We had some evening visitors strolling through our yard last night.
I started a little tradition three years ago and started making camping t-shirts using freezer paper stencils and fabric paint for our annual camping trips with our good friends. The boys are all best buddies, and it is so awesome to see them hanging out and having fun. They actually love the t-shirts and wear them year-round. Even now that they are getting older — it makes a crafty-mama’s heart grow two sizes!
You can see my original tutorial for the freezer paper stenciled shirts from 2008, here. Once again, we went back to the exact same campsites. Awesome sites. And this year we had perfect weather as opposed to the washed out 2009 trip.
The first year were bears, last year were moose (we do live in Maine after all), and this year were bald eagles! The bald eagles turned out super-cool, if I do say so myself. I gathered inspiration online, and then freehand drew the bird on a piece of paper. Hubby cleaned it up a little bit for me – my talons weren’t talon-y enough, I guess.
I did something new this year, and decided to try printing them out on my inkjet printer, straight onto the freezer paper. With the intricate designs, I have found that it is hard to re-use a stencil. So, I had four of these babies to draw and cut out. I cut freezer paper to approximate 8.5×11″ letter-size paper, and slid it into my paper tray, making sure that it would print on the paper side of the freezer paper. It worked marvelously!! And then I cut out the designs with my little Xacto knife which was a 100% improvement from using my embroidery scissors like I did last year. I did three coats of paint this time, which on the turquoise shirts, worked really well. Two coats didn’t seem quite enough. As always, just wash them inside out. They hold up really well. The boys still wear their bear shirts from 2008.
The boys all chose the bald eagle mascot this year. They love coming up with ideas for the next year’s shirt. It’s great. I actually saw a bald eagle in our backyard yesterday! It was super-cool! Our golden retriever had a lot of fun barking at him. This was a juvenile, hence the non-white head.
And, yes, that is our lawn. It’s been raining for the entire month of June and the hubby hasn’t had a chance to mow it in quite some time. Of course, today it is finally sunny for the first time in a long time, but of course it’s Thursday and he’s at work!
On Friday, the first baby robin hatched, and the other hatched today. I haven’t taken pictures today, but here is what Baby Robin #1 looked like! My favorite bird research website is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Here is their robin page. Standard clutch size is 3-5 eggs, but our nest only has two eggs.
Can I be really dorky and tell you how excited I was this morning to see a Pileated Woodpecker?? We see woodpeckers in our backyard frequently, but they are usually Downy Woodpeckers or Hairy Woodpeckers. I saw this flash of red in the woods behind our house, and I was like, is that a woodpecker? So, I went and looked it up in our copy of Birds of Maine, and wow. Big as a crow, 16-19″. And then it came up to our tree in our backyard and J got to see it too! It’s HUGE! We looked it up on the Cornell Lab website after he flew away, and I love how you can hear the calls on the website. I had heard it when K and I were waiting for the bus earlier and had wondered what it was.
Speaking of birds, have you done your spring cleaning on your bird feeders? I guess birds can get a variation of salmonella and it can pass when the birds congregate at bird feeders, usually in the spring. They are seeing a higher incidence of it here in Maine this year. Our nyger seed feeder on our deck is almost empty, so I am going to take the opportunity to clean it with a bleach solution before refilling it.
The birds have been having a field day at our bird feeders recently. I just love watching them. We have a little weeping sort of tree in our front yard. I don’t know what it is. But, yesterday it was full of big, fat robins eating the winter berries on the tree. I was excited because I saw a bird that I’ve never seen before. So, I rushed to my Birds of Maine Field Guide book and was able to identify it rather quickly (it thankfully came back a few times so I could reference). A cedar waxwing. Cool! And if you live in Maine, this little pocket book is awesome.
From Stan’s Notes: “The name is derived from its red wax-like wing tips and preference for eating small blueberry-like cones of the cedar. Mostly seen in flocks, moving from area to area, looking for berries. Wanders in winter to find available food supplies. Seen more often in winter because naked branches reveal its presence.”