Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Is It Fall Yet?

Is it Fall Yet? I can't wait, so  I purchased some outdoor furniture covers for the patio and then started my decorations early. I like to create little "vignettes" with some of my favorite junk. This old black bicycle sat under a tree all summer with nothing on it, just waiting for me to dress it up. You can take a piece like this and use it seasonally. I found this scarecrow at Old Time Pottery in Murfressboro, Tennessee when I went up to take some of my Gardenchick products up for my friend Shawn's monthly Studio Thursday. I always stop there since it is about an hour and a half drive from home. They had the scarecrow on sale (of course, I am cheap), and the sign I got from Shawn last year. My new sign from her says Boo! Ya'll and will go on the bike at Halloween along with a pumpkin added to the scarecrow. Add a Turkey or Pilgrims for Thanksgiving, and a Christmas Sign for Christmas along with Christmas Yard Art and some presents in the basket. I found a spring sign I purchased from Shawn last year in the closet while "organizing" last week, and it will be perfect for spring. It is bright pink with black writing and says "Please Be Seeded". I want to get ivy started around the tree and purchased a pot at a local nursery. After dividing it into three pieces, I planted it in this area and covered with tree mulch. Yard art can be fun. Just pick up one piece and decorate around it all year long.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009


We have had the tube hummingbird feeder hanging off of our deck for several years , and have received many visits. It wasn't until I hung this butterfly feeder in the lantana on my deck, that we have really seen an increase in the visits. The butterfly feeder has several round indentions on the top that are supposed to hold fruit for butterflies, but I didn't want to mess with the flies and gnats I thought it would attract. Both hummingbirds and butterflies like the yellow lantana and we have seen several butterflies too, but the ruby throated male hummingbird and several femails make daily visits to the feeder. Hummingbird feeders should be taken up in October in my area when the hummingbirds migrate south.

You can make your own sugar solution for butterflies and hummingbirds. Mix four cups water with one cup of sugar. Boil the mixture for at least 30 seconds to discourage mold growth. (not in a microwave, it breaks down sugar molecules and may change the nutritional value. Let the solution cool before filling your feeder. Store any leftover solution in a clean jar in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
You do not need to add red food coloring. (the solution we purchased was red, but the decorations on the feeder should be enough to attract the birds.and butterflies.) You should not use honey, because it encourages fungal growth and could contain botulism organisms that can kill the hummingbirds. The solution should be changed every 4-5 days if placed in a sunny location, and once a week if in the shade. Every time you change the nectar you should thoroughly clean the container with hot water.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chick Update

Emma and her 9 chicks

Roscoe and Rosa

In the spring my granddaughters and I purchased 4 little chicks from an elderly gentleman, and brought them home. One of the smaller chicks died after a few days but that left us with 3. After raising them to an age where they could go into their pen, two of the chicks mysteriously disappeared a few weeks apart leaving Rosa, our only hen. I knew she was lonely, so I obtained some free grown chickens, thinking maybe they could be some protection from whatever was getting the chicks. We think they were being snatched from their roost in the trees from a racoon. No, one by one, those were taken. 3 more chickens in all. We didn't even hear a cackle at night, and found no signs of the chick snatcher until one day when the huge black and white hen was gone. I found her carcass up in the pen with nothing left inside. All that was now left was Rosa (boy did she have some luck!), and a little banty rooster Roscoe,who had lost his mate to the perpetrator. I had let them out of the pen to roam our yard thinking that maybe they had a better chance to "getaway". One morning, my husband informed me he had heard a terrible commotion about 3 a.m. and had gotten up to try to see what was getting the chickens. He couldn't see, but heard Rosa's last cackle down near our small barn. We went out on the deck that morning to look around and low and behold who do you think came running up from the barn? ROSA! That chicken must have 9 lives.

But wait. The good news? One of the hens we thought was gone, had not seen for weeks, was seen coming out from under our ornamental grass one morning with 9 baby chicks! We now have 12 chicks and Roscoe thinks he is the proud papa.

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