Hummingbird Feeding in the Fall

When it comes to Humming birds and the fall, people hear things about Hummingbirds they tend to believe. Around here it is a Labor Day event. Well meaning people faithfully feed Hummingbirds starting in the early spring, throughout the summer and into the fall.

Once Labor Day arrives, to many people pull their feeders because it has been passed from mouth to mouth so many times it must be true, “Hummingbirds need to head south for the winter after Labor Day”. Unfortunately, no one has ever told the hummingbirds.

In the fall, first year hummingbirds are still putting on weight for the arduous flight ahead. The parents, who spent the summer feeding their offspring, finally get to keep all their food to themselves. Can you imagine what happens when the Hummingbirds come to their feeders to find they are missing?

Taking in hummingbird feeders too early, is like hauling away your refrigerator on Labor Day. What do the birds do for the energy they need to head south? They are forced to start their migration early, because unlike a natural process where the food supply goes away naturally, the go from feast to famine overnight.

Not only the effect on the local birds, but pulling your feeder from the yard effects any hummingbirds who are looking for food on their flight south. They may remember there was food their last year and head for your feeder. Only to find air where the feeder was last year.

There is a number of weeks between Labor Day and frost. During these weeks, local and traveling hummingbirds need your feeder. Leave it out with fresh syrup. It doesn’t cost much, and the hummingbirds will remember your feeder on the return trip.

I have two pictures here. One about syrup, and the second about cleaning your feeder. I have two feeders, so the process is simple. I fill up the second feeder with a ratio of 1:4 sugar to water. In my case that is 1/2 cup sugar to 2 cups water. Some people use less sugar and others use more. The water needs to be fresh and clean. Try not to get your fingers or other containments in the mix. I use room temperature water, and the sugar dissolves within minutes with steady stirring.

Many people use a 1:4 sugar to water ratio

Many people use a 1:4 sugar to water ratio

This second picture is how I clean the feeders between use. Feeders are community food bowls for Hummingbirds. They get dirty and moldy, so I take care to clean them well. First I wash and rinse them just like any pot or pan. Then I soak the feeder in a bucket of water and bleach. On the third morning I take it out to let the feeder dry out. Later in the day, I make a fresh batch of syrup and put it out in the now cleaned feeder.

It's a good idea to bleach any bird feeder now and then

It’s a good idea to bleach any bird feeder now and then

Nuts About Nuts

Nuts are something I never gave much thought to until recently. I had been buying premium brands of tree nuts for some time now. I eat tree nuts daily. In one of the stores I shop in, tree nuts for baking and cereal are in the same aisle. When I looked at the ingredients of the ‘Premium’ brand I noticed the oils listed are not the nut oils, but other oils used in frying.

What's in your nut?

What’s in your nut?

I went to the bakery section and looked at the oils contained in a package of baking tree nuts. The only oils listed are the natural oil of the nut itself, no other oils listed as ingredients.

Whose nuts are better?

Whose nuts are better?

Being curious I went to the web to find out about the differences. I was surprised by what I discovered. What I discovered made me change from buying premium tree nuts to the less expensive baking brands.

Most people who make nuts a part of their diet, do so for the oils the nuts contain. Nut oil is thought to be healthier than off the shelf oils and a good healthy source of fat in a diet.

Premium nuts as I understood from what I read are generally deep fried. Premium nuts do not really have to be premium in all respects. They do not need to be fresh, or packed with their own oils. Any nut that meets the processor’s requirements, is not too old or rancid, can be a premium nut.

What I did not find out was if the nut oils are intentionally extracted. If the nut oils are extracted, then premium nuts are not premium at all. These nuts are a by product of the nut oil extraction process.

Whether what I understand is true or not, two things are obvious about nuts. Baking nuts are less expensive than premium nuts. Baking nut oils are the better, natural nut oil, not a lower cost oil used for commercial processing.

