Archive for the ‘woodpeckers’ Tag

03-30-2018 My Wildlife Welfare System   Leave a comment

Being a lifelong animal lover has it’s ups and downs and living here in Maine makes things even more interesting.  With the harsh winters and constant snow cover the wildlife here has become quite  deligent in their hunt for food. I’ve been a loyal bird feeder for most of my life because I really enjoy having the birds around.  My better-half is also a bird lover and we currently have six feeders we keep filled.  I estimate the birds are eating close to 125 lbs. of feed a year  not counting the many packages of suet we purchase to keep the woodpeckers healthy and happy. Add to that two or three quarts of sugar syrup for the hummingbirds and you begin to truly understand.

It became apparent some months ago that the birds living in this area have a rather accomplished communication system to spread the news concerning food sources and the location of predators. This came to my attention when a herd of wild turkeys showed up out of nowhere and began feeding from the food accidently dropped from our hanging feeders.  Needless to say my better-half was quick to buy more corn and began strewing it everywhere. That’s all they needed to make our home the number one spot on their regular feeding rotation. With the heavy snow cover this winter they needed to do something inventive to help them survive the winter.  Thus began the feeding of a another new group of dependents that I couldn’t claim on my taxes. As always I just went along thinking that would be the last of the additions to our extended family of two hundred or so really hungry birds.  I was sadly mistaken once again.

Last year I erected a squirrel feeder on a nearby tree hoping it might convince the little buggers to stay away from the bird feeders. Once again, no good deed goes unpunished. We found out very quickly that turkeys and the occasional deer are also fond of corn.  So began the battle for the corn that lasted most of the summer and into the winter. My better-half still insists on bringing home an endless supply of corn to keep the battle going.  I left one of the bags sitting in the basement and hoped she would forget about it.  She forgot for a time but the field mice did not.  They like corn too and we soon found ourselves overrun with mice. Since the untimely demise of my lifelong best friend, my cat Stormy it’s been difficult to keep them under control.  He died a year ago and the mice discovered his absence rather quickly.  A new war was a brew’n.

A quick visit to Lowes supplied me with an armload of mouse traps and a determination to keep the mice out of our home.  I did discover that putting cheese in a mousetrap is a waste of time.  At first the mice were able to pull the cheese from the trap without harming themselves.  After some research I discovered that JIFF creamy peanut butter really gets the job done.  I’ve peeled 13 little corpses off those traps so far and I hope there will be many more to come. I toss their little corpses out onto the snow bank in the backyard where the crows and coyotes fight over the free meal.  At least with the mice I only have to feed them once.

I wish that was the end of this sad story but no such luck.  Next on my list is a large group of industrious little chipmunks who have quite a nice residence under our home.  My father always told me if you see one chipmunk you probable have at least ten. If that’s true then we may have upwards of a hundred roaming around. Oh yeah, they also love corn and bird seed just like damn near everyone else. It’s a little more difficult for them because they’re so small and the birds are constantly chasing them away.

I’ll begin working in our garden within the next few weeks and “Job 1” is to be certain that the fences are intact.  All these little varmints, birds, deer, and skunks are just waiting for me to make a mistake and then my garden will be trashed.  Don’t even get me started about that big fat skunk that patrols our property looking for trouble.  If he was any bigger I could just ride him around  like a horse.

So begins another summer here in Maine.  It should be interesting.

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07-15-2016 Journal – Garden Production!   Leave a comment

I breathed a huge sigh of relief this week when we finally began harvesting a few items from the garden.  By far the plants that seem to be doing the best are the zucchini’s.  They are weeks ahead of the hot peppers of so it seems. Here are the first two we removed and they’ve already been made into a number of loaves of chocolate zucchini bread.

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The cake was delicious as usual.

We also have five or six cucumbers ready for the table.  This meal consisted of chicken tenders grilled in a tequila & lime sauce and a cucumber, tomato, and onion salad drizzled with oil and vinegar.  Add to that vegetarian spring rolls and a cold glass of Chardonnay and your in heaven. It tasted way better than it sounds or looks.

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One of the hazards of eating a meal on our deck are the hundreds of birds that consistently visit our feeders. Over the last few years we’ve been adopted by three generations of woodpeckers.  Imagine trying to eat your meal as they zoom into the feeder just a foot or two above your head.  They seem to have lost all fear of us.

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I guess it’s nice to have visitors of a sort when dining but these guys are a pain at times.

