songbird's roost

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by songbird, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

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    Great post songbird :)
    Fantastic effort!
    I have a few strawberries ... in pots! After reading this I'm gunna make more effort to get a big patch going :) I love strawberries :)
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    what type of soil?

    sounds like you have plenty of fertilizer and they do like plenty of organic material. water might be a challenge as they do need enough when setting fruit to keep going. might need to fence them from critters that will want to raid them. i have one patch in the fenced garden and then the other patches are more sacrificial and unfenced. they can't get 'em all (but they do try :) )!

    i love that they grow so easily here and can have several crops during the season from the ever-bearing type. i'm not sure how they will do in a longer season, but i'll be interested to hear how it goes for you and to provide cheers and encouragement. it sounds like Terra does ok with them down there so i can't imagine you'd have trouble but i'm not sure what the difference is between his location and yours...

    they are also one of the earliest things to come along after a winter of eating tasteless fruit and veggies imported from other places.

    if you get plenty of rain be preparred to be overrun. but i suspect cows and goats will be happy to eat them... :)

    wear long sleeves when picking/thinning, the edge of the leaves can be sharp and cause irritation. i usually have thin gloves on too.

    thanks! it's always been fun and i sure enjoy the results. i'm surprised i don't turn red from eating so many. :)

    oh, i forget to mention bird baths, we have a bunch of them in spots around the gardens, the birds don't get fed, but they do get water, helps keep them going after bugs and seems to keep them from getting after fruits just because they are thirsty. not a cure-all or preventative, but it at least nudges them in the right direction (water --> *this way*) (berries
     
  3. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    That looks quite magical!!!!......but I'm glad I dont live there, way too cold for me.
     
  4. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

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    Oh my goodness! Snow is so beautiful & so scary at the same time! :)
     
  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    yeah, it can be a bit cold at times... :) scary, i don't quite get that as i have lived with winter weather my whole life and spent 15 years in a place that gets much more snow than we get here (200-300 inches of snow would not be unusual for there, 100+ inches would be unusual here).
     
  6. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

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    Two questions :)
    What on earth do you do inside while it's snowing? Doesn't it get tedious?
    &
    Don't you worry about what would happen if the power went out? I sometimes get isolated by floodwater & have no power of phone or internet for days at a time, but it's almost always warm when that happens (& at worst it's never freezing!) so you just kick back & hang out & find things to entertain oneself. But it would be scary if there was a chance one would freeze to death! I hate the cold :)
     
  7. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i don't worry, always have plans in place and backup plans and backup
    to backup plans...

    i've always been happy alone, so no, my own company i don't find tedious, i always have projects (computer stuff, reading, ...), and if i seem to not be doing anything Ma can sometimes come along with a sink full of dishes after cooking something for me to do or feed the worms or ...

    and there are things outside to do either shovelling the drive or going walking in the woods.

    for heat when the power goes out we have a tank of propane fuel (which also runs the heat when the power is on) and a fake fireplace that we can switch on that does not use any electricity. that will keep us from freezing, but most of the time when the power goes out it isn't out that long. the house holds heat for quite some time if the wind isn't howling. if it is we just sit by the fireplace and chat or play cards or Ma will knit. in the 16 years here we've had power out longer than a day or so once or twice. i suspect we'd end up at a shelter or at one of my brother's place if it looked to be a long time with the power out (i'd have to put antifreeze in the toilets, drains and empty the hot water heater and well pump tank before leaving and also turn out the power as you don't want the power coming back on when you have an empty hot water heater). this is about what you need to do to close up a cabin for the winter so it isn't a routine task that some folks aren't familiar with. the other thing to do is to consider buying a generator that could keep the heat running and also tie that into the propane tank (get a larger tank too :) ). for as little as we'd use it this would be a waste of money IMO.

    the phone is on a different power supply so it will not go out when the power goes out. if we get low on propane we ring them and they show up a few days later.

    i'd love to be completely self-sufficient for heat and electricity if i wanted to go solar or wind or something else. i keep watching how things are coming along with various technologies and i'm not above tinkering, the problem is that Ma is quite happy with things as they are so any alterations will likely be years away. i have a list and plans... always do as a system's kind of person...

    ok, well as there is some dishes to do i'll go tackle those... :)
     
  8. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    as you can see, finally got the color wheel done

    it was a bit of a challenge as i have absolutely no prior experience with painting other than ages ago as a kid with water colors.

    i had the whole thing done, each color numbered and went to clean off any random finger prints and dust with a spray of rubbing alcohol, i figured once dry that acrylics would be just like any other plastic. oops. smeared the heck out of a few streaks and grumbled to myself.

    but as it turned out, after cleaning off the smears, redoing the screwed up streaks i realised i didn't much like the look of it anyways, so i went on to remove the numbers and much of the streaks to get to the final layout.

