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Friday, December 19, 2014

Towhees and Amaryllis, Reindeer and Angels, in the dark December 19, 2014


Welcome to my end of the autumn post.  I am writing this in the second black-out in 4 days.  I really appreciate electricity when I don't have any. 



Today I am linking with-

Wild Bird Wednesday hosted by Stewart M.

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma  and Mystical Magical Teacher

I heart Macro hosted by Laura

This is the most Christmasy bird that comes to eat my black sunflower seeds, I am used to calling it the Rufous-sided Towhee, but the western race is now called the Spotted Towhee.   They are not as bold as the Chickadees, Steller's Jays, and Nuthatches, but I have a few photos.   You must guess what I think makes them look Christmasy-


"Check it out!"

"101, 102...... and they're all mine!"

"A tough nut to crack"

"Don't even think about it!"

They are large sparrows at 7 1/2" / 19 cm, and I haven't observed them having any obnoxious habits, unlike their relatives the Canyon Towhee I had in southern California, who could go down a row of freshly planted corn, pea, or bean seeds and somehow locate each seed.   They had a sneaky technique of jumping backwards digging with their feet and left neat round holes where each seed had been.   

In order to grow those crops I had to cover the planted rows with wire mesh, then lay greenery on top to obscure the view of the ground so the seeds could sprout.  A handy herb for this was Sanguisorba minor, the cucumber-flavored Salad Burnet, which loved San Diego and would spread all over by seed and make lots of 2' clumps of greenery, and it would take a lot of them to get enough branches to cover all the rows.  But I did succeed in outsmarting the Towhees.  There, I could grow peas in the winter.

My featured houseplant this week is the wonderfully Christmasy Amaryllis.  The care for a potted Amaryllis is to put it in a dark place and let it go dormant for 10-12 weeks, then bring it out and water it, and this triggers the bloom season.
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Some Chanukah lights in a special 9-candle Chanukiah (menorah), and also my little tree Chanukiah that has cups a little small for holding candles,

so I use the bigger one.  Chanukah is the Festival of Lights, a time for self-reflection and re-dedication.

Wow, the lights are back on.   Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas.  And Happy Birthday to me.    Hannah


                                                 or cameras are macro

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I like to visit your blog and comment but can't if google+ is the only option so will comment here.


61 comments:

  1. gorgeous towhees! i've never seen one in person but would love to! a very happy holiday season wished to you!

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    1. Thanks, Theresa, They are pretty but don't come around much. I would love to see the Painted Buntings!

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  2. Happy Birthday, Hannah! I love the pretty Towhee. It is a gorgeous bird. Happy Chanukah! I like your tree menorah! Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Thanks, Eileen, I'm very busy getting ready for company next week, that will be fun.

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  3. Love that Towhee. They are such neat birds.

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    1. Thanks, Dorothy, I love the rufous color and the amazing bright red eyes.

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  4. My friend had a fake amarillus today and ti looks almost real. Thanks for sharing your pictures with us today. That one of the bird face on is so cute....he looks all puffed up.

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    1. Thanks, Linda, this amaryllis really goes all out blooming, I like the bright red.

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  5. Great photos!
    We have Towhees here, too, but I'm not sure they are the same as yours. I don't think the ones here have the white spots. Probably they are the Rufous-Sided Towhees. I'm getting a new camera for Christmas - maybe I'll be able to better bird photos.
    Have a wonderful week-end!
    Lea

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  6. Thanks, Lea, the eastern Towhees don't have the white spots, but they changed their name apparentlly to Eastern Towhees, the Rufous-sided name got changed. I got myself a Canon sx50 for an early birthday present and I like it but it is not the same as the cameras with the big lenses that people use to get the sensational close-ups. Still it's what I could afford and better than my old camera.

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  7. Beautiful holiday setting Hannah. I love how you made something special out of the inconvenience. The little birds and your narrative are so cute.

    Have a happy birthday and a wonderful holiday!

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    1. Thanks, Shirley, I could write offline but had to get back on to put in the photos, now I have a different problem because our landline in the ground failed and we lost our internet except our cell phones or taking my laptop somewhere with wifi. I'm not very adept with internet on tiny cell phones yet so hope I can figure out how to visit other people.

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  8. I love towhees! Your photos are great! Happy Hanukkah! And I'm so sorry you keep having electrical blackouts!

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    1. We hadn't had one very long for a few years, it made me more grateful for all the conveniences. We did have cell phones and a wind-up radio. Thanks Marie, and Merry Christmas!.

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  9. Wonderful bird photos Hannah..Happy Chanukah and a Happy birthday as well..Glad you have electricity again..Have a wonderful Holiday..

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    1. Thanks, Missy, I went to a nice gift exchange party and had fun. I will celebrate my BD more when my #1 daughter & family come.

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  10. Hello Hannah! BTW, Thank you for linking up with my critter party.. Have a happy weekend!

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    1. Thanks, Eileen, I used wifi at my party to link but may have trouble visiting blogs.

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  11. Oh Hanna, thank you so much for linking with Today's Flowers. What beautiful photographs, love the amaryllis, such a pretty color and your shots of the towee are outsanding! Happy Chanukah and Happy Birthday Hanna, and A Very Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks, Denise, and Merry Christmas to you. I enjoyed the mute swans.

