Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cursing Nemo

While Nemo's long gone this Sunday morning, the clean up has just begun, including my yard.  The photo above was taken Friday evening when the winds started picking up.  I'd hear those winds and wonder about the birds who were at my feeder, just a few short hours before and try and picture how hard it would be to roost in such conditions leaving me feeling depressed.  I'd finally fall into an uneasy sleep and wake up Saturday morning reminding myself I could sleep late, but didn't as I thought of those birds again so  woke up to watch the sun rise and survey the damage around the feeding station.

It wouldn't take long for me to realize cleaning up and filling the station was rather pointless as the side swept snow whipped around the yards so I resorted to throwing a cup of wild bird seed out the window only to see it get buried underneath all that powdery snow,  I'd remain optimistic as I remembered my treat dough I made for the birds the evening prior which consisted of chunky peanut butter, corn meal and wild bird seed.  Out it would come from the freezer where I'd shape it into cute little hearts which I found appropriate.  Busy in the task I'd have this Norman Rockwellesque vision going on in my mind as I'd go outside with my pretty treats,  tiny birds would be perched on the nearby branches but once they saw the little hearts they'd chatter in eager anticipation and I'd smile at them, lay them gently near my platform feeder where the birds would inhale them and I'd have a sense of peace knowing they got a good amount of fat, protein and both simple and complex carbs to help them with the unforgiving day.

I'd bundle myself up to head outside and couldn't open the door as the snow had it barricaded in.  I'd go to the front door and realize it too had suffered the same fate, so had to resort to plan B until my youngest son could make it home to get me out of the house!  Plan B would be to throw the bird food out the window without it getting sunk into the snow so ingenious thinking was in order here!  I'd grab a big piece of cardboard from my recycle bin and lay the treats on it. I'd arrange them all in one section as I didn't want the birds to land in the midst of them as peanut butter is sticky and I didn't want them to get their feet stuck of course!  I'd admire my smart idea and then stand on my heater, open the top part to my window and throw it out thinking it would land perfectly in the snow.

Like most of my ideas this one wouldn't go as planned as the peanut butter slid even more to the side of the cardboard which caused it to nose drive to the ground.  F*#&, I'd yell.  I'd stare out the window at all the birds who'd be fighting at the feeders and resign myself to the fact there wasn't much else I could do at this point.

I don't think I've ever seen a more miserable looking Mourning Dove than the one to the right.

One of my many Northern Cardinals.  I had filled up this platform feeder with tons of seed Friday morning thinking it would be sheltered from the snow but the snow drifts took care of that.

Poor thing!

Garden chair and a Dark-eyed Junco.

White-throated Sparrow.  So looking forward to hearing its springtime song a little later in the winter and early spring before heading North.

Birds making due which just goes to prove I over worry and analyze just about everything in life.

A Song Sparrow who just found my treats!  Yay!  Birds would continue to fight over the small amounts of seed they could get to so it was time for me to put on my thinking cap to get more food out there from the house.  I'd grab a couple of clementine boxes, line it with some Trader Joe's paper bags, put seed in it and drop it from the window hoping for better luck this time around!

Success!!  Woot!!

My first taker!

Pitter Patter, Pitter Patter.  Swoon, this is why I feed the birds.  This storm reminds us humans we can be powerless over nature sometimes, so it felt good knowing I could do something despite not being able to get out of the house!

Tufted Titmouse thanking me for his freeze dried mealworms.  Will be buying them at a chicken feed company in bulk next year as they just marked up the price on them so bought my last bag this past week and will only go out when there's snow or frigid weather.

White-breasted Nuthatch

The many American Goldfinches.

Box drop number two, this time for my larger birds with the Blue Jays in particular who must have slept late as I didn't hear them until close to 10 in the morning!

Getting ready to steal a peanut!

So in the end, the birds were fed so I was happy but stir crazy.  I'd be restless the remainder of the day as I puttered around the house hoping the Gov would lift the travel ban soon so I could get out of my house!  Thoughts of jumping out a window with a shovel sounded appealing  but knew I'd be jumping into a snow drift most likely the size of me so common sense prevailed.

