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Today I got to watch/photograph a baby Hummingbird learn how to feed from a feeder. It was one of the coolest nature bits I have seen this spring!!
My Mother-In-Law had mentioned that she thought she may have seen a baby hummingbird yesterday feeding from her feeder and a male Rufous hummingbird guarding it and running off other hummingbirds that tried to get at it. She said that the little hummingbird was colored just like the female Rufous Hummingbird, but was noticeably smaller. She also said that it was as if the hummingbird was kind of "dopey" like baby birds seem to be when they first get out of the nest. I told her I didn't know if male hummingbirds played any roll in raising the young hummingbirds, but that it could have been the case.
So, today I was lucky enough to be sitting at my Mother-In-Laws patio listening to the hummingbirds "cheep-squawking" (I mean how do you describe the sounds those little things make when they're squabbling over feeders?) when I saw a tiny little hummingbird colored like a female Rufous Hummingbird land on the feeder. I remembered how my Mother-In-Law had said the day before how she had thought she saw a baby hummingbird and I figured that had to be the one she was talking about. After a second or two a male hummingbird ("The Guardian") came and landed on the other side of the feeder. He sat there drinking out of the feeder and keeping an eye out for other male hummers that would try to run off the baby. The baby hummingbird just sat there sitting on the feeder. After another few seconds, the male flew over to the same side the baby was on and showed it how to feed out of the feeder. Unfortunately that was cut short by a rival male hummer zooming in, so "The Guardian" male hummingbird flew off chasing it away. The baby hummingbird stuck around for me to take some more pictures, but was run off in the end as well.
I don't know if I am "allowed" to link to facebook or not, but I will include the facebook link to my Hummingbirds 2009 Photo Album. In that photo album there is the whole series of hummingbird pictures that I took today.
If that is not "allowed" I am going to include a picture or two below as well.
Above: The dominant Male Rufous Hummingbird. He tends to sit on top of that hook and keep a look out. This picture captured his landing. He is a larger male compared to most we've seen visit the feeders.
Above: The smaller Male Rufous Hummingbird and the baby hummingbird he brought with him. You can see how the little one (the baby) on the right seems to just look "dopey".
Above: You can see the Male Rufous hummingbird "The Guardian" showing the baby how to use the hummingbird feeder. The baby is holding it's head towards the male with it's beak open waiting for food rather than watching "The Guardian" hummingbird's lesson on how to use the hummingbird feeder. This makes me more certain that this is indeed a baby and father hummingbird.
Above: "The Guardian" hummingbird in mid flight. I can tell it's him because he has either messy/damaged feathers on his neck or he has a small growth causing his feathers to stick out a bit on his left side (the picture's right side).
I was so thrilled to take these pictures knowing that I was going to get to share them! What an awesome sight! I need to find out if this is normal for a male hummingbird to play such an important roll in the raising of their young. I will have to do that tomorrow (it's 12:30 a.m).
Gardening Bits -
I was VERY productive in my garden today, but I crammed all the action into a period of about 2-3 hours - I am so sore!! I am so happy with my changes that I made since yesterdays post. I wrote yesterday about how antsy and irritated I was with the way my garden has ended up over the years. With certain plants in places I don't necessarily want them to be anymore, and plants that don't do well in other spots. Soooo.......
Today I took a shovel to my garden!
I am happy with the way it is going so far....
I dug out and moved:
~ 2 Day Lily bundles
~ 1 Lavender
~ 1 small Columbine bit
~ 3 Iris bulbs
~ 1 group of Tulip bulbs
I re-planted the Lavender, Columbine bit, Day Lilly bundles (split one little piece off as an experiment), Iris Bulbs. I split the Tulip bulbs into various places in my garden to make more "spring" flower areas. Once the other sed of Tulip bulbs flowers I will do the same.
I planted some Black Eyed Susan's in my stump planters (I have 3 stump planters total). Earlier in the spring I planted the rest of my chives I had from last year, and some sweet pea seeds. The chives are doing well (although not very full bunches yet, but I hope they will over the years). There are 3-4 sweet peas coming up in two of the stump planters, and what seems to be quite a bit of sunflowers coming up in one of the stump planters (from last years seed I flaked into the soil this spring).
I also hauled 2 wheel-barrow loads full of more horse manure to add to my soil in the various areas that desperately need amendments. It was fast and furious digging, hauling and dumping (I was doing all this while Hannah was taking a nap).