    then today i sprayed it with a clear matte finish to reduce shine from a flash or lighting:

    [​IMG]

    a 1.1Mb file, but it gets the full detail of it. the E is a 1cm mark with a tick halfway (for a reference scale).
    [ed. just thumbnail now for full version go to website]

    the list of colors used on the wheel will get posted in that subdirectory (eventually :) ).

    now i'm ready to get back into production. that is, getting pictures of all the bean varieties i have. where to begin...

    and, yes, we're still getting snowed on...
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  9. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    small winter project

    the remaining garlic i had on hand was starting to sprout and put out roots. the other day i peeled it and was going to put it up and got distracted (ooh shiny, book!).

    today i get the garlic trimmed and got out the ancient hand cranked grinder and run the garlic through the grinder, then i drench it with lemon juice, stir well, pack it in jars, then into the freezer it goes.

    four jars which will get us through until harvest time. it's easy to use when cooking. Ma took a while to get used to thinking of it and sometimes would forget to use it. we've not had to buy garlic for several years now. :)
     
  10. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I've never heard of garlic being stored like that before! Never thought of putting it in the freezer either.
    I always run out of the stuff, so now I have a lemon tree again, I might just try this.
     
  11. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    having fresh lemons off a tree would make it even better. :) we have to buy either the concentrated lemon juice or lemons shipped from the warmer areas of the country. i think it would be fine with lime juice too. as i worry about it not being acidic enough i do drench the ground up garlic thoroughly and mix well so that it is just short of soupy. i don't want botulism troubles...

    also, i would not feel comfortable freezing whole chunks of garlic for long. i just don't trust modern freezers to keep things cold enough. that is why i grind them up some and add the lemon juice. to make sure no botulism bacteria have an easy go of it.
     
  12. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    a few more killdeer pictures

    since folks have been appreciative and enjoying them :) i went back and found a few more in the photo collection to post to the website:

    www.anthive.com/project/killdeer/


    the little fuzzballs are cute...
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  13. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    from the Trophic Cascade...

    hmm, wonder if this will work... we'll see... :)

    yes, we do have a good thing going, we get along well most of the time. she's been a good friend to me my whole life and i've done my best by her too. :) i did live away for over 20 years before finally getting back this way. if my step-dad hadn't decided to split i doubt i'd have gotten that involved in the gardens here as i have. i'm sure i would have still helped out at times, but not anything like what i do now.

    she started the gardens here about 16 years ago when they first built the place. just a small 15x15ft corner of the back yard. it just kinda went on from that, no planning involved, for sure, as if there had been perhaps they'd have brought in a few more feet of topsoil out back to avoid the flooding troubles and much other problems too... but it's what we've got and so we work around what we can, and deal with what can't be gotten around. as i am able the soil keeps improving and she's seeing that process at work. it's fun, if it weren't i don't think i'd be doing it...

    as for the flowers, most of them are trades for others or ones i've picked up since i've been here. Ma had some of the bulbs planted in a few patches that i had to renovate a few times and then i finally had a chance to raise up that whole end of the fenced gardens so i did that. it was the last year i was working part time so i actually had a few extra dollars to pay to bring in extra topsoil, to install drainage and buy a few thousand new bulbs. the chipmunks have since done a good job on thinning them out a bit, but those that are left are still nice to see. :)

    we are indeed two very different people, i do know something when it looks nice and i can even design things here or there, but she's relentless in how she'll arrange and rearrange. i don't mind a few weeds or a scruffy patch of cover crop, but she hates anything like that so at times i'll lose valuable cover to her wanting to rake it up and cart it off or she'll mow it or smother it. i'm gradually bringing her around to understand soil fertility and organic matter issues along with providing habitat for froggies, toads, snakes, etc. we are making progress, we see a lot more wild life here than before. she's coming along. i'll make a permie out of her yet. :)

    as for the killdeer, she really doesn't like them, but she tolerates them because i like them. the killdeer are tame enough that i can usually work and they won't flutter or call/screetch much at all. i walk right by them a few feet away and they'll just look at me and peep a little, but otherwise they stay put on the nest. even in the fenced garden they rarely actually get eggs hatched, we have a lot of raccoons around which will raid eggs if they can find them. with the number of snakes we have i've been surprised that we don't lose killdeer eggs to snakes too, but they might be a bit too large or the snakes can't smell them or something.

    thanks again, :) it's great to have people able to appreciate the flowers and gardens from all over. all the various critters that make it home are well worth it too.
     
  14. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    killdeer

    [Thanks Manfred! :) we'll see if this works...]


    From Spring 2013:

    [​IMG]

    usually they face towards me when i'm around, but this time i was able to get a fairly nice picture from the side.


