Thursday, September 28, 2006

special house for humming bird

Do you ever feel like you know just enough about hummingbird feeder to be dangerous? Let's see if we can fill in some of the gaps with the latest info from hummingbird feeder experts.

Birds, birds, birds. They come in all shapes and sizes. They range in type from carnivores to herbivores. Birds have been the stars of their own movies. Birds have taught children the importance of personality over looks. Some are even the leaders of nations. Is it any wonder that bird watching is one of the world's most practiced hobbies.

People from all walks of life enjoy bird watching. Anyone can do it. All it requires is patience, a pair of binoculars and most importantly, a bird feeder. And there are many types. Depending what birds you want to attract will determine what kind of feeder to get.

Whether it is a sun-filled breakfast or conference room, a beautiful potted plant, or a hummingbird feeder placed outside a common window, you can boost your spirits and create extraordinary joy by bringing nature into your home or office. After being challenged by the dark spaces of his basement office, Dr. Timothy Dey ( created a solution to this challenge by adding a Florida room to his home in Detroit, Michigan. Timothy now uses this room as his home office, and by filling his day with natural light, birds, trees, and all that nature has to offer, he has truly created a living and breathing environment that is warm, inviting, and truly inspiring.

The more authentic information about hummingbird feeder you know, the more likely people are to consider you a hummingbird feeder expert. Read on for even more hummingbird feeder facts that you can share.

Hummingbird feeders are the most popular and come in two styles; inverted and basin style. The feeder usually has a small receptacle in which a sugar solution is placed. It has an opening just big enough for the hummingbird to put its long beak. But the solution is really just an energy boost for the hummingbird. A hummingbird's main diet is gnats and other small bugs. Here's a hint when choosing a hummingbird feeder. Choose one that can be taken apart easily. Your feeder needs to be cleaned every three-to-four days due to the unfortunate clotting habit of the sugar and water solution.

If you are a Woody fan, you might consider a peanut feeder. Woodpeckers, starlings and titmice are big fans of peanuts. But be sure you purchase the peanuts from a dealer that supplies aflatoxin-free peanuts. Aflatoxin fungus can cause disease and death for some birds. Also, make sure the peanut feeder is built to keep out squirrels. Squirrels are the biggest enemy to the peanut feeder.

When word gets around about your command of hummingbird feeder facts, others who need to know about hummingbird feeder will start to actively seek you out.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

tips to help make your home a hummingbird hot spot

The following paragraphs summarize the work of hummingbird feeder experts who are completely familiar with all the aspects of hummingbird feeder. Heed their advice to avoid any hummingbird feeder surprises.

Many individuals are fascinated by hummingbirds. So much so, that they will do anything in their power to attract these petite creatures to their yards. So what is the best way to attract these wee feathered friends?

Here are some tips to help make your home a hummingbird hot spot:

What Do Hummingbirds Eat?

Hummingbirds usually feed off flower nectar and sugar water that is left out for them in birdfeeders. They also feed off of small insects like ants, slugs and spiders. If you really want to attract hummingbirds to your yard, make sure your bird feeder is always filled with nectar and sugar water.

What Should My Hummingbird Feeder or House Look Like?

It is a well-known fact that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. That being said, if the feeder you already have isn’t red get out your paint brush or stick a large red bow on it to get their attention. The best hummingbird feeders have perches for the birds to stand on while they feed. The holes in hummingbird feeders are just big enough for the little guys to fit their heads in, but they’re too small for squirrels and other larger animals so they can’t steal the food.

Refrain from painting your hummingbird feeder or house yellow because bees and wasps are attracted to these colors and also enjoy the taste of sweet nectar. You’ll want to keep insects as far away from your hummingbird feeders and houses as possible.

See how much you can learn about hummingbird feeder when you take a little time to read a well-researched article? Don't miss out on the rest of this great information.

What Materials Should Hummingbird Houses or Feeders be made of?

Hummingbird feeders and houses are usually made of acrylic or glass. They are also available in wood and plastic; however these do not work as effectively and may cause harm to the birds (slivers and cuts). Hummingbird houses and feeders come in a variety of sizes and shapes and usually contain numerous feeding areas throughout the feeder.

