Water for the Garden

When the house was renovated we had two new outdoor faucets installed.

Our new hose bibb on the side of the conservatory.
Our new hose bibb on the side of the conservatory.

When they were installed we were told the spigots were a special type which don’t freeze.

Anti-freeze hose bib

The valve of the spigot is actually about a foot into the house so water doesn’t sit in the area of the faucet that might freeze.

The water is running even though the valve is closed.

Unfortunately they are both leaking — not dripping — actually running when they’re turned off. (This has happened before.)

The hose bibs are important so Charlie can water newly planted seeds in the garden.

Charlie called our contractor who came out to change both hose bibs.

Radish and broccoli seeds will soon be in the ground.

I think we’re set now to start planting the garden.

What’s your first crop this year?


Amaryllis Bulb

Late in December I was given a very large (6-inch diameter) brown bulb.

Amaryllis bulb

On the last day of the year I rested it in a vase on a bed of glass pebbles with some water.

The first hint of green took about 10 days.
10 days later.

Over the past month the bulb has put forth 2 green stalks.

Once the stem gets going it doesn’t take long.

In the last couple of days the bud has just split itself open to reveal a flower lurking inside.

I think we have rad blossoms on the way.

I think another week will surely release multiple blossoms.

Are you looking forward to to spring bulbs?

Forcing Quince

Flowering quince shrub in spring.

Last week I brought in a few quince branches from our large bush in the yard.

Pink blooming quince.

When this bush blooms in spring the flowers are pink.

Branches from the same bush are blooming white this winter.

The flowers that bloomed inside this week were white.

White flowers are actually my favorite.

Flowering quince are a nice reminder of spring on frigid winter days.

What is your reminder of warmer weather?

Colorful Birds Like the Bird Tree

We put our bare Christmas tree out in the yard to attract birds with some homemade edible ornaments.

Charlie is admiring the bird tree. We’re still waiting for the birds.

Charlie is home during the day and saw birds around and near the tree before I did.  He sent me a fuzzy photo.

There were both male and female cardinals in a flock of about 10.

Today I finally saw some birds for myself.  There was a flock of cardinals feeding on the ground near the tree. I saw one fly into the branches but not feed on the seeded pine cones.

A downy woodpecker perched on the seed bell.

The big attraction for me was a downy woodpecker on the seed bell we had placed on the top of the tree. I watched for a long time while he hammered away at the bell.

Downy woodpecker.

The downy woodpecker is smallest woodpecker in North America, common and widespread. In the east this is the most familiar member of the family coming to backyard bird feeders.  In winter it often joins roving mixed flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, and other birds in the woods.


Do you have a favorite feathered friend?


Pine Cone Bird Snacks

When we put the bare Christmas tree out in the yard to attract birds we needed some edible ornaments.

Birdseed and a large jar of peanut butter are around $10.

I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart to purchase peanut butter and bird seed.

Dried pine cones are open so we dried some of the newly gathered ones in the oven.

I had some pine cones (left over from other projects) onto which we tied some wire for hanging. Sug spread peanut butter on the cones.

We put the birdseen on a tray on paper to keep it contained.

We simply rolled the cones in a plate of bird seed and voila — bird snacks.

Pine cones covered in peanutbutter and bird seed.

We made a dozen but have plenty of supplies to replenish the tree if it is popular with birds.

Charlie wired the ornaments onto the tree.

We hung the cones on the balsam fir and added a bird seed bell a the top.

Charlie is admiring the bird tree. We’re still waiting for the birds.

We dug a hole in the bottom of a pre-made birdseed bell and fitted it onto the top of the tree.  Hoping for some hungry visitors soon.

We can see the tree from all the rooms at the back of the house.

We added a laser light for a little night interest.

When do you take your holiday decorations down?

I’ve Been So Busy . . .

I haven’t been able to get anything done to improve our home since we painted our bed.

The new finish is charcoal grey with a darker drybrush finish.

That was back in October.

The Christmas tree takes up a big space in the living room.

Charlie texted me at work to inquire if I’d like him to take the Christmas tree down.  Oh, yes!

Bare tree

He carefully removed all the ornaments and lights including da beahs.

The tree look nice in the garden which is barren in this season.

I suggested he stand the tree up in the yard to which he responded, “Are you serious?”

Hoping we will attract some birds which we can watch from the kitchen.

I am definitely serious because I thought we could make a bird feeder tree. When I sent him inspiration from here Charlie set up the tree in his garden.

I have some dried pine cones left over from the advent wreath project.

Hoping to have time this weekend to make a few edible ornaments.

Do you have bird feeders?

Advent Wreath Prototype

Next week we’ll be making Advent wreaths.

This pretty wreath is not exactly like the ones we made.

I have supplies for 10 families so Sug and I each made a wreath as examples to find out how difficult it would be and to have prototypes on hand.

I wired together arborvitae, spruce, magnolia, and boxwood. (In the end I decided against boxwood for my wreath.)

We began by piling up freshly cut greens from the yard and trimming off pieces about 6 inches long.

Sugs wired bunches include holly and magnolia leaves.

With green floral wire I wired together 4 types of greens to make a small bouquet.  I repeated this 8 times before attaching them to the wreath frame.

Wreath frame with wire attached.

In order to attach the evergreen posies to the wire wreath frame I tied the end of floral wire around a crossbar.

Don’t cut the wire until all the greens are connected.

Add the first clump of greens and wrap the wire around the wreath frame and greens.  Without cutting the wire continue wrapping it around additional packets of greens.  Tie off the wire when all greens have been connected and the wreath frame is covered.

Sug’s wreath uses holly which is a colorful addition.

After the greens are attached add with wire or hot glue any decorations you have on hand.

A small clump of grapes and wheat are wired to the frame on top of the greens.

I wired on a small sheath of wheat and a clump of artificial grapes.  I also put on some small glass Christmas balls and a wooden cross.

A finished wreath.

Finish with advent candles which can be purchased together.

A view from directly above the wreath which rests on a silver platter and will ultimately sit in the middle of the dining room table.

Sometimes all purple or all blue candles are used with a white candle in the center.

Do you have a favorite evergreen?