Winter Birds

I have all the birds!

In Nova Scotia, we are not supposed to feed the birds when the weather is warm due to increased disease transmission amongst the wild bird population. Now that it’s freezing out there, I have put out several birdfeeders so that I can get a better view of their antics.

I’ve been keeping a list of everyone that I see. So far this winter that’s included;

  • Dark eyed juncos
  • Bluejays
  • A single male Cardinal
  • Black Capped Chickadees
  • Downy Woodpeckers
  • Mourning Doves
  • Crows
  • An unidentifed hawk
  • Ring Necked Pheasants
  • American Tree Sparrows
  • Starlings

Most of my feeders hold seed. They are really easy to make out of old water bottles. You just drill feed holes and additional holes under them to push through sticks for perches.

I also have a springy metal suet holder so that I can mix my own suet cakes. Instead of forming them into a solid shape, I just flatten out the mix and roll the holder over it to fill. 

I love sitting at my living room window and watching the birds bicker with each other over the feeders. This is the first year that I’ve had Juncos around and it’s funny to see them scare away birds twice their size. 
Do you put seed out for the birds? What’s the most common bird at your feeder? Do you have a favourite visitor? Let me know below!

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Meditating at Roxbury Falls

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One of my favourite spots for a quick visit to the wilderness is Roxbury Falls. It’s located just off Hwy 201 in the Annapolis Valley, NS.  It’s a peaceful place to meditate when the daily grind starts to wear me down and it’s only a 5 minute drive from my house.

The area around the falls is pretty open, leaving plenty of options for the perfect meditation spot.

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If you are new to meditation, don’t worry about getting it right straight out the gate. It’s all about focus and letting everything else float away without judgement as best you can. The most common method is to focus on the breath. Sometimes that doesn’t work for me but that’s ok, there are other methods.

The method I like right now is called body scanning. Instead of a steady focus on your breath, you start at the top of your head. Really notice that spot and then gradually move down your body and shift your awareness to your various parts, like being scanned by lasers in a sci-fi movie. Head, forehead, eyes, nose, lips, chin, neck and continue slowly down to your toes.

If you find your mind chattering and lose focus, just forgive yourself and start again. I’ve been meditating for a few years now and I still go on random tangents in my mind and don’t notice that I’ve stopped focusing until I’ve been ranting for 10 mins.  It’s a process and it’s a practice. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. Sometimes you’ll suck at it and sometimes it’ll be a breeze, it’s all good.

Get out into nature this week and gift yourself with a quiet moment to meditate. Let the stress fade away and breath in all that healing energy.

Where do you like to meditate? Do you have a special place you like to go? Let me know in the comments.

Forest Dreams

I moved to Nova Scotia in 2010 with the intention of doing the whole homesteading thing with my husband. We did for a bit, then ran out of money and let the land go. We’ve since split up and every year I look at the weeds and sigh.

I’m not mowing 4 acres and there will be no more farming beyond a few hens. Instead, I’m going to plant trees, shrubs and perennials with the hope that they take over. Since the land was left to it’s own devices, there has been an increase in the diversity and quantity of birds in the yard. I want to see more of that.

I did some inquiring for government and non-profit programs to help me on this endeavor. Shocking nobody, there are none in the province. They will help industries involved in raping the land but the rest of us have to scrape the pennies together alone, to restore it.

Fortunately, there are some beautiful strangers who are willing to help me out with donations of saplings and seedlings. It’s a start and I’m eagerly awaiting spring so I can get planting.

In the meantime, I will reread my permaculture books and ogle photos of messy cottage gardens.

Lifestyles of the poor and zealous. With bird-friendly wishes and forestry dreams.

From Inside the Hedge

Tootsie is a battle-hardened, flame point Siamese. He is the only cat I allow outside, or rather, he’s the only cat who insisted on going whether or not I agreed.

He spends a lot of time hanging out in the hedgerow that separates my 4 acres from the empty lot next to the highway. The Northside of my property backs up to an old rail trail with the East side lining up with the neighbouring pasture. All that space, yet whenever I see him, he’s bounding out from the hedgerow.

Hedgerows are often associated with witches. In ye olden days the weirdo that you visited to score some herbs was expected to be found isolated outside town, beyond the hedge. Or so they say. It’s a liminal space, a place between places which are convenient locations for working with the wyrd.

Judika Illles has this to say about the connection between witches and hedgerows, in her book The Weiser Field Guide to Witches: “Witches thrive in the liminal zone. An old Northern European name for witch is hedge-riders. Once upon a time, massive hedgerows divided villages from forests. Witches were believed to perch on these hedgerows, thus living simultaneously in the civilized world and in wild nature.”

I have no plans to ride atop my hedgerow, but it is an interesting spot to sit with my cat and listen to the wind rustle through the trees while water flows under the road and into the Annapolis River.

Do you have a hedge nearby that you can explore? If so, what kind of plants do you find there?