April 22, 2021

MyNature Animal Tracks MyNature Tree Guide MyNature Animal Tracks MyNature Fishing App

The Wind Blows

reds and yellows rustle in the breeze
dangling so brilliantly, daintly above me
the colorful landscape reflects in my eyes  
 
towering against the dull gray september sky
like a giant paintbrush waiting to swipe the canvas
the maple waits.
And then…. the east wind blows
leaf stalks that held so tight through so many winds bid farewell
 
the sky becomes a living watercolor, an abstract of nature
the most accomplished artist of them all.
and the winds die
colors flutter, twisting and turning, tumbling to the earth
the most perfect leaf lights on my shoulder, crimson red on all five lobes
I smell the fall, I smile
 
and the wind blows.

2012 Tree App Update

It seems like forever and a day ago that I started the MyNature Tree Guide update.  Well….. I can finally say it’s done and should be out in the app store in a couple weeks. So what’s new in this upate?  Quite a bit actually. We redesigned the whole user interface over to make it a little more attractive when navigating the main page and sub pages in the identification section.tree huggers We’ve added an additional 25 trees found throughout North America, most of the new additions are Western species. You’ll also find a quick search box on several of the pages in the app. Now if you have an idea of what species your trying to identify you can do a quick search of the app to locate that tree. We’ve also added a Life List feature and a journal section to keep your discoveries and field notes right inside the app.  Within the next year we’ll be adding an additional 100 species to the app to bring our total tree list up around 340 species.  We hope you enjoy the new update and thank you for your support over the past three years.

 

             Show a tree a little love : )

 

 

 

 

 

 

Species Images

Helleborine images I showed a close up of an individual flower in the raceme as well as the entire cluster.  If for example this plant had compound leaves then I would have done a full shot of the entire leaf and then an image of an individual leaflet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Toothed Cinquefoil ….. you can see I did two different leaf views as these were shapped a little different from one plant to the next.       You really can’t have enough different views, but if I think I can show a flower better with two shots of the flower head or leaf I will. Case in point….. think of Fringed Loosestrife. The best image to show is the natural one looking down on it as it droops you see the bracts but I also did an image from what it looks like from the front.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a couple samples of clustered flowers and how I would approach images of them.

This is Live-forever a rounded clustered flower. I would capture the entire cluster as well as a single flower of that cluster.

 

Of course I would also include the leaf and profile view as well.

 

 

 

 

Pretty much the same scenario as above but an elongated cluster and then one flower from that cluster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current list of species images collected as of 11/1/2014

