Friday, December 26, 2008

Winter Work

Friday, December 26, 2008

Morning marches on here as the early red sky that reminded of bad weather has cleared to brighter sunlight making shadows form through the balsam woods. It's an unusual morning here and the birds and squirrels know of an impending storm. The blue jays number 11 on the platform feeder and they only leave their breakfast meal when myriads of evening grosbeaks gang up on them and cover the feeder and the ground. Blue jays are fascinating birds as they pack 23-24-25-26 sunflower seeds in their crop before flying away. That gives the other birds time to clean up all the seeds they have scattered about wastefully.

Black oil sunflower is the seed we have always used here. Grey stripe was my preferred seed for years but it became more and more expensive and then less available. Black oil now costs slightly more than $20 for 50 pounds. I use coarse cracked corn too which is rising to almost $9 for 50 pounds. The ground feeders like that and it seems to make the sunflower go further.

I have a pile of boards left over from summer construction of our new building. These will give plenty of opportunity for new bird houses. I prefer to recycle old boards like I did with the triple decker house above. The decorative boards on top of each entry hole were actually shingles from an old camp on the Lanesboro Road. The shingles were cut the way you see and I simply cut off the bottom and nailed them on.

As stormy days approach, making bird houses is a great project for kids or adults. A study of the birds in your area and their housing requirements is a good place to start. Be sure to read up on where your favorite birds live as a nice new house in the wrong place won't do too much for you.

Have to get going here. Need more wood for the fire and I have to shovel to the back shed. I'm still trying to find one 20 foot piece of tow chain to have ready if the rain storm that is coming turns icy again.

Best holiday wishes!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm


Scott said...

How are the acorns up your way? The situation is pretty dire in PA and I have heard reported elsewhere in the North East. We have resorted to leaving out peanuts with our bird seed to tempt away the squirrels, while keeping everyone fed.

George Africa said...

Hello Scott;

Same situation here this year. I feel that most trees go in cycles and this is an off year. I noticed this fall when visiting in New Hampshire and Maine along the coast that the acorns were hard to find. Sometimes it has to do with how much rain comes prior to seed set. Two years ago there were so many maple seeds that I spent all last year pulling them out of everything--gardens, walkways, potted plants at the nursery, etc.