My backyard has become Grand Central Station – for the birds! With several types of bird feeders and bird baths scattered throughout my backyard, it has become a bustling playground of activity. I enjoy taking breaks from my daily routine to listen to the songs and watch the ongoings of the birds. The few minutes I take everyday to observe these beautiful creatures is always enough to remind me to “be present.”
#1 – Hummingbird Tale
For two years straight, my front door shrubbery was selected by hummingbirds as nest-worthy. My children were young then and were fascinated by the tiny nests made from spider webs and lichen. As to not disturb the nest, we observed the Jelly Belly-sized eggs via a hand mirror’s reflection. Eventually, the eggs hatched and the babies grew. One by one the babies seemed to fly away without any of us noticing. Then one afternoon we walked out the front door just in time to see the last little one perched on the edge of the nest, teetering a bit, waiting to take off. And just like that, he was gone. We felt sad to see “our” little birds leave, but were happy to see another nest in almost the exact same spot the following year! My fascination with hummingbirds has continued through the years and because I live in an area where we have hummingbirds year round, I make sure their feeder is kept clean and full.
According to Hummingbirds.net and my local bird store, it’s not necessary to buy commercial “nectar” mixes. These birds get all the nutrition they need from flower nectar and insects they consume. They do, however, get quick energy from ordinary white cane sugar – fuel for going after bugs.
Here’s a simple Hummingbird Nectar Recipe I got from my local bird store:
1. Add one part sugar to four parts hot water (boiled water optional). Store surplus in the refrigerator.
2. Never use honey to sweeten your nectar! Honey harbors a fungus that is deadly to these delicate creatures.
3. Never use food coloring in your feeders.
4. Nectar ferments rapidly. Clean and refill daily when temperatures are over 100 degrees; at least twice weekly during cooler weather. Avoid placing your feeder in the afternoon sun side of your house.
#2 – Double Duty
Whenever my husband and I take road trips or even just car trips for more than a few hours, we always take along a small ice chest. We never know what tasty morsel might be procured along the way or better yet, what leftovers mom and dad might send home with us! Plus, we like to have bottles of water to sip on during the trip. Instead of using space-consuming ice packs, I freeze a few water bottles and throw them into the ice chest. It’s a two-for-one deal: The frozen bottles keep everything nice and cold in the ice chest, but the defrosted bottles quench our thirst! The best way to freeze the bottles is to lean them against something in the freezer so that the water freezes at an angle (air space is redistributed). Not a biggie, but freezing water bottles standing straight up creates bulging bottles that don’t stand up on their own!
Even when we take our refillable water bottles on trips, I still pack frozen water bottles in the ice chest. Often times the same unopened water bottles get frozen over and over gain.
#3 – Mercury and Compact Fluorescent Lights
If a CFL bulb breaks in your home, should you be concerned about mercury exposure? Here’s an article by Helen Suh MacIntosh, a professor in environmental health at Harvard University, that answers the question.
#4 – Recyclable Gift Wrap
This You Tube video on Furoshiki gift wrapping demonstrates the versatility of Furoshiki. Furoshiki are reusable Japanese wrapping cloths that can be used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods. The video shows how to wrap books, bottles, chocolates, and how to make a bag.
#5 – Sing!
Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.
Enjoy your weekend!