Touch of Nature News – 04/15/05 – The Herbs Place

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A Touch Of Nature
April 15, 2005 Issue

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What’s Happening Here at Bluebird Cove

Our little finch is now busy feeding babies. They just began hatching a couple days ago. It got a little chilly here so it concerns me that they will be warm enough, but then worrying about something like that is so futile.

Randal attended a class on perennials this week at a Master Gardeners function and before he left I gave him a list of plants to bring home. The place grows really GREAT plants and they are so healthy and native, so I requested some Virburnums and Monkshood. He also brought home another shrub that repells the deer. A guy that is a professional in deer landscaping says that deer rely on scents to know the herd and each other, so they don’t like to be around anything real smelly that will rub on their coats. This Neem bush (not the neem that is being used medicinally these days) is something that they stay away from.

Another tip for those who have a problem with deer in the garden, is that they won’t walk on chicken wire. A man has lined an area around his garden with it and even covered with leaves, they won’t step on the area with chicken wire. These are precious tips and will be gold to not only us but others in our community who get weary of the battle between loving the deer and loving the plants.

Enjoy Springtime! It is so very refreshing!

Nature’s News

Help Monitor Monarch Butterflies in Your Area

The Monarch Larval Monitoring Project is a citizen science project involving volunteers from across the United States and Canada in monarch research. It was developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota to collect long-term data on larval monarch populations and milkweed habitat. The overarching goal of the project is to better understand how and why monarch populations vary in time and space, with a focus on monarch distribution and abundance during the breeding season in North America. Training is available in local classrooms and online.   Monitor Monarch Butterflies in Your Area

Finding Baby Squirrels

Gray squirrels nest twice each year, in early spring and in late summer. Gray squirrels commonly have litters of three or four. Babies eyes open at four weeks of age and the young are often out of the nest by six weeks. At 8-9 weeks of age they are on their own in the wild and no longer nurse from the mother. If you find a baby squirrel:

Is the squirrel injured (bleeding, broken bones, wounds, been in a cat’s mouth, etc.)?

If YES, take the squirrel to the nearest wildlife veterinarian or rehabilitator. (For juvenile squirrels, wear thick leather gloves when handling. Even young squirrels can have a vicious bite!)

If NO, squirrels whose tails are fully fluffed out like a bottle brush and weigh more than 6.5 ounces or 180 grams, are on their own in the wild and do not need human intervention. If the squirrel does not meet these criteria, see below.

Is the squirrel fully furred with its eyes opened?

If YES, and the squirrel weighs between 75 and 150 grams (2.6-5.3 ounces), his tail is flat or not quite full, and may seem "friendly", the squirrel still needs nursing and care from it’s mother. Mother squirrels may "rescue" stray babies by carrying them by the scruff back to the nest. For very small squirrels, attempt to locate the nest (big ball of dried leaves at the top of a tree) and try to get the baby to climb up the trunk. Check back several hours later to see if the baby is still there. If the baby has not been fed or attended to for an entire day, contact a state licensed small mammal rehabilitator immediately. If the squirrel is old enough to run from you, it is old enough to be on its own and does not need human intervention.

If NO, and the baby is not retrieved by the mother for an entire day, contact a state licensed small mammal rehabilitator immediately. Keep predators (cats and dogs) away from the area if the baby is on the ground.

Information Provided By The Wildlife Center of Virginia

Those Amazing Birds!

Creating a Bird-Friendly Habitat

Because you want to create your backyard habitat as a whole entity, it is important to start with a drawn plan. Think about necessary components – food, water and shelter – and arrange them to complement each other to provide the most benefit for the birds.

One example is to put the feeding stations near trees or bushes where birds can seek cover from soaring or stalking predators. Then set the birdbath near conifers out of the way of cold north winds.

Conifers (evergreens) play an important role. They provide shelter and nesting sites as well as protection from predators. Planted on the north and west edges of your property, they make excellent windbreaks to protect your feeding stations from the elements. They also give the birds a place to hang out when they aren’t foraging for food. An evergreen hedge offers a popular roost site as well as good cover as birds move from place to place in your yard.

Although deciduous trees grow slower than conifers, a mix of tall and small food-bearing species will combine to form a supportive landscape once they mature. Trees planted around the edge of your property are the backdrop for lower-growing vegetation.

