Thursday, February 9, 2017

Outdoor Mom's Journal - February

During our outdoor time these past couple of weeks we went....on a few walks with the dogs to get them comfortable living with one another.

The addition of two new dogs (Danny and Scooby who are 5 1/2 years old and 10 years old respectively) to our current two dogs (Cooper and Aspen who are 4 and 3 years old respectively) meant trying to get them used to being in the same relative space as one another.

I didn't take any photos on these walks because both my hands were full with leashes and making sure the dogs got along okay.

Other outdoor time was spent close to home - filling birdfeeders; taking care of the horses; letting the dogs outside; getting the mail and paper; and taking the garbage/recycling to the street. Often times, on the cold days, the most enjoyable view for me is looking out the windows.

This is the view from my bedroom window which faces west. During the day, I see part of the front yard and west pasture. In the evening, there are beautiful sunsets; and on some mornings, there are dramatic moonsets (like this morning when the moon was orange):

The most inspiring thing we experienced was...watching all the birds at the feeder. At our 4-H club meeting last week, I made a big batch of Amish bird food using lard, peanut butter, cornmeal, flour, sugar, and birdseed. I've made this recipe before and the birds love it.

Had the kids at the 4-H meeting fill mugs with the suet and then add a stick for a perch. They used twine for attaching the bird feeder to the tree.

The birds have been enjoying the suet - especially the little black-capped chickadees.

The feeder on the mudroom roof (right outside the bedroom window) shows evidence of birds visiting it.

I like seeing the tracks in the snow from birds and squirrels on the roof; and the rabbits and squirrels in the yard.

Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)...why some dogs' paws seem okay for walks during the cold winter months and others have a lot of difficulty.

The ones we have now all seem to have challenges with being in the snow and ice for an extended period of time. So, we are not doing long walks now until it gets warmer (in the 30s).

In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting....nothing yet. However, I do want to start thinking about preserving (canning and freezing) more produce this year than I did last year.

I'm out of canned tomatoes now and am almost at the end of peaches. Ran out of blueberries and am almost out of strawberries. Will need to assess what I have on hand and what I need to preserve before the season begins.

I added nature journal pages about....nothing during February yet. Want to do another entry by the end of the month to meet my goal of doing one page per month.

I am reading...
My Backyard Jungle. Am looking forward to seeing what the author does to transform his yard into a wildlife habitat.

Just finished reading Landscaping for Wildlife for the 4-H Wildlife Project Bowl. Lots of good information and inspiring ideas.

We already do many of things mentioned in the book. However, I'd like to look at attracting certain species of birds, hummingbirds, and butterflies to our farm. This book gives practical ideas for doing that.

I am dreaming about…
birds migrating back north. I was thinking about the red-winged blackbirds and what a welcome sound they are each spring. It's truly a sign of spring when I hear them singing while they are sitting in the trees and on the cattails near the pond.

Trumpeter swans that returned in March 2012.
They were in the field next to our farm.

A photo I would like to share...
this is one from February 15, 2011. It was the first bike ride and walk of the season with Gretel and Montague. Olivia would have been 8 years old and Sophia would have been 10 years old.

How quickly time goes by. The girls are now 14 and 16 years old respectively; and both Gretel and Montague have died. We now have Scooby (10 years old), Danny (5 1/2 years old), Cooper (4 years old), and Aspen (3 years old) three cats and two horses.

This photo really makes me want to spend more time outside with the girls and dogs; and document what we see and do. These are the memories and experiences that bring back such good thoughts of a life and time well spent.

Thank you to Barb of the Outdoor Hour Challenge for the idea of doing an Outdoor Mom's Journal.


Jean said...

What a great idea to make a bird feeder from a coffee cup. Chickadees are one of my very favorite birds!

Smily said...

Thank you for your winter notes, and dogs!

Rita said...

enjoy the new dogs :)

Cathy said...

I enjoyed your pictures. I especially like the little mug bird feeder one. Hope you have a great weekend.

Stephanie Faris said...

Lovely photos! Is it tough to get two dogs used to each other? I've always been a one-dog person but my husband likes two dogs and is always trying to talk me into getting another!

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

Stephanie - I would highly recommend two dogs. If you can find the right match, the dogs are great companions to one another. They play, explore, sleep, and bond deeply with one another. It was a bit more challenging introducing two bonded pairs to one another (going from 2 dogs to 4 dogs). However, seeing how they are all integrating their lives with one another, it's so rewarding to have done this.

Our 4 current dogs are from a humane society and they encourage people to bring in their dogs to see what the reaction of a potential adoptee is to the current dog. We've done this and sometimes dogs are reactive to one another. It's not a good fit then. You move on and wait until another dog you think would be a good fit becomes available; and then try the process over again.

We have been so fortunate to find dogs that have gotten along well together. It's so neat to be able to watch them play, eat, and spend time with one another - just like a big pack.

Barb McCoy said...

I love your images of the bird tracks in the snow. Birds are such a wonderful comforting visitor to our yards aren't they? They help us keep track of the seasons for sure! Thanks for sharing your link!