Achillea millefolium yarrow
Actaea pachypoda white baneberry
Agalinus paupercula small flowered geradia
Agrimonia gryposepala agrimony
Agrimonia striata woodland agrimony
Alliaria officinalis garlic mustard
Allium tricoccum wild leek
Amaranthus hybridus slender amaranth
Amaranthus retroflexus green amaranth
Ambrosia artemisiifolia common ragweed
Ambrosia vulgaris common mugwort
Amphicarpa bracteata hog peanut
Anagallis arvensis Pimpernel
Anaphalis margaritacea pearly everlasting
Anemone cylindrica long-fruited anemone
Anemone quinquefolia wood anemone
Anemone virginiana tall anemone
Anemonella thalictroides rue anemone
Anthemis arvensis field chamomile
Anthemis cotula stinking chamomile
Aquilegia canadensis Wild Columbine
Aquilegia vulgaris Garden columbine
Arenaria groenlandica mountain sandwort
Arenaria serpyllifolia  thyme-leaved sandwort
Arisaema atrorubens jack in the pulpit
Artemisia vulgaris common mugwort
Asclepias syriaca common milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa butterfly weed
Aster acuminatus mountain aster
Aster cordifolius heart-leaved aster
Aster divaricatus white wood aster
Aster lateriflorus  calico aster
Aster linariifolius stiff aster
Aster nemoralis bog aster
Aster novae-angliae new england aster
Aster novi-belgii new york aster
Aster radula rough-leaved aster
Aster sagittifolius arrow-leaved aster
Aster tenuifolius large salt marsh aster
Aster umbellatus flat-topped aster
Atriplex patula Orach, Spearscale
Barbarea vulgaris common winter cress
Bidens frondosa beggar ticks
Brassica kaber charlock
Brassica nigra black mustard
Calopogon pulchellus Grass pink
Caltha palustris marsh marigold
Calypso bulbosa calypso orchid
Campanula aparinoides marsh bellflower
Campanula rapunculoides  creeping bellflower
Campanula rotundifolia harebell
Cardamine douglassii Purple cress
Cassia hebecarpa wild senna
Caulophyllum thalictroides Blue cohosh
Centaurea jacea brown knapweed
Centaurea maculosa spotted knapweed
Cerastium fontanum mouseear chickweed
Chaenorrhinum minus Dwarf snapdragon
Chelidonium majus celandine
Chelone glabra turtlehead
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum oxeye daisy
Chrysopsas Falcota sickle-leaved golden aster
Chrysopsis mariana Maryland golden aster
Cichorium intyhus chickory
Cicuta maculata water hemlock
Cimicifuga racemosa black snakeroot
Circaea alpina dwarf enchanters nightshade
Circaea quadrisulcata enchanters nightshade
Cirsium arvense canadian thistle
Cirsium discolor field thistle
Cirsium vulgare bull thistle
Claytonia virginica spring beauty
Clematis virginiana virgin’s bower
Clintonia borealis yellow clintonia
Commelina communis dayflower
Conopholis americana Squawroot
Convolvulus sepium hedge bindweed
Convolvulus spitharmaeus Upright bindweed
Coptis groenlandica goldthread
Coreopsis lanceolata lance leaved coreopsis
Cornus canadensis bunchberry
Coronilla varia crown vetch
Cunila origanoides dittany (False Oregano)
Cuscutata gronovi common dodder
Cypripedium acaule pink ladies slipper
Cypripedium candidum Small white lady’s slipper
Cypripedium reginae showy lady’s slipper
Dalibarda repens dewdrop
Daucus carota queen annes lace
Decodon verticillatus water willow
Dentaria diphylla Toothwort
Dentaria laciniata Cutleaf Toothwort
Desmodium canadense showy tick trefoil
Desmodium paniculatum panicled tick trefoil
Dianthus armeria deptford pink
Dianthus deltoides maiden pink
Dicentra canadensis Squirrel corn
Dicentra cucullaria dutchman’s britches
Diodia teres buttonweed
Drosera rotundifolia round-leaved sundew
Echinacea purpurea  purple coneflower
Echinocystis lobata wild cucumber
Echium vulgare viper’s bugloss
Epigaea repens mayflower, trailing arbutus
Epilobium coloratum purple leaved willow herb
Epilobium coloratum wild basil
Epilobium glandulosum northern willow herb
Epipactis helleborine helleborine
Erechtites hieracifolia fireweed
Erigeron annuus daisy fleabane
Erigeron canadensis horseweed
Erigeron strigosus lesser daisy fleabane
Eriocaulon septangulare common pipewort
Erysimum cheiranthoides wormseed
Erythronium americanum trout lily
Euchornia crassipes  water hyacinth
Eupatorium hyssopifolium thoroughwort
Eupatorium maculatum spotted joe pyeweed
Eupatorium perfoliatum boneset
Eupatorium rugosum white snakeroot
Euphorbia cyrarassias Crypress spurge
Euphorbia esula leafy spurge
Euphrasia nemorosa eyebright
Fagopyrum sagittatum  Buckwheat
Frugaria viriniana wild strawberry
Gaillardia aristata common blanket flower
