Muddling through 2020.

Hmm – four days into the new year and just one walk taken. The squirrels are no doubt fitful, looking at one another and asking “is Linda coming back?” I am hopeful for a Park excursion this morning. We had freezing rain New Year’s Day p.m. which messed up roads and sidewalks Saturday, then Sunday was a slushy mix of rain and snow with below-freezing temps. So much for great beginnings in this newly minted year.

But then, 2020 was a year that began with such promise … a shiny new decade. On January 1, 2020, I could not help but reflect on what I was doing twenty years before. On January 1, 2000, I was overjoyed that the dreaded Y2K digital meltdown did not happen at the stroke of midnight as many had predicted – whew! I recall I held off buying a computer until after Y2K, so on January 2, 2000, I went to the Gateway store and bought my first desktop P.C.

If we thought the advent of Y2K was scary business, imagine if we had known how COVID-19 was going to affect our lives by March 2020. We went blithely about our daily routine, until mid-March when life, as we knew it, certainly put on the brakes.

Some of you were ultra-productive when COVID jail began.

For me, not much changed at the outset. Having worked from home for nearly a decade, there were no adjustments there and I always buy enough pantry items so I don’t have to shop all Winter, except for perishable items. So that was taken care of. I could live without perishable items and I never bought groceries until May.

Some of you were forced into lockdown mode with no school or work which gave you lots of time to hunker down at home and clear out clutter, renovate, read some books, binge-watch shows on Netflix or hone your cooking skills. I saw tons of brown boxes, paint cans, old carpeting and sad-looking vanities in the ‘hood on my daily walks, so for sure our homes reaped the benefits of lockdown mode.

Truth be told … I have done diddly-squat during this pandemic.

I have clutter galore and my first goal whenever I retire is to return to a clutter-free house … it’s been so long that I can’t recall what the house looks like upstairs or downstairs. There was a mad scramble to make the house look presentable on the day after Christmas when a plumbing issue cropped up. I resented needing to do that on what I had deemed my “down time” but, to keep up appearances and avoid raised eyebrows and silent judgments by the plumber when he entered the house, I ran around like a mad woman. Then placed the call to the plumber. Evidently, he changed his cellphone number, never called, the problem resolved itself … that’s life. Then I found a wasp nest in the garage – really?!

I did get out and about more in 2020 and

… pared down my “Trek Bucket List” by going to Huroc Park, Willow Metropark, Crosswinds Marsh and I finished exploring the Rouge Gateway Trail during my virtual Mutt Strut 5K. During the 2019 Mutt Strut the event took us to part of it … I wanted to see more. I’ve still not made it to the sunflower farm and this year I may just grow my own. I used my Metropark pass plenty, but I’ve still not used my state park pass that I add onto my driver’s license fee. Maybe this year.

And, I put a bit of a dent in my “Birdie Bucket List”

… Woo hoo!

Here it is when I published it on March 5th last year.

Well I pared down a few. Let’s see. I finally saw a hummingbird and got a few photos! (More on that later).

I hoped to see a Mute Swan Mama with her cygnets nestled beneath those snowy feathers. I was lucky, but it wasn’t quite that heartwarming scenario I pictured in my mind. A pair of Mute Swans were on the Detroit River, with one nearly grown cygnet between them. The motorboats raced by and the current made the bobbing cygnet submerge every few seconds. The parents didn’t care as I stood in shocked disbelief, thinking it may not surface again. It lived but I’m sure it gulped gallons of funky Detroit River water into its tiny lungs.

Up until June 2020, I had visited every watery venue I could in search of Mallards and their ducklings, to no avail. Then right under my nose I found Mama and 10 sweet ducklings trailing behind her at Council Point shortly after it re-opened after being closed for a month. Then, I would go on to see many more ducklings at Coan Lake at Heritage Park during June. They seemed to be everywhere I looked. I guess it was Mother Nature’s gift to me.

