Gardener's Grapevine 2012.04.25

Written by David Green.

For the last few weeks Mary Lampe and I have been sewing on Saturdays for our church bazaar. Lampes live on a beautiful piece of property and it overlooks a woods down in a ravine with a lovely little creek running through it that just happens to be our Bean Creek. All sorts of plants, trees and animals are down there and you can see it clearly from their dining room table were we do our prep work for the sewing.

Thursday night I stopped out to go over some things with Mary, and they had put a bird feeder off the back deck, and a sweet little nuthatch kept coming to the feeder. They get a lot of birds at their feeder that we don’t see in town. Birds are an interesting lot. For no more than they eat they sure expend a lot of energy. 

Hummingbirds are a bird that just absolutely fascinates me. Their tiny little wings go so fast they are just a blur and many people don’t even see them. They’re intake to energy expended ratio must be an amazing statistic—if only we could get the car companies to produce a car that used energy so efficiently.

One summer my friend Mary Johnson, my daughter, Jacquie and I were sewing on my side porch and a small creature the size of a bumble bee kept buzzing around Mary’s head. She was getting jumpy, and rightfully so, as she has an extreme bee allergy. Upon closer inspection, I noted it was a juvenile hummingbird and he was attracted to her purple shirt. It was the tiniest bird imaginable.

Hummingbird nests are so small, a lot of people don’t even realize they are there so they miss something truly wondrous. I wonder how a hummingbird sits still long enough to lay eggs and hatch them? If you put out a hummingbird feeder remember they won’t eat at a dirty feeder. Even if it looks clean to you they can tell if there is bacteria and they will shy away from it. Their tolerance to foreign bacteria is not good and they know to stay away. Each time you fill your feeder, clean it and rinse it good, then refill it. Also they like their feeders best in a quiet secluded spot, not directly in the hot sun or a busy populated area. I think that is why we don’t see a lot of variety in birds in town, it’s just too noisy, busy and inconsistent.

I love birds and I enjoy watching the squirrels. It doesn’t matter to me if they get into the birds food. Their antics are well worth the cost of a little extra birdseed. I have noted before that I put out corn kernels for the squirrels. The corn does double duty: first the squirrels eat the germ and leave the rest; then the birds come in and eat the meat in the left-over parts. A squirrel will do most anything to get to a feeder and it’s more fun to watch than the clowns at the circus.

We went to the Henry Ford Museum for a special exhibit on Saturday. When we were outside, a red-winged blackbird came right up to us and chirped that he wanted fed. It was amazing to see a bird within inches of your feet clearly not frightened.

Bird watching appeals to all ages and types of people. It is a hobby that can really bring a lot of laughs and pleasure. Try hanging out a feeder or two and see what happens.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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