Rules of Thumb, 30x30, and the Laws of Nature

Spring Landscape (Rain), A. Krehbiel My mother had a commonplace book in which she recorded, by hand, in beautiful cursive, proverbs, sayings, and quotes that struck her as interesting, thought provoking, or wise. I also love sayings, and quotes, and mantras, but mostly I’ve collected rules of thumb, those short pithy statements that condense ways of dealing with life on earth in the same way that proverbs give advice on how to behave in prudent, trouble-avoiding ways.  Rules of thumb exist for every field of human endeavor. There are the general ones, such as the 80% rule, or Pareto Principle, that gets applied in sometimes surprising ways—"eighty percent of every thing is trash,” someone will say, or another will say that “80% of your output comes from 20% of your efforts,” for example. The 80/20 ratio is useful in all sorts of contexts. For example, in a perennial garden, the general rule (backed up by scientific evidence) is that about 75-80% of the plants should be native (lo

American Goldfinches, Right on Schedule

When the purple coneflowers bloom, the goldfinches show up. They're cool that way.

The last couple of days I've been wondering when they'd appear. This morning when I finished my writing stint, I went out on the back porch to drink a cup of coffee and indulge in what I call thinking and my beloved family calls "there's mom, staring at the plants again"--and there they were, a male and female sitting on the coneflowers, eating the seeds. They also like sunflowers, milkweed, native thistles, and bee balm. They'll come to a feeder to eat nyger and sunflower seeds. A bird at a feeder is good, but a bird on a flower is excellent. It means the garden is bioregion-appropriate.

The males turn bright yellow during mating season. The females are a dull yellow year round and the males revert in October. They are fairly common and live in the Chicago area all year, but somehow I don't notice them until they make their flashy presence known in late June.

The Cornell Ornithology Lab Website All About Birds, where I got the photo, is a great place to learn more.

Comments

ginny said…
I love goldfinches but haven't seen them in my garden. I have purple coneflowers, a nyger seed feeder, and a feeder full of black oil sunflower seed. I also have bee balm. Maybe one day they'll show up - meanwhile I enjoy the house finches, nuthatches, cardinals, titmice, chickadees, wrens, doves, and others. I agree - a bird on a plant is much better than one at the feeder!
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the goldfinch thoughts.
How big a pot does it take to grow coneflowers or bee balm?
Mom