Hummingbird Care

July 30th, 2014 Posted in Cool Gadgets, HummMomma's Journal | No Comments »

It’s been my pleasure to be our hummingbirds’ (Scout, Honey, Tibolt, Lili, +?) temporary guardian until their return to the South.  I like to believe that Westchester NY is home and the Carolinas, Florida, or Mexico are their version of a holiday ;)  This year I began putting out feeders in the beginning of June but I plan to hang feeders perhaps the last week of April 2015 to welcome them back home =).  As I have promised… hummingbird care…

Nectar Feeder & Nectar Guard Tips/Feeding Port Guards: Aspect’s HummBlossom 4oz. red/rose & purple/plum.  I have two extra HummBlossoms to maintain a constant rotation… for them, no waiting ;).  BTW, if you were wondering whether red or purple makes a difference, know that they will gladly accept nectar in either colored feeder.

Shelter from the Elements: A Humbrella provides the following… “protects hanging hummingbird feeders from the elements and crawling insects.  Solar grey color slows evaporation,” as per Amazon.  I’d like to add a shady place to take a short rest and a way to still be able to watch the environment around them while they are feeding.  I have been very pleased with all my purchases.

I’m reserving the red hummer-friendly dome especially for end of the season when there might be a few hummingbird stragglers desperately searching for food.  Since this is my first year caring for hummers I’m not sure what to expect; I may need to keep my feeders out until October/possibly November?  A friend who also lives in Westchester NY has told me that she and her husband have seen more hummers and other hummingbird species aside from the ruby-throats beginning late summer.  Something to look forward to =)!

Nesting Supplies: Female hummingbirds use spider webs (to help hold nesting materials together), lichen, parts of flowers e.g. dandelions, and bits of cotton or thick threads for nest-building… and this is where you come in ;) (see below).  Male hummingbirds do not play a role in creating the nest or rearing young or even feeding the mother of their offspring like in other bird species so let us do our part to help the females; I’m sure they would appreciate it…  Also, while male hummers have ample opportunity to bulk up before flying south, the new mothers may unfortunately lose a lot of their weight in caring for their young.  Please take into account their arduous flight south during the Fall, leaving very little time for the females to rebuild their nutrition and regain some weight :(.  I believe this makes them even more deserving of some extra help.  I keep these nesting materials either under a weather dome or tied to a tree branch below thick foliage; they dry amazingly quickly after storms so not to worry!

Nectar: 1/4 Domino pure cane granulated sugar + 1/2 cups hot water (to melt sugar) + 1/2 cups cold water (please remember to cool the solution before offering to them!)= will fill 2 HummBlossoms perfectly with no leftovers.  I have refrigerated the homemade nectar solution for a day or two if I made early preparations then re-heated (again, only offer nectar after cooling!)  My personal preference is to not use commercial or red-dyed nectar because using granulated pure cane sugar is affordable, healthier, and meets their nutritional needs (comes closest to the nectar of flowers).  Please don’t use honey, syrup, or any artificial sweeteners since these have been known to be harmful!

Cleaning: Dishwashing liquid, warm to hot water, dedicated sponge, bottle brush, mini brushes, plus very thorough scrubbing and rinsing!  Remember to carefully clean and rotate usage of nectar guard tips as well!

Nectar Change: Every 2.5 days (though it has been listed on various websites that 3-4 days as still okay; remember to keep in mind the weather conditions & temperatures), I do spoil them a little but honestly I wouldn’t want to drink from the same dirty glass for 2 days, would you?  The development of black mold in nectar can make your little feathered friends very ill and has been known to cause death.

*Photocredits: Amazon.com

I purchased most of my supplies through Amazon or my local markets.  Click on the pictures for product brand names and descriptions.  Please view my previous post regarding ant guards.  Feel free to contact me using the webform below if you have further questions.  I will cover the topic of Zone 6 plants and flowers to attract hummingbirds in an upcoming post.

Hummingbirds play a very important role in pollination (especially consider the grave decrease in the honeybee population).  Hummers also eat undesirable soft-bodied insects like ants, mosquitos, aphids, gnats, among others…  so in caring for them, you are also contributing to the balance and well-being of nature.

‘Til next time, XOXO…

 

Hummingbird Care: Ant Guards

July 30th, 2014 Posted in Cool Gadgets, HummMomma's Journal | No Comments »

I’m posting this segment slightly out of order but my take on hummingbird care is soon to follow.  I have fortunately not needed this form of ant guard due to the type of nectar feeder I’ve been using.  I do however use Aspects 384 Nectar Guard Tips, pictured last below, over the individual feeding ports to protect the nectar from bees, ants, etc. and in turn preventing the nectar from spoiling sooner.  Just fill part-way with water and hopefully your insect pest issues will be a thing of the past!

