27 January 2008

Blooms, birds, blotanical, blogs and books

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)
5 crows
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.


  1. Jodi, GOOD LUCK. I will miss you while you are so busy but I hope it is all for the successful publishing of a new book.

    I love your new bromeliad. I could have a zillion of them IF I had room.

    Again...good luck. Do they say "break a leg" in journalism?

  2. Hi Jodi -

    Thanks for visiting kipili.com this morning (my time) I hope you enjoyed your visit. I've just read through a few of your posts and I'm struck by the differences in the climate. Here in Sydney at present it's hot and humid reaching 30ยบ C most days. URGH!

    I'd love some cooler weather for a change and your snowcovered garden looks magical to me. I also enjoyed the bird round up -- having never seen a chickadee I have to agree they seem like very cute little birds.

    I do have some bromeliads - most grow fine outdoors here in Sydney and there's a pink Rhododendron (azalea) in the garden that I 'm thinking of cutting down as it's getting just too big!

    Thanks again for the visit and I hope you'll drop by again. I've added you to my blogroll!

    Cheers -

  3. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I have never seen this variegated Mondo bloom nor my clumps of black Mondo either. I have a border also of the dark solid green Mondo but never any blooms there as well. I enjoyed your lovely blog with great photos and writing. Best regards, Jon on 1-27-08 at http://mississippigarden.blogspot.com

  4. Jodi, I gave up on the bird count. Who wants to sit for an hour and count sparrows and starlings? Not me, I can't count that high. Just teasing, there were a lot though.

    I love those little chickadees too. I'd love it if I had that many. You had a great picture of it too.

    I wish you the very best as you begin this next stage of getting your book published.

  5. Jodi, I looked at my feeder a few times and never saw any birds. Sigh. I'm sure they'll come around eventually. In the meantime, you are like the bumblebee with lots to occupy your time. I just figured out you can earn points by using Blotanical.

    Good luck with your latest book proposal!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  6. Good luck with the new book. Any hints as to what it's about?

  7. Hi, Jodi, Thanks for commenting on my garden blog. I love Azalea's they just seem to bring spring where ever they are. I enjoy exploring and discovering new blogs on Blotanical.com. There are a lot of social sites, but Blotanical brings it all together for the garden blogger.

  8. Hi again, Jodi :-)

    What a great selection of birds you have visiting you garden. I too like the chickadees - they are very like our coal tits. Both are such ordinary but yet pretty little birds aren't they? I like your woodpecker too :-D

    Thanks so much for taking part with a count with me this weekend. It has been fun having others join me! I'm not sure what you meant by a live link but I've updated my post with links etc for all those who joined in. Thanks again for the link backs you added in your posts :-D

    Okay, yes I too really need to start posting on my plants or I will be losing readers! That bromeliad is really quite eye catching! Thinking back to one of your previous posts I believe you love the meconopsis too... I've some beautiful blue ones in my garden so do pop back in May/June when they will be in flower again. Like Carol, I love May in the garden :-D

    Like everyone else above, I do wish you well with your latest book. You really are a very busy woman and it has been great to meet up with you :-D

    Till the next time :-D :-D

  9. Good luck with your book, Jodi. That's an enormous undertaking but you seem to have boundless energy.

  10. Good luck with the book deal! (I hope they give you a ginormous $$ advance just in time for spring plant shopping) That Bromiliad is a stunner - I couldn't have walked away without it either. I think I'm off to Logee's this week. (danger danger)

  11. Hey! I have noticed quite a few garden bloggers writing posts relating to Blotanical. I remember when Stuart started up (I interviewed him via my blog) and I suspect a marketing angle, rather like facebook. I am on Blotanical (though I seem to have deleted my email... goofy me) but I am leery. It is a useful resouce that's for sure but ... well... but.

    I understand that the two woodpeckers are different sizes and have different rhythms when they 'peck'. That wasn't very helpful was it?

  12. Good luck Jodi with the book deal!

    Your black-capped chickadees look very much like our coal titmice. And they are very endearing too.

