27 August 2010

27 August - Saint Monica and hummingbirds

Feast of Saint Monica, patroness of difficult marriages and disappointing children.

Of her own three children, the eldest was a really difficult son named Augustine (whose feast is tomorrow).  She could also be the patron of the truly persistent, as she spent 17 years trying to get Augustine on the straight and narrow path.  Her tears and prayers finally paid off.

(You know that she must have said, at least once, "That boy!  He's going to drive me to drink!  I knew he was trouble from the moment I started carrying him!")  There is more on the persistent saint here and here.

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, hummingbirds migrate south today.  A lot of Yankees migrate with them.  Would that I could.

For those hummingbirds coming from the north on their long journey to warmer climes, make sure your feeder still has food.  An easy recipe is 1 part white granulated sugar to 4 parts water (it can be more, up to 1 part sugar to 1 part water, but the lesser amount of sugar is closer to the nectar they get from flowers).

Boil the water, then measure out the amount needed into a saucepan; add sugar and stir.  When sugar is dissolved, cool completely, then fill the feeder (any extra can be kept in the refrigerator, but not longer than two weeks).  And note: NO DYE OR FOOD COLORING!  NO HONEY!  NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS!  Sugar and water are all that is needed.

Read more here.  And if you want to know when to hang out your feeder again in the spring, check out the map at Hummingbirds.net.  (Here in the smallest state, it is about the beginning of April).