I never had the chance to post a final journal entry from last weekend. Life has been extremely hectic the past week. I am behind on EVERYTHING – including keeping up with the blogs I enjoy following. Ah, the joys of being a working woman. 🙂
Since it is a fairly quiet afternoon, I thought I would travel back in time and post a few photos from last Sunday, our last day in the northwoods.
The birds were very active and I bundled up to sit out on the porch in the 20 degree temps and attempted to get some photos. Unfortunately, just as I did so, there was a lot of activity going on at the shooting range a couple of miles down the road. With all the gunshots, the wild things disappeared, including all the squirrels. Of course, when I went back in, the birds came back. Figures! So, I spent a lot of time opening the door and sticking my camera out the crack, trying to get a shot. Not the most successful photography technique!
The blue jays arrived in droves. I would have loved to capture a shot of many of them together, but of the dozen or so that flew in and out, very few of them were still at the same time. This was the best I managed – three together.
That’s a bit blurry because they were moving constantly. I just think it’s funny because you can see how all of them are swallowing as many peanuts as possible.
The cheerful nuthatch visited, too.
And the yellow-bellied woodpecker.
There was a hairy woodpecker.
And a downy, as well.
You can tell just trying to get photos through the crack in the door wasn’t working too well, since all of these are not sharp at all.
We did have a new visitor – a goldfinch wearing its winter drab must have gotten left behind.
Before we began packing up we took the dogs for a final hike. Since there were a lot of hunters out and about, we just walked the two-track back to Sportsman’s. There was a thin layer of ice on the lake.
I couldn’t help but think back to the spring when I was so excited to see all the swans here.
After we looked around at the boat launch area, we walked around to the southern tip of the lake to the dam.
After lunch it was time to pack up, drain the water pump and toilet and head home.
Fast Forward to Today
This was the scene in my front yard when I arrived home from church this afternoon.
Let me explain. A month ago we met with a landscape designer about making our front yard into a bird-lover’s paradise. The area where I hang my bird feeders had a lot of scraggly, bushy, overgrown stuff that was impossible to keep in check and always made that area look messy. Then, across the front of our house was an ancient “flower bed” that was there when we bought this house more than 17 years ago. It was filled with a variety of bulbs — a few daffodils, some tiger lilies, Michigan lilies, some lily of the valley and a lot of weeds. When the bulbs bloomed, they looked good for maybe a week and then they just went to heck. So, we wanted to transform that area into a more bird-friendly, low-maintenance, black-thumb-proof garden.
We met again with the designer this past Thursday to go over her design and she came up with a fabulous plan. She proved she had listened to everything I said I wanted and incorporated all my wish list into her design.
The design includes color and interest for all four seasons, plenty of cover for the birds, and trees, shrubs and plants that are berry or seed producing.
The down side is that the final cost of the endeavor, should we use their labor and purchase all the plants/trees/shrubs from them, was nearly $6,000. Of course, we don’t have to do it all at once and if we (Mark) do the labor ourselves, we can save a ton. So, we talked it over and Mark decided he wanted to get started right away and plant some of the trees now and do the rest in the spring.
I went off to church this morning and when I returned, I was greeted with the scene above. Mark had gone out to start digging out all the bushy stuff, then our neighbor came over with his tractor and helped pull out the more difficult trunks and roots. This is what it looks like now that they are done with the initial demolition.
To give you a small sense of difference, this is a photo from February of 2013.
As you can see, the demolition has left us with no cover or perching areas for the birds. 😦 I don’t know what we are going to do about that. I am trying to think of some creative ways to make temporary cover, or I may have to consider putting the bird feeders away until the spring. Something that I would be loathe to do, as the birds bring me so much joy, especially in the difficult winter months.
I hope to keep you all updated on our progress. I am sure you will be waiting with bated breath. I have to remind myself that come the summer, this is going to look fab! If all goes well, I will be able to get some terrific bird photos in the future.