Feed the Birds

If you go into the feed or pet store, you will find a variety of options for your bird feeders…but which one do you choose? Well that highly depends on the type of birds you would like to attract, the area you live in and the time of year. Below is a list of feed items you can find fairly easily at any feed store and some grocery stores that have bulk are even carrying them. A big key to success is to try a small amount, wait and watch. Once you find what works for your area, you will be set. Like all of us, those feathered friends do like variety so don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit.

Do take note. Plan where you have your feeders please. Seed will fall and in the wet months (which is when the birds need it the most) they will likely sprout.

Mealworms

This is a nice option to provide for insect eaters in the winter months when the food supply is low, they will even feed them to their babies. You can opt for the freeze dried or live. Both can be found at most pet stores.

When Best to Provide:
Winter & Spring

Birds It will Most Likely Attract:
Mockingbirds, Robins, Bluebirds

Black Oil or Striped Sunflower

These are popular in most seed mixes. The black oil sunflower seeds are smaller and higher in fat. Birds tend to like these best. Striped seeds are larger, have a harder shell and do not attract as many birds.

When Best to Provide:
Any time

Birds It will Most Likely Attract:
House Finches, Nuthatches, Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Jays, Goldfinches

Black Sunflower Seeds

Black Sunflower Seeds

Fresh Fruit

Fresh apples, grapes or oranges are a great treat for birds.

When Best to Provide:
Summer & Fall, when fruit can be found fresh and in season

Birds It will Most Likely Attract:
Tangers, Orioles, Woodpeckers, Waxwings, Robins

Fruit for the Birds

Fruit for the Birds

Nectar

This can be easily made at home. You can find several sources for a recipe online or here is one from the Domino Sugar website. Skip the food coloring, it is unnecessary and is harmful to the birds. This is not just for humming birds, there are several nectar lovers.

When Best to Provide:
Any time of year

Birds It will Most Likely Attract:
Humming Birds, Orioles, Woodpeckers

Millet

This seed is small round seed and there are several different types; Red, golden and white. The red and golden are not as popular with most birds. The white is the main ingredient in most mixed bird seed blends.

When Best to Provide:
Any time of year

Birds It will Most Likely Attract:
Sparrows, Juncos, Cardinals, Bobwhites, Quail, Doves, Buntings

Millet

Millet

Safflower

It looks similar to the sunflower seed but has a white coating. It is an alternative seed if you want to discourage Starlings or House Sparrows.

When Best to Provide:
Any time of year

Birds It will Most Likely Attract:
Chickadees, Nuthatches, House Finches, Jays , Goldfinches, Grosbeaks, Cardinals

Suet

This can be homemade or store bought. Suet can be simply just animal fat or a mixture of seeds, animal fat, berries and nut butter. It is a great source os fat and is highly important during the winter months to help keep those feathered friend warm. 

When Best to Provide:
Fall & Winter

Birds It will Most Likely Attract:
Chestnut-Backed Chickadee, Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Thrushes, Orioles, Grosbeaks, American Robin

Nuts

Unsalted peanuts are best if you are going to offer them whole, as they are less expensive and easier to shell. If you opt for shelled variety, just make certain they are raw if possible and unsalted . They are a good source of protein and fat for the colder months. The warmer months they spoil faster.

When Best to Provide:
Fall & Winter

Birds It will Most Likely Attract:
Jays, Nuthatches, Mockingbirds, Woodpeckers, Chickadees, House Sparrows, Cardinals, House Finches

Nuts for Birds

Nuts for Birds

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“Kick That Cold in The Booty” Remedy

Simple and Safe Ingredients

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 wedge lemon

kick booty lemon honey remedy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring the water to a boil. Combine hot water and apple cider vinegar in a small glass or mug. Add honey and cayenne pepper. Stir well. Top off with a squeeze of lemon. Take a deep breath of the mixture, and start drinking.

Curious Questions…Do bees hibernate?

Honeybees

These critters have an interesting form of winter survival. They stop flying when the temperature drops below 50 degrees and crowd into the lower portion of the hive, forming  a cluster. The worker bees encircle the queen bee and flutter their wings, creating energy to keep the center around 80 degrees. The colder the weather, the tighter the cluster becomes. Observations have shown that hibernating honeybees consume up to 30 pounds of stored honey during the winter months, which helps the bees produce body heat. On warmer days, honeybees will venture out for short flights.