Important stuff for people who eat nuts on a daily basis. Depending on which type of tree nut you buy, you may be missing, what you think you are getting from the tree nut. As for taste, well that is an individual choice.

Customer Satisfaction and Cleanliness are not Disparate

Hello,

I dined at…with my wife last week. As usual we had a wonderful meal. My wife had…and I had…. As always, service was superb and the food cooked to perfection. The meal for me however was diminished by my view of the backs of the two booths.

I know with lighting dim, and shift workers in a rush, cleaning flat surfaces is a low priority. I attached a picture as it says more than words. I was facing the cooking area, so the location should be easy to find.

I wanted to bring this to your attention as I know you may wish to do a super clean before booth cleanliness comes to the attention of other customers.

We have been…customers since the eighties, and…has consistently set the standard for…not only in…, but also the state. No reason why…will not continue to lead.

Thank you,

Is cleanliness a lost art for a non fast food business?

Is cleanliness a lost art for a non fast food business?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took this picture as I was not happy looking at smeared food and thought perhaps I should share my view with the restaurant. After a week or so I decided I paid enough for the meal and should not have to see smeared food.

I checked to see if the company had a website. They do and have an email address for leaving comments. As you read above, I left a comment. Notice in my email, I did not ask for anything. I was not looking for a free appetizer or free meal after they clean up the premises – thinking they did act on my email.

This is a quality oriented business and they take their product very seriously. So what’s the beef? At the least I expected some sort of non committal reply, stating they received my email/comment and would look into the situation.

Better yet would have been some sort of apology for having a customer, me in this case, looking at smeared food on the booth backs. Maybe we have been spoiled by chain fast food establishment cleanliness standards?

If this were a hamburger stand, or a family restaurant I would understand, stuff happens, and kids are creative. However, this is an adult oriented upscale dining establishment which charges accordingly. This was not fresh food on the booth backs.

On the other side. If I had sent an email saying what a great meal it was, how good the beer tasted, and the whiskey chaser for desert really hit the spot, would I have received a reply?

If you own or run a business, and take pride in your business, give your customers an avenue to provide you comments, you owe your customers who leave a comment the benefit of a reply. Lack of a reply is a disservice to the customer, and a detractor to the business. Much like having a employee bulletin board of policy that no one reads.

More Words than a picture

A picture may be worth a thousand words. Having an on-top of it Manager overseeing your business is worth much more as seen in the following pictures.

The first picture is of a placard at a local Applebee’s. The business of this Applebee’s at least is customer satisfaction through employee perfection. The greeters, wait staff, cooks, and bus staff are true professionals. They work and maybe live the slogan (below) they walk by going to and from the kitchen area. I only stop in for lunch, and while I am there, I think, “Wow, what a great place this must be to work at!”

What every business should strive for - property of Applebee's

What every business should strive for

This store on the other hand is one store of a national chain. In this case office oriented products from paper to printers. One look at the trash can was enough to catch my attention about the state of the business at this particular store.

The outside grounds between the store and parking lot were filthy. The store itself needed better lighting. It looked like saving on the electric bill was more important than the customer experience. Not one person smiled as I was asked if I needed help.

It feels dirty and have not even entered the store yet.

It feels dirty and have not even entered the store yet.

The thing is, people notice. A very few people like me look around from the parking lot to the bathroom. For other people it is just a feeling that the business feels sort of icky and they want to get out as quickly as possible even. Customers in this second dingy looking store spend less time pondering whether they should make a purchase. Customers are quicker to leave and spend their money at a place that feels cleaner and fresher.

If you serve the public, and you want to make the best impression, look at your business as your customer’s do. Starting with the parking lot, is everything clean and tidy? Is the lighting appropriate? Do your employees look as if they want to be there? Do you want to be there?

Having a dirty building front, visible smoking employees, old gum and trash near the entrance, poor lighting are some of the things that turn off repeat business. The biggest hit to the bottom line is your customers spending their money somewhere else. Clean up your business so your customers want to stay and return in the future.