I saw Cooper’s Hawks a’plenty – usually going after my little furry buddies at the Park, but I did not get any photos.

I did dabble a little though

“Dabble” is an interesting word.

When ducks dabble, they turn upside down, peering below the surface of the water for some tasty aquatic plants to nibble on. Their feathery duck butts are straight up in the air, but sometimes, like here, they just poke their head into the water … it looks less comical this way.

Last year I scribbled down a few New Year’s resolutions for 2020 while sipping eggnog and polishing off the rest of the Christmas cookies. Must. Read. More. After all, I had enjoyed reading three books from Thanksgiving through the New Year’s long holidays. Inspired, I got more reading material and even bought a couple of book lights to take downstairs to clamp onto those books to read as I perched atop the exercise bicycle for those mornings I would not be walking. So, we had a wonderful Winter with very little snow, so very little bike/book time. So much for that worthy resolution.

I dabbled in gardening with real plants.

I once lived for my garden where I made the backyard into a paradise for butterflies and birds and yes, squirrels, but in those days I fretted when they dug up the lawn or flowerpots to bury or search for the peanuts that I fed them – a real Catch-22 situation. Then a neighbor’s dog out 24/7/365 brought rats and back-to-back Polar Vortex events killed off most of my garden. Disgusted, plus in conjunction with my walking regimen, I vowed never to garden again. I resorted to silk flowers and planted them in pots and baskets – no weeding, deadheading, watering. I was set. Then a friend in North Carolina and I chatted about gardening. I confessed I once was a green thumb outside, but would kill any plant I brought into the house. She said “you can’t kill Oxalis – I’ll send you some of mine if you give me your address.” I politely insinuated she was wasting her time. Undaunted by my exasperation, Betty Jean express-mailed me several bulbs of flowers you may know better as “shamrocks” – but it was hot weather, the express mail package arrived some ten days later. With a defeatist attitude, I told Betty Jean they likely would not make it from being held up by the mail so long, but I dutifully planted them and gave them a few doses of Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster and waited.

Here they were a few weeks later.

And, here they were on Labor Day weekend.

They bloomed well even after the last frost but I finally brought them in … they are now dead as a door nail.

I dabbled with cooking.

I follow a blog called “In Diane’s Kitchen” and friend and fellow blogger Diane kept posting pictures of crock pot meals. After salivating over far too many of those delicious-looking dinners, I got a crock pot and several recipe books from Amazon. I paged through them and put sticky notes on what I planned to make, but when I told Diane she had inspired me so I had ordered a crock pot, she said “get recipes from the Facebook sites for easy crock pot meals!” I’ve not cracked open the cookbooks since but at last I can cook without burning the meals. Yay me! The crock pot also helps since I await the transition to Windows 10 at work and have nowhere else to plug that laptop in, so it has been sitting on the stove glass top since June 2019, plugged in behind the stove.

I dabbled with hummingbird feeding.

I had high hopes for having some fun and maybe photo ops after glimpsing a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird flitting around a pink weed near the door. I had never seen a hummingbird up close, just in photos. But would I get its picture? To increase my chances of a photo op and perhaps have a new hobby, I ordered two hummingbird feeders from my former HVAC tech, who, along with his wife, now own a Wild Birds Unlimited store. Of course, there was all the paraphernalia to go along with the care and feeding of hummers. I don’t bake and had no sugar in the house, so I ordered powdered nectar to mix up in the special hummer bottles, port hole cleaning brushes … okay, I bought into this new hobby hook, line and sinker. I had to get new shepherd’s hooks because my original hooks had an expressway of ants running from the bushes to the feeder and were cemented into the garden long ago, but then my neighbor’s Trumpet Vine brought more ants and spiders so I had to move them again.

