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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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Little Red............................

This year is the first time in all the years I have lived here in town that I have ever seen a Red Squirrel. What a cute little bugger. They are 1/2 the size of the grey or black squirrel that is more than common here. They are also destructive.
It is scary to have rodents in the house simply because they can chew through wires and cause fires. I am not at all worried about disease, that is hardly an issue. The most likely place that they will be found or rather heard is in the attic. Our house is a prime residence for critters. We have yet to renew the siding. It's an old house, built originally in the late 1800s. It has been added to and remodeled over the years. At this point it is in between being remodeled and finished.
We have old siding, when we added on to the house we put some temporary siding on the new part. Where the two comes together there are patches with broken shingles a good entry point. In fact, we had Starlings nesting in the eves. Oh leave them I said, wait till the babies leave I said...................she had at least 3 batches of kids that year. The noise at daybreak running hither and yon feeding babies. Ahuh. We blocked that up in the Fall and was done with that. We do have mice but the cats pretty much keep them in the nether regions. Unlike years ago when the resident cats only played with them. We would take them away from the cats and put them outside and feed them. Hey, they were cute.
Back to the Red Squirrels.
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Look at that face. I know when my neighbour Bud sees them he will have a fit. He live traps as many squirrels as he can catch and moves them out to the woods.
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These Red squirrels are super fast. They seem to never sit still for more than a few seconds. Well, Little Red has a friend. I saw it the other day. Two of them, that means babies right? I can't wait to hear what Bud has to say.
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I had a bird feeder hanging out that I really liked. It was strong steel mesh, quite thick. I could not believe that squirrels chewed through it and wrecked it. Now I know who.........they are called chain saws on legs. The Red Squirrel.
I really didn't think the regular squirrels did it because those feeders have been there for years.
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I know the regular guys are destructive but it's always been wood that they have chewed through. Never the wire mesh. Now I know who is responsible. They are so much fun to watch though. My regular squirrels come in Grey and Black. The blacks are smaller but more agressive. They chase off the bigger greys.
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The small reds do not go near the other ones. In fact I have not seen them on the hanging feeders only briefly on the other ones. They tend to grab what's on the ground, especially when I put out bread and seem happy with that. For now...........wonder what will happen come Spring?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Not just the pretty ones.............

Some people try to keep the bird feeders for the pretty little birds. I can understand that. The problem is they all get hungry. People usually tell me they try to keep the Starlings away because they are noisy and greedy. Well, have you ever really looked at a Starling? They are amazing birds. Really, they are. Have you ever seen a "murmuration" ?
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It is one of natures wonders. Besides, they are beautiful too and have lovely singing voices when not squawking and squabbling. They mimic other birds.
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That guy found the peanut butter. The suet container was empty and so I put some peanut butter in there. It froze and made a good suet. Well they really liked that. It took awhile to find it.
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Look at the markings on this bird. If it was in sunshine it would show the peacock colours.Each feather is marked.
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Then we have Blue jays. Loads of those too. They too are very noisy birds. One comes in and yells to his friends hey come on over, she's filled the feeders and within seconds the feeders are full of birds.
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It is amazing that every bird is different and yet the same. Some have personalities that just burst through.
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The alert expression in the eyes.
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The colour and markings are beautiful.
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I am happy when I get a picture of a bird in flight
I had to include my crow..........another disliked bird that I love. They are so intelligent.
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They are also very beautiful.
The real pest is the Squirrel. They are unrelenting. They get hungry too so I feel bad chasing them off. They get their share though. Trouble is now I have about 10 coming every day. Way too many. Bud will be putting his traps out come Spring I have no doubt.
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The black ones are smaller but more aggressive
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I think they cohabitate. Some blacks have red tails.
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The squirrels can take their food and go sit on a nearby tree and enjoy a good snack. Then back they come for more. They also hide some of it and sometimes the Crows find it.
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One of the fiestiest birds is the Mourning Dove. I love watching them hold their ground or even give one of the others a good whap with their beaks. They are not easily intimidated.
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That guy was getting himself a wash and brush up, sunny on a pretty day.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

He's Back......................

