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Happy Birthday America and Canada.and more.
June 30, 2008

Happy Canada Day to our Canadian friends and neighbors.

July, 1 is Canada day.

Happy Independence Day, America.

Yes, the 4th of July is this week as well.

Two birthdays for two Great Nations.

You may be going through some rough times economically, or maybe you are tired of our government leaders and politics.

What is nice...................................................

We have the right to say so and say it in public.

We can voice our opinion.

We have a right to change it.

If you speak up or word gets out in many nations on this planet, you can lose your life or end up behind bars for years to come.

If we don't like what is happening, we can vote people out of office,

Sure, it may take some time, but try that in some countries.

Freedom isn't free and we must remember that as well.

Thank our military past and present.

I'm not voicing political views, just the facts as I see them.

If you hate your country, at least you can say so, but let me know and I will help you move.

Okay, I'm done waving the flag for now.

July already and my days begin to grow shorter.

I do love the longer daylight hours that Spring and early Summer give us.

With the beginning of a new month comes a reminder to clean your feeders real well and maybe your feeding station area.

It's not a bad idea to move your feeders around from time to time.

Beside the possible build up of seed hulls, you also have bird deification that can build up as well.

If moving feeders around isn't an option, placing an old window screen or some screening under and around your feeders may be the ticket for you.

You can pick up and clean off screens any time.

While your in the cleaning mood, check out your birdbaths.

A good scrubbing helps to keep algae growth at bay and other kooties from popping up.

This past week gave us a mixed bag of weather once again.

Temperatures in the high 80's and very high humidity made for some sticky days.

We also had some well needed and timely rain.

Rain that should help wild fruits and seed crops mature for the birds and small mammals that rely on nature's bounty.

With all the rain many of us have had the past few weeks, we can expect "skeeters" and they are plentiful.

Prayers continue for all in flood stricken regions.

Isn't it nice seeing so many new birds in your yard?

I know I look forward to fledglings and juveniles as they come to feed or are learning about feeders and our yards by mom and dad.

People that are new to birding will often confuse a fledgling with a different species of bird, one they haven't seen before.

Take your time and look at the bird and then some picture to see what is going on.

You may ask an experienced birder or show them photos.

I'm also watching as many birds are busy building second nests or feeding a second brood already.

All to soon, the action will slow down and I will look back once again and wonder where the season went.

As flower gardens start to show off more blooms, you should notice more butterflies and other insects.

Now this isn't so bad, as insects bring birds.

That is unless they are fruit loving birds.

Fruit lovers will show up alright, but they will attack your strawberries and other fruits you so lovingly wait for.

Here are a few tips that may help you save some of your fruits for your bowl of corn flakes.

I also threw in some tips for those late garden plantings.

I realize this is late for some of you, but keep the thoughts for next growing season as you plan ahead.

Sometimes so much happens at once, that i get behind on nes ideas.

Before I get off on a dark side of birds, I must and do acknowledge the tremendous value of birds for the vast hordes of insects they consume

We also appreciate their value for their song, color and movement they offer.

Don't forget the entertainment and relaxation they provide us with everyday.

Some birds however, include young sprouts and ripening fruits in their diet, much to your annoyance as a gardener.

Robins, catbirds, mockingbirds, thrashers and other fruit eating species of birds are the chief offenders.

In some areas, even starlings and blackbirds will join the party.

It is estimated that up to 30% of commercial crops are lost to feathered feeders.

For us gardeners, troubles can begin early, with plantings of vegetables.

The crow is more than fable in the cornfield. In small plot gardens, crows, blackbirds and thrashers render complete devastation.

The problem becomes apparent when our your sweet corn begins to break the surface. Their tiny shoots are found lying beside a little cone shaped hole.

Finding one tender morsel, a thrasher will continue down the row probing for the plump, soft kernels we so carefully planted, casting aside the sprouts and feasting on the kernel.

Sound familiar?

Young, tender bean sprouts and peas can also fall prey .

Many gardeners extend the gardening season by planting a second and third patch of corn or another row of beans. (There is still time for another planting in most northern regions.) Peas prefer cool weather so you can plant another pea crop later in the season.

To deter birds from feasting on your tender sprouts, enclose the rows with special netting.

