Playing with Nature

Chestnut-backed Chickadee_SnohomishCo-WA_LAH_4637

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. Last night our daughter sent us the following text about two of our granddaughters, currently aged 4 and 6:

G: Look W–! A chickadee! (Gasp!) Two!
W: Yeah! Aww, they flew in the tree. (Runs to another window.)
W: I found them!
G: A chickadee! Two chickadees!
and so on…

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The Northwest Flower and Garden Show

NWGarden-WA_LAH_2447-001Sometimes I just need to see living plants. Colorado is wonderful; I love the mountains and grasslands, pines and wildflowers. I love the huge blue sky and even the menacing thunderstorms. But I do not care so much for the unending winters. While it doesn’t happen every year, we’ve had snow as early as September and as late as the end of May. That’s a really long cold season!

When all that dormancy gets overwhelming, it helps to spend a week or two where winter isn’t quite so persistent. Last week I wrote about coming over the Sierras into California, green and blooming and full of warm breezes and golden sunshine. But California wasn’t my only destination. From there I drove north to Seattle to attend the Northwest Flower and Garden Show (and spoil my grandkids).

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Gifts for Bird Lovers

birdwatcher socksThanksgiving is past and we’re fully into the frenetic holiday shopping season. Birding websites and magazines will be running lists of gift ideas for birders—new binoculars, field guides and apps, birding accessories, etc. As a birder myself, I would certainly love to receive one of these items, but most of them are pretty expensive.

I’ve created a (very short) list of bird-related gifts which won’t break your wallet (they’re all under $25), ranging from silly stocking stuffers to practical clothing. These are just the beginning, a source of inspiration, as there are hundreds of bird-related gifts just waiting to be discovered.

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Be the Bird!

Infant-Boys-Bluebird-Costume-L12234323-001With Halloween quickly approaching, the procrastinators among us are frantically searching for a brilliant, yet easy-to-execute costume idea. Since this is a birding (among other things) blog, I thought I’d offer a bit of inspiration—costume ideas I’ve collected from around the internet. I’m afraid not all of these look simple and easy to pull off at the last minute, but some were just too creative to pass up. Hopefully, these will get your creative juices flowing! Continue reading “Be the Bird!”

Gifts to Avoid for Bird Lovers

Wondering what to get that birder on your list? There are plenty of websites that offer the best gifts for bird lovers. But how do you know to avoid those gifts that won’t deliver as expected? Here are my suggestions on what not to buy, and why:

Felt-birdhousesFelt birdhouse. These are adorable but they have some serious shortcomings if you intend to actually offer them as nest boxes. For one, felt may be “naturally waterproof” but the blurb goes on to mention that you can air dry them if they become soaked. A soaked house is not healthy for baby birds.

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Beyond Roses

rose_bundlesHeading to the store to buy a dozen red roses for Valentine’s Day? How cliché! Everybody gives roses. Unless you know your sweetie is a rose aficionado, don’t follow the herd—dare to be different! Break out of your routine and expand your horizons. There are a lot of other flowers out there feeling pretty unappreciated right now.

Carnations
Carnation 'Moondust' - wikicommons
I admit, I really don’t care that much for roses. I would much prefer a bouquet of carnations. They last twice as long—or longer. I think they smell better, too. And there’s something… unassuming about a dozen humble carnations in a plain white vase that appeals to me. (My husband is delighted I like carnations, as they’re much cheaper, too.) You can go for red, pink, white, or a combination perfect for Valentine’s Day, but they come in yellow and orange too. Other colors (green is popular around St. Patrick’s Day) are artificially induced. Placing a white flower in a vase of colored water does the trick.

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