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I'm Being Redundant
February 20, 2017

(Akita and Snickers getting spoiled as the enjoy the couch.)

The Great Backyard Bird Count draws to an end today.

The birds are around, they just didn't show up for the count this year.

Warmer weather and no snow means fewer birds to feed and count.

A typical February day Can bring 20+ pair of cardinals at any given time.

It's a pretty special sight to see the red birds with a white back drop.

Not to mention all the other birds that come and go.

No matter, this is why Cornell asks for weather conditions too, they know the score.

Break out the shorts and sun screen.

Temperatures pushing 60 degree Fahrenheit and a boat load of sunshine.

I brewed a nice batch of sun tea, and Karen swept off the deck (can't be tracking in the old dirt and crud from winter).

The door is open, as the sunshine warms the living room and the girls enjoy a rare couple of day of solar heat (pictured below).

Windows are opened some to allow fresh air into a stuffy home.

Open windows also let me hear the singing birds as warm temperatures seem to get them all worked up as well.

Songs of Tufted-Titmice, Black-capped chickadees and the occasional Northern cardinal can be heard.

Mourning doves have also joined in with the familiar coo, coo.

While this seems well and good in February, a prolonged warm up isn't healthy for our plants and gardens.

Days continue to grow longer. Venus is bright in the western sky, early to mid evening. If you are still up around midnight, you will spot Jupiter in the east to southeast. Early morning you will spot the Jovian planet in the west.

A nighttime visitor, looking for some kind of meal.

Opossums are omnivores, always looking for something, whether it be fruit, vegetable, or meat.

I had to shine a flashlight with one hand and snap with the other.

I suppose it turned out okay.

Still, spring is on the way, A small flock of Sandhill cranes flew over Saturday afternoon and a Red-winged blackbird made an early visit.


Yes, I am being redundant when it comes to today's topic.

My hope is this.................

That some of you will hear my plea to use Nature's own materials, fallen leaves and garden litter.

Not only as a healthy mulch, but to aid in protecting some of your dormant perennials.

Sometimes mulch isn't enough however, as the natural world removed the sick and weak.

The epic winter of a couple years ago cost me several hardy perennials.

This was with close to record snow fall, and with record cold temperatures.

I lost many plants.

I can ask how many more I might have lost if they weren't under a couple inches of chopped leaves.

It starts in the Autumn, and doesn't matter where you live.

British Columbia, Maine, Florida, California, Tennessee, North Dakota, Newfoundland, or Great Britain.

Lands near and far.

What you may call a big nuisance, a pain or whatever, is really one of 'Nature's Bounties' .

Instead of raking and pruning gardens and beds to look neat and clutter free, take a tip from the natural world.

Fallen leaves, leaf litter plants that naturally die back, what happens in the woods and open fields?

Who is there to rake and prune?

Debris and litter not only protect your plants during cold snaps, it also helps to retain moisture during those dry spells.

Leaf litter also keeps the weeds down and as they slowly decay, the litter feeds your gardens naturally.

Now, ...................................

As the temperatures warm up this week, and plants buds begin to swell and juices flow up and down branches (hopefully not too much).

Most of my perennials are tucked away in a nice winter blanket, away from the warmth of the solar heat.

There is no guarantee the plants will survive, but they have an added chance.

Large bags of leaves are placed on tender perennials that have survived several years, now for me.

Ground up leaves don't always stay in place.

Winter winds may toss a few around.

Squirrels and birds are always scratching around for food.

Still, it is 'Nature's' way.

If you do place litter on your beds, leave it to retain moisture and feed your gardens with many micro-nutrients not found elsewhere.

If you don't, make plans to do so this autumn.

To my friends in Iowa, Ontario, Arizona, Virginia, Georgia, Saskatchewan, Texas, Michigan, and around this planet, take advantage of what 'Creation' provides.

It is there for a reason my friends.


When plants thaw and freeze, plant cells are destroyed.

You know how water expands when it freezes.

This is exactly what happens to plant tissue (cells).

They expand, explode, and die off.

Each time this happens, a plant grows weaker.

(Zone marginal plants may very well die off the very first time this happens.)

When there are several warm days and a plant is full blown out of dormancy, then a below freezing cold spell .......

You may lose a particular plant or plants.

Not just from cell damage, put upheaval of the plants crown which is now exposed to the elements.

A nice layer of mulch/leaf litter, will have your plant tucked away.


You betcha.

For the birds ...........

Birds aren't singing because of the warmer days.

Some species are singing now, because it is mating season for many of these birds that remain together as mates.

Mates for life, as long as both survive and prove to be good mates and parents.

Chickadees, Tufted-titmice, cardinals, doves, Downy-woodpeckers, and many other birds remain partners for life.

These birds often woo and coo earlier, as they strengthen and renew bonds.

Life partners and early nesting birds do indeed get a jump on things.

On these warmer days when we tend to be outside more, we hear them.

While weather has a minor roll in migration and mating, length of day is the primer for most of nature's activities.

I hope you enjoyed the spring theme today, if nothing else, it is only a month away (officially).

Well, it is time to fly for now.

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

God Bless.

“A childlike man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle aged habit and convention.”

Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963)

From the word of God.

Jesus called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said:

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven".

Matthew 18:2-4

"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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