While I was over there by the manure pile, I remembered that there were tons of wild roses in that area and decided today was a good day to dig some up. I dug between 6-8 wild rose roots/clumps to transplant. I have decided to fill in the whole back area with them this year. In the past I had only one layer of them, but it just isn't thick enough (well, not to my liking). I amended the soil with horse manure and mixed in some pine needles to help lighten the clay soil. While I planted the roses, Hannah filled a bucket full of water so I could water in the transplants. She's such a helpful little girl (well.....sometimes....LOL!).
I will post some pictures of my re-vamped garden in the next few days. I still have a ton of work to do, but feel good about the progress I made today in the 2-3 hours I was out there speed gardening.
I hope you have enjoyed my pictures as much as I enjoyed seeing that wonderful hummingbird sighting!!
Have a great week and Happy Gardening!!
P.S. - I forgot to mention that I received 2 huge bundles of Daisies today. I will take pictures of them tomorrow to show a before and after pictures of when/how I "DIVIDE" them and where I plant them. Speaking of "DIVIDING", a BIG thank you to my friends for reminding me of the word I couldn't quite put my thumb on last night - DIVIDE! THANKS.... LOL!!
**I wrote this entry yesterday, but since my internet wasn't working due to the storm, I am posting it today.**
It rained on and off today. It wasn’t quite a rain, but more like overcast misting and plenty of dripping off the eves. It continued like that until about 4p.m. and then the rain really started coming down. After about half an hour we began getting heavy cloud cover and then the thunder started!!
Hannah doesn’t mind the thunder, but when she’s not expecting it, she jumps a bit and then runs closer to me until she realizes it’s just thunder. It’s cute. We ended up with some thunder and lightning for about 45 minutes which was kind of nice to hear and watch. It’s good when the lightning is paired with the rain in case the lightning does hit and start a fire. The dry lightning is what scares me like crazy in the summer months! I have gotten way worse with worry since having Hannah. Lots of things scare and worry me now that she’s in my life.
Of course I didn’t’ go out and do anything in my garden today, I just sat back and appreciated the rain. It’s a part of spring that just has to happen, and my flowers need it so it’s okay by me.
After I post this I am going to browse through my garden book and see which seeds I should get into the ground first, which ones I still need to start inside and when, and the little extra bits of info about my various seeds.
I need to make a plan as well for my continued soil amendments. I know I need to get some more wheel-barrow loads of composted horse manure since it has a really great broken down texture to it. Another thing I have been doing is collecting any leaves , degrading bark, and dried up grass that I find around my garden area and then adding it to my two areas that I have all dug up. I found an area that had tons of worms in it and figured it must have been full of good things if the worms were there so I collected it in a bucket and will dump it all into those same dug up areas. I’m making a mini-composting dirt holes where I have dug up and removed some of the clay soil while adding lots of other good things to the soil. Then I will either leave it there as is, or I will use it in other places in my garden that need help. We’ll have to see what I end up doing in the end. My plans are always changing!
I also plan on moving those two Day Lily bunches from the area that I want only the wild roses in. I have no idea where exactly I want them to go, but they shouldn’t be in and amongst the prickly roses. It’s very hard reaching over all those prickles…haha. I have had second thoughts about planting all the wild roses around Hannah, but if she learns to stay away from that area it won’t be too bad. It’s up and kind of out of the way, so I don’t think it will cause any problems. It’s just when I am up there fiddling with my flowers (ie. The Day Lilies and others that I will be moving) that she comes up there and is exposed to the wrath of the thorns. She just doesn’t understand yet that they are incredibly pokey and that she will be hurt big time if she grabs or brushes up on them.
