Tag Archives: Birds

Sometimes You Just Have to Wing It

Sometimes when you want to feed the birds, you just have to “wing it.”

Remember this perfectly innocent looking suet feeder that I mentioned buying in my post “Garden Center Therapy,” and how I wanted to try to figure out a way to hang it in the tree outside my 2nd story bedroom window?

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 Well, this is how doing that all went down…

Or went up, to be more precise.  Although, I suppose it also did go down.  Oh never mind, here’s what happened…

First I had to enlist the assistance and expertise of my trusty associate and partner in crime, my big sister.  She’s good at figuring stuff like this out because she’s super duper smart and has a massive and ginormous sized brain.  🙂

After she got off work we ran some regular errands and then stopped at The Home Depot to pick up a few materials to help us concoct some sort of MacGyver type of contraption that would enable me to hang my suet feeder in the tree outside my bedroom window without having to use a ladder.

Not only am I not a huge fan of ladders in general, but my dad’s ladder is hidden within the far reaches of the garage and will be inaccessible for quite some time.  And I want to put my feeder up now.  Also, going forward I want to be able to do it from my window and not have to get on a ladder every time I need to refill the feeder.

As far as accessing the feeder once it’s in place, I figured all I would really need is a pole with a hook on the end of it that would be long enough to reach it with.  My sis was thinking about some sort of extendable type of pole, but those felt way too heavy for me with my weak girlie hands, I would need something of much lighter weight.  Well, because I’m in gardening mode right now, what came to mind were those plastic green garden stakes that you can get to prop up plants with.  We found a 6 foot one, screwed a hook onto one end of it, and voila!

So on that part I was good to go.  But how to figure out going about putting something onto the tree for the feeder to hang from without the use of a ladder… now that was an entirely different matter.   After way too much brain pained deliberation (relieving you here from having to read all the gory details of how mine and my sis’ brains formulate solutions), we ended up leaving the store with just some coated wire and a hook/eye turnbuckle thingy.   As to how we would actually use those two things and go about rigging something up on the tree from my window… we figured we’d just wing it.

When we got to the house and contemplated a bit further, I got to thinking that maybe we could just tie the eye end of the turnbuckle to the wire and then toss it out the window and try and get it over the branch, then grab it with my pole/hook thingy and somehow try to tie it off.  Easier said than done.  Trying to tie a knot that is 6 feet away while using a skinny pole with a small hook on the end of it is a lot harder to do than you’d think it would be.  And it didn’t help that the turnbuckle thingy kept spinning about.  But apparently, even though I may not have much strength in these girlie hands of mine, I clearly possess some finesse in my maneuvering abilities with them because I did it!

My sister took this photo of me with her phone while I was working my magic at knot tying from 6 feet away.  You may not be able to see it very well, but the other end of the wire is tied off to the handle on the inside of the window.  Earlier, my sis was holding that other end of the wire and we looked like a couple of puppeteers working at it together hah!  But we really make an excellent team.

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and here’s a closer look…

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Then it was time to test and see if my skills extended to the ability of being able to hang the actual feeder onto my newly installed contraption.

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Oops, crash!

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So down I went to fetch it.

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I decided maybe it would be easier to hang if the feeder was a bit heavier, so that as I unhooked my pole, the weight of the feeder would help it drop down and catch onto the hook of the turnbuckle thingy.  So I put a suet cake inside and made another attempt.  And heavier it was.  I was actually really surprised at just how much heavier, I needed to use both of my weak girlie hands.  My sis snapped this shortly after my triumphant victory…

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And almost immediately after that triumphant victory, I noticed something and grabbed my camera…

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My little squirrel peeking out from his hole!  Omygosh look how cuuuute!!!

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I wonder if he was watching us the whole time?  I don’t know how squirrels minds work, but he had to have thought “What in the world are these two crazy humans doing?!”  Either that or he was thinking “Yay, dinner!”  Hah!  I know he’s eyeballing that new feeder, and I may just end up rigging up some type of feeder for him too.  Hey, it will help keep him away from my garden then, right?  😉

Well, here it is all ready for the little birdies to come and feast upon…

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After all is said and done here, I would like to mention that if you ever find yourself watching odd or interesting types of competitions on TV where people are doing things that seem like they should be perfectly easy to do, have mercy, because it just may not be as easy as it looks.  The concept that I had for all of this seemed like it would be easy enough, but it ended up being quite challenging.  I did have a lot of fun doing it though, mostly because I was with my sis.  ♥  Incidentally, that evening I had Chinese take-out for dinner and my fortune cookie read:  “You will show what you are capable of.”  Haha guess I’m capable of winging it!  Well, along with the help and assistance of my trusty associate, of course.  😉

Since putting it up, I haven’t noticed any of my little feathered friends dining at my new feeder yet.  But I’m sure I will eventually, as I have quite a few that frequent my branches from time to time.

