December 2010

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I know I enjoyed a great Christmas meal (quite out of the ordinary brunch and a movie) with the hubby, my mom, both children, their spouses, our first grandchild and an in-law from Germany. It just might turn out to be a NEW tradition! My red cabbage with apples got a big thumbs-up from my German-native daughter-in-law and her father who was visiting for the holidays.

Christmas presents
Did you get something for the gardener in you? I did! If you enjoy birdwatching, you’ll agree that a good field guide can make all the difference in the world with regards to identifying your birds. I received the Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. At over 800 pages and 3400 photographs this book is a bargain at its list price of $24.99. However, you can purchase this book for under 17.00 if you shop around on line (click on the link above). It even includes a CD of 150 birdsongs.

Open Meeting Reminder
Don’t forget that my club, the Here & There Garden Club, invites you to attend their 2011 Open Meeting 7:30 pm on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at the Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren (800 E. David Rd., Kettering OH 45429). Bob Iiames, Master Gardener, will speak on “Perennials that Pop – from Bed to Dead”. Refreshments will be served. Bring your friends.

Question of the week:
Sharon in Cincinnati asks: How and where do you store your birdseed?
Vicki’s answer: Thankfully, I do not have any winter heat-seeking rodents in my garage. Well, none that I know of! Considering I am using up seed quicker than Mr. Mickey Mouse can eat it, my sunflower seed and Nyjer seed is just stored in the unheated garage in their 25 lb bags. However, I have been also known to store my seed in a recycled tub/bucket who’s former life was a 28-lb container of clumping cat litter and in the large recycled styrofoam container that Omaha Steaks came shipped in. I would never suggest that you keep seed inside your house unless it is in an air-tight container. All it takes is one infestation of Pantry Moths (that came in the birdseed) to learn that lesson the hard way. (Kinda reminds you of my ‘school of hard knocks’ tip from freezing faucets from the last post?) Does anyone have any other response?

Oooooh, that reminds me. I want to pass along a great recipe for winter feeding your birds. I religiously follow the OAGC 2010 keynote convention speaker Julie Zickefoose’s blog ( She is also on facebook. She has a home recipe for winter bird dough. Please be sure to read her full post on Zick Dough before you try to make it. Your bird will thank you!

Melt and stir together:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup lard

In a large mixing bowl, combine:
2 cups chick starter (unmedicated – I bought mine at Tractor Supply. 20# bag for $7.99)
2 cups quick oats
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour

True or False: Is Mistletoe the “Kiss of Death?”

There is a myth about American Mistletoe, the green-berried parasitic plant often hung in doorways during the holiday season to elicit kisses from those standing beneath it. Reputed to be the “kiss of death,” it is said to be so poisonous that humans can be killed if they ingest the leaves or berries. This myth has been endlessly repeated throughout the years, reappearing every December in countless holiday safety reports on television and in print.

Is it true? Is American Mistletoe (Phoradendron species), a holiday killer? Two physicians and researchers from Pittsburgh decided to find out. Dr. Edward P. Krenzelok (Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh) and Dr. Terry Jacobson (Carnegie Mellon University) examined data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers and found 1,754 reports of mistletoe exposure over a seven-year span. Curiously, not only had no one died of mistletoe poisoning, in the overwhelming majority of the cases (approximately 90%), the patient experienced no effects at all. Those patients who did have effects suffered only minor discomfort. Treatment at a poison control center or at home made no discernible difference in patients’ recovery or outcome. (Source:


3 thoughts on “December 2010

  1. Another idea for storing birdseed. Originally, I had used a Tupperware container until a squirrel found that it could chew through plastic quite easily. Since then, I use a 2-3 gallon decorative metal container which came with caramel corn at Christmas. After I fill the birdfeeder, it will hold the balance of a 20# bag of birdseed. It looks very attractive in the hearth room, next to the patio door in the winter. In the summer, I store it in the storage area under the grill on the patio.

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