Sunday, February 14, 2016

Slice of Life

For the very first time, I've participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count. I'm hooked. I love sitting in the quiet house, binoculars in my lap, a notebook beside my elbow, watching and waiting. 





We had a little incident, though. A red-tailed hawk flew into a window. He (or she) hit with such force that it cracked the inner pane. It was a hairline crack, about three inches. The hawk veered up into a tree and perched for about five minutes, as if trying to collect itself, then flew away. My contractor stopped by to check the window, and, since the crack is very small, we're taking a wait and see approach.

Today was the meet and greet for my master gardener class. In addition to beautiful table arrangements, the mentors brought home-cooked goodies. Each mentor has a special interest area, such as trees, butterfly gardening, trees, vegetables, container gardens, and so forth. The interns had interesting stories. One lady works at a hydroponic garden in Nashville and is a landscape designer; another one planted 100 trees in an hour on her property.  Quite a few people are interested in herbs and cooking, so I felt right at home. I volunteered to bring a dish to the next meeting. 

 A common thread ran through the meeting: gardening heals the soul. This class won't be easy, but that's good. I'm eager to learn. We'll tour established, local gardens this spring and build a rain garden; in the fall we'll exchange seeds. The club maintains a vegetable garden, and everything is donated to senior citizens. I'm looking forward to volunteering. It feels just right at this stage in my life--to learn what I can and pay it forward.




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24 comments:

  1. Your bird photos are spectacular ML. The Master Gardener Program is wonderful. I was a part of it when we lived in central Florida for a while. I learned soooo much. Happy Valentine's Day and stay warm.
    Sam

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  2. What a great idea and therapeutic to boot!
    Wishing you a sweet Valentine's Day!

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  3. "ouch" for the hawk but personally, I hate seeing them come around. I am too protective for the birds and chipmunks. Your bird photos are gorgeous. Always love visiting. You have me wanting to join the 'Backyard Birding' in our area. Deb

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    1. I agree: I'd rather hawks didn't visit my yard. How do you keep them away? Someone told me to put out a plastic owl, but won't that scare away my songbirds?

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  4. 100 trees in an hour??? With my rocky yard I'm happy to get 20 pansies planted in an hour!

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    1. Me, too. :-) I was impressed. Everyone in the group was impressed. I'm guessing she had small trees, great soil (no limestone), a tractor and an attachment of some sort.

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  5. Your gardening class sounds wonderful and you will enjoy it so much. I love watching the birds too. I have really gotten hooked on humming birds and feed about 20 that hang around my home. I sure go through sugar..... lol

    Gardening is so good for the soul and you will be putting back into the land with your gardening. Sounds like there are a lot of interesting people in the class. I hope you take us along with you. Enjoy and have a great week.
    Mary

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  6. I am a Shelby County, TN master gardener. You will love the class.

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  7. I live in Fairfield CT. Many, many years ago a delivery of green parrots was made at an airport in NY and the box broke open. Many of the parrots settled in CT. We were told they would not last in our cold weather but they thrived and adapted quite well. They were very noisy and one day we didn't hear any of them but we saw a hawk hanging around. He did get several pigeons and also a few squirrels and was the most majestic bird I have ever had the honor to see.

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  8. Your photos are beautiful! What lens did you use for your bird pics? More snow again here in south central Ky. Sheila

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    1. It's a 100mm. I still had to crop the picture quite a bit. The camera is an older Canon, a 50d, and I still love it.

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  9. Such beautiful bird photos! So sorry to hear about the hawk - and your window. The Master Gardening classes sound absolutely fascinating. What a worthwhile cause with the vegetable garden and donating to senior citizens. Kudos to you for getting involved!

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  10. That is a great picture of the Blue Jay!

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  11. What wonderful images! Those bird images are spectacular!

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  12. I really look forward to Spring to see more birds. I do see some in the winter. At the old house we had TONS of birds cause we lived in the woods. Enjoy the master gardeners class! That;s exciting. Your pictures are beautiful.

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  13. Oh, goodness! I hate to see any creature get hurt, even pesky predators knowing they're part of the food chain and all, but they can't take MY birds! Michael, did you receive the link I sent a couple of weeks ago to your e-mail? The subject being "birds in the yard"? I only ask because I don't want you to think I forgot about it. Some e-mails do get lost in the ether world!

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    1. Susan, I can't find that email or link. I'll check again. I bought another feeder that has a wire cage around it, so the little ones can be safe while they're busy eating. I took up all of the platform feeder, and the "decorated" hopper one, too. It's a set up for the hawk. I'm working on a post about him (he returned--a young red-tailed hawk) and what I'm doing to protect my birds. I saw a feral cat, too, and he (or she) just about broke my heart.

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    2. Oh, these animals create so much joy, but equal pain! Is the e-mail at the top of your page still correct—designsbygollum@gmail.com ? I hadn't received the e-mail back as undelivered which is why I mentioned it. I can resend it when you verify your e-mail if you want to bother. Also, I was wondering if google Blogger has a setting that will allow your replies to readers' comments to be sent to our e-mails?

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    3. Yes, that's my email--but I went back and searched with your title, and there it was. For some reason, Gmail is only showing recent emails. I'll check my settings. I'm off to check your link. Thank you so much. We have really been worried about that hawk. I know it is just trying to survive, but I don't want to make it easy! Thanks again for sending the link and helping me find it!

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  14. Just a quick note, Michael. Are you aware that Google changed how you receive ALL your mail?
    When you sign in, you have to click on "All Mail" in the left side bar. When they first made this change, a lot of people (me included) were "missing" a lot of our mail! Oy!

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  15. Oh, I love all the bird pictures. I can watch the birds all day. My husband often asks how I get so enthralled watching them, but the other day he was home during the day and HE couldn't stay away from watching them. It was pretty funny. This has been my first year with having lots of juvenile cardinals and goldfinches in the backyard. They warm my heart.

    I'm usually not one to be fond of hawks, but last year we had an injured one in the yard. It definitely made me see how there is a place for everyone in this world and makes me chase them off less. You would think I would stop chasing them off, but every so often I feel protective over a chipmunk or a squirrel :-)

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  16. Gorgeous birds!...and good luck on your class...My sister is a Master Gardener in her state of Florida and I know how hard she worked and still works at it...You will do great!

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