Today we had another visit from a Hawk. Now I have tentatively ID him as a Sharp Shinned Hawk. At first I thought he might be a Cooper's Hawk. They are very much alike. Then when I am done I better go back and see if its the same one as before. It was snowing so bad that day I doubt I will be able to ID him.
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This time I did get a few better pictures. I watched and didn't see him go for any of the birds who were busy at the feeders. After the snowy day yesterday only the Squirrels were in to feed. Today they were very hungry and the Starlings and Blue Jays were very hungry. A few small birds came but not many. I think the gangs have kept them away and the squirrels.
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Well I didn't see any violence or sign of it so assume the hawk went hungry. Or was full.
There were plenty of Jays and Starlings to choose from and when he sat in the tree near the deck the Mourning Doves sat just above him with a Blue Jay so I think they knew something.
The Mourning Doves came in a flock of about 15. They don't move for anyone.
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They will clean up the floor but sit on what they are not ready to eat so no one else gets it.
"Is my butt getting fat?"
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The Starlings come in and everyone but the Crows leave. Well the Blue Jays will stay and battle things out when they are hungry enough
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Someone appreciated the new Suet.
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I did see the Cardinal today for a short time
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All my scraps now go to good use and are appreciated
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The little Woodpeckers were happy. There is something in that tree that attracts them. I think maybe they hide stuff in the little crack in the bark?
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Not a lot to report today but wanted to see if anyone can ID the Hawk. At first I thought A Coopers Hawk but on further study I am thinking Sharp Shinned. What say you?
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Monday, February 8, 2016


So my recent descision to eliminate beef and pork from my diet has something to do with character. I believe each and every creature has a personality. So to me, birds and beasts are people. Not sure about bugs and insects but I will draw the line at birds and beasts for now. I have read that certain people do connect with the lower orders but to be honest I find them rather creepy so I will avoid that for now.
I am learning this as I go.
I do know that among my Crows there is one particular character who stands out for me. I must find a way to ID him.
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Trouble is they all look alike. Isn't that what people say? All Chinese look alike, they say all whites look alike well with that in mind the Crows and blue jays must have some personal ID. How do I find that?
While they are much more comfortable around me they still fly off when I get near a window.So its hard to study.
I must say that they have been eating very well. I have put out Hamburger and I found two Cornish pasties when I cleaned the freezer, they ate those. The Squirrels were confused when I put out spagetti noodles.
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That one gave it a go though
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I don't normally throw out food, but have been looking for free stuff in the freezer. The bird seed is getting expensive. We buy an extra two loaves of bread for them all.
This guy got an apple I had thrown out that Tristen did not finish. He took his prize and hid it.
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I saw him later taking it down to his house via the over head wires doing a magnificent balance act.
All the activity seems to have kept the small birds away. So many squirrels around, Starlings and Crows.
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The Cardinal thinks it's Spring and sings his heart out every morning.They come in to the feeders in the evening when the others have given up.
The Starlings are like Pirahna I put out food and its gone before I can get a picture
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It does mean that nothing is wasted.
So now how do I begin to identify my feathered friends. I think it's impossible. Impossible with my limited experience. I guess that's why people tag them huh!!.
Boots did not enjoy the new dusting of snow. She does not like her feet wet but something in the grape vines caught her attention.
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Then as soon as she saw me at the window she asked to come in. I had to laugh, she has no front claws and usually squeezes under the gate but with new snow she cant. So she is exercizing her arm muscles to climb the gate
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I am wondering if the new Kitty will go out. She is very interested. Not declawed but is very young. I cant afford to give them shots. Boots I don't worry about, she sticks around the garden. Bessie, well I don't know. She is much more cat like than Boots who is very laid back. Bessie is just full of mischief.
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She plays like a cat, is a pest like a cat. Bugs me all the time when I am cleaning. She attacks my feet from under the bed and gets into everything. I open a drawer turn around and she is in it. Here she is complaining her food bowl is empty. I am still feeding her soft food to fatten her up but that must stop at some point. She eats the regular cat food in between.
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If I am watching the birds she gets in the window in the way........ah well. Anyway.........there is a definate difference in my two cats personalities and even more so in my poodles, in fact every poodle I ever had. It's funny really how we can be so unaware of this, until we are. Then we notice more in other animals. I think the people who do research are very unqualified to judge animals. They have to get to know them, live with them before they can say things like "they dont feel guilty" or "ashamed" or "embarrassed" or "love" .............well, all I can say is they never loved an animal or really knew one or they could never say that.