Monday, 21 January 2013

Early morning thoughts . . .

We have really been enjoying all of the birds which have been visiting our garden during this recent cold snap.   There was a time a few months back when we thought they had abandoned us altogether, thinking that perhaps those pesky neighborhood cats which seem to spend more time in our garden than in their own had driven them all away . . . but these past few days have thankfully proved that theory wrong . . . thankfully.

Although I did look out the other morning to see the black cat sitting right on top of the pond, which has frozen over (but not by much) polishing his paws on it's glassed over surface.   He could probably see the fish swimming beneath it and was trying as hard as he could to get at them.   Thankfully he could not . . . however I do confess, there was a part of me that hoped that the ice would break and teach him a lesson and perhaps frighten him away from our garden altogether . . .

Feeding the birds is an important part of our day . . . it has been ever the same no matter where we have lived.   First thing in the morning and again in late afternoon we put food out for them.   There is always stale bread going or cake or biscuits, which they love, especially in the winter when the extra fat does them good.   They have often been the lucky recipients of stale cereal as well . . . and of course the usual suet balls and wild bird seed.

I used to save all of our bacon fat and make my own suet balls with it . . . along with chopped apple, and peanut butter, wild seed, bread and cereal crumbs and melted suet.    I would stir it all together and pack it into loaf tins and freeze it.  Once frozen I would cut it into thick slabs which we would then pop into the cage suet feeder.  They have always loved it.   We don't eat much bacon anymore though . . . and these past few winters they have had to settle for the shop bought suet balls.

We have a nut feeder too, which we like to fill with nuts for them.    It is a squirrel proof feeder.  When we were down south and living on the Manor Estate there was no end to the squirrels that gave us problems, emptying the nut feeder as soon as it had been filled most days . . . and so we bought the squirrel proof feeder, which would have worked very well except for this one fact.   We had very smart squirrels and whilst the feeder was quite squirrel proof all around the sides and the top . . . the bottom was quite exposed and the little blighters used to just steal them from the bottom.   I soon solved that problem though.  (It had become somewhat of a challenge for me to keep them at bay.)   I just took the metal lid from a jar and poked some holes around the edges, about four and then wired the lid to the bottom of the feeder where the nuts were, covering over the holes completely.   Problem solved.

They do love the sunflower seed most of all, and of course it is the most expensive to buy . . . so it is a rare treat along with mealy worms.    It does cost a bit to feed them, but we do so enjoy all that they give us in return in hours spent watching them as they flit from hedge to feeder and back again . . . and in song in the springtime . . . Todd does get annoyed when a flock of starlings arrive and decimate all of our work . . . but as I remind him . . . they need to eat too.  I know they are such greedy birds and not very nice . . . but, one could say the same about us and still . . . our Father cares.

Source: via Olivia on Pinterest

We have had more snow during the night.  The car is quite covered now.   I don't think Todd will ever get it cleaned off.   I have warned him all weekend that he needs to do so . . . and in fact the car has not moved.   I fear it will all be well and truly frozen on now, and a lot harder to clear.    He just does not have any smarts when it comes to snow, whereas I have years and years of experience in dealing with the white stuff.  I do have to say though that I am glad that at my age, I no longer have to deal with it on a regular basis during the Winter months.   That is the one thing I am dreading however, when I am at my mom's.  The Canadian Winter Weather.  I fear I have become a Winter Weather Wimp!

My mother goes for her needle biopsy tomorrow and then, once that is done, I expect it won't be long before they are setting up a date for her surgery and it will be all systems go and I will have to be on my way over.  Oh I shall miss you all so . . .

Yesterdays Silver Lining . . .  Toasting our toes by the fire while the snow fell.  Feeling all cozy and warm and feeling it together as a family . . .  with that little wet black nose pushing itself between us.   So nice . . .

A thought to carry with you through the day . . .

"Life is like a rollercoaster;  the highs are meaningless but for the lows."

 photo SAM_4287_zpsb48dfddf.jpg

Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Vegetable Soup with Bacon Dumplings.  Oh so good and warming during this cold snap!

Wherever you go and whatever you get up to  today, be safe . . . and be happy!


Pat said...

Hi Marie!
We have lots of bird feeders in our garden, I think it was nine at last count, and because of the woods at the back we get quite a variety of birds too. Yesterday there was a heron on the fence, it then went on the top of the pagoda which is quite near the house so we could see it quite clearly, it was so very still for at least 15 minutes.
By the way did you know that Poundland have a good variety of bird feed, including packs of 8 suet balls, dried mealworms and various kinds of seed including NT seed. I told someone on FB a few days ago, if it was you, I'm sorry for repeating myself!!
Hope you're keeping warm and well.
Love, Pat xx

Tracy said...

Lovely to hear about your feeding of the birds, and see the sweet photo here. We don't have many birds coming around, mostly due to our half indoor/ half outdoor kitty Charlie, as you know... But we do put out suet balls in the winter. I miss the birds, as feeding them used to be a part of our life too. Hope all will goes OK for your Mom...Keep us posted when you travel, etc. Thinking of you all... ((LOVE & BIG HUGS))

Sybil said...

I had a smile when I was reading about the cat on the pond..My thoughts were exaxtly as yours !!
no more snow down here...yet...forecast more for tomorrow early..a very slow thaw has started..but it is very slight..just checked the temp. it is now up a wee bit from -3 at 7am..
Keep warm. Parying that Mum's biopsiy goes well...We will all miss you so very very much when you go over....but none more so that Todd and Mitzie.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

We delight in feeding the birds here too and do have more than one pesky neighborhood cat that is always watching them to see if they can get a treat too. I have had cats and love them, but mine were indoor cats that didn't run outdoors all the time. I think the ones here were abandoned and live outside all the time. Winter time is a challenge with the cold and snow for sure. You will be missed when you have to leave. You and your mom remain in my prayers. Hope you have a great Monday there. Keep warm!

Sheilagh said...

We love having the birds feeding here too. The first thing Ralph did when we got home from Scotland this afternoon was fill the feeders and when we went shopping he bought stale bread for them. I smiled when you mentioned the starlings, Ralph gets annoyed with them and I stick up for them:)

It is thr RSPB Bird Watch this weekend and we usually take part. I am hoping we have pleanty of visitors. Last weekend we had a dozen Gold Finches all at the same time, it was fabulous.

Love and hugs



Bonnie said...

Praying for your mom, Marie. Will think of you and her as you come our direction to be at her side. Travel well and safely.

Love and hugs, Bonnie