This blog is about my garden and the outdoors. I am new to photography but I am trying to show some of the pretty things that grow here in Michigan. I love the wild things who visit me and I dont mind if they eat a bit here and there. I like it more if they let me take their picture. As time goes on I think I will try to show you around the beautiful area that I live in as well as my garden. I try to use my own pictures as much as possible but will also use pictures from the web. If I inadvertently use your photo or work without permission please email me and I will remove it or give credit if you prefer. I will give credit when I know who the owner is. I would ask that anyone using my pictures do the same.
... I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.......Psalm23:6
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In The Bleak Midwinter.........

In the Bleak Midwinter

Text: Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1894
Music: Gustav Holst, 1874-1934

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1. In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

2. Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

3. Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

4. What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

One of my favourite hymns, and comes to mind this weather............

Monday, January 27, 2014

what else.............

It's getting sort of boring. I can barely see over the snow banks on the deck. I am putting food out and the squirrels are eating me out of house and home. They are cute though, look at this.
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This Starling was cold and was hungry, the squirrels would not let it down. They are such pretty birds. I really don't know why people don't like them. Wicked beak though.
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Does my bum look fat when I fluff?
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A Junco.....isn't he cute.
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Well the Cardinals came to eat, but I could not get the camera turned quick enough to get them both together. He was too busy eating to care if she was out there or not. He just stuffed his face.
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He thinks he is just soooooo cool
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The Blue Jays are always here.......I wish there were some new faces.
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Here she is sitting in the bushes......I had them both sitting on the gate but my camera froze up.
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Not all of the small birds I am used to seeing are showing up this year,I am guessing they went south. Well this year it didn't do them much good did it. Stay warm.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Every day a little bit more......

This winter is like when we first came over here. That would have been in 1971. In those early days living in Traverse City, it seemed like a lot of snow to me, but that because we came from England. In the late 70s we had several years of real heavy snow. The Bay froze every year it seemed. So I always thought that was normal. Then it started to remain open. The water levels went down and we seemed to have less snow. So this year is like we are back in the late 70s.
This is Bijou this morning looking for a place to squat.
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It seems like the guys have had to clean the drive every day, that means the snow banks get higher and higher. We expect more tonight. At least we can deal with it here. This cold is going all the way to Florida. They will be in the 40s (LOL) but we will be in the below zero's again. This is supposed to be for at least the next week. Dan was having a problem with the snow blower and had to take it to get it fixed before finishing,
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The good thing is we do have excellent road services. They came by today clearing the sidewalks. Hard to see over the snow banks now. The road commission is having trouble keeping up with this lot. They have places they dump all the snow. Those places must be filling up by now. Still they are doing an excellent job.
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Looking down our street this morning

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I think maybe when I can get around to it I will start to look at Spring flowers. Right now it seems pointless, and its not easy to get in the mood when there is all that snow out there.
Meanwhile I guess we will have to make do. I did get a couple of cool pictures today, not great because they were taken through the window. Normally I open the window but it was so cold I didnt want to leave it open because my hubby would complain. SO I got the shots through the glass so not crisp as I like and darn it all I got the Jays in flight.
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I wish I could have got these through the open window instead of through the glass. Ah well. There were also about 8 of them today. They didn't like the squirrel or the Mourning Dove. One would think they would not be so fussy would you.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Will it ever end...............

I am hearing folks in England (as I always do this time of year) telling about the daffodils popping through. While here it's like "will it ever end?"........well here are a few pictures from today.
First off Gerry is shoveling the new falling of snow, so tired of hearing snow blowers.

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See how high it is in the back garden? The gate is trashed, so looks like we will certainly have to do the fencing this year when we put in a new back door and fix the deck. Sigh..........Anyway. Two of the poodles got their hair cut. Poor Bodi......they told me she cant go back. She is so um (shhhhhhh) fat that she cant stand that long to get groomed. SO diet time for poodles. Think I said that before. So with that in mind Gerry shoveled a path so they could run, they were not keen. It was too cold.

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Bodi was determined to get back inside. We didn't get the two small poodles done as I can manage them myself for now.
The Squirrels were out en masse
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The Blue Jay was next. I noticed when I threw out the bread that one of the larger squirrels was hauling stuff off and burying it in the snow. Still the Jays got their share and were interested in some of the other stuff I put out.
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Thats my exciting day...........while not in the kitchen I was bird watching.

Lavender Garden Cottage
Also sharing with Mosaic Monday at Little Red House

Monday, January 13, 2014

Same ol same ol...........

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Well hello there, you have not been around in awhile. I am talking to the finch of course. Yes, its that bad.........I am talking to the birds. Some call it cabin fever. There has just been sooooooo much snow. It did stop recently and the birds came back. I think everyone survived.
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Even I survived. Barely. It warmed up and the snow has started to melt giving us hope for the future.......yawn. Then again, the temperatures are due to plummet again. Meanwhile this guy has not been around in awhile either.
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Then this guy showed up and asked if he could join in the fun. I didn't have the heart to chase him off. After all I had put out peanuts.
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The usual suspects always show up for a good feast. I mean I had put out bread with peanut butter on it, peanuts and corn, sunflower seeds as well as the usual bird seed. I also served suet and a new block of bird goo stuff with seed in it. That I put behind bars so the squirrel could not walk off with it.
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Then Mrs C showed up and ate the last of the berries off the Mountain Ash instead of coming down to mix with the rabble. She is speaking with her mouth full you see? Caught in the middle of a snack, its an orange berry so barely can be seen in the orange beak, but its there alright...she looks guilty.
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Meanwhile, its raining and the poodles are in need of a pee as well as a haircut. Bodie does not like getting wet when her hair is long. You can imagine why, she would look like a Highland Coo (cow) if she was wet.
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Then there is Bijou she is desperate for a haircut
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(so are the other two) You see poodles hair does not stop growing. They have to be shaved. If I do it this time of year they freeze. Well Bodi, she doesn't like us plus size gals she is always warm. Bijou needs to be done because her face and eyes need to be cut or she gets really crazy looking. The two small ones will wait till it warms just a bit. So that will be the excitement for this week.
sharing with

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Little Ones..........

