Sunday, February 24, 2008

Merlin Sighting

We were surprised this week by Merlin, I don't mean the wizard, but the falcon. Yes, that makes the 100th new bird on our list of "backyard" birds. I thought it was a sharp-shinned hawk which are pretty common around here, but after studying the photos and the bird book we realized it was a Merlin. One major distintion is the Sharp-shins have red eyes and the Merlin's eyes are black. Very cool and kind of rare here. It was perched on the fountain just outside the kitchen door so that made it even more fantastic. It was hunting a junco or sparrow that was hiding for its life in the ferns. More than once we've seen a hawk make a strike on a smaller bird visiting our feeders, it's one of the down sides to having feeders, but doesn't make us take them away as we love having the birds here in the yard and its natural for hawks to prey on smaller birds.
On the gardening front, I planted 12 dozen onion plants I mail ordered from Dixon Dale farms, Stockton purple, Candy yellow, and Super Star white. I figure thats 12 onions a month which should be just about right, we eat a lot of onions around here. It looks like nothing but onions out there right now with the leeks, garlic and green onions planted in the fall next to all the new ones. But the peas are sprouting, sugar snap and snow, and I planted radish, spinach, carrots and lettuce that I'm watching for daily.

Bulbs are popping up everywhere, remember the 1,000 that we planted last fall? The squirrels keep digging them up and moving them around, so not only are they coming up where we planted them, but in other spots too- its kind of fun and the beauty of planting so many is you don't get so torqued out by those mischievous squirrel antics as you might if you had only planted 50.

We are working the flower beds, weeding, mulching and moving plants around, spring is so close we can really taste it now, those 60 degree days make us want to get out and dig and those 40 degree rainy ones that follow give us a chance to rest those winter tired and lazy muscles from the day before.

We are contemplating getting a really big cistern to set up behind our garden shed and gravity feed the veggies, I'm going to see how much they cost. Next on the to do list is to get the taters planted, I bought sets for 3 kinds last week and need to get them in the ground this week. The few we planted last year (from some that were sprouting in the kitchen) were so tasty that we vowed to plant MORE this year, enough to store.

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