Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

outdoors Archive

Thursday

23

February 2017

For the Home | 3 Outdoor Living Spaces to Make You Swoon

Written by , Posted in Gardening

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There’s just something about an outdoor living space with comfortable, fluffy chairs, a welcoming layout, and a warm fireplace that I just LOVE. If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ve seen some of the inviting spaces that inspire me. Today, I’m sharing 3 outdoor living spaces to make you swoon. Complete with all the essentials — lots of cushions, covering, and greenery surrounding, — these outdoor spaces are sure to inspire your outdoor living area this spring and summer season.

 

1. Ode to tradition. There’s something about an outdoor living space that’s completely covered and yet completely open that is absolutely beautiful. I can picture summer Saturdays spent in this space reading and summer evenings spent lounging by candlelight with family and friends.

outdoor living spaces

img src athomearkansas.com

 

2. So many spots to sit. Especially when you’re looking to entertain outdoors, having more than one sitting area is an appealing (and functional!) idea. This space has a great layout: A fireplace at the helm, a casual lounge area under a shade pergola, and a more formal dining space.

outdoor living spaces

img src Architectural Digest

 

3. A firm foundation. While this look wouldn’t work in every yard, this outdoor living space is anchored by four strong, sturdy, white pillars that really complement the other elements of this set up. The fireplace in this space is equally as strong, and acts as a focal point in this gorgeous garden space.

outdoor living spaces

img src Traditional Living

Looking for more inspiration for your own outdoor living space? Be sure to follow my Outdoor Living board on Pinterest for fresh ideas!

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Friday

17

June 2016

Hope’s How-To: Build a Robin’s Nest – Part 4 – Robin Fledglings

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Gardening, Hope's How-To

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robin fledgling 1

This happened several weeks ago, however lately our lives have been in a constant state of motion, so I’ve not had time to post a robin update until now. The baby robins flew the coup (quite literally)! All four of our baby robin fledglings have left the nest and set out on their journey through… our yard.

baby robin fledgling in nest

Wes and I came home from church a few weeks ago, and I wanted to check on the baby robin fledglings in the nest. As the robins had been living right on our patio by our living area, it was easy to sit out and observe their growth, feedings,  and daily habits. Wes had encouraged me since the robin eggs hatched to keep my distance, and of course this particular Sunday in May I just had to get out there to see them.

Obviously the little guys were developed to the point that they were actually crowding the nest, however when I came out to see them, without being too close, they all fledged from the nest.

At first, I panicked. Wes ran around the yard and rounded them up to put back in the nest (see photo above), however it was clear; the baby robin fledglings were ready to embark on their adventure away from the nest.

baby robin fledglings

Over the past few weeks, a common sight in our yard has been Mama Robin bouncing and flying around the yard, with her young not far behind. While the robin fledglings have grown so much since the time of these photos almost a month ago, what remains of the family still calls our yard and trees home.

Unfortunately, we did lose one of the three robin fledglings — we aren’t sure if a cat got the robin, or the cold — however, three of the young survived (to our knowledge).

baby robin fledglings

While many of our friends and family still have robin fledglings in the nest, our robins have flown the coup! Before they were developed, it was so funny to watch them try to take flight with small wings and no tail. Clearly they’ve grown in the last few weeks, and we’ll try to capture more photos as we go.

Watching the baby robin fledglings in our yard has certainly been an education; when they’re young, robins are defenceless. They’re yet to learn how to fly (we were blessed enough to watch them practice in our yard), they’re dependant on their parents (Dad brings the young to the robin roost at night, while Mama Robin feeds the fledglings by day), and they’re testing their vocal chords (hearing robin fledglings start to exercise their vocal chords is one of the most adorable sounds).

Hint to those who’ve built a robin’s nesting shelf: When your first “family” leaves the nest, be sure to dispose of the robin’s nest, clean and spray off the area. Once abandoned for their real world adventure, robins don’t return to the nest where they were birthed. The old nest can attract lice and mites, so it’s best practice to dispose of it once the robins leave the nest for good.

 

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Wednesday

27

April 2016

Hope’s How-To: Build A Robin’s Nest – Part 2 – The Robin’s Eggs

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Gardening, Hope's How-To

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robin's eggs

Robin’s nest update for you all: The robin has laid two — count it, TWO — eggs! Yes, that’s right! Robin’s eggs! Yesterday afternoon, I noted whilst driving away from the house that the mama robin was in the nest. Sure enough, last night when we checked, you can imagine my delight upon the discovery of two beautiful robin’s egg blue robin’s eggs.

