Friday, April 29, 2016

Attract Hummingbirds

Attract Hummingbirds

* Written by: Cheryl D. Jones, who shares gardening tips and landscape ideas through her blog, newsletters and her nursery's website - 

A lot of people think that hanging out a quick hummingbird feeder is enough to encourage hummers into their gardens. While hummingbirds will stop by and eat from these feeders, they tend to quickly move on to more welcoming gardens. Creating an ideal garden for hummingbirds offers more than just food. They offer all of the basic essentials for bird life. Hummingbirds come and stay in gardens that are perfectly suited for them. Here's what you need to create an ideal garden for hummingbirds.

Many hummingbirds are a migratory species of bird that spend the winters in South and Central America, and in the spring travel all the way up to North America and even into parts of Canada where they spend the warm season breeding, raising young, and preparing to fly south again. Hummingbirds rely on the nectar found in flowers, which they get plenty of in South America. But, they need the abundant insects found in the spring and summer in the lands of North America and Canada to successfully raise healthy babies. They also spend a lot of time resting- usually about 80% of their lives is spent sitting and resting their tiny bodies. Providing a garden that's full of healthy insect activity with lots of nectar sources and plenty of thin twigs, branches, and other similar places to rest are all going to entice a hummer to stick around. Even more important, providing a safe place to nest will help the hummingbirds stay through the season, and return yearly.

Rely on plants that hummingbirds enjoy to eat from. Tubular red, blue, and purple perennial flowers are highly attractive to hummingbirds. The wild versions of plants usually create the most nectar which will encourage hummingbirds to come back again and again, but this isn't a hard-set rule. Many cultivars provide plenty of nectar for hummingbirds.
Hummingbird plants include:
  • Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
  • Azalea
  • Honeysuckles
  • Weigela
  • Monarda (Bee Balm)
  • Agastache
  • Hosta
  • Foxglove
  • Yucca
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Viburnum
  • Crape Myrtle
  • Summersweet (Clethra)
  • Hydrangea
  • Mockorange
  • Potentilla
  • Trumpet Vine
  • Salvia
  • Coral Bells (Heuchera)
  • Mints
Consider tying up a thin line if you don't have a clothesline already. Hummingbirds of North America are well adapted to life with people and their homes and are quite fond of perching and resting on clotheslines, wires, extension cords, chicken wire fences, or any thin and stable cables. Trees and shrubs are also very welcome resting spots too.

Offer a moving source of water for hummers to bathe in and drink from. Despite assuming that these small birds get all of the water they need from nectar, they are still observed using birdbaths consistently.

In the garden, try to refrain from using chemical commercial pesticides. They are long acting, so even if you use them in a specific area they often stick around and continue to kill for weeks after the application. Instead, encourage a healthy bug population. If you're over-run by grasshoppers or Japanese beetles for example, there are plenty of specific traps that work to capture these pets and bring their numbers down to a less destructive number. One option is to use a natural organic insecticidal soap for aphid infestations that won't harm hummingbirds if it's ingested in small amounts.

So... go beyond the hummingbird feeder for attracting and keeping those gorgeous winged jewels in your garden.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

celebrating !

-- Celebrating --

Dave and I celebrated our 26th anniversary! wow, eh? lol 

Actually we celebrate 2 anniversaries, the day we decided we were going to date exclusively and our wedding anniversary which occurred in July some 8 years later. The first is more important to us though as we looked at the marriage as a more official, paper kinda thing. 

In keeping I chose this quote, kind of a thought to consider for true love and long term relationships.

-- Quote of the Day --

"His heart was as great as the world,
but there was no room in it
to hold the memory of a wrong."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Appreciation for proactive individuals

-- Chatter -- 

I've noticed so many things in our community that make me really sit up and absorb what I am seeing. So forgive me, but I do have to celebrate them today publicly:

Locally we have numerous organizations that benefit the community - one such organization is the Fields Forward group, which works with volunteers, government, farmers, markets, business, food producers, etc. to improve the "10 mile diet" we have going on here and also including "100 mile diet" for the interaction and cooperation with communities close to us as well. It really is amazing how this organization was able to connect the dots between all these enthusiastic individuals and groups, so they can now work effectively toward their goals. 

