Thursday, February 25, 2021

Tulip time and hanging art -

As February fades, March, according to the weather forecast, plans to creep in with rain, and more rain, to this already damp, soggy area of the country.  Bunches of tulips have arrived brightening the empty corners of the grocery stores. Buying food has become the only real shopping I do these days, months, and now a long year, which feels so strange. But, on entering the store, the flash of colorful flowers are there, near the door, and taking time to stop and look is so worthwhile. . . . . making the day feel a little more normal as silent, masked shoppers fade into the background for a while. Lately I've seen more shopping carts with a bunch of colorful flowers or a potted plant tucked in along with salad greens and toilet tissue.  People need beauty and seem to be longing for spring. I have a feeling that garden centers will thrive this coming season as we start digging and delving in our gardens. I need a lot of new shrubs for the back garden.

I bought tulips twice in the past ten days!  
The first bunch, a deep almost reddish pink, in tight buds
 which opened into more red than pink blooms.

As they started to fade, I had to pop to the grocery again a couple of days ago - for more salad greens etc., so picked up another bunch of true pink blooms. 

The combination of colors reminded me to take this floral painting out of winter storage and add some springtime color. This original painting is done on a board, not canvas, and has nothing on the back to enable hanging. Anyone know what type of hardware I could attach to the back - the board is not very thick, or heavy. Have you used any of the adhesive types of hangers? I'm thinking of designing an 'art wall' so hanging pieces without making holes would really be great if possible!
Any ideas for this project would be appreciated. 
Thanks as always.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Come rain, come snow, come sunny mornings -


Our pair of beautiful Northern flickers are constant visitors. Several years ago I noticed them on the ground in the back garden. They had a youngster and the father was apparently training it on how to find and eat insects, ants and beetles being their favorite food, while the mother watched from the fence. They are the only woodpecker to regularly feed on the ground.

I fell in love with these spotted and striped woodpeckers that morning!  

Northern flicker - female - 12" brown and black woodpecker,
black necklace above speckled breast, red spot on neck

Male flicker, same except for a black mustache making
 it quite easy to distinguish.

Since our one dismal snow fall of this winter - just when a nice 6" would have been great as there was plenty of free time to play, build snow people, make snow angels, throw snowballs, and give housebound children, and adults, "something different to do" - the flicker pair have been devouring suet cakes which I stay busy replenishing. These could be their next favorite meal when insects aren't plentiful.  

Even as I write on this lovely morning, bright with welcome sunshine and the promise of a fine day with a high of 63F,  the pair of flickers are enjoying breakfast. The female seems really hungry, perhaps preparing to become a 'mom' this spring.

The male usually selects the nest site, taking up to 12 days to excavate. They have one brood per year, laying 5-8 white unmarked eggs, and both parents incubate for 14 days. Babies fledge in 25-28 days and both parents feed the young.

I hope we see babies this year.

I'm adding this photo to show the size of the woodpecker compared to the Eastern bluebird. They seem to get along fine together at the feeders, the bluebird usually sitting patiently waiting for a chance to nibble. . . . . . .

. . . . . . and this photo, showing the beautiful flash of golden wing and tail feathers displayed as this male flicker flies away with a bill stuffed with suet, under the watchful eye of the bluebird.  Here in the southeast, populations of these woodpeckers swell in winter when northern migrants arrive, and our own, being non-migrators, grace us with their presence year round. 
We really are so lucky. Nature is so generous.

All photos taken from my dining room window.