Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Great Backyard Bird Count: 2014

It is that time of the year again.  I'm done a few counting sessions over the past two days, and have two more to go.  Photos and tallies to follow.

If you want to join in, it is very easy.  Start here:  Great Backyard Bird Count

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February is for the Birds!

I didn't actually look back at old posts, but it seems to me come February, I start seeing more and more birds.  It could be that I've actually been home to look and spent more time snapping pictures...or it could be the 10 inches of snow that has blanketed the ground since Wednesday with another inch falling today.

Yesterday, I snapped a lot of photos, then took the time to crop and correct them in between cleaningand decluttering--I'm actually having a very productive weekend.  Today, I did even more around the house, and still managed to snap quite a few photos...and I even made a welcome home meal for Jeff who was away on business this weekend (I decided to stay home in hopes that I would winter sow the native seeds I'd collected this year...It didn't happen, but that is okay.  I got a lot done and still have plenty of time--although, if I don't do it next weekend, I'll start getting just a little ants--and next weekend is the Backyard Bird Count...good thing more birds are showing up just in time!)

Here are yesterday's photos:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow Day!

This is not our first snow day of the winter, and I doubt it will be the last, but it is likely the most snow we've had at once this year (9 inches).  It was a good day to watch the birds in between shoveling the snow.  There have been too few posts of birds this winter compared to past years...at least it seems that way.  I'll try to remedy that.  Finally some bird pictures:

Thinking Frogs

With the long weeks of frigid temperatures, the pond has frozen over with a thicker layer than usual.  Concerned about the oxygen getting depleted in the water and losing the frogs that are likely brumating at the bottom, I finally purchased a pond deicer.  Last year the frogs made it through fine...but, I think the ice would melt (or I'd melt it) often enough for the exchange of gases.  With talk on Wildlife Gardeners of losing frogs in man made ponds, I thought it best to play it safe.  Now, the birds can benefit as well with another source of liquid water (there is a stream about a fourth of a mile from here).

Sunday, February 2, 2014

That Time of Year Again

Yesterday, the first of February, I went out to buy potting soil and more plastic containers hoping to plant at least some of the seeds I collected last year.  Unfortunately, other things kept me from doing more than unloading my supplies.  (Looking back on this post, I hope to be reading it while sitting at the desk for two that Jeff and I designed to fit our needs--the project that took precedence over my seed planting.)

Today, I underestimated how long it would take to even prepare everything for the seeds.  After drilling holes in the 12 new containers I'd purchased, I went out to fill them.  The compressed potting soil was much more difficult to dispense than I remembered.  I guess it did take me a long time to get it all loosened up last year too.  Before I'd finished filling the third container, Jeff was already calling me in for dinner!  Oh well, apparently I'm ahead of last year...I went back to check, and see that, in the past, I've not potting things up until mid-to-late February.  I still have time.

I only got three filled, went in for dinner, and never went back out.

Actually, I was really early in sowing seeds this year--back in October, right after planting some of the seedlings I grew from last year's winter-sown seeds, I immediately refilled the containers with (loose) potting mix, wet them, sprinkled seeds over the soil, and covered them with a little more soil and a screen.  But, I really shouldn't brag, because last year was the first year I didn't get all of the seedlings in the ground before it froze.

At least eight containers of seedlings that were not planted yet.
They don't look like much, but I think they will be fine.  
These have been waiting for spring since October.
After weeks of unusually cold temperatures, the polar vortex, and the return of the polar vortex, we finally had a warm up--the low 40s...and it felt great!  It really did get me started thinking about spring...and it even looked a bit like spring too with the melting snow.  Who knew that my Greek valerian, Polemonium reptans, (a native plant despite its name) was evergreen.  I really should pay closer attention to these things.

I guess it is Groundhog Day; I should be thinking spring.  I have no idea what Phil "predicted", but spring is on its way...and each day we get a little closer and will see more signs.