Galeopsis bifida split-lipped hemp-nettle
Galium asprellum rough bedstraw
Galium boreale Northern Bedstraw
Galium mollugo wild madder
Galium verum Yellow bedstraw
Gentiana linearis narrow-leaved gentain
Geranium maculatum wild geranium
Geranium robertianum Herb Robert
Gerardia pedicularia fern-leaved false foxglove
Gerum aleppicum yellow avens
Geum canadense white avens
Geum rivale purple avens
Glechoma hederacea ground ivy
Gratiola aurea golden hedge hyssop
Habenaria psycodes smaller purple fringed orchid
Helenium autumnale sneezeweed
Helenium nudiflorum purple-headed sneezeweed
Helianthemum canadense frost weed
Helianthus annuus common sunflower
Helianthus decapetulus thin-leaved sunflower
Helianthus divaricatus woodland sunflower
Helianthus gigantus giant sunflower
Helianthus strumosus pale-leaved sunflower
Helianthus tuberosus jeruselem artichoke
Heliopsis helianthoides False sunflower
Hemerocallis fulva day lily
Hepatica acutiloba sharp lobed hepatica
Hepatica americana Round lobed hepatica
Heracleum maximum cow parsnip
Hesperis matronalis dames rocket
Hibiscus palustris swamp rose mallow
Hieracium canadense Canada hawkweed
Hieracium pilosella mouse ear
Hieracium scabrum rough hawkweed
Houstonia caerulea Quaker ladies
Hueracium aurantiacum orange hawkweed
Hydrophyllum virginianum Virginia waterleaf
Hypericum ellipticum pale st. johnswort
Hypericum perforatum st. johnswort
Hypericum punctatum spotted st. johnswort
Hypericum virginicum marsh st. johnswort
Hypochoeris radicata cat’s ear
Ilex verticullata winterberry
Impatiens capensis spotted touch-me-not
Impatiens glandulifera ornamental jewelweed
Impatiens pallida pale touch-me-not
Iris versicolor Large blue flag iris
Iris versicolor northern blue iris
Jasione montana Sheeps bit
Jeffersonia diphylla Twin leaf
Lathyrus latifolius everlasting pea
Leontodon autumnalis fall dandelion
Leonurus cardiaca motherwort
Lepidium virginicum wild peppergrass
Lespedeza capitata round-headed bush clover
Lespedeza hirta hairy bushclover
Lespedeza procumbens downy trailing bushclover
Leucojum vemum Spring snowflake
Lilium canadense canada lily
Limonium nashii sea lavender
Linaria canadensis Toadflax
Linaria vulgaris butter-and-eggs
Linnaea borealis Twinflower
Lobelia cardinalis cardinal flower
Lobelia inflata indian tobacco
Lobelia kalmii kalm’s lobelia
Lobelia spicata spiked lobelia
Lonicera hirsuta hairy honeysuckle
Lonicera japonica asian honeysuckle
Lotus corniculatus Birds foot trefoil
Lupinus perennis Wild lupine
Lupinus polyphyllus common lupine
Lychnis alba white campion
Lychnis flos-cuculi Ragged robin
Lysimachia ciliata fringed loosestrife
Lysimachia nummularia moneywort
Lysimachia punctate Garden loosestrife
Lysimachia quadrifolia whorled loosestrife
Lysimachia terrestris swamp candles
Lysimachia thrysifolia tufted loosestrife
Lythrum alatum winged loosestrife
Lythrum salicaria purple loosestrife
Maianthemum canadense canada mayflower
Malva alcea vervain mallow
Malva moschata Musk mallow
Malva neglecta Common mallow
Matricaria matricarioides pineapple weed
Medeola virginiana indian cucumber root
Medicago lupulina black medick
Melampyrum lineare Cowwheat
Melilotus alba tall white sweet clover
Melilotus officinalis yellow sweet clover
Mentha arvensis wild mint
Mertensia virginica Virginia bluebells
Mikania scandens climbing hempweed
Mitchella repens patridgeberry
Mitella nuda Naked miterwort
Monarda didyma bee balm
Monarda fistulosa wild bergamot
Monotropa uniflora indian pipe
Myosotis laxa smaller forget-me-not
Myosotis scorpioides true forget-me-not
Myostis laxa forget me not
Nepeta cataria catnip
Nuphar variegatum  yellow pond lily
Nymphaea odorata sweet-scented water lily
Oenothera biennis evening primrose
Oenothera cruciata cross-shaped evening primrose
Oenothera fruticosa small sundrops
Origanum vulgare wild marjoram
Ornithogalum umbellatum Star of Bethlehem
Orobanche uniflora Cancerroot
Oxalis europaea yellow wood sorrel
Panax trifolium Dwarf ginseng
Pastinaca sativa wild parsnip
Pedicularis canadensis Wood Betony
Penstemon digitalis foxglove beardtongue
Penstemon digitalis white beardtongue
Phlox maculata Wild sweet williams
Phlox paniculata garden phlox
Phlox subulata Moss phlox
Physalis virginiana virginia ground cherry
Phytolacca americana pokeweed
Picris hieraciodies hawkweed oxtongue
Pilea pumila clearweed
Plantago lanceolata english plantain
Plantago major common plantain
Pogonia ophioglossoides rose pogonia
Polygala paucifolia gaywings
