Native things blooming in a Tennessee yard - 2014

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Happy New Year!

Thumbnail by Cville_Gardener
Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

http://tnwatchablewildlife.org/ebird.cfm

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Golden Eagle Research

http://www.tnwatchablewildlife.org/GoldenEagles.cfm

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

thanks Cville!
Look at all those goldfinches! I've had no luck keeping them happy here over winter; I only have house finches.
Despite the cold here, our snow got washed away by rain last weekend. Deep deep cold with no snow cover. well its good for peonies, they should bloom well this year.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Thanks, Sally. I haven't been feeding them as much this year because of the Cooper's Hawks. Makes me feel like I'm luring them to their deaths. Up until this polar vortex thing reached us here, there was ample food available in the yard and the woods. I don't know how the extreme cold affected them. I see numerous birds feeding in the Norway Spruce. I am assuming they are eating either seeds from the cones or small insects. The cold weather may have killed some of the insects so I hope the warm-up will provide lots of food again.

Yesterday there were three white geese frozen to the ice at the lake in downtown Nashville. The parks dept. said it was just part of nature and they couldn't do anything about it. People put up such a protest and finally called in a wildlife rescue organization who scooted across the frozen lake in a kayak and chipped away until the geese were free, then brought them to shore for inspection. All seemed to be okay, just a little exhausted and with a bunch of shaggy feathers. All's well that ends well, but I imagine both the parks dept. and the mayor will get an ear full today since all the stations were reporting it on the news last evening.


This message was edited Jan 10, 2014 3:54 AM

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Best case- it will allow them to point out OTHER ways people can care about the ducks like not feeding bread.

I tried some 'raw beef fat trimmings ' from the grocery. Only a few bird have pecked on it- I saw one titmouse working away. My pure suet cake has not had the usual visits from a downy- maybe the few that I have been hosting have moved or died. I've seen on occasion the downy, hairy and nuthatch, but the suet seems to be lasting very long . Even the blackbirds did not bother with the beef fat.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

I have a new peanut and suet cake I need to put out there. I've tried the tallow before as well. It seems the suet cakes are the most popular but the raccoon often makes off with it before it has all been consumed by the birds. I've had to retrieve the suet feeder from the other side of the fence more than once. A couple of times he couldn't get it through his hole under the fence and it was wedged there - so it was easy to snag. :)

Come to think of it, I haven't seen the Downy woodpecker I usually see or hear drilling away at the spruce tree. I was out briefly yesterday and heard two woodpeckers drumming somewhere close by.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Sally, I know this is a long shot, but I thought it's worth mentioning. I once bought suet cakes without checking the expiration date; when I got them home, I saw that they had passed it about 2 years prior!
I can't see what's eating the suet cakes in my yard. I've been meaning to move it to see if it's squirrels or birds.

Edited to add that I just tried to move it, but the ground is too frozen to move the post.
Fortunately, it'll be in the 50's by this weekend!




This message was edited Jan 9, 2014 3:14 PM

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I bought a batch of pure suet cakes last year, shared with a friend, and stored mine in my freezer till fall. The ones I out out last year went fast. But maybe I will not do that again, if this lack of interest keeps on.
The beef trimmings are fresh and temps have been refrigerator or deep freeze since then. But if it warms up again, I will get rid of them.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

That's a great idea to keep them in the freezer. I used to keep mine in the fridge, but I have been storing them at room temperature. I had totally forgotten about storing them in the fridge.
I don't see as many woodpeckers as I did last year, either. On most days, I only see one, a red-head that loves peanuts.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Cville, I am so glad to hear that people rescued those ducks. Shame on the Parks Department, and how smart for the rescue group to think of using kayaks!

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

I typed ducks instead of geese. They were white geese. Beautiful birds. They seem to be doing okay other than a little hypothermia. Now today the news said a city worker rescued them. It was sort of an apology for their initial callous response at the Parks Dept.

http://www.nashvillescene.com/pitw/archives/2014/01/09/stuck-ducks-rescued-from-frozen-lake-turn-out-to-be-geese

I can't find an expiry date on my suet cake. I suppose all of them don't have one? Same thing for the finch feeder. Hmmmm...


Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

How many millions of geese live around ice and DONT get stuck in it?? Kind of odd that they got stuck in the first place. I remember going to look at them anytime during winter, watching them walk on the ice, or plop into the spots of water.
Someone commented about the "embeciles" who don't know the difference between ducks and geese...and went on to complain about our poor educational system...hahaha

I heard somewhere that finches hate old seed. Mine seemed to abandon my thistle feeder, and I left it out there, later to find it all yucky and moldy. But you've got thoe finches all over your feeders, Cville, they must be OK.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Yes, very odd that they got stuck, I thought. It hasn't frozen like that around here in decades so maybe they have just become acclimated to their surroundings and don't know about things like frozen water. Well, maybe. I suppose it could happen.

lol. If they typed it "embecile" then they might be the ones who fit that description? :-D))) Not good to point fingers since a person has at least three pointing back at them.