My initial exclamation was something about how exciting this promise of new life is; Wes’s initial exclamation was about the future of the robin species. The robin deciding to lay her eggs is a beautiful example of a delicate, fragile new beginning, right on our porch. Whatever way you choose to look at it, we are  absolutely thrilled with the prospect of two baby robins starting their lives and learning the ropes from the comfort of our porch.

robin's egg - hope's how-to build a robin's shelf

We are being careful not to be disruptive while the mama robin incubates and raises her young [although I have to say in hindsight I wish we’d set up a time lapse camera to capture all the action; note to self for next year].

Here are some fascinating facts about robins and their eggs:

  1. The incubation period for a robin’s egg is 12 to 14 days.
  2. The female robin typically does the incubating, rarely leaving her eggs for more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
  3. After birth, baby robins spend an average of 9 to 16 days in the nest.

Stay tuned for more action as we keep an eye on the mama robin and her young. Anyone else have robins planting roots in their yard this year?

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Wednesday

6

April 2016

Hope’s How-To: Build a Robin’s Nesting Shelf

Written by , Posted in Hope's How-To

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april6_hopereflected_robin2

Spring is always an exciting time of year: The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter, and there are signs of new life everywhere. All this to say, we’ve had a less than stable Spring so far, what with fluctuating temperatures and seemingly endless snow. That’s got the returning robins scrambling, looking for a secure place to nest, and also foraging for food.

You’ve likely noticed the beautiful birds by the roadside or out on your lawn, looking for worms, berries, or other items to eat. They’re also deep into scouting season — looking for the best place to settle down, lay their eggs, and raise their young (for a full 13 days).

Being the compassionate person that I am, — save all the animals! — Wes agreed to build me a robin’s nesting shelf (or two!) to see if we could welcome a couple of new feathered friends to our home.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact building a robin’s nesting shelf can be quite simple. You don’t have to use the best wood, and measurements don’t need to be exact. Just remember to include the fundamentals of a sturdy shelf made from non-pressure treated wood, a shelf approximately 8 inches squared (or something in that range), a height of at least 7 feet off the ground.

Here’s how Wes built ours:

  • For building my robin’s nesting shelves, Wes used 4-inch Spruce straps, non-pressure treated. You could use any other kind of wood, permitting it’s not pressure treated. Wes just used Spruce straps since we had them on hand.

april6_hopereflected_robin_nesting_shelf2

  • The platform should be approximately 8 inches squared, and depending on where you plan to install the nesting shelf, it may or may not need a roof (cover). Wes made one for me without a cover for under our covered porch, and one with a cover that’s on a more exposed side of the house.
  • Another key is that you don’t want to have any kind of barrier on the front of the nesting shelf.

april6_hopereflected_robin_shelf1

  • You’ll also want to be mindful that the nesting shelf is secured in a location where there is no way for cats or squirrels to climb up into the nest.
  • A good rule of thumb for where you’ll locate the nesting shelf, is to find a place close to your home that is between 7 feet tall and tree top height. It should be in a location that gets some sun, but also stays cool and dry.
    • Many people choose to secure a robin’s nesting shelf onto their home (rather than in a tree or on a fence) because predators like cats, squirrels, and even other birds (like Starlings or Crows) are less likely to get too close to your house. (You may have noticed in the past, that sometimes robins will choose to nest above a porch light or on top of a downspout, and this is why.)

april6_hopereflected_robin_nesting_shelf3

  • If your house is made with brick or stone, secure the nesting shelf with a tap-con or a concrete nail. Be sure to pre-drill to the appropriate size for that fastener. If your house is made with siding, before drilling, make sure you’re not compromising the house material or drilling into electrical/plumbing/etc.

april6_hopereflected_robin_nesting_shelf4

  • When the season is over, make sure to dispose of their old nest and clean the nesting shelf. Old nests have the potential to breed lice or mites. Besides this, next year, returning robins will build a fresh nest.
  • If you’re looking to make your nest shelf even more attractive, you could set out some berries or meal worms for the robins.

april6_hopereflected_robin_nesting_shelf5

Robins appearing are a sure sign of Spring. I hope you are able to take some time to get outdoors and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation during this season!

“The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young…” {Psalm 84:3}

april6_hopereflected_robin1

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