Thursday, April 30, 2015

Before April Ends

Before April ends I think I'll tackle one more Easter stitch.  I pulled out two different variegated threads - I'm thinking the one on the left will win out.

A few days ago a large flock of Evening Grosbeaks swooped in "Chrring" away noisily.

The guys are so bright and cheerful.

It turned out to be the perfect time to try out my newest feeder.

The dome feeder on the left is new and the Grosbeaks appear fine with it.

I even captured a bird in flight to the feeders.

The Grosbeaks will also feed on the ground.

I'd rather they use the feeders as they are safer there. The slanted roof of this feeder has worked a charm in keeping the Band-tailed Pigeons from gorging out.  Yea!  

I also had a very large group of American Goldfinches and Pine Siskins.

The feeder on the upper left is a 'cling' feeder designed so that only small song birds can hang on. 

I counted 24 Goldfinches and 27 Grosbeaks!

Besides the food, having water available is also important.

Everyone enjoys a natter at the water fountain!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Welcome Spring!

April is the month that really ushers in spring, so this Primitivebetty's stitch seems more than appropriate.  

It is also a great time to take a walk and see all that is green and growing.
Come on and take a look! 

Our small meadows are green and purple with clumps of Blue Oregon Iris (Iris tenax).

I am seeing more Camas (Camassia quamash) though they are still a couple of weeks away from being in full bloom.

The Large False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum) is now in bloom.

Sometimes a very small area will have several different wildflowers.  At the back are the tony pink blooms of Shiny Geranium (Geranium - lucidum), in the middle the white blooms and long narrow leaves of Star Flowered False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum stellatum), and in the foreground the three rounded leaves of a young Trillium.   

Here's the very beginning of a Might Oak - this baby is only a few inches tall. 

The new shiny leaves of Poison Oak - beware!

I cannot get enough of Vine Maple (Acer circinatum).  The new leaves are such a vibrant green.

The Vine Maple's red stems and flowers are striking too. 

I found a small patch of Fawn Lilies (Erythronium oregonum) on the bank of the Big Creek. 
I cannot believe all the berries on the Indian Plums (Oemleria cerasiformis) this spring.

The bushes are covered with them! I wonder if the Cedar Waxwings will come by to feast.

Our Ash trees are among the last to leaf out in the spring, and the first to lose their leaves in the fall.   

We have several Spanish Bluebells that have happily naturalized. We had them at our old house across the way in a flowerbed.  I wonder what bird or critter brought them over here. 

A nice stand of Wood Violets (Viola glabella) is in full bloom.

We have two Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) on the property.

And back to the Oregon Blue Iris.  I am floored each spring with all the different shades of purple.  This one is very dark and rich colored.   

While this clump boasts two different pale shades of violet.

The Western Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) is in bloom. It is often pronounced as though it is spelled 'Sarvice-berry'. 

As we head into May the young Douglas Fir trees are getting their new growth for the year.  By summer's end the bright green tips will have darkened and be indistinguishable from the older needles on the branches.

Are you tired?  Come on up to the Back Patio and I'll get you a drink.  We can sit outside with the Cat Contingent and watch the birds.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

As April Ends...

Design - "Tulip Time" (freebie)
Designer - Primitivebettys
Fabric - 32 count dyed linen
Fibers - DMC - 2 strands over 2 threads
Started - 23 April 2015
Completed - 24 April 2015

I used DMC 535, 931, 987, 3755, and 3787. I think my color selection turned out pretty well.

Boy the days sure do fly by. It's Tuesday and so I'm going to share my gardening bits over at a Tuesday Garden Party and the Maple Hill Blog Hop.

My little Auricula collection is going strong.
I bought the rather sad looking plants on sale in February. They've all recovered and rebounded. This was the first to bloom.

And now the second plant is blooming.

The closer you look, the prettier the Auriculas are. My third plant is about to bloom, and I think that all three will be different colors.  

This Bleeding Heart is a glowing monster plant!  The good thing is that it also provides cover and shelter for the small ground feeding birds as I have feeders nearby.

This is a very small Iris of some sort.  I bought it several years ago and it has spread making a nice ground cover. 

I am mad for Muscari - this is one of the later blooming ones and rather unusual too as it is a purple plume.  It is called Muscari Plumosum.  The tag reads "Grape Muscari on Steroids! Big fat feathery foo foo flowers on 8-10" steam of violet blue are very dramatic!  Blooms April, sun to part shade no irrigation required (unless dry in spring).  Deer resistant, clay tolerant, even grows under walnuts!  Naturalizes where happy.  USDA Z5".    

My Mom has three clumps of dwarf Bearded Iris.  They are pretty little things.

More Muscari!  

The first of my Salvias are in bloom.

As are the Azaleas.

And the last of the daffodils.  That is always sad I think.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Avian Activities

I've begun to stitch the goose.  Much to my surprise it is a black goose with blue details.  I do like the colors, I'd just thought it was going to be a white goose. (And yes, I've stared at the chart photo numerous times without noticing the color of the goose.) 

Mornings are filled with the sight and sounds of the Swallows.

House-hunting has heated up. The Tree Swallows appear to be holding their own and I have every hope that they will 'own' a house and nest this year. 

The male is quite blue - this is my best shot so far.

Here's the happy Tree Swallow couple.

I've counted eight Violet-Green Swallows - four couples.

I keep telling them there are plenty of houses for everyone!

The bird couples have taken to perching on the gutter above the house of their choice.

See the feather in the house?  I think we've started to build nests.  MY large flock of Band-tailed Pigeons (42 at last count) is providing many of the downy feathers the swallows are using for their nesting material.

The California Quail parade about as couple now as well.

For the longest time, I had three pair and a bachelor, but over the weekend I counted four couples - eight birds, so perhaps the bachelor was able to find a like-minded female. 

Most mornings there is a pair of Red-breast Nuthatches at the Big Bird Feeder.

They fly to the feeder, get a sunflower seeds, and then fly to a large tree to lodge the seed in a crevice in the bark.

I wonder how they remember where they've stashed their seeds.  And I wonder how many of their seeds the squirrels and chipmunks find and eat.

The Jays also stash seeds. 

And why not, they seem to ask!

I am still playing around with my feeder configurations.
I'm trying to find feeders that the Evening Grosbeaks can use, but that the Starlings and Band-tailed Pigeons cannot access easily. 

I bought a new feeder on Sunday, I'm hoping that the Evening Grosbeaks will take to it.  Thus far the feeders they prefer are quickly and easily emptied out by the Pigeons.