Thursday, April 23, 2015

Unxpected Visitor To The Potting Shed

I had an unexpected visitor in the potting shed yesterday. I came home to find a Robin frantically flapping his wings and throwing himself against the window, trying to get outside. A window was open several inches and when the wind blew the loose screen off he made his way inside, but couldn't get back out.

I spent about an hour trying to get him to head towards the door I'd left open for him. After many attempts he finally made it out the way he came in.

Oh, what a mess he made in his panic! Things were knocked over and there's even a couple of feathers laying around. He had a very traumatic afternoon!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

I was happy to find this little Bluebird perched in my tree, early one morning. So sweet! ~ Happy Earth Day! Let's do our best to take care of our planet!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Forsythia Are Blooming!

Forsythia is among natures earliest Spring bloomers in my garden. They're from the genus of flowering plants in the family Oleaceae (Olive family). The flowers appear on the arching branches of this deciduous shrub before the leaves do. It's vibrant yellow flowers are a welcome sight in early Spring! Mine have been blooming for about a week now. I like cutting bouquets of them to add some of their cheery bright color into my home.

After cutting some Forsythia for a few vases I decided to cut some larger pieces to fill one of my favorite old watering cans. This watering can was a flea market find from a few years ago. I like the beautiful muted color of it. It was love at first sight! As soon as I spotted it, I knew it would be coming home with me!

 Forsythia have bright yellow four petaled flowers which only bloom on old wood. They only last for about two weeks.

I like collecting old bottles, especially ones with writing on them. I often times use them to place a single flower in for display.

I placed a few sprigs of Forsythia in a vintage salt shaker.

Old mason jars make great vases. They just seem to look great with any flower that I add to them!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Four Seasons of a Hornet's Nest


 Last summer a hornet's nest appeared in one of our maple trees . It was hanging by a thin twig from a branch. I certainly don't care to get too close to them because they can be very nasty if you disturb them! Through the seasons I've been watching the nest though and I have to say that I'm very impressed with their construction ability.
Hornets use saliva and wood fibers to build their nests. The colored swirls are actually kind of pretty! These papery structures are so much stronger than they look.  
Through the four seasons we've had some pretty wicked rain, wind, snow, & ice storms and the hive has remained mostly unscathed.
The nests are only used once and are abandoned in the winter. The young queens survive until spring by finding protected areas to stay, such as under tree bark. In the Spring they'll begin to build a new nest. 
The buds are starting to flower on the maple tree and the nest is still hanging from the tree. It's mostly intact except for slight damage to the top on one side. 
 After seeing how this nest has survived the elements through all four seasons, one thing is clear to me ~ Hornet's nests are quite an engineering feat!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Our Bushy-Tailed Friends

If you have walnut trees on your property, you can be sure that your yard will be very popular with the squirrels! They're interesting little creatures to watch. I think one of the best things that I've gotten from spending time in my garden is an appreciation of the little critters we share it with. Nature is so amazing!

This old mill stone, leaning against the wall is a favorite spot of the squirrels to sit and clean the walnuts.

They build two types of nests in our trees ~ cavity dens and leaf nests. This leaf nest is one that they built in our maple tree.
This is the entrance to another nest that they have lined with leaves.

If you take the time to patiently watch them interact with each other, you begin to see their habits. They have favorite branches that they like to sit on while enjoying the nuts.

They like to sit with their backs to the base of the trees while they clean the husks off of the walnuts. Look at those sharp fingernails!

As fall approaches they become busy gathering and storing the nuts for the winter ahead.

Squirrels have four teeth in front of their mouths that constantly grow. This makes sure that their teeth don't wear down from all of the gnawing .

In winter they become little seed bandits. I'd hung an old scale pan filled with seed out for  the birds. I looked out one morning and saw this little guy swinging back & forth while munching on seed. Doesn't it almost look like he's smiling?

This one definitely had personality! He was so happy to find the bird seed on the little pedestal. He looked like he was dancing!

They're little acrobats, climbing and hanging from branches to get at the bird feeders.

This squirrel was making sure that no seed went to waste. He was picking up chunks of snow and chewing it to find the seed that had fallen on the ground. Our bushy-tailed friends are the reason I have to go to Tractor Supply every week for bird seed. I swear they eat half of what I put out for the birds.....but I guess they have to eat too....and they do provide entertainment for us!