That elusive hummer

hummingbird-691483_1920I’m smiling as I write this watching a hummingbird perched on one of the feeders taking his sweet fill.  They fascinate me, and since I’m not an Audubon, I’m dependent on the research and experience of others how to attract these little guys.

Originally, I had spent a few dollars on the store-bought red stuff to put in the feeders.  That can rack up some funds over time—do you know how much these hummers eat?! Continue reading “That elusive hummer”

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Hummers unite! (or starve, whichever.)

hummingbird-691483_1920I finally have hummingbirds as regular neighbors.  Finally!  I love these little guys, so much so I have three feeders specifically designed for them hanging in my garden, (by my patio, so I can watch them, of course.)  Each feeder has a different type of feeding port.  I even went on the internet to find out how to make my own “nectar”.  I also make a bit of sticky mess, but it’s well worth the effort.

Then there’s the ants, who also like the nectar, naturally.  I talked with my dad about options to keep them at bay: adhesive paper on the pole, insecticide spray, a homemade “ant moat”.  Gruesome from the ant’s point of view, but I want to protect the food meant for the hummers.  Continue reading “Hummers unite! (or starve, whichever.)”

What’s for breakfast?

Okay, I’m finally doing the calorie-counting thing.  As age has caught up and metabolism has slowed down, it seems that my days of eating ice cream at will are pretty well gone.  My dear mom reminisces about me coming home from school and diving into a bowl of three or four scoops.

Ah, those were the days.  And thus, I purchased a kitchen scale, and am using measuring implements consistently for the first time.  The calculator sits conspicuously on the kitchen island.  Right now, I’m working on just 2000 calories a day. One would think that would not be too difficult…ugh. Continue reading “What’s for breakfast?”

Bird-brained, or not?

It looks like I may have some resident woodpeckers in my yard.  They are certainly welcome here; my house and garage are sided with aluminum, so unless they want a sore beak, they will hopefully stick with the trees.

I really do find them fascinating.  I’ve put out one of those hanging cages with the suet they like.  It’s positioned on a garden shepherd’s crook in the back yard so I can enjoy observing their feast.  This morning, one little guy swooped in for breakfast, but just took his time trying to balance on the shepherd’s crook instead of digging in on the goodies in the cage. Continue reading “Bird-brained, or not?”

Bird-brained behavior

IWAA7I just finished repairing and reinstalling one of my bird feeders, and this morning I stopped in my tracks when I saw a bright red cardinal enjoying his breakfast with a smaller white-striped bird I didn’t recognize. 

Then I saw him feeding the little guy—ah, what a good parent!  Daddy even aggressively chased off a sparrow from the breakfast table so his growing kiddo could eat privately. (Poor sparrow.  He was just trying to quietly go about his morning also…)

It was fascinating to watch, this avian culture!  But I just wanted to be sure I was identifying it all accurately.  Thus, I turned to that incontestable resource—the internet—and guess what?  It wasn’t a juvenile cardinal Daddy was feeding; it was a juvenile cow bird! Continue reading “Bird-brained behavior”

A bird in the hand, (unless it’s a starling…)

vintage-1824834_1280

It appears a male starling is making advances to the female, who in turn is playing hard to get.  At first, I hear sweet tunes, which quickly have turned into unpleasant assertions.  Then arrives male #2 and the competitors have at it, chasing each other through the branches while the female ignores them, rearranging her coiffure and powdering her beak.

One of the males is run off (how can you tell them apart?), and the young couple is left to negotiate their terms of endearment.  Not that I care; good grief, it’s not like we need more starlings in the world. Continue reading “A bird in the hand, (unless it’s a starling…)”

Incoming!

IWAA7The college’s bell tower had not yet rung 6AM, and the sun was still coming up over the wheat that was drying out from the recent rains, which had at least brought in cooler weather.  So sipping hot tea on my patio while donning a sweatshirt in southern Missouri in mid-June was a real treat.  Birds singing, an occasional rooster (even though we live in town), and my big black dog was not panting yet.  Not bad at all for a summer Monday morning!

Until a bird decided to critique yesterday’s sermon notes: Continue reading “Incoming!”

Scissors, please

IWAA7A gruesome site greeted me when tending the garden after being gone for a week of family vacation.  Sure, there were the typical weeds and such, no big deal, just hands and knees stuff.  But what gave me a drop-shoulder-roll-eyes kind of pause was the leftover feathered carcass of a bird that had obviously been trying to pilfer my blackberries, but had gotten entangled in the netting.

