More birds


I found this fellow having a snack when I got home from work the other night.  He didn’t seem to bothered by me driving up and getting out of the car, then getting back in the car to fish out the phone and snap a photo.

He only objected slightly when I approached the door and went in, but he came right back. The goldfinch was a slight bit more nervous than the woodpecker, but maybe because he thought the woodpecker would finish off all the suet!


Quick post to say that now I know that spring has arrived – the first hummingbird arrived on Saturday – tired and hungry.  I had the feeder up in time this year – hurrah!  And it is good as nothing delicious for him is blooming yet, though the quince is close and will be in flower by the weekend, I think.

And the phoebes with their pretty songs and bobbing tails are back, wondering how to get into that nesting spot we blocked off three years ago. And one did fly into the glass of the storm door, but he flew off again, and we put the screens up so he won’t do that again – at least on that window.

Also, Sunday night we saw a barred owl snacking on the side of the road not too far from home.  We hope it is our friend Barry whom we thought was killed by a car, but we don’t know for sure (not having been formally introduced).  He hasn’t been back to his tree overlooking the feeders in a while.  I wish he would come back, the squirrels are getting too cheeky.

But the really big news?

Our first ever cardinal!  He stopped by to check out the feeder last night close to dusk.  A spotted him, telling me there was some kind of red bird in the tree.  I said, without looking, “Purple finch?  They have been around all week” and she said no, it was brighter red.  That got me moving!  I have seen a pair of them occasionally a few miles away, and our neighbor said she has them occasionally at her feeder, but we had never seen one.  I don’t know if he will be back, but he was here once, so there is hope.

The weather might still be cold and raw, but the birds are believing that it will warm up.  I am with them.



Weekend plans…

Here it comes – another rainy weekend!  Drives me crazy, since I am close to the end of the excavation phase of the pool, and I can’t sift wet sand!  Once that is done, I can work in the rain, but I have to get that done.


Today, we both had the day off – and I forgot to give you a Friday list!  It had some new things on it, for sure.

A and I went off to play golf early this morning – well she played, I drove the cart and knit.  It was so fun we did 18 holes, and I got lots of the sweater done.  🙂


Followed that with a stop in Belfast for lunch and the fabric store.  I was excited to see that they carry Colette patterns, I have been wanting to try them, but never had the nerve to get them online.  I picked up one for a dress, and some fabric for a skirt.  A was waiting in the car so I did not browse long.  The pattern calls for knit fabric, and I didn’t see any there (but it is an amazing fabric store, very good quality material) so I will be on the hunt for some I like. I am excited to see that they are moving onto Main Street to a bigger place – more room for fabric and the other arts and crafts supplies they carry.  No yarn, but there is a yarn store in Belfast already, so I can live with that.


Then we stopped at the grocery store – went in on a sunny-ish day, came out to a torrential downpour that ushered in a rainy afternoon.

This afternoon we have worked to get a ton of pellets put in the cellar for the winter.  Tomorrow, L comes over and we will put two more tons down there.  We have a good system for it, but it is still a lot of work – fifty 40-pound bags in each ton have to be picked up, brought into the house, slid down our special ramp to someone catching them in the cellar, then onto a cart to be rolled over to the corner and stacked.  It works well with at least three people.  It is a huge chore with two, and I can’t even imagine doing it alone. I guess I wouldn’t, I would build a shed and have them delivered into the shed, then bring them in all winter long, a bag at a time.  🙂  Next month, we will get two more tons, plus a ton of bio bricks.  That should get us through the winter, it is how much we burned last year (we have 5 bags left) and more than we ever burned prior to last year.


Sunday, I think we have no plans.  If it is dry enough, you know where I will be! With brief breaks from digging to shift the laundry, of course.

Meanwhile, I cleaned off the camera, and thought I would share these few photos of a very belated high school graduation party we recently went to – A’s great-nephew is off to college in New Orleans in a  month or so.  They live “away” so the party waited until they came to Maine on their summer vacation. Party was fun, food was good, you can see his mom worked hard on the theme! I love this shot of the cousins enjoying their visit together.



