Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Book Finished

I don't get to do much reading for pleasure doing the school year so when brief stints of vacation roll around I try to pick up a book. I had heard about Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Relin from my former pastor. She gave an inspiring sermon based upon the book and then started the Pennies for Peace campaign among the congregation. I had put the book on my list to read but hadn't gotten to finding a copy. Before Christmas I was speaking with a friend and she had just finished the book and offered it to me to read. I finished it yesterday. It's an amazing story of dedication and selflessness in this world of materialism. If you haven't read it, I hope you will.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Suet Feeder

Several weeks ago I bought a suet feeder which I hung off a birdfeeder. I filled it with a suet block that contained red pepper to discourage the raccoons and squirrels. Within two days the suet feeder was gone. Totally gone. No evidence that it had ever been there except for a few links of chain.

Last weekend I bought a new one when I went to Wildlife Authority, my local source for bird seed. More about them in a bit. They had one left that was a cage within a cage. The outside cage allows the birds to get into the inside cage filled with suet. The bottom allows the woodpeckers to cling to it and get to the suet. To discourage any marauders I bought a long hook and then hung it from a high tree branch. If the squirrels comedown to it they won't get into it because of the caging. It's too high for the raccoons.

When Emily comes later this week for Christmas I hope she'll get a picture for me of the red bellied woodpecker clinging to the bottom eating suet.

As to my favorite bird store, I'm afraid they may be going under in these tough times. They had everything on sale for 20% off except seed and looked to be liquidating all of their existing stock, with no new stock replacing it. I got the last suet feeder of its kind when I went last weekend. I hope they can hang on.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fox Sightings and Other Visitors

Last Wednesday I was seated at this laptop when movement caught my eye. I looked up and saw a lovely red fox walk through my backyard along the edge of the glen. It stopped under my new suet feeder and sniffed up at it. It won't get any closer than that (but that's the subject of another blog) and then veered off over the edge of the glen.

About ten minutes later the same thing happened again, but this time the fox was moving faster as though it was chasing the first fox.

Yesterday morning I looked out the bedroom window at the backyard and there was the fox again trotting along the edge of the glen from west to east. I called for Dan to come see and as we watched the fox veered to its left and came up on the deck, lifted its leg and marked the upright beam with its urine! It continued on the deck and Dan speculated it was going to do the same thing to the other beams, but we lost sight of it as it continued east our sight obstructed by the rest of the house.

The other visitors have been the regulars: birds and deer. The latter I just chased away from my English laurel bushes. They were having a fine breakfast out there. I didn't think they liked to eat those kinds of leaves. I haven't seen any evidence of them eating there before. But why am I surprised? They eat anything that's green.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tree Trimmed

The house is decorated and ready for Christmas.

Each year the mantle has a new variation.


One year Emily or Sarah received these Father Christmases to paint. I've added some more to them. I suppose whoever's they are will want them back some day?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Egg Ornaments


In 1991 every time I used an egg I would blow out the insides rather than crack it open. I gathered at least 6 dozen eggs this way. Sarah and Emily were 5 and 10 then and they undertook the project of painting the eggs as ornaments with me before Christmas. Our tree that year was covered with egg ornaments.

Since that time I don't always put these ornaments on the tree but do like to display them on a smaller one. This year I purchased a better looking small fake tree. Here is my egg tree this year with a close up on some of the ornaments.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Untrimmed Tree

We have enjoyed cutting Christmas trees over the years. Last year we found this place in Carroll County that had a wide assortment of trees. They discounted trees when trees were the last ones in the parcel and they wanted them cut so they could plant new in the spring. Dan and I went back there on Saturday. We found a tree that stands at least 10 feet tall that was marked $29. Others of that height were $92. We think ours was marked down because it had a yellow hue next to the other trees. For us, it fit the price, was the right size and shape. Here at home its looks green.

Here is is untrimmed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

First Snow


It snowed last night for the first time this December. We were to go out to a party last night but we called with regrets. Our driveway is extremely steep and though we'd have gotten down we wouldn't have gotten back up safely. Fortunately the drive faces south and the sun is just now warming the dark pavement and melting the snow for us.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Bench part 2


Emily sent a picture of the bench in its new location in their home.
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