When we moved to a rural property, it was hard to resist the prospect of getting a bird feeder given the many species of feathered friends that stopped in for a layover.
While the process behind bird feeders may appear fairly straightforward (get bird feeder, fill with bird seed, birds eat food, watch, enjoy, repeat), who knew that being restaurateur to an avian clientele would present such a learning curve?
Upon arrival, we noticed that the previous owners left behind a hummingbird feeder on a shepherd’s hook in the garden. We thought that was a good starting point.
Upon closer inspection, the feeder needed a thorough cleaning, so I brought it in the house, let it sit in hot water for a while and then started scrubbing.
I googled “hummingbird feeder” to see what was recommended in terms of the liquid to put in it. To my great surprise, it was a simple solution of 1 part sugar dissolved in 4 parts water. I was quite thrilled that it would be this easy to get started, as I had never seen a hummingbird up close before.
However, when I poured the “nectar” into the feeder, I discovered that the old feeder was due for replacing as the liquid dribbled out all over the place.
On our next trip to Canadian Tire, we picked up a new hummingbird feeder to replace the old one, as well as a basic bird feeder and a bag of bird seed designed to attract smaller songbirds. The larger birds would have to fend for themselves for now, but I knew that they wouldn’t go hungry as they seemed quite content with the berries on some of our small fruit trees. Continue reading
Once we settled into our home the country, there has been no shortage of interesting discoveries when it came to the flora and fauna in the neighbourhood.
In winter, I find endless wonder and fascination in checking out the animal tracks in the snow in every corner of our property.
When I do, it turns into a bit of a CSI-style forensic game of “name those tracks”. While we have a number of regular visitors that make the short list of suspects, there are a few that stop by make one or two guest appearances, just to make the game more interesting.
Sometimes, the game is a bit of a throwback to primary school science classes when we learned about the wildlife that roams in this part of the country. I remember countless hours memorizing their unique characteristics, including the tracks that they leave behind.
The bird tracks are easy to pick out, as are those of our squirrels and chipmunks who must be suffering from insomnia this year as they aren’t really showing signs of hibernation. Their tracks are everywhere!
But there is evidence of other small animals that seem to visit us given the size of the tracks. I assume that they must be nocturnal critters, given how a morning stroll often yields new tracks to observe. Continue reading
Filed under home, stories
On my last day off, I couldn’t have asked for a better day weather-wise. The sun was shining, the sky was a stunning shade of blue, there was a gentle breeze and the temperature was a picture-perfect 20 degrees Celsius.
When deciding how I was going to spend this precious day off, I knew that grabbing the camera and spending an hour or so around a nearby creek was at the top of my list.
Upon my arrival, it took less than five minutes to get completely absorbed into the creative bubble of this enchanted forest, focused on a world of tiny subjects in their intricate detail.
Thoughts of the real world had completely suspended. It was like I had jumped into vacation mode, yet was still just minutes from my house.
On this quiet morning, I appreciated the peace and solitude of the moment, even though I was surrounded by many species of wildlife pursuing their business of the day. I marveled at the soothing effect of just being there, bearing witness to nature’s gentle pace.
I noticed that my usually hurried steps gradually slowed down as if to not disturb nature’s ebb and flow. My breathing slowed as well, as a calming effect took over.
I scanned through the tall grasses and plants surrounding me, looking for my next subject. My senses were fully tuned in, trying to spot those moments that we miss while rushing from commitment to commitment.
Thoughts of my to-do list drifted away as I followed a monarch butterfly floating from plant to plant, posing and preening in the sunshine as if to say “Take my picture, take my picture!” I happily obliged and then thanked her for the opportunity. Continue reading