Do you wonder how the small birds survive when the weather is so cold. Here in Northern Michigan it has been in the minus degrees this past week. Wind chills bring it further down. I didnt see birds at my feeders for about 3 days and not often in the surrounding days. Then the temperatures went up a bit, the sun came out and all my birds were back. We have 2 pair of Cardinals this year. Both females reappeared. So how do they survive?
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The small birds have an easier time because they flock together. There are often gangs of little ones all together at my feeders. Nuthatch, Tufted Titmice, Chickadees and Buntings. I even saw some finches today. (Pictures of those another day)
So how do they do it.? A birds body is a wonderful creation. OK I know a lot do not believe in God. I do. I see this as a master plan. Birds have a higher body temperature than we do. They make use of the sun by turning their back to the sun, it heats a larger area that way (clever aye?) they can fluff feathers to trap warmth in them and heat their inner core. Their feet have scales so that helps them to lower the temperature on them to a different temperature to the body and the scales minimize heat loss.
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At nighttime the flocks of small birds will find a place to roost. They like pine trees, up close to the trunk, better yet if its been in the sun during the day. Those places retain some warmth and they can snuggle up together. I wonder who chooses who is on the outside? My son Jason has a bush near his bedroom and the Sparrows roost in it. What a noise at sunup and sundown as they quarrel and chatter getting settled in or getting up.
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They can fluff up and sit on one leg so as to warm the other, or put a head under a wing all to keep warm. Bigger birds do the same tricks. I just happen to love the small ones. I feel so bad for them when its so icy and cold. The Chickadees always seem so happy. They call and chat to each other and generally make a racket. They are not afraid either. Unlike the bigger birds they don't scare easy.
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Starlings are always being chased off and so I imagine that's why they are so scared easy. I like them. Pretty birds and so boisterous . They have to eat too and they will eat the meat and bread and scraps that the small ones will not.
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Still these cocky small fella's win my heart
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You can be a big part in the survival of the birds in winter. If its possible have water that does not freeze. Put out food for different kinds of birds. Even meat scraps will feed Crows and Starlings while the sunflower seed are loved by most. Small seeds for tiny birds and corn for squirrels. They will often use old bird houses for shelter and bushes, old wood piles and stacks of twigs. Make your garden a sanctuary and encourage all living things to survive. Besides it fun to watch them all.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter keeps coming..........

The temperatures today were in the minus Fahrenheit. In the upper Peninsula of Michigan my granddaughter reported a -15 my daughter in law -11. Wonder what the wind chill was. The schools all closed because they did not want kids out in it, standing at the bus stops. The birds stayed away pretty much. One of the male Cardinals was sitting huddled in the grapevine, he obviously wanted to go to the feeder but......was all fluffed up. He saw me and decided to move but his poor little foot got stuck. He got it free but I bet it hurt. That made me think that so many of the birds and small animals wont make it. So sad. I wish I could take them all inside.
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I saw tracks on the front porch, looks like a bunny so I put some seeds out this evening just in case. Could have been a squirrel but not sure. The wind had blown them a little so was hard to tell.
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Tristen enjoyed about 1/2 hour helping Granddad outside. He is standing on where the fence should be.
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Here they are filling the bird feeders and cleaning the (poop) deck for the poodles.
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Somewhere under all that snow is the pond. I sure hope the pump is still running or those poor fishes will be ice cubes.
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Tonight the fence looks a little wonky, hope it holds up to the weight.
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The front garden has long since sunk under several feet of snow.
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Gets deeper every day. The porch looks nice though. The fake holly looks real under the snow.
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.......and everyone liked the rocking chair so here it is today.............
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Lots of snow right? Well the roads are terrible and so when Tony came to pick up Cooper I advised him to spend the night. He said that it was sheer ice coming in and so was reluctant (I could tell) to go back. So I got in touch with Gabby who only works a few blocks from here at the hospital and she will also spend the night. I will feel better that I know they are safe and not on the roads with the baby. It would not be a good time to end in a ditch with these temps.
The mail man made it early and had to make his own tracks. It was no too bad at 10am but I think the path has filled in now and there is a lot more coming
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Friday, January 3, 2014

January 2014........

My garden is full of snow. I mean it, its up to the fences. Last year at this time we had I think they said 16 inches. This year 84 inches. Something like that, in any case. Here is the back garden.
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We confine the poodles to the deck (now its the poop deck haha)else they could walk right over the fences. They would too. It's been so cold they have not wanted to stay out more than a few moments. Bodicea really likes going out and burying her face in the snow.
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Isn't she cute?
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Apart from poodles, the birds and squirrels still come around. We have two sets of Cardinals who are regulars. Here we have a confrontations.
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The lady was also around, there are two of the girls too.
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As cold as it has been, I am surprised that we have just the regular birds come around. Blue Jays, Chickadees and the small birds we always get with them. Nothing new and I have not even seen some of the usual ones. I am putting out all kinds of treats. The Cardinals are enjoying the apples rotting on the tree out front. It was sunny this morning and I got this shot.
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This is a rather boring post, but really nothing is going on. Nothing...........hope I get some visitors soon or I will have to begin thinking of other things to post.