Kate's Blog

Mar 31

Beauty flourishes in dry shade

The redwing blackbirds are back, the grass is greening where the snow has begun to melt off and it's time to think about gardening in tricky situations. Let us consider shade.

The truth is, there are plants for every spot on the planet and some of our great garden performers don't care for sun and rich humusy soil. So shade can be wonderful.

Let's assume your shade, like that of most of us, comes with dry ordinary soil and has some dappled light. Read more
Feb 27

Resolved, to grow more insects

Swallows, Purple Martins, Chimney Swifts – these are the birds that soar high above us on a summer day, their song connecting us to a world we can never know above our familiar places.

They share our human habitat, but they don’t eat our food, so we don’t consider them to be pests, and they in fact provide what the market calls environmental services by consuming insects that might bother us or eat our crops.

But they’re in trouble. As Mike Cadman, a songbird biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service, told a recent meeting of the Midland Penetanguishene Field Naturalists Club, birds that catch insects on the wing have experienced dramatic declines in the past few decades.Read more
Jan 25

Welcome to 2014

It’s cold - minus 13 Celsius when I woke up, balmy compared to the minus 40 of a few days ago. It’s snowing lightly, the village a smudge on the horizon that periodically fades out of view, and then it’s a blank, the bare trees etched against a white landscape. My bird friends bring the prospect to life – almost 30 Mourning Doves, around 20 Goldfinches, a pair of Blue Jays, two pairs of Juncos, a few Chickadees, a Downy Woodpecker. The numbers and composition of the little flock have remained constant all winter, with an occasional appearance by a passing Chipping Sparrow or Grackle.Read more
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