What Kind of Bird Feeder is the Right Choice for Your Garden?

by Tiffany in Enjoying Nature

Best Bird FeederIf you’re hoping to encourage more birds into your garden, it can be hard to know where to start, can’t it? It’s not as simple as just throwing some stale bread on the lawn and watching them flock in (and in fact, bread isn’t good for the birds and should be avoided).

Well, don’t worry. There’s lots of advice available on how to encourage birds into your garden, but you’d perhaps be wise to start by focusing on one thing in particular: add a bird feeder to your garden and fill it with food.

Bird feeders can be decorative and beautiful, working in harmony with your garden design. Others can be sturdy and capable of coping with winter weather, whereas some feeders are specifically designed to keep away pests or contain a specific type of bird seed. Read on to find out more about each type of bird feeder so you can decide which one suits you best.

Decorative Bird Feeders

Decorative bird feeders are, as their name suggests, the most ‘aesthetically pleasing’ bird feeders available. Of course, a decorative bird feeder can be functional as well as beautiful, but these feeders tend to come in particular designs that are suitable for maintaining your garden décor. For instance, you could choose a lantern design if you have a Zen garden, a copper feeder if you like the industrial look, or something that’s more seasonal, such as snowman-shaped bird feeder for winter!

Nyjer Seed Feeders

Alternatively, a nyjer seed feeder is useful if you want to encourage species of birds such as goldfinches and siskins into your garden. These birds really enjoy the small, oil-rich nyjer seeds, but you’ll need a specific kind of feeder if you want to provide this food source. Nyjer seeds are very small and, therefore, need a small port to ensure that the right amount of food is administered when a bird visits.

Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders

Squirrel proof bird feeders are a great choice if you have a problem with bushy-tailed fiends stealing food from your garden. There are lots of varieties available, including types that are caged to prevent squirrels from getting their claws and teeth into them. Some are even weight-activated and close off feeding ports when accessed by a squirrel.

Another option is to buy a feeder that ‘baffles’ a squirrel, utilizing a design that makes it hard for squirrels to cross. If you think this is the right choice for your garden, there are plenty of squirrel proofing options.

Window Bird Feeders

If the reason you’re installing a bird feeder is to get a closer look at different species of birds, why not install a window bird feeder? They’re generally made of clear, shatterproof plastic so you can see inside, and using suction, the feeder attaches to your window which allows you to observe birds from the comfort of your own home.

Bear in mind that a bird feeder can be both nice to look at and practical, so don’t feel limited to only picking from one of these categories. Just decide what’s the most important factor to you when installing a bird feeder, and then get one that matches those needs!


Sustainable Fishing Fun for the Family

by Tiffany in Enjoying Nature, travel

Sustainable Fishing Fun for the FamilyIt is not uncommon these days to read stories about overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices. Admittedly it is a huge problem that we have to find solutions for. As consumers many of us are choosing to reduce our seafood intake and support well-managed, sustainable fisheries.

A story you may not read to often though is that there are ways we can increase conservation through participation. Yes, we can help conserve and protect our waterways and other natural places and the wildlife that lives there through: fishing licenses, boat registrations, fishing gear purchases and boat fuel sales. How can this be? Don’t these these detract from or “take away” from our natural spaces. Actually no, it doesn’t have to be that way. Proponents of fishing, and boating (and an other outdoor recreational activities like hunting) often do not realize how much money is funneled to these wild spaces through the activities they oppose. Money spent on the pursuit of these sports and activities is what pays to conserve and protect our wild spaces and waterways.

If you like to say that you need to put your money where your mouth is…well, your money needs to take you boating and fishing!

The sale of fishing licenses and boat registrations contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to aquatic conservation efforts every year. In fact 100% of funds generated from fishing licenses goes towards conservation. 1.5 billion is contributed to fisheries conservation annually by anglers and boaters. All of that money means better fishing and boating experiences because the money is funneled towards management, research, education, access, and fish stocking.

Since recreational fishing and boating is funneling millions of dollars towards conservation it only makes sense that families might want to include more of these activities in their leisure time. It is also a great way to get exercise, enjoy nature and outdoor spaces (no nature deficit disorder), and teach kids how to be  protect fish and water resources. Getting kids out there on the water is a great teacher!

Things we might teach the next generation of boaters and anglers:

  • Clean boating – Avoiding small spills during refueling and routine boat maintenance.
  • Keeping marinas clean – Using less caustic or toxic products for boat maintenance.
  • Do not litter and never ignore litter when you see it – We all need to do our part when we see garbage along our waterways.
  • Use safer angling products such as lead free sinkers, biodegradable bait, barbless hooks, etc.
  • Never keep more fish than you can use.
  • Effective ways to catch and release without stressing the fish.
  • Tread lightly. Leave an area better than you found it.
  • Know and follow fishing laws. They are there for the protection of the fish and waterways.
  • Avoid shallow waters, shorelines, wetlands, reefs or breeding areas where our encroachment may cause harm.
  • Engage in local conservation projects and activities.

Conservation values are developed by encouraging children to interact with nature. With this interaction and exposure they are more likely to develop a conservation ethic, volunteer, recycle, and participate in recreational outdoor activities as adults. So not only can fishing help with conservation efforts through participation it can also help you raise healthy, well adjusted children. It’s a win-win all around.

To get started planning more boating and fishing adventures with your family check out Take Me Fishing. It is a great resource for all things boating and fishing and can help you get started with fishing locations, licenses, and so much more. Explore articles and videos on how to fish, how to tie fishing knots and proper catch and release.