Polygala polygama racemed milkwort
Polygala sanguinea purple milkwort
Polygonum amphibium water smartweed
Polygonum hydropiper common smartweed
Polygonum pensylvanicum pink knotweed
Polygonum persicaria ladys thumb
Polygonum sagittatum arrow-leaved tearthumb
Polygonum viviparum alpine bisort
Pontederia cordata pickerelweed
Portulaca oleracea purslane
Potentilla arguta tall cinquefoil
Potentilla fruticosa shrubby cinquefoil
Potentilla norvegica rough cinquefoil
Potentilla palustris marsh cinquefoil
Potentilla recta sulphur cinquefoil
Potentilla simplex common cinquefoil
Potentilla tridentata three-toothed cinquifoil
Prenanthes boottii Boott’s rattlesnake root
Prunella vulgaris self-heal
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium narrow-leaved mountain mint
Pycnanthemum virginianum virginia mountainmint
Pyrola elliptica shinleaf
Ranunculus acris tall buttercup
Ranunculus ficaria Lesser celandine
Ranunculus reptans creeping spearwort
Rhexia virginica meadow beauty
Rhinanthus minor yellow rattle
Rosa blanda smooth rose
Rubus flagellaris Dewberry
Rubus hispidus swamp dewberry
Rudbeckia hirta black eyed susan
Rudbeckia laciniata tall coneflower
Rudbeckia triloba thin leaved coneflower
Rumex crispus curled dock
Rumex obtusifolius broad-leaved dock
Sagittaria latifolia common arrowhead
Sagittaria rigida Sessile-fruited arrowhead
Sanguinaria canadensis bloodroot
Sanguisorba canadensis canadian burnet
Sanicula gregaria clustered snakeroot
Saponaria officinalis bouncing bet
Sarracenia purpurea pitcher plant
Satureja vulgaris wild basil
Scutellaria elliptica hairy skullcap
Scutellaria epilobiifolia marsh skullcap
Sedum purpureum live-forever
Senecio aureus golden ragwort
Senecio oboratus Round leaved ragwort
Senecio robinsii robbins’ ragwort
Silphium perfoliatum cup plant
Sisyrinchium angustifolium blue eyed grass
Sium suave water-parsnip
Smilacina racemosa false solomons seat
Solanum dulcamara bittersweet nightshade
Solanum nigrum black nightshade
Solidago bicolor silverrod
Solidago cutleri alpine goldenrod
Solidago flexicaulis zigzag goldenrod
Solidago gigantea late goldenrod
Solidago graminifolia lance-leaved goldenrod
Solidago juncea early goldenrod
Solidago rugosa rough-stemmed goldenrod
Solidago sempervirens seaside goldenrod
Solidago tenuifolia slender-leaved goldenrod
Sonchus arvensis field sow thistle
Sonchus asper spiny-leaved sow thistle
Sparganium androcladum branching burr reed
Spergularia rubra Sand spurrey
Spiranthes cernua nodding ladies’ tresses
Stellaria alsine bog chickweed
Stellaria graminea lesser stitchwort
Streptopus rosecus rosy bells
Strophostyles umbellata pink wild bean
Symphyotrichum pilosum awl aster
Symplocarpus foetidus skunk cabbage
Tanacetum vulgare common tansy
Taraxacum officinale Common dandelion
Thalictrum pubescens tall meadowrue
Thlaspi arvense Field Penny Cress
Tiarella cordifolia foamflower
Tovara virginiana jumpseed
Tradescantia virginiana spiderwort
Trientalis borealis starflower
Trifolium agrarium hop clover
Trifolium arvense rabbit-foot clover
Trifolium pratense red clover
Trifolium repens white clover
Trillium erectum Red trilliuum
Trillium grandiflorum white trillium
Trillium luteum Yellow trillium
Trillium undulatum painted trillium
Tussilago farfara coltsfoot
Urtica procera tall nettle
Utricularia cornata horned bladderwort
Uvalaria grandiflora large-flowered bellwort/big merrybells
Uvalaria sessilifolia sessile leaved bellwort
Vaccinium oxycoccos Small cranberry
Valeriana officinalis garden valerian
Var. pubescens Large yellow lady’s slipper
Veratrum viride False hellebore
Verbascum blatteria Moth mullein
Verbascum thapsus common mullein
Verbena hastata blue vervain
Verbena urticifolia white vervain
Vernonia novaboracensis New York ironweed
Veronica arvensis Corn speedwell
Veronica chamaedrys birdseye speedwell
Veronica officinalis common speedwell
Veronica persica Persian speedwell
Veronica scutellata marsh speedwell
Veronica serpyllifolia Thyme leaved speedwell
Vicia cracca cow vetch
Vicia sativa Spring vetch
Vinca minor Pokeweed
Viola affinis LaConte’s violet
Viola blanda Sweet White violet
Viola canadensis canada violet
Viola conspersa dog violet
Viola cucullata Marsh Blue violet
Viola pallens Northern white violet
Viola pensylvanica smooth yellow violet
Viola rostrata Long-spurred violet
Viola rotundifloia Round leaved violet
Viola septentrionalis northern blue violet
Viola tricolor Johnny jumpups
Waldsteinia fragariodes Barren strawberry