The cleanup was still underway including the snow plow guy coming to clean out my neighbor.  I'd be so bored I'd watch and it wouldn't take long for the poor guy to get stuck!

So of course out comes my camera for some video of this live action Nemo aftermath storm cleanup!  After a few minutes of this rocking back and forth the guy realizes he's stuck pretty good.  My neighbor is watching from the porch and wants to help the poor snow plow guy but can't as he's snowed in as well so the poor snow plow guy goes to help.

And does so by getting his snow blower from the back of the truck and going to talk to the neighbor.

The snow plow driving is cursing Nemo something fierce at this point as he makes a pointless attempt in shoveling himself out.

Which doesn't work of course!!  Yes I'm giggling as I realize how appropriate the song is!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Let it Snow-Let it Snow-Let it Snow-Um.....No

I'd join the thousands of fellow New Englanders today and decide to take the day off  instead of battling traffic to get to and from work.  As the day progressed I'd be happy with my decision, not only due to road conditions but bird activity which was the heaviest I've seen it all year including a bonus visit from a Cooper's  since the food was a plenty!!  Not sure if the coops ever scored a meal, but the small birds scattered before I even saw it land on the tree so I'm guessing no.

The most numerous birds continue to be the Northern Cardinals, American Goldfinches and yes the House Sparrows which I don't mind as much as they bring with them a bunch of American Tree Sparrows and I'd have 10 of them at my feeders this afternoon which was nice.

Looking as disgusted with the snow as many of us are!  I use the temporary chicken wire fence only during winter feeding for the birds to give them protection from the neighbors cats which has worked well in the three years I've been doing it.  It also gives the birds nice resting spots of perching as they contemplate the day.

The one above is my favorite as I watched it for a good 10 minutes where it attempted to eas thistle from the tube feeder as well as suet which it really seemed to enjoy.

I'd put out thistle feeder number two last evening in anticipation of the storm and both the goldfinches and I were happy with that decision as there was room for all and a temporary end to the goldfinch fighting!  I keep my eyes on there birds in hopes to see them turn brighter which is one of my first signs and hopes of spring.

Northern Cardinal "Walking like an Egyptian".

The cardinals are also starting to come in pairs which gives me hope the snow will soon be gone and gone for the rest of the season!

Yes I'm taking a picture of you.  The least you can do is pose considering how much $ I spend to feed you and the fact I will be out there tomorrow morning shoveling 2 feet of snow to make a path to keep you nourished!

Black-capped Chickadee eating the freeze dried meal worms as if they were valentines candy.  Yum!

The highlight of my day but would be lying if I said I didn't dread getting out there in the morning to shovel a path and clear off the feeders.  I will be doing it though as I know how dependent these birds are on human handouts with weather like this.

And besides that birding has been close to null the past couple of weeks as I'd be housebound all last weekend.  My wisdom tooth decided to come in a little more which caused me to spike a fever which caused me another shingles outbreak.  This happened the same time last year so my Dr wanted me to pay him a visit for some tests.  He doesn't think it's anything too earth shattering but agrees with me that's it's bizarre that I'd have problems with my wisdom teeth (a problem most people under 25 have) coupled with shingles (a problem most people over 55 have), but then hey, I'm pretty unique!  ;-)  It's given me plenty of time to perfect my bread which gets better each loaf.

One from today as I watched the birds.  Didn't come out as well as it should have and I'm guessing it's because I steam baked it for 10 minutes and baked the bread in cast iron and the two don't mix.  Who would have thought baking bread would be as scientific as it's turned out to be.

But my handsdown favorite flour concoction of the month is my pie crust.  Pardon how primitive it looks but it's still a work in progress for me.  While it looks sloppy I have to say it was the best pie crust I ever had and owe it to the fact I used two sticks of butter and 1/4 cup coconut oil.  The coconut oil gave it an incredible flavor and was so good I could have just eaten the crust and nothing else.

With that said, I've been feeling better the past couple of days and the shingles are starting to dry out so hoping that's the last of it for the year as I'm getting some serious cabin fever and it's still only the beginning of February.

Take care all.


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