Thursday, January 03, 2008

Offering the right food




I have been feeding the birds in my garden for years now, but only the usual things like mixed birdseed, fat balls and some peanuts. But just before Christmas I found a place selling big bags of thistle seed and a special feeder to hold it and almost overnight some fantastic new birds arrived:

goldfinches

siskins

and

bullfinches (just one male so far)

The siskins are very lively, bickering amongst themselves and shooing off other birds.

I'm going to try and set up the camera at the kitchen window with the remote release to see if I can get a few shots of them.

Snow is falling heavily here, although it isn't lying and will be gone by tomorrow when the weather is expected to get milder again.

N is back from her retreat, she went away to avoid all the New Year hullabaloo.
She spent the time at a formal meditation retreat and has come home looking very relaxed and calm.

I've spent the day working on a grant application for the big garden that I'm a trustee of - so much paper work for voluntary organisations to fill in and every time the application criteria are different so you have to reconfigure the same basic information into a new and acceptable package.

I must admit to being glad to be through the "Festive Period" with its heightened expectations and all the looking back and the looking forward. Those of us who dance in limbo find it very hard to deal with - which is why N wisely just opts out.

But I am pleased with where my life is at just now. I'm really enjoying the collaborative process of doing the chapbook with Colin, and the garden plans will be fantastic if they come off. I've also fixed up a week's volunteering to coincide with the Stanza poetry festival in March, which gives me a week's free accommodation near St Andrews in exchange for three hours work each morning. So the new year is shaping up well, although I shouldn't tempt fate by saying things like that, but I do have my fingers and toes crossed so it should be OK!

The photo is a composite of my own shots of puddle ice and hawthorn berries

14 Comments:

Blogger Jan said...

I like your positive attitude and I hope its catching!
I often put words into pictures, if you get my drift, and I have a wonderful picture of you dancing in limbo!
Your New Year sounds a good un.

6:23 am  
OpenID rosneath said...

a formal mediation retreat - that sounds interesting ... will I find out more if I Google it?

belle

10:40 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Grr blogger ate my reply. Jan I'm a poor dancer, but don't let that spoil your image.

Belle i posted on your blog re the meditation thing. I'll try and get more info from N, she's given up on me trying it.

11:06 pm  
OpenID rosneath said...

Forgot to say - what are siskins - don't think I've ever seen one - looked it up in my bird book which tells me it mostly lives in the pine forests of the Scottish Highlands!
The house in Canada is a long story which I will blog about ... sometime!

Cheers
belle

11:28 pm  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Love being reminded of winter!

7:12 am  
Blogger apprentice said...

Belle the link on the word siskin is clickabe. Thry do like pine forest, but they do visit gardens if you get the food right.

1:48 pm  
Blogger Lucy said...

It's a lovely picture (as usual), looks like a kind of abstract illustration to a fairy tale.
A meditational retreat over New year sounds a very good idea, you'd also meet other similarly disposed souls, which could be reassuring in itself.
Wondrful idea to buy thistle seed for birds, but how do they know it's there, and what it is? It's taken us years to even persuade the birds to come and feed here at all.

6:14 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

I'm amazed that they seem to sus out fresh food supplies. I wonder if they send out scouts like bees?
The bullfinch hasn't been back, unless in the early morning. The siskins gave him a hard time.

I'll no doubt have thistles all over the garden, along with the rogue sunflowers. It is very fine black seed, but not niger.

11:28 pm  
Blogger Colin Will said...

I was in B&Q today getting essentials, and I noticed a thistle feeder, so I bought it. I hope the siskins come - they are regulars in the Cairngorms. Quite aggressive little sods, but cute withal.

7:21 pm  
Blogger PI said...

Thistle seed: I must try and get some. Whilst we are on thistle did you know that milk thistle is great to combat heavy drinking? Not that I think for a moment you would indulge.
I have toyed with the idea of a meditation retreat over the years and even have a list of them somewhere. I wonder if your friend could be persuaded to tell us, through you, how she found it in practice.
I love the idea of the peace and quiet and the goodness but am nervous of zealots and - forgive me - nutters.

11:09 am  
Blogger apprentice said...

I hope the Siskins show up for you Colin. I've got a gang of them now,
and they really are characters, the goldfinches get mugged!

Pi N meditates as part of a group, http://www.srcm.org/index.jsp
They met to mediate at home too, they have preceptors who lead the mediation, and they arrange retreats at a centre in the Scottish Borders. The movement has an ashram in Denmark, and others worldwide.

I'm afraid I'm just not good at letting go to that degree, nor am I very clubable. But some people seem to get a lot from it, including amazing energy and stamina.

12:04 pm  
Blogger f:lux said...

The thistle seed is a really good tip - can you get it at garden centres?

12:17 pm  
Blogger Colin Will said...

Thistle seed feeder has emptied itself overnight in the storm. I'm going to have a rare crop of the stuff this year. I must put it in a more sheltered spot before I refill it. I got the seed in B&Q by the way.
One greenhouse panel blown out, but (a) it's polycarbonate so it didn't break, and (b) it didn't blow very far. Wild weather though.

12:16 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Mine emptied too, the birds are on the ground hoovering it up.
The design if the feeder isn't great.

I'm leaving off redfilling it until the wind drop. I hardly slept, at one point I thought the trees over the road would take off!
No sign of any slates being down though, which is good news.

1:39 pm  

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