I HAD named my hummer “Homer” then never saw it … for weeks, maybe a month or so. Dutifully I filled both feeders and remained ever-hopeful, while thinking I not only wasted money, but now was wasting my time. Then one day I was hanging up the feeders with fresh sugar water and looked over to see this hummer suspended in air, with whirring wings as it waited for its breakfast. As I watched it taking swigs from both feeders, I noticed it was a female, as it was missing that signature red throat. I re-named this little bundle of energy “Hope” and it would take another month to get these not-so-great pictures, which happened one morning when I opened the door to find it raining and Hope sipping at the feeder. I bolted to get the camera lest she leave.

So, what am I to learn or accomplish in 2021? The year is young and as of this writing, I only have 1,253 more miles/2,016 kilometers to go to meet my goal. Wish me luck!

[Google gone kaput image was what appeared on my screen one time. I kept it specifically for this post.]

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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64 Responses to Muddling through 2020.

  1. What a lovely post!

    I left our shamrock outside to kill it, but I felt guilty when I remembered John’s mother had given it to me. After several light frosts, it was bedraggled but survived. When John takes down the Christmas tree, I’ll see what happened with all the plants on the bookcase behind it. He waters plants, because I would kill them by over-watering them.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been a gardener all my life and had gorgeous perennial beds. Then I got old. At least too old for the weeding and kneeling and cleanup. Each year I took out a bed and now there are only shrubs, irises, daylilies and a few perennials around the pond. I miss the beautiful color but not the work involved. What’s odd is that I did all that work while I was working. After I retired I lost some of my zest for it. Now I do fabulous pots and a window box and I’m happy. This year, because of moving, I didn’t even bother getting a real poinsettia. Just another thing to care for during the transition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You know what Kate – your mindset is the same as mine. I grew weary of it too because you feel like all you do is work out there and I never spent time out there enjoying it. My mom would say – only Marge (neighbor) sees it – don’t do so much out there!. But I persisted. And the perennials weren’t as bad as the annuals which needed constant attention. I had the bags of impatiens … three on the fence facing the street, a “backup bag” in the backyard in case one would die out front. They needed watering twice a day and deadheading almost daily or they’d get leggy. The Gerbera Daisies – another pain, needed water twice a day and stayed in the shade or they’d swoon. Sometimes I think the back-to-back Polar Vortex events and dog bringing rats did me a favor. And, like you, I did it while working … now, when I haven’t had the commute and longer days like I did ten years ago, there is no garden. I used to hand-water every day before leaving for work so they wouldn’t be parched during the day – obsessive. I liked the idea of the silk flowers and went to Michael’s for them so they looked realistic and I weighted them down in pots/planters/baskets with pipe cleaners tied to the mesh bags from oranges. Filled the mesh bags with river rocks, covered that with Spanish Moss … unless you’re close you can’t tell. I had to replenish a lot of the silk flowers this year – I was lazy and said “I’m not going thru that preparation again – I ordered them pre-potted and in hanging baskets from Amazon. I’ve lost my zeal for all that fiddling around.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wishing you luck to meet your walking goal for 2021! I enjoyed reading about your activities this past year, unprecedented as it was, some things remained remarkably the same. Aside from some painting I think we only managed to shuffle our clutter around a bit, in spite of a few drop-offs at Goodwill. I used to love my slow cooker and used it several times a week and have a couple of the same cookbooks you do. The shamrocks are very pretty! I used to garden a lot in my little condo plot, but in 2013 Tim’s brother came to live out his last days with us — he had terminal cancer — he covered the garden with landscape fabric, so I wouldn’t have to weed any more. He planted a couple of lovely bushes and spread mulch and installed a granite stone border. It looked so beautiful when he was finished and it kept his mind off what was happening to him. After he died we planted a dwarf river birch in the middle of the garden in his memory. It’s nice to have a lovely, almost care-free, garden to enjoy. It’s hard to beieve it’s been 7 years now! Your post got me thinking how some things change suddenly and other things change very gradually…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Barbara – I never walked so many miles as last year and in April I was sure I’d stop and hunker down at home and not make my goal and figured “I’ll use COVID as an excuse if need be.” I really didn’t get much done compared to some, but I did tell myself, before COVID, I aimed to learn more native wildflowers, learn about more birds, explore more big parks. I also wanted to learn how to understand radar for impending storms … this is so I could become a bigger weather worrier. 🙂 I use the slow cooker at least once a week as it is easier than moving everything off the stove – I have nowhere else I can move the laptop. Outlets are few and far between and all occupied. The shamrocks were virtually indestructible – Betty Jean was correct about that. I have simplified gardening from my old routine and it looks just as good out front and the side … I no longer worry about the backyard. The roses are back there, some Twist-and-Shout Hydrangeas and one clematis survived – the rest bit the dust as did the entire butterfly garden which made me just sick about that.
      No more. So I do “get” you enjoying a garden which is simple yet delightful to look at and a wonderful way to remember Tim’s brother. Seven years for you and I did the first silk flowers in 2012, the Summer after I started walking.

