This is a great time to think about attracting bluebirds to your yard. Bluebirds like to nest on the edge of a field or open space, although if you put up a house for them, they might move in no matter where it is.
Make sure you get a house that is sparrow-proof as the sparrows will kick the bluebirds out before their chicks are old enough to be independent.
This sparrow-resistant bluebird house by Coveside has a slot entrance rather than a round hole. The sparrows prefer a round hole so they will avoid this house. They will also avoid this birdhouse because it is rather shallow in depth. Bluebirds don't mind a shallow depth for their house. Includes a wooden insert that will decrease the depth more if sparrows continue to be a problem.
If you're looking for a watering can with a little personality, check out these pig and rooster watering cans. They hold 3 quarts of water and prove that form and function can go together to make your garden beautiful!
If we can't beat 'em, join 'em. The winter, that is.
Here's another snow-themed plant that you can start from seed. How about putting this and all other white flowers (and vegetables) in a white garden this summer? I've seen beautiful "white gardens" and I've seen pathetic ones. I guess you have to keep trying until you get it right. Of course, everything looks good in the moonlight, which is really when you want to be in these gardens.
One farm I worked on put stems of Snow On The Mountain in their mixed bouquets. They looked great and added fullness and that lime-green yellow color which looks so good with orange and blue. When cut, the stems ooze this milky liquid that is a little sticky but otherwise, they are quite a good cut flower. This is an easy annual to start from seed!
This Bird Watching Frog is a great sculpture to add to your garden. It is solid copper and stands almost 3' high. Before you decide it's too expensive, remember that metal artist Andy Brinkley made it and that you're helping further his next creation by buying this one.
Available from Wind & Weather for $399.00.
A creation of North Carolina metal artist Andy Brinkley, this solid copper sculpture measures nearly three feet high from the bottom of his broad lily pad perch
Now this is an outside thermometer that you can actually read without going outside. Made by Conant Custom Brass, the Vermont Grande View Thermometer is made with solid brass and glass. The thermometer itself is 12 1/4" in length and the numbers are 1/2" high. Includes solid brass mounting hardware.
I know it's time to think about seeds but it's freezing out and there's snow everywhere. The Organic White Icicle Garden Radish is the best I could come up with! Since I'm not a fan of radishes anyway, these look especially yucky. White vegetables give me the willies in general because they have that same eerie white color as cutworms.
White eggplant, white radishes, endive - do they have any nutritional value at all? I don't want to waste my time growing something that doesn't. Oh well, here it is for what it's worth. I guess these radishes would look good in a green salad. Available at Amazon for $2.89.
The iflyer-Birdsong Scanning Wand is one of those great gadgets that combine technology and learning in such a cool way. Open the book to a bird, scan the barcode and it will play that bird's song.
This kit comes with the wand which plays 206 bird songs and 10 frog songs, a 54 page BarCode Scan Book, SongCode labels that you can stick into your field guide at the corresponding bird, and a carry case with a strap. It's a great way to run a nature walk or teach kids about birds. Available from Amazon for $97.99.
Since it's a full moon tomorrow, tonight's movie shows a beautiful moonflower blooming. The caption at the beginning says it is in real time. The movie is only 1 min, 32 seconds so next summer I expect to watch a few of these with my own eyes!
The moonflower is similar to the morning glory in that its blossoms only last one day.
Here's a link to an interview with one of the gardening and farming leaders in this country, Wes Jackson. Robert Jensen of the Organic Consumers Association asked him lots of questions relating to agriculture, food, soil and the economy. One of my favorite quotes from Wes is "(I)f our agriculture is not sustainable then our food supply is not sustainable, and food is an issue as close to every one of us as our own stomachs."
The Triple Dial Weather Station is a great way to stay on top of all the crazy weather we've been having. It has a thermometer, a hygrometer and a barometer. There are three 4 1/4" dials set into walnut wood with a cherry or light oak finish. This instrument can be hung either vertically or horizontally. Available from Wind & Weather for $139.00.
Here is an article written by Wes Jackson, President of the Land Institute, and Wendell Berry, America's foremost author on agrarian living and sustainable farming practices. This was printed on January 4, 2009. They discuss the condition of this nation's soil and how a nation's solvency is related to the health of its soil. They also make the point that the government can prop up a failing paper money system but they cannot create more food out of thin air.
It might be hard to believe, but we will all be pouring over our seed packets and soil mixes in a week or two. Maybe you've already started a few seeds in a greenhouse or sunny window.
Here's a beautiful perennial, the hollyhock named Chater's Double Icicle. The flowers are pure white puff balls and will remind you of all the snowballs you threw (or wanted to throw) this winter. It grows to 6', needs full sun and blooms from mid-summer through fall. Available from Amazon for $2.95.
This truly is a tool for every season. The Professional Rain Gauge will measure up to 11" of rain. I hope you never have that much rain, but if you do, it's easy to read because of the clear plastic construction. It will also measure snow and hail. At 14" high, this gauge is not shy and comes with its own mounting bracket. Available from Wind and Weather for $39.95.
If you're too busy shoveling snow or defrosting your pipes to have a pet, consider a watering can pet. These pets don't require any care, they make you smile, and they help you in the garden. They hold 6 cups of water so bring them inside for the winter to water the houseplants. Available from Wind & Weather for $29.95.
There is a new campaign to encourage President Obama to lead by example and plant a vegetable garden on the White House lawn. According to the people behind www.eattheview.com,
"This animated video is part of the "Eat the View" campaign to turn part of the White House's 18 acre lawn back into an edible landscape. The video tells the story of the "America's Garden" from 1800 when President John Adams planted the first "first vegetables" to feed his own family to the present day."
Here's their promotional video. It's well done and short (3 min, 20 sec)