Not a pretty site.  Not a happy ending.  (I will spare any readers a photo.)  I mean, he was, after all, just trying to get something to eat, doing what birds do naturally.  It’s sign1not like I could put up a “No Trespassing” sign, although my dad suggested I could hang up some brightly colored ribbons.  That could help them at least see the netting, but the berries are just so inviting, I’m not sure it would divert them enough. Continue reading “Scissors, please”

NOT for the birds, definitely not.

IWAA7I’m in the second year of my small berry crop.  Here’s what I was anticipating by springtime:

raspberries

Makes your mouth water, don’t it?

Especially for me, the non-gardener.  I’m pretty proud of this little piece of earth, and all the sore muscles along the way.  Bob has been very patient with the big Sutherlands Home and Garden truck pulling up unexpectedly (for him, that is), or the time(s) I have inadvertently left the hose on after watering, (okay, so I get distracted.)

His tastes buds do reap the benefits, however, except for that year I had an over-abundance of cucumbers—he still requests no cukes in the smoothies… Currently, our favorite taste treat is the fresh raspberries and blackberries coming in from the second-year plants. YESssss!!

Unfortunately, this year the birds have likewise found them.  Especially the blackberries.  I wondered why I wasn’t seeing the ripened fruit day after day, and here’s evidence (it’s not for the faint of heart)—

ARRUGHH@#!!*@#!!!! (delete-delete-delete)

Now, I love birds.  They serenade me in the morning.  But that doesn’t mean they get paid by my hard worked-for berries.  So off to Sutherlands I go (didn’t need their truck for this one) to get some equipment, and concocted this:

Not only was it not pretty, it was also not entirely functional.  It didn’t fit, which meant there were gaps in the netting, and my attempts to cut and paste (well, zip-tie) left much to be desired.  Birds aren’t quite as dumb as I gave them credit, at least not when they’re hungry.  They know a good berry crop when they see it!

Learn from my mistakes, call my Dad for a little review in mathematic calculations, and a little ingenuity from Pinterest, and here is my current barricade:

netting3

Already I have seen a feathered kamikaze bounce off in bewilderment!

Inspecting my handiwork that next morning, I notice a few gaps, but also some nicely ripening blackberries.  I easily reposition and secure the netting, and let the fruit do its thing, unmolested and secure.

“Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.”

I like that “guard AND keep”.  It’s one thing to set up a protective fence but it’s another to make sure it’s still effectively working.  And when it comes to protection, one size definitely does not fit all.

My precious berries were already protected from the ground forces of bunnies by the wire fencing—I learned that one the hard way a long time ago.  But just having put in the berries last year, I hadn’t counted on the air strikes (although, I confess, I had heard of them from the past…oh, if only I had paid attention to experienced gardeners!!)

After losing some of the crop, I went into action—better late than never.  But unfortunately, I “reacted” rather than “researched” properly, which left gaps and wasted time and money.

Finally, sacrificing some time (allocating that precious resource to a perceived priority—my berries!!) and relying on the experience of others, I have a tailor-made plan to “guard and keep” for a fruitful harvest.

When it comes to relationships, whether it’s in the family, or even in the Body of Christ:

  • Protection must be intentional. (And it’s rewarding to see Satan just bounce off, not that he won’t try again.)
  • We are given a template, but each “fence” will be unique; to force one on another will cause gaps and allow the enemy in to eat the “fruit”. (Ask me how I know…)
  • Research is better than reacting. Humbly asking for help if more effective than wasting time and emotion on crisis management.
  • Protection is ongoing: frequent inspections and adjustments must be anticipated. It’s called communication and resilience.  Forgiveness and grace. 

ripeberryFruit takes time (and effort) to produce.  But its reward is sooooOOO000ooo sweet.

Ephesians 4:3 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Definitely graphic, but not novel.

IWAA7I love birds.  Not like Audubons love birds, but Bob and I do own a cheap pair of field glasses and a nice Peterson’s Guide.  Here in southern MO, we live in a fly-over zone, and also near a conservation area, so we’re just geeky enough to enjoy a “date” seeing how many avians we can identify.  Our day is made if we are visited by a bald eagle or a close up view of a gaggle of something. 

Listening to Jesus, one would think that His Father was pretty keen Continue reading “Definitely graphic, but not novel.”