Sunday, February 26, 2023

Some actual yardening

Despite some horrible weather lately, we have had a couple of nice days. I took advantage of them and installed different fencing around the "meadow", something more attractive and tall enough to keep the dogs away from the bird feeders. I bought these fence panels at Menards (11% rebate!), and they are my new favorite.

Another purchase, this one from Wild Birds Unlimited, is this wind thing. It shows the direction of the wind and the speed, plus I could not resist the kitties on top. I'm discovering some areas of my yard are more protected than others and have moved it at least once.

As I said, we have had some bad weather along with the good. Last Wednesday I awoke to an icy morning. Fortunately, it didn't last long and there was no damage. Then came the rains. I sometimes wonder if I should invest in a backup generator.

Besides daffodils popping up here and there, the ragwort that was installed last summer is starting to send up flower stalks. I don't think any actual blooms will appear until late March. I'm anxious to see what those beds will look like.

The goldfinches are starting to return, although still wearing their winter plumage. The starlings have lost theirs, so they don't look so ugly. And I think I saw a vulture today, scoping out my backyard. Come on, spring!

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Up close and personal

The wind blew over the birdbath the other day. While setting it back up, I moved it closer to the window where I laze in my recliner. One purpose was to find an even spot. Another was to lessen the number of window hits; I read that feeders and birdbaths should be within 15 feet (or far away) to help prevent avian crashes. A side benefit is getting to see the birds up close... as long as I don't move too much.

Capture my good side

I wasn't quick enough to snap a pretty male house finch, but the bluebirds were very cooperative.

What are you looking at?

While glancing out the kitchen window yesterday, I witnessed a pair of mourning doves courting. It seemed early to me, but according to the Indiana DNR, they are right on schedule.

Something (raccoon or opossum?) has been knocking the mealworm feeder out of the redbud tree at night, so I've been bringing it inside after dark. Whatever the critter is, it is still checking that tree out, as this morning the dogs were sniffing up the trunk.

While messing around with my phone camera, I discovered it has, among other things, a macro mode. Who knew? Certainly not me.

New sprout on schefflera

I was thinking about buying a new SLR camera - and I may still do so - but it is nice to know that I can fall back on my phone camera.

The cactus that won't die

I ordered more catmint, this time 'Calamintha' nepeta, for the front yard. This one looks like baby's breath. My plan is to combine it with the 'Cat's Pajamas' I ordered earlier. The pollinators should be happy.

The mower is back - already! - but we are far from spring despite the March-like winds. I had a follow up appointment for my shoulder and was told to hold off on lopping branches for a few more weeks, and to start small. Aye, cap'n!

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Right before my very eyes

I use one of the spare bedrooms as an exercise room. Per usual, I was standing by the window, watching the birds while shrugging my shoulders, thinking about scaring away the starlings, when all the birds in the yard fled. A large hawk swooped through and grabbed a mourning dove. (Mourning doves fly fast but are a bit slow to get off the ground).

My first thought was, Why couldn't the hawk have grabbed a starling? Maybe they don't taste very good. My second thought was at least the mourning dove was a single, not one of a pair.

Mourning doves look so soft to me. Guess what? Their feathers *are* soft.

Sean from Santuary Native Landscapes stopped by on Wednesday, before the subsequent rain proved my point by providing some standing water, to discuss installing a rain garden. We have a tentative plan to move forward.

The only other exciting thing to happen this week was the riding mower going in for its annual servicing. That's just how wild and crazy it gets around here. Have a stimulating week.

Sunday, February 05, 2023

Snow's gone (mostly)

Is this the legendary January thaw, a bit late? Last week's snow is mostly gone. And more daffodils are pushing their way to the surface.

The helpful folks at Wild Birds Unlimited convinced me that the bluebirds would find their way into the anti-starling birdfeeder, so I put things back. And they were right. I admit it is a bit of a relief not to keep watch.

One end of my yard holds a lot of water. I called on a hardscaping company a while back, to find out what it would take to drain some of that off, and what it would take is a LOT of money because of how flat my yard is, plus it would tear things up dramatically. So my new plan is to work with the water. Step one: Sanctuary Natives is coming out later this week so we can discuss rain gardens and water-loving replacement shrubs for the arborvitae we took down. If I can run two downspouts and the sump pump outflow to rain gardens, that may just do the trick. Fingers crossed!