Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Trails to the Hummers

Amazing that such tiny little birds can attract such a big crowd, but that is exactly what happened at the one day Hummingbird Festival we attended in Charlotte, NC on Saturday. 

Over 3000 of us were fascinated to watch the petite Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds be prepared for their long migration to Central America.  We watched as little bands were put around their right feet and a dot of white paint was applied to the top of their heads and wing tips. 

The biologist explained that these markings would allow them to keep track of the birds when they return to the area next spring.

After a few photo-ops, she released the little guy into the wild.
I didn't stand a chance of getting a picture of that as they are so fast ~ 35 mph to be exact.  We also learned that they have a wing speed of 60 beats per second and can fly sideways, backwards and even hover.

These little birds have to worry about a lot of different predators.  Everything from bullfrogs sticking out their tongues and pulling them in to ...

outdoor cats to ...

(I won't enlarge this one :).
You get the idea, I'm sure.

The predator that surprised us the most ...
the praying mantis.
I had no idea that a praying mantis could eat a hummingbird, but we learned that they are often found sitting on hummingbird feeders waiting to attack. 

The nest of a hummingbird is about the size of half of a walnut shell.  The mother normally lays 2 eggs the size of a coffee bean.  Sadly with so many predators only about 10% of the babies survive.

I have always been fascinated by hummingbirds and enjoy watching them visit the flowers and feeders in my yard.  Visiting this festival gave me an even bigger appreciation for them.  As a matter of fact, I'm off to clean and re-fill my feeders now. 

Recipe for Hummingbird Nectar:

4 parts water
1 part sugar

~ bring the water to a boil.  Add sugar and stir until dissolved.  Cool before filling the feeder.

The biologist at this festival advised NOT adding red dye to the food as it is harmful to the birds.

On this warm day in late summer, I am wishing all of the little hummingbirds safe travels until we meet again.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Coffee Klatsching on the First Day of School

Today is the big day for the kids in my neighborhood.
Since my kids are no longer heading out for their first day of school, I was content to sit on the porch with my cup of coffee and watch the neighbor kids get on the bus.  The bus stop is right in front of my house.  As I drank my coffee I couldn't help but think about a yearly tradition the mom's had when I was going to elementary school.  If you read my previous post and saw the house where I grew up  you will know that the following scenario took place on that porch.

Back then ... think 1960s ... eek, I know ... long time ago.
Every year on the first day of school, all of the neighborhood moms would congregate on that porch and have a "coffee klatsch".  As we would be trotting off to school they would be sipping coffee, eating baked goods specially made for this moment and talking and laughing.  To the kids in my neighborhood the first day of school was synonymous with the mom's "coffee klatsch." 
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this, but I do have the following picture that my sister gave me on my recent visit:

Here you see my mom and her dearest friends.  I think this was taken before we were born, but as you can see my mom loved a good "coffee klatsch" even then. 

I may not have to get any kids ready for the first day of school, but my thoughts are with children and moms everywhere as they begin a new school year.  May the first day go well and the year be a good experience for all.

Even though it still feels like summer, back to school time always gets me thinking about fall.  Once my coffee is finished I think I'll head out for a walk to see if there are any early signs of fall in the neighborhood.

Hope your day is a good one.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Going Home

Greetings Gals!!

Forgive me for leaving you in the laundry room for so long. 
I was out of town last week and didn't get a chance to do a post before leaving.

Last week I travelled to my home state ~ Michigan.
It was beyond wonderful to spend the entire week with my sister.  While she is working hard at her recovery and it is a SLOW process, there were still so many things we could do together and I cherished each and every one of them.

For starters we went to a matinee of this movie.
Have you seen it?
If not, you might want to.  Soooo gooood!!
I read the book and loved it and the movie was every bit as good as the book. 

We went to a nearby state park and enjoyed the butterfly garden.

While at the state park we reminisced about the many times our boys had been there for field trips and cub scout camps.

We met the newest addition to their family, Champ.
He is a very handsome cat who loves to sit on the nearest lap.

I learned that my sister enjoys playing Yahtzee and that she is a force to be reckoned with.  During our first game she scored 3 Yahtzees.  We played many games of Yahtzee and Solitaire while I was there.  We reminisced about how it was like when we were kids and would play solitaire outside for hours.  We did a lot of reminiscing.  Later in the week my brother from California flew in and joined us in the reminiscing.  While our time together was short, we savored every moment.

And, of course, a trip to my home state and a week of reminiscing with my siblings wouldn't be complete without a trip to our old house.  The modest house that our parents brought each of us home to when we were babies in the 50s.    So much has changed since we lived in that house.  There have been highs and lows, good times and hard times.  Our days spent in that house were the carefree days of our youth.  Back then we could have never imagined where life would lead us in the future. 

"Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family." ~ Anthony Brandt


Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Morning Musings From The Laundry Room

It's been a busy couple of weeks around here.
We've moved both of our boys out of their apartments.
One has moved to a condo in the city.  His first time to begin learning the differences in owning vs. renting.  He seems to be ready for it.  We went for a visit on Saturday and found him happily running the washer and dryer and cleaning the bathroom too.  I did a double take as this is a major change from his college apartment days.  When I suggested that some of his work shirts needed ironing, he proudly pulled out the iron and ironing board he had just purchased.  I tried to give him a crash course in "Introduction to The Iron" as I was rather surprised he even knew what this small appliance was for. 

My other son has moved back home until he can find a new apartment near his campus.  When that happens another move will be taking place. 
All of this moving has meant for little time to take care of things on the homefront.  So, today I am home catching up on my own laundry and other assorted jobs around the home.
As long as I'll be in and out of the laundry room, I thought I'd take you in there as well :).  Lucky you.  :D.

It will come as no surprise that I brought a bit of the garden into the laundry room.

There are plenty of gardeny pictures.

A shadow box where I've tucked in some of my little gardeny treasures.

My sister-in-law found this picture at the Habitat store and had it hanging in her kitchen.  When she moved to a new house, she offered it to me.  It now hangs in my gardeny laundry room.  As the clothes are spinning around in the washer and dryer, I look at this picture and dream of what I want to be doing in the garden.

Speaking of gardening, I have a couple of secrets in my laundry room.  One of them is hidden in that garden tool box above.  Any guesses as to what is in there ??

This is where I keep all of the plant tags for every perennial plant in my garden.  This way if I have a question about what a plant is called or when to fertilize or prune it, I can go to my little box and dig out the tag with all of that important info on it.  At least once a year I go through the tags and edit out the ones of plants that are no longer with us.

My other secret is hidden above the utility sink.

Meet my vase cupboard.
It's so handy to come in from the garden, reach up for a vase, reach down for water to fill the vase and voila ... flower arrangement.
A few weeks ago I cleaned and organized my vase cupboard.  Most of these vases have been found at thrift and antique shops.  Not long after I got them all organized I was reading a post at Susan Branch's blog about her vase cupboard.  Check it out here.  I love when we make these little connections through blogland.  Speaking of Susan Branch's blog, have you been there yet?  Absolutely delightful place to visit. 

Well, I guess it's time to quit talking about the laundry room and get busy doing the laundry.

 I'm off to whistle while I work,
It's a new week ... might as well start it off on a happy note.
♫ Hi Ho, Hi Ho ... ♫♫♫