    30 bucks for a azalea? Good grief, here you buy one for 5 to 10 euro.

    BTW my dad used to breed canaries (especially recessive white) but nowadays he breeds mostly those very pretty Bullfinches and a few goldfinches too.

    As a little girl I used to have a cross between a goldfinch and a canary and that little birdie lived for more than 13 years. Not bad eh? But that was long before the kittycats came.

  13. That Azalea is a lovely bright spot of color. I'd have brought it home too! I have yet to try a Bromeliad. Yours is gorgeous!
    You had good luck with your bird count. We have many of the same here, but no redpolls. The chickadees are my favorites too. I can almost reach out and touch them :)
    We've seen a cardinal pair early in the mornings lately but I haven't been able to get a shot of them from a good vantage point. They're very shy.
    I'd love to see those eagles!
    That was awful about your neighbor's house catching fire.
    Thank heavens he wasn't hurt.
    Best of luck with your book!!

  14. Jodi, love your shots of the eagles! Well worth waiting for them to load. Wow, that must have been amazing to see so many at once.
    That woodpecker you asked about appears to be a Downy Woodpecker, judging from the size it appears in your photo plus how you describe it as small. The Hairy Woodpeckers are larger. The Downy also has soft downy feathering where the feathering meets their beak. The males (in both) have a red bit on their head and the females are sans-red :_)

    Congratulations on the possible second book deal! I know how much work is involved just to get to this stage.

    PS: I'm finding Blotanical really awkward to navigate so not sure if I can spend much more time over there but I REALLY appreciate you promoting it and encouraging people to try it out.

    I look forward to hearing about book number two!

    Diane Alberta Postcards, was Sand to Glass
    Diane's Flickr photos

  15. Crossing my fingers for your book.
    I am still astonished with your creativity and 'fertility' - you write really a lot :) and nice :) and interesting.
    Bromelia - I feel tempted since I visited a plant shop - few posts before :)

  16. Hey Jodi. I wish you great fortune with your new book! That sounds very exciting, even though that means you'll not be here with us as often for a bit.

    I didn't participate in the bird count this year as our birds have "flown the coop! I don't know where they've gone - perhaps up your way? Besides my little red-headed woodpecker my bird feeder has been quite lonely. Weird. Way.

    Loving Blotanical and have met lots of great folks already! Again, good luck with the new book and DO TELL US ALL ABOUT IT when you get a breather.

  17. Chickadees are one of my favorites...so cute and perky. I seem more Downy's then Hairy's and really unless you can get a good estimate on the size and look at the beak...Hairy's is much longer...they really do look alike. Good luck on the book.

  18. The book project sounds wonderful. I am really pleased for you - I can't see it stopping you from spending time on Blotanical. You've gotta keep up those post pick counts somehow!!

  19. Jodi: Just catching up a bit on visiting blogs- loved! loved! the eagles post. I would be so tempted to camp out where they were just to stare at every little move they make- fascinating.

    So happy for you on your book. I kind of know the ropes- my daughter is an editor and my dear friend has authored a couple of published books... it is quite the process. My prayers will be with you.

    So glad you purchased the bromeliad- congrats. I have one of that variety blooming in my yard right now. It caught my attention just this weekend as I was playing in the backyard with my grandchildren. My favorite color of brilliant red! Do keep me posted on how it does indoors.

    And finally- not to leave out the little birdies you observed... Great photos and a wonderful variety. We just don't have so many of those species but I have to say one of my favorites are the chickadees also. We see them all year -- it makes me wonder how they decide if they want to be in the sunny south or the blustery north for the winter?

  20. Your garden birds are so beautiful and varied. Loved tht little chickadee. Not seen that before.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. I do have lots of garden posts. I have not heard of Blotanical. You will also see some writings on Noval Scotia in 1960 in the early part of my story.I visited Walton every month for nearly a year.
    Well we are further North than Nova Scotia but we have the Gulf Stream to keep us warm.


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