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Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) While thoughts of seeds & blooms are floating around in the back of my mind, I'm not ready to get back into the gardening swing of things and am trying to enjoy what little snow & ice we get out there as well as the birds. (I put out seed & cracked corn as well as stale bread, cereal, chips, cookies & pretzels instead of throwing that stuff out - unless it's moldy, then it goes in the trash). I'm trying to catch up on reading (see the current reading selction here on our group home page), simplifying our home and taking stock of 2008 & how I want to better take care of myself in 2009. (And get over this pesky sinus infection/strep/upper respiratory thing I've had since the beginning of December!)

We've had a Downy Woodpecker visiting for the last few days and I just had Hubby put the fresh tree we had for Christmas out in the corner of the back yard so it can serve as a shelter for birds thru the rest of Winter. (I zip tied it to the fence and sprinkled cracked corn around the base and all over it to get the birds interested - of course there's a couple of interested squirrels thanks to the corn!)

I've rec'd Nichols Garden Nursery, Gurney's and White Flower Farm catalogs in the mail so far. I'm eagerly awaiting Park's and Burpee!

How about ya'll?! How's Winter going in your neck of the woods? What do you do at this time of year?

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) I don't know where our cardinals have gone (last seen around Turkey Day) or the Morning Doves but there's been a Downy Woodpecker visiting for a couple of weeks so he's been fun to watch! The usual wrens & squirrels have been visiting multiple times a day for cracked corn & any stale breads, cookies, etc I throw out there.

We've had a consistent coating of ice & snow but more bitter cold weather than anything else. (We're snow loving cold weather peeps). The ice on the rivers, bay & ocean has been neat to look at and take pics of at least!

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Kelly Jo, that's awesome - thank you for sharing that w/us!

We've been annoyingly cold or annoyingly warm (though mostly cold) but finally had a descent gorgeous snowfall all day yesterday & today has been so beautiful w/the sun shining & blue sky illuminating all the snow!

More catalogs arrivwd today but I didn't look to see which ones! And the Cardinals are back from being on holiday!

message 4: by Bluedaizy (new)

Bluedaizy | 10 comments I live in the sunny South. And while I'm not actually doing any gardening at the moment, I am thinking about Spring. The warmer weather is just around the corner!

I just purchased a few barrels I'm planning to make into rain barrels. I was inspired after watching a video on YouTube. It looked very easy to retrofit.

It's supposed to be 60 degrees this weekend, so I'm hoping to put my limited handyman skills to work modifying those barrels. Wish me luck!

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Good luck Bluedaizy & welcome!!!

message 6: by Bluedaizy (new)

Bluedaizy | 10 comments Thank you, kindly! :)

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Good luck Bluedaizy & welcome!!!

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Good luck Bluedaizy & welcome!!!

message 9: by Bluedaizy (new)

Bluedaizy | 10 comments brrrrr.....

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) We're @ -5 tonight!

I can't for the life of me figure out why my comment above repeated itself nearly a half dozen times! And right now I can't delete the extras!

Anyway, I just watched a wonderful documentary on PBS's Nova- The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies, about the annual flight to Mexico the Monarchs make. Such beautiful creatures! Love finding them in my gardens!

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Kelly Jo, that must be so incredible!

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) I'd say that depends on how much room you have to keep them in case you need to keep them in doors longer than expected because of continuing cold weather. I use those plastic 'greenhouses' with the removable domes and since our bedroom has the best light and temp, I can get about 6 or 7 of them on top of the computer desk and they can stay there indefinately. (If you use them, make sure to take the lids off once the seeds sprout to avoid mold from the excess moisture and warmth).

If you're starting indoors, seeds should be sowed in doors an average of 12 weeks before planting outside. Given your climate, I would probably add a few more weeks to that before taking your seedlings outside to acclimate to the temps.

Here's a link with the average last and 1st frost dates for Michigan for Spring and Fall:

Most hard frosts seem to end in May, a number of them in June and a couple in July! I hope this link helps you figure out when to start your seeds!

Shelby *trains flying monkeys* I'm dying to start this year. I have so much more space than when I was in the apartment. I keep trying to decide what to plant and where. My silly husband has been feeding the Canadian geese in our backyard and I went out and told them this morning that if they ate my seeds I would have goose for dinner...not really but they don't know that. :)

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Lol Shelby! One great tip I use for keepong the squirrels out of my newly planted seeds & bulbs is to sprinkle the entire area of dirt (which has the seeds or bulbs underneath) with cayenne AND red pepper flakes! It works with squirrels, not sure about geese through! It's worth a try!

