Trash to Treasure Birdhouse Inspiration

Landscaping, s,


Gardening is wonderful therapy for me. Some may find my garden to be a mess, with hundreds of plants all tucked in together with limited structure and order while others will stop on the sidewalk to tell me that they enjoy walking by daily to see what?s new. That?s what I like about it: the mishmash of trees, shrubs, perennials, vegetables, herbs, garden art and bird feeders make the garden a joy to walk through. I revel in each new volunteer that joins the fun while I keep up with the old favorites and recent additions.

Hand feeding the chickadees

I was happy to find the artists at had donated whimsical birdhouses to gardens for healing purposes. According to Teresia Hazen, registered horticultural therapist, and coordinator, Therapeutic Gardens and Horticultural Therapy, ?Watching birds gives patients, their families, and staff members a window on the world of nature. And enjoying the beauty of the winged creatures while walking in the garden brings healthful pleasure.? I particularly enjoyed the installation at the Legacy Emanuel Children?s Hospital and can imagine how delighted the children would be to see the birds bringing nesting materials and then food for the hatchlings, the wee peeps of tiny occupants and watching the first flights.

Legacy Emanuel Children's Garden Birdhouses

I love the use of color, height, and recycled materials used to make these inspirational birdhouses. I know I?ll be setting up a few come next spring and if I can get to one of To Make You Smile?s shows I?ll have much to choose from. For more shade sails nets_2465 information on how to get one of these lovelies, contact . I?m sure these colorful creations will bring some added therapy to your garden.

To Make You Smile Birdhouses

A birdhouse is just one way to encourage birds to visit your garden. Try making this  or this , and don?t forget to get to know your feathered visitors by reading up on these


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Another acquisition from New England was a sourdough starter from King Arthur Flour. Since I?m learning to be a dedicated baker I?ve been testing out new recipes and visiting places where bakers go. If you are a baker then the King Arthur Flour Baker?s Store is your candy store. The shelves were piled high with every gadget, appliance, and (surprise) flour you could imagine. From interesting cookie cutters to specialty ingredients the place was amazing, and overwhelming. The one thing that did catch my eye was the 250-year old sourdough culture peeking out from the refrigerators. Assured that it would make it back to Vancouver safely, I figured it may as well keep my pound of chevre company so I packed the little guy up and brought him home.

King Arthur Flour Sourdough Starter

This little sourdough starter is much like a pet that you keep in the fridge. You feed it and it grows. You have to discard some waste. If you are neglectful it will die. If you are nurturing it will thrive. Just like any new pet my sourdough starter was a lot of work in the beginning. Once I started the process of feeding it I had to keep dividing and feeding at intervals, one of which I didn?t time right so I had to wake up at 2AM to make sure I did it on time. Seriously, my sourdough starter needed a 2AM feeding.

Three days later (that?s right, three) I had finally produced my first loaves (twins!) and put the starter in the fridge for week of rest. Since then I have experimented with a number of different recipes including rustic sourdough, tangy sourdough, whole grain caraway, and olive loaves. I?ve been slowly increasing the amount of whole grain and alternative flours with no reduction in texture and lots of improvement in taste (I?m not really a fan of plain, gluey, white flour). The yummy whole-grain spelt waffles and a braided dinner loaf made out of ground 7-grain cereal were proof of that.

I?m proud to say that baking with my sourdough starter has been an overall success. And my new little pet has matured into a typical family member: requiring occasional feedings and a bit of cleaning up afterwards but all the while giving back lots of entertainment and some company?to a nice soup or sandwich that is.

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