Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yard Projects

We have three large Norway Maples on our property that always drop their leaves suddenly on November 2-3 each year. We have lived here 20 years now, and that is the way it has always been...until this year when they all dropped their leaves on November 17-18. This exceptionally warm, dry fall has delayed the leaf fall for the first time in my memory. We do not have a leaf blower (like everyone on Cathy's street does!). Our daughters always liked to rake leaves after they had finished playing in their leaf houses, but now that two of them are gone, our outdoor work force is significantly diminished. My husband and I are both nursing aching backs and shoulders after the raking workout. It was also time to clean out the flowerbeds and put away the last of the outdoor pots for the season. The light dusting of snow was a reminder of shoveling we will be doing soon.

Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches

While I worked, the birds visited the feeders without much hesitation. Four Nuthatches were steady customers and were the most fearless birds of all, especially for peanut rewards. At one point there were seven different bird species and two squirrels on the deck at the same time. Becka thought it looked like a scene from Disney's Snow White with all the forest creatures gathered around. (no deer though!)

Female Downy Woodpecker

Our latest feeder visitor, another first for me, is a hawk. It has been doing regular fly-overs and sat in a nearby tree yesterday for several minutes. The sun back lit the bird so I could not identify it for sure, but it was the size and shape of a Cooper's Hawk. It is welcome to have as many House Sparrows as it can eat.

My next yard project is at the hospital. This is the view out the window of our therapy office, a small room shared by seven people. We are temporarily on ground level due to renovations on our usual floor, so I got permission from the grounds keeper to feed the birds for the winter. I took this picture today of a scavenger squirrel and a very hard to see Red-breasted Nuthatch on top of the suet feeder. I will be changing things around tomorrow to discourage the greedy squirrels. There is a wooded area here at the back of the hospital that is full of birds and perhaps I can attract a few less common ones to the window. None of us sit at our desks much during the day, but at least I will see the feeders occasionally during our shortening daylight hours.
I will never be bored as long as I have a little patch of ground to look after and a new project to plan.


  1. I love when a business have bird feeders out their window! It's almost like going to the library and seeing a cat sleeping among the books! Just very relaxing! Also, love the photos!

  2. I firmly believe there is a special room in hell where one has to rake for eternity and that alone keeps me from misbehaving...lol.

    Love the nuthatches!

  3. I have a feeder like the one the Nuthatches are on and have filled it with mixed nuts. VERY popular.

    Every where I worked I had big windows to look out of. I would have died if I had been stuck in a cubicle somewhere with no natural light!

  4. Outside chores are so much fun when you can stop and watch the birds for a bit....

    Great nuthatch pictures, Ruth.

  5. Jean- thanks! I would have helped you with your yard work too if you lived closer.

    Monarch- Funny...that is exactly what one of my co workers said yesterday. He was watching the nuthatches and chickadees at the end of the day and said how relaxing it was.

    Jayne- Raking isn't so bad for the first 1/2 hour. Then it get painful! You have a lot of trees too I think.

    CS- Yes...this peanut feeder is the best! Our hospital has two sites and the downtown one has many office areas with no windows. I was sick more frequently when I worked there and had lots of headaches. Since I get out and have more natural light, I feel much better.

    RuthieJ- The birds are interesting for sure. I hope I can get a picture of the hawk like you did!

  6. Ruth,

    I am so tickled with your back yard activity. It takes me a long time to do yard and pond work with so many feathery distractions :o)

  7. I bet you always have a camera around your neck when you do yard work!


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