Where Should I Put My Hummingbird Feeder?

Ideally, a hummingbird feeder should be hung near a garden with bright flowers and plants. A flowery location is most likely to attract the attention of hummingbirds. For your viewing pleasure, you may want to hang your feeder in a place that can be easily seen from your home. For example a hummingbird feeder hung in front of a window can be admired all day.

How Much Do Hummingbird Feeders Cost?

The styles and designs differ so much that it’s difficult to determine a specific price. Hummingbird feeders and houses can cost anywhere from $10 to $50 - depending on the style, design and features.

It never hurts to be well-informed with the latest on hummingbird feeder. Compare what you've learned here to future articles so that you can stay alert to changes in the area of hummingbird feeder.

Friday, September 22, 2006

humming feeder at garden

This article explains a few things about hummingbird feeder, and if you're interested, then this is worth reading, because you can never tell what you don't know.

Autumn Bloomers - Butterfly bush, day lilies, garden phlox, bee-balm and impatiens all will keep hummingbirds returning through the autumn. These blooms will also attract late migrators too.

Provide a source of water in the hummingbird garden Unlike larger birds, hummingbirds will seldom take advantage of a bird bath or bowl of water. Instead, they relish cool mists. A garden hose with a misting attachment or a small fountain that can be adjusted to a fine mist will keep them happy.

Most of this information comes straight from the hummingbird feeder pros. Careful reading to the end virtually guarantees that you'll know what they know.

Create perching and nesting space in your garden Hummingbirds need shelter from predators, plus small branches for perching and resting (yes, they do perch sometimes!). By choosing a few taller bushes or trees, you can provide both.

Several strategically placed hummingbird feeders There are dozens of commercial hummingbird feeders designed to be attractive to the little wanderers. Choose feeders with bright red accents, and a capacity for about 8 ounces of sugar water. Instead of using one large feeder, place 2-4 of them around your garden, out of sight of each other if possible. Hummingbirds are notoriously territorial. By providing several 'private' feeding stations, you'll increase the number of hummingbirds that you attract.

You can't predict when knowing something extra about hummingbird feeder will come in handy. If you learned anything new about keyword in this article, you should file the article where you can find it again.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I have a cute little hummingbird feeder

In today's world, it seems that almost any topic is open for debate. While I was gathering facts for this article, I was quite surprised to find some of the issues I thought were settled are actually still being openly discussed.

We've all experienced it. You buy a cute little hummingbird feeder, and one day it falls and the glass bottle breaks. You may think that all is lost, but hold on for just a second. You can fix that hummingbird feeder with things you have around your home. You might try and piece the bottle back together with glue. But that usually isn't a good option. Bottles usually break into too many small pieces. But look closely at the opening on the bottle. Chances are it’s the same size as the mouth on a soda bottle. If so, then you have a chance at saving your prized feeder.

But life doesn't work that way. The fact is, we get what we focus on. Our brains have to filter through huge amounts of input, whether it's the birds flying past the office window or the latest financial news. The bird enthusiast sees an orange-crowned warbler sipping from the hummingbird feeder; the warbler is invisible to his non-birding co-worker at the next desk. You and I listen to the same news report; you're an avid investor, but I only stare blankly when you comment afterwards on the price of oil. It seems as if people have a superstitious need to make disclaimers. I'm not ready, I'm not smart, I'm not successful – all of these statements are somehow supposed to turn away the bad luck gremlins and instead invite the gods of good fortune to smile upon us. We blame our achievements and successes on luck and circumstance, and embrace setbacks with a litany of responsibility. First the easy part. The bottom of the bird feeder. That's part that the bottle screws into and where your hummingbirds drink the

Is everything making sense so far? If not, I'm sure that with just a little more reading, all the facts will fall into place.

nectar. The soda bottle should screw right into it. The top part is a little trickier. If the decorative top of your humming bird feeder has a hole in it for a wire, great. If not, you'll need to drill one in it. Now find yourself a little piece of wire, but make sure it will fit through the hole in the feeders top. Glue one end to the bottom of your soda bottle. If you use hot glue, make sure you don't accidentally melt a hole in the plastic bottle. When the glue dries, run the other end of the wire up through the top of your feeder and make a little loop. There you have it, it's that simple. Hang the feeder from the loop, and your feeder had been saved from the trash heap.

