The mornings have been so beautiful the past few days, with my cup of joe and my constant companion Bo it was off to the garden for walkabout. The tap-tap tap from a nearby tree could be heard, following the sound we spot a large woodpecker . I had never seen a woodpecker like these before. No wonder these are not just any woodpecker but a pileated woodpecker that is a “fairly common resident west – uncommon east”. Well imagine my surprise seeing two – yup…had to grab the camera. Enjoy the pictures.
These woodpeckers are a committed long-term monogamous pair year round. Also, both incubate their eggs in their hallowed tree hole – no nest dressing for apx. 18 days. Both pileated woodpecker parents will feed their hatched young with regurgitated food. These woodpeckers eat ” wood boring insects such as the long horne beetles, carpenter ants, nuts and fruit”. Both woodpeckers were the size of black crows.
These Pileated woodpeckers are “currently candidates for endangered species”. It is also illegal to shoot them.
Now that the spring-flowering shrubs and bulbs have faded. Now would be the perfect time to get into the garden in the cool early morning – before the heat of the day. If the early hours are not do able there is the early evening, just remember to keep water off the foliage. Now would be a terrific time to begin a composting pile, beginning with the withered bulb leaves.
Composting is a wonderful way to recycle garden trimming, leaves, grass trimmings, vegetable and fruit skins. The end result is what gardeners call “black gold” to use within the garden. Composting is simply speeding up the natural decay process of organic matter. There are a variety of composting bins available, just take a moment to consider how much space is available for it along with:
The compost pile will need a few things to encourage microbial activity. 1) Material high in Carbon aka dry browns such as fall leaves, shredded newspaper, straw, paper bags, bark ( broken into small pieces) and cardboard (egg cartons – small pieces). 2) Materials high in Nitrogen aka Greens such as lawn clippings, leaves, vegetable & fruit scraps/peels, and coffee grounds. Simple rule compost needs to be equal browns & greens by volume. 3) water: Moisture is needed by microbes – all life on our earth require a certain amount of water. The moisture amount has often been explained as, ” the compost mixture should feel damp to the touch with as much moisture as a wrung-out sponge”. 4) Aeration aka oxygen is essential for the microbial activity of the aerobic microorganisms. In other words air needs to be able to move through the organic matter – if not rot will begin and odors will follow.
Once all your organic matter is in the compost bin every 7 to 10 days give your compost a turn to encourage continued “cooking”. This style is commonly called “Active Method”. Compost happens – whether you do the mentioned composting or you choose to do “Passive Method” . Passive is just as named, organic plant matter is collected and over time decomposition happens.
Spring is just about to end and summer’s quickly approaching. Summer solstice is Saturday, June 21 of 2014. Until later, El