Like Chickadees…

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Sparrows…

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And Cardinals…

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Although, Cardinals don’t typically eat from suet type feeders, so I don’t expect to see them eating at mine.  But I was really excited to see this bright pretty gal stop by and to catch a photo of her!  Maybe she’ll decide to build her nest among my branches, what an absolute delight that would be!

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Garden Center Therapy

I had a wonderful time at the garden centers yesterday!  I dragged my sis along with me and that made it extra fun!  It doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing, wherever we go… fun usually follows us.  I’m so thankful for my big sister and for the great best friend that she is to me.  ♥

We started out at Linder’s, it’s such an awesome place and it felt so good to be amidst all the gardening things.  They seemed to have quite a few of their displays and areas within the store designed with ideas geared more toward an urban style of gardening.  Having spent most of my gardening years in a suburban or country type of gardening setting, I found all of this very new, and cool and exciting, considering the fact that I now live back in the inner city and will need to learn a more urban type of gardening style.

Last year when I put the new raised vegetable garden in at my mom’s house, I knew I was entering strange and unfamiliar territory.  Prior to moving into my tiny apartment, I lived on 6 acres and I had never gardened using raised beds before, so I felt (and still feel) like an inexperienced noob in that area.  😉

Seeing all of the unique and interesting possibilities for gardening in small spaces was inspiring, but also a bit daunting because it’s just so completely different than what I know.  And it’s going to take a lot of thought, planning, time, and work to make my new garden area into something that reflects me, especially when it’s for a me that is sort of new too.  Hah, if that even makes any sense!

And speaking of me… apparently I’m a bee…  and a dork!

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Yeah… I’m pretty sure this little cut-out thingy is intended for children.  😉

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I did make a few purchases while I was there.  Some of which were the first of my seeds!  I know, I know, this is very premature since it will be at least a month and a half before I can plant them, but I couldn’t resist!

I also bought a new suet feeder.

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As soon as I figure out how, I plan to hang this on one of the branches of the tree outside my 2nd story bedroom window.  Then once the leaves start coming in, transfer it over to somewhere near my garden area.

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Speaking of which, I’m going to need to give some thought to where to put a bird feeding area.  During cooler temps when I’m inside, I’d like it to be near a window so I can enjoy watching my little feathered friends peck at the treats I put out for them, but when warmer weather arrives and I’m outside more, I’d like it be located in a place where I can watch them from the patio or from one of my couple of different sitting areas near my garden.  The space in and around my garden is so limited here that I’m not even sure there will be a spot, but hopefully I can come up with something.

Also, while we’re on the subject of birds, they have a parrot named “Baby” at Linder’s.  He’s really, really cute, and he’s so personable, chattering away and trying to communicate with people.  I could tell he genuinely enjoyed the attention we were giving him, and I loved giving it to him.  Honestly, I could have spent the entire afternoon there talking to him and watching his adorable little antics.

I didn’t have my camera with me, but my sis snapped this photo of him for me with her phone…

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Along the travels of our day, we also made a stop at Byerlys.  Not only did they have my mom’s favorite brand of butter on sale there as a BOGO, but they have the most delicious cheesy potatoes my taste buds have ever had the pleasure to savor.

Byerlys also sells these delightful little grow pots with spring bulbs sprouting in them.  For many years, during long winters where I’ve had a serious case of extreme spring fever, I have found these to be the perfect remedy, so I bought myself one.  🙂

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And just to prove that my getting these little grow pots actually does go way back, take a look at this cute old photo I found of my (now 21 year old) daughter admiring some little sprouts coming up in another grow pot from winters past.  Although, I think it’s possible that I may have planted this one myself.

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Aw… ♥

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The next place we went was to Bachman’s, where we found some beautiful spring things blooming.  Again I didn’t have my camera, so we used my sis’ cell phone to take a few photos while we were there.

Oh the lovely purple.  Well technically according to the label, these are considered “blue,” but they sure look purple to me…

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And ah, such pretty pink…

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I love the scent of hyacinths!  I even went back to sniff these again before we left.  🙂  I can’t wait until the ones in my little grow pot bloom!

