Friday, January 31, 2014

Back to France - Purchases Anyway

Believe it or not, I'm still putting away and organizing stuff items I bought while in France and the U.K. this past summer.  Yesterday I tackled my "Dump Everything On It and Walk Away" Ikea table in the craft room.  I unearthed some lovely things I wanted to share. All of these stitching goodies were purchased in Paris: four scissors, polka dot linens, slate blue linen, Danish thread, and three fun seasonal ribbon bands.    

The cat / deer encounters continue...
"Oh, I'll ignore that deer..."

"Or maybe I'll give her a look-see!"

Last year's fawns are still awfully cute!

And the does are still pretty protective!

Not much new in the way of bird action to report.  My Chestnut-backed Chickadee was hanging out at the backyard feeders last evening.  I haven't seen my Yellow-rumped Warbler or Black Phoebe in several days. 
Birds come, birds go!  (That's what Tom-Cat says!)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Winter Finish and a New Winter Bird

Design - "Let it Snow" (6 Fat Men)
Designer - Lizzie Kate
Fabric - 28 count Amber linen
Fibers - Crescent Colours, GAST, & WDW - 2 strands over 2 threads
Started - 20 January 2014
Completed - 27 January 2014

Another opportunity!  
The Bushtits came back in the early afternoon just after lunch time.

A bit better light and I got some better photos.

As you can see, I need to refill this feeder with more Bark Butter. 

I hope they stick around for the February Great Backyard Bird Count!

All winter long the Black-capped Chickadees have been 'regulars' at my feeders.  The birds grab a single sunflower seed, or quickly peck at the peanuts - flitting away to the safety of a tree or thicket with small bit of food. The birds hide seeds to eat later.  Each item is placed in its own spot, and the birds can remember thousands of unique hiding places! They are named for the call they make: chicka-dee-dee-dee. Their numbers have slowly and steadily grown as winter has progressed.  I now often count 5,6, 7 or even 8 at a time.  

In the Pacific NW however, we have not one, but two kinds of Chickadees.

So I was really pleased to have a Chestnut-backed Chickadee show up at the peanut feeder.  It's easy to see why the bird has the name it does - the milk chocolate back and shoulders are its most prominent feature. The Chestnut-backed Chickadee dwells in tall conifer forests.  They use lots of fur in making a nest, with fur or hair accounting for up to half the material in the hole. Rabbit, coyote, and deer hair are most common, but hair from skunks, cats, horses, or cows appears in nests as well. The adults make a layer of fur about a half-inch thick that they use to cover the eggs when they leave the nest.

Chickadees are named for the call they make: chicka-dee-dee-dee. Interestingly the two kinds of Chickadees have very different songs.  You can compare the two at Birdnote.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Welcome Rain

I figure I have time to start a couple more snowguys before the month ends. I chose "Old Man Winter" as he seems to be the guest who has outstayed his welcome in many parts of the country.

As for here, I am pleased to have it raining. The last time it rained was back on January 12th.   

The rain did not seem to impact feeder attendance.
My little Downy showed up. 

As did the Starlings (grrrr!)

Interestingly the male Acorn Woodpecker spent some quality time at one of my suet feeders.  That's a first (at least as far as my personal observation goes).  In that past the Acorns have been all about peanuts, peanuts, and yet more peanuts.

Hey look!  It's a Marshmallow Bird Bushtit!

I was in the backyard about 4pm and I heard the flock flying in from a young stand of Douglas Fir trees.  I ran back into the house and looked out the dining room window. Within a few seconds they were at the Bark Butter feeder.  I think there are about 10 birds total. 

Still not very good photos as it was a low-light situation that late in the afternoon.  And once again they only stayed for a minute or so before moving on. 

My pretty little female Oregon Junco was much more accommodating.

She held her pose long enough that I was able to focus the camera so that even her dark gray eyebrow feathers are visible!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Most Everyone is in Need of a Warm Winter Welcome

Design - "Warm Winter Welcome"
Designer - Barbara Ana Designs
Fabric - 30 count R & R Light Cappuccino linen 
Fibers - DMC & Anchor - variegated colors -2 strands over 2 threads
Started - 11 January 2014
Completed - 24 January 2014

Based on all the storms, the snow, and the extreme cold blanketing most of the United States, I'd say most everyone would welcome a truly Warm Winter! This was a fun and cheerful stitch.  It used 'regular' Anchor and DMC colors as well as some variegated colors.  The variegated threads were a bit of a challenge to find.  I ended up having to special order them.

I mentioned that we had an especially nice sunny Sunday.  

I think that everyone enjoyed it. It's hard to take a photo of my entire covey of quail.  If you click on this photo I think there are around 25-26 birds milling about.

My Yellow-rumped Warbler came by and posed for some shots to add to his portfolio.
Straight on...  

Right side profile...

Left side profile!

The most amusing bird though was an Anna's Hummingbird.

It was such a nice warm day, he decided to take a bath in the small pool atop my front fountain.

But as you can see he had problems combating the strength of the burbling water.

To keep the fountain from freezing during the winter months, I have the pump turned up.  After the chance of hard frosts pass, I'll turn the pump down and the water flow will be much quieter.  I expect the hummers will use this 'bath' from April through October.  It's the perfect size for these little jewels. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sunny Sunday

This Cottage Garden Sampling's stitch says something about "the smell of summer..." and Sunday gave a good impression if not summer, then spring.

All of you suffering from one storm after another probably won't want to hear about my Sunday.  The day was beyond lovely - sunny and 58F!  I worked outside all afternoon without even a light coat or a sweater.  Back in early December I moved most of my plants into the shop as we had snow and Arctic cold temperatures.  I finally got around to wheel-barrowing most of the plants to the Back Patio and the greenhouse once again.  I still have about six more loads of plants awaiting ferrying.  
We did have another frosty morning.
Padma had a face-off with the deer...

...before deciding that retreat was the better part of valor.

I now have two gray squirrels at the feeders.

I know they can be a nuisance, but honestly their antics and acrobatics amuse me.
The jays do not find the squirrels to be as entertaining as I do.

We are in agreement that we don't much care for Starlings.

That's a view also shared by my Flickers!
This female is confronting a cheeky starling and saying, "No room at the suet for you!"

I have had a couple of male Flickers too.

I think their red markings look as though their lipstick has been applied with a heavy hand!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sleep In Sunday

Padma says a Sleep In Sunday morning is a 'purrfect' way to begin the day. 

I think this Steller's Jay looks like he got up before combing his hair. 

This one too - I didn't now birds could have "Bed Heads"!

This Oregon Junco on the other hand, looks quite well groomed and pulled together.

My little flock of Bushtits has become semi-regular.  The birds are very difficult to photograph as they are very small and only stay for 30 seconds or so before flitting off again.  The last few times I've been outside, and on the wrong side of the bird feeder to get a good shot.  

They sure are darling little marshmallow birds.

What's larger than a marshmallow, but still puffy and cute?
Mr. California Quail.

I'm getting a pretty good group of Chickadees.  I've counted 5 or 6 at a time at the front feeder.  They and the Juncos are my main customers at the feeders in the backyard.

Ah, Gold-crowned Sparrows.  Goodness, but I do have lots of sparrows.  It will be interesting to see what totals I get for the Great Backyard Bird Count in mid-February.