Country Life for the weekend

Weekend Living in the country is such a nice change from driving to work during the week.  The weekend means we can sleep till 7 instead of 6; we can take a little more time giving everyone their morning feed and even notice and enjoy the sunrise  a little longer.  Nothing feels like work when you enjoy what you do, so the weekend chores are not really chores. I look at them as making a nicer area for the alpacas to lounge in the barn and  cleaner nests in the coops for the chickens to  lay their eggs.

When the barn is clean and freshened up it is a great feeling.  I eliminate hiding places for little mice or a wayward skunk or rabbit.    The chickens plop into their nest boxes and we know we will have more eggs to collect that evening. 

We have had lots of rain so the few days in between that have the sun shining we enjoy the most.  The truck or car get washed of the mud and grime to enjoy for a day or two before the next rain and muddy road. 

The puddles in the pasture dry out enough that we don’t have to wear our Wellies outside.  The alpacas venture out into the pasture to enjoy the new sprigs of spring grass before they are relegated into the barn when the rain starts up again.  They stretch out on the ground to soak up the warm sunshine. I wander over just to make sure they are breathing.   The chickens spread out in the pasture in the warm sunshine to find any new bugs hiding out.

So this weekend the sun is shining until Sunday afternoon, so we are cleaning up around here.  I am looking at the raised beds to get ready for the vegetables I will plant soon.  Green peppers were fabulous last year.  The tomatoes not so much, but this year I will plant them in a different bed and not so close together.   Some  of that alpaca poo and chicken poo will be turned into the soil to add some nutrients before this year’s planting begins.  The trees need a boost of fertilizer.

The robins and cardinals are here now.  I saw a little bird I had never seen before so I am trying to figure out what it is.  The mockingbird is here but not singing yet.  I will clean the hummingbird feeders and hang them out although the migration map shows they are just arriving at the west coast and the storms may interrupt their progress.  The  Monarchs will soon be taking off from Mexico and headed our way.

Hummingbirds migrating

Don't come near my feeder

Don't come near my feeder

As soon as we moved here I got hummingbird feeders.  You don’t know you have hummers around until you hang out the feeders.  I bought three to hang; 2 in backyard and 1 in front yard, but I am going to get some more.  The hummers are migrating now and we will see more action as they move through.  We have 4 or so that hang out here all summer.  When they migrate, we may have 20 or more feeding.

I have not been really happy with the ones I bought and have replaced a couple different kinds because they just deteriorated and looked bad.  I found my favorite feeders at Wal-Mart for under $4.  What I really like about them is several features that make using this easier than others.  You will see it in the picture above.

First, the clear tube holding the sugar water mix has a WIDE mouth that screws into the base.  The others I had were like bottles and openings so small I could never get a brush in there to clean out the gunk that accumulates.  This one I can get my kitchen sponge into easily and clean.

Secondly, the base is easy, easy to open and clean.  It has no baffles inside that collect gunk.  The ring around the outside is nice for the hummers to sit on and drink.  The flat openings don’t have any “flower” attachments that collect junk and that wasps like to congregate on.  The top of the base separates from the bottom of the base and locks in place in the middle.

Thirdly, the size is perfect.  If you get too big of a unit you are wasting the nectar.  You are supposed to change out the nectar every 3 days or so and put in fresh.  I don’t have so many hummers that they drink it all up sooner than that. 

I just love these.  I am buying more.  These might be sold at other places but I am always on the lookout for a really logical and economical feeder. 

Also, don’t buy the packaged nectar; make your own quickly, cheaply, and easily.  No matter what the marketing message says, they don’t need the packaged nectar and don’t need any extra “vitamins” or anything else.

Recipe for nectar (don’t use any food coloring; keep it clear):

a.  1 part sugar to 4 parts water (example: 1 cup sugar,  4 cups water)

b.  boil the water in the microwave or on the stove to purify it (I also use the water out of my refrigerator purifier pitcher)

c.  add the sugar (use pure sugar, no Splenda or sugar substitutes)  while the water is still hot and stir to disolve

d.  cool the nectar in the refrig and then clean and refill your feeders; refill every 3 days; they love the fresh nectar.  

Here is the link to the manufacturer of this feeder.  Enjoy!