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I really liked this arrangement, it had all sorts of random things going on in it, but mostly I thought the bird planter was really sweet.

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We also came across some silly things.  Like these totally corny, but festive arrangements that I have so named “the march of the big yellow chick heads.”

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And these things that my sis called “green hairy balls.”

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Seriously though, what in the world could these ever be used for?

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We also made stops at the library, the co-op and Culvers, where I indulged myself with one of their mint Oreo concrete mixers.  I couldn’t finish it all, but it sure was yummy…

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🙂

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Yep, going out to the garden centers was “just what the doctor ordered” for my case of spring fever.  ♥

Cardinal Song

Such a welcome song after a winter so long

with color so bright against the bleak winter’s light.

© Julie Rehnelt 2013

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I know these photos aren’t anything to brag about, but I have been trying to catch a shot of this little fella for quite some time.  I’ve been hearing his warning/alarm chirp sounds coming from the bush under my bedroom window all winter long, and then the other day I finally heard him singing.  He was up amidst the very top branches, so my rinky dink camera had to use all of its zoom-in powers that it could muster, which wasn’t much, but I still feel triumphant to have captured a shot at all, especially from in between all the tree branches.

Although we have cardinals all year round in Minnesota, they usually don’t start singing until spring is approaching.  Looking outside right now at all the barrenness and snow I may not see any signs of spring, but hearing this little guy singing up in my tree makes me hopeful it’s not too far away.

It’s really interesting how something so simple as a bird’s song can fill one with hope…

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This isn’t the best quality video, but the sound is exactly what I was hearing while I took these photos.

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And this is the sound I’ve been hearing coming from my bush all winter.  Minus the trickling water of course.

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I love little birds.  ♥

For the Birds

One of my favorite past times has always been bird watching.  In every home I have lived in over the past 20 years, I have always had a special area set up in my yard for bird watching.  In addition to having a variety of feeders, I would also plant certain things to help attract birds too.  It’s not only a relaxing and peaceful activity for me, but also interesting and exciting to me as well.

I’ve spent the past year and a half living in an apartment so I haven’t had a place to watch the birds. 😦  But with putting in my new raised vegetable garden in my mom’s yard I thought maybe I could put up a few feeders in her yard too.

Because my mom lives in the heart of the inner city, it’s not exactly a “nature” type of area for attracting a great variety of birds, but in being so deprived of this simple pleasure, I’ll take whatever little feathered friends I can get at this point.

A couple of my favorite feathered friends are Orioles and Hummingbirds.  So I dug my Oriole feeder out of storage and bought a new Hummingbird feeder, and put them out today.  It may still be a teensy bit early yet, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to put them out.

I use the type of Oriole feeder that has little dishes in it that you use to put grape jelly in.  There is a spike for putting orange halves on it as well, but I have found that it’s the grape jelly that they really seem to love…

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And here’s my new Hummingbird feeder…

I’ve had many different styles and varieties of Hummingbird feeders over the years and I don’t know if there is one style that is any better than another, I just know that I feel special and honored every time one of those tiny little jewels happens to visit.  Hope some will visit this one!  🙂

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Here are a couple of older photos from one time when we captured a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird coming to the feeder that we had hanging out on our porch…

Little wings beating so fast that all the camera caught was a blur.

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I didn’t take any of the following photos (heck I wish!), but I have had visits from these (and many others) in my yards and gardens on occasion over the years.  Maybe you have too…

Baltimore Oriole

I have found Orioles to be somewhat cautious at first, but once you get them coming for that grape jelly, their boldness increases and matches the boldness of their striking orange and black color!

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Such precious delicate little things.  ♥

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Bluebird

We put out several Bluebird houses around our property to attract these pretty and beneficial birds to our yard, but the Swallows usually took them over.  However, we still had them in and around the vicinity and many times they would sit on the edge of the porch roof just below my bedroom window and “hunt” for bugs.  They even brought their young there to “train them in.”

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Goldfinch

I adore these brightly colored little birds.  They often come in large groups to visit feeders offering thistle.  On our last property where we had acreage, we had a “wild” area where the thistle grew on its own so we had tons of Goldfinches flitting about everywhere.  It was wonderful!  🙂

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Robin

So common, but a sure sign of spring after the long winters here ~ Robins are always a welcome to see!

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Blue Jay

Blue Jays are sometimes a bit pushy and aggressive at feeders, and tend to scare away other birds, but they are so pretty.  And the other birds are always waiting in the “wings” and come back once the Blue Jays have had their fill.

