Suburban Wildlife

Where we can watch and relate to wildlife in a suburban backyard.
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

It looks like it will be a white christmas

First a touch of freezing rain, then a day later about an inch of snow. Today it's very cold -17C or about 0 on the farenheit scale. Just in time as christmas is only a day away.

Hey, Rusty.....

It snowed last night, and Mr Squirrel is complaining about the bird food.. (Which he will at least sample).

Winter Arrives

But with a light freezing rain - no snow. The trees and shrubs seem covered with diamonds as a new day arrives with a clear sky.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Move Delayed

The proposed move to the north country has been put on hold until next spring. This photo is about where the 'Retreat' will be relocated - hopefully by early next May. The main house is just out of sight off to the right. The small river is straight ahead and just in view. It should be a great spot to watch all sorts of critters. (Including bears - i'm not sure I'm too keen on them). Grin.

Summer Past

The flowers have faded. Halloween will soon be here.,

It'sthat time of year

The sun will be setting just behind the church about November 11 or so. The winter cold will start moving in again. But can spring be far behind?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Almost ready for winter

Gizmo has been storing up reserves for the coming winter.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gizmo Hogg packing it on...

And almost ready for winter.This little fellow is becoming quite content and seemingly happy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Night Shift Arrives

This friendly youngster is quite willing to clean up anything that has been left by the daytime birds or Gizmo Hogg. Thankfully this one is almost completely odorless, at least for now. :))

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gizmo Hogg

Gizmo is wondering why I have not left his breakfast out.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

G.H. (Aka Gizmo Hog) Returns

Gizmo is ever alert and ready to scram for home. I must move very slowly and quietly. This has to be the smallest groundhog I have ever seen. But I'm happy he seems to call my backyard home. Being a vegetarian he has a taste for the bird food I put out.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Old Friends Return?

Much to my surprise this time. But that's antoher story. Now these two seemed to know me, perhaps a pair of kits from last year. Or - is this a mom and one quickly growing kit? I have no idea.

More Flowers

In spite of the miserable spring weather, the summer heat has done wonders for many of the plants in the garden.

A New Garden Friend

Now I know who was making all the noise under the retreat. It was not a young skunk, but this little groundhog. Though very shy, he (or she) keeps coming back. Yes, I call him (or her) Gizmo. I have no idea why that name seemed to stick - it just did.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Hint

Of (I hope) the Retreats new location by this fall.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Arrived - at last.

Though things were late in starting,the new blooms are doing great. We are still getting ready for our big move. I hope to be able to show you the great place that will be the new home for Rusty's Retreat - deep in the Laurentians, with a small river within feet of the front door.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

This bird finds warm is good

Quite a difference from the picture taken back late in the winter.

It's been too long. Computer problems were part of the problem in keeping things more or less up-to-date.

However there are some very BIG changes coming to Rusty's Retreat. True, things are going to be slow until the Fall, but wait and see.

ATB! Rusty

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Waiting For Dinner

A friendly Visitor

There are quite a few of these birds around but I don't have a clue what they are. Though fast moving, they don't seem to mind me sitting just a few feet away.

A Friendly Redwing

And boy, does this character give me whatfor until I put the bird food out in the morning.

Look What I found.....

This young squirrel seems to think he has the motherlode of food. It seems just a little too big for him to drag away - but he is trying.

Bleeding Heart

Isjust starting to bloom. I'm going to have to divide this beauty later this year.

Mother Robin

Taking time out to find her breakfast.

Mrs Napoleon?

I seem to be getting a very strange look. She probably wants a change in diet. No peanuts in this particular bird feeder. Though it's illegal to feed any wild critters here - including certain birds - squirrels and raccoons refuse to read the signs on the bird feeders. :-(

Spring Nights

We had a few clear days - temperatures up to near normal. But after this was taken the rain returned.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Speaking of invasive.....

Nice fresh mint popping up where a tomato plant will be later this month. The black cloth is a method of mulching. I find it works very well.

And here comes the Bamboo.

By late summer this plant will be over seven feet tall and covered in bloom. It amkes a very good screen - but it can be invasive.

And Naturally - taking over the world...

I could drive myself crazy and think of it as a weed - but......

