Sunday is often my day of miscellany, when I catch up on things like email, finding the office floor, and other not-really-work related activities. But not housework. LSS does that, bless him! So I thought I'd do a bit of a miscellany in my blog posting too.
Lest someone think that bloomingwriter has gone to the birds, (which is better than going to the dogs, say the catchildren), I thought I'd bookend this post with a couple of new plants that flung themselves at me this past week, pleading to come home with me.
Leading the way is this lovely house-azalea, as I call the ones that won't survive outdoors. Normally, these plants are about 30 dollars, in 8 inch pots or better, and I just can't buy one only to watch it dwindle away over the coming months. However, the store I was in hand smaller, healthy looking azaleas, smothered in blooms and less than ten bucks, so I said, sure, come along with. Being a digital image of the plant, the colour really isn't accurate: this particular azalea is about the same colour as 'Hansa' rugosa rose, a deep fuchsia, and has deep green, glossy leaves. If it does okay, I'll put it outdoors for the summer, but it's not one to be planted out in this climate.
Some of us here in North America, and elsewhere, decided to take part unofficially in the Big Garden Birdwatch that Shirl told us about the other day. Weather was a little more amenable today to watching and counting birds; yesterday, many of the birds sought shelter in the woods, apparently. Except for the chickadees, which always are around!
Here's what I saw in our yard during my hourlong watch:
3 Gold finches
9 Blue Jays
about seventeen or five dozen blackcapped chickadees (YOU try counting them when they're bopping everywhere)
21 common redpolls
5 dark-eyed juncoes
8 mourning doves
2 purple finches
a number of different sparrows (maybe English and Chipping--sparrows confuse me)
Mr. Ringnecked Pheasant (didn't see Missus today but she may have been by earlier or later.
The dear little black-capped chickadees are my favourite birds, bar none--so cheerful looking, very friendly, they follow us around the yard while we're filling feeders, and they're so much fun to watch and listen to.
This is a great year for redpolls, according to Jim from the Blomidon Naturalists Society. Apparently there are several different species around, but these are just the regular common redpolls. Not the clearest photo, because I took it through my office window, which has both screen and glass on it; but I spend a lot of time looking out at the various birds stuffing themselves at the two feeders.
Is this a hairy or a downy woodpecker? I don't know, because I can't tell them apart. I DO know it's not a pileated woodpecker--we do see those in the yard occasionally, but not often. This little fellow, however, is a daily visitor, often hanging out on the suet feeders, but also happy enough to check out trees for something delightful to eat.
On to other topics. It's good to see so many people visiting Blotanical and exploring their way through so many of the blogs from various parts of the world. I've discovered all kinds of blogs that I haven't seen before, and reading some very fine posts. A LOT of very fine posts, actually, but what else is there to do when one has insomina but read something interesting? There's a method to my madness; as some of you know, when we recommend posts or write notes or favourite blogs, we gather points, and the different levels allow us to pick more favourites. I have about four dozen favourite blogs that I read faithfully, and I want to celebrate each of them on my personal Plot at Blotanical, so as soon as I get to 1500 points and can have 48 favourites, I'll be happy. But I don't pick each blog post written each day just to gather points--I only pick ones that I think are worth reading, and certainly there are some out there that aren't as good as others.
Isn't this delicious? This is the first Bromeliad I've ever purchased, the lovely Flaming sword, Vriesea 'Christiane'. It stopped me in my tracks at a shop the other day, I stood looking at it and half a dozen other bromeliads for a few minutes, agonizing over which one I needed. This one thought it had to come home with me, and I'm glad it did; its glossy green foliage is handsome, but the flower spikes are just plain remarkable.
Finally, I may not be participating that much in Blotanical or here or visiting other blogs over the next few weeks, as I'm getting a book proposal ready to submit to a publisher, and that's going to take up some of my free time when I'm not working on other articles. So don't be surprised if I go a bit amongst the missing; I have a few posts stocked up and ready to go, but may not get around to other blogs as much for a little while. Fingers crossed, friends...some of you have been wondering when I'll write another book...the answer is, it's mostly written, but I need to find the right publisher before I go any further. A publisher has expressed interest, so we're in the initial 'dating' stages of discussing publication.