Getting Ready For Winter Part I

I love winter.
I guess I should say I love getting ready for winter.Especially getting my yard and feeders ready for winter. Summer bird feeding is fun, certainly, but there is something special about feeding the birds in winter.

I usually first get the itch to put out more feeders in October, which brings about a general rummaging through the garage and storage room for boxes of feeders and hardware that I need but haven’t seen since early summer. It’s like shopping all over again without having to pay for anything. (Well YET anyway!)I dig out my heated birdbaths and bath heaters plunder through old, but still very usable tube, hopper and tray feeders. Ooh, look! My oriole jelly and fruit feeder! Yes! It’s coming back out for winter. Some might need repair, or an occasional repainting for the older wooden ones. All this usually happens with occasional breaks to walk around the yard, standing, musing, observing where to place the new – found treasures for the best viewing from the house.

Of course there is always the snickering and eye-rolling from my kids, “Mom! Really! MORE feeders?” Of course! Winter’s coming! Do you really need to ask?

Back in from my yard musings and time to get serious. Cleaning, painting, repairing. (car out in the driveway) While in the comfort of the garage I’m staying on task. A maze of feeders, parts and hardware, like an unfinished puzzle on the garage floor. Pretty soon the sorting and fixing up are done and then comes the fun part – yard design! Yes, there is such a thing as design when it comes to placing feeders in your yard. Hmm, I like it here but let’s check. A quick dash into the house and plop on the chair to observe the precise location shows me the pole system needs to go a little to the left. As it is right now, it’s behind the window jam and I can’t see it. Back outside. Another adjustment and the pole is set.Now I’ve got to decide which feeders go up on the pole. This year a fly-through feeder goes on top, upside down suet feeder on one of the arms, with room left for another tube feeder if I need it. (IF?) Oops, wait. Take it all down – add the squirrel baffle – put it all up – fill the feeders – done. A quick dash and plop on the chair again shows me it’s just right. Next I eyeball my two split-log feeders, but liking where they are they get to stay put. My tray feeder near the big window is in a good spot and it gets to stay too.

I’ve also got a few feeders that can be viewed from the kitchen that need checking. One big caged seed tube is clean and full. My tray feeder under the big spruce is a favorite and gets a cleaning and refilling. My birdcage-turned-feeder found at a second hand shop is amidst the aspen cluster near the spruce tree and is ready to go. I like it.Now to tackle the bird pond in front. It gets a good hosing out gravel rewashed, waterfall pump rinsed and checked and heater placed. I carefully cover what I can of the heater with gravel so we don’t see it, remove the box covered in twigs from the outside outlet, plug the heater in, put the box back and we’re ready to go. Everything’s in order here.

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