My layout plans for the “Leveling Project” have changed yet again. It all started when I ran into a really good sized boulder while digging out one of the areas that I had though of possibly planting all those evergreen bushes that I was digging out while I leveled the area. I was digging up so many and salvaged quite a few (ones with lots of roots attached, or ones with a whole root ball and soil) which I just placed in Hannah’s project garden wagon for temporary (so they would stay in the shade and would keep moist to help with the transplanting). I have transplanted one so well have to see if it stays alive and grows or if it will just end up dying off. Anyway, back to how the plans had changed. I hit the big boulder and as I have said before, I can’t just leave a boulder alone. If I know it is there I have to get it out! It’s a rock addiction….LOL! So, I was digging and digging and with each shovel of dirt the rock was getting bigger and bigger. Now, normally I am a good judge of character (a.k.a size of the boulder) when it comes to rocks, but this one tricked me. I had already un-dug nearly the whole top, and sides of the boulder and was thinking, “Now what?!”. I remembered back to a conversation my Dad and I had had regarding me not being able to move a rock that I had dug out and rolled out of the way temporarily. The rock had ended up flipping on a flat side making it much more difficult for me to pick up and roll. I had said, “Well, maybe I will just have to wait for Kyle to get home and help me move it.” and then my dad suggested that I use 2X4’s to get leverage underneath the rock to roll it. I decided what the heck, if I can get this rock to roll 3 feet forward it will go from being right in the way to being part of my retaining wall. It took me about an hour to get this thing dug out just right (which included me pulling out very carefully rocks underneath the boulder keeping it potentially from rolling where I wanted it), and to get the 2X4’s under and behind it. This mammoth was so heavy! Not only was it just a big rock, but it was made out of one of the heaviest rock compositions around here! It took a bunch of shoving, shifting, digging and bouncing on (the 2X4’s of course) to get this thing to move. I got it to approximately where I wanted it to go, but I didn’t like the way it looked on the front of it. It was kind of jagged and not a very nice looking rock. So, I decided to try and turn it around (swivel it around) so that the back side would be forward. That was tricky trying to keep if from rolling on my own foot or rolling the wrong way, but I did it! With the rock actually out of the way, I ended up making a path way that winds down from one of my existing upper garden areas down to the area I am flattening out for Hannah.
I was happy finally getting the rock it into it‘s final home. I didn’t realize how accomplished I felt until my Mother-In-Law made the comment about once you get a feat like that accomplished it sure feels good. It makes me so proud of my garden knowing how many hours I have dug, and how many rocks I have pulled out and re-positioned into the walls and steps. I am SO proud of it. I just wish my hubby shared the same enthusiasm as I do or could see the finished product and just know how much work it took me to make it look that way. It’s hard to convey exactly how much work it took through before and after pictures alone. I wish he was here to see it step by step, or at least a few of the stages and see exactly how many rocks are sitting there today waiting to be re-positioned. There are so many, plus my garbage rock pile is getting really big too!
Oh-My this is an incredibly long blog entry...LOL!
My “GOOD NEWS” that I wrote about in my last blog post was that I have discovered that quite a few of my perennials from last year are starting to come back! They are just starting to come through the ground. Things like my first ever Clematis (Nelly Moser), Bell Flower (Campanula - 3 years old), Veronica (3 years old), Globe Flower (I think that is what it’s called, it gets a round yellow ball flower that opens up when in full bloom - 3 years old), Polemonium Boreal (Heavenly Habit - New last year), Cat Mint (New last year), and a Mallow (it’s possibly Rose Mallow or Prairie Mallow, I will have to check out the tag tomorrow - New last year). There are a few others, but I don’t have pictures of the tags so I don’t remember the names off the top of my head. I will have to check out tomorrow as well.
I think that I also found a lonely Hens and Chicks that I planted a few years ago that never did very well and I thought that I lost them, but I guess one survived. They got pulled out (well I think rather knocked out of the ground) not very nicely and didn’t have much if any roots. It’s not entirely where I had thought I put them, but it’s still really nice to see. I do like them and have never heard of any not having success with Hens and Chicks. It is small, but never the less, it’s still growing, so it makes me happy.
My chives are coming in nicely and the ones that I re-planted that were out of the ground all winter are settling in just fine too. My little bunch of pink clover that I actually planted in my garden is coming back (2 years ago now). It’s just wild/natural clover that grows like weeds around here, but this one had little pink blossoms instead of our normal larger purple blossomed types. It was really pretty, so I dared to plant it in my garden and I have been very happy with it. It blooms pink blossoms and I just cut it back when it gets too leggy and it stays in a manageable little mound. I also found more last year and transplanted it into my garden in a different area deemed “temporary housing” for various plants I wanted, but didn‘t have a place for just yet, but it hasn’t come back. It may be that I have stepped on that area a bit this spring, but normally clover is pretty hearty, so I just don’t know. We’ll have to see if it comes back a little later in the season.
Anyway, my internet is finally working today so it is nice to get to post it! I don't know if many people saw my last blog post with all the pictures or if it got bumped off early since I wrote it in the early a.m. There are lots and lots of pictures on there so I thought that I should mention that too.
Happy Gardening Everyone!!