Microwave Tea trick

Here is a quick tip for microwaved tea using tea bags, if you heat your tea cup in a microwave as I do. I use different teas who’s tea bags have different levels of liking water. Some tea bags absorb water quickly and sink right into my tea mug.

Other tea bags are still floating high and almost dry after the water is heated and the tea mug removed from the microwave. Here is a pretty low tech way to manage these testy tea bags.

Microwave tea can be Problematic when tea bags float

Microwave tea can be Problematic when tea bags float

What I do is simple when I have tea bags who would rather float on top of the water is take a finger and roll my finger against the side of the cup with the tea bag in between the glass and my finger as seen in the picture below.

Roll the Tea Bag against the side of your mug or cup, pushing the air out.

Roll the Tea Bag against the side of your mug or cup, pushing the air out.

What this does is force most of the air out of the tea bag, and forces the ta bag to absorb some water. Then as the heating process starts the tea bag is at least partially submerged and tea creation can begin.

There are a few brands of tea which are very stubborn and even rolling your finger over the tea bag against the wall of the tea mug has little effect. These teas need hotter water than other teas before they will absorb water and start to release their flavors.

Now you can relax and enjoy your tea, instead of becoming frustrated with it.

Write Better in only Three Minutes a Day

Writing is being able to hold a conversation without the other person present. No more, no less. Becoming a better writer is easier than you think. Writing is not some secret art that only a few people can do well and everyone else struggles with.

I doubt anyone will read this post who is a professional writer. Writing as well as a professional writer, for the most part is reserved for professional writers. What you can do however is learn to become comfortable putting your thoughts on paper.

Whether you are putting words on paper or typing text in a simple text editor, writing is a simple process. What separates you from others who write well is not writing or very little writing. Writing takes practice as does almost everything else. The more you do it the better you get.

These simple steps will help you to write better with the least amount of effort. We can’t know what we can’t know. We can’t write if we don’t write. Let’s do some writing.

Open up whatever text editor is on your computer, Notepad, TextEdit, Gedit, Leafpad, Mousepad or another text editor. A word processor is not needed, although if you feel more comfortable using a word processor, use it.

1. Write three sentences about something that happened today. Your three sentences do not have to be about the same topic. For example:

“I woke up hungry today. I took my dog for a walk. The weather is hot and humid today, I am ready for winter”

The important thing is you write something. It doesn’t have to be pretty.

Write better by writing something every day

Write better by writing something every day

2. Each day before you go to sleep, write out three more sentences. Think about what you want to write before you sit down and write. Having an idea of what you want to say makes writing easier.

3. Every five to seven days, review what you have written. Read your sentences out loud. Do your words sound like conversation? If your words do not sound like conversation, what could be the reason? Write as you talk, you are having a conversation when you write.

4. When you find you can write out three sentences with little effort, it is time to start writing three sentences about the same subject.

If your daily three sentences have been about the same subject, try writing five sentences, turning your sentences into a complete paragraph.

This is all there is to improving your writing. A few minutes a day is all it takes. Soon you will be writing like you were a born writer. Your words will fill the page, and they will sound great. All that separates you from someone who seems to write without effort is practice.

Only a few minutes a day over time and you will become a natural writer.

Where Have All the Real Blogs Gone?

This is a rant about what passes for Blogs these days. I don’t know about you, but I am really disappointed in almost all the Blogs I try to read.

Blogs were created as a platform where a single author could write about his or her passion in life. Whether that passion was brewing what the author thinks is the best beer ever created by God or man, to writing about their dog and best Buddie Rex.

Perhaps someone wanted to write about the wonders of Linux, which I am rather fond of. Or maybe Bee Keeping, or making paper mache baskets and bowls from discarded office paper. Whatever the topic was, people enjoyed writing about their favorite subject, maybe even themselves.

