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First Week of December
December 03, 2012

Snow flurries the first part of the week and temperatures in the upper fifties for the weekend.

Go figure.

Jupiter once dominates the night sky once again (when the moon isn't around).

(Pictured is Wednesday night, the moon with Jupiter nearby.)

Starting low in the East at the first sign of darkness, and you can follow it across the night skies from East to West.

By nine o'clock in the evening, you may get a glimpse of the the constellation Orion as it rises from the east, southeast as well.

Dark skies make visible the Great Orion Nebula in the sword sheath.

A pair of binoculars or small telescope will make the nebula more clear for many, even in suburbia.

Cygnus is still flying high above in the early night hours, except now it is flying more west to northwest.

Big Dipper (Ursa Major) is low in the North.

Early risers can see Venus in the Southeast.

Just above Venus is Saturn and a bit lower and to the left you may catch a glimpse of Mercury.

Venus and Mercury will slowly drop out of sight, while Saturn continues its path across the night sky.

Isn't it a wonder, the planets we watched during the summer fade into the sunset are now appearing in the east and in different alignments.

You can understand why it would be difficult for birds to use planets to assist in navigation during migrations.

There never in the same spot from year to year.

A note of interest:

Look at your watch our other time peace.

Stars and constellations will rise from the east about four minutes earlier than the day before.

Every night, they're four minutes farther along their trek than the day before.

Tis a busy time of year for many, be sure you find some time for yourself.

Christmas season is a time for giving and thinking of others.

Yet, you must give to yourself as well.

Make time.

Pamper yourself a bit.

It is important, to take care of yourself all the time.

That is the best gift you can give to so many.


Fields and woodlands are pretty much dormant.

The landscape may look brown and baron, but it is still full of life.

Sedges and some grasses remain green, while other grasses offer food and protection from the cold.

Conifers remain green and offer cones and berries for food, not to mention cover and protection for birds.

Timely rain provided a bumper crop of late blooming flowers and weeds that offer a bounty of seeds for birds and small animals.

Pictured is a field full of seeds offered by Goldenrod and Fall asters.

On nice days, the fields are full of seed eating birds like Juncos and Goldfinches.

On these days, my feeders aren't so busy.

Even the pond looks bleak, yet it offers much for many.

I love God's Creations.

With the first of the month comes the task of cleaning and sanitizing your bird feeders.

As the weather grows colder and some locations are covered in snow, your feeders begin to play a vital roll in a bird's survival.

Research shows that birds get up to 25% of their winter food from our feeders.

That extra peanut or sunflower seed may mean life
or death on a cold night.

As habitats continue shrink and with the droughts this past summer, natural food sources are less than ever.

Your clean feeders are important.

As winter drags on, more and more birds will find you.

More birds bring a greater possibility of sickness and diseases.

If you aren't able to give your feeders a good cleaning, here is another suggestion.

Get a spray bottle and fill it with Rubbing Alcohol

When you have time, give your feeders and landing areas a good spritz of 100% rubbing alcohol.

Do this once a week if you can.

Rubbing alcohol wont get the dirt from the cracks and crevices, but it will kill off germs.

Alcohol also evaporates fast and doesn't leave any harmful residue that may harm you birds.

It is 100% safe.

Don't forget to check the freshness of the food you are offering.

(Cardinal and birdbath at dusk.)

While I'm at it........

Here is a reminder for fresh and clean water as well.

Locate water sources near your house where it is easier for you to maintain.

Even in the winter months, birds drink and on occasion bathe.

They also defecate in the water.

While birds will and do eat snow to keep hydrated, snow is harmful to a bird.

Eating cold snow takes heat and energy to melt and warm up.

Energy that birds can't afford to lose.

Once again, this can be a matter of life or death.

With all of the enjoyment our feathered friends bring to us, should you and I give something back?

I gave up having a real Christmas tree when the tree finally beat me in the wrestling match.

I enjoyed the tradition of cutting a tree and the fresh aromas that would permeate the house.

Sadly, I can no longer do that.

However, for the many that still enjoy traditions or simply having a real tree, here are a few tips to assist you.

Cut Trees:

Tree farms take orders well in advance and have to know how many and what varieties to harvest.

Because of this, these trees are often harvested (cut down) in October.

Not what you would call a 'Fresh Tree' is it?

To help you tree retain needles, you need to give it a fresh cut.

(Some locations will offer a fresh cut, but you really need to give it another cut or at least rough up the base to allow it to drink.)

Cuts will sap over and harden rather quick, so make sure you get it home and stand it in a bucket of warm water.

Allow it to hydrate for 24 hours before you place it in a stand.

Do not allow the stand to empty or you will be in the same situation of a dry tree.

If this happens, you may possible drill holes in the base of the trunk for water to soak in.

Long needle trees like 'Scotch', or 'White' pine retain longer, much better than any 'Spruce' tree.

'Fraser Firs' are considered the Cadillac of trees and retain smell and needles the best.

Even if you don't go with a real tree, you may purchase a bunch of greens for a decoration.

Here too, you want to nip the ends and hydrate for a day.

They will last longer for you.

This works for fresh cut Holy or others as well.

Fresh Trees:

You took the family out to a tree farm and found the perfect tree.

With pride you cut it down and tied it to your vehicle for the trip home.

Your ready to put it in a stand and decorate.

Not so fast my friend.

You should once again, give it a bit of fresh cut or rough the cut surface.

Stand in a bucket of water for a day and allow it to hydrate as well.

Wind blown from the trip home also draws moisture from the needles.

Unless you have had lots of rain this fall, your fresh cut tree will need a good drink.

Do Not place a tree near a register, fire place or any heat source.

Follow these tips and you will get more enjoyment from your pre-cut or fresh cut trees.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

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

God Bless.

The life that conquers is the life that moves with a steady resolution and persistence toward a predetermined goal. Those who succeed are those who have thoroughly learned the immense importance of plan in life, and the tragic brevity of time.

W.J. Davison

The True Life That Conquers.

Therefore, there is now no
condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8: 1-2

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Romans 8:37

"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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