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.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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