I've had the same experience with finches abandoning thistle feeders. They do dislike old or wet seed. Smart little buggers, aren't they?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I guess if they were not really stuck, they would have moved when the man got close to them. Just odd. I could imagine people thinking they were stuck, only to find they were just sleeping there LOL

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Yes, they were really stuck tight. The fella in the kayak chipped away at the ice for quite awhile. One is still in goose rehab at the Walden's Puddle facility.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Maybe the geese fell asleep?
That's pretty low of the parks department to claim credit !

I see a lot less finches during the winter, and I see a lot more purple finches than goldfinches. I just checked the range maps in my bird books, and see that the purple finches have a greater winter range.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

That's quite possible. I hadn't thought about that, Muddy.

We have quite a few purple finches as well.

I just went outside for a little while to check on things after the freeze. Most things have thawed but not quite everything just yet. If we get the warm rain today, that should do it for sure.

The yard looks so barren right now. It's hard to believe that some parts of it will be quite crowded come summer.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Colony Collapse Disorder: “That's the beauty of the research,” he said. “Because we're still short on info, everything's worth knowing about.”

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/smithsonians-bee-man-delivers-some-advice-dealing-colony-collapse-disorder-180949384/#ixzz2qfUUSHQ9

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Very interesting! Thanks.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Immunity Soup (from Heidi Swanson's blog - 101 Cookbooks)
Treat the broth seasonally - if it's summer, toss some corn in. Late spring? Go for sliced asparagus. Also, for a more substantial meal, serve over brown rice or soba noodles. All tasty. Also, a mandolin makes quick work of all the slicing here, but watch those fingers! I like enoki or nameko mushrooms, black trumpets are good, and regular brown mushrooms do the job as well.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
8 medium garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grated ginger, peeled
3/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, trimmed
8 ounces firm tofu, sliced into thin slabs
2 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt

to serve: lots of chopped green onions, sliced watermelon radish, and/or pea shoots

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, and stir in the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and ginger. Gently sauté just until soft, you don't want any browning. Add a small splash of water if the pan drys out in the process. Stir in the white pepper and 10 cups of water. Dial up the heat to bring the broth to a simmer, and hold there for about 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms, tofu, and salt, and gently simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir well, taste, and adjust with more salt or water if needed. Ladle the soup into shallow soup bowls and top with lots of green onions, pea shoots, and a few watermelon radish slices. Add a finishing drizzle of olive oil, and enjoy!

Serves 4-6.

Prep time: 15 min - Cook time: 20 min

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the recipe; it sounds tasty!

I enjoyed the article about Colony Collapse Disorder, too. It reminded me of a dilemma I have regarding some Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Jessamine) vine cuttings that I had planned to plant in the spring. I recently learned that its nectar can wipe out entire bee colonies. Apparently non-native honey bees are the most affected.



Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

I used to grow Carolina Jessamine. I did not know that about the toxicity of that plant. Thanks for the info. There are always so many considerations when planting our yards and gardens, aren't there?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

oh yes, the more you learn, the more you can get intimidated!

I'm considering your flower garden quilt, Cville- did you make that? Very pretty.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Thanks, Sally. I didn't make it. My grandmother cut the pieces from material she had saved. Due to arthritis in her hands, she couldn't quilt and finish it so she had a family friend do that. I was a wedding gift. :)

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

possibly the most loved birds of winter in eastern half of the continent!

Coon Rapids, MN(Zone 4b)

Back to the conversation about finches. It's 20 below F this morning, and I have about a dozen goldfinches at my feeders. They don't seemed bothered by winter here.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Interesting! I haven't seen many goldfinches recently, and not a whole lot of purple finches either. I just got around to buying pure nyjer seed to replace the finch seed mix I was putting out, so maybe I'll get some more. The largest concentrations in my yard are juncos, cardinals, blue jays and doves.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

They do seem to be little stalwarts. Many birds in the big old Norway Spruce lately. There seems to be a lot for them to eat there. I've put out more seed mix and lots of corn so I get a good mix of birds although doves have been sparse. We usually have several pairs that show up but I've only seen one pair, maybe two. We have had more Cooper's Hawks this year and I know they hunt doves.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I know it's "nature", but I hate those hawks.
"My" 3 pairs of doves do most of their eating at dusk, perhaps in order to avoid the hawks. I'm doing the Cornell Lab bird watch this year, albeit much less diligently than last year, so I have been taking notes of how many of which types of birds appear and at what times of day.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

I'm not fond of them either. Little cannibals. I enjoy the doves so much. I wish the hawks would move somewhere else but they seem quite content where they are now.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Yes, they know where the "food" is! One of my bird books says help keep bird populations healthier by weeding out the sick and old birds, but I can't manage to feel at all grateful.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Me neither. :(

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Hi; there's little danger of my DH buying imported cut flowers for me on Valentine's day anyway, lol.

I was sort of (not really) thinking about just taking my millet and safflower birdseed and just planting my whole garden with them.

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