WE ARE LOVING SUMMER

01-19-2014 Journal Entry–More Snow!   Leave a comment

Well the weekend has passed without much of interest to talk about.  I have to tell you though that taking Sundays off from my life is something I recommend highly for anyone to try.  No exercising, no blogging and no dieting. As always I remind you that Sunday as a day of rest for me is not a religious leftover from my childhood.  It just happens to fit into my strangely scheduled current  lifestyle.

We had another eight inches of snow through the night which meant I was to spend at least a half hour with my favorite motorized friend, the snowblower.  The snow was wet and heavy and a real pain in the ass to deal with.  I did it quickly so my better-half could access the outside world and then I returned to my day-off.  I snapped a few pictures around the house of this storm because the snow was sticking to everything and made for some interesting photos.

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The weather has warmed a little which brings out the visiting birds in large numbers.  We feed them regularly but in frigid weather they become scarce. Since we live in a forested area we have three or four generations of woodpeckers that stay with us all winter.  We place suet out for them because they’re the most successful in pecking it apart when it’s frozen.

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They’ve been flying in and out in shifts so often they’re averaging one suet container a week.  It apparently keeps them healthy and makes living through the winter months a little easier.

I then decided to leave the warm bosom of my house to explore the neighboring area for a few photo’s of the snow scenes.  Here are three that should give you a better idea about what Maine is like in winter.

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It’s now Monday morning and I’m back on the treadmill for a mile or two of good heath and exhaustion.  The better-half’s loving the new slimmer me but I think it’s just her way of motivating me a little more.  Either way  it’s a win/win.

03-07-2013   Leave a comment

I woke up early this morning and I’m now lying in bed drinking my first cup of coffee. I’m looking out the window at all of the wonderful snow we received overnight.  A few minutes ago I watched my neighbor who lives further back in the woods from us walking along his driveway dressed like an eskimo.  Every morning at exactly 7:00 am he walks from his house to the road to pick up his daily newspaper.  He must be strictly regimented because he varies no more than a minute or two each day.  Exactly fifteen minutes later he again walks to the road with his little daughter and waits with her for her school bus.

Are you also a “creature of habit”?  I think we all are in one way or another and may not even be aware of it at times.  My cat just walked by the bed on his way to continue his patrol of the house.  He is the poster cat for the term “creature of habit”.  He in turn through his actions requires me to become part of his daily routine. 

Every morning starting at 6:00 am he starts his nagging for food.  He knows that after a certain period of time I’ll be forced from sheer annoyance to get my lazy ass up and feed him.  This pattern started ten years ago when he and I were living the wild and crazy bachelor lifestyle in good old Sanford, Maine, a well known area for wild nightlife and  many unexplained deaths from sheer boredom. Once we moved to Saco, Maine it took him more than a month to adapt to the new home and surrounding circumstances.  I made the same adjustment in a matter of days.

Apparently our adaptability to change is based solely on intelligence not cuteness.  If it was based on cuteness then I’d have adjusted even quicker.  In case you’ve forgotten I am one cute SOB.

My better-half is the ultimate creature of habit and sometimes it’s even in a good way.  She has a radio in every room of the house and cannot bear to have a moment of quiet.  As she moves from room to room she turns on the radio upon her arrival.  There have been times when she’s had multiple radios playing in different areas of the house.  This pattern of behavior apparently started many years ago long before my arrival on the scene.  My assumption is that it was her way of accomplishing three things.  First she loves listening to music, second it drowned out the noise from her three children, and thirdly it blocked any unnecessary conversations with her ex-husband.  Remember that is my assumption which she is certain to disagree with.  Just so you know she was reading this over my shoulder and has already disagreed loudly with my assumptions.

Even the birds who visit our home three or four thousand times a day have their habits and patterns.  I can set my watch by a large and annoying woodpecker who appears twice a day at the same time to eat the suet we provide.  The blue jays appear as well at a different times to avoid the woodpecker.  All of the smaller birds schedule themselves appropriately to avoid the woodpecker and the blue jays. Everyone and everything has patterns that coincide neatly with everyone else’s.  It’s just simply the way of things and something we have little or no control over.

So, as you’re going about your daily routines, stop every so often and think about your habits and patterns and how comfortable they make you feel. We do them for a reason whether we like to admit it or not.  As young people we develop habits that interlock with the habits of our family.  As soon as we introduce others to our life we immediately fit them into the nitch we’ve created for them.

Is it any wonder we all seem to love jigsaw puzzles.  They’re a mass of varied and odd pieces that combine into a finished and complete picture.  Our lives are much the same.

So I’m being forced from my bed by both the cat and my better-half to feed one and snow blow for the other.  I guess that confirms me as a true “creature of habit” with a little help from my friends.