mothers day

Sunday, May 22, 2016

My Mountain Home

I love waking up in our little home (trailer) here in the mountains of Idaho.  It is soooo beautiful and peaceful.  Every morning we wake up to the music of birds chirping in the trees just outside of our windows.

I open the blinds by my bed and can look out and see the mother bird making a nest in the cute red and silver wooden old-fashioned trailer birdhouse that I got down in Quartzsite this last winter.  

At first I was worried that she would go find another house because she kept picking up long skinny sticks – about seven inches long! – and trying to push them thru the little opening.   I even broke up a bunch of small twigs and tossed them on the ground under the trailer and told her to try these!  She ignored me!  Finally though she figured it out.  The pile of twigs I offered are still lying on the ground but I see her going in and out with twigs of her own that she pulls and pushes until she finally gets them into her new little house.  If you look closely you can see the beginnings of a nest inside the trailer.
  Looking at her markings I am thinking that she is the mate of the Lazuli bunting that is constantly feeding at my nearby birdfeeder.  We also have stellar jays, chickadees, mourning doves, quail, mountain bluebirds, grosbeaks and so on and so on.  I saw a beautiful yellow and black bird fly thru the trees this morning and I wasn’t sure if it was a meadow lark or a grosbeak or what.   It seemed smaller than either bird and I haven’t heard a meadow lark sing.

I can also see the squirrel feeder hanging on the fence by another tree from my window - we have a cute little squirrel that has returned from last year.  I call him Mini.  Mini loves the pieces of corn that I have mixed in to the feed but does NOT like the black sunflower seeds.  We have a new squirrel this year – almost twice the size of Mini.  Mini sends Old Yeller running when Mini is hungry!  I call this big one Old Yeller because his fur has a definite yellow cast to it.   However, when I got home and got on good internet, I tried to figure out the different breeds.  There is a perfect picture of Old Yeller calling it a red squirrel(!), but the information says there is only ONE tree breed of tree squirrels in Idaho and that is the red squirrel.  I know for a fact that mini (and many of his brothers and sisters) lives in the big pinion pines all over our mountain …so that would make THEM red squirrels too…but mini looks so different than Old Yeller.   I don’t know!!!  

Anyway, Old Yeller throws all of the corn out onto the ground!  He does NOT like the corn.   Oh well, when the Steller jays come around they certainly like the corn so it doesn’t stay on the ground long!  Then they fly up to the feeder and go after whatever is available there.  They aren’t at all fussy.

There is a definite hierarchy as to who is ‘top dog’ at the feeder.  The little buntings like to fly right inside of the feeder, and we often see quail fly up and perch on the porch and enjoy a treat...that is,  until the Stellar Jays chase them off.  Then Old Yeller will come along and chase the Steller Jays away and take over the feeder. but then here comes Mini a-yelling and a-chattering and Old Yeller takes off in a flash and then Mini is king of the roost.  It’s hilarious to watch.

Every day we are getting more and more hummingbirds here on the mountain.  (I call them mini-pigs with wings!)  I have seven hummingbird feeders out and by mid summer I will be filling them two or three times a week!   We have a little feeder right on our window by our kitchen table, and many times we are entertained as we eat, watching these beautiful creatures fly up to the feeder and eat.   We see mostly broad tailed hummingbirds and a few calliope and Rufus hummers also.  They are so beautiful.  It’s always fun to sit and watch them fight over the feeders. 
  I will be out sitting on the deck and all of a sudden I feel like I’ve been dive bombed as one male hummer is chasing another male hummer away from the feeders and right past my ear!  It’s also fun to watch as this same tough guy sits on a tree branch three feet away from one of the feeders just waiting for another hummingbird to DARE come near its feeder! 

I’ve been working hard in my hillside garden this spring and its looking beautiful.   The different ground covers that I’ve planted in the past are filling in many of the areas that need it and I’ve got my pots and  containers, all filled with colorful annual plants.

I still have my two sections - right in front of the trailer is more organized and planned and the rest of the area is more natural – lots of wild strawberries and other native plants.  I repainted my metal rooster and hen that I bought in Mexico a couple of years ago and set them out on the natural hillside.  
I did plant some dahlia seeds in one area this spring and I hope they will grow and add color this summer.  The beautiful yucca plants at the far end of the hillside that Del and Susan planted some years ago were damaged with this years’ rains as it washed piles of sand down on top of them.  I dug out what I could and hope they survive.

The area along the fence on the other side of the trailer is filled with brightly colored pots full of colorful fake flowers, birdfeeders and a squirrel feeder.

I have one more small flower garden that I have been fighting with for several years as it was always full of roots no matter how much I dug it out.   Finally this year I dug EVERY bit of dirt out four inches deep and laid down visqueen and then refilled it with GOOD dirt and planted it with flowers and bishops weed.   I’ll enjoy the color of the flowers this summer but I’m looking forward to having the whole area fill up with the bishops weed in the next year or two.  It will then look good without a lot of work or expense.  Ed 'installed' my black fence for me!

A neighbor on the mountain gave me some cherry tomato plants and I got them transplanted in-between the rain storms that hit the last couple of days we were up on the mountain.   Now we will be able to  enjoy yummy cherry tomatoes later on this summer. (If the wild turkeys don't eat them first!)

Last but not least is my turtle that I also bought in Mexico about 4 years ago.   Each year I re-paint him and then spray him down with lots of clear polyurethane spray paint to seal it against water damage.  
He is still as cute and bright as the day I bought him!