Help Wanted – Wildflower Photographers

evening primrose

It’s been along time coming and I put it off several times already over the past few years but now we’ve finally, seriously started to piece together a wildflower app for the Eastern part of the country.  Were hoping to have the app completed for a Spring 2014 release.

fireweed

That’s a big IF and I won’t be surprised if it’s actually more like Spring 2015.  The app once complete should feature roughly 1,200 wildflowers  found in the Eastern United States and Canada. This will be the most complete wildflower app going and it’s a huge undertaking which is why were looking for people across the Eastern US and Canada that might like to help id and photograph flowers for the app.

I can’t promise you’ll be famous but I can promise each individual that contributes over 25 species, full image sets of the plant, leaf and flower, will have their own page in the app. Each contributor page will feature an image of the photographer and their own personal bio. If you love the outdoors, own a camera and have a thing for nature you might just be interested in becoming part of what will be the best app for wildflower identification going. Drop us an email mynature@mynatureapps,com  we’d love to have you.

Enjoy  Nature : )

SUMMER APP SALE !!

Summer 2012 is so hot just to cool it off a bit we’re putting all our nature apps on sale for a limited time for just .99 cents.

 

MyNature Apps

.99 cents

The cold icy winter just a memory in my mind
sweat rolls down my neck June brings sweltering heat with the muggy blackness of the night,
air so thick you’d swear you could hold on to it and pull your self up,
I listen to the stillness of my world and gaze upon the distant ridge, faded stars speckle the heavy summer sky.
Flickers of light dance across the meadow
100, 1000, 1 million…….. I can’t count.
It’s hard to tell where the meadow ends and the summer sky begins.
I wonder Memories of mayonnaise jars filled with grass 
simple times.
Fond memories of a bug,
that surely sounds strange…. fond memories of a bug!

But tonight I’m a child again, watching the stars dance across the June sky.
I heard said “if you stand really still, they’ll land on you”

Simpler times, hot June nights.

https://www.mynatureapps.com/1747/

Garlic Mustard

Wildflowers are one of the most beautiful parts of Nature, a palette of colors that paint the landscape.

Garlic Mustard plant

Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata is no exception. Clusters of small white four petaled, one of the early Spring bloomers, very pretty and very delicate looking.  So why do I pull them up whenever I see them growing?  Well, because they’re an invasive species of plant.  Invasive species are plants that aren’t common to an area, they spread quickly and overwhelm the native species that commonly grow in a certain ecosystem.  Some invasive species can actually produce chemicals that invade the soil around them and prohibit native plants from growing. They assure the survival of their own species and eradicate the native plants that inhabit the area.  Like most invasive species of plants Garlic Mustard is not fed on by insects or herbivores such as deer and rabbits. This aids in their ability to anchor themselves in an area and eventually wipe out all other species of wildflowers and grasses.  This continues up the food chain as well. Once the plant becomes established insects that feed on or nested in the native plants begin to disappear and in turn birds that fed on those insects disappear. It’s amazing on how one simple plant can have such a negative effect on an ecosystem.

Garlic Mustard flower

The plant is however edible for humans and is why it was introduced here to North America in the first place.The seeds and leaves are both edible and can be ground or chopped to be used  as seasonings.  When trying to identify Garlic Mustard look for  plants with small white flowers no more than one quarter inch wide in clusters on the ends of the plant stem. Each small flower has four petals. The leaves on the plant are alternate on the stem, with long leaf stalks and are egg shaped to triangular in shape.  The leaf itself is coarsely toothed and measures up to six inches long. One good method to identify the plant is to crush a leaf between your fingers and check for a garlic aroma.  Garlic Mustard can reach a height of three feet and is usually found along roadsides, open woodlands and waste places, flowering from spring to early summer.

