Saturday, December 15, 2007

Counting Birds, Counting Days

Saturday, December 15, 2007

3.8 degrees below zero here on the mountain. The wind stopped some time after 2 AM, the clouds cleared and the stars came out. It's quiet and motionless out there but we are beginning to shake off sleep and get going here at Vermont Flower Farm. 5:30 in the morning gives gardeners a time to think through the day.

Holiday time is a busy time for everyone and I want to get a list out in the next day or so for last minute shoppers. You can call Gail at 802-426-3505 or email her at and she will help with a gift certificate if you're having trouble with your list. We've never seen a gardener leave here who wasn't happy to have had one for a gift.

What I want to remind folks however, is that today is the Plainfield Christmas Bird Count. You can find out about participating at the North Branch Nature Center site. If you have an interest in birds, spend a little time at this site as there is some interesting information there. I especially like the information about what birds have been spotted at the Center and what birds have been confirmed by Vermont county. We live in Washington County so you can get an idea from that link of what I see around here. North Branch is a great organization that kind of picked up after a previous Vermont Institute of Natural Science satellite site.

Birds and gardeners go together because they spend a lot of time outside together and they have an informal but important link. I have a platform feeder outside my office window so I can enjoy a flowing movie of birds and bird antics on a daily basis. I have to say that this is a challenge as you'll understand when you see the list of birds that live in Washington County. I am not good yet but I'm getting better each year with identification skills.

Downey Woodpeckers have been hammering away at the feeders for days now but the vireos, the warblers and the flycatchers have me baffled most of the time and I need to spend some hours with a skilled birder to figure these out. There are a variety of good books out there but some good binoculars or a spotting scope and a few hours with an experienced person and you can see things you only ever heard.

I have to get going here as a nor'easter is approaching for tomorrow and there is much to do to get ready. Participate in the bird count today if you can or locate a similar event between now and spring. And above else, slow down a little. There's plenty to do at holiday time but safety and consideration for others are good gifts for all.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the town plow just backed up the hill making very strange noises that are loud, unknown and bad sounding. I need to see if I can lend assistance. Everyone doesn't have two good days in a row.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener for gift certificate ideas

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