Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Hummingbirds Are Back!

Please note this is a re-posting of an older blog, but I was watching the beautiful hummingbirds play around in the trees and above our porch and I couldn't resist.  Aren't they amazing?


Every year arrival of Summer is announced by a zinging noise going rapidly by your head and you know the hummingbirds have arrived.  

This always puts me in motion looking to see if we have the hummingbird feeder out.

Then I create some sugar water for the new arrivals (a sugar water mixture- 4 parts water to one part sugar cooked together till the sugar melts and then cooled).  To keep it fresh this sugar mixture should be replaced every 4 days.

Apparently the little mini-birds will create a route when they arrive of the available flowers and feeders and you need to get on their radar sort-of-speak in order to insure you have them all summer long.

They have to constantly feed & fly in order to keep their high metabolism fed.

According to Starsmore Discovery Center Hummingbird Garden- A Haven For Hummers in Colorado Springs:"As is typical with birds, the males have the most distinctive colors. The body is green and white with tawny wings and a characteristic rose gorget or throat patch, which flashes with an iridescent sparkle when it catches the sun. The female is more muted, mainly green and white without the showy gorget." STARSMORE DISCOVERY CENTER They also say the difference between male and female  is the male makes a trilling sound with his wings as he flies, the female is silent.

The Audubon Society describes them: "Few animals are as charismatic as hummingbirds. A heart that can beat 1,260 times per minute and wings that can circle 200 times per second enable this aerialist to hover, spin, duck, and dive."Audubon   

For more information on hummingbirds see the Audubon Society article: Hummingbirds See Red.  And watch a short podcast on them: Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air

 In Colorado there are four different types of hummingbirds and again according to The Starsmore Discovery Center Hummingbird Garden: "There are over 300 species of hummers, four of which are found in the park. The Broad-tailed hummingbird shows up first, about mid-April. The Black-chinned hummingbird - the rarest of the four in this area - and the Calliope follow, from the end of May to mid-June. Last to arrive is the Rufous, which turns up in early July." Starsmore Discovery Center  I think I noticed the Rufous a few weeks ago- it seems larger  and a bit more aggressive.

One imposter to hummingbirds here in Colorado is the Sphinx Moth or Hummingbird Moth:

But he has 6 legs, not 2 like the hummingbird and instead of a beak, he has a flexible proboscis which he inserts into the flower.  Also this little guy has two antennas. But he flies like a hummingbird, darting from flower to flower.

 I saw one when my porch got dark and suddenly this LARGE bug is darting into the flowers right next to me. I moved- in case he was clumsy- but he seemed intent on his dinner. Feather Tailed Stories

To hear a Hummingbird and a description of an Audubon project to protect Hummingbirds and report on your hummingbird activity to help them out! Hummingbirds At Home.

If you want to see more hummingbirds and also help them build and create a Hummingbird garden. 

Many of the flowers are perennials- meaning they come up every year and therefore are easier to maintain once they are established. 

Hummingbirds love Bee-balm!

Check local nurseries or garden clubs for information on what to plant in your are.  Here in Colorado Springs the utility company has a garden center to help you decide what plants are best for your garden. It's bit trickier here because of are semi-arid conditions (at times). Here's one site on what plants to pick and why. Many are red and have fluted flower petals for the little hummingbirds. Attracting Hummingbirds

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Charities to Love and Give To

     I wanted to add a list of charities to give to inspire people to give in a world where there are so many needs.  My knitting blog is hitting higher numbers daily and I just want it to mean more than just a tangle of yarn.  Not all of us can give, so then pray, pray for the needs.  For people far away.  God hears- I believe that.  But if you can give, give.  Sometimes it's just not those who are in need that we give to, we give for our heart's sake.

     Here's a list of charities I found on Charity Navigator- Your Guide To Intelligent Giving.  They were rated high because of responsible use of their resources and the turn around in giving.  This is a list of charities that caught my eye, but I don't pretend to really know them.  I randomly choose charities to cover needs Nationally and Internationally, from books to Africa, our natural Earth, to disaster relief, medical help and helping the poor and hungry.  Browse the list yourself in case something else would catch your eye.  A blog about Breast Cancer charity quotes: "Charity Navigator, a nonprofit that evaluates charities, says that smart givers “take the time to identify which causes are most important to their families and are specific about the change they want to affect.” ' After Twenty Years Cancer Research Blog

     I encourage you to give to your local food bank which honestly I have had to access many times raising a larger family on a small income.  Without other's generosity over the years there are times we would of been in dire straits.  I heard a statistic yesterday that was staggering, %40 of America's usable food is wasted.  When I'm worried about feeding my family, I wonder how different would it be if just my neighbors cleaned out their food shelves?  We never buy in bulk and only for the day, so when life pinches, it gets tough, but we get through and many times because of a food bank.

     I have been homeless twice.  I know.  Once it was the charity of this Catholic church (and being of Protestant upbringing that stretched my heart lots!) and two men who came to the State Park where we lived in an RV and worked that saved us.  They would bring food, milk so my little one could have it, but also just so I could have my tea!  That made me cry.  Gas vouchers so my husband could work.  The head ranger unknown to us at the time would drop off loads of firewood when we were just in a tent- 3 kids, 1 cat, one dog because a promised job evaporated.  The same Head Ranger who I had made friends with offered me a job hosting and painting the Ranger's houses and office.  My husband worked outside the State Park and also hosted and maintained the camp grounds.  The Head Ranger moved us around for a year to different sites (when you were only allowed to stay for 3 months), before we had enough to go back home.

