Friday, December 17, 2010

Feeding the Birds

As you can see-I love to feed the birds. I feed them all summer as a matter of fact. (yes, I know they can find food-I just like to feed them!) In late spring I put out hummingbird feeders. In late fall I put out thistle in special tube feeders for yellow finches. And we always have quite a flock visiting us at breakfast, lunch and dinner. However..this year I am having a bit of a problem.
Can you see this guy hiding up in the tree? This hawk is huge! It almost looks like an eagle the wing span is so wide. I think (looking at my bird book) that this is a "Cooper's Hawk" which preys on backyard birds. At one time this bird was known as a "chicken hawk" for obvious reason. But, we don't think this is our problem..
We think this is the culprit--the one chasing our little friends away. This little one is much smaller than the other hawk. What we don't know is: is this a baby Cooper's Hawk, or could it be another kind? There is a "Sharp-shinned" hawk (again looking in my book) that is similar to the Cooper's but smaller..and according to the book hangs out at backyard feeders. I am not thrilled there are predators out there scaring my little birds friends away, but at the same time it has been very interesting to see these large birds. And yes, I do know this is part of nature, survival of the fittest, etc... The hawks are welcome-just wish they didn't want the diners as their dinner!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Beautiful "Tulip" Day!

Today is tulip day! The bulbs have been in the refrigerator now for about 8 weeks, so it's time to get them in the ground. I thought my Mother wanted me to plant some in her garden, but she decided there was no more room-so..I planted 60 bulbs in my little backyard today. And what a perfect day to be in the garden. It was sunny and warm (temp was 67 at planting time-which explains why we have to chill our tulip bulbs here in Texas!) After some much needed house work this morning--I couldn't wait to get outside.
I don't use a bulb planter like I bet most of you do. I like to use this old, ugly, slender spade. It has a sharp point that is great for digging down into clay soil. I was somewhat worried about digging up existing bulbs as I went, but only came across a few. I had 6 different types of tulips-mainly yellows and reds which I planted in between the pansies. I bought 10 all white bulbs that I planted together out under the bird feeder. I added lots of red pepper, then mulch to this area to try and discourage pesky squirrels. The last group of bulbs were white with red edging. I planted them behind the flagstone patio--again with red pepper on top. I never know whether I should plant only one color tulips, or plant lots of colors but always group the colors together (which I think I heard in class is the right thing to do.) But I like red and yellow mixed together so much-I usually mix the bulbs together in a pot, then toss them here and there. I never mark where I am planting as I LOVE to have surprises popping up in spring. By the time I finished planting and peppering and mulching..I was ready for a break. Nice afternoon snack--warm pumpkin bread right out of the oven! Ummmm--what a beautiful tulip day!
Hope you had a good day today!