Numerous organizations host fund-raising auctions and bake sales, and many other types of fundraisers and events, benefiting all kinds of community projects on an almost daily basis. 

People are often spotlighted in the paper for the legacy donations to various causes - most recently the emergency room at our hospital got a $650,000 upgrade because of several legacy donations.

I learned that Canada has the highest number of volunteers per capita of all the nations. That's pretty cool! And in our community, we have an unusual number of volunteers, one of the highest in Canada. Nice, eh? 13 of these volunteers were officially recognized this year, each receiving the Sovereign's Medal this year for their amazing life-time contributions. 

Dave and I have noticed this wonderful retired-aged gentlemen who wanders around the city picking up litter and donating the $ from returnables to a couple of charities. He does it as a reason, or excuse, to get out and keep busy. Whenever we've seen him, we've been in the Jeep so we have not had a chance to say or do anything, but we keep saying we will one day (buy him a gift certificate or just say we appreciate him at least). So I was thrilled when I saw an article by him in the paper a few weeks ago about his experiences followed by a letter to the editor praising him just the other day in the newspaper. How cool is that? 

I've also seen all kinds of environmental programs from planting trees, to fish release, to community gardens and parks, to grants being awarded via the Columbia-Kootenay Waterbasin group (can't remember their official name, sorry). 

I wanted to take a moment to celebrate all of these amazing, positive, inspiring things that I have noticed in the last few weeks in our little city. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Journey to Health

-- Journey to Health, final portion --  

So, as you can see from the previous posts I did a series of small articles listing activities that are commonly recommended by experts to those that are struggling with challenges in life, you know - those moments when we are feeling a bit "lost in the dark", feeling our way "like a blind man".

If you are at all like me, I tend to bottle up what I am feeling. I disintegrate it, put it back together, disintegrate it again... for weeks, months, years. Sometimes having a good friend to just spill it out to can help you sort out the confusing feelings, determine what it is you are really looking at and what it means and what it definitely doesn't mean. Then you might also get some helpful advice as to what to do about it, or through simply talking about it you discover the words to explain what you are feeling. Sometimes it is hard to chain a bunch of words in the right way, especially if you are confused about what it is in the first place. Communication is important, but communicating in the most effective way, at the best time frame and with consideration - there lies the problem. So try to find a way to talk it out, even if you talk to the walls, or the universe or whatever. It really does help.

These are the very same steps I've taken on, reminding myself of things I knew before but wasn't fully practicing. Taking on physical health challenges was new to me - outside of the injuries from the accidents I've been relatively healthy and fairly lean all my life. To find out I was deficient in iron, slightly hypoglycemic (sluggish in processing sugars), chronically sleep deprived, and a bit heavy... well, that was new to me. These are all things that can be fixed with personal lifestyle changes - basically, taking better care of myself. With the new supplements I'm on I have more energy. With the sleeping pills I am getting 6 hours or more of sleep at a time. Better nutrition and sleep patterns led to me being able to eat properly at regular intervals and not throw up every other day, etc. But all of those physical symptoms really go back to letting things pile up and get that bad. I take ownership of that. I also take ownership of the journey back to health. 

I hope you have enjoyed the brief notes I've made here for you, sharing my personal map - the roads I took to recovery. I'm feeling much better, dropping pounds (actually, 20 lbs over the last couple years), but I am still on the road, and so I ask everyone to be patient with the process, as I am learning to be as well. 

I'll be back in the office regularly starting in May.. if all goes well. In the meantime I'll try to get posts up here on my blog every 2-3 days, OK?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Journey to Health, Part 5

-- Journey to Health, Part 5 -- 

Getting involved is my opening topic today - whether it is through online posts, and communications online, notes on bulletin boards, volunteering, recycling, donating or just cleaning litter from around your own neighbourhood. Whatever it is, do it regularly.

I find that going online to places like Facebook quite rewarding because it gives me the opportunity to share posts that inspire conscious thought, encourage positive actions and thought. It gives me a valuable opportunity to share posts that support charitable organizations, worthy causes, or conscious-living activities. I get to celebrate conscious living projects, green businesses, and share recommended resources.

