My wife and I got home about 5 on Tuesday. She asked me what had knocked all the pine cones off of the tree outside the box window. I didn't know and ventured to guess perhaps the change in temperature. We had snow and then ice on Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday I played hooky from work because I don't like driving 38 miles in ice and slush. I was sitting in the dining room looking out when I saw another pine cone fall. I glanced up and saw a bird I don't ever remember seeing in my yard. It wasn't in my Pennsylvania Bird book. I searched the internet and discovered it to be a White Winged Crossbill. It is a red finch with black wings and white stripes. Its' bill crosses top over bottom and it can switch the way it crosses.It eats seeds from pine cones. The female is an olive color with the same wings. The birds look for good pine cone harvests. I took some pictures and added them to a new album on my picture pages.
We also had our regular assortment of birds coming to the feeders. We are beginning to see allot of Starlings again. They are crowding out the other birds from the suet and feeders. They aren't here all day so the other birds do get to feed.
I am trying to make my own suet today. I am using peanut pieces and songbird mix. I am using waste cooking grease from bacon, ham, beef and other fat producers. I will go out and purchase suet for my next attempt as we are out of grease. I will try it tomorrow.
The low temperatures are stressing the spices in the garage. We have not had as long a period with temperatures below freezing for many years. This is the first winter I remember the creek to be frozen all January in years. Last year when I wintered the spices for the first time we had no ice after the 1st of January. Big difference.
I just stopped by to see how everything was going and saw I didn't post in December. For the holidays I decorated the shed and the hop trellis. I also put a string of candle lights on the pine outside the dining room window. This mostly entertains us and my neighbors, but it now can be seen from the street since the trees were trimmed. I also put two strings of lights out front.
I have been taking care of my spices in the garage. I water them every 2 weeks. They are not growing, they are almost hibernating. It is nice to sometimes pick fresh spices for meals.
I have been repairing and re hanging bird houses. I have one more to do before I start on any new ones. I have also started tying my flies for this year. I am thinking of selling all my flies from the last 5 years and starting new. I have a couple hundred, I think and I might post them on E-bay or Craigslist.
I have been feeding the squirrels and birds. I put out sunflower seeds, a cornmeal log, and some peanuts for the squirrels. I have suet, hot sunflower kernels, and nuggets for the birds. I have Red Bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, House and Goldfinches. Black capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Dark Eyed Juncos , Carolina Wrens , Sparrows, Doves, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Starlings. I also have had a Coopers Hawk. It was responsible for a dove out of my yard and another from my neighbors, that we know of.
I am still undecided what I am going to do in the Garden this year. I am thinking about square foot gardens around the yard for my veggies.
I hope everyone is doing well, and I wish you all a belated Happy New Year.