Finches have Found the New Feeders

Goldfinch
I made a few bottle feeders after seeing them over at Rebecca’s Bird Gardens. Amazon sells the small plastic Gadjit base and Lowes (and other hardware stores) sells the #6 copper wire I used. Rebecca’s uses #8 – but it’s even thicker and I would never have been able to bend it, luckily I’m a fan of the #6 look.

Feeder-1

People also use the feeder bases with plastic soda bottles (great kid’s project). If you go that route, the added benefit is you just toss the bottle when it gets dirty and put the feeder base on a new one. It comes with a hook you can attach to plastic bottles. They fit almost all glass screw top bottles as well – just not wine bottles as those are a wee tad bigger. I bought a few Perrier in glass just for the bottle ☺. Black sunflower seed or niger attracts the smaller birds. I’d planned to hang some charms/beads on the front to brighten them up and so that the birds would find it easily. Now that they’re found the green, I don‘t have to worry – they’ll recognize it moving forward. Was a tad concerned when I first hung it up as they took awhile to discover it. Now, they play musical chairs with various birds rousting others to get a spot on the base. Thinking that glass paint might be fun to play with on the next one. For both the charms and paint I’m holding off a bit to see how dirty they get. Birds tend to poop all over whatever they’re hanging out near, so if the feeders get covered, I’ll leave them plain glass for simplest cleaning.

Lesser Goldfinch b-1

Rebecca has found blue and red glass bottles that I’m lusting after. I’ve searched my local stores and not found anything in those color bottles. If anyone knows what you can you buy in them – please let me know in comments.

American Goldfinch-1

I’m still no bird expert – but I think I have both the Lesser Goldfinch and American Goldfinch hanging out here. The Lesser has the headcap all black (with that black eye with no white around it) and the American more of a black mask.

Lesser Goldfinch-1

This post is participating in Unknown Mami’s Sundays in My City.

Hummingbirds are Hanging Out

Green neck 3

Still on my hummingbird kick. They’re starting to let me get closer. I *think* this is a Rufous. The neck can look brown when the sun doesn’t catch the feathers. Oh, and I’m finally playing with watermark PRO. Thumbs up at this point, very easy to use.

Rufous Easter Yellow 2

This is a Rufous – when the sun hits the male, his iridescent-red throat shimmers.

Rufous Easter

A whole cluster of the migrating Rufous are doing their best to own all of the feeders.

Green neck 2

Not sure what’s up with the green shimmering, green is not mentioned on the sites I use, which is why I’m not sure if the top photo is a Rufous (Cornell University’s All About Birds).

Hand Feeder-1

Been training them to eat from a handheld feeder – they don’t always wait for me. So far, Anna’s are the only ones who’ll use the handheld when I’m holding it. The migrating ones are a bit more skittish (of me, they’re not at all shy about attacking the Anna’s). I’d seen this one, Birds and Blooms handheld hummingbird feeder how to, and immediately ordered some glass test tubes on eBay and replacement glass flower feeder tubes. Having fun with it.

Anna's Easter Blue 2

The Anna’s do manage to get to the feeders. The just aren’t allowed to camp out as long.

Anna lg

Saved the best shot for last. Don’t you just love those itsy feet hanging on to the edge of the glass flower? 

Check out the other photos people are sharing over at Unknown Mami’s Sundays in My City.

Feisty!

Rufous

Rufous Hummingbird

I’m not a bird watcher by any means, but where I can, I do try to figure out who the visitors are in my neck of the woods. With our severe California drought, gardening for wildlife and putting out food and water can make a difference. I rely on the info from Cornell Ornithornology’s All About Birds easy website.  For instance, if I want to attract, feed or figure how to help out our local goldfinches or western bluebirds – I can put that into search and all kinds of wonderful info (including sounds, birds that look similar, favorite foods, nesting habits and a range map) comes up.

Rufous b

This also tells me that the current bully at the feeders, the Rufous hummingbird, is “The feistiest hummingbird in North America. The brilliant orange male and the green-and-orange female Rufous Hummingbird are relentless attackers at flowers and feeders, going after (if not always defeating) even the large hummingbirds”.  And, it lets me know that they are migrating (if only I could tell my poor harassed Anna’s that these transients should soon be gone, they just need to hang in there!). I’m enjoying the Rufous as I do only get to see them for awhile each year and, so far, the Anna’s are holding their own.

Anna close female

Anna’s Hummingbird female

Anna close

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna flight

Anna’s Hummingbird male

Feeder

Feeder Quarrels

With my Master Gardener hat, I’ve been sharing a great deal about birds and butterflies on our Facebook page. I’ll see if I can’t make some time to create a few posts on the topic and share them here.

Early Spring

Just sharing a few shots from (too) warm California. Sadly, the National Drought Summary lists my county in Extreme Drought Conditions (the worst that can be assigned). The occasional sprinkle makes us forget that we’re not out of the woods and the warmth, ah the warmth: “the precipitation fell mostly as rain instead of snow, so the mountain snowpack in the coastal ranges remained dismally below norma … mid-February snowpack snow water content ranked in the lowest 5 percent of the historical record at many stations throughout Washington, Oregon, California, and Utah ..Persistent well-above-normal temperatures continued to melt the snowpack ..” The snowpack is where we’re supposed to get water from as the year goes on. For nerds like me – this map is updated weekly: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CA

Texas Hummingbird Sage

But, this warmth – with slight drizzles – is keeping plants like my Texas hummingbird sage – that should be an annual here and have fed the compost pile – alive and well. The curled leaf is even a tropical Canna – green! Remember, I live in the mountains, egads.

