The Garden Enthusiast - Backyard Nature Station Update December 2013

Table of Contents
Intro
Sales & Promotions
Backyard Nature Photo Contest Winners
What’s New in the Store? 
Classes & Events
Happenings   (TIME SENSITIVE-READ NOW!)
   Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings
   Community Events and Spirit 
   Other Backyard Nature Events
Gardening
Birding
Christmas Bird Count   
Bird of the Month: Ruby-crowned Kinglet
   Audubon Field Trips

Fellow Backyard Nature Lovers,

Thank each of you who supported Tucker both on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. We appreciate you!

Like us on Facebook (and print out the page to bring in) between December 1st and the 31st and receive 10% off your total purchase.
Don’t miss out on our sale going on through Christmas. Check for the multi-colored signs throughout the store. 
We’ve got great hostess gifts, stocking stuffers and more. Check for the ‘Christmas stockings’ as you wander through the store.

Every time you make a purchase between now and December 24th, you can enter into a drawing for a gift basket. We’ll pick the winner of the gift basket at 3pm on the 24th.

We’ll close at 3pm on December 24th and will be closed on Christmas Day, December 26th, 31st and January 1st.


From our family to yours we wish you a very merry Christmas and a joyous 2014!
 
 
 
We had some great photos entered for the contest this year. Thank you to all that shared
your photographs. Congratulations to the winners!

1st Place: Lyle Collins
2nd place: Carol Wright
3rd place: Phil Richardson
                      



It’s the season of giving and a time to share with those less fortunate. I've included a couple of events below that might interest you.

Many come in and particularly ask about products made in the USA. We’re please to point out not only those but specifically the ones that are made locally. So as you buy locally during this busy season, keep in mind that you are supporting ‘local’ artists and companies. Here’s a few:
Local artists: Jim Jackson, Carl Langley, Steve Marks, Bob McOsker, Daryl Frye and Michael Deberry – birdhouses; Ann O’Rourke – jewelry; Karen Fincannon – ceramic tiles, Freda Wilson – rock candles, Heather Hviding  and Chuck Holmes– artwork; Sharon Samford (and artwork), Katherine Obarowski, Ann Vinson, Cindy Smallwood - note cards; Julie Frye and Jason Hutcheson – handmade soaps and/or candles; Yvonne Skenes – hand-crafted glass art, George Jones – Cedar Seeder, David’s Garden and More - local honey, okra, pickles, Bloody Mary mix
Made in Georgia: Cole’s Wild Bird Products – Kennesaw; from North Georgia – Richard Fugel – Kombi shovel
Made in other USA locations (just to name a very few!):  Cricket Forge (North Carolina) – rolled steel chairs, tables, butterflies, wall art and more; Heartwood (Mississippi) – unique birdhouse made from reclaimed cypress and mahogany; Coastal Images (Colorado) – night lights and lanterns; Looker (Illinois) – bird baths and houses; Woodlink (Iowa) – bird and owl houses; Droll Yankee (Rhode Island) – feeders and accessories, Songbird Essentials (over 95% made in US), and White Mountain (New England & Midwest) - puzzles

What’s New in the Store?
Birding: Hummingbirds Grandure Stained birdbath, Staked Hummingbird Harmony birdbath, Finch Friends bird seed by Cole’s, boxed Hummingbird Feeder kit                          
Garden Art: Dragon “Flame" & Abby wind chimes
Children: books ( such as  Sounds of the Wild Nighttime, Night Creatures, 3-D Thriller Bugs, I Spy an Egg in a Nest, I Spy a Butterfly), playing cards (i.e. Birds of Southeast, Wildflowers of Southeast, Rocks & Minerals, Trees of Southeast)
Miscellaneous:  books such as Intriguing Owls; ‘Woolie’ Christmas ornaments; metal ornaments for the tree, the window or outside

Classes & Events
Saturday, December 7th 10am – 3pm 3rd Annual Secret Santa –  
Children can purchase gifts for their parents, siblings and others. They’ll have cookies and juice, get to help with wrapping, and make a card to go with the gift. If you like, you can give us a list to help guide them. Please preregister (404-474-7072) by December 5th so we know how many supplies we’ll need. 

Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings
Sweet Dee's Bakeshop
Don't forget to place your order for holiday treats.  Please give at least 72 hours notice for all custom orders. Call 770-696-4461 to preorder.
They will be open on Dec. 24th for pickups only until 1pm and closed on Dec. 25th.  They will be open regular business hours Dec. 26- Dec 28. 
On New Year's Eve they close at 5pm and will reopen on Jan. 7th with regular business hours.
Happy Holidays from the Sweet Dee's team! 

Old Tucker Mill will be closing. We are sorry to see them go. They are running a sale store-wide through the end of the year with 30% off their entire inventory. 

Community Events and Spirit

When you’re riding down Hugh Howell take at look at the great Christmas tree at the Smoke Rise Community Garden!

Through Saturday, December 7th Second Annual Good Neighbor Christmas Gift Shop
This is a gift shop for low-income families served by NETWorks. Their goal is to preserve the pride and dignity of the families they serve in the Northlake-Embry Hills-Tucker community. They accomplish this by collecting new toy donations and selling them at extremely affordable prices, instead of giving them away, believing that the families would prefer to provide for themselves instead of receiving a handout.
Drop off your new toys or donate funds at one of the following locations: 
NETWorks office M/W/F 1-4pm (2380 4th St)
NETWorks partner churches
Roly Poly (Lawrenceville Hwy)

NETWorks will put the donations in their Christmas shop which is December 13-15.
Make checks payable to NETWorks Cooperative Ministry/memo: gift shop.
More information can be found on their webpage: www.prideforparents.org/goodneighbor, including a link to donate or volunteer  or to see their online wish list. 

 Friday, December 6th 7:30PM Tucker Tigers vs. Gainesville Red Elephants at Hallford Stadium
Saturday, December 7th from 1-3PM Tim Timmon’s Book signing: “A History of Tucker 1821 – 1942”
Old Tucker Mill Antiques & More
The books are available now for $29 (checks or cash only).
 
Sunday, December 15th Tucker Nature Preserve Holiday Open House 1pm – 4pm
The Tucker Nature Preserve is hosting an afternoon of holiday cheer, nature-craft making, live music, food trucks, trail-hiking and more. Boys Scouts from Troop 129 will be on location to tell the community about their trail blazing projects. Feel free to take a self-guided tour through the park, or join a guided tour at 1:30pm, 2:30pm and 3:30pm.Park across the street at Wal-Mart and walk over to the park via the crosswalk at 4408 Lawrenceville Hwy, Tucker. Or park at the Cofer-Tucker Library and walk the 1/2 block up Lawrenceville Hwy to the Preserve.

Other Backyard Nature Events

Trees Atlanta offers free Walking Tours of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum every Saturday and Sunday at 10am. These walks cover roughly about 2 miles at a leisurely pace and a docent provides information about the Arboretum including design tidbits and historical stories. The area includes over 799 trees and shrubs and 7 acres of native grasses. For more information and to register go to: http://treesatlanta.org/our-programs/atlanta-beltline-arboretum-and-tours/

Gardening

Now is the time to harvest some greenery, berries, dried grasses, seed pods, and other natural items from your garden to decorate for the holidays. It brings a little of the outside in for us to enjoy while it’s cold outside.

You can also make wreaths for your birds out of these garden materials attaching them to a store bought wreath form or some heavy cardboard with florist wire. Tuck the wire so you don’t leave any sharp edges sticking out! Start with some greenery and go from there  with berries from holly bushes, redbud or tulip poplar seed pods, seeds, acorns, dried coneflower or other seed-producing flowers, peanut butter with birdseed coated pinecones, slices of fruit – anything you think your birds will like. Another great family project!
Send us some pictures!