Also look into making boating and fishing a part of your next family vacation. Take Me Fishing has partnered with Disney for instance, to provide fishing and boating adventures during your next Disney vacation. As I mentioned in my article on green family vacations at Disney, I participated in two fishing opportunities at Disney…cane pole fishing at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort—Riverside and Guided Bass Fishing Excursions on a 21-foot Tracker pontoon at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. You can read more about the Disney partnership here.

Fishing at the Fort Family 2

Lastly, peruse this infographic that shows exactly how money spent pursuing boating and fishing goes back into waterways and helps with conservation and protection. Enjoy!



My Fall Bucket List

by Tiffany in Enjoying Nature

Perfect Fall Photos

Fall is my favorite time of year! I am ready and ramping up for some fall fun by making a bucket list. What do YOU love to do in the fall???

My Fall Bucket List

Attend the Country Living Fair Done!!!
Go apple picking at a local orchard
Make apple dumplings
Make crockpot applesauce
Visit a pumpkin patch
Carve some pumpkins
Take a scenic drive too see changing leaves
Take a boat out on Alum Creek to see the leaves
Go on a hayride
Visit a haunted house
Go to the Pumpkin Festival
Eat pumpkin funnel cakes
Make my own pumpkin puree
Attend Boo at the Zoo
Go on a Ghost Walk
Navigate a corn maze

And of course enjoy every moment of fall before the terrible no-good awful winter comes…if you can’t tell, I am not a fan. :)

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

7 Comments on My Fall Bucket List


Giving the Gift of Nature

by Tiffany in Enjoying Nature

give the gift of nature

Our mother nature has bestowed upon us many wonderful gifts in the form of trees, lakes, mountains and seas, but owing to busy lifestyles most people forget to stay connected with nature and its beauty. They can try to excuse it with lack of time or interest, but people have truly forgotten their roots, which is a big mistake because without roots, a tree cannot grow and the same rule applies to human beings. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is time spent in nature and fortunately we can gift it to others as well. This holiday season, you can help your friends and loved ones rekindle their connection by giving them the gift of nature.

Give them a sapling

A sapling symbolizes true essence of nature. Gifting your loved ones a sapling is a great and affordable gifting idea this holiday season. Instead of gifting them a costly show piece or a bag, gift them a sapling that’ll grow in front of their eyes and become a permanent reminder of your affection and love. I recommend fruit trees because they are not only beautiful, they provide food!

Gift life time membership to a garden/park

A garden in your local community with lots of natural scenic beauty can be a great way of soothing the souls of your loved ones. A garden membership is an amazing way of bringing your near ones close to nature especially the elderly who want to stay in the garden and interact with people of similar age-group.

For the water lovers

Many of us have members in our family who love water (my husband is a total water baby) and want to stay in it always but can’t really do so owing to lack of time. So this holiday season take their excuses away by gifting them the tickets to a kayaking, canoeing, or tubing establishment (perhaps even season passes) where they can have loads of fun in the water and be closer to nature.

For the wildlife lover

Don’t forget about the people who love wildlife and animals. Kids especially fall in this category. This holiday season gift them a chance to explore wildlife closely by gifting them with season passes to a nearby zoo or wildlife sanctuary.

Apart from the above mentioned ideas you can devise your own methods and ways to develop unique gifting ideas that can bring your near and dear ones closer to nature. I would love to hear about your ideas in the comments below!

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

2 Comments on Giving the Gift of Nature


Gearing Up for Hiking Season

by Tiffany in Enjoying Nature

Woman Hiking in the Fall

These days I am pretty much all about CrossFit but I have not forgotten my other “love”. Hiking. I got an email reminder over the weekend that my city’s annual Fall hiking series kicks off in late August and I am psyched. You basically take a guided or unguided hike through 10 of our 16 Metro parks. It is a great way to spend every Saturday for ten weeks…with your community, enjoying the changing of the leaves. I look forward to it each year. You get free refreshments after each hike and if you do enough of them you get prizes too. It is just another thing I love about Columbus, OH and just when that the Fall fun ends they start up their winter hiking series and you get to trek through snow.

I always make time for these annual hikes. Hey, it’s exercise and if you have a sedentary job (like I do) then it is important to keep moving. Walking is good. Hiking is better. It is good for your body and heart because it is interval training with periods of heavier effort followed by plateaus and resting points along the way. It’s good for you mentally too. There have been some studies over the years that have shown cognitive benefits of interaction with nature via hiking and walking. It can help you focus and ultimately be more productive. I do some of my best thinking on hikes.

As with most fitness gear I like to buy high quality. I may spend more initially but quality items last and I end up buying less and spending less in the long run. Sure I might spend $200 on a good pair of shoes but they still look brand new after two years when a pair from a big box store would have fallen apart after one season and they would have fit so badly I would have blisters. Go high quality the first go round and save your feet…unless of course you also need that pair of barefoot hiking shoes for low mileage hikes. Can’t go wrong with a few different choices, or so says this shoe whore. ;) My hubby used to give me hard time about how much I would spend on athletic gear but now that he is equally involved in these pursuits he has quickly come around to my way of thinking.

We also both love to shop at The Clymb for this reason. They carry the bands and gear we love at hugely discounted prices, try these out. We have gotten shoes, compression clothing, and thermal fitness clothing for amazingly low prices. It’s hard enough to stomach the fact that you NEED a pair of compression socks but paying $60 for those socks (a single pair) can leave you feeling faint. The Clymb though often has these socks for 50% off or more. Shoes go for equally amazing prices. The aforementioned pair of $260 shoes… knock those down to $130. My husband can attest to this. He and his workout buddies are always gabbing about some amazing deal one of them spotted on this site. I may have created a monster but a well-dressed one nonetheless.