I refuse to respond to negativity online; I do not submit negative comments or posts, and I delete "friends" or "hide" their posts so that I see fewer negative and more positive over time. Getting involved in even the smallest of ways can really change your outlook on your own personal value, impact and worth.

The second topic I want to highlight is:  Get outside for at least 30 minutes every single day – sit on the deck or yard or park or whatever with a good book or read a blog. It helps if you have a pet you can take out walking with you, one that suits your physical abilities, because of the companionship and the encouragement to go for a walk, or hang out in the yard that comes with owning a pet. Start gardening - you can have container gardens on a small balcony or front step, grow vertically along a fence, hang potted plants, or go all out and have a big large manicured garden. It is up to you, but the simple act of nurturing something is proven scientifically to have great healing benefits. Besides it is yet another excuse to get outside. The thing is, get outside very single day.

The final tip of the day - organize. We touched on this the other day, but I want to clarify what I mean here. Clean and organize your home, storage rooms, garage and office …one box, one drawer one closet at a time – donating, recycling or selling/trading what you no longer need and completing projects as you come upon them.

One of the most common frustrations in our lives is to have a mental list or even a hard copy of the lists of to do's that aren't getting done. If you take the analogy of having a package to mail, but you leave it in the hallway just outside the bathroom so that you won't forget it. And you trip over it and curse it week after week, you see it sitting there getting dusty and you become angry or frustrated or guilty that it hasn't been done. And a year later there it sits. Every morning frustrating you, hurting your toes, upsetting the family. So mail the damn thing already! lol That is kind of what I'm talking about here.

It helps to make a list of all the things as they come to you and slowly work your way through the list. You no longer have to have that cycling around in your mind over and over and over, it is written down on the list, you know that, so you know that it will get done and you don't have to think about it all night anymore.

But actually do the darn list. Cross off stuff really well so you can see your progress. Celebrate each accomplished goal. A lot of people say they don't have time, but if we got up during the commercial breaks in the evenings and took that 10 minutes to work on one item of our list... there's a lot of commercial breaks in one evening of TV watching, you know. Ok maybe that doesn't work for you, but for some people it might. It is really important to accept and take personal responsibility for the world around us, we do have control over some parts of our lives and we can take ownership and get proactive. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Journey to Health, part 4

-- Journey to Health, Part 4 -- 

Start writing down the things that go round and round in your mind – this needs to be done, don’t forget to do this or that… and in doing so the next time the mind decides to play that record you can remind it that the item is already on the list and you’ll deal with it at the appropriate time, you don’t have to keep thinking about it anymore because you don’t need the reminder… you have the list(s). … and actually do each thing on the list according to what is most important to get done at the moment.

Dig deep and look at how you’d feel if you were told you were going to die – what would you regret, what do you wish you had done, what kind of impact have you had in your life that would have you holding your head high if you were to meet your ancestors, etc.  Take a look at that list of items and decide what you would like to do about it.

Remind yourself that each moment is an opportunity for conscious awareness and positive impact.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Journey to Health, part 3

-- Journey to Health, part 3 -- 

Reduce or eliminate negativity and regrets – news, relationships. Vow to read and view mostly positive things (comedy, open education courses, listen to positive talk radio shows like archives and sites like

Reach out to people and begin expressing gratitude for some action or feeling they once gave you. Take a moment to list the things you really appreciate about the people around you, this will make the interactions easier for you. Just mention one or two things at a time to them, it is more effectual that way.

Go through your personal and business address and contact lists and make a goal to tell each one of them something positive via email, text, mail, in person. Work this into your daily encounters - even if you are complementing a stranger's shoes, their smile, their attitude or service.

List at least 5 different things you really feel grateful for upon waking up in the morning and again another list of 5 things you are grateful for in the evening. This is a great habit for parents to get into as well – telling their children positive feedback or information in the morning and evening. 

These activities aide better sleep patterns, attitude, positive emotions, increased awareness and increased gratitude.