comment 0

Some days I just need to hear the banjo

Here are Cathy Barton and Dave Para performing Shirley’s Reel into John Stenson’s #2. I was in the audience for this performance at the 2014 Midwest Banjo Camp. I’m looking forward to more of Cathy’s great workshops at the 2017 MBC at the beginning of June.

If you’re wondering why I like the banjo so much, this video says it all.

comments 4

Keep your eye on the sparrow

A colony of sparrows is populating the community housing unit atop a flagpole above our back deck.


They’ve got it pretty good back there, with plenty of available food (we provide) and loads of handy nesting materials.


This unit has 10 apartments and as near as I can tell all are occupied.

Yesterday, in an effort to persuade the local goldfinches to drop by I put up a tube finch feeder filled with nyjer seeds.


Hopefully in the coming weeks we’ll see goldfinches and other finches too around the front of the house. I’ve put this feeder up front so the finches don’t have to compete with the sparrows, which love it out back.

I added a second feeder out back too. This time I tried a squirrel-proof feeder (sorry guys). If too much weight sits on any of the perches, the food slides out of reach. Very clever. This feeder has U-shaped perches, which are comfortable for the cardinals in the crowd.

comments 4

Every picture tells a story

My friend Barb has started a wee photo challenge over at Bad Tempered Zombie. Her challenge to herself and to others who would like to join her is to post a photo a day for the remainder of the month – a photo that hints at having a story to tell. No other rules, no boundaries.

I’m in. Here is my first photo.


comment 0

An elaborate woodpecker feeder


When I hung the wire cage from the crane, my intention was that it hold a poem (preferably a waterproof one). In the meantime, I’d like to encourage the local downy woodpecker to visit again, so I loaded the cage up with suet. The last time the downy dropped by, it was chowing down from a mix of suet and nuts and seeds hanging near the deck. However, Mr. Squirrel dragged that off to enjoy with his cronies. The very knowledgeable person at the birding store suggested I go with pure suet. She said the woodpecker will like the suet just fine, but the squirrels won’t be so interested without seeds and nuts mixed in. She was also a good salesperson, as I came home with a couple new feeders as well, one squirrel proof job for the general population and one (yellow) finch feeder to attract goldfinch + a couple bags of quality seed.

comment 0




When we awoke early this morning, the snow was just starting and the ground was just covered. I’m typing this at noon and there is no sign of it slowing down.

I haven’t ventured outside yet. Maybe I should shovel but then again, if it’s going to keep snowing for several more hours, is there any point? I can see one of our neighbours is out clearing snow for the second time today – oh and another has just emerged, shovel in hand.

We stayed in all morning and watched an episode of Endeavour, the British series about a young Inspector Morse, which we’re enjoying. The dogs, on the other hand, have been out a couple times to play in the snow. They love to play and roll in it and getting totally covered in snow seems perfectly comfortable to them both.

Eventually, I’ll have to venture out in the snow and pick up a few groceries, but maybe not quite yet.

comment 0

This is starting to look like a music blog….

….since my previous 3 posts have been musical. It isn’t though, or it least it isn’t just. Now that I’ve cleared that up, here are Los Straitjackets performing Casbah. Surf’s up.

There was a time when pop performers always dressed up on stage. It was kind of a show of respect to the audience. Somewhere along the way, rockers lost that. Not Los Straitjackets. They’ve got matching suits and guitars and masks and even a little choreography.

Here they are adding a bit of Bo Diddley groove to Nick Lowe’s I love the Sound of Breaking Glass.