Mason Bee House

Mason Bee House

 

Mason Bees

The adult mason bee lives only for about 6 weeks, unlike honeybees. They are solitary creatures and each female makes her own nest. Inside the nest, eggs hatch and each larvae has its own cell and food supply in it’s own compartment. After the larvae feeds, it spins a cocoon and remains there the whole summer. In the fall, the larvae molts and transforms into adult form. They spend the winter as adults in the cocoon and then emerge in early spring to start another generation.

Bumble Bees

Although bumble bees are a closer relative to honey bees, they do not maintain colonies throughout the winter. The last of the summer colony will contain a number of queens. Each of these queens will mate, she will find a place to overwinter and will hibernate until spring alone. The queen depresses her rate of metabolism which allows her to hibernate while burning very little fuel. In the spring she will find a place to build a nest and begin to lay and tend to her eggs.

Resources:

1. http://www.bees-online.com/Winter.htm

2. http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/buginfo/winter.htm

3. http://www.pollinatorparadise.com/Binderboards/Hornfaced_Bees.htm

4. http://www.loghomecare.com/carpenter_bees.html

5. http://www.aussiebee.com.au/abol-002.html

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Preparing Your Yard for Fall? Consider Ways to Help the Wildlife Through Winter

Fall is a time when the garden and yard finishes off its harvest and begins to prepare for a season of sleep. As caretakers we begin to rake and clip back plants to clean things up and put the gardens and flower beds to bed for winter. This ritual of annual cleanup is actually counterproductive to the wild life that may live in our yards. We are removing a major source of food and shelter. This does not mean you have to abandon your usual autumn chores, but there are a few things you can keep in mind that will help your furry, feathered and slithery friends.

Skip the Bag and Mulch

Leaves and grass clippings make great mulch for your garden and flower beds. Apply about two to three inches of mulch around the yard. In addition to providing some shelter for wildlife, this also gives your perianal plants and vegetable beds some nutrients. You can also create a brush pile if you can spare a corner of your yard. Stray branches, twigs and leaves provide nesting materials for squirrels, ground birds, rabbits and hibernating insects and amphibians. You can compost these in the spring for your garden soil.

Put Down The Clippers

Hold off clipping back all the flowers and seed heads. These can provide birds and critters with some food through the fall and into winter. Flowers such as cone-flowers, sunflowers and marigolds are loved by the wildlife.

Provide Food and Water Sources

In bird baths or shallow basins, float a tennis ball to prevent freezing. If possible change out the water during the winter months. Heated bird baths are also available if you want to invest to keep your feathered guests happy. Providing suet and a high protein seed mix in your bird feeders will help them find the calories needed to survive till spring.

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Can honey calms coughs as good or better than cough medicine does?

Question
Is Honey An Effective Cough Remedy?

Answer
from James M. Steckelberg, M.D.

Drinking tea or warm lemon water mixed with honey is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat. But honey may be an effective cough suppressant, too.

In one study, children age 2 and older with upper respiratory tract infections were given up to 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) of honey at bedtime. The honey seemed to reduce nighttime coughing and improve sleep.

Honey 1

In fact, in the study, honey appeared to be as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, in typical over-the-counter doses. Since honey is low-cost and widely available, it might be worth a try.

However, due to the risk of infant botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning, never give honey to a child younger than age 1.

And remember: Coughing isn’t all bad. It helps clear mucus from your airway. If you or your child is otherwise healthy, there’s usually no reason to suppress a cough.

Information from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/honey/AN01799

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Planting Cool Crops for the Fall Harvest

In August the garden is overflowing with the fruits of our labor all summer long, but it is also the perfect time to plant crops for a late Fall harvest…cool crops that will give you some fresh veggies before Winter takes over. The cooler weather will not produce as large of a crop, but will be plenty to keep things fresh. Here is a list of vegetables that you can be sown directly into the garden. Make certain to keep them damp and add a thin layer of compost on top to help feed your new crop. You will want to check your specific region for any special instructions…consult your local nursery or garden book:

1280033_39907101

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Broccoli (Transplants)
  • Brussels sprouts (Transplants)
  • Cabbage (Transplants)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower (Transplants)
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Collard greens
  • Kale
  • Leeks (Transplants)
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard greens
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Spinach

Sit back and enjoy the end of Summer, knowing you have a lovely bounty ahead!

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Spicy Lemon Honey Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup – honey
  • 3 Tablespoons – olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon – finely chopped lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons – lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon – chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon – finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon – salt
  • – crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

In deep, heavy saucepan, combine honey and olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is well-blended and just beginning to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, salt and crushed red pepper.