Today I dug more on my "leveling-out" project and had to re-think my plan. I ended up having to move my "junk" rock pile (the rocks that I don't like to use in the rock walls etc. due to the fact that they are too sharp, are gravel rocks, or are poky and are more dangerous then the average rock if Hannah was to fall on them). I decided to make the area bigger. Oh-boy, it's addicting! Anyway, I was able to dig 3-4 good size boulders out of the way (one was dead center in the way and Hannah plus myself tripped over it regularly, so thank goodness it's out!). I will take some more pictures when I get better visual progress since it doesn't look like much has changed since the last time I was out there.
On to my other garden endeavors, I planted the garlic I had in my cupboard and the rest of the chives (or at least I think I did, there may be a few still in the bucket though, so I will have to make sure). I dug out two rocks from an existing flower bed (why I didn't do it in the first place I don't know...hum...) and also dug out a really big rock from where I planted my cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes last year (I was amending the soil when I came across the beast and couldn't just leave it in there even though it was quite deep.) I have quite a few rocks now to place in a rock wall area holding up the terraced areas I am building, but it's getting hard to find ones that are "nice" or kid friendly. I want to use as round as possible rocks so that they can't trip Hannah, or hurt her more than normal if they were jagged. I am hoping that my new plan will work out nicely.
We had an absolute beautiful day today. The "weather man" had said it was supposed to be "rain/snow mix" yesterday/today, but it was really nice. I am so worried it will all end up coming down tomorrow on our heads while we're out there doing our 1st actual easter egg hunt with Hannah.
I am extremely excited it is Easter tomorrow, just as excited as a little kid! I can't wait to see Hannah's face in the morning when she wakes up to the special surprise that the Easter Bunny brought her! I can't wait to see her searching and finding the eggs outside in the garden. Oh, I am so excited! She's so wonderfully special and I love her so much!
Hannah coloring on her eggs before we dyed them.
Today we spent time with some of the extended family (My Mother-In-Law's Brother, his girlfriend and daughter(4 years old I think), and Hannah's Great-Grandma (My Mother-In-Law's mother - Mrs. P as she is called). We spent most of the time outdoors having a "camp-fire" out in the back of the property, walking the paths we have through the woods and just really enjoying the spring weather.
She sure loves playing in the dirt!
We never have a boring week around here:
Today: We live across the canyon from a very popular area for dirt biking and this time of the year is especially popular for dirt biking. There is a dirt bike race track down the canyon from us and we only hear a little of the "noise" from it, but when dirt bikers are not using the race track (basically when there is no special event planned, so quite often), they tend to do their biking all over the mountain on the other side of the canyon. We had noticed quite an increase in dirt bike "noise" this week and had begun our yearly "tune-out". It just gets to the point we really don't notice it much, so while we were out there doing our "camp-fire" we started to notice it was much louder than normal. Hannah and I were taking a walk towards where you could see the other side of the canyon. Something caught my eye, and sure enough it was 3 dirt bikers trying to traverse the side of the VERY steep mountain with their dirt bikes. It was one of the scariest sights I have seen! They were trying to ride on animal trails, not meant for dirt bikes; the deer and coyotes use these trails. The dirt bikes are really heavy machines now days (not like I knew what they were like back-in-the-day, but I just know they're huge now!!), and it must have been exhausting trying to keep hold of them. They had to drive them instead of just push them due to the weight of the machine and the type of terrain they were on. One of the guys was extra scary to watch because he would just gun it and practically go straight up the mountain side, then slip and tip off the bike, each time we'd all hold our breaths. One guy followed the same trail as the "crazy" rider, but the other one was "smarter" (and I use the term VERY loosly, he still got himself into that dangerous predicament so he couldn't be much "smarter"!). He stayed behind observing to see how they did before he went and got himself even worse off.
The canyon....it's a long way down there!
We decided it would be best if we called some sort of authority to warn them of the possible emergency in progress. The police decided that they would come to our house to see what the situation was exactly and to possibly pin-point where on the mountain these dirt bikers were. There is a road on the other side of the mountain, but it's not close to the canyon so it would have been difficult to find them from that side of the mountain. Two police cars showed up and we showed them where the dirt bikers were and by that time we think that two of the riders were able to get their bikes up to an easier area and then came down to help the third rider with his bike. The two police officers stood out there and watched the riders until they felt that they would get out alright, but jeeze I would have thought they would have tried something more. What if they had just been watching and one of them took a dive down the canyon??? We could have done that much, watch and call if we watched someone plumit to highly likely death (not something I wanted to do though and was hoping for the best outcome). I don't know exactly what they could have done either, so really atleast they responded quickly. Once the police officers felt it was "okay", Mitchel decided to ask if he could get a ride down the property in the police car. The officer said sure, but that she only lets people in handcuffs into her car. The three kids were very happy to get a chance to see the inside of a police car. They were allowed to press the various siren and light buttons. Then Mitchel was handcuffed and Luke and Jessica (Mother-In-Laws niece) were all allowed to get in the back of the car for the drive down the road to the house. Once they got down there the lady officer let all three of them get handcuffed and pose for a picture with her. She also gave them temporary tatoos that have a mounted policeman/woman on them. The kids were so THRILLED! Hannah thought that the sirens were so neat and enjoyed seeing the police cars too.