Those who only know one or two facts about hummingbird feeder can be confused by misleading information. The best way to help those who are misled is to gently correct them with the truths you're learning here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Do you ever feel like you know just enough about hummingbird feeder to be dangerous? Let's see if we can fill in some of the gaps with the latest info from hummingbird feeder experts.

Birds are truly beautiful creatures. They are fascinating and all around us, roosting and nesting on our buildings and feeding in our gardens. We can travel to see them in exotic places, or just look out our window ... they are easy to find and fun to observe. Birds are probably the most beloved group of wild animals on the planet. Their ubiquitous presence, colorful form, intelligent actions and cheeky mannerisms endear them to us all. They are easy to love.

There are roughly 300 billion birds of nearly 10,000 species that now inhabit the earth. This only a small fraction of the number of birds that have existed since the Age of Dinosaurs. While new species are occasionally discovered in remote areas, 150,000 species have been identified from fossil remains proving that most bird species are now extinct. Birds can be found on all major land masses from the poles to the tropics, as well as in or over all our seas, oceans and islands.

Have you noticed the recent trends in bird feeders? They are definitely not your run of the mill bird feeder anymore. Today’s styles are wide ranging and offer many options for including a bird feeder in your backyard decor. Adding a variety of garden decor items makes for an inviting and interesting backyard. By using bird feeders, you can attract a variety of birds, which can further enhance your enjoyment of your yard. For those who enjoy the hobby of bird watching, adding a bird feeder can increase the amount of bird activity in any backyard.

If you don't have accurate details regarding hummingbird feeder, then you might make a bad choice on the subject. Don't let that happen: keep reading.

The most common or populous wild bird in the world is the Red-billed Quelea (Quelea quelea) in Africa. The most common bird in the world is the domestic chicken which breeders have developed from the Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus). Fear has been expressed that pure Red Jungle Fowl may now be extinct in the wild. The most widespread commonly seen wild bird is probably the European House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) which has been transported all over the world by European settlers. It can now be found on two-thirds of the land masses of the world including Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and India.

If you are looking to attract hummingbirds, then you’ll want to purchase a hummingbird feeder. These beautiful little birds are wonderful to observe. Several options for hummingbird feeders include one made of stained glass or alabaster. Hummingbird feeders should be the hanging kind of feeder to attract hummingbirds.

Using bird feeders in your backyard can provide hours of enjoyment for the entire family.

There's a lot to understand about hummingbird feeder. We were able to provide you with some of the facts above, but there is still plenty more to write about in subsequent articles.

Monday, September 18, 2006

hummingbird feeder is certainly no exception.

The more you understand about any subject, the more interesting it becomes. As you read this article you'll find that the subject of hummingbird feeder is certainly no exception.

First the easy part. The bottom of the bird feeder. That's part that the bottle screws into and where your hummingbirds drink the nectar. The soda bottle should screw right into it. The top part is a little trickier. If the decorative top of your humming bird feeder has a hole in it for a wire, great. If not, you'll need to drill one in it. Now find yourself a little piece of wire, but make sure it will fit through the hole in the feeders top. Glue one end to the bottom of your soda bottle. If you use hot glue, make sure you don't accidentally melt a hole in the plastic bottle. When the glue dries, run the other end of the wire up through the top of your feeder and make a little loop. There you have it, it's that simple. Hang the feeder from the loop, and your feeder had been saved from the trash heap.

I know it is important to wash the hummingbird feeder when I fill it to clean out any mold. I know it is also important to thoroughly rinse the hummingbird feeder when I am finished cleaning it to remove any soap or other chemicals.