*Photocredit: Amazon

 

 

Potpourri & Diffusers

July 9th, 2014 Posted in Home & Garden | No Comments »

I’m starting to get back into using potpourri and diffusers around my house.  It’s a very simple way to dress up parts of your home, create themes/a desired ambiance, and freshen up stale air.  Below are some of my favorites; what are some of yours?…

Hillhouse Naturals

Altru Gamillah

Voluspa

D.L. & Co.

Bath & Body Works

Pier 1

Etsy

Lafco

Historic tour & botanical garden gift shops sometimes sell these products too!

…or better yet, make a diffuser simply by purchasing a pretty container (you may already have something perfect), reed sticks, and a lovely medley of essential oils!  Now this sounds like fun :)!

*Photocredit: Lafco

lafco duchess peony diffuser

Scout & Honey: Our First Temporary Residents

July 9th, 2014 Posted in HummMomma's Journal | No Comments »

We have 2 daily regulars (1 male ruby-throated “Scout” & 1 female ruby-throated “(Honey)suckle”).  First sighting of Spring 2014 was the last week of May 2014 when I put 1 nectar feeder up (my old Perky Pet for window-view).  Wish I could remember the exact date the feeder went up but the first day I ever spotted a hummer in my life was June 10, 2014 :)… not to say they haven’t been feeding for weeks previously in my area; probably I was just oblivious.  Since then, I’ve been much more vigilant and have learned quite a bit about our pair and hummers in general and better able to take good care of them.  It was funny how I learned of the female; it was only through our digital photographs.  Most of the time I saw their iridescent green backs and it looked like the same bird.  I also didn’t take into account their size difference and now I wonder how I could have missed this since Honey is much bigger than Scout.  The one time in the beginning of birdwatching, when I consciously looked, it was a male (ruby gorget & no white tip on tail) so I was overjoyed and shocked when I found out there was indeed a SHE!  Hoping to see offspring soon!  Not sure if they mated but I’m really hoping they did :).  You may see photos of them via the Flickr link below.   The attached picture is of another hummingbird.

*Photocredit: 57th. Street Incident on Flickr

 

hummingbird

Sally Beauty’s DCNL Hair Accessories

December 2nd, 2013 Posted in accessories, beauty products, Fashion | No Comments »

I haven’t written on this topic for quite a while.  Hair accessories… love them!.. and something that you can never have too much of ;).  Every once in a while I’ll find myself wandering the beauty aisles and find something blog-worthy, like Sally Beauty Supply DCNL’s both pretty and handy-to-have hair accessories.  I’m normally a tee and jeans girl so when I feel like dolling up with just a little effort, I like to go for a beaded ponytailer, a rhinestone claw clip, or jeweled bobbies and barettes.  I’ve also included other favorite staples below…

*Photocredit: Sally’s Beauty DCNL Hair Accessories

 

It’s High Tea Time!

December 2nd, 2013 Posted in Culinary, curiosities, Trips | No Comments »

I had long dreamed of having High Tea at a special place like New York Hudson Valley’s The Equus, so when Valentine’s Day had rolled around (this was a few years back) and I learned that my husband was bringing us there for afternoon tea, I was none-other-than ecstatic!  The following is most likely what we had ordered…  mind you it has been some time…  a nice assortment of lovely teas and delicious little tea cakes, scones (served warm and frosted in powdered sugar with the choice of clotted cream & fruit preserves), and toasted curry chicken sandwiches.  Sounds good doesn’t it?  Every tea lover should try this once in their life…  even if it’s simply planning a quaint little tea party at home and extending an invitation to a few good friends- this would be a darling thing to do, by the way, so don’t just write it off.

Our recent Cape May excursion allowed for another similar treat of afternoon tea at the Carriage House Cafe & Tea Room located on the grounds of the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate.  I ordered egg salad with chives on swirled rye and shared the assorted scones & tea breads accompanied with clotted cream with my husband.  My tea of choice was Harney & Sons’ Vervaine Lemon Verbena (I highly recommend).  It was a perfect sunny, gently breezy day and I was so happy to be there; just the night before we took a trolley ride around the Emlen Physick Estate on the Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tours, which I also highly recommend!..  Think darkened magical streets and flickering gas lamps… let your imagination run wild ;)!  As an aside, for our next Cape May visit, this sounds great too -> The Walking Ghost Tour.

P.S. Cucumber or watercress sandwiches with cream cheese are among my favorite tea-time helpings.  Searching for great menu ideas?   I recently found a wealth of info at Linda A. Thompson’s Blog.

