Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bird & Plant Shopping

Yesterday, Pat and I headed out to Homestead Heritage for the last time this spring. The seminar was on drip irrigation. We love the idea of watering our plants efficiently and consistently given the fact that we have had an excellent chance for rain for 3 days now and have barely registered a quarter inch. While there, we picked up a suet hanger and 4 suet bricks. If you’re ever at the General Store at the Homestead, buy your suet from them. They were only $1 each and the hanger was $2.75. That gives you an idea of how inexpensive these feeders can be.

Trap-perch bird feeder!
 After that, we headed into town to Wild Birds Unlimited. It is one of my favorite stores. Although I can often find feeders elsewhere cheaper, their bird feeders tend to be higher quality, and some of them come with warranties or lifetime guarantees. We purchased this steel-trap birdfeeder while there. I just love this style. I bought a similar feeder for mother for her birthday a few years back. She said Uncle Billy had one like this and it was quite squirrel proof. The perch is weighted so that if a bird lands on it, nothing happens.  When a squirrel lands, the perch clamps tight keeping the squirrel from the seed.  We’ll see. We have some mighty fat squirrels on our property---cunning ones, too!

Hummingbird feeder from Poteet, Texas

We also purchased a tiny hummingbird feeder brush to clean the feeder portals. That cost a whopping forty-nine cents, and well worth the price. WBU also has a card with Hummingbird Nectar Solution and care for feeders. I like to mix up nectar in 2 cup batches. That way I’m not wasting a lot of nectar between batches. They recommend cleaning the feeder every 2 to 4 days, especially in the hot summertime, and changing the nectar regularly. Other websites warn not to use red food coloring as that can cause fermentation. (That made Mr. Pat a little upset…he likes the red color.)  Below are the recipe and cleaning recommendations.

Hummingbird Nectar Solution

1 part sugar to 4 parts water (example: ½ sugar to 2 cups water)
  1. Heat half of water
  2. Dissolve all of sugar in hot water
  3. Add second half of water as ice water
Cleaning Feeders & Birdbaths: 1 part bleach to 10 parts water

Caladium in birdbath

We finished the "shopping" part of the day at Lowes.  We bought bird feed there because it's much cheaper than at WBU.  We also bought 3 shade tolerant Hostas and 2 Caladiums.  I planned to put the Hostas and Caladiums in the bed that is next to the house.  It is a gardening goal of mine to find something that will grow well there besides Mondo Grass.  Well, Mr. Pat loves Caladiums, and he snatched one of them to put in a special spot.  I don't looks quite lovely there.  Plus, it gives me an excuse to buy another plus 10 more plants for him to take care of!  I've planted the Hostas, but I am waiting to snap pictures until we finish cleaning the bed out completely.  I also need to watch the sun patterns, because I think part of that bed does get some sunshine.

Finally, other weekend chorse included: 
  • praying for rain (none so far),
  • turning the compost bed--I think it's getting close to being finished!!
  • planting new plants
  • salivating over a tomato that is ripening
  • bird watching

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