Painted Bunting


WatermarkPhotoSquare™2015-12-29 03:12:37 +0000This little fellow got sidetracked from his migration and ended up in Prospect Park in the native flora area. I finally got a chance to go see him today and he was as spectacular as anticipated. Right now he should be hanging out in southern Florida or Central America, not in Brooklyn. There have been as many as 100 people a day stopping by to gawk at his stunning coloration. This little guy seemed completely unfazed with all the attention he’s been garnering. He’s been sticking to a very small area and munching on the grass and pokeweed seeds.

He’s puffed up like a little ball in the picture because it was a little chilly today. Hopefully we’ll get some more seasonal temperatures here and that will kick his migration instinct back into gear. Cross your fingers for a good outcome for this beautiful creature!

Happy Earth Day!

Hope you are all enjoying the day and doing something to care for the planet.

I helped organize a celebration at my daughter’s school. One of the many great organizations that came was MillionTreesNYC. They gave a workshop on taking care of newly planted street trees. The kids and parents were given tools and gloves and shown how to weed the tree pits and then aerate the soil for better water retention. I thought they would weed one or maybe two tree pits, but they actually did about a dozen of them.

This is the same organization that my daughter’s Girl Scout troop volunteered with to plant trees. They are an amazing organization. I highly recommend volunteering with them, it was by far the best organized and best run events I’ve ever participated in. They’ve reached 700,000 of their million tree goal for planting trees in NYC!



Mulchfest 2013

This weekend our parks department sponsored Mulchfest. Different parks in various neighborhoods across the city serve as drop off points for Christmas trees. They have a chipper on site and make short work of the trees.

We’ve done this for years. In fact, when Lindsay was small, she was so torn up over the loss of our Christmas tree, that we had to hide the fact that it was about to be shredded into a zillion pieces. She still didn’t want to stay for the chipping this year, but we didn’t have to watch her hug our tree with tears running down her face.

We try and pick up as many trees as our wonderful cart can carry. We were able to bring 3 additional trees to be mulched. I suggested making a second trip, but didn’t rally any interest with my family. Maybe next year…

The city makes mulch for their parks (or for pick up by the community), and there are fewer trees going to the landfill. I feel really good not to be one of the people who leaves their tree blowing around the street.

Happy Earth Day

My daughter’s school celebrated Earth Day  on Friday. It has become an annual event in which I bring my chickens. The kids love seeing our unusual chickens. Many have never seen a live chicken before, so it’s fun to hear their reactions. I bring a big tub of spinach for the kids to feed the chickens.

We had the worm compost table next to the chickens, so the kids had a blast picking out worms and bringing them over to feed the chickens. The chickens ate like queens!

This little guy was smitten with the chickens. Whenever his mother lost him in the crowd, she just came back to me and there he was. She finally gave up and just hung out with us.

A friend brought her beekeeping equipment and lots of photos to show the kids about bees. She had popsicle sticks to dip into the honey for tasting. The smart kids used the sticks to dig for worms and then feed them to the chickens.

Hope you are having as much fun on Earth Day!


No Pants Subway Ride

Today we went to the Guggenheim to see the Maurizio Cattelan show. The show was interesting and I think it’s worth seeing. But it is the subway ride home that I’m writing about. We were riding home and there was a very conservative young woman wearing a pea coat and scarf. And that seemed to be it. Her legs were completely bare and we kind of subtly craned our peripheral vision (this is a very New York maneuver) to see if she had anything on under her coat. It turns out she had bright pink panties. Our first thought was that she was a dancer and was just clueless to the look she was presenting to the public. We were kind of snickering to ourselves saying things like, “I know I forgot something. Let’s see…I have my purse, keys, phone…what could it be? Oh yes, my PANTS!”

Then another young woman came onto our subway car with no pants on. We were openly smiling at this point and the woman next to Neil said that it was No Pants day today. We had to get off our train to switch trains and in the 14th Street station we saw about 8 more men and women walking around without their pants. It brought surprise and smiles to everyone around them.

It’s organized by Improv Everywhere. They describes themselves as a New York City-based prank collective that cause scenes of chaos and joy in public places. You should definitely take a peek at some of their videos on their site. I particularly love the shirtless men shopping in Abercrombie and Fitch and the frozen Grand Central. You can subscribe to be alerted of their upcoming missions.

Oh yes, and I have a total New Yorker for a daughter. She was sitting reading on the train when I pointed out the first pantsless woman. She looked up at her, agreed that she had no pants on, smiled, and just went back to reading. It takes a whole lot more than that to surprise her I guess.

Mulch Your Christmas Tree!

It’s that time of year again! The time where the streets are littered with old Christmas trees. I find this unutterably depressing. Something that caused so much joy and wonder is just tossed out with the garbage. But, I’m not asking you to mulch your tree to keep me from getting gloomy, there are plenty of more pressing ecological reasons why you should do it. Take some time to search your community to see what kind of programs there are for old Christmas trees.

In NYC we have mulchfest Jan. 7 & 8th. You can click on this link to see which parks near you are accepting trees. We have a cart that we use to bring our tree, and we try and pick up as many other trees we find on our way.

Many areas come up with creative uses for old trees such as New Orleans using them to restore coastlines and The Pacific Northwest Christmas tree association using them in lakes for aquatic habitat projects. You can read a NY Times article on the subject here. Rose over at OnThePondFarm feeds hers to her goats.


Don’t dump your Christmas tree out on the street! Give it new life by bringing it to one of many city parks this weekend to be chipped. Here’s the NYC site that shows which parks are participating in the different boros. Many sites offer free mulch as well.

If you don’t live in NYC, check with your local government or sanitation department to see if they have a similar program. And if you are lucky enough to have a good-sized yard, just chop the tree up yourself and leave in an unused area. The animals and plants will love you for it. Here’s a link to a woman who keeps goats, who’s neighbor drop their trees off for her goats to munch on.

Just remember, remove all lights, tinsel and other stuff that isn’t part of the tree. I always think this is a super-obvious thing to say, but a couple of days ago I saw a tree on the curb with all the lights still on it. What the heck? You had such a bad Christmas you can’t imagine ever stringing your lights again? Or just a gross example of our disposable society?

Hands Across The Sand – Saturday June 26th

On June 26th join hands with others to protest offshore oil drilling. This is an international peaceful protest. At 11am, go to your beach and at 12, join hands with others. Here’s the website that can help connect you with others in your area and give you more information about Hands Across the Sand.