|Photo source - House Finches.|
The female flaps her wings for food, and the male
feeds her in their courting ritual.
Our six-foot bird swings are close to the bedroom window and the kitchen sink window. The birds are used to us being a few inches away, so we have close-up views all day.
|Cardinals by Norma Boeckler|
Mrs. Ichabod and I noticed the House Finches carrying on. I knew Cardinals did this, but I did not know the courting ritual of Finches. The female sits on the swing and flaps her wings like a nestling. The male watches a bit and then feeds her - or pretends to.
House Finches eat voraciously, not only the seeds from traditional feeders, but even the nectar from Hummingbird feeders. I decided to switch them to cracked corn, which is popular with many animals and far less expensive. I grow Hummingbird feeders instead of mixing nectar for them.
Mate feeding occurs when the male cardinal picks up a seed, hops near the female and the two touch beaks so the female can take the food. That is such as sweet gesture. Mate feeding will go on until the female lays eggs and incubates them. Normally, pairs of cardinals stay together throughout the year and may breed for several seasons. This bird lives an average of one year although there have been records of longer life spans.
Crepe Myrtle Rescue Work
Once I realized the Crepe Myrtle twigs need additional water, I aimed at a long-term solution. I have large patches of Dutch White Cover growing near the myrtle fence. That would provide an additional nitrogen boost by trimming the clover and placing grass and clover around the two smallest myrtles. I use battery operated trimmers.
Next I packed peat humus around each plant, on top of the clover. The mixture provides plenty of motivation for the soil creatures to pull down organic matter under the plants. Since organic matter holds more water, that will also increase the capacity of the soil to infiltrate and retain water.
Another Blackberry Patch
Surveying the Wild Garden made me realize my need for some invasive plants there, to elbow the weeds aside. Ragweed was starting all over, and maples were forming a new forest.
As I told one gardener, Blackberries transition from "I need to water them" to "What have I done!"
The soaker hose (not needed yet) will run on top of the Wright fence and then angle down to the Butterfly Bushes, which are greedy for water. So extra plants will occupy that general area.
I needed one more Blackberry plant and its network of runners. The one I found had an eight-foot runner. I created a small hole for the main plant and buried the runner under some loose soil and mulch, weighed down by a log.
Divine engineering will take over from there. Established Blackberries will grow in driveway cracks and pop up under a rain-barrel. They appear to be a series of canes, but those canes are connected and tough. I had to get a sharp knife to separate the cane I wanted from its network.
| Gabe Brown - "Let living roots stay in the ground|
as long as possible." Roots create most of the organic
matter in the soil, so that is a good idea.