     That year my oldest daughter went to the public school and hit the National Honor roll.  From then on she went from being an average student to hitting top marks, just by working tremendously hard.  She wrote her College Application Essay for Harvard and the Common Application titled "The Year I was Homeless" and got waitlisted at Harvard and several top colleges, but she choose Middlebury.  She just graduated last week Magnum Cum Laude from Middlebury, a college rated one of the highest in the nation, and she attended the world's top University for last year- Oxford, for her Junior year abroad.   Middlebury covered all expenses but a small loan.  All of this BECAUSE we had hit bottom and were homeless for a year.  A year of perspective.  A year we wouldn't of survived without people's generosity and stepping out and helping.  I'm thankful for the bottom hits in Life too!

     Give if you can, pray.  We are a world that needs each other and standing alone and not caring is not an option.  We are not meant to stand alone.  Give.

List of Possible Charities-

Youth With A Mission- (note this isn't on the Charity Navigator, probably because it's decentralized, meaning it consists of many internationally run bases who are autonomous essentially, but I worked for their bookstore for a couple of years and I was very impressed with them. Choose a country to donate to and look up the base there or a base that ministers to a country you care about. Effective, awesome group that cuts across many christian denominations lines to create a working harmonious group of christian youths ministering worldwide).

     Also some food for thought.  If you are a knitter and live in a cool climate knit some scarves to give out to the homeless in the winter.  One skein of Lion's Homespun, a cheap acrylic that washes well is about $5 (use a coupon!) and knitting a garter stitch at about 20 stitches on size #8 - 10 needle (this is for the Bulky regular Homespun, not Super Bulky) gives you a nice, fast scarf.  Don't think expensive wool, it's not an easy wash and it could be scratchy to some.  Simple is OK.  Also give just $5 dollars- enough for food, but maybe not enough for drugs or alcohol.  I've seen some people who create a gift bag out of simple $1 store items.  Give socks to homeless shelters- they are the most wanted of gifts.  Sanitary napkins and tampons and diapers.  Giving doesn't have to be complicated.  Just give. PLEASE.  A little bit of love can go a long way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Photography at it's Best- The Sony World Photography Awards 2016

Sony World Photography Awards
The shortlist was announced for the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards. 

"The  Sony World Photography Awards is the world's biggest photography contest. This year, over 30,000 photos were entered from 186 countries." Here's a selection of some of them- Sony World Photography Awards:: The Shortlist-

              © Minh Ngo Thanh, Vietnam, Shortlist, Open, Arts & Culture, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

The Sony World Photography Awards will be announced April 21st.  You can see some of the chosen winners here-  World Photography Organization.

                          © KimLee, In Ho, Winner, Korea, National Award, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

These are the top winning photographs from 60 countries, one each- Sony World Photography Awards 2016: The best pictures from 60 countries.

                          Portugal: Adriano Neves – Garden of EdenAdriano Neves/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

Stairways From Heaven © Martin Seraphin of Germany, Shortlist, Open Architecture, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

                         Shibasish Saha India Open Architecture 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Evening mood at Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The picture was taken near Three Peaks refuge, located in the heart of the Dolomiti di Sesto, Italy. © Stefan Achorner, Austria, Nature & Wildlife

               Australia: Scott Portelli – Cuttlefish AggregationScott Portelli/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

         Thailand: Chaiyot Chanyam – Splashing BirdsChaiyot Chanyam/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

                        Russia: Andrey Narchuk – Water BabyAndrey Narchuk/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

                     Deb Cochrane, 3rd place, Australia, National Award, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

                        Finland: Matti Virtanen – MushroomsMatti Virtanen/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

                      Greece: Tasos Anestis – Vesturhorn, IcelandTasos Anestis/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

                       Greece: Tasos Anestis – Vesturhorn, IcelandTasos Anestis/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

              Japan: Kei Nomiyama – Enchanted Bamboo ForestKei Nomiyama/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

                Latvia: Janis Palulis – Supercell in LatviaJanis Palulis/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

               Ecuador: Victor Vargas – Cotopaxi and Red MoonVictor Vargas/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

                           Austria: Stefan Thaler – Winter DreamStefan Thaler/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

               Germany: Daniel Fleischhacker – HinterseeDaniel Fleischhacker/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

A boat carries a group of tourists under a rainbow at Niagara Falls, by Fahad Abdualhameid, Saudi ArabiaFahad Abdualhameid/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

            Thailand: Chaiyot Chanyam – Splashing BirdsChaiyot Chanyam/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

                   India: Abhijit Banerjee – Gangasagar FairAbhijit Banerjee/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

Colombia: Yessenia Mildreth Vasquez LûpezYessenia Mildreth Vasquez Lûpez/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

       Argentina: Maria Virginia Mosconi – ConceptualMaria Virginia Mosconi/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

              Kenya: Otieno Nyadimo – Smile at the HyenasOtieno Nyadimo/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

Enjoy The Moment
Revel In The Journey