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Cleaning Feeders and Such
January 12, 2015

Winter has managed to find its way here.

I am sure I saw penguins walking down the street.

Canada and much of the United States, felt a true Arctic blast this past week.

No worse for wear, I hope to share a small portion of the day with you :-)

Our God continues to bless us with his special touches on Yolanda.

This past week, we stopped feeding her through the feeding tube (pump).

The visiting dietitian, suggested that we might try, as things were going so well.

A full three weeks ahead of the program.

Since the tube feedings have stopped, so have the accidents.

A visit to 'West Michigan Heart', gave us some peace of mind too.

Yolanda's checkup went swimmingly.

We will make another visit in a couple of months and prayerfully, only once a year after that.

The second full week of the New Year.

Don't blink, you might miss a day or two.

In my excitement to share life's happenings, I forgot to remind you to deep clean your feeders and water sources.

I understand that may be difficult to do in sub freezing temperatures, still many of you can manage.

Do you live where the temperatures are below freezing and cleaning is impossible right now?

No worries.

A cap or two of bleach will keep the birdbath from turning green and won't corrode your heater.

Too much bleach will damage your birdbath heater, and leave you scrambling to find a new heater.

Yes, that was me last winter (boy did I over pay).

For all of your feeders,

Take a spray bottle, fill it with rubbing alcohol (nothing else), and spray on your feeders.

Again, no worries.

Alcohol evaporates quickly, and leaves no harmful residue.

This doesn't replace a good cleaning, but will kill off germs and bacteria, and not a bad thing to do from time to time.

Especially in the winter months when more birds congregate in close quarters.

While on the topic of bird feeders, why not check your bird feed as well.

Hard shelled seed like Sunflower, Millet, and safflower can stay viable for a long time.

Even in feeders, where seed can get wet.

If there is air circulation, and conditions are right, seeds can stay fresh and edible.

Soft shelled seeds like Nyjer, on the other hand can spoil, turn bad almost overnight.

First off, healthy Nyjer should almost have a sheen to it.

Sour or Nyjer gone bad will have a white dusty look covering the soft, black/brown shell.

Nyjer will spoil quick in feeders, especially when it sits at the bottom of a sock and clumps up.

Goldfinches are year round visitors to our feeders.

Not to mention Pine siskins, and for some, Redpolls.

If you have a lack of birds feeding, you will be wise to check your Nyjer and other seeds.

If Nyjer doesn't have a gloss to it at the store, pass it by.

You will save some money, and this seems to be an issue in some locations (bad seed).

Hull less sunflower and blends will quickly go bad too.

Not so much in freezing temperatures, but get them wet and watch out.

Hull less blends, sunflower chips, etc. can turn to mush in rainy conditions.

December in Michigan was a good example of that.

Now, wet and on warm days, seed and feed turns rancid.

Yes, keeping an eye on your birdseed is always a good idea.

You want to enjoy healthy birds, not sickly birds.

Dirty water and feeders are one thing, Nasty food is something else.

Most important, protect yourself while out in the harsh weather.

Don't over do it, dress appropriately.

Remember your farm animals and furkids.

Water and shelter are vital for the farm.

Furkids too often are left outside, and results can be fatal.

Well,, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"It seems clear even in these years of squalid degradation that
having risked death for the sake of honor is better than having risked
dishonor for the sake of life."

Mark Helprin, American Novelist

Life in death, death in life?

I read that somewhere before.

"Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and
take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Matthew 16:24,25

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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