If the feeder has visible mold, I use a bleach solution (1 teaspoon of bleach to several cups of water) to kill off the mold and mildew. Then I rinse the feeder thoroughly, under running water, for several minutes with hot water and for several minutes with cold water.

The best hummingbird feeder I've found is a Rubbermaid feeder. It holds two cups of nectar, and it is as sturdy now as it was when I bought it four years ago. Other hummingbird feeders cracked when I tried to wash them, either at the end of the first year or the beginning of the next.

Think about what you've read so far. Does it reinforce what you already know about hummingbird feeder? Or was there something completely new? What about the remaining paragraphs?

I also set out two of those little "flower balls" for the hummingbirds — little round balls that hold about a quarter cup of nectar with a large, brightly-colored plastic flower that fits down inside the neck. The flower balls fit into a holder that mounts on a steel rod pushed down into the ground. The hummingbirds love the "flowers" that give them another source of food.

Usually, right around our yard, we have between four and six pair of Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. Later on in the summer, when their offspring start coming for the nectar, we have many more hummingbirds flying around the yard. Pine trees on the east and north sides of the yard provide a perch for the hummingbirds while they wait their turn to get at the feeder.

All summer long I watch the hummingbirds, and as September approaches, they became more and more frantic to eat as much as they can, in preparation for the long flight back to South America.

And then, early in September, one day it will dawn on me that I haven't seen as many hummingbirds. As more days pass, the remaining hummingbirds leave too. Eventually I don't see any hummingbirds at all, and I know it will be many months, with a long hard winter in between, before I can once again feed the hummingbirds that hover in front of my kitchen window.

As your knowledge about hummingbird feeder continues to grow, you will begin to see how hummingbird feeder fits into the overall scheme of things. Knowing how something relates to the rest of the world is important too.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

know more about hummingbird feeder.

If you're seriously interested in knowing about hummingbird feeder, you need to think beyond the basics. This informative article takes a closer look at things you need to know about hummingbird feeder.

First the easy part. The bottom of the bird feeder. That's part that the bottle screws into and where your hummingbirds drink the nectar. The soda bottle should screw right into it. The top part is a little trickier. If the decorative top of your humming bird feeder has a hole in it for a wire, great. If not, you'll need to drill one in it. Now find yourself a little piece of wire, but make sure it will fit through the hole in the feeders top. Glue one end to the bottom of your soda bottle. If you use hot glue, make sure you don't accidentally melt a hole in the plastic bottle. When the glue dries, run the other end of the wire up through the top of your feeder and make a little loop. There you have it, it's that simple. Hang the feeder from the loop, and your feeder had been saved from the trash heap.

Our recipe is derived from the old standard recipe, but please be aware that a lot of research has gone into making sure that we are providing the most beneficial source of hummingbird food replacement.

Our recipe starts with cane sugar. As you know, there are two sources of sugar: cane sugar and beet sugar, of which 70% of the world’s supply comes from cane sugar. Both are chemically “sucrose” and fall into the carbohydrate family. Carbohydrates are easily digested and provide the immediate “energy boost” that hummingbirds need to sustain their incredibly high metabolism. (Comment: I guess if we humans had that kind of metabolism we wouldn’t be facing our obesity crisis! Wow…what a concept …more exercise …increased metabolic rate …burn more calories …less fat).

Most of this information comes straight from the hummingbird feeder pros. Careful reading to the end virtually guarantees that you'll know what they know.

Sorry! Back to the topic…the second constituent our hummingbird food recipe is water. Ever thought about the type of water you use for your hummingbird food? We have. The hummingbird’s source water comes from the naturally occurring water sources available: dew, rain water and deposits of rain water, people provided (bird baths), and finally that provided in the hummingbird’s diet.

We use our tap water which is supplied from our well. The water’s chemical composition is generally hard ( contains calcium and magnesium) but has a TDS ( Total Dissolved Solids) of 275 ppm with no measurable concentrations of lead or arsenic. Its safe for us to drink so the hummers get the benefits of some added minerals. We feel its better than using distilled or purified water in our hummingbird recipe.

Now, if you’re a city dweller, you may have chlorine or flouride added to your water. I’d recommend boiling that water to flash off the chlorine or flouride, 5 minutes of boiling should be sufficient.

