Colder temperatures have brought the birds to the feeder this past week. My Sweet Babboo put a new suet cake out for them and it was eagerly pounced upon by this downy woodpecker.
The cardinal pair came by too, along with an entourage of goldfinches still wearing their winter drab. But they are brightening up a bit here and there and in a month or so will be vibrant yellow again.
The male shares the feeder with another goldfinch.
There were four bluebirds here one day. I got two of them in one photo but they wouldn’t cooperate to get all four. One up top was munching the sunflower hearts, while the one below took advantage of the suet cake.
Next weekend (Feb 18-22) is the 2022 Great Backyard Bird Count. Click on that link to see the website from the Cornell Lab, the Audubon Society and Birds Canada to see how you can participate, watch videos on the project and how to count, see the live maps and more. You can count for as little as 15 minutes for one day, or as much as you can over the four days. Whatever time you have available matters. Count in just your backyard, go to local parks or count what you see anywhere near where you are. Then report what you saw on their ebird website. I hope I see these bluebirds over the weekend.
Two books were finished this week with a lot of reading in the early hours of the day, along with waiting room time at appointments. I’ve linked them to the Amazon (affiliate) site for you to see the publisher synopses if you like.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. It is hard to classify this book as the story was not what was expected. It is written in two timelines, with the present day character trying to uncover the truth of an eighteenth century letter presuming to confess to murder. The historic timeline was about a female apothecary in the 1700s, when women who did such things were branded at witches, yet this wasn’t part of the story. It was about a woman with a ledger full of names who received poisons, yet we didn’t get to explore that. It was murder of who knows how many men at the hands of the women they wronged in one way or another, but that was only alluded to. We get only one real story of a poisoning gone wrong. In the present day, the character is flat, with really little motivation to look for the history of a vial with a bear on it, other than she wanted to be a historian years before. There were a few surprises towards the end, and the writing was well done. But I’d call this a beach read, interesting but without depth.
The Golden Thread by Kassia St. Clair. This is a non-fiction book on the history of textiles given to me by a friend who thought I’d enjoy it. The book is divided into short essays within the 20-page chapters on individual fabric content. The history of using flax in Egypt, wool in England, silk in China and cotton in America up to the present day with synthetics and space suit fabrics also explored. It is an interesting book, with easy reading essays perfect for what I call a snack-read, just a few pages and you have something to think about. I read the whole thing in just a few days, and will have to go back to chapters here and there again. The chapters on space suits may give you things to think about that you might not want to know. The great thing is the book chapters can be read in any order, it isn’t a linear history.
Books lead us right to a wonderful new find for us locally. The Book and Bee Cafe is a delightful tearoom and bistro style lunch spot in Hendersonville that opened during the pandemic. Read my review on Trip Advisor with more pictures – Book and Bee Cafe. If you are in this area, it is a fun place for lunch or brunch. It is off the main roads, located on the corner of Haywood Road (191) and Mountain Road. Tucked behind some trees, the interior is as charming as the menu. Vintage teapots and bee related items are displayed in every room, and each room has a different theme.
My meal was delicious with spinach quiche and fresh salad. I definitely want to go there again, and meet my lunch buddies! They have lots of teas to choose from too, served in mismatched cups with vintage teapots on little warmer stands.
My Sweet Babboo had a Longmire sandwich with grilled chicken, bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and tomato. The bread was a sunflower multigrain bread, delicious! The fresh fruit side was ‘berry’ good. We swapped half our meals with each other so we could sample more.
Back home, one afternoon, a small herd of five deer were grazing out back. This shot was taken through the window and the screen makes it a bit grainy. The other deer were behind the rhododendron, and wouldn’t come down and pose for us. I love living with wildlife.
In the kitchen garden, exciting things are happening. My orchid put out a flower spike a couple of weeks ago, and it has started growing again. It now appears to have four blooms in the works. I hope it blooms this time! The last flower spike shriveled up, and you can see that one at the base of the new one. I’ve been misting it daily, and hope this time it will reward me with a bloom or two.
Then more excitement, the amaryllis is putting up a leaf!! If it blooms this year, it will be the 9th year that it has gifted me with a floral show.
I mentioned on the Zoom retreat that I just couldn’t get into Valentine’s day this year. I don’t know why, but getting out a bunch of hearts and red things just doesn’t hold any appeal. I did get out my candle with the jeweled hearts and put it on my Wool Work Valentine Penny Rug just to use it this year. See that post for the free pattern if you are into wool applique.
This week, I will be in Shelby to do a program for the Foothills Guild. I can’t wait, I love visiting guilds close by, and doing the program in person is so fun. Appointments and meetings will keep my busy again for several days with little time for sewing. Fave Quilts has asked me to do a pattern for them to use during National Quilting Month in March. I wrote up the instructions for an improv quilt for them that I did a few years ago using precuts. More on that later.
Today is the Super Bowl, so I’m planning on snacking style finger food for supper while we watch the game. I don’t really care who wins, I just want an exciting, close scoring game. The commercials haven’t been anything special for years, so I won’t be paying much attention to those.
What are your plans for today and the coming week? Will you join in the bird count?