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Winding Pathways encourages you to create a wonderous yard, whether that yard is an expansive acreage, a suburban lot or a condominium balcony. Go outside and play!

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Deer and COVID-19

Deer and COVID-19

Two years ago, hardly anyone knew what the novel Coronavirus was, but since then this crafty virus and the nasty disease it causes, COVID-19, has hardly been all over the news.  Like most people we thought it was a disease of only humans. We were astonished to learn...

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Why Do Woodpeckers Hammer?

Why Do Woodpeckers Hammer?

“A woodpecker is hammering on my house. It’s damaging my siding and driving me nuts. What can I do?” asked a longtime friend. Woodpeckers often hammer on buildings, and we’ve taken dozens of calls from homeowners seeking relief. There are ways to discourage the plucky...

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Lessons From the Bird Diva

Lessons From the Bird Diva

What is a Bird Diva? We’d only walked a short way when Bridget Butler stopped our small group. “Look at the top of that tree.  See the bird,” she asked. We did, and from long experience knew its species, but Bridget’s coaching helped us become better birders. “Notice...

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How Can You Catch Nature’s Miracles?

How Can You Catch Nature’s Miracles?

A camera is an outstanding tool to see change. Plant a tree or prairie and it grows so glacially slowly that noting change is hard. Photos help by compressing time. In August 2020 a derecho felled 47 of our 53 mature trees. We spent much of last fall converting them...

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How Can You Get Light at Night?*

How Can You Get Light at Night?*

Like many people with a small flock of backyard chickens, we faced a dilemma. Our birds are housed in a coop built inside a pole barn. There was no electric power in our barn. Fall’s Shortening days signals chickens to slow egg production just as many families need...

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Using the Sad ‘Ole Jack-O-Lantern

Using the Sad ‘Ole Jack-O-Lantern

As we entered our driveway a frustrating sight greeted us. We were looking forward to picking the enormous seed heads of sunflower plants towering over the garden. Not this year. While we were gone, a windstorm toppled them a few weeks before they’d ripen. That’s the...

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How Can You Keep Mice Out of Chicken Coops?*

How Can You Keep Mice Out of Chicken Coops?*

There's a Mouse in the House! Sooner or later anyone who keeps a few chickens is likely to spot a mouse scurrying across the coop floor.  Most sightings are after dark when hens are snoozing on their roosts. That’s when nocturnal mice seek a chicken feed dinner....

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Beware the Siren Call of Poison Ivy’s Beauty

Beware the Siren Call of Poison Ivy’s Beauty

Poison ivy is a universally disliked and feared plant. It seems to grow everywhere.  Encounter it and risk an itchy rash…..or worse. Some people are so sensitive to the oil on the leaf’s surface that they end up hospitalized. Despite the discomfort it causes, poison...

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Coppicing. Why Do Trees Re-sprout?

Coppicing. Why Do Trees Re-sprout?

Coppicing What? Coppicing? That word almost sounds dirty. Well, it's not.  It is a good way to help derecho doomed trees live on! We recently hosted friends to mark the first anniversary of the August 10, 2020, furious derecho that leveled around 70% of trees in the...

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What is Mentoring All About?

What is Mentoring All About?

“It’s a monster!” Payton yelled out! His fishing pole, made for a child to catch tiny fish, bent in a 180-degree arch. Somehow, amazingly, he guided the monster close enough that I could grab its lower jaw. Seconds later it was in the boat. Wow!  It was a monster. 5.1...

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How Do Deer Know When Peaches Are Ripe?

How Do Deer Know When Peaches Are Ripe?

We’ve got a peach problem. Iowa’s frigid winters don’t favor peach trees, but we’ve got a tough one in the front yard that’s withstood temps down to 30 below zero. Each May it graces our yard with pink blossoms that transform into smallish, tasty peaches that ripen...

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Avian Fall Flurry

Avian Fall Flurry

A flurry of movement caught our attention. Just outside the dining room window, a tiny scrap of a bird flitted around. It wasn’t a wren, goldfinch, or sparrow. They’re around all year. Just what was it? For most birders, May is the month to live for. Orioles,...

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How Does Our Prairie Garden Grow?

How Does Our Prairie Garden Grow?

In early July we sat on our front porch watching delightfully splashes of color dance in the breeze.  A restoration triumph stood stoutly in the wind-blooming compass plant. Restoring prairies takes patience. We began ten years ago by converting a former mowed lawn...

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Why Did the Frog Hop to Winding Pathways?

Why Did the Frog Hop to Winding Pathways?

Outside our dining room is a tiny pond crafted by our home’s previous owner.  It’s smaller than a compact car and is the regular home of water lilies, dragonflies, and a few goldfish we stock to eat mosquito larvae. One morning we were astonished to spot a large frog...

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How is Getting a Colonoscopy Like a Woodstove?

How is Getting a Colonoscopy Like a Woodstove?

We’re of an age when every few years our doctor prescribes a colonoscopy. It’s not something to look forward to, but it makes perfect sense. Early detection catches cancer while there’s time to take effective medical action. The same goes for wood stoves. Wood is our...

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