Garlic Mustard leaf

If you can positively identify the plant it’s best to pull it up by the roots and dispose of it.  Another method which is less destructive to the soil is to cut the stem at ground level. Place all the pulled or cut plants in a garbage bag for disposal or if permitted in your area burn the collected plants.

 

 

Above all else please make sure you have a positive identification before you harvest any plants in the wild.

 

Birds & Windows

It’s been estimated that more than 1 billion (yes, BILLION!!) birds are killed each year in North America from hitting windows.  Add in another 500 million to 1 billion killed by cats and you have an astronomical number of bird deaths per year. With those  high numbers it’s a wonder I we see any birds at all.  This White Throated Sparrow flew into my office window here at home yesterday.  He was lucky he lived, though stunned for a fewl hours I’m pretty confident he’ll survive.

White Throated Sparrow

There really isn’t any sure fire way to keep birds from flying into your windows. We have a few light catchers in our kitchen window and I still have seen birds fly into that.  The main reason birds fly into windows is because of the reflection off the glass. When glass reflects the sky and clouds or the trees in the yard birds can’t tell the difference.  Some birds will repeatedly fly into a window because they see their own reflection and think of that as another bird competing for their territory or mate. These birds generally are unharmed as they don’t fly full force into the glass but merely bump it. There are plenty of suggestions on the internet you can find to cut down on bird/window collisions but most are so impractical in that no one would utilize them. One suggestion was to move all your plants away from your windows.  Who’s going to do that? Why have plants!, or this suggestion, “make sure to cover your windows with decals or light catchers keeping the spacing no more than 4 inches apart”.  If your going to extremes like that does it even make since to have a window at all?  Here are a few of the more practical suggestions.

  • Don’t wash your windows as often. Dirty windows don’t reflect as much light.
  • Install blinds or shades.
  • Don’t place bird feeders close to your windows or up against them.
  •  Install window awnings to shade the window.
  • Apply an opaque film to the window that still allows you to see out.
  • Install a mesh screen barrier over the outside of the problem window.

No matter what precautions we take birds sadly will still crash into our windows lets just hope our efforts can get that number from 1 billion down into the millions. If you have any of your own tips we would love to hear them.

Enjoy the Outdoors !!

Make Your Own Miniature Greenhouse

Some of my blogs surely do stray away from the app side of things and today’s miniature greenhouse entry is no exception. I’ve always wanted to build my own full size greenhouse and now that the kids are grown and heading their own way I have a lot of time on my hands to do just that.  Over the years though I’ve made due quite nicely with a miniature version that fits right on my windowsill and the best part is the cost …….. nothing!!!.  Once you have your seeds started and they’ve poked through the soil grab yourself a clear plastic water or soda bottle. You can use a full size liter bottle or if space is at a minimum use the regular 16 ounce bottles. You can always start them off in the smaller one and transfer the pot into the bigger bottle later on if they get to big.

The first thing you want to do is remove the label.  Next, measure up about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom. Take a sharp knife or utility knife and cut a straight line around the bottle at the   1 1/2  inch mark.  Don’t throw the bottom away your going to use this to hold your pot in.  Place your pot in the bottom piece and then gently slide the top part of the bottle over the bottom piece.

 

 

If your having trouble getting the top of the bottle to slide over the bottom use a pair of scissors to cut three vertical lines in the bottom piece, your top should slide over easier now and still fit snugly.  Unscrew the cap or slide the bottom back off if you need to water the plants. I place a little gravel in the bottom of my bottle for drainage and it also lets the plant sit flatter and not as prone to tip from side to side.  All that’s left now is to place your bottles on the windowsill and watch your plants grow.  When it’s time to transplant to the garden save those bottles for next season, they’ll come in handy to start all over again.

 

 

I’m sure you’ll enjoy your miniature greenhouse, there’s a lot of satisfaction in starting your own plants from seedlings.

 

 

Happy gardening & good luck with that green thumb!!