I call it bird netting.

Netting can be be purchased at most garden centers and garden catalogs.

I use bird netting to keep rabbits, deer and woodchucks from grazing on many of my flowers and vegetables.

Once the threat of birds raiding your young sprouts has passed, you can pack up the netting for another year or get ready to use it a couple more times as the growing season wears on.

If you take care of the nylon netting, it should easily last you a good 6 years.


You see the berries turning pink.

In a few days you will be reaping the rewards from the time you spent planting and cultivating your strawberry plants into a lush bed.

Your mouth begins to water as you think of that first juicy strawberry.

A few couple of days go by and you check on your berries.

To your dismay, a big bite is taken from the red portion of the berries.

It seems as though every berry that is turning color has at least one chunk taken from it.

THOSE STINKING BIRDS................

Okay, you're over the name calling and you've calmed down some.

With everything you provide them and they have to raid your berry patch.

"Plant enough for me and thee" you may hear the robin say.

Yes, birds love strawberries and once a robin gets a taste for your juicy berries, you may be in trouble.

Here is where the netting comes in handy once again.

If you drape the netting, birds may still sneak under the net and if you drape it to tight, robins will be glad to pick at your fruits through the netting.

It is better to use an eight-inch high board frame around your strawberry bed and stretch the netting over the top, looped over the top for quick removal at picking time.

Be careful not to tear the netting, it still has some life in it.


Blueberries will will attract all sorts of feathered visitors.

When blueberries are ready, insects seem to be forgotten.

Your blueberries may be somewhat relieved by cherries early in the season and raspberries later.

As bushes grow tall, light wood frame sections, erected in a few minutes, are covered and secured around the base with netting.

These frames need good out of the weather storage during other seasons for reuse many times over.

It may be quicker to staple pieces of netting to each frame.

In fact, good modules can also be supported over vegetables and strawberries earlier to make them more worthwhile.


Dwarf tart cherries cherries are fairly easy to cover with large squares of netting.

Sweets become to large for covering economically.

A simple trick, is to use a large spool of black thread or fish-line and unreeling it over the trees, back and forth, distributed all around.

Once discovered, birds seem to fear getting entangled and avoid the tree.

Raspberries and Blackberries

Due to prickles and spines, and frequent removal or shifting for picking, plastic netting hardly lasts a full season unless it can be supported well above foliage on tall stakes.

Cheese cloth or tobacco cloth may also be used.


Grapes bring you near the end of the season.

Draping large sections of netting overall, and held to the ground, is the only way.


It is important to allow pollinators to do their job, so remember to remove netting and replace it after pollination and fruits begin to show.

You may want to keep your plants open for birds to munch, or you may want to cover them. We risk infuriating bird loving friends and neighbors by covering your plants and gardens, but you'll enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Feeding stations will not deter fruit loving birds.

Scare crows and flashy spangles made from tin can, old CD's and pie pans have little effect after a few days.

Birds get use to the reflections and noises just like they grow more comfortable around us.

It may be more practical and attractive to plant ornamental and native fruit shrubs and trees that produce fruits around the same time.

Two realy good small trees or large bushes are:

Mulberry is a great favorite, fruiting later and for much of the summer.

Try to keep these at a distance from the garden, and dig out any seedlings of it that may appear in shrubbery.

Later fruiting shrubs are numerous like

Look into planting native trees that offer fruits and food for your birds.

You may want some native

shrubs that offer fruits and berries.

Natives have a lot to offer in your wildlife gardens.

More often they are more hardy than exotics.

They can handle the weather extremes like drought.

Insects and deseases aren't as harmful to native trees and shrubs.

Fruits that natives offer are what you birds are looking for and need.

If you plant enough of them, the birds might even share the fruits with you, as many of them are edable for humans too.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your though for the week.

"Laziness is a secret ingredient that goes into failure. But it's only kept a secret from the person that fails."

Robert Half

That's an interesting thought, but one you don't have to worry about.

You can smile away knowing you aren't a failure or lazy.

You can hold your head high and share your smiles with others.

Now that is some high energy, knowing you are sharing with others and helping them.

Be sure to share your best smiles with others and be ready to share why.

Until next time my friend,

"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 recieve their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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