Now might be a good time to write down the main points covered above. The act of putting it down on paper will help you remember what's important about hummingbird feeder.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Give hummingbirds one or several feeders to drink from is naturally also a very good way to make sure that there are a lot of hummingbird visits to your feeder. If the hummingbirds have trouble locating the feeder, try to hang the feeder next to some colourful plants that can be easily seen from above. Like with most things in the market, hummingbird feeders come in literally all forms of shapes, sizes and designs. The ideal feeders are those that can be cleaned easily and hangs readily. These must also be sturdy and must have limited number of parts that can be separated or broken. Majority of hummingbird feeders comes with both glass and plastic reservoirs. When you choose hummingbird feeder, it is important to pick one that is easy to clean. Hummingbirds are sensitive to mould and can be really sick if the ingest it. Hummingbird food will also ferment quite rapidly, especially in high temperatures. The feeder should therefore be cleaned frequently.

Friday, September 08, 2006

hummingbird feeder : Missing Mim

We named her Mim and she stalked our hummingbird feeders like a junkyard dog guarding a bone. Though she weighed less than an ounce, compared with her peers she was a hefty girl.

Mim the hummingbird has turned Dirtman and me into Bird Geeks.

It all started innocently enough. One of the roads in our subdivision is called Hummingbird Lane, causing us to wonder whether this meant we had an unusually large hummingbird population. Serendipitously, as these things often are, a friend of Dirtman’s had just opened a bird feeder store.

Did you know that there are 19 different hummingbird species in Texas? That’s the kind of fact Bruce pulls out of his brain during casual conversation. This is the ideal guy to own a bird feeder store.

So Bruce set us up with a hummingbird feeder and deck mounting equipment that even Dirtman and I could manage to put up ourselves.

Within 15 minutes of putting up the feeder, Mim was there. Fifteen minutes later Mim was still there. Cats on the deck, dogs barking at her, Mim was sucking down nectar (i.e., the sugar water I’d prepared) and daring them to take a flying leap off the deck to catch her.

Other hummingbirds would try to partake of our unending supply of nectar, but Mim would have none of it. There were times the battle was more brutal than any World War I dog fight, always ending with Mim perched triumphantly on the hummingbird silhouette filial she fancied herself resembling, coming down from what had to be a monumental sugar jag.

So we got another feeder for the rest of the hummingbirds, especially for the males. Hummingbird males are a wussy bunch, but very pretty with their bright red throats offset by their iridescent green backs. We hadn’t up to this point been able to see any in person because, while other female hummingbirds really ticked off our very territorial Mim, she got positively indignant when a male showed up.

So the alternate feeder idea worked for maybe 10 minutes before Mim laid claim to both, barely having time to protect her turf at one feeder before a security breach had her flapping for the other.

“Maybe a third feeder,” Dirtman suggested.

“She’ll have a nervous breakdown,” I replied. Not that any hummingbird is mellow. But Mim seemed to be a bit more, uh -- focused than the others.

Bruce had warned us not to take the feeders down until September was over and then only when we hadn’t seen any hummingbirds for two weeks. During August our local birds spent their time beefing up for the trip. September is migration month.

One morning there were over a dozen hummingbirds at the feeders. The females were crankily dive-bombing each other and the males taking advantage of their hissy-fights to grab a few sips now and then. But there was no mistaking the social dynamics had changed drastically.

Mim had migrated.

“I can’t believe we’re bummed about a bird,” Dirtman said as we gazed sadly over our morning coffee at the empty filial. “What are we going to do when they’ve all migrated?”

“What time do you suppose Bruce opens today?” I asked.

I wonder if it’s possible to suffer empty nest syndrome when your kid is still living with you.

Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 10:15 AM

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

hummingbird feeder : David Horst column: Positives of country life merit fair hearing

Some people move to the country for the view. What you learn once you're out here is that there are beautiful soundscapes as well.

I awoke to that realization one recent morning. It wasn't the concept that woke me, but the "whoo-who-whoooo" of a great-horned owl.