The Hosta are springing up!

I see I have to get to work and divide all of them this year. It looks like a four to one dividend on all plants.

It's a stray, but a nice one

Who knows where this came from, but I enjoy seeing it.

A future bloom

Even the lilac tree seems late this year. But it looks like there will be a good crop of flowers.

How Green It Is...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's been a cold and very wet spring...

But at last we have some bloom. Perhaps the month of May will be better.

She Has Returned

Again in the same spot. A new nest has been built. Now we wait and see. This is the third year on top of this spotlight. I think it was the same pair that built their nest two years prior to that on top of a fixture by the front door. This spot is much more private, protected - and safe from just about anything on the ground. Naturally this light is simply never used while the nest is occupied.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Old Real Estate

I took down the robins nest from last summer. Now I'm waiting to see if they decide to set up housekeeping in the same spot this year. It's surprising how clean and well preserved the old nest is.

The First New Shoots Up

The Bleeding Heart is the first up again this year. Though it's in a raised bed on the north side of the house it probably gets some additional warmth from the basement wall. It won't be long before it's in full bloom.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Waiting for breakfast to be served

Napoleon is pretending he knows nothing about bird feeders. He is waiting quietly while I put seed out for (HA) the birds.

Monday, April 4, 2011

OK birds - back off, it's my time now

When Nappy lands on the feeder it's all his, except perhaps for a little chickadee he will share with.

LetsSee - what can I munch on next?

Still quite a bit of snow on the ground, but I heard a couple of Robins today for the first time this year. Otherwise it's a typical April day - chilly and wet. These photos were taken a couple of days ago when it was bright though cold.

I expect I will be seeing more of a few old friends of the raccoon persuation. There is a new skunk in the area. On the small side and quite distinctive as it's tail is totally black.

I'm Stuffed!

Yes, this is Napoleon.

Spring Look

Friday, March 25, 2011

What a surprise!

Well this little plant continues to surprise me. These photos were taken a couple of days ago - and even more blooms have opened since.

I thought I had detected the start of a double crown, but after very close inspection it looks like I was wrong. Anyway, a double crown seldom detracts from a plants flowering capability, though it will destroy the symmetry of the plant.

I’m going to let it continue it’s flowering and repot it later.

Lots of bloom coming!

No green thumb needed. If I remember correctly I killed two violets many years ago. I was on a third one - which was also looking ratty, when I decided to try putting it under a small desk lamp that was beside my computer. It worked! The plant prospered. Given enough light, and care in watering they will continue to bloom year after year. (Well, you will have to groom and repot but thats a future tale). Grin. The point is - ANYONE can grow these beautiful plants - ah well, almost anyone. They might not do so well if you lived in the artic. ;)

All it needs.... lots of light, and just enough water. The light is supplied by a single 23 watt CFB for about 12 hours a day.

Another View


OK, it looks like AV growing is still in my blood. When I was out looking for the size of pot I needed - I stopped to look at the display of African violets in a place where I normally would never buy plants. (Based on finding the plants I bought from them years ago were infested with pests). For the most part the display Was miserable. The plants had been raised in a very cramped environment. They had broken leaves and uneven growth. But one stood out as the two flowers that were open looked very interesting. Lets just say I decided to ‘rescue’ it. Once home I removed a few broken and mangled leaves - setting three into a small pot of rooting medium. I will see how things develop after a month or so. Oh, yes - this plant is classed as a ‘standard’ in size. That is if all goes well it will grow to be about eight inches in diameter.


Once you start growing new plants from leaf cuttings, violets will take over your life, your house, your neighbors and relatives. Violets can make good gifts though not everybody wants to care for a plant that is felt by many to be ‘difficult’.

BE WARNED. (Said from the voice of experience - growing these things IS addictive). ;))) ATB!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A healthy looking bunch. The black line on the edge of the door is eight inches long. This friendly young raccoon is probably just under a year old. (They grow fast).

Front and Center!

The only light out here was from the camera flash.

Saying Hello?

Healthy and friendly youngsters!

The Gang Arrived Last Night.

I can't be certain, but I suspect they are from Kimmie's gang. They are just about a year old now.

Summer Bird

He seems happy to see the snow vanishing.