This blog is about my garden and the outdoors. I am new to photography but I am trying to show some of the pretty things that grow here in Michigan. I love the wild things who visit me and I dont mind if they eat a bit here and there. I like it more if they let me take their picture. As time goes on I think I will try to show you around the beautiful area that I live in as well as my garden. I try to use my own pictures as much as possible but will also use pictures from the web. If I inadvertently use your photo or work without permission please email me and I will remove it or give credit if you prefer. I will give credit when I know who the owner is. I would ask that anyone using my pictures do the same.
... I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.......Psalm23:6
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Winter lingers..............

Yes, another snow day tomorrow. I can not remember so many snow days in one year. I thank goodness I don't have to deal with that anymore. Why did I say that? I do......that means I will have the two girls over tomorrow while Laura is at work. Dang..........we want to go look at carpet to fix up the basement that flooded. So............what to do.
Well I took a few pictures to mark our progress through winter. This first picture I took at night, I like the shadows and light
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The next couple are the back garden, or what was once the back garden. How long do you think before I can do some gardening?
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Can you see how far above the fences the snow is now?
Today Tristen was outside for a very short time. His cheeks were red when he came in. It is now -7 goodness knows what the wind chill is. This afternoon was sunny and about 3 degrees. Anyway he had a great time and let off some steam.
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He is standing way above the fence line.
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He had a great time, but not for long. No one can be out in that for long without getting frost bite. As it turned out I didn't have the girls as Laura didn't have to work but Gerry did go to work. So......will have to wait to look at carpet. I will throw in a few birds that came to lunch but they didn't stick around either it was way too cold. Bodi didn't want to be outside either and could barely stand up out there her feet were so cold.
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The birds are very cold, all puffed up. I can see them trying to warm their feet. Do put out suet for them and lots of food. I throw out table scraps and bread, the Starlings like it and Crows and bigger birds will eat meat. So will Possum and Raccoons. I will feed any who come. I love the Starlings. It's such a shame that they are so timid because people chase them. I think I will do a post on Crows. They are such wonderful and misunderstood birds. They too are used to being chased off. Well they are all welcome at my table. I get pictures when I can, but not when it will chase them off.
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Sharing with Anything Blue Friday

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Plan ahead...............

Even though we still have many feet of snow, its time to plan. I just bough some garden magazines. Oh boy, that really gets me going. I just can't wait. So in the meantime I saw this and wanted to share it. This poster names flowers that attract and feeds the bees. I think we all know by now that the worlds bees are in trouble. No bees. No food and extinction for us. SO.........plant flowers that will attract the bees.
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I have to say that I already do this, and flowers that attract butterfly, but last year I saw no more than a couple of butterfly all summer.
So......I must try harder. I already planted the wild butterfly weeds and would love to get more, so if I can save some from the side of the roads I will. I plant them near the road so they don't get mowed down. They smell like lilac and have pretty flowers too. No butterfly came to enjoy them though. I also love the garden variety and have them in different colours.
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I can not wait now to see what comes up, what will need transplanting and what I need to buy. I think I will put more money into edging the gardens and out back get rid of the grass and put in wood chips. I can enlarge the gardens and then let it go. I want to get Tristen a trampoline to play on or else a climbing frame, maybe both. I dont really know yet. In any case the grass is just not doing well so may as well just get rid of it altogether. I want a water feature like this in the center of where the grass was. The birds will love it
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So, these are a couple of ideas. The paving stones on the patio need to be cemented down because certain children keep removing the stones to find bugs. Hmmmm need to foil them this year.
I will need about two truck loads of mulch this year I think. I would like to make a wall somehow. Not sure how or where yet.......I also want a high spot somewhere. When you start with a flat surface its hard to do that. I like to sculpt the garden to be how I want it. I have made some banks in a couple of spots but they sink rather quickly. Its funny how large rocks bury themselves back under the ground.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Poem......not mine.

I found this poem in my magazine "This England" My friend Roger sent me a subscription to it. It's a lovely magazine and has wonderful photographs and stories. It has history, letters, articles and the odd poem. He sends it to me, as an Ex Pat who misses England very much I am so grateful to caring friends.
This poem was illustrated with a picture of an English Robin so I will do the same.
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January Jewels

As winter with an icy hand
Moves down through time and space
The branches of the leafless trees
Seem clothed in dainty lace.
Tall grasses sheathed in silver frost
Once delicate and frail
Stand up like frozen sentinels
In winter's glittering trail.
And crystal orbs and icicles
All glint with sparkling rime
Like jewels strung on tinselled thread
In beautiful design 
And many glistening gleaming gems
Are dancing in the light
The fragile beauty of the scene
Just fills me with delight
Then all is quiet and nothing stirs 
And I am lost in thought
I'm spellbound by such beauty
By Winter's magic caught
Then suddenly a movement breaks
The strange tranquility
A Robin with a crimson bib
Comes hopping up to me
By Kathleen Gillum.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Garden Goodies.............