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      • I found myself learning more about native wildflowers and birds, and we’ve visited more local parks and nature preserves during the pandemic than we have in our lifetimes! Interesting that you set out to do that on purpose last year and we just kind of fell into it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I wanted to learn more about birds too. I know the more common ones and learned some of the shorebirds from following Andy, but many of those I don’t see here … but the wildflowers are a different story. We have many kinds as do you. Sometimes when I look at the photos, it’s not easy to compare to the wildflower sites.

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  4. Michael says:

    Great post… and goodness y2k…i was on a plane in the air on the way to thailand . super cheap for obvious reasons. No one wanted to fly…

    Im sure you’ll be out there hitting the roads in no.time…

    That humming bird is incredible…

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  5. Sarah ODell says:

    You did some wonderful things last year and I loved reading about them ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ruthsoaper says:

    Keeping a well stocked pantry and working from home were greta advantages this past year and I suspect they will continue to be so in the future. I’m glad you got some hummingbird photos. Did you know cinnamon deters ants? Sprinkle it around the base of the shepherds hook to keep the ants away. We use it on the ground around beehives and it works well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I did/do have things better than most as I was already used to the work-at-home gig and was well stocked as to food. No, I didn’t know about the cinnamon as a deterrent for ants Ruth. I have these new shepherd’s hooks in the mulch — will it work for sprinkling cinnamon on the mulch too? Just refresh it after rain – there is nothing there I would be watering. That would be great … it was terrible as to the ants especially. The older double hanger pole is cemented into the ground and rocks are on top of that. My hummingbird photos are not the best and sometimes she’d be hovering around when I had a feeder in each hand, so no camera, or my hands were still wet from washing the feeders and filling them. I will hope to do better this year. Thank you for the cinnamon tip Ruth. I really appreciate it.

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  7. Linda, I’m positive that you will get hummers this year! If you get ants in your feeders just fill the tiny “moat” where the feeder hook screws into the feeder with water. That will solve that problem. 2020 really was a strange year for just about everybody on this earth. May 2021 be a great one where we can regain our sanity and some form of normalcy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I almost didn’t use those pictures Sabine – they were not the best but it didn’t help it was raining that day – you could see water droplets hanging from the feeder bottom. I do have a built-in moat in each feeder and I researched feeders and they said this one was best for easy perching and guaranteed NO ants or wasps. Not so! You fill the built in moat (middle of the feeder) with water and I had some plastic nibs that go under each port to keep ants/wasps out, but I worried it was too hard for the hummers to drink from, so I removed them. It didn’t seem they could plunge their beaks through them. I moved the feeders twice and removed them until I got new shepherd’s hoods, then the Trumpet Vine had ants and spiders hopping over. I hated putting it where I couldn’t see it unless I was outside. I only saw the one hummingbird – my neighbor actually saw it many times (he is outside a lot in the Summer) before I actually saw it … in fact, I said “you’re just saying that to make me feel good.” I hope 2021 is way better than 2020 … I don’t see normalcy return until 2022 though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So far I haven’t had any ant problems with my feeders. I did get some extra hooks to hang them from and those too have a moat. I don’t see how ants can get past those, but … who knows. I believe it’s just a matter of trial and error. Figure out what works and stick with it. Hummers don’t like feeders moved. I moved one and they kept going back to that spot looking around and even poking at a nearby bag of soil that has flower images on it. As to normalcy returning, I’m with you. I have a feeling it will be a while.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        After I took the feeders away I bought some Terro ant control and spread it all around the perimeter of the house – it is like a sawdust … it was okay to sprinkle in the garden area, but I did not – I don’t think it will be potent after the Wintertime, but a slug went through the ant control and was dead the next day. Interesting the hummers were upset and poked the flower images. I didn’t like moving the feeders, even though I only saw one hummer, but was concerned she would not return as she’d lose patience. 🙂 I hope she remembers the house/feeders in the Spring. I put the red surveyor’s ribbon on the hooks to help her find the feeder in case she missed it. Forgot that in my post.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t worry about the return of your hummingbird. They are very smart and know exactly where all the feeders are!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That’s good to know Sabine. As soon as it is warm enough, I’ll get those feeders out again and be waiting on Hope to return. My neighbor fed hummers and had many feeders all around her house. She was fascinated by them and I wondered if this might have even been one of Marge’s hummers – I’d like to think so.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. J P says:

    You had a busy year! I wonder if clutter is an every-other-generation phenomenon. My grandma’s house was always cluttered, and always had been. My mother hated it and kept her house in apple pie order (as they used to say) all her life. But my sister and I both rebelled against the tyranny of neatness and live in more clutter than we should. And so far at least two of our kids got the neat gene. I wonder if this is just us or more widespread?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      That sure is an interesting theory JP – my grandma was like yours and you felt comfortable in her house, like it was livable, whereas my mom was like yours as well. Always the white glove test … she was fastidious about cleaning house. I abided by her wishes and did my best to keep things neat as a pin or in apple pie order, but the wheels have come off so to speak. It would be interesting to find out how widespread our behavior is. Our mothers did not have as many distractions, like those pulling at us and encouraging errant behavior.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………………..your blog today is very interesting……………………I do enjoy seeing the ducks “dabble” in the pond………………….it makes me smile………………………..I’m going to try to make a Bird “Bucket List”………………………………..for myself……………………AND that photo of Hope is awesome

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Ann Marie – it was an interesting year, that’s for sure. I have seen ducks dabbling the usual way, but never saw so many ducks in one place, face down but just laying there. I watched them for a while as I thought something was wrong with them. That was at Elizabeth Park.

      Yes, make a “Bird Bucket List” – you see ducks, geese, swans and the heron at your pond. In fact the Great American Bird Count is coming up – we should both try to see how many birds we see. I will send you the link. Here is the info: The 24th annual GBBC will be held Friday, February 12, through Monday, February 15, 2021.

      I was happy to finally take a picture of Hope. She would greet me sometimes when I was putting out new sugar water, but my hands were full or wet. I only got this as it was raining.

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  10. Sandra J says:

    A wonderful recap of the year Linda, I forgot about y2k, isn’t it something how the media made such a big thing out of it. I had a relative that bought so much stuff, assuming the world was going to end. 5 generators, tons of food and other items. Which now looks like a good idea to have anyway. It is fun to look back on all the things the past year, and photographs really help with that. Here is to many more adventures and outings to enjoy nature and all that is in it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Sandra – I had some of the pictures tucked away for a year-end post, then decided to use the boot picture, so deferred it until January. Yes, people were so worried about what Y2K would bring. Our neighbors did not have a basement and asked if they could come to our house if something terrible happened. I don’t really understand what exactly they thought would happen. We got a new computer system at work as ours was antiquated and they were afraid it would crash and burn. I hope we have a year of fun adventures, our little escape from the reality of life these days.

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  11. Laurie says:

    Linda, your Shamrocks are probably not dead. They just go dormant over the winter. Keep watering the dirt. If you put them outside next spring, they will come back. That’s what happens to mine every year and every year, I think, “This year I have finally killed the shamrock”, but no!