Shelby *trains flying monkeys* And making my husband stop feeding them? lol
He feels sorry for them. I have a fear of birds and so I don't mess with them. I guess that's the only bad thing about the lake in the backyard.

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Ooo - a lake in your back yard?! Sounds nice! Yeah, your Hubby probably shouldn't feed them, lol! (They're not so great to have around if you or your children will be using the backyard area - geese poo can make ya sick).

Shelby *trains flying monkeys* My husband is even a bigger softie when it comes to any animal than I am. I do love that lake. :)

message 18: by Katie (new)

Katie (katieisallbooked) | 28 comments We have an outbuilding and I'm thinking of putting a shelf out there with a lamp so that I can start some annuals. It's heated, but not as warm as inside the house. Think they would make it? I'm just so eager to get started on something, anything garden related.

Vegetable seeds were on sale at the hardware store last weekend and I stocked up! This will be my first attempt at a vegetable garden so I'm really excited. I need to start reading up so I'm ready.

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Katie do you have a thermometer in there you could check to see how cold it gets even with the light on? That way you can make sure it doesn't get too cold @ night for the seeds. You should probably start with the plastic 'greenhouses' I mentioned a couple of posts above - I have a great book about seeds & starting seeds... Or is it a dvd? (Still getting over a brutal cold & bronchitis so I'm a little foggy!) I'll look for it over this weekend and let you know - if it's the dvd, I can make a copy a send it to you.

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Birds here have been playing hide & seek because of the up a down temps (I think anyway). I bought more suet today since our little Downy Woodpecker hasn't been back since he finished what was out there and I read in Birds & Blooms that Downy's love the stuff. Of course now I'm out of regular seed so I'll make another trip to the hardware store later.

message 21: by Katie (new)

Katie (katieisallbooked) | 28 comments Thanks for the tips, Jo! My husband is clearing some shelving off for me this week. I might still wait a little while since it's still very early. I'm just so excited about gardening this year and I want to start SOMETHING.

My office has floor-to-ceiling windows and my coworkers and I have noticed a lot of birds around lately. We've still had some really cold days so I'm surprised. At first I thought they were all just plump little things, but then someone told me they puff up their feathers to stay warm which is why they look bigger than they really are.

message 22: by Bluedaizy (new)

Bluedaizy | 10 comments It's snowing!! In Rock Hill South Carolina! Yippee! Can you say Snow Day?? Whoop whoop!

message 23: by Katie (new)

Katie (katieisallbooked) | 28 comments Bluedaizy wrote: "It's snowing!! In Rock Hill South Carolina! Yippee! Can you say Snow Day?? Whoop whoop!"

That's crazy! Enjoy your snow day. I was watching the news this morning and I couldn't believe all the southern states that were getting snow. The little kids in Atlanta outside playing in it. They were so excited and adorable!

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Enjoy your snow Bluedaizy!

Katie, that's correct, birds puff themselves up to keep warm. Makes them look so cute!

2 puffed up Blue Jays stopped by the suet feeder earlier - they looked so pretty! And a bunch of Carolina Wrens have been going to town on the Irish Soda Bread I threw out there.

There was a bright red Cardinal in one of the trees out back around 8am, singing and calling away. He looked gorgeous against the white snow in the tree!

***Yesterday I saw a Forsythia bush in FULL BLOOM not far from here! The yellow petals caught my eye about a half mile before we passed it since all the other trees and bushes are bare.

message 25: by Katie (new)

Katie (katieisallbooked) | 28 comments I started browsing my March issue of Martha Stewart Living last night. It's the gardening issue! Not gonna lie. I drooled a little. :)

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Lol Katie! I drool over gardening in mags & catalogs all the time! And in the nurseries (or @ our Foodtown which gets great flowers), I'm worse!

Shelby *trains flying monkeys* ohhhh yeah! I think we all have the bug. lol
and seed catalogs, and the farmers exchange (I went there today)

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) And Whole Foods! Lordy do I drool at Whole Foods, lol!

Shelby *trains flying monkeys* ohhhh yes.

message 30: by Katie (new)

Katie (katieisallbooked) | 28 comments I've never been to Whole Foods. The closest one to me is almost 2 hours away. :(

Bloomin’ChickJo (bloominchick) Caleb wrote: "Hey there -- I'm excited to see there are other garden obsessives on Goodreads! Thanks for starting the group."

You are certainly welcome and thanks for joining!

To me the Winter garden is for pure enjoyment of its' beauty, whether that's from inside a cozy home or outside walking thru it in the snow & ice on a clear blue day.

Katie, the nearest Whole Foods is 2 hours away?! Oh my! If you ever have a reason to head out near it, stop by and you'll see what Shelby & I mean!

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