Archive for January 31st, 2007

I am amazed at  how well camouflaged my backyard birds are.  These images are just a little too wide for my page.  So, if you will click on them then WordPress will show you the whole picture. 

Try to see if you can count how many birds there actually are in these pictures.   I promise you there are a bunch you can not  see.  Notice that it has snowed since this morning.


This is what was going on while we were sitting at our dining room table eating our soup.  Check out the birds in this shot.  Please note the squirrel in the middle of the photo.   His tail had just flicked the little white crowned sparrow who is jumping into the air behind him.   There is a cardinal lady right in front of that.


This is a view of the other feeding station, taken from my kitchen window.   The camera is confused by the screen.  Check out the redwinged black birds and the cardinal ladies in the forsythia bush in the background.   That bush is behind the privacy fence and stands on a mound next to my pond.   At the foot of that forsythia lies a small waterfall and little shallow stream that runs back into the pond a few feet away.  The birds are queueing up back there for a drink and bathe.

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Cleaning up

We have been getting the yard straightened up, now that most of the ice has melted off the branches.   It has been a long, slow process, and we still are not done.

We would probably be farther along if we were a lot younger and hardier.   For example, today we both have lots of time to get out in the yard and work.   But the thermometer just saps my energy as soon as I look at it.   Right this minute it says that it is 18 degrees F out there (-8 C), which is warmer than it was when I got up this morning, when it was 10 F (-12 C). 

“How important is it,” I ask myself, “To get all that stuff neatly arranged instead of in big ugly piles?”

Apparently, the answer is, “Not very.”


This is an elm that lives on the north east corner of our two acre place.   We have not even started cleaning up outside the immediate area around the house, yet.   So this image gives you a pretty clear idea of exactly how a tree will look before we start cutting, sorting and stacking the limbs.  Notice the big, dishevelled pile of branches scattered around it.


This is how it looks when we have got the cutting and stacking done.  What you are seeing here is the pile of branches shed by two elms that live inside the fence.


This is what is behind that wood shed, the remainder of what came off the elm that stands just to the right of it in the previous picture.


This is the tree that stands by the northwest corner of our house.   We have begun the clean up here, and we are about half done.  Most of the branches to the west of the tree have been moved, that area is out of the picture.   So what you are looking  at is the remaning 60% of the job.

The piles of brush are a boon to the little birds.   When I look out my window, I see they are alive with house finches, purple finches, gold finches, juncos, white crowned sparrows, song sparrows, carolina wrens, cardinals, and chickadees.  The leaf buds of the elms are apparently wonderful food.  The stacked piles provide shelter from the hawk and make a good wind break, too.

Ultimately, we will burn the larger stuff in bonfires in the next couple of years.   The smaller twigs and branches we are planning to run through our compost grinder and make mulch out of. 

But not today.  The birds can have them all for now. 

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