Verbena

My little potted verbena on the front landing (pots= one zone colder usually without the insulation of the earth, front landing has NO cover) has also not stopped blooming at all since fall – I love it, but it’s scary.

Petunia

For folks who know plants, can you say Petunia in the mountains in February? (ok, so it’s March 1st, but the photo was February) Granted, not the best shot, this one is velvety purple and I’ve never figured out how to get the color right in shots – the color is close so I don’t care that my fescue blue grass  is popping in.

Daffodil 1 Daffodil 2

The daffodils are a bit more in keeping with the season although the local Ironstone Vineyard that plants them EVERYWHERE usually advertises the bloom at our St Patricks event 3rd weekend of March, so we’re a tad early here as well.

California feeds the nation – so everyone head out and do a rain dance for us, with a special number for whoever you consider the Queen of Frosts!

Stop in and say at over at Unknown Mami’s Sundays in My City.

Playing in Embroidery

Zuill Badbird

Had some fun playing with my TruEmbroidery digitizing software to create my own (single use not for sale) design of a Badbird hand embroidery pattern (legally obtained, sorry for all the quid pro quos but many folks think they can grab an image from the web that doesn’t belong to them and digitize it – no no!). Andrea Zuill has fun original images and sells her imagery on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/badbird (I’ve told her she should get someone – not me – to digitize her stuff so she could sell her images as embroidery designs – I’m sure they’d sell like hotcakes).

I started in auto create and cleaned it up – and just for me it was easier to stitch and trim than correct the myriad of trim and overlapping jumps the program auto digitized into it. A good digitizer who is selling designs would work in the program to clean it all up for you. But, it’s faster to have a scissors and tweezer in hand then to completely fix it if you’re only stitching something once or twice. I love that it is rough with texture, tried some other line designs and set everything to the same stitch – they’re nice with a flatter look (if you’re using crayons or fabric painting – that can be a good thing).

Checkbook front

For the checkbook cover, I edited (again my personal use copy) a Five Star Fonts checkbook design. And, again, rough looking ok – I’d just edited < cut > the stipple design where I didn’t want it but could have flipped it to have rounded closed edges at the center of the design and the edges with simply stopped lines off the design and therefor hidden in seams. Will do that if I’m tackling something neat. Really pleased with both. :-)

 

UC Master Gardener Conference Marketplace

Dig Plants

The Master Gardener statewide conference has a Marketplace where counties can sell to fundraise for their group and its projects. My group was pretty busy when the sign-ups came out, so I volunteered to “just do it” and make all items plus run a table (yes, I am a bit nuts). It’s been a few months of nose to the sewing machine when I’m not working.

Embroidered Avant Gardener apron

I’m posting this a tad backwards – this week I’ll have more detailed posts on making the items – but my Sundays in My City friends will appreciate simply seeing the end results and being spared all the bloody details.

Turquoise Crazy mug rug

I’d been stitching up mug mats / mouse pads with a garden theme …

Black and white canvas Cafe Apron

Cafe aprons that are great for farmer’s markets and plant sales with their nice deep pockets …

Black and white cafe apron

Binding their pockets ..

mg beginning to look organized

Crafting earrings and ornaments from machine stitched lace and tatting plus beads, then carefully packaging..

MG FSL Lace Ornaments

and stitching more ornaments (the off-kilter loops were fixed) ..

MG fall fruits apron lined pocket

Lining apron pockets and matching designs ..

Embroidered Tree Hugger Bag

Of course, stitching only my favorite designs (so having a green tote/grocery bag for me with this one!) ..

MG Buttons on floral cotton apron

Adding buttons to hide where the ties connect to the apron …

Machine embroidered cupcake mug rugs

Creating more mug rugs for a cupcake theme silent auction basket ..

mg cupcake apron

And finishing pot holder and stitched matching towel to adorn the cupcake apron in that silent auction basket ..

mg I dig plants embroidered apron

Finishing the canvas aprons (oops, did trim that thread after the photo) …

mg Embroidered Avant Gardener tote

Finishing the canvas totes, getting everything packed and to the conference …

MG Marketplace table Front

Making signs, snapping a few pics mid set-up ..

MG Reception at Tenaya

And then mustering the energy to enjoy our wonderful reception with my fellow Master Gardeners at the Tenaya Lodge ..

UC Master Gardener Conference Yosemite

Joining 650 other California Master Gardeners for informative sessions over 3 days..

Heims at UC Master Gardener Conference

And make it all the way to the closing Horticultural Humor presentation, plus demanding drive home through circuitous mountain roads. Believe it or not, I am happy I did it. Haven’t challenged myself craft wise other than the annual mad Christmas push. Raised oodles and oodles of money for my group – a lot of their funding goes to the school gardens they run across our county. And, finally – best of all- I had a fantastic time at the conference itself.

Be sure to stop by Sundays in My City to see what kinds of things that global group spend their time doing.

Sunset Hues

Sunset AA
Welcomed cloud cover has dropped the temps a few degrees, which is always a relief in our dry mountain summers. Of course, Murphy’s Law was in play– friends were scheduled to visit last weekend, but with the temperature targeted to easily pass triple digits plus for last Friday and Saturday, we all agreed another weekend would be better for puttering about shops and tasting wine. Work week and no guests scheduled, the clouds have exuberantly rolled in providing spectacular sunsets.
Sunset BB
Enjoy! The glow of sunset always feels as though the universe is trying to break through and say hello – I love it.
Sunset dd
Be sure to stop by Unknown Mami’s Sundays in My City to see what others are sharing from their neck of the woods.