *grin*

Here I am wondering how much longer I will be able to decorate to the extent I now do, and what have I done? I confess, I bought more decorations at 75% off at the end of year sale, that's them still in the plastic shopping bag on the shelf with some of my other boxed decorations neatly stored downstairs.

I nearly forgot to mention, part of my morning ritual is to toss bread out the door for our resident population of semi- tame rabbits. These guys/gals come running, um, I mean, hopping as soon as they hear the door open.

So, as I said, new beginnings, changes in the lives of the critters and our lives. Things to get done in preparation for the planting season, like go through seed catalogs and order what we need, plan our gardens, which I have already, well kind of. I have thought about making changes in the way I set up and plant some of the vegetables, and I am going to be making changes in the flower garden too, which isn't something new, but I want to make it less labor intensive by planting more perennials and less annuals.
Happy New year everyone.