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  12. Hi Hannah
    Just stopping by to admire your christmassy bird and flower and to wish you a happy festive season! It all looks very cosy by candlelight :)
    Wishing you a very happy new year I have thoroughly enjoyed your company both here and at mine this year.
    Wren x

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    1. Thanks, Wren, I enjoyed reading your blog and taking virtual trips with you, and you answered my questions about difficulties celebrating Christmas in the summer down-under. Hugs from the PNW!

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  13. Happy Birthday, Hannah! I love your amaryllis and the towhee. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

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    1. Thanks, Gunilla, Merry Christmas to you, and I so enjoyed the wonderful snowy owl with the enchanting eyes, unless you are a mouse or little critter.

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  14. Lovely shots of the Towhee bird and loved you text that went with it. I am singing along with the song on the video as I write this comment to you. I will go back and watch it later. I am being called for breakfast! Have a great Sunday and a wonderful Christmas week ahead.

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    1. Thanks, Margaret, the Towhee is so cute with the red eyes. I like to sing along with the song too. Merry Christmas, I can't believe how fast it is approaching.

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  15. Love the video & the towhee,I used to have the towhees here in the woods in the spring ,they would" back up" the seeds under the feeder to eat off the ground,but they don`t come close anymore,I hear them deep in the woods.
    I know what it is like to be without electric,that is why I still heat with my woodstove.Happy birthday to you,& happy holidays,phyllis

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    1. Thanks, Phyllis, the Towhees were cute even when they were eating my seeds. I just bought a speaker with a battery and connection where I can plug in my MP3 player so at least next blackout I can listen to music. We can burn wood in our fireplace in an emergency but it is not an efficient stove. DH didn't want to spend the money on upgrading the insert and chimney liner.

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  16. We have been very fortunate not to lose power....so far. This is, for sure, the time to add some lights, our forbears new what they were doing.

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    1. We hadn't had a long blackout for several years. But I did buy a better LED headlamp for next time and the speaker, I can do some things hands-free and have nice music. I did burn some of my many candles I inherited and don't use much. I found out the hard way that some drip wax everywhere.

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  17. the towhee's are lovely. I'm not real familiar with them.

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    1. Thanks, Felicia. They seem to be widespread across the US but I didn't see them in Texas, Colorado, or California where I lived, though the Canyon Towhees were in California.

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  18. Great pictures of the towhee! They're one of my favorites.

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    1. Thanks, Evan, they are pretty. I liked your Japanese garden tour.

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  19. Replies
    1. Thanks, Pieni, aren't you glad the days are getting longer now! I can't imagine only 4 hour days, though in Alaska and N. Sweden/Finland I suppose there is no sun about now.

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  20. Great shots - we get more power outs in the summer than winter, bush fires are a major cause.

    Hope you have a great Christmas.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thanks, Stewart, power outs from bush fires sounds scary. There were some fires in Oregon this year that burned down a lot of houses, but none near where I live. Merry Christmas!

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  21. The towhee looks such a cutie with his gorgeous dusky red vest.
    And thank you ever so much for identifying my flower in the Macro Monday 2 post. I have asked several people and no one knew. Adore the name Love in the Mist.
    A veryhappy Christmas to you.

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    1. Thanks, Gemma, I'm always impressed when I see them, cute description. Yes, I confess to many years of obsessively poring over garden catalogues, so I recognize lots of plants. I'm always amazed to see the Nigella pop up every year, since I do nothing at all for it.

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  22. What a beautiful series Hannah! Happy Chanukah and happy Birthday!! Thanks as always for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro:-)

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    1. Thanks, Laura, I am still preparing for the visit from my daughter, have a blessed time with your family, and I hope your daughter experiences full healing.

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  23. I hope you don't get more power cuts Hannah. Its the wrong time year to suffer those. The towhee is very colourful and I agree, rather Christmassy.

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  24. What a wonderful time of year with your birthday and holidays all around the same time...very special! Happy Birthday and Happy Chanukah Hannah!

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    1. Thanks Donna, it was not much fun when I was a child, I didn't have much of the usual birthday parties, but it's fun now, and there are a couple of other close birthdays we celebrate together at Christmas when the family is all here.

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  25. Replies
    1. Thanks, Sharon. Yes, so clear, like a glass bead. That's what makes him look Christmasy to me!

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  26. Beautiful bird pictures ! We stayed without electricity for such a long time, that I can't even remember ! Of course candle lights are more romantic !

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    1. Wow, you must have had some good survival strategies. Candles were romantic until they started dripping on the back of my sofa. Then I changed to the short votive candles that burn in glass holders, no drips!

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  27. Wonderful christmas ornaments, beautiful compositions !! Merry Christmas in peace and much love!

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    1. Thanks, Leovi, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too!

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  28. Thanks, I visited my grandkids, it was fun.

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  29. I like these birds. They must have enjoyed too this Christmas.

    Tell them Happy New Year.

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  30. Thanks, Rainfield, the birds here do enjoy every day that I put out the sunflower seeds, they have a wild party throwing empty shells everywhere.

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  31. Abraço de Ano Novo com votos de muita felicidade.
    Feliz 2015
    AG

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  32. Replies
    1. Happy New Year Ela, Sharon, and Mimi!

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