    That hummingbird is so cool! You must have been quick to get photos of him!

    Good luck with your walking goal for 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Well that’s good Laurie – I thought it was a goner! You might recall you did a post about a shamrock from a family member and thought you killed it and I believe I remarked that this one may bite the dust once it’s inside. I was lucky to get these few shots of the hummingbird, after an entire Summer of trying without success. Most of the time she came over when I was outside and then she saw fresh nectar and my hands were full or wet so no camera handy. Thank you – this year for 2021, I made it easy with only one more mile, after having made that prior goal and then some.

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  12. Joni says:

    You really have had a productive year Linda….dabbling in many different things! I love that duck picture! I finally got caught up on Reader tonight, but am not exhausted…..and so to bed at midnight again….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Well I at least tried a few new things anyway! Thank you Joni. I thought the duck picture was unusual as you usually see feathery butts in the air, so I wondered why they did that? I pondered on that a while, took a picture and finally moved on since they never changed positions. Congratulations – it does not happen often and feels good to be caught up.
      I hoped I’d get some Reader done tonight, but got caught up in the news and watching some videos about it on Twitter and arrived here later than usual. Maybe I’ll get farther tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Linda, It’s been a horrible shocking news day. I found it too upsetting to watch much so to take my mind off it I drafted a couple of blogs, so I have 4 ahead now and can get back to my project next week. Such crazy times, will it be over soon or is this just the beginning…scary to think about…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes Joni – It has been and I put the radio news right after things began escalating and have had it on since. I’m kind of “newsed out” now.
        As time wore on, it got worse and the news is still on non-stop. You are really doing well being ahead – four is great; I am envious. I have the pictures sorted out to make into January posts, but the rest is still in my head for now. It is good to have a diversion right now – that’s for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I’m going off now to read a book before bed…strange and scary times. This is ten times worse than what happened in Michigan.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Awwwwww thanks for sharing my link Linda!!!! What a cute hummingbird corner. Is that a hummingbird vine at the fence?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You’re so welcome Diane – after all you inspired me and if not for you I would not have bought a crock pot. At least I used it, not like the recipe books, which I went through, then you told me about the Facebook sites for easy crock pot dishes. And I did promise you a picture of a meal too. I”ll take another picture when I graduate to dessert. I was going to try for the holidays and didn’t do it – maybe for Fat Tuesday. I got some cherry pie filling and Bisquick mix. I have to find the recipe that I got on Facebook. It looked easy … maybe for Washington’s birthday!

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    • Linda Schaub says:

      Diane – this morning I saw the hummingbird corner and remembered I didn’t answer your question. I’m sorry about that! The vine is a Trumpet Vine. My neighbor cut it down the last two years (in the Spring). It is pretty big and so it looked kind of ugly, so I covered it up by putting the rocker there, and a straw hat on the fence. Then I read that hummingbirds like trumpet vines for getting nectar, so I told him I was going to let it grown on my side, which I did, but the ants got out of control, so I cut it down again. There is a huge and beautiful Trumpet Vine in Memorial Park and that kind of inspired me to keep it there. My neighbor does not care one way or another, but it grows out of control in very short order!