                                                                                                                              Birding

It’s cold (brrr…) outside. Make sure you keep your feeders full, water in the birdbaths and some extra protein like suet and mealworms out for our feathered friends. Roosting pockets are loved by small songbirds such as Chickadees, Wrens and House Finches year round for nesting and shelter. Hang a roosting pocket in a tree in a protected location. Roosting pockets are particularly valuable to our non-migrating songbirds during the winter months. 

Sign-up for now for the 114th Christmas Bird Count that runs from December 14 through January 5. This is a great family activity.
There is a specific methodology to the CBC, and you must make arrangements to participate in advance with the circle compiler, but anyone can participate. Each count takes place in an established 15-mile wide diameter circle, and is organized by a count compiler.
If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.
If your home is within the boundaries of a CBC circle, then you can stay at home and report the birds that visit your feeder on count day as long as you have made prior arrangement with the count compiler.
Have fun, learn a little, and help with bird conservation during this event. It is free to participate!
 Find a circle near you and sign up to participate. Read the CBC FAQs to learn more.

Remember that if you see any hummingbirds now, report them immediately to the Georgia Hummers Hummingbird Hotline at 770-784-1636. And, share with us what you’re seeing so we can pass it on.

Bird of the Month:  Ruby-crowned Kinglet
 
Ruby-crowned Kinglets are considered a winter resident in Georgia.
They are very small birds (smaller than a chickadee) with gray-green upperparts and olive-buff underparts. It has two wing bars and a broken white eye ring. They have a contrasting black bar on the wing. The male has a scarlet-red crown patch which is not always visible.
They constantly flick their wings and move with short hops. 
They usually forage in high tree foliage, mainly eating small insects such as aphids and wasps as well as spiders. They eat a small amount of seeds and fruit. They will sometimes catch insects in flight.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets generally nest high in trees or in large shrubs. The outer part of the globe-shaped nest is made of grasses, feathers, mosses, spider webs while the lining is made of fur and fine plant material.  The nest is elastic so that it can expand with the size of the brood.
They have one brood per year. The clutch is made up 5-12 eggs which are white and spotted with red-brown around the large end. Incubation time is 12-14 days and they fledge in 16-18 days. 
The oldest known wild Ruby-crowned Kinglet lived to be at least 4 years and 7 months old.
They produce very loud songs for their size and use different calls to sound alarm or to make contact.
They often ‘pretend’ to have a broken wing to lure away predators from their nest.

 
Audubon Field Trips
Check out the upcoming field trips from the Atlanta Audubon Society (get in touch with them for more information at (678-973-2437).

Saturday December 7th Piedmont Park 8:00AM
 Birding Focus: We'll be looking for permanent & winter residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. 
 
Friday December 13th Sweetwater Creek State Park 9:00AM
Birding Focus: This walk is tailored for beginning birders. We will be looking for winter residents of streams, wetlands and forest. With its falls, overlooks, and lake, Sweetwater Creek State Park is Georgia's most-visited state park and is the closest state park to the city of Atlanta. It offers a diverse birding habitat of woodlands, streams, wetlands, grasslands and a large lake.
 
Sunday December 15th Panola Mountain 8:00AM
Birding Focus: Winter residents of wetlands & forest, including warblers, sparrows, blackbirds, raptors, waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds.
 
Saturday December 21st Hard Labor Creek State Park 2:00PM
Birding Focus: Hard Labor Creek is the 2nd largest GA State Park. It boasts a variety of habitats and has a history of birds like Loggerhead Shrikes, American Kestrels, and a variety of waterfowl on Lake Rutledge. We'll look for winter residents, including woodland birds, waterfowl, and raptors. 
 
Saturday January 4th Piedmont Park 8:00AM
 Birding Focus: Migratory, permanent & winter residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. 
 
Hope to see you soon,

Linda, Brittany, Jessica, Jeremy, Stephen & Greyson
The Garden Enthusiast - Backyard Nature Station
2316 D Main Street
Tucker, GA 30084
Hours: Monday - Saturday 10am - 6PM
Sunday: Closed
Contact us at 404-474-7072 or [email protected] - we love to get your feedback!