Monday, December 29, 2008

January is good time to start new habits

By Delaine Litman-Hohenfeldt

With the beginning of a new year many people make New Year’s Resolutions, many of which pertain to the breaking of bad habits. But January is also a great time to begin a new, productive habit that will be fun and free.

If you are a gardener, either indoors or outside, or a bird watcher, this activity might just be for you. Get a wall calendar or dated journal for 2007. Many companies give away nice calendars this time of year, so there’s no need to have the expense of purchasing one unless you want something special.

Bird watchers who feed the birds around the home can make a note on the calendar or in your journal of the birds you see at the feeder each day. If you do not know the types of birds you see, you can look them up in a bird field guide such as one published by the National Audubon Society or an excellent book called Birds in Missouri that is available from the Missouri Department of Conservation. The MO Dept. of Conservation also publishes a poster called Feeding Backyard Birds that can be picked up at their office for free. The poster has information on when, where and how to feed backyard birds plus habitat information and colored illustrations of 34 birds found in Missouri.

Gardeners can use a calendar or journal to keep track of weather information, insect activity, garden plans, seeds started, when plants bloom, and how much is harvested from a veggie garden. The calendars are easy to store from year to year and may provide valuable information when planning gardens in future years.

Birding information will allow you to see if numbers of certain species have increased or decreased from year to year, what time of year to expect migratory birds, and what type of feed attracts certain types of birds.

Since there is not much to do outside in the garden in January, you can use this time to plan for spring, read gardening books and seed catalogs, and take care of our feathered friends. When you put out feed for them, remember to give them a supply of fresh water as water is often in short supply during the winter.

Have a great January.

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