Archive for the ‘animal’ Category

When something ‘fishy’ is good Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

A recent comment spurred this post. Fish can be good in the garden. A reason to leave it out of the compost pile is because of smell and how it’d lure scavengers and flies. That said, I do add shrimp tails to my compost with little ill effect.

How to use fish properly – most recently (last summer we buried our beloved pufferfish under our newly planted larch. He’d met an early demise (though +7 years old) and so the larch marks his resting place.

Burials aside, when I was growing up I had an uncle or two who would go ‘smelting’. Smelt is a smaller, slender fish that (think anchovy-ish), I believe, have an annual ‘gathering’ of sorts and smelters net them while they are gathering at the waters edge. The uncle(s) would then give some to my father who would always bury them a couple inches under our pumpkin and squash seeds. Because they were immediately buried, we never had any type of maggot problem and seemed to have good luck with our produce. So, go ahead and bury in the heads and skeletons, staying away from the overly fleshy parts, in your garden soil. Skeletons (and shells of shrimp/lobster/crayfish) of fish contain high levels of calcium and other trace minerals that enrich the soil naturally – much better in my book than any synthetic fertilizer.

Earth Day: Yes you can Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Make a difference . . .

  • Buy local products – less travel = less energy
  • Plant a tree – help clean CO2 from the air
  • Pick up litter
  • Walk or ride your bike
  • Buy earth-friendly products
  • Opt for basic cleaners – vinegar, lemons, baking soda, etc. all are more environmentally friendly cleaners, they do a great job both cleaning and deodorizing, plus they are quite often cheaper
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle – if you haven’t been recycling up to this point, now is a great time to start
  • Update an appliance with an earth-friendly one, but only if this appliance is not repairable
  • Take advantage of this weekends FREE SPRING CLEANUP in Aberdeen
  • Buy, and eat, whole foods – better for you and the environment
  • Eat at home – same as above
  • Use reusable grocery bags
  • Shut off your furnace and grab a blanket – unplug, switch off, shutdown and grab a book, board game or head outside
  • Use more organic methods of weed/insect/pest control/fertilizer – insecticidal soap, hand-pulling (bonus exercise), bone meal, fish emulsion
  • Start your own compost – less being thrown into the trash and free food for your plants
  • Reuse branches and scrap wood for raised beds or trellis – instead of buying new
  • Buy from a secondhand store
easter bunny damage Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Rabbit damage through the winter. Note the tell-tale litter of "raisins" underneath.

I’ve heard a bit on area-person’s bunny damage. Nipped branches, chewed bark ringing tree trunks at different levels depending on where the snow height was during that particular snack time, and piles of droppings under the most tasty and gluttonous of rabbit-dining experiences (at least they are leaving a very good fertilizer behind).

Today I took note of one of my own. An old cotoneaster bush at the SW corner of my house – a couple whole branches stripped of bark. This is minimal damage at best. So far I’m happy to report there have been no other casualties to note. My youngest trees/shrubs: a catalpa seedling, larch, forsythia and witch hazel don’t show any damage. I took extra care last fall to protect them. I utilized old circular tomato cages and set inside an additional lining of chicken-wire fencing or green plastic mesh. I made sure to go up to a good height knowing bunnies will skip along the tp of snow drifts and snip off any branches poking out from the protective icy layer.

The most noteworthy damage I’ve heard by a rabbit came from my parents. They’d just gotten back from a trip to find their internet connection down. After assistance from family and a call to the cable company followed by a technicians visit, it was determined that a rabbit had chewed through their cable in the crawl space under the house. Now that’s a hungry bunny.

Hummer spotting Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
Hummingbird September 2009, Rufous?

Hummingbird September 2009, Rufous?

This Labor Day was a treat indeed. I stepped in to finish the mowing The Hub had started, just to get some fresh air and exercise. While walking through one of the side gates I noticed a blur of buzzing fleeing from my obedient plant (physostegia). I just assumed it was a hummingbird moth and didn’t really think twice. But, later The Hub ventured out and pulled me around the corner back to the south side of our house. It was a hummingbird! This was a first for our yard (if I remember right). And to the very common and sometimes invasive obedient plant.

The sage he is, The Hub declared later that if you want to attract native wildlife you need native plants. Point taken. No need for brightly-painted plastic bottles of sugar water.

I believe this is a female Rufous hummingbird. She looks a bit skinny so I hope she got a good meal. The obedient plant is flush with blooms so I’m happy this feast was available to her.