Every section of the country has unique climate and soil conditions that affect the decision of what to plant. Incorporate varieties of trees and shrubs native to your region. They have had centuries to adapt to the local environment and will prove to be hardier and more disease-resistant than "exotics." Look around at the conditions in which natural vegetation grows and choose plants appropriate to your property, such as willows in wet areas and pines in open, sunny sites.

Vary the height of growing things in order to accommodate bird species that spend most of their time on the ground as well as those that prefer low, bushy cover or treetops. Plant variety also helps to meet wildlife needs through all four seasons of the year.

A bird garden at its best has some rough edges. Perfection doesn’t count with birds. Postpone spring cleanup so you can watch them collect twigs and stringy leaves from fibrous plants for nest building.

Not all perennial flowers produce abundant seeds, but some that grow thick stems or reach shrub size are good nesting sites for buntings, song and white-crowned sparrows. Examples are: lupine, purple coneflower (Echinacea), California poppy, coreopsis and cornflowers (Centaurea). Nectar-rich perennials, annuals and vines for hummingbirds, include salvias, penstemon, bee balm, trumpet vine, columbine and fuchsias.

Annual flowers are prolific seed producers, with the added benefit of almost instant color.

Some easy-to-grow bird-favorites are cosmos, impatiens, marigold and zinnia. A single zinnia seed head can keep a goldfinch quite busy cracking open one seed per petal.

This article is used with permission from

Nature’s Bounty For Us

Essential Oil Recipes and More – New Free Newsletter!

Emailed twice a month with an essential oils tip, recipe, Q&A, and more. As a subscriber you will be able to submit questions to the editor. Q&A will be placed in each issue. Enjoy the fun of using essential oils around your home and as part of your healthy lifestyle. Aromas add zest to life!

Natural Solutions by Health Topic

Do you need to build better health and wellness? Herbs have been used by people around the world for thousands of years. Get information about a health topic you would like to know more about.

Gardening For Wildlife – Restoring the Balance

Gardens Alive – Environmentally Responsible Products That Work!

Find information on gardening, birding, pest and disease control, lawn/soil/plant care, household cleaning products, pet care, and more. A free newsletter and catalog is available.

"Green" Info – Making It a Way of Life!

Detoxify Your Soaps and Cleaning Supplies With Sunshine Concentrate!

This environmentally-friendly cleaning and washing concentrate is nothing less than wonderful. We’ve used it for 15 years for laundry, hand soap, pet baths, soaking produce, dishwasher, cleaning, and a multitude of other uses. This product has saved us money and health. No more "itch" of chemical soaps.

Self-Help Credit Union

Self-Help is a community development lender that has provided over $3.5 billion in financing to 40,000 home buyers, small businesses and nonprofits. Self-Help reaches people who are underserved by conventional lenders—particularly minorities, women, rural residents, and low-wealth families—through the support of socially-responsible citizens and institutions across the U.S.

Put your money where your heart is.

Muse On Nature

He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

— Psalms 104:10-13

Pets Are Nature At Home

Pet Supplement Catalog by Health Topic

Pet Success Stories Using Nature’s Remedies

Free Natural Pet Email Newsletter

Healthy Pet Corner for Birds, Cats, Dogs, Horses, Rabbits & Reptiles

The Frugal Life – Living Well With What You Already Have

Living more simply is a great way to effect change in your own personal environment. It helps the planet also. The Frugal Life website has lots of ideas on getting back to basics. They also have a free newsletter emailed twice a month.

Written to encourage families wanting to stretch their dollars, it includes articles or tidbits on topics such as: finance, decorating, gardening, and household tips from subscribers and questions from the website forum.

Sign up for their free email newsletter


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Copyright and Reprint Information
The content, suggestions, and web links in this newsletter are for informational purposes only and not necessarily endorsed by our sponsor "The Herbs" This is a personal publication by Donna L. Watkins. The ideas and information expressed in it have not been approved or authorized by anyone either explicitly or impliedly. In no event shall Donna L. Watkins or "The Herbs" be liable for any damages whatsoever resulting from any action arising in connection with the use of this information or its publication. This newsletter may be forwarded without any alterations without seeking permission.