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October 24, 2016

Miss Penny is becoming more and more inquisitive, and curious about here surroundings.

Yes, to the point of she now gets into trouble.

We have to wait a few more months to get her declawed, so climbing and scratching remains an issue.

Still, who can't love that face?

Even the veterinarian says she is a brilliantly marked calico.

Play time with Snickers and Miss Penny is more and more.

They sure do bring a smile and often a chuckle as we are entertained.

Friday I attended the funeral of a friend and mentor I worked with several years ago.

Saturday we attended the wedding, and celebration of my best friend's daughter (she calls me Uncle Ronnie).

The end of one life and prayerfully the beginning of a new life together.

Summer in October?

The Great Lakes region had some near record temperatures much of this past week.

The night air was once again filled with the songs of crickets and Katydids, even if it was for just a few nights.

Even with the summer like weather, fall is still in the air.

You can feel and smell the changes.

Growing up in rural Michigan, there were the sights and sounds of farmers harvesting, as the mills in all the little towns were busy.

There are fewer farms and mills these days, but familiar smells, sights, and sounds are always reminders aren't they.

A sad reminder of fall, is taking the hummingbird feeders down.

When you do this, remember to clean and sanitize them well before you pack them away for the season.

A short lived heatwave, reality and cooler temperatures are now dominating once again.

As trees begin to shed their foliage, keep things raked and add them to your gardens or compost piles.

Organic matter is the best thing you can add to your soil.

Fallen leaves can be some of the best organics you can feed gardens and flower beds.

Think of the nutrients found deep in the soil that tree roots bring up to feed the foliage.

These same rich nutrients are in the fallen leaves.

Water your new plants, even after they have lost their foliage.

Roots continue to grow and feed even dormant branches.

With the warmer days, birds of a feather continue to flock together.

Open flocks of Robins continue to grow in size as do the Blue jays, Northern flickers, chickadees and a host of other species.

Migratory and non migratory alike.

Yep, birds that migrate and birds that hang around for the winter.

Multiple chickadees are visiting the sunflower feeders as well as my peanut feeder.

As many as 13 blue jays can be seen at one time.

Even the seagulls are getting into the picture.

The warm weather is a cause for huge amounts of flying insects, flocks of red-winged-blackbirds and gulls fill the skies catching an evening snack, as are the bats.

If I could spend most of my day watching nature in general and birds in particular, I could do it daily and never get tired.

Nature has so much to offer and it differs all the time.

Butterflies, birds, mammals, there is always something.

I was very surprised to see a late season Monarch butterfly stop and graze on some flower nectar.

I was outside grilling, no time to get a camera.

I wonder if the late season monarchs have a chance.

Several Turkey vultures slowly circle South on their way to their winter homes.

Wild Turkeys have reappeared and are making regular visits to the yard and neighborhood.

A few White crowned sparrows have visited us on the trail south.

White crowned sparrows wont visit my feeders, so I break out the scratch food for them.

With warm weather comes a warm southerly breeze.

Warm southerly winds can mean one thing for me .

Hawk watching time.

All but the new subscribers know that we have Red-tail hawks around here.

Red tails like to play in the wind and thermals.

Yes Play.

I never grow tired of watching these top of the food chain, and masters of the sky, play in the wind like kids.

I know if I could fly I would be right up there with them.

I was watching one hawk this past week as it would catch an upward draft.

Wings arched and the tail spread out into a fan, this playful bird would also bring its head down to get maximum lift.

Kite at times, and other times making a quick circle and start all over again.

Every once in a while it would flit just the tips of its wings.

I finally had to stop and get busy again.

Other birds play as well.

Jays will play with food and shiny objects.

Watch other birds as they hop around or follow each other in chips and song.

For the birds that mate for life, it is all part of the bonding process.

Chipmunks are busy stashing groceries for the winter.

Chippies don't really hibernate all winter.

At times they will wake up and feel the need to raid the fridge.

By having a fresh stash of sunflower seed or corn, this helps them survive a long winter.

on warmer winter days, you may even catch a glimpse of one scurrying around as it looks for fresh food.

Some annuals are beginning to peter out now.

I haven't fertilized or dead headed since late August.

Fall yard work is slow as I enjoy what I can.

I did dig up the Amaryllis bulbs.

Most things I usually wait for a killing frost, frost/freeze stops the flow of juices and makes for an easier time when cutting back.

For woody perennials like lavender, Russian sage, and butterfly bush, it is always best to wait until spring, or after the last killing frost to prune them back.

Now here is why......

Repeated freeze and thaws weaken and destroy plant cells.

If you prune back, all the new growth starts near the crown and will die off...... eventually weakening, and killing your plant.

By not pruning now, any new growth will start at the tips, or tops of your plants.

It is okay for this to get killed off, it now saves the crown and plant base.

Always wait till all frost/freezes have past.

"An attitude is almost like a muscle.

You can chose to have a good one.

Find ways to exercise it, and make it grow."

Jerry S. Beall,

Here is a bit of information from the word of God.

"As you think in your heart, so are you!"

Proverbs 23.7,

"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

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

Gardening For Wildlife.

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