Monday, 21 January 2013

Early morning thoughts . . .

We have really been enjoying all of the birds which have been visiting our garden during this recent cold snap.   There was a time a few months back when we thought they had abandoned us altogether, thinking that perhaps those pesky neighborhood cats which seem to spend more time in our garden than in their own had driven them all away . . . but these past few days have thankfully proved that theory wrong . . . thankfully.

Although I did look out the other morning to see the black cat sitting right on top of the pond, which has frozen over (but not by much) polishing his paws on it's glassed over surface.   He could probably see the fish swimming beneath it and was trying as hard as he could to get at them.   Thankfully he could not . . . however I do confess, there was a part of me that hoped that the ice would break and teach him a lesson and perhaps frighten him away from our garden altogether . . .

Feeding the birds is an important part of our day . . . it has been ever the same no matter where we have lived.   First thing in the morning and again in late afternoon we put food out for them.   There is always stale bread going or cake or biscuits, which they love, especially in the winter when the extra fat does them good.   They have often been the lucky recipients of stale cereal as well . . . and of course the usual suet balls and wild bird seed.

I used to save all of our bacon fat and make my own suet balls with it . . . along with chopped apple, and peanut butter, wild seed, bread and cereal crumbs and melted suet.    I would stir it all together and pack it into loaf tins and freeze it.  Once frozen I would cut it into thick slabs which we would then pop into the cage suet feeder.  They have always loved it.   We don't eat much bacon anymore though . . . and these past few winters they have had to settle for the shop bought suet balls.

We have a nut feeder too, which we like to fill with nuts for them.    It is a squirrel proof feeder.  When we were down south and living on the Manor Estate there was no end to the squirrels that gave us problems, emptying the nut feeder as soon as it had been filled most days . . . and so we bought the squirrel proof feeder, which would have worked very well except for this one fact.   We had very smart squirrels and whilst the feeder was quite squirrel proof all around the sides and the top . . . the bottom was quite exposed and the little blighters used to just steal them from the bottom.   I soon solved that problem though.  (It had become somewhat of a challenge for me to keep them at bay.)   I just took the metal lid from a jar and poked some holes around the edges, about four and then wired the lid to the bottom of the feeder where the nuts were, covering over the holes completely.   Problem solved.

They do love the sunflower seed most of all, and of course it is the most expensive to buy . . . so it is a rare treat along with mealy worms.    It does cost a bit to feed them, but we do so enjoy all that they give us in return in hours spent watching them as they flit from hedge to feeder and back again . . . and in song in the springtime . . . Todd does get annoyed when a flock of starlings arrive and decimate all of our work . . . but as I remind him . . . they need to eat too.  I know they are such greedy birds and not very nice . . . but, one could say the same about us and still . . . our Father cares.

We have had more snow during the night.  The car is quite covered now.   I don't think Todd will ever get it cleaned off.   I have warned him all weekend that he needs to do so . . . and in fact the car has not moved.   I fear it will all be well and truly frozen on now, and a lot harder to clear.    He just does not have any smarts when it comes to snow, whereas I have years and years of experience in dealing with the white stuff.  I do have to say though that I am glad that at my age, I no longer have to deal with it on a regular basis during the Winter months.   That is the one thing I am dreading however, when I am at my mom's.  The Canadian Winter Weather.  I fear I have become a Winter Weather Wimp!

My mother goes for her needle biopsy tomorrow and then, once that is done, I expect it won't be long before they are setting up a date for her surgery and it will be all systems go and I will have to be on my way over.  Oh I shall miss you all so . . .

Yesterdays Silver Lining . . .  Toasting our toes by the fire while the snow fell.  Feeling all cozy and warm and feeling it together as a family . . .  with that little wet black nose pushing itself between us.   So nice . . .

A thought to carry with you through the day . . .

"Life is like a rollercoaster;  the highs are meaningless but for the lows."

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Vegetable Soup with Bacon Dumplings.  Oh so good and warming during this cold snap!

Wherever you go and whatever you get up to  today, be safe . . . and be happy!

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