Cool late-summer breezes carry the country sounds in through the open windows. To hear them, you only need to be still an extra moment before jumping into the morning workday routine.

Breakfast on the screen porch may be accompanied by the whir of tiny wing beats if the hummingbird takes his morning nourishment when you do. City folk may believe hummingbirds have no call, but that just means they haven't sat still enough to hear the scolding little "tchuck" they make when you eat your cereal too close to the window-mounted hummingbird feeder.

Last weekend, we heard the distinctly intense squawk that says the approaching woodpecker is not a downy, not a hairy, but a — yes, there it is — a pileated, Wisconsin's king woodpecker. It is a difference as discernable as asphalt from concrete that you can't help but pick up out here.

The difference is as distinct as that extra warble in the honking overhead on a late March day that signals that a flock not of Canada geese but of tundra swans is about to break into view. They carry with them another sound, one so delightfully subtle that I count it among my favorites. It is the soft whistle of wind slipping between flight feathers that you hear, if you listen, as the swans pass low overhead.

My personal sign of spring is a sound. It is the joyous trill of a red-winged blackbird boldly declaring his territory from a perch atop a cattail. For others, it's the spring peepers — tiny frogs with voices as big as the night.

Lately, up on the sand hill we call home, we've been treated to the comic sound of turkeys clumsily flying up to their perches in the upper reaches of the oak trees out front.

We get a daily serenade from the sandhill cranes, at least during the warmer months. It starts with a discordant bugling, like what city dwellers get from the bickering couple in the house too close next door, but it transforms into a soaring melody as the mates find each other's rhythm and pitch and unite their voices into a unison call.

Country living has its unpleasant sounds — the drone of the riding lawnmower, the constant hum of mosquitoes, midnight barking from dogs agitated by a passing raccoon and the squeal of teen drivers on straight rural roads.

Because we raise llamas, our open windows also let in alarm calls in the dark of night. Llamas rouse the herd to possible danger with a noise I can best describe as a shriller version of a horse whinnying. The alarm is almost certainly notification that a deer has gotten uncomfortably close to the pasture fence, but it still stirs you from bed to peer into the inky blackness for signs of trouble.

The dry oak leaves that carpet the woods amplify footfalls so squirrels sound like deer. I heard that exaggerated rustling one night when I had the dog out for her before-bed constitutional. I stood on the concrete apron of the garage watching as a fawn, still wearing its speckles, emerged from the woods, looked around in caution and confusion and tip-toed onto the concrete between me and the open door.

The fawn seemed headed into the garage when it circled back to the spot in the woods where it had shuffled out. Luckily, the dog was upwind, more engaged by smells than the sound of rustling leaves.

The screech of a hawk, the gentle rattle of aspen leaves tossed by wind, the mournful tone of a distant moo, these are all part of the rich aural views of country living. Taking time to listen, that's just sound thinking.

David Horst writes a biweekly column on nature. E-mail him at

Monday, September 04, 2006

hummingbird feeder : They're called 'gift certificates.' Did you ever wonder why?

Writes In Search of a Pseudonym: "I am a magnet for bad customer service. No matter where I go or what I do.

"I went to a large chain grocery store and asked to buy 10 $25 gift certificates. The girl looked at me strangely and said the transaction would have to be authorized by her manager. Of course, she didn't use big words like that, but that was what she meant. Before calling the manager, she asked me why I wanted the gift certificates. I, thinking that was a tremendously stupid question, said: 'To give to people.'

"She called her manager, all the while gazing at me strangely. She had a discussion with her manager, her side of which consisted of monosyllabic sounds like 'Uhh' and 'Uh-huh.' When she hung up, she told me she could not sell me the gift certificates. I, stunned, asked her why. She said that it was because what I wanted to do with them did not make sense.

"Little did I know that giving gift certificates as gifts does not make sense. Silly me. I told her that I had moved the previous week and that I intended to give the gift certificates to the people who had helped me, but that since her store did not want to sell them to me, I could certainly go buy them from the competitor. Then I did. The competitor was more than happy to take my money and complete my transaction, and my gift recipients were probably happier with the gift certificates that I bought than they would have been with the ones I tried to buy.

