Yesterday I stopped at the pet food store and came out not only with dog and rabbit vittles but also bird seed and several new feeders. Usually, I try to wait until xmas to feed the birds, but baby, it's cold outside!
The old thistle feeder kept losing its perches, so I decided to try one of these socks.
And I put the oil sunflower seeds in the mesh feeder on the left, to see if it discourages squirrel raids.
The feeder on the right has cracked corn. I also hung some suet blocks near the bluebird house that housed no bluebirds this summer.
This morning my SO and I were reading the Sunday paper in the new room when, lo and behold, we had birds! Not only a pair of cardinals and a couple of sparrows and some juncos, but bluebirds! They were checking out the bluebird house. I think bluebirds migrate south in the winter, so I'm guessing these were either looking for temporary shelter or were planning ahead for next year.
Later I also saw Mr. Squirrel checking out the new buffet. I plan to grease the poles with Vaseline, to discourage him and his buddies.
So, one of my goals for the new room has been realized: wildlife viewing.
The temps at night have been down in the teens, so I was surprised to find some of my herbs were still green. A few days ago, I dug up this two-foot-tall rosemary.
It's too tall for my plant shelves, so it is gracing the coffee table in the new room.
Yesterday, since I was outside anyway, I dug up a clump of chives and a bit of Hot and Spicy oregano.
They aren't in very good shape, but I am hoping they will come around. They fit on the plant shelves.
So, another of my goals for the new room is being achieved: winter herbs.
The heat, though, is still an ongoing problem. Friday I called the heating contractor that installed my furnace and AC. After describing the whole situation to them, they did not think the dampers would help (or hurt), but they recommended a separate convection heater for the new room.
While looking up their phone number, I saw an ad in the Yellow Pages for a company that (among other things) installs radiant heat. The idea of warm floors really appeals to me. I talked them into giving me a ballpark estimate over the phone: $1600 to $1800. Hmmm. And I would still need to cool the room. I asked them about "mini-splits," small heat pumps for room additions, but that is even more expensive.
In the meantime, I fired up this baby:
If I am out there in the morning or on a cloudy day, I can add a little heat. On a sunny afternoon, like I am anticipating today, the room should be comfy without it.
The sub-contractor is installing the dampers Monday afternoon. I will let them give it a try, but I don't have my hopes up.