Today Laura and myself went thrift shopping. I was on the lookout for things to make into garden art. I want to make flowers out of plates and glass dishes. Bird baths and feeders. So off we went looking for such things. We went first to the Salvation Army where we thought the prices were way to high. I mean, are these not supposed to be affordable for people who have little to spend? Everything is donated so I would think if they sold at a low price they would sell much more? I don't know. Anyway, it was more than I wanted to pay for what we were going to do. Many will probably break when we try to drill them. So next we went to a place called The Red Dresser. It was not a thrift store, but a resale shop. Oh my, we had a great time in there. I bought a couple of things not on my list. A bread box and a wire basket.
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I will have to rearrange the kitchen to use the bread box (for flour it could hold 3 bags of flour) but I love it so will try to find a place for it.
The next picture shows some small glass dishes that will make nice flour centers. If you looked at the blog I posted the other day of the lady who makes garden stakes with plates and things you will know what I mean.
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I was also looking for plates to make the flowers backgrounds or bird tables and baths. I got one bargain. I could not believe. At the Goodwill that we had never been to before, I found my jackpot. I spent about 65 dollars there. First off these aqua green plates are glass. They are like chargers. Eight of them for 8 dollars. I bought the pitcher at the Red Dresser where we also got some great ideas for making paper flowers. Anyway, back to the thrift shop bargains. There were 3 deep plates and a teapot for 7 dollars. I can use the teapot as a planter on top of a plate on a stand. The other two plates are deep enough for bird baths.
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This cookie jar in the shape of a house will be a planter. The roof comes off........either that or I will just stand it somewhere to look pretty
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In the next picture two lovely plates, one deep enough to hold seed or water and the other with the rooster I am not sure. I may find a plate hanger and just put it on the porch?????
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Don't ask, I have no idea what the tin thing is.......looks like a hot pad. Anyway to me its going to be a sunflower and the glass plate makes a nice center. It will need a bit more but its the idea right???
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This is an idea for one of the blue plates. Not sure what else to do with the mouse but that sort of just looked right. Of course, unless you look at that blog you wont know what I am talking about so I will give you another link at the end.
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The teapot can be a planter or just sit on the plate as a bird table. That we shall see.
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The little white bowl is glass and the wrought iron is a candle holder, I think I will use it as a base for something else. Not sure yet
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I am not at all sure what I will use these hobnail Avon pots for but they may make nice little pots for ivy.
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The little wire basket I
will use for eggs. At least that is what I got it for but I have a Cilantro plant in the kitchen window that would look nice in there.
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The large glass bowl will be a bird bath I think. I have to attach it inside something else. I have an idea but that can wait for now, several ideas in fact.
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Then there is this little house. It's for a candle but sitting in a plate it will look good as a garden decoration don't you think?
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Well we certainly enjoyed a great fun day. We even had a great lunch. We went to Panda's North, a Chinese and found a wonderful curry that was the best I ever had in the States. You can be we will be going back often. Best of all it was just great to be out in the sun again. It was freezing cold but that was fine by us, it was sunny.
For all those interested in garden goodies please check out this wonderful blog. Garden Whimsies by Mary

Friday, February 7, 2014

Think Spring?...........

Oh I wish it was time to think Spring. Maybe its time to start looking at catalogues and garden magazines. I do know its rather inspiring to look at magazines. I enjoy thinking of all the things I would like to do this year. Then I think of the money. Sigh!!! always that. I also get inspiration from blogs, and I have seen some awesome ideas. It is time to begin making things. No point in waiting till I need them.
So..........if only I could get some free time away from kids I would like to go around the thrift shops and pick up things there. It looks like I will be watching Cooper all summer so it'S going to be difficult.
So how can I get the most out of the few bucks I can spend.
Out front I want to rearrange things a bit and take down the iron fence, and put in some boxwood shrubs to make a hedge. I will use the metal fence out back.
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I would love to put a hedge between our house and next door but I know Bud would not like it.
The other thing I want to do is to get some 1/2 barrels and use those to grow veggies in. I have a couple of places I can put those where they would get some sun. I want to grow zucchini and yellow squash. Maybe try tomatoes again.
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It will be all about growing in containers.
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I have not yet been successful in growing in containers but this year will be different I just know it. I think this next picture will be great for herbs. I also have a good spot for it.
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Then there is this cool blog that also has a facebook page. Garden whimsey's by Mary give this a go.
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I already have some stuff that I can use and am just waiting to put things together. I like the idea and I think I will also look for some cups and saucers to put on stakes with ivy in. My garden is flat, so in order to make it more interesting I use things to give it height. The cup and saucer deal is one way. I have also dumped stuff up in one corner of the garden and planted ivy on it. I want to do another spot or two like that. I just need the dirt to do it. I am thinking of getting rid of the grass thats left out back. It never grows well so may as well put wood chips out there. It will be easier to maintain but the initial cost of the wood chips is an issue. We need new fences too. I am thinking I will have my husband pour some cement to make the patio area more stable. The kids keep moving the stones as they are. Lots of ideas. More to come.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Squirrel and the Crow........

Today I put out a lot of bread, also some scrambled eggs and sausage. I had hoped to attract the Starlings or Crows. I have one Crow who visits but seldom comes down. He will leave if he sees the slightest movement so its hard to get a picture.
Well today I saw two Crows.
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They wont let me get a picture yet, this one is through a closed window.........what happened was this. There was a squirrel who had managed to drag a very large piece of bread up into that tree. He was resting from the ordeal. He had 3 other squirrels sitting hoping he would drop it. The Crow decided he would make sure he did drop it. He flew onto a closer branch but the squirrel moved lower. SO did the Crow. Then the Crow left.
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He came back with a friend. They sat and stared at the squirrel as if planning things out. One sat on the wire and one went in the tree. The other squirrels were long gone and I wondered if a hungry Crow would take on a Squirrel. I was sort of upset that they could not see all the bread and sausage and stuff at the feeders. I knew they would not come down though. The one Crow does now and then but by the time I realise he is there he is gone.
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As it happened someone else scared off the Crows so the Squirrel got to finish his lunch in peace.