"The interesting part was that she never looked at the driver's license or debit card that I placed on the counter. She never tried to confirm that I was me and that my card was good. She just denied my transaction because she didn't like the reason that I gave her for my purchase: that I was going to give the gift cards as gifts."

Ask a serious question…

Al B of Hartland: "The fellow pulled into a business establishment in a small town in Alaska.

" 'How do I get to a McDonald's?' he asked the crusty old proprietor.

" 'Go to the first stop sign, take a right, keep going. It will be on your left. You can't miss it.'

"The fellow left in a hamburger-hungry hurry.

"There was one thing the proprietor neglected to inform the traveler. The nearest McDonald's was right where he said, but it was 185 miles away."

They're out there!

From "Wednesday, Aug. 16, on 10th Street in Oakdale, I saw a man in a company work van driving and using two cell phones at once! He was talking on one in his right hand and trying to dial the one in his left hand. SCARY!!!"

The highfalutin amusements

Spam Division

E-mail: "The latest from Linden Hills Girl, who lives a very sheltered existence:

"Some of the more creative senders of spam e-mail: Mr. Odium T. Antedating, Mr. Oftentimes H. Arminius and Mr. (possibly Ms.? It's so hard to tell these days) Stifled R. Sapsuckers.

"All were promoting the very best in helpful and marvelously illicit street pharmaceuticals. (Naturally, I declined to order.)

"Cheers! =..="

Later that day: "Two more additions to our sly spam pharmaceutical senders (say that 10 times fast): Mr. Drives R. Lowliness and (drum roll, please) Ms. Butter R. Flagella. How do I know BRF is a she? 'Cause I just know, that's why.

"Cheers! =..="

Life as we know it

Bonnie, north of Minong, Wis.: "Bulletin Board asked: 'What's the secret of life?'

"My answer is a memory of my mother, standing in our kitchen and looking down into my pre-adolescent eyes and smilingly asking if I knew the secret of life.

"A few years later, my parents, my sister and I were sitting down front in my hometown concert hall. I had the aisle seat. We were anticipating the performance of a very famous baritone. And there he was — striding out from stage left, accompanied by a crescendo of applause, his towering compact body clad in tails, his blond wavy hair coiffed to perfection glimmering in the lights. Even his black patent-leather shoes gleamed. At center stage he stopped, acknowledging our applause; then, turning his head, looked down at me and smiled. The orchestra played the overture. The baritone's first musical words, emanating from deep within his chest, poured out: 'Ah, sweet mystery of life, at last I've found thee. Ah, I know at last the secret of it all.'

"And the secret is? As Nelson Eddy sang: 'It's love, and only love, the world is seeking.' "

Life (and death) as we know it

High Rev: "We buried my dad's ashes recently [Bulletin Board interjects: High Rev's dad was The Big Geezer of La Crescent], and with my sisters, their families and my four cousins and their families present, of course the stories began to flow.

"To say Dad was competitive at cards and board games is like saying Sinatra hummed a few tunes. His favorite game, and the one he most hated to lose, was cribbage. Last Thanksgiving, he taught the game to my nephew's friend Michael. Riding the 'beginner's luck' wave, Michael beat Dad the last game of the day.

"When word came that Dad had died over New Year's, Michael was horrified. 'That means he went out on a loss,' he told my sister. My sister responded that chances were good that Dad had played at least once over the Christmas holidays, and indeed he had, beating me twice in the last two games we played together. So Dad was able to go out on a two-game winning streak.

"We laughed about it, but in retrospect, Michael was probably right. There would have been something askew in the universe if Dad had 'gone out on a loss,' especially at cribbage."

Oh, and was her face red!

The Blue Bubble's Friend: "Many years ago, a group of people with whom I worked went on a powwow. The next couple of days, I was really mouthing off about one of the young men. I said I thought he was really a bummer and very involved with himself. Well, what I didn't know was that one of the young women with whom I worked had started dating him. Boy, was my face red when I heard this.