SERVING SUGGESTION

Use to glaze vegetables, meat, poultry or seafood

Recipe from http://www.honey.com/recipes/detail/15/spicy-lemon-honey-glaze

 

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The Reluctant Beekeeper

Beekeeping is not for everyone. It takes a certain mixture of patience, fascination and a bit of courage. But with some research and the right gear, it is possible to begin the journey as a beekeeper and have the satisfaction of working with the amazing creature…the honey bee.

Bee Hives

Do Your Homework

The first place to start is to hit the books (or trusted online sources) to find out what beekeeping is all about. There are many types of beehives and ways to keep bees. It is important to find a method that will work best for you and your space. Another thing to consider is can you afford the proper equipment needed for the correct set-up.

There are also several farms and nurseries that offer classes on beekeeping and the teacher is often plugged into the beekeeping community, making them a valuable resource when you are getting started.

One Thing at A Time

Take your time with getting things set-up and be patient as you learn the ropes. Late winter and early spring is the best time to get things started and planned. Honey bees will begin to swarm and become active in the hives around March or April, depending on the area you live in. In addition to planning for your hive(s), you will want to think out how to keep your bees happy in your own yard. Research the area you live in for the best bee friendly plants that are indigenous to where you live.

Backyard Bees

If you truly want to become a beekeeper, knowledge is key! There is quite a community that surrounds this hobby and they will offer the support you need. The whole process can provide a very satisfying experience…from the time working with the bees to the knowledge of what you are doing to help the environment.

For more details on how to get started click here: https://farmgardenandbeyond.com/bee-keeping-resources

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Grow a Tea Garden

Make Your Own Herbal Tea

Nothing is as delightful as clipping fresh herbs from your garden and brewing a fresh pot of tea. Fresh, relaxing and refreshing ingredients gives tea drinking a whole different experience. The flavor will be different from dried store bought teas, plus it is a money saver if you grow your own.

You will only need to purchase a few items to help make the experience easier. Start with finding a sturdy pair of kitchen shears. These are a set you want to keep clean and in the kitchen. Another helpful item is a colander or mesh basket. You can harvest your herbs and  take them straight to the sink to be rinsed. The last two item that are helpful are a sturdy tea jar and a small fine mesh bag that you can place your herbs in for steeping.

Image

Choosing Tea Herbs to Grow

As you are putting in your garden consider planting some of your favorites, as well as try some more exotic herbs to try. Here is a great list to start with: Peppermint, Spearmint, Lemon Balm, Chamomile and Rose-Hips. Some additional herbs to try are the variety of mints: Orange Mint, Chocolate Mint and Pineapple Mint.

Brewing a Perfect Cup of Herbal Sun-Tea

The first step is to properly wash your herbs. Fill a large pot and add a cap-full of lemon juice and a tsp of baking soda. Swirl the herbs around and then rinse well. It is best to use the herbs as soon as possible for the best flavor. Place the herbs in the mesh bag or you can tie them in a bundle and place in your tea jar. Run your tap water as hot as you can get it and fill the jar. You can use bottled water if you like. Place the jar in the sun and allow to steep. The longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor. Remove the herbs when you are ready and place in the fridge.

Now sit back and enjoy…what a treat to know that you grew something so wholesome and tasty!

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Yum!!! Honey-Lime Chicken Skewers

Try this great recipe from www.honey.com…a great one to add to your summer menu!!!

Honey-Lime Chicken Skewers

In a small bowl, whisk all liquid ingredients together until completely blended. Pour mixture into a freezer bag and add in chicken strips. Reseal bag and gently shake to cover chicken strips. Allow to marinade for 2 hours. Next, prepare skewers by soaking bamboo sticks in water for 15 minutes. Remove chicken strips from marinade and skewer onto bamboo sticks. Grill on medium to high heat for … [read full recipe below]

YIELD: MAKES 8 SERVINGS

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps – honey
  • 3 tbsps – soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp – olive oil
  • 1 – lime, juiced
  • 1 lb. – chicken breast strips, skinless and boneless

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk all liquid ingredients together until completely blended. Pour mixture into a freezer bag and add in chicken strips. Reseal bag and gently shake to cover chicken strips. Allow to marinade for 2 hours.

Next, prepare skewers by soaking bamboo sticks in water for 15 minutes. Remove chicken strips from marinade and skewer onto bamboo sticks. Grill on medium to high heat for 8 minutes or until juices are clear and chicken is fully cooked.

 

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