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Cardinal

Cardinals were one of my most favorite birds for a long time.  Like the Hummingbird, I would feel so honored when they would visit my feeders.  Often times pairs would be repeat visitors and I would watch as the males fed their mates.  So sweet.  ♥

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Indigo Bunting

I have only caught a glimpse of these a few times visiting my yard and gardens, but it was very exciting when they did!  So colorful!

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Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The first time I saw a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at one of my feeders I got so excited to see something new!  Eventually they became regular visitors and delighted me with their gentle presence.

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Chickadee

I love Chickadees!  They may not be very colorful or interesting to most people, but I find them adorable ~ chubby little things hopping around amongst the tree branches, making their cute little sounds.  🙂

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Cedar Waxwing

This is such a gorgeous shot among these blossoms!  I love his “mask” around his eyes.  I rarely caught a close look at the Cedar Waxwings that would visit my yard, but I heard them.

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Junco

Dark-eyed Juncos are another bird that I find adorable.  They are ground feeders so they make for a good “clean-up crew” underneath bird feeders.

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Yellow Warbler

I didn’t see these too often, but I heard their bright cheerful little calls that match their color.  🙂

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Purple Finch

Sometimes Purple Finches and/or House Finches would try and build their nests in my hanging flower baskets that I would hang out on my porch in early spring, It got to the point of being a serious nuisance because I would fork out some serious cash for those hanging baskets and their nest building would all but ruin them.  So a few times I put out a “dummy” basket ~ especially for them, but they still preferred my store bought ones ~ little suckers have expensive taste apparently.  😉

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Chipping Sparrow

Sparrows are another “common” bird, but there are many, many different varieties, and I think Chipping sparrows are cute!

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Tree Swallow

I often had Tree Swallows flying around me whenever I would mow our land with the riding mower.  Excellent bug control!

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🙂

Adventures in Gardening Part 11 ~ Darn Squirrels!

Don’t let this cuteness fool you ~ squirrels are pure evil!

Okay, I’ll admit… I may over exaggerating just a tad, and this is a really super cute photo of one (just look at its wittle questioning face ~ who me?  evil?  no, not little ol’ me, I’m innocent), but I’m not buying it.

I am not a fan of the squirrel.  I have nightmares about them, actually.  I know… squirrels?  Why would a person have nightmares about squirrels of all things?  Heck if I know… maybe I’m just mental.

When I was a little girl, my dad used to take me and my brother and sister to the park to feed the squirrels on Sunday afternoons.  It’s a very fond childhood memory of mine, so I have no idea where the nightmares stem from.

It’s a recurring nightmare where I am surrounded by dozens of creepy diabolical squirrels and I’m holding my dog; trying to protect him from them.  I’ve had several dogs over the years (all small breeds) and the dog I’m holding varies between them, as does the location where the event is happening, but it’s always the same …  scary freaky squirrels are trying to get my dog.  I seem to know this is a recurring thing because I always think to myself “Oh no, not again!”  Sounds dumb, but it’s seriously really terrifying.  Fortunately, they never succeed in their evil plot for world domination ~ er, I mean in their goal to get my dog, which must indicate something positive in the grand scheme in the dark reaches of my psyche.  I haven’t had the nightmare for quite a while, so that must be a good sign too.

But now I’m afraid these nightmares may take on a new dimension (in reality) because squirrels are digging in my garden!  When I went to check on the progress of my little seedlings the other day, I found several holes in various places throughout my garden, including finding one of my zucchini mounds ruined!  😦  Even though I didn’t catch the culprit in action, I know it’s a squirrel because last year when my brother was staying at my parent’s house, he had a squirrel that he was feeding on a regular basis while he sat out on their patio.  The dummy!

In all of my years of gardening I’ve never had a problem with squirrels before, so I’m kinda clueless as to what to do about it.  I went online this morning to find more information just in case this little wicked friend of my brother’s decides to make a regular habit of being a nuisance, but aside from chemicals and traps (neither of which appeal to me) it doesn’t sound like there is much you can do that will result in any great success.  Squirrels = pure evil…  like I said.

On a positive note…

I found that my lettuce seeds are sprouting!

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And my spinach were tall enough to be thinned so I now have 5 separate plants…

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I also found more peas sprouting ~ all 13 of them in fact!  Who says 13 is unlucky?  😉

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It may be silly, but I just find it really exciting to see all of these little greenies popping up! ♥   I’m still watching for my carrots and zucchini to come up ~ can’t wait!

And next week I can plant my cucumbers!

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“Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?”  Hopefully without an invasion of squirrels…