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  • Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint,
    and the soil and sky as canvas.
  • A Thousand Hummies


    Well, it certainly seems like there are a thousand hummingbirds in our yard now. Not that I’m complaining – of course, I only bought every available hummingbird attracting plant and feeder on the planet. My eyes shouldn’t pop right out of my head and hit the window then when I see 7 of them dueling with their sweet nectar sucking little swords out my front window.

    Talk about entertainment – my only problem now is that I don’t have the time to sit and watch them all day! They’re hard to count, since two to three of them group up and zoom past the window, up into the tree or over the house to the backyard feeder like miniature stealth bombers. Thankfully they haven’t exceeded the number of fingers on my hands yet, I don’t think I’m that fast with a calculator.

    This particular female ruby throated hummingbird is easy peasy to photograph. She’s not afraid of the spectators (and our noses) pressed up against the window to watch their shiny (and tiny) intricate little selves drink up and zip away.

    I did add another feeder to the front yard yesterday morning since they were trying to triple up on one feeder but didn’t seem to be getting along well enough for that. Now they’re doubling up on both feeders. It’s just craziness, I tell you. One of these days, I’ll have a photo of one of them sitting on my head or something. heh!

    :gets back to work:

    Quick like a Hummy


    Before I start mixing up my palette for the day, I wanted to highlight these latest three photos. The first two I took just this morning out my front window – she finally cooperated enough to allow me to photograph her while she fed. The weather must be better for Hummingbirds, they seem to be around much more right now. When it was hot and not so humid, they didn’t stop by until dusk. Now they’re flitting about all day.

    The third photo is a House Wren, and I’ve NEVER seen one of these before. If you’re looking to attract more species to your yard, the biggest difference for us this year is that we took branches that fell through the winter and ice storms and chose a corner of the yard to create a brush pile. These critters LOVE that spot. I was out checking the tomatoes when I heard three of these little guys chipping away and scurrying around within that brush pile. Very cool.

    Ok, enough blab – more work! Have a great day.

    A Pair of Waxwings



    The highlight of my day today? Seeing birds I’ve never seen before, and knowing exactly what they were when I zoomed in with my camera. Now these shots are horrible, but I consider I was excited, they are sorta on the small side and they were perched high in the poplar tree out back. These are a loving pair of Cedar Waxwings – both male and female flirted together at the top of this tree while I stood watching, amazed that we even have them around here.

    Two separate photos, merged together and tweaked for sharpness, shadows and color. Really – you have to see them in person to appreciate how sleek they appear. Makes me want to go plant a mulberry bush right next to the Grand Central Feeding Station!

    Grand Central Feeding Station


    home made bird feeding station 8 feeders bottom tray feeder

    He did it. I drew it, he built it – and as the old saying goes “If you build it, they will come” – they did.

    We used to have several shepherd’s hooks weighted down with 5-10 pound seed filled feeders, and we’ve been wanting to consolidate everything into one location – this design allows for 8 feeders, and we purchased coated chain link to drop some things down lower to allow for ease of access for the birds. The cool thing? The squirrels can’t get down the 2×4’s to get to the hooks very easily – so we’ve eliminated the need for squirrel proofing anything – and we’ve also got a tray feeder to catch falling seed and put things out for the squirrels, too.

    It took a day or two to build, and our new Grand Central Bird Feeding Station was up and has been well occupied for a couple of weeks now. I have to say, I’m quite impressed with the functionality and ease in changing and refilling the feeders. We’ve had a larger bird visiting – I’m not sure what kind since all I’m finding is his droppings, but they’re about the size of Canadian Goose droppings – I’m guessing it’s either the Red Tailed Hawk or the Kestrel living nearby. I think I’ll flip my lid if it ends up being the Turkey Vulture. That guy is creepy!

    It’s a real treat to sit outside on the patio and have dinner now. I love watching our birds flying in and out, the squirrels and bunnies casually walking past our feet to go eat, it’s really nice – especially considering we’re sortof in the middle of town. There’s nothing more relaxing and captivating than watching God’s creatures in action and better yet – know that they don’t feel threatened by our presence around them. We get such a great variety of birds now, from Hairy Woodpeckers to Brown Creepers, they’re all amazing.

    We went to Chicago this past weekend to visit my family, and sitting in my sister’s backyard, I heard one bird. Just one. I’m not sure if she regularly hears and sees more than that, but I noticed their absence, and it really made me appreciate our location and feeder so much more.

    I wonder why folks don’t pay more attention to nature. For example, I’ll be out taking a walk, stop and chat with a neighbor and notice a Great Blue Heron flying overhead. I’ll point him out, and it does catch my neighbors attention, but it’s not something he’d normally look for. He was talking about how they’d put up a Hummingbird feeder but hadn’t seen any Hummingbirds. A few minutes later, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a Hummingbird speed right past his feeder and perch in his tree, probably waiting for us to leave so he could eat. It’s a matter of timing, and paying attention, too.

    If more people stopped more often to pay attention to, appreciate, nurture and respect the beautiful things that surrounds us in nature, there would be a lot less stress. It’s amazing what 10 minutes of sitting down in the grass with bare feet – looking up at the clouds or watching birds fly in and out of our yard to eat at our feeder can do to lower my own blood pressure. I encourage you to take 10 minutes today and do just that. And let me know how that makes you feel. You might find it addicting – I know I have.

    And if you want one of these Grand Central Feeding Stations, here are the basics:

    10ft 4×4 green treated lumber
    8ft. green treated 2×4 cut in two 4ft pieces
    Wood screws (2 inch)
    Large screw in hooks

    Jigsaw openings in the 4×4 for the 2×4 pieces. Mine are about 18 inches and 12 inches down from the top. Slide your 2×4 pieces into the holes and secure them with wood screws. Screw your hooks into place and bury your post about 2 feet underground (I have about 8 feet exposed). The tray didn’t work out – it rotted and grew some crazy plants from the seed that fell beneath – so I don’t recommend the tray. It’s really easy to build – lots of folks have used my photo to make their own! Very cool! Have fun with it!

    The Hummies are Here!


    hummingbird at feeder may 28 2007' class=

    Our hummingbirds are back! This is a female ruby throated hummingbird. They’ve been around for over a week, but they’re still really skittish around me and my camera. This is the best shot I’ve been able to get so far with my upgraded camera – by the end of the summer I should have at least a dozen great shots of them, I’m a persistent little chickey momma.

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