Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Vintage Husband goes Gardening

Hello - Another beautiful day here in sunny California! So, after a morning of "junkin", Erika and I spent some time outside in the back yard. There was a time when I had a really big garden and it took up most of the backyard. We had big raised beds, with tomatoes, basil, peppers, squash, cucumbers and corn - all the wonderful foods of summer. Straight from our own backyard. (I wish I could find a picture to post, but alas, no such luck!)

The old garden was tore out when our kids got big enough to start walking and playing outside. We went to Costco and bought one of those swing set/slide/sandbox things for them to play on. Not as pretty as a garden, but you gotta give to get. When the kids are outside playing you get peace and quiet inside the house. Once the kids outgrew the swing set, I decided to put a garden back in. I wasn't as ambitious as in the past. Instead of the raised beds, I just removed areas of the lawn and tilled in some compost. Erika kidded that it looked like I was digging graves in the yard! Here's a picture of my old garden a couple years back.

Once the garden was in and growing I discovered one problem. The trees in the backyard had grown bigger while the swing set was in the garden's place. My plants didn't do as good and we didn't get the veggi's like before. So, I once again ripped out the garden and put the lawn back in.

This year I am trying a new approach. We are going to use some wine barrels on the patio were things should get plenty of sun. So far I've got the tomatoes in and some peppers. I know we are going to put some basil and chives in also, maybe some lettuce. Not really sure what else yet. One thing I will need to do is put a drip watering system in to get everything through the summer. Gardens don't like our 100+ summer temps very much and on the patio, the barrels won't be watered by the sprinklers.

Update: 4/23/09 - Tomatoes are on the grow!

What a great way to spend a Saturday. The yard is starting to look nice and with the great weather, it's so nice to sit out back and enjoy the yard and the birds. I'll try and post some updates as things get bigger. We've got about 75 days until those tasty tomatoes are ready to eat. I cant' wait! :0)

Thanks for stopping by! Tomorrow's my Birthday, so I am finally going fishing. The kids and I are heading out to Folsom Lake. I'll post some fish if I catch any. Have a great week!


Made it out to the lake, but No Fish :(

However, there were lizards!! :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sacramento Backyard Birding

Hey, everyone! Sorry I didn't post over the weekend. Here in Sacramento,Ca it is a gorgeous Tuesday, and with the time change, it is still daylight for a while now when I get home from work. So, while Abbey made dinner, I went out in the backyard and looked around. It has been warm here the last couple days and the trees are starting to bud. As I looked around I saw several birds that I haven't seen in quite a while. I always find it exciting when there is a new bird in the yard or in this case an old friend passing through.

For those you who don't know me, I am an advocate of Backyard Birding. It's something anyone can do and you can do it with the family. It's fairly inexpensive to get into and really doesn't require much. A good field guide to identify the birds and a pair of binoculars are about all you need.

Tonight I saw a European Starling. These guys come here in the spring to breed and then, once it warms up, they leave until next spring. Sorry for the poor picture, he was in the shade of the neighboring palm tree, but I promise it's a Starling

Next, as I walked under the neighbor's tree, I saw a little bird hopping around. After tracking it for sometime I realized it was a Ruby Crowned Kinglet. I have not seen a Ruby Crowned Kinglet in the back yard in almost 2 years. I usually see these guys near water. He must have been passing through. Again not a great picture, but identifiable.

Then a regular to the backyard made an appearence. A Black Pheobe. This guy makes regular visits year round to the backyard and hangs out on one of the bird baths eating bugs.
This is a favorite picture of him that I took last summer.

After the Black Pheobe flys off, I turn around and come face to face with another bird I haven't seen in almost 2 years. A Hermit Thrush. This guy was a regular vistor each spring and then didn't come back for the the past couple seasons. At least not that I saw.

Next I hear the neighbors palm tree rustling. I look up and there is a Scrub Jay hopping around in it. These guys are an everyday, year round bird for us. Again, another picture from last summer.

Another bird spotted, this time a robin. I think robins are pretty universal throughout the United States.

Not bad, 10 minutes work, wondering around the back yard and I see six birds, two of which I haven't seen in a couple years. I then proceeded to fill the bird feeders which have been empty for almost a month. I definately have been slipping in that area. Finally got over to Home Depot on Sunday and got some much needed bird seed.

We have are fortunate to get a lot of birds in our back yard. We don't live in the country. We have a regular yard, in a regular sub-division. But with a keen eye and a little quite time, the family and I have managed to see quite alot of birds on our piece real estate. Here is our ever growing list of backyard birds.

1. Purple Finch - Fairly common, year round
2. Anna's Hummingbird - common, year round

3. Bushtit - common, year round
4. Ruby Crowned Kinglet - rare
6. Scrub Jay - common, year round
7. American Mocking Bird - common, year round
8. American Crow - common, year round
9. House Sparrow - common, year round
10. Lesser Gold Finch - common, winter
11. White Crowned Sparrow - common, winter

12. Morning Dove - common, year round
13. European Starling - common, spring
14. Slate Junco - common, winter
15. Northern Flicker - common, winter
16. Nutall's Woodpecker - common, year round

17. Oregon Junco - common, winter
18. Yellow Rumped Warbler - common, winter
(this guy likes to drink from the hummingbird feeder)

19. American Robin - common, spring and summer
20. Yellow Billed Magpie - common, year round
21. Hermit Thrush - rare, winter
22. Coopers Hawk - common, year round

23. Cedar Waxwing - common, winter
24. Black Pheobe - common, year round
25. Rufus Hummingbird - rare, spring

26. Black Chinned Hummingbird - rare, springs

27. Sharp-Shinned Hawk - rare

Well there you have it. I never have to leave the house and yet all these birds come and visit me. You to could have visitors to your backyard. All you have to do is take the time to walk outside and look up and listen.

Talk to you all next week


Sunday, March 8, 2009