"She went on to marry this young man. But in the end, sorry to say, I was correct in my assessment of him. It ended up that he cheated on her, and they finally got divorced. Too bad!"

The kindness of strangers

The Other Princess: "On Sunday afternoon, Aug. 20, along with approximately 2,500 other people, I walked up to the State Capitol amid the applause of thousands of family and friends. We had just completed walking in the 3-Day for Breast Cancer. Over the course of 60 miles, there were so many people who came out to cheer on friends and family. Others came out just because we were walking through their neighborhoods or just to offer their support and to thank us for walking.

"Now it is my turn to thank all of you who were out there for being there. Whether you came out just to cheer us on, or whether you offered us some sort of treat, your support helped us get through many miles when we didn't think that we had the strength to go on. Knowing how many people are out there supporting complete strangers tugs at the heartstrings in a way that you can't possibly imagine unless you have been there, especially when you realize that so many are out there because they have been touched by breast cancer. To all of you who were out there supporting us, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and God bless."

Our birds, ourselves

IGHGrampa: "I worked as fast as I could. I had the liquid food prepared ahead of time. It took about five minutes to bring the feeder in, rinse it out, refill it and get it back out there. I know I should have done a better job in cleaning it, but I was afraid the little hummers would be deprived of a source of vital nutrients for too long.

"We have our hummingbird feeder hanging right outside our front window. Our daughter got us started feeding hummers a number of years ago by presenting us with a feeder kit. Now we have one set up every summer. Lately, the little gluttons have been emptying the feeder in about a week. It holds about a measuring cup of liquid food. Maybe they're building their strength for the migration south in another month.

"We're always entertained to watch the little birds zipping about. Hummers are very fast fliers. That seems logical, considering that their wings flap at more than 50 beats a second. I know there are at least two of them that visit us regularly. I'm pretty sure there are more. Sometimes I see birds that are smaller.

"The two biggest birds are rather competitive. One will hover for a second or two, as if reconnoitering the situation. Then it will swoop and zip away as another comes to chase it. Seeing how quickly they dart around, one could easily imagine them to be one of the fastest birds in the world. Once one of them even thumped against the window. I checked outside for it; apparently no harm done, since I did not find any bird on the ground.

"Sometimes one will hover in front of the window and just look into the house. I suppose they're curious about us. Maybe it's just their way of greeting us and saying thank you."

There oughtta be a law!

Paul Peter Paulos of St. Paul: "While walking and fishing the shoreline beneath the Ford Dam, a favorite area for a lazy fisherman like myself, I noticed how many more canoeists and kayakers were around now that the river was so slow and low.

"Yet one thing seems never to change, and that's how many muscle boats blast up and down the river, bouncing other watercraft and wading fishermen alike.

"I thought about this and realized that going fast and making noise is assuredly a personal right, I suppose, but I also noticed something else as I walked farther south. That is, these same testoboats all drastically slowed to obey a huge 'No Wake' sign I saw up ahead by the river's edge. This sudden slowdown seemed so peculiar, I decided to investigate. It turns out the sign was positioned directly in front of the Watergate marina. In other words, the boats at anchor, many of them the very boats scaring the bejesus out of the kayakers and canoeists with their wake, were themselves protected from such treatment by their mega-horsepowered brethren.

"Really! There ought to be a law that what you give out, you get back!"

'I was misinformed'

Artgekko of Lindstrom: "Whenever we find ourselves in a situation that calls for immediate distraction and neutralization of the live studio audience that is the rest of the world (for instance, taking a corner too sharply with the cart at the grocery store and accidentally spilling most of the contents of an end-cap display, or tripping in the parking lot after church), my husband or I borrow a line from Mason the chimpanzee in 'Madagascar' and say: 'If you have poo, fling it now!'

"Of course, it has to be said out of the earshot of our boys, who are at the ages where the EPPI-toam of HI-larity is potty humor, or else we will hear the phrase repeated over and over and over and over (and then again just to be sure Mom really wants them to stop). Usually at the checkout lane, of course, with a captive audience."