Building a Bluebird Box

One of the most rewarding ways to connect with Nature and give something back is to construct  nesting boxes. This week were going to be taking a look at Bluebird boxes. Even though it’s a little late in the year since most birds have already been busily building their nest, I’ll be posting some “how-to’s”  on building nesting boxes for a few different species of birds that reside here in the Adirondacks and over much of North America. Keep in mind you don’t have to be a master builder to do any of these projects. A handsaw, hammer, finish nails and a power drill are more than sufficient for our needs. Power tools like a chopsaw and table saw  make the job that much more easier, but certainly not required. The first thing you’ll need is a  piece of 1 x 6 lumber. Pine is the cheapest to buy, stay away from pressure treated lumber as the preservatives in the wood could be toxic to the nesting birds.  The plans below are for a flat roofed box. You can make a pitched roof  if you choose but for the sake of ease in cutting we’re doing all square cuts. Besides, birds don’t care if the roof is pitched, the important thing is the overall interior size, the hole size and distance from the floor to the hole and where the box is placed.

Materials you’ll need:

  • (1) 5 foot piece of 1 x 6 pine or cedar (natural)
  • approximately 16 exterior 1 1/2 inch screws or  nails
  • (2) 3 inch mounting screws (exterior)
  • (1) 4 inch  butt hinge
  • 1 1/2 inch paddle bit (for entrance hole)
  • 1/4 inch drill bit (for ventilation holes)
  • electric or battery drill
  • hand saw or electric chopsaw

Once you’ve secured a piece of lumber  you want to make the following cuts.

  • 1 floor piece 4 inches  wide by 5 1/2 inches long
  • 2 side pieces 5 1/2 inches wide by 9 inches tall
  • 1 front piece 5 1/2 inches wide by 9 inches tall
  • 1 back piece 5 1/2 inches wide by 14 inches tall
  • 1 roof piece 5 1/2 inches wide by 7 1/2 inches long

Once you cut the floor piece clip the corners back 1/4 inch at a 45 degree angle to allow for ventilation and water to drain out should any get inside. Assemble the 2 sides to the floor piece  on the 5 1/2 inch profile then attach the front panel over the sides. Everything should fit flush. Next attach the partially assembled box to the back panel. Leave about 1 1/2 inches of the back panel sticking down below the floor. This will allow you a surface to attach to the tree later on. Now you can put the roof panel in place, secure this with a 4 inch hinge. You can pick up the hinge at any hardware store  for about $3 bucks. You’ll get two hinges in the pack, save the second one for another nest box. The hinge make cleaning each year a lot easier than using screws or pulling nails to get inside.  Once you have the box all assembled  it’s time to drill your entrance hole. This hole will  be 1 1/2 inches wide. Hook your tape measure on the top of the front panel and measure down 1 3/4  inches and measure from the side over 2 3/4 inches .  These two marks will be the center of your hole.  You’ll need a little ventilation on the sides of the box as well. Just under the roof panel on each side drill (2) 1/4 ” wide holes about 3/4 of an inch down.

Now that your box is built you’ll want to paint or stain it … DON’T … It’s best to just leave the box natural with no sealer or paint. Paints and stains can be toxic to birds. Pine can last several years untreated, cedar will give you a longer lasting product but is 3 times more expensive than pine. If you absolutely feel the need to preserve the wood then apply a coat of Raw Linseed Oil, use Raw Linseed Oil only, not boiled; Boiled Linseed Oil contains toxins. Linseed oil takes along time to dry so you should only apply a coat to the exterior in the fall once the birds have left.  Once the linseed oil has soaked into the surface it makes for a very durable wood. Still after saying that it’s a much better idea to leave the wood natural.

Just as important as the dimensions of the house,  maybe even more important, is the placement of the nest box. You can have the nicest Bluebird box but if it isn’t in the right place then you won’t have any Bluebirds nesting in it. Bluebirds prefer open areas with short, low growing vegetation; pastures, mowed lawns, cut fields are all good examples. You should screw the house to a pole, fence post or tree at eye level. If possible place the nest box on the East side of the post or tree to prevent it from overheating inside. Exposed to too much sun the temperature inside the nest box can rise to deadly levels.  That’s one good reason to use natural pine as the light colored wood reflects the sunlight rather than absorbing it as dark colors do. If your placing more than one nest box in the same area make sure they’re at least 100 – 150 yards apart. Bluebirds like most animals are territorial and need their own space.

Now that it’s built and hung, it’s time to sit back, relax and give yourself a pat on the back for helping out Mother Nature. If you’re lucky, you may just be rewarded with a beautiful pair of nesting Bluebirds next spring.  Well done!!