Needless to say, we never have a boring uneventful week around here! I love living here!
Anyway, I should get going to bed, it's late and I have to get up early in the morning to hide the eggs for my sweetie-po-teetie!
I hope that everyone has had a wonderful Easter weekend and that they are getting lovely spring weather! Happy Gardening!
Well, it was overcast and partly sunny on and off today. Hannah and I didn't get out and do much. We basically went out for a bit of a walk and then fed the horses for my Mother -In-Law.
We spent quite a while over at the Mother-In-Law's house visiting and helping her create an email address. She's pretty computer illiterate and I have to teach her how to do the same things over and over. It's okay and I really don't mind, but it's hard to find the time when I have my little 2 year old stinker running around like a hurricane! It takes me twice as long to teach her and it's hard for her to concentrate totally while "Hurricane Hannah" hits. Anyway, it took us a long time to get even the simplest thing like making her a hotmail account accomplished! But we did it! Yes! But.....later this evening my Mother-In-Law called and said that something weird came up when she tried to log-in, so who knows. I will have to check it out tomorrow!
Hannah played mini hockey (basically indoor hockey) with her Uncle Luke and his friend Connor (both 12 years old) for a while and she just loves spending time with them. It's so neat to watch her interact with her young uncles (12 and 8 years old) and to see them interacting with her. Kids are so much fun to watch how they play....
Above: The three musketeers, Mitchel-Hannah-Luke, 2 days ago while it was super nice out. So nice we even broke out the popsicles! Hannah just loves hanging out with them (she's wearing a head band that Mitchel put on her, she was so proud that she got to wear it!)
Sorry there isn't much on here about gardening so far...but here ya go:
My seedlings are doing alright, nothing "new" with them. The tall zucchinis I have been talking about are okay, tipping over like Gay Lynn (giggelynn) mentioned might happen. I just hope that I don't lose them. The cucumber seedlings are still button cute. Tomorrow I need to plant my Grapefruit seedlings/sprouts before I end up killing them (they are still in the baby food jar I started them in).
I am planning on trying to plant some of my garlic. I bought some garlic and it's gotten older and I thought why not try to plant them. My gardening book says that there can be some success from store bought garlic cloves. So, experiment #1 we'll see how it works out! If anyone has any suggestions/experience with starting garlic from store bought garlic.
Another thing I have to get around to doing is planting my bulbs that I have. They are summer bloomers so I am pretty sure that it's an okay time to be planting them (well, as far as my "research" is telling me.
Bulbs I have:
Chives: I have just regular old chive bulbs from my Mother-In-Law's garden that she pulled out last summer (they wintered over with just the dirt they were pulled out with and sat into a pot). They are starting to sprout so I need to get them in the ground. They grow actually really well even in my clay soil and I do like the look quite a bit, especially when they are thick and full.
Gladiolas: I bought some bulbs from Home Depot last fall when they were getting rid of their bulb selection. They are red. I think. (They are put away in a "dark place" and I haven't seen them in a while).
I have VERY little knowledge of growing bulbs, but last year I decided to try my hand at it. I bought some crocus (still does anyone know how to spell this one in the plural form?) flowers, 2 tulip pots (flowering) and 2 pots with 1 hyacinth in each - to brighten my spring. I planted them all after they died off. I am happy to say that ALL of them are poking through the ground. I originally thought that one of my hyacinths was not going to come in, but when I checked yesterday it had started to come through ever so slightly! I still need to make sure I planted them properly so I have alittle research to do in the next few days so that I can make it right after they die off this year. I will be sure to post pictures of them when they bloom.
More tomorrow, I have to go to bed! I really need to continue my recuperation since I am feeling noticeably better today! I sure hope that we don't have an icky day tomorrow. I should probably check the weather report to see though.
Have a great Easter weekend!