Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Few Pictures

Here's a nice shot of the male bluebird as he prepares to enter the box. Isn't he dressed in a beautiful shade of blue?

Here's our brand new car port. Now all we have to do is put in the gravel and then plant flowers and stuff around the sides. And best of all, the bluebird couple wasn't the least bit disturbed by all the hustle and bustle! The nest building is progressing smoothly.

It's a good thing noise and activity doesn't bother them. I had company later that afternoon and it sure wasn't quiet around here! The kids love to play outside when they're here and our big up-and-down front yard keeps them busy.

Hills are made for little boys to roll down...

and for little girls to run up!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Gardening Bluebirds

Writes With Feathers has been gardening! Last weekend we started a lovely flower garden in front of the house. I say started because I don't know if we'll ever finish—we keep thinking of other things we'd like to stick in there.

So far, we have a hybrid tea rose (Blue Girl, which is actually a very pretty shade of lavender), a butterfly bush, a hydrangea that is already bushing out like you wouldn't believe, and a 'Mystery' gardenia. Then there are the three maples we planted last year, and a couple of new dwarf Alberta spruce trees; we put one at each end of the garden. We'll decide what else will go in this plot later.

The other flower beds run along the front porch and a week or so ago I planted some cannas (The President, which is a vibrant shade of deep red) and two colors of bearded iris (Full Tide, an absolutely gorgeous shade of blue, and Cherub's Smile, a delicate shade of pink) in them. The cannas are doing well, but the irises haven't broken the ground yet. I'm trying to resist the urge to dig them up to see what's going on. (Roots yet? Well, why not??) Oh, yes, and we also planted some 'sticks' a friend gave us. They're going to be Angel Trumpets if they ever put out any leaves or anything. At least, I'm sure they're rooted (I looked). And at this point, the deer are leaving the shrubs in those beds alone—after they ate all the leaves and pruned every one of them nearly to the ground a few weeks ago!

Unfortunately, the camellias didn't fare so well. Right after they started to bloom, we had a serious freeze and the flowers that had already bloomed dropped off. The buds I was so optimistic about never opened. Oh, well. When I fed the other shrubs and flowers, I made sure to give them some, too and now they're sporting lots of new growth. They'll be fine I'm sure (fingers crossed). Oh, and the cypress trees we set out last year are growing like gangbusters. I love those things.

I have Eastern bluebird news!! There's a pair setting up housekeeping in a box near the end of our 32' front porch. They've been busily carrying nesting materials into the box. The male just can't seem to get it right; often the female removes what he takes in! I can just hear her: "What do you think you're doing? I'm not having that in my nest!"

Here's where the bluebird gardening comes in: we mulched the new flower garden yesterday. Today I see the female poking around in the mulch and taking shreds of something into the box. Apparently, some of the stuff in the mulch is of a consistency that strikes her fancy! I did see the male emerge from the box with some of it, though. He brought it to a porch rail where he spent several minutes poking, stretching, and pulling at it. When he finished, the female fluttered over to check it out, gave her approval, and took it into the birdhouse.

But there may be a hitch on the bluebird front. We've having a carport installed today and it's going up only about 18' from their box. I'll know by late this afternoon if they've been spooked away.

Pictures of the gardens and bluebirds will follow soon. Be well!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Parrot Foot-itis

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

There's a little known affliction spreading among parrot fanciers (okay, among two parrot fanciers as far as I can confirm, and one of them doesn't even have a parrot) that I fear may become epidemic. Are you at risk? Answer this brief questionnaire to evaluate your susceptibility:

1. Have you recently discovered at least one parrot feather among your possessions?
2. Are there tiny parrot-shaped beauty marks covering your feet and ankles?
3. Do you feel an unusually strong urge to consume *green bean casserole, even when it's not a holiday?
4. Do you read this blog?

If you answered 'yes' to any of the questions, then I'm afraid you may be high-risk for infection. I'm sorry to say that there is no cure. The best advice I can offer is to find other parrot people and hang out with them. It may not make the problem go away, but at least nobody will gawk at you (not much, anyway; they'll be careful not to be obvious).

I myself suffer from Parrot Foot-itis. The photograph below shows how extensive it is at this point. I must warn you, the picture is quite graphic. Do not view if you suffer from nervousness, sleeplessness, or crankiness. If you've just eaten, wait at least 30 minutes before viewing or it could cause cramps.



I'm trying to protect the innocent...


So I missed April Fool's day by a few hours - Happy April 3rd!

*Green bean casserole - inside joke! I just might post my favorite recipe one of these days - so long as Dawno posts hers, too. :D