“The association of men with birds has been long and close. Birds and men alike are active mostly during the day, so they share a familiar world of color and sound. In ancient times, priests of pagan cults believed that in some way bird flight foretold the future.”
One of my favorite things to collect are vintage nature and science books. The ones I enjoy most are targeted towards young readers and reliably have the most WONDERFUL, original illustrations and early photography. Check out these beautiful drawings and diagrams from this 1967 print of The Birds.
This book is available for purchase. $12, Shipped in the US.
Vintage Book / The Birds / 1967
Vintage Science Book for young readers.
How did this happen? It’s already the end of February and I’ve neglected the blog, AGAIN! Once I went ten months without posting, I am embarrassed at the amount of content on here after having the site for over TWO whole years. 2018 I’m going to ramp up my posts with awesome photos and content. Hopefully I’ll work out better placement and flow for the menus so you can navigate easily between categories and posts.
I will be updating our Backyard Habitat Certification progress and discuss our indoor plant family and take you with me on my new small business journey!
But first can we talk about Vegan restaurant Farm Spirit, here in PDX.
In SE Portland, this place had chefs counter seating only and rapid fire small bites with excellent pairings. Super creative and delicious guilt free dinner that totally inspired a farmers market splurge the next day.
I visit second hand shops bi-weekly and almost always find items that fit seamlessly with the items already in my home. Giving a second life to items that people no longer wanted makes shopping second hand such a rewarding hobby. I can’t leave behind a good find just because I can’t find an immediate use for it in my life and I grow small collections of like items over time.
I find that most educational children’s books from the 1950’s have incredible art work on the covers and within. Even though some of the scientific captions are inaccurate in 2017, there is a wealth of information in these guides usually with sweet and detailed illustrations of the subject matter.
I’m saving my personal copies of Golden Guides and children’s learning books from the 50’s for myself and future children. Anyone who has a love for science and nature will see the value in preserving these charming books and referencing them often.
I like to keep and eye out for duplicates, sometimes they are in better shape than the ones I currently have. Books missing critical pages or covers make great gifts for vintage paper enthusiast and collage makers as these illustrations are perfect for art projects and thoughtful stationary. I purchase these books from thrift and antique shops as well as directly from Etsy and online sellers.
You can find a great collection of books and paper goods on my own etsy shop:
and see whats new and coming up at the shop on Instagram @blackwellhabitat
We spent most of last year observing each season and what kinds of plants and wildlife were present/absent. Now that we have a basic idea what kind of plants are already here we can plan on removing/replacing the ones that don’t belong. Time to begin plotting out details for zones we began last spring and work towards completing them by Fall 2017
We can keep pulling back the invasive ivy cover outside of the backyard fence and give that area some time to breathe (see whats dormant in that soil in the following seasons) while we work inside and close to the fence and front yard. About 85% of the area inside the fence (J) is free of invasive plants, however there are huge piles on cemented parts of the yard where we were allowing vines to die completely/dry out before removing them. There are also a lot of vines creeping in from the fence line so we need to maintain and fine comb the area removing ivy and blackberry thats come back using hand tools
Section E, the flower bed in the back yard was a jungle, there was just SO much going on in that soil, tons of crazy root systems and plants we couldn’t identify. I covered this area with a dark tarp and weighed it down. This will cut off oxygen and sunlight to whatever the hell is in there, I’ll check this spring to see what I can remove by hand and cover it up again. Maybe in a year or more we can amend the soil and grow some roses or veggies in the raised bed.
Next year I want to:
Install nest boxes.
To preserve and enhance terrain transitions with stone and gravel, creating paths.
Create a hedgerow to block view of highway in section M.
Bring in stone and mulch to frame established trees, shrubs and ferns.
Determine soil PH in section C and J.
Record a sun map.
Create Mason Bee housing in far corner of section J.
Plant tall grasses and shrub to protect Mason Bee and bug housing from pets.
Bring in gravel for front yard in front of section A & B.
Shooting for SILVER level certification with the Backyard Habitat Certification Program
We got the site report for our property and learned there was actually 23,222 sq. ft of plantable area.
Some native plants identified during the assessment: Oso Berry, Oregon grape, Sword Ferns, Big Leaf Maple and Douglas fir.
Silver Level Certification Objectives require removal of Himalayan and Evergreen blackberry, all Ivy and Spurge Laurel from the entire property.
4/5 of the vegetation layer criteria is met and 5% of the plantable area must be native plants.
No pesticides of any kind are used on our property.
Wildlife Stewardship is achieved already by having dead wood onsite, reduced outdoor lighting during migration and by having pollinator and beneficial insect nesting habitats present(small brush/rock piles, bundles of branches and stems). We are at the PLATINUM level here.
The Storm Water Management objectives for Silver level are already met by leaving leaves and fallen debris to restore soil, we have several large canopy trees on the property and we will adopt eco friendly maintenance practices as we proceed restoring. We’ve reached PLATINUM in this area as well.
The majority of the work in our yard will be removing and maintaining an invasive free area, increasing the number of natives mostly in the ground vegetation layer and to fill in plantable area left by ivy and blackberry.
Time to write a wish list and mentally divide the property into manageable areas to work one at a time. This will benefit wildlife and plants that already live here by not disrupting large areas at once.
First Photos of the front yard.
Magnolia and Stone Wall Watercolor Study