    [​IMG]

    trying to decide if i'm really coming close enough to play pretend broken wing fluttering run away... good centered shot with the rings. like a bullseye. interesting pattern and i wonder if that helps with making it easier for them to see in a lot of reflected light? many times they do nest in bright sandy places.

    [​IMG]

    two little peepers out, i just happened by when the eggs were hatching. it didn't take long. i took a few pictures and then went inside so the parent bird could do what they needed to do.


    [​IMG]

    then i went back out and the other two were hatched -- almost. i love the picture of the last one still mostly in the egg: all legs, tangled, still sorting things out, figuring out where they are now. after so many days in an egg imagine what they are seeing all at once. to be able to go from that to running around in a day or two after hatching. they are very hard to find after the first day. i rarely can get pictures of them still in the place where the nest is. the parents must eat the shells, they are also gone soon.
    sometimes we see them running around, but often we only hear them running around in the surrounding fields.


    from spring 2012:

    [​IMG]

    the patterns on these eggs always amaze me.


    [​IMG]

    the singleton, to start with, one per day or so, yet they all hatch around the same time. sound, they speak to each other and then break out.

    [edited: picture replaced with a better one above...]

    much detail, look closer, you can see how it is formed in layers, she might rotate the egg a bit as it forms to move the spots around? never studied egg formation and shell spotting. hmm...


    From Spring 2010:

    [​IMG]

    these ones are different in shade. lighter white than the others which were more tan. because of the location/background gravel or different bird? not sure yet, but suspect they can adjust shading based upon where they choose to nest. we'll see as the research continues... so pointy these, is that the end for the feet or the head? me think feet. cute feet!


    [​IMG]

    she/he didn't run away, but did spread wings to almost flutter and play broken wing. captured the shape and pattern of the feathers from the top. these birds are used to me and rarely even bother making much noise or fluttering when i'm around as long as i'm far enough away from the nest. 2ft is too close, but often 3-4ft and they'll stay on the nest and just look at me. once in a while i'd toss them a grasshopper, june bug or worm and they'll get it.


    [​IMG]

    what every parent likes in their kids, the spiked look? :) they will stay like this only for a short time before they are up and running. within two days i'll be lucky to ever see them again. once i was able to find them because they fell in a hole. i propped a stick in there and they were gone the next day. i've seen the young running around the yard only a few times and never have i gotten pictures as by then i'm often doing something else than carrying the camera and taking pictures. some year... one must always have goals, even if they are simple. :)

    [while i'm editing, bonus picture]

    More Eggs!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  15. Manfred

    Manfred Junior Member

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    :y:

    Lovely creatures!
     
  16. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Thanks Songbird, wonderful photos!
     
  17. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

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    OMG they are exquisite! The colours & textures of the eggs & the babies & the stones & the woodchips are so beautiful they make me feel high :)

    OK now post some of your irises :) They're pretty groovy too :)

    And I think there were also some really pretty tulips weren't there? I'll have to go back & have another look :)

    Thanks for posting them. I love seeing photos of other peoples place in the world :)
     
  18. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    thanks! me too! i'm a sucker for textures and rocks too. we have truckloads of rocks here from all over the country. i'll have to get some of the other pics linked some other day, but yes, i'll pick a few out of my favorites and put the links here. now that Manfred got me straightened out on how to do it so it just shows up (and i don't have to edit or downsize the files again :) ) inline. much nicer.


    you're welcome and thank you too. :)


    they are not the most colorful, but they have character, and that they don't fly much so they are usually always running around.

    when i go out and work in the gardens, if they are nesting/sitting on the eggs, i'll often just sit and watch them from 3-4m away. they do this head-bob thing and so at times i'll bob my head too. i don't know what it means.

    the funny thing is, several weeks after these chicks hatched and the family all went running around as they usually do, not in the gardens where they hatched, out in the fields. so they are very rarely in the gardens. i was in there working on a garden and one of the adult killdeer came along, hopped on a rock about 3m away and bobbed and i bobbed back and then it went off. like it was saying hello. or perhaps just looking for an easy bug/worm...? :)
     
  19. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

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    I also hate posting photos unless it's really simple. I imagine it's even harder for you with your slow internet connection :(

    Do they always do the head bobbing thing or only when you're close to them?
     
  20. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

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    These little buggars are colourful and full of character :)
    And they're awake, fighting, & right outside my bedroom at daylight every morning :) : /

    Oh bloody hell ... I got this message when I tried to upload the photo ... what does this mean anyone?

    Rainbow Lorries for PRI.jpg: Exceeds your quota by 27.0 KB. Click here to view your attachments

    What quota?
    I'm not trying to upload it to my albums ... just to post on this thread ... what have I done wrong now? : /
     

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