Tag Archives: bird feeding

Little Things That Help Me Get Through Winter

I’m a summer girl, which I’ve noted before. When I was younger, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) wasn’t in the common vernacular. Not like today. When I first heard of it and was quite sure it affected me, I checked several relevant books out of the library and incorporated ideas from them into my life, including avoiding the temptation to hibernate, getting outdoors for whatever daylight you could, exercising, and using bright, cheerful colors and plentiful lights in your home (on this front, I say “pah!” to sitting around in the dark conserving energy and electricity).

Doing these things helped a lot. In addition, I rely on other small things that help me pass the winter and make it more enjoyable.

Healthy, home-made baked goods.

I love breads, carbs, etcetera. If there were no bad repercussions I’d happily eat cake, pie, cupcakes, eclairs, cookies, croissants, donuts, and – you get the idea. However I’m committed to good nutrition and a pretty healthy diet. By making my own stuff, I can have it both ways.
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Footie Socks

Are these a for-girls-only thing? I don’t know if men get to wear these; I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in “masculine,” somber colors. These little socks for lounging at home are the best! They are SO soft.
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Favorite Hats

I have quite a few winter hats but I like some better than others. The little black one is my go-with-anything hat. Sometimes I put a pretty pin on the brim to snazz it up.
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A Great Scarf

I get a lot of compliments on this. I picked it up for $3 or $4 a couple years ago at a Ross store. It was between this and another color. But this was it. It makes me happy and goes with everything. I get lots of compliments on it and am often asked if I made it. I sense women would like me to answer “yes I made it” and I could probably make something like this, but I didn’t.
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Bird Watching & Feeding

Seeing wildlife go about the business of their lives is somehow encouraging to me. They are a reminder of the old “life goes on” no matter what.
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House Plants

I keep a bunch of houseplants. It helps to have green, growing things around. I don’t have optimum plant conditions so I rely on hardier types. They clearly don’t much care for winter either, so I feel like we tough it out together.
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Colorful Gloves

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Pretty Tealight Holders (and Tealights)

I like candles but have come to predominantly use tealights. They’re protected from drafts and less likely to burn your house down. I wouldn’t say you can forget about them but they don’t require the hyper-vigilance and fearful caution pillars and tapers do. I’ve acquired a couple great little holders from yard sales too. I like ’em with character, not boring.
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The Modern Equivalent of Sitting By the Fire

Here’s another thing you can’t/shouldn’t leave unattended but I love using this little heater when I’m staying put. It’s the only heater I use in my bedroom and I keep it next to a comfy chair for reading, watching DVDs, etcetera. The principle behind a little space heater (this one is only 8″ tall) is to heat YOU, not so much the room at large, and that it does.
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Cocoa

Special Dark doesn’t have the same level of antioxidants as regular cocoa, but I don’t really care. This one is so dark & rich.
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Herbal Tea That Actually Has Flavor

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A Stack of Books and DVDs from the Library (If You’re Old-School)

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A Brightly Colored, Snuggly Blankie

I don’t know where all the inexpensive fleece blankets came from when they started being everywhere but wherever it was, I’m glad they did! Seeing this color – which looks like orange sherbet to me – all winter is a definite pick-me-up. It’s lightweight and perfect for the aforementioned chair when I settle in with books or movies.
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Prisms

They shine better here in winter with the direction of the sun and absence of shade trees.
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Nature on Cold, Sunny, Blue-Skyed Days

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Getting Oregano to Marginally Limp Through the Cold Months

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Hot Soup

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Today on “As the Hummingbird Turns, um, Flies”

Until I started regularly putting out and tending a seasonal hummingbird feeder several years ago, I had no idea that these amazing little birds squeak. That’s right, they emit a sort of happy, squeaking sound at the feeder. Not all the time, but once in awhile. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be an educational, ornithologically correct post, as I doubt you want to read that, and also I don’t really feel like looking up facts.

The squeaky noise sounds like their version of, “OH-MY-GOD-THIS-IS-SO-GOOD, HAPPY, HAPPY, MORE, MORE.” That’s pretty much what I too say about my food in human-speak. It’s really cute. Not what I say, what the birds say squeak. The source of their pleasure is straight, unadulterated sugar water – no wonder they fly around all hyped up. Who else gets that?! (Now that I think about it, if I looked into the matter, I’d probably find a sugar water controversy afoot somewhere online not unlike the low-key debate over regular bird feeding. But I’m not going to look.) Not only do they get sugar water, the concoction is supposed to be made extra strong at the beginning of the season in order to hook attract them. Although once they’ve found a open buffet, they’ll return in following years to the same location. Now that’s a GPS, baby.

Unfortunately, hummingbirds are not the only ones interested in sugar water. So besotted are ants with the sweet liquid, that a bunch of ’em will go right through the feeding ports into the cylinder. Not only are appetite-ruining ants swarming the outside, but dearly departed comrades (“We told them to just take one drink and step aside, but nooooo, they didn’t listen”) are floating inside. The hummingbirds are, reasonably, put off by this spectacle on their meal and shy away, which is probably just as well because I worry about them getting ants lodged in their tiny throats and choking. If birds choke. I tried various homemade foils, which didn’t work, so I caved and bought a rather ingenious ant moat (that’s not what the manufacturer calls it, but that’s what it is) that sits above the feeder and prevents the ant coalition from reaching it. Ants. Don’t. Swim.

Here’s the feeder and ant moat set-up: 
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I don’t know why it has all those ports; I believe I saw two birds feeding nicely together at the same time precisely once (and that was probably only because the male wanted some hot lady hummingbird action that night). Far and away what do the magic birds do most of the time? Fight. Seems my lovely little friends are very territorial – doesn’t matter how much liquid chow is available – ain’t nobody else gonna have it. Mine, mine, mine. One bird, who apparently has had enough or isn’t hungry at the moment, will sometimes sit quietly in a nearby tree or shrub and wait for a competitor to approach the feeder and then fly in, all “I GOT YOU” and chase it off. “So what if I’m not playing with it right now. Any minute, I might want it.
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Sometimes I feel like I should be able to teach them to share, as if I could convince the mini-birds of the silliness in their greedy ways. Near the end of the season, with hundreds if not thousands of miles of flight ahead of them, when you’d think they’d want to be carb-loading, their fighting seems especially ill-advised. By then, though, I can only offer a head-shaking, wry word: “You’re burning daylight, little bird. When you fall out of the sky from exhaustion somewhere over Texas, whose fault will that be?”