Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter Bird Action

I've done a better job of maintaining bird feeders and baths this winter, much to the delight of my 2 new feline ornithologists. And as a result there are lots of birds to watch everyday, Bushtits, Goldfinches, Downy Woodpeckers and lots of Chickadees.

Lately there have been flocks of Dark Eyed Juncos foraging in the front and backyard. I'm very happy to see them, since they feed on the ground and I see them eating seeds from the clover that has taken over many of my paths and planting areas.

I know it's my own fault, because when I weed this clover it shoots seeds everywhere, so I feel like I'm doing more harm than good. I'm not just trying to justify not weeding. So I am happy to see the juncos disposing of the seeds for these evil weeds and enjoying a snack at the same time. Just another example of good delegating.

PS Cats are kept indoors while ground foragers are in the yard.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Winter Roses

Well, it's not really a rose, or even a flower. But something this beautiful in the garden is such a treat during the cold, damp, dark days of Oregon winter. These are Raddichio, planted last spring. These plants actually benefit from the colder temps. It enhances their color and makes them a little sweeter, not so bitter.

Cabbages also seem to be doing fine. I may need to bait for slugs pretty soon and I'm sure all the plants would benefit from a little fertilizer treat.

The Celery has made a valiant comeback since the freeze, and should be great into the spring and summer. Current edibles include Beets, Turnips, Kale, some of the hardier Lettuce, I think it is Miner's Lettuce, chives, which have just started to sprout, and Oregano, as always.

Although I have friends who are sure that spring is just around the corner because they saw a robin or because they took down their Christmas tree, I am not ready to get out the shorts and flip flops yet. I haven't seen any daffodils.

We still have most of January, all of February, March and April, the cruelest month, according to T.S. Eliot . “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”

Which reminds me, we aren't that far away from the arrival of lilac, with it's gorgeous fragrance.

Winter Jasmine and Forsythia are sporting their tiny yellow flowers. Columbine has started to send up exploratory shoots, and the tulips and Narcissus I planted last fall have sprouted. So even though I'm not ready to set myself up for the disappointment of yearning for spring in the middle of winter, I have begun to see signs that it may arrive eventually.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Got Punk'd

...by my own chickens.

At some point this morning I became aware of a lack of squawking coming from the chicken coop. Usually they wake up eat a little chicken chow and start asking to be let out into the larger, open run. But this morning they were silent, ominously silent. I immediately imagined some awful carnage had taken place and it must be because of negligence on my part.

I approached cautiously and strained to hear any sounds coming from the coop. Nothing. I checked the latches and doors to see if any breach was visible. All appeared to be in order, but still no sounds.

Filled with dread at what I might find inside, I slipped the latch and slowly pulled the front door open, ready to fend off a sated raccoon if necessary.

And what did I find inside the coop? 1 warm egg and 3 calm, intact hens, with expressions on their faces as if to say "what?, we're just hanging out in the coop, why are you freaking out?" I think I saw one of them elbow the other and roll her eyes.

So I let them out, treated them to an extra big serving of cracked corn, as a way of acknowledging their brilliant prank. Pure genius, cunningly conceived and flawlessly executed. As good as The Sting.