Friday, March 28, 2014

The Winter that Never Ends..

 Did you or your children ever watch Sherry Lewis and Lambchops? If so, do you remember the "Song That Never Ends"?  "It goes on and on, my friends! (Sorry for getting that one stuck in your head!) Anyway that is how I feel about winter! It seems never ending this year! We actually had snow flurries and sleet again yesterday morning!

 Desperate for a bit of color, I bought these lovely hydrangeas at Sam's Club and decided to do a little photo shoot with them.

I have a small shop at a vendor mall and this perfect chippy door is in one of the spaces, (White River Mercantile). It just begs to be a photography backdrop!

 I have sorely neglected my blog, and a couple of days ago I decided to check my stats to see if I even had any hits. Much to my surprise, I did! I checked my referrals and saw that many of them were coming from Kristi at Addicted 2 Decorating.

 15 Outdoor Projects For Your Back Yard

She had done an outdoor post May 2013  featuring my brick birdbath.

Her post is still generating a lot of interest! I feel bad not knowing sooner about the feature. Thank you Kristi!

When it warms up, (and hopefully that will be soon), I have a ton of projects waiting to be done. I plan to share many of those with you!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter Bird Photographs

So far this winter has been one for the record books! It looks like we may break the record for recorded snow fall. We have also had record breaking lows and wind chill. My poor birds are having a hard time surviving the cold. In less than twenty-four hours I found three dead birds on my patio.

There were two house sparrows and a male cardinal. It makes me incredibly sad to see this. The temperatures are dropping even lower tonight; I hope I won't find more.

The birds are staying closer to the feeders as the temperatures plummet. This has provided some great backyard bird photography opportunities for me. Here are some of my favorites from today!

I was shooting from my kitchen sliding glass door, which was hazy from the bright sunshine.

The sunshine and the reflection from the snow made it so much easier to capture their dark eyes. It is frustrating trying to photograph them on the dull gray days, which seem to be almost every day during the winter!

 I love using dishes for their food. It makes the pictures a little more interesting than regular bird feeders and they enjoy eating from them, actually preferring them over the tube feeders.

My neighbor's wood fence makes a great backdrop!

 I thought I would have a little photography fun and put out a few stems of fake spring branches. It took a little while, but finally a few of the birds landed on them!

 This is my favorite shot of the day! I used this image tonight for my new business cards. I love my little chickadees! I hope they survive the weather!

I can't wait until spring!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

For the Birds

 It's hard to believe that it has been so long since last posting here at Robin's Nesting Place. I think often about this poor neglected blog and I dearly miss the days when photography and blogging were priority.

Hopefully one day I will have the time and energy to get back to regular blogging.

 Last year, for a Lowe's Creative Ideas project, I did an outside Christmas tree for the birds. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do another one this winter.

I got the tree up and decorated right before the snow fell. I think this will be a new tradition for me. I love having a tree for the birds! It really doesn't take much to amuse me and make me happy!

Since I wasn't feeling particularly well, I declared it a vacation day and I literally spent the entire day at the kitchen table taking pictures of the birds!

It was just the medicine I needed and I feel so much more relaxed and less stressed. I mean, how could I not feel better after seeing this cute face!

The blue jays are quite photogenic! With their boisterous ways they are not intimidated by my presence at the door.

The cardinals are a different story. It will take them a while to warm up to the idea of coming so close to the house. They usually do, but for now they are content to eat from the feeders in a nearby tree.

The hawk is getting more brave too. This one came to the patio yesterday. Thankfully it didn't catch anything. The birds hiding in the patio tree got away just in time!

It is a beautiful creature, but I will feel terrible if it catches a bird in my tree, (unless it is a house sparrow)!

If I don't see you before Christmas, here is my wish for you!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Saving Butterflies

When my children were young I started planting parsley so we could attract black swallowtail butterflies to our garden. We would gather the eggs and tiny caterpillars and bring them inside and watch the amazing metamorphosis. It never thrilled them as much as it did me! Even though the children are grown I still bring caterpillars inside to watch the amazing transformation from egg to butterfly. A new butterfly is a beautiful thing to behold.

This winter I grew my dill and parsley from seed in anticipation of this summer tradition.

Around the end of May, I was delighted to see the first butterfly of the season laying eggs on the dill. Every day I checked the parsley and dill to see if there were any caterpillars.

It wasn't long before the eggs hatched and the plants were covered with caterpillars! Since the butterfly host plants were on the patio, I decided to leave them alone this year and watch them outside.

One morning when I checked on the caterpillars, they were almost all gone. I carefully looked over the plants and discovered what had eaten them.
A baby praying mantis was feasting on my caterpillars! I was so disappointed!

Only four caterpillars were left. This one attached itself to the side of a planter so I left it outside. The other three were smaller so I brought them inside.

I thought this one would be safe outside but a few days later I noticed it too was gone. I saw a male cardinal searching for food around the parsley and dill, so I think this one was fed to baby cardinals.

For the last few summers I have not seen many butterflies, so losing all of these caterpillars caused me to do a bit of brainstorming to try to find a solution to save more of the butterflies. I found a large plastic container that I covered with a screen but the cat was way too interested in the moving caterpillars to keep them safe inside.

A few weeks ago while at Goodwill, I saw this rolling cart for $5.00. I thought maybe it had potential for my butterfly project.

 I removed the back and stapled fiberglass screen to it. I needed something removable for the front, so I used some of my husband's heavy duty velcro. It was sticky enough to attach firmly to the screen.

It is just a temporary solution until I can build or find something similar that will be more substantial and hold up to the weather. For now it works great and is exactly what I wanted!

I counted twenty-two caterpillars this morning! Hopefully they will all survive and the garden will be full of black swallowtails!

I'm keeping a close eye on the milkweed and if I see a monarch caterpillar, I'll place it in the enclosure too!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New Teapot Birdhouse

One of my goals as a gardener has been to attract the birds to my small yard. I have one nesting box that that has been used by the black-capped chickadees for several years. Some years they raise two broods. The same box has been used by wrens.

I saw this morning that the black-capped chickadees are already busy building their nest in this box!  The robins are busy building their nest too! That must mean that spring is here for good this time!

I love getting inspiration from Pinterest! (You can follow me if you like!) I had admired some of the teapot birdhouses I had seen and wanted to make one of my own.

The teapot was a Goodwill find and the old drawer was purchased for a dollar or two at a local vendor mall! I thought the drawer would add a little more shelter for the birds.


I glued the teapot to the wood and also looped the twine through the opening just in case the teapot should come unglued.  I also glued the top of the teapot to the drawer as a landing perch. 
I need to hang it a little higher, turn it in a different direction, (for better weather protection), and secure it better for less movement. I hope it will have new occupants soon!

I've been felting wool items for projects and saved the loose fibers for the birds. Hopefully I'll have a few more nesting birds here at Robin's Nesting Place!