Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Winged Army

I've been SUCH a bad blogger lately, folks. Sorry. There's so much going on that it's been impossible to write up posts. But fear not--I have been taking pictures.

This weekend, in addition to the storm shelter, we installed a few other things in the garden.

We spent a small fortune at Lowes stocking up on bird feeding gear. Why? Lately spending time in the garden has been a noisy affair, with a chorus of loud grasshoppers buzzing around as they munched on my plants. I've already applied an application of diatomaceous earth (organic pesticide made from fossilized algae) and neem oil to fight off the unwelcome guests, but this year I have a lot of ground to cover. Call in the birds. I read one article recently about how a few birds can eat about 1000 insects per day, and I knew I had to invite them to the party.

Two suet feeders, a birdbath, and one recycled pole bird feeder (made from our largely useless Tomato Tree from last season) later, and we've going some action:

Not pictured is several of his buddies hopping around on the ground eating the seed he tossed down to them. And it's working. The birds have been visiting for just 3 days now, and already tonight I could hear the difference in the garden. I still saw a few hoppers here and there, but they weren't making as much racket as they used to.

We also have been watching the very busy progress of our summer guests, the mudswallows as they build their nest. I have to admit that they're not very tidy neighbors, as this is the scene on my front porch:

I could blame them for the sidewalk chalk, too... Anyway their construction efforts will soon give way to egg-laying, and angrily chirping at us as we inconsiderately go in and out the front door. They usually race across the street and perch on my neighbor's roof where they screech obscenities until we go back inside.

In another few weeks this nest will be much larger, and the tiny peeps of new babies (and therefore, new bug hunters) will emerge.

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