A gratuitous photo of the “hunting” cats – perspective is a funny thing, Allie ( on the left) is pounds lighter and smaller than Zumba, but here, she seems so big.  🙂


And here is what they were watching – she did not mind the audience.


Lastly -a  few photos that could make you think we have a nice yard.  🙂


These are the cherry trees that bloomed so nicely a few months ago.  Birds, chipmunks, and squirrels will have them cleaned off in no time.


I just love daylilies, they are so bright and cheerful!

Have a good weekend, I am going back to knitting….

Which reminds me – I finished these recently, wove the ends in yesterday. Summer colors ready for next winter.


A few things done

I have been working away at my shawl for the KAL, and will get a photo of that tomorrow, hopefully a sunny one!

Meanwhile, here is the one I finished last week.  I wanted to get a photo that showed the colors and size – a good 6 feet in wingspan!  I flows and drapes so nicely.  The wind was blowing, the sun was shining, the birds were feeding and chirping and paying no attention to me whatsoever.  🙂  I spotted this little Downy woodpecker finishing off the suet, not ten feet away, and caught a few shots of him, too. (You might also note that the snow, a backdrop to all I photographed lately is GONE!!!!! 🙂 )

shawl on railing 3

shawl on railing 2

shawl on railing with shadow

woodpecker 4

woodpecker 3

woodpecker 2

I eventually stopped photographing the bird, and brought the shawl in.  Not having a dress form, I used a chair to drape it.  Doesn’t it just hang beautifully?

shawl on chair

This weekend I finally finished two collages I have been puttering away at – both are for sale on the Etsy site (SalpalCrafts).  I made one for myself a couple of summers ago, with niece C the younger when she was here, and I love it.  Had some paper scraps left and of course, boxes and boxes of shells and sea glass. Since the summer is apparently taking its sweet time getting here, I thought I would encourage it with these reminders of how nice it can be.  🙂

ocean front

seashells front 1

I have several more of these little canvases, and many ideas.  Some don’t turn out so well, but they can be painted over.  I have one upstairs that is on its fourth rendition.  I might like it soon.

Other finishes include a few more bracelets, necklaces, and earrings which I hope will soon be found for sale at J and B Atlantic. 🙂

A has been working away all week in the basement, and at last, after nearly 7 years, it looks like we might have bookcases built into the loft soon!  She has been puttering away with a fancy miter router thingy, and today the adjustments were perfect, and she created a bookcase box.  Naturally the first one goes in the craft room, as she assumes it will not be perfect.  After this, the next 6 go in the loft.  Which means I get to clean it out and paint it, and then paint them, and then we get to unpack the boxes and boxes of books and make that space the quiet reading place it was always meant to be.  I guess that means that next week I should be doing painting prep, huh?  Of course, I will need breaks from that and will knit. Of course.

Tomorrow we head to Mom’s for a much belated Christmas dinner.  Really. For more years than I can remember, Mom has cooked a delicious prime rib for Christmas.  This year she decided it was too much work, and she didn’t want to spend all that time in the kitchen, so we had mac and cheese and saw more of her. (Yes, we could help her with the meal, but she just decided no one should have to do it.) Now it isn’t Christmas, so she is gathering us all and will cook for us.  There are three birthdays in the next couple of weeks, so I am sure there will be some presents and cake to deal with, but nothing like the big Christmas frenzy.

I’ll bring my shawl, but it will kill me to miss out on all that scarf knitting time in the car.  But as Niece C the elder is likely to be there, I can’t bring it along, her birthday is a month away, and I would like it to be somewhat of a surprise.  🙂 Plus I would hate for her to see the unblocked thing and think it ugly, when we all know that curling lumpy mass will turn out to be an elegantly stitched, perfectly beaded heirloom lace scarf after blocking.  🙂  Better she just see the finished product.

