Yesterday was a gorgeous early spring day, and I decided it was a perfect day to get some outdoor activities done. I brought along my Nikon Coolpix L120 camera to take photos, and decided this morning to post some shots.
When I turned on my camera, I discovered some photos taken prior still remaining on the memory card. I spotted this big momma of a praying mantis on a rock in a garden bed last year. The shadows on the rock from her body are neat — and that look she gave me as I approached with the camera lens as I zoomed in closer, oh my! I can see why my friend fears these small but mighty insects.
Here are some photos of wild turkeys in my yard. I’m pretty sure these were taken Tuesday, as you can see, the snow was beginning to melt away from the unexpected storm on Monday of this week.
The tom turkeys were getting very showy as they were doing their thing. The red and blue coloring on their faces was really intense that day – not sure if related to being angry or mating. It is like a nature channel around here. A week before, they were having battles in the yard – and I posted a video of that on Facebook.
A shot of their butts as they strut their stuff. See the turkey on the right corner of this photo – she noticed me – they have great vision – and I guess never need eyeglasses – unlike me! I took some of these turkey photos through my house windows because they also hear very well and bolt when I open the door.
Ah yes, aren’t you beautiful?! He is workin’ it!!
I wish you could hear the birds in my yard – it is a symphony right now as they bop around and move into the various birdhouses. I got this shot of a bird on my galvanized buckets. The Angelica Stonecrop (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelica’) is a bronzey color right now as it awakens from winter. This perennial is tough and enjoys full sun, coming back year after year. It doesn’t need lots of water and grows close to the ground – making it a useful ground cover. And it grows relatively fast but doesn’t take over. It makes a great container plant too. It will plump up soon and eventually turn a bright yellow color as the season warms up.
The galvanized buckets are located below this new birdhouse we put in last year. I blogged about our process of using a rigid electrical conduit as the pole. You can see the steps here.
The two birds setting up their home in this birdhouse above are adorable. I love how they perch on the birdhouse and fly in and out – they are very happy right now.
However, this next bird is driving me nuts. We had gutter covers installed, and they move into the ends of the gutters – ugh. They are noisy too. They have done this on the garage and the house. In fact, I can hear a rattling noise as they go in and out of the gutter by my home office windows. We have to do something this weekend to prevent them from using our gutters as a home. I don’t know what these birds are called, do you?
We put a blackberry plant below another birdhouse in the backyard, and the birds love to use the plant’s vine as a perch. This birdhouse is getting a little old but still very useful for our feathered friends.
When walking past my gold Arborvitae shrub (Thuja plicata ‘4Ever’), I spotted another praying mantis egg case! That lady at the top of this post was doing a lot of egg laying last season. I guess I will have lots of praying mantises in the yard this year – see my blog post about where baby praying mantis come from.
After goofing around, taking general photos for fun, I went to do a container install for a client at the entrance of his store. It was so sunny out, thus the perfect time to work outside. One customer entering the store called me, “The Martha Stewart of the Package Store,” because this store is a package (a.k.a., liquor) store. Her statement made me laugh – I liked it – yup, dressing up a liquor store – is fun!! And the patrons of this store seem to enjoy the changing up of the theme every season – they always comment as they walk by. It makes me happy. This is what I ended up creating for the Easter season theme this year.
A friend I know from a gardening event we planned about three years ago came up to chat with me, and she asked, “How do you assemble these?” Well, I got creative, making a large round disk out of recycled wood and drilled a hole in the center for a post. Some of the items are attached to the post, and some on the disk below. When I came up with the idea, I kind of felt like a cake decorator – trying to figure out how to put it together and transport most of it. More decor is added while on site to finish up the installation. Because the outdoor location can get windy, all items on the arrangement must be secured. I’m looking forward to installing plants in these barrels next time, after the Easter holiday. Plants are my favorite to do in these big barrels.
Most of the non-living decor is felt or made of other materials able to withstand the effects of outdoor winds, dirt, and bright sun. Sometimes I have used tinsel, but it fades after a few week from the sun. To see more of the ideas I’ve come up with, see my collages here. By the way, I’m for hire to do container installs for businesses or homes – so just call me if interested. It is a great way to welcome your visitors and customers.
When I got home, after finishing the containers at the store and going to the grocery store, I took a black and white photo of my plus-size cat, Kiwi. She’s actually been on a diet but it doesn’t seem to show yet. Anyhow, she likes to look through the deck railings at the birds moving around here. I took a few minutes to get my Vitamin D on the deck before making dinner. In fact, I peeled carrots while sitting on a deck chair – my first deck activity for spring. Nothing like letting carrot peels fly outdoors. An easy cleanup by the raccoons tonight, I thought.
This birdhouse has an interesting story – Steve, my hubby, spotted it at Comstock Ferre & Co in Old Wethersfield, CT, and bought it on the spot. When we got home, we read the paper provided with the birdhouse about its maker and the materials he used to make it. Well, low and behold, the slate on the top was salvaged from Broad Brook – the town where we live. A few months later, I met the birdhouse maker at an art show. I showed him my pictures of it with blackeyed susan vine flowers twining up, all the way to the top, from last summer. I can’t wait to put a climbing plant on it again this year.
Morning hours seems to be a great time to try to capture photos, as I did here this morning. I’m not a pro photographer by any stretch of the imagination. I just goof around and click for fun. Maybe someday I’ll take a class so I can figure out how to do it right, but I still think these photos of the birds are just adorable. I love having all the wildlife in our yard.
My hands tend to move a bit when I try to zoom and some pics come out blurry – ugh. But can you see this little guy looking out of the birdhouse? Too cute!
I cropped it here to get a closer view.
Happy Friday Everyone! Let’s hope for more sunny days to come.
Written by Cathy Testa
Don’t forget to check out Cathy T’s Container Gardening Class on May 24, 2014 in Broad Brook, CT. See also Cathy T’s Garden Talks.
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Aaaaahhh !!! What an amazing way to end a long “work” week with a mental drive off the beaten, dreary, winter path we’ve all been on to see these BEAUTIFUL shots and read your eloquent words !!! You truly made my day and I am sure many others after seeing this blog post !!! Your pictures are wonderful and the shots of the Tom turkeys !!! WOWZA!!! And yes- all this activity does go on there – you have such a great spot. The pictures of the chickadees.. incredible – especially the one little male looking out his “homey hole” ! I think the birds in your gutters are “starlings” – I am not a bird expert – but I believe that is what they are called. Some wire mesh at the ends of your gutters should do the trick of keeping them from nesting there. They can be pesty. LOVE your barrel Easter deco’s !!! YOU ROCK ! And if the “friend” you were referring to about those praying mantis….”SERIOUSLY” – can you see the look she was giving you…”like – you want a piece of me?” – Ha !!! Thanks so much Cathy for this wonderful post !!! TRULY ENJOYABLE !
Thank you Dianne! We were working outside this weekend, and the birds hid from us a bit. The two starlings watched over us as we sat on lawn chairs on the driveway after our day’s chores, and were chirping all kinds of noises – they were upset we were near their homes. Cath