*Photocredit: The Equus, New York and Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom, New Jersey

RETOUCHED BY BLAKE D. OGDEN

carriage house cafe & tearoom

FitwearUSA

November 29th, 2013 Posted in Yoga | No Comments »

I’m a big fan of discount vouchers e.g. Groupon, Deal Chicken, Amazon Local, Living Social, and the like.  Recently I discovered that one of my vouchers had long expired =(…  Naturally I was upset and had no one to blame but myself.  I was determined to at least get in contact with Deal Chicken or FitwearUSA (formerly known as Athletica and not to be confused with Athleta) to see if my $29 wasn’t a total loss.  Usually, while a promotion may expire, the value of the voucher is normally honored by many of these discount centers (understandably so, I was hoping this was the case for my predicament).  I must applaud FitwearUSA and their rep. Amanda, for not only honoring the value of my voucher but also for upholding the original promo (which they didn’t have to do).  The process also didn’t go without a hitch since the discount code had expired (again, I’m solely to blame) and there was some necessary computer re-programming on the company’s part to allow for the code to finally go through.  I must have called Amanda a few times but she was always very pleasant, patient, and willing to help.  So a big thanks to Amanda for being so kind to me =)!  My two pairs of organic cotton yoga leggings are currently on their way and I can’t wait! =).  For now, I can only speak of their customer service and in this respect they receive 5 gold stars.  I’ll let you know about how I like their leggings in an addendum to this post.

*Addendum on February 15, 2014:  By the way, hope everyone had a delightful St. Valentine’s Day =)!  This is the update I promised regarding my FitwearUSA leggings/stretchy pants… love them!  Thick, warm, comfy… overall great quality and what a steal thanks to my Deal Chicken voucher!  They are well worth even regular price!

*Photocredit: FitwearUSA

 

 

First LUSH Spa in the USA

November 29th, 2013 Posted in Spa Retreat | No Comments »

Oh how sweet this is!  Finally the LUSH Spas are almost here!  I’ve been waiting for this wonderful news for quite some time.  Early 2014 in Manhattan/New York City, followed closely by a second location in Philadelphia they said =)!  Here are some highlights from their spa menu…

  • Synaesthesia- Signature spa treatment
  • The Comforter- Exfoliation treatment
  • The Spell- Foot soak, scrub, massage
  • The Sound Bath- Meditative treatment
  • The Good Hour- Deep tissue massage
  • Tailor Made- Customized version of The Good Hour

I want to try each one at least once!  Time to save those pennies ;)!

 

New York

783 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY 10065

 

Pennsylvania

1525 Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19102

 

*Photocredit: LUSH Cosmetics

LUSH Spa

 

Mouth Watering Olive Oil…

November 21st, 2013 Posted in Foods & Desserts | No Comments »

Within The Merry Widow, you will find this gem… the Cape May Olive Oil Company.  I lost track of the many delicious olive oils we had sampled on toast; a few standouts… truffles, onion, garlic, citrus blends.  Finally I decided on an Italian Herb and a packet of dried herbs to be mixed together as part of a savory appetizer.  I don’t need house guests as an excuse to indulge you know ;).  We warmed slices of hero bread a couple of nights in a row to accompany this fantastic duo.  I really have to buy more once we are out!  Also some lucky couple in our family is also going to receive a Tuscan Herb version as part of a holiday gift.  I almost forgot to say…  their Tarragon Honey Mustard has been highly delightful condiment on shrimp and I can’t wait to pair it with other foods!  Feast your eyes below ;)!

*Photocredit: Cape May Olive Oil Company <— Online ordering is possible so check out this second link.

Lovely Leelah

November 3rd, 2013 Posted in Books, candles, curiosities, Filofax | No Comments »

While at Cape May, I also ventured into a cozy little spiritual store, named Good Scents, filled with many exciting new things I haven’t really seen anywhere else yet =).  You can also find further info about the shop’s variety of incense here.  In the back was a Leelah hoodie I instantly feel in love with!  It was their Honey Love design (“Life is the Flower for which Love is the Honey”).  Comfortable, soft, pretty, great for everyday (and for yoga!), and fits me very well.  Later that week, I decided to explore the company’s site.  All of a sudden, I remembered that one of my local boutiques also carries a few items from their clothing and accessories line (Leelah makes very distinctive-looking products).  What I really love besides their clothing is their full-size spiral notebooks and mini books.  It is perfect for the Filofax lover, like myself or someone who regularly gets lost in their imagination and enjoys doodling or journaling…  all you have to do is re-punch the paper to fit your chosen organizer or slide a mini book into its planner pocket.  As an aside, if you are a big fan of letter stationery, you can do the same.  My daily organizer is an A5 so this works out perfectly =).  Just wanted to share my thoughts especially with those who like customing/decorating their Filofax.  I know how much joy that brings to me.  I’ve featured a few of my favorites below and you can catch a “virtual” glimpse of Good Scents.

*Photocredit:  Leelah & Good Scents @ CapeMay.com