Monday, A goes back to work, and I take the kids to the vet for their annual check up.  Won’t they just love that?

What are you up to this fine day?

Birders, please advise!

I have been able to feed the birds now that we only have indoor cats.  And so I have been slowly learning about what birds we have.  But I need help now that they all have their winter plumage.  I know these aren’t the best photos, as they are through a screen, but can you tell me:

Are these goldfinches, pine siskins, purple finches, or something else entirely? They look like the cross bills in my bird book, except that I can’t see if they have crossed bills.  Sort of important, I know.

birds in january

birds in january1

birds in january2

I did not get a picture, but did see a pair of little woodpeckers – downy, I believe, at the suet the other day.  They are so cute!  Haven’t seen their big brothers pileated in a  while, I wonder if they are still around?

huge flocks of mourning doves and chickadees also rule the yard.  While I miss Frankie and Tigger, I am glad that Allie and Zumba are indoors girls so we can feed the birds and see them up close!

Yes, I really did this

Because my dear old blind cat Frankie was an indoor/outdoor cat in her prime, and an excellent, excellent hunter, I never fed the birds. It seemed cruel.

Now that Old Frankie is gone, and we have the new three, they are all indoor cats. So we have begun feeding the birds. It started a few years ago with humming-bird feeders. Then a suet feeder. Then, for Christmas, I got a “squirrel proof song bird feeder” by Audubon. I was sceptical, but I filled it up and sure enough, small song birds came to feed. But not many. My sister-in-law suggested filling it with black sunflower seeds. I did that, and mixed in a little thistle, because I had seen some goldfinches in the neighborhood.

Well, now we have lots and lots of birds around – chickadees and nut hatches and hummingbirds, mourning doves, three different sizes of woodpeckers (hairy, downy, and pileated) and some little birds that I think are tree swallows. We also have a gray squirrel who is determined to get into the suet, but I think I might have slowed him down on that score some by putting the post in a plant pot in the middle of the deck. I am sure he will figure it out, but it will take him a bit. And there are squirrel teeth marks in the top of the feeder, but so far, the lid clamps have held, and he can’t fit into the grid.

But the little chipmunk can.

Yep. I looked out today and he was noshing away on those sunflower seeds. I rapped on the window and he left, briefly. The next time, I picked up a protesting Zumba and we went out. She was wild to get down, and vocal. I didn’t put her down, but Mr. Chipmunk got the message – he should hide for a few minutes.

Next time, I went out with a squirt bottle. He looked right at me and dared me. So I squirted him. Not just until he left the feeder, but when he scurried on the ground. Nailed him a few times too. Then I sat quietly, and when he returned, I did it again. Three times before the black flies found me.

Meanwhile, A sat on the couch laughing at me.
But she won’t be laughing if it works.

Also, something got a mourning dove. I think a hawk or something because all that was left was feathers, sometime last evening or this morning. So maybe it is cruel to feed the birds even when I don’t have a mighty hunter of a cat on the prowl?

In spite of my work, the cats still love their live “theater” – they sit and watch all the activity for hours.

Come to think of it, so do we…

my office window is a bird feeder

And it is a little alarming!

The big giant floodlight is over my window, so every morning I come in to find my window screen covered with moths. And by eleven, they are gone.

Eaten by the dive bombing birds. It is a little distracting, and sometimes alarming, to have birds flying in, landing on the screen, dive bombing the moths and paying absolutely no attention the person sitting just the other side of things, giving a start each time.

So far today I have had grackles, blue jays, and phoebes feasting at my window.

When the moths are gone, they sit in the trees and chatter and tweet and sing.

One morning I came in to find the ground covered with luna moth wings. THAT upset me. Probably 10-15 luna moths were eaten by something bigger. I know it is the way of things, but I have to think that if we did not have the big light on, they might not have been here ready to be food.

Of course, I am the first one to speak up if that light is off, as 9 months of the year, I leave after dark. But maybe for the other three, we could turn it off?

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