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  14. Build it and they will come! The Hummers just need to discover your place. If you keep it filled and clean they will flock to you! I have 6 Anna’s right now. One of them keeps perching close to the feeder. He flies out to ward off any other Hummer because this is HIS feeder!
    But at sunset they all perch sipping contently!
    You’ll have no problems with your mileage (unless injured?) this year Linda as your becoming very good at it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I hope to have more success this year Wayne … I had to keep moving the two feeders which did not help matters. I used the red surveyors ribbon, as recommended on the hummingbird how-to site to attract hummers and don’t know if that helped or not. I thought the Trumpet Vine would help attract Hope … my neighbor cuts it down every year, but it grows over the fence. I kept it trimmed, then read hummers like bugle-shaped flowers, including Trumpet Vines, so I quit cutting it on my side, it grew like a weed and within two to three weeks it was wild looking – great but ants all over, so moved the feeders again. But then I couldn’t see the feeders except when outside. So, I think I’ll return to no vine this year. I would love to have a “bubbler” … Marge had a birdbath, just a small one, with a solar mister gizmo – it sat in the center of the birdbath and recycled the water like a mister or shower if it was sunny enough. She might have gotten more hummers from that gizmo. I worry about rats – pest control told me to get rid of the birdbaths, which I did back in 2010, along with the feeders. I never had them out again. Frustrating. I don’t even see hummers at the Botanical Gardens/Conservatory though I’ve gone on the warmest or most-humid days and stood by the hummingbird vine (Cardinal flower vine). Still not seen one … must try harder! Right place/right time I guess. I am hopeful for my mileage Wayne … added just one more mile 1,256 for 2021. Anything over is a bonus, but while working, adding just one more mile has to work for now. When retired, I can walk any time of day especially in Winter when walking after the sun comes out and melts snow/ice a little works better. I’ve walked 5 of the first 8 days this month. We have good weather, with no snow/ice through next weekend, but an Arctic chill by next Friday. That’s fine – cold does not bother me, just ice/snow.

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      • Do you hear of other people getting Hummers Linda? If not the environment (for whatever reason?) may not be attractive to them? If only a few people have flowers in a given area that area may not be as attractive?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Well Marge had lots of hummers Wayne, but then again she had about six or seven hummer feeders … two right at her living room window. She had the large traditional-looking feeders that look like lanterns. She had no flowers in the yard, except that Trumpet Vine which grew like a weed between our fences. She did have a “bubbler” – the solar gizmo that bubbled up when it was sunny enough, to create a mist for her hummers. I only have roses and hydrangeas in the backyard now – none which would appeal to a hummer. Marge had no other flowers, so I’m thinking that the feeder nectar was the big draw. No one else around me on either side has flowers either. I may have to break down and get some live flowers this Summer. I have colorful silk flowers but that’s it.

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      • well……In that case buy more feeders. Buy about ten of them. Put them all over,than once you have a dedicated flock get rid of all of them except one (a large one with at least a dozen feeding stations).
        Put It in a spot where you can observe from a rear window. Open the window and use your big lens. It’ll probably be dark so you’ll either have to put up bright lights or use a flash? Remember when you shoot with the flash they’ll scatter.
        Best time to shoot is right at sunset. They go into a drinking frenzy at sunset! Best time to shoot!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        You know I’ve never gone out at sunset to see if Hope was visiting/feeding there. I have another feeder I bought to put out in the Spring … it is a heavier plastic, traditional style feeder, and thought I’d not worry about it breaking from the cold … it is a soft plastic. I have multiple shepherd’s hooks but I had the ant problem last year. I will ask Jeff for Marge’s old shepherd’s hooks … he put them in the garage and asked them if I wanted them after I bought the last two. Thanks for the ideas Wayne.

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      • I think a Hummer will go to it’s favorite feeder at sunset? They do two feeding frenzies each day,sunrise and sunset. This is when they will stay at the feeder for awhile,rather than coming and going as they do during the day.
        If you have a problem with ants climbing up the hook just coat the bottom portion with Vaseline or grease? They won’t be able to get across.
        The biggest thing to remember is to always keep the feeder clean!. Clean the feeder each time you refill it.
        Take a old tooth brush and clean the holes. If you can take off the flowerettes do it to clean in behind and scrub the inside too. Hummers are very picky eaters. If you see one flying to a spot and they go to another after tasting most likely they taste mold. The bacteria breeds quickly in the summer heat. Their beaks have lots of bacteria in their saliva.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I never knew about the feeding at sunset – I am going to have to go outside … I am sitting here all the time, at the table on the computer. And I didn’t know about sunrise either, though I thought I researched to learn about hummers. Marge had them during the day as she watched them from indoors, but she had more feeders, so they sure would not forget to go there, plus the last year she bought the bubbler for her birdbath and they loved that! I may have to break down and buy a real plant as the roses and hydrangeas are in the backyard and not attractive to hummers. I bought some port cleaning brushes from Amazon. Got a large package of 100 mini-brushes n different colors. Looks like a bottle brush only they are very small and I use one to clean each feeder each time I change the nectar. It works really well as it gets into the port and you can wiggle up and down and twirl it to get it clean.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I so enjoy your posts! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Prior... says:

    Hi Linda – you did pick out a nice crock pot !
    And hope you get to use it more on 2029
    ((And side note – think you left out the word “out” In this part of that sentence: “with burning” ))

    Love the pics of Hope
    And cheers to 2021 and new things to looo forward to

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, it is big, but Diane recommended it as it has three interchangeable crocks, one is a split crock, so I ended up getting that style. Thanks, I will go and correct that now – sometimes I think I proofread and my eyes run together. I will proof it in Word, transfer it to Notepad (I like a justified margin so must transfer it to WordPad if I don’t write the post on the site). I usually proof it three times, then I’ll publish it and see a glaring error. I hope to get closer photos of Hope this year – that was taken from inside the house, a rainy and dark day outside, but at least I got a few shots. She usually showed up when my hands were wet from cleaning the feeder. Yes, I hope 2021 is a better year … slow start so far though!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Not sure if you plan on using the plastic bag liners in the crock pot but some folks argue not too- even if “they” say it is plastic safe enough to eat from – I would use the crock pot as is with the beautiful ceramic that comes with it even if it means cleaning it – and less plastic to waste
        Just a thought

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Hi Yvette – I have researched a little into that as I looked on the Facebook site with the recipes and some folks praised the bags for easy clean-up, while others said they were unsure. I get the Reynolds bags which are actually made of a food-safe nylon compound and don’t contain any BPA either. I was worried about it and I guess many others are too since this bag manufacturer (the original one I believe – my mom used their in-oven bags for roasts) state it is safe. I am hoping they are correct but thank you for your concern. I forgot one time and did have a bit of a mess on my hands – this way it is clearly no muff or fuss.

        Oven cooking bags are made of food-safe plastics or nylons that are heatproof up to or above the average temperatures used in ovens. Most oven bags sold in stores are approved as FDA compliant, meaning they don’t contain BPA or other dangerous chemicals and won’t release chemicals or toxins into your food when heated.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Well too often we find later that they were wrong or how they deemed safe was sketchy (trust me it Happens a lot which is why they allow aspartame in food and mercury in shots and likely why so many folks are ill or part of it – along with the dangerous “industrial seed oil” like canola oil
        And vegetable oil that scar the liver and damage health.
        And so I will never mention the bags again – but seriously – we have accepted plastics for so long it might seem silly to not take advantage of their ease of use.
        But plastics are made from chemicals and I do nkt care what claims they make – heating plastics makes me weary
        Further – some plastics leech no matter what and that can bring heavy metals into the body

        But Linda – you are healthy and strong – and so the real warning wouod be for anyone with auto immune disorders or immune system issues to clean up all slightly potentially toxic sources –
        Just my opinion and thanks for letting me share

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Thanks Yvette – I do appreciate your opinion and will take it to heart – I have bought about 5-6 boxes of these bags to cook with (6 in each box) until I returned to the grocery store, likely in the Spring. So won’t run out for a while. I do know they are BPA free so was happy for that. Happily, I’ve never used aspartame. I used some sugar in my coffee years ago, but haven’t done that in at least 40+ years. I remember when we discovered red lipstick and red licorice was bad for you – you may not remember as you’re younger than me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        you ARE AWESOME

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Thank you Yvette (not too awesome though as it took me two days to respond to you). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I am looking forward to reading more of your Trek Bucket List achievements in 2021 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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