How about trying to read about some trending trigger subjects these days? There will be several newly created, monetized blogs out there for you to read. Slick and pretty and advertising packed.  Can you even get through one paragraph before you are interrupted with a pop up window wanting you to register? All you need is provide your name and an email.

Then you could be alerted to new posts of which you may have an interest. That was a great idea! You no longer had to visit the blog itself to see whats new and may be of interest to you. You could wait for the email.

Some Blogs became popular and had any number of readers. Then came along marketing and the business world. Hey, did you know you can use your Blog to make money? Off to the races both Blogs and Bloggers went.

Passions became what the Internet wanted. Want to read about relationships and dating? We have it. Hope you don’t mind an advertisement in your face every ten seconds which needs to be clicked away. Trying to pay the bills you know.

Real Blogs are hard to find these days. They are relegated to the backwaters of the Internet. Most real Blogs are not making any money. If a real Blog doesn’t make money, it’s of little use to the machinery of the Internet. Like this artwork some street artist created for our pleasure, it was not seen by enough people to become important.

Is it worth less if it is free?

Free Street Art. Free and Internet rarely are seen in the same sentence.

That machinery starts with your favorite search engine. Look up a blog on any subject, and you will be sick of advertisements before you hit on a blog with no advertising. The Internet runs on money. If you don’t make money for someone and yourself, the Internet machinery doesn’t really care.

Good writing is such a rare thing these days. Many of us are into funny or striking pictures followed up by or including a thirty second read. Sometime this is all that needs to be done. Other times it is done to capture a market share. We readers forget a person on the other end took the time to write something that is important to them in some way or another.

This isn’t just my rant. This is an all inclusive rant of good people who have a message they want to get out to the world. The thing is, they can’t get their message out unless they become gloss and glitter and spend a lot of money monetizing their Blog. Even then they probably won’t make it.

If Bloggers choose not to generate income for the machine, they almost perish, sent to backwaters of the Internet when what they have to say is stumbled upon by accident. This is a shame, really.

I enjoy reading real posts by real people who have something they feel is important enough to share with the world. People who misspell words, have run on sentences, beat the horse to death. People who care about you, the Reader!

Hurting Yourself More Doesn’t Make it Better

I feel sad for certain people. They never had a chance to start out pain free. I wish I could reach into them and pull out their pain and hurt. It hurts to see people who have a need to go out of their way to make themselves an even  bigger target. Certain aspects of our personality are readily apparent. They do not need a sign to announce their self destructive behavior.

Sometimes as a result of prolonged pain and feelings of separation, a shattered ego runs their life so well the rest of the world and the people in it become fictitious. They learn to act in any manner they choose, because people and things are only around for their pleasure, to do with what they please. People and things become unreal, only they exist in their carefully crafted world.

It must really hurt to tell the world this about yourself

It must really hurt to tell the world this about yourself

If you can see yourself driving this car, please wake up. Do you have anyone in your life who is a real person and an honest friend? Is there anyone who wants to share their life with you? Anyone who is willing to trust you with their life? Are your parents and siblings proud of you and what you have become? Is there anyone who loves and  trusts you enough to marry you and have children with you?

I hope when the wake up moment comes for this young Woman, it comes with a whisper, and not a thunderbolt. I am afraid there have been too many thunderbolts already in this young Woman’s life. Let’s hope she regains her real life back before too much more pain, isolation and self destruction.

Some Things are Just Unknowable

When I go through my drawers in search of something I know I have, but can’t find, what I find instead has some identifiable of purpose.

The item in the picture is about nine inches tall. It has six stick legs. Those are in-line roller skates on its feet. I am sure there was more to this, when it was brand new.

My question is, who is going to buy this unless they happen to have the top half of whatever it is? This item can probably only be identified by two people, the maker, and the buyer.

This item can probably only be identified by two people, the maker, and the buyer.

This item can probably only be identified by two people, the maker, and the buyer.

Creative genius, or lost in space, it resembles nothing I have seen before.