Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

At first light today we were greeted by - - -

Yes, that's snow!

It didn't stick, the ground's too warm, well maybe "warm" is not the right word. The ground's just not cold enough for the snow to last is better.

In spite of the snow the birds know better. I've had both blue birds and tree swallows flirting with my new houses; I'm optimistic. Iris, the master blue bird house inspector, will have to come up now to check on the progress once nest building starts.

I read some interesting stuff. Houses can be placed about 25' apart. That's too close for blue birds to live in both houses; one pair won't allow another pair in such close proximity. However, they will allow other cavity nesting species, like tree swallows, to occupy a near house. I have two pairs of boxes; one in the back yard between the pole barn and the house and one pair in the front yard. Time will tell. On days like this bird watching from the house-comfort with a cuppa tea or coffee is perfect.

I also have a pair of self-built cavity nesters in a tall dead tree. My flickers are cleaning out and exploring their home from past years.

This is the male, I think.

Chickadees are exploring other homes; it's too early by a few weeks for house wrens to arrive back up north. I read with concern about the avian flu virus spreading from migratory birds, especially ducks, to other species. It's really a small planet, isn't it.

I've had several shipments of plants for the garden. As soon as they get here, they are planted and all seem to be doing OK. 500 Vinca (white, purple, blue) were planted on Saturday. I know they are not native; neither are dandelions, phragmites, and lythrum. (I saw one surviving lythrum last summer blooming in a ditch along the road. Zealots were sent out to destroy all of them and were pretty successful. Maybe I will stop the next time I see one to pull it out.) Vinca is deer resistant which is a plus. The bulbs I planted last fall have been slow to start. I must be in a more northern growing zone here than I was in Royal Oak even though the maps say not.

I'm expecting more orders to arrive soon. Spring!!

My puppies this year had coccidia. They often have had it in the past too. Although we had been aggressively treating them, some left without having recovered completely which was a great concern for me. I haven't heard bad news from anyone so I'm hoping they have continued to make progress and are either fully recovered or almost recovered. We miss them more than I thought.

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