PICAYUNE — Have you been wondering why your car’s rearview mirror has developed a strange, Jackson Pollock-like pattern? Have you having a bit of trouble seeing clearly out your car window, and wondering if your neighbor’s dog could have been licking your window with a clay-covered tongue? Last week, several of the vehicles parked at the Crosby Arboretum Visitor Center had – shall we say – some visitors. Perhaps you’ve even caught a glimpse of our culprit, his bright red feathers frantically dashing against mirrored glass. Now, what could that cardinal be doing? We know that spring is on its way, evidenced by the recent behavior of these male cardinals, defending their territory by attacking that pesky male cardinal in the mirror. The problem is, he just won’t go away! Although the bird’s dance may provoke a laugh or two, when you later find yourself later faced with the cold facts of having to remove copious amounts of the bird’s “calling card” from your card door, not to mention the “modern art” on your rearview mirror, well, these sights are not for those with a weak temperament. If your yard lacks a cavorting cardinal, you can watch such capers on your favorite Internet video site. I’m considering duct-taping two plastic owls to my rearview mirrors (to prevent them from flying off while on the move). Or perhaps to institute a more cost-effective solution, such as a couple of plastic shopping bags and some rubber bands. Cloudy mirrors are just one of the “signs of wildlife” that children can keep a watchful eye out for. Last week’s Wildlife Day brought many exhibitors out to the Arboretum for a fun-filled school field trip day. Students had the opportunity to learn about Mississippi wildlife from experts in their fields–critter identification, what they eat, and where they live. We’ve been hearing news of increasing bird activity in our area. Arboretum volunteer Tom Heim reported that immediately after putting up his bluebird house, he had bluebirds move in. Tom has built some exquisite cedar bluebird houses for our Arboretum gift shop. Judging from the many features they have, including customized squirrel-proofing, it’s not hard to imagine why they are in such high demand! Tom performed thorough research to learn about when and where to locate his birdhouses. The “when” is now, because bluebirds are establishing their territories and breeding will begin soon. The “where” is to mount them on a fencepost or pole with the bottom of the box about three to six feet from ground level, facing an open field with a distant tree (for baby birds to practice flying to), and away from the direction of prevailing winds. To allow for adequate territory, locate the houses at least 300 feet apart. Finally, installing a predator guard on the pole will help to deter critters such as snakes and raccoons. Tom also mentioned that he has been going through quite a bit of sunflower seed this winter. He puts out black oil sunflower seed, which is higher in oil and meat than the typical striped seeds. Many species of birds prefer the black oil type of seed, which draws a wide variety of birds. A platform-type feeder is one way to make sunflower seed easily available. We have several at our Visitor Center that are as simple as it gets - a post with a board nailed on top. Adding a low side will keep the seed from being scattered to the ground. A final touch would be a roof to help to keep the seed dry. Last week, I enjoyed a visit to a friend’s residential garden that was alive with bird activity. This house was located adjacent to open fields on two sides. However, the beds surrounding the home were generous and wide, filled with a wonderful mix of native and ornamental plants. Even in the late winter, it was a happy and active garden, with birds swooping constantly through the beds. Vegetative edges adjacent to open areas like this are where birds thoroughly enjoy being, as they provide them with protection, food sources, and places to perch. Including plants with a variety of heights - planting in “layers” - in your garden beds will increase habitat opportunities, and attracting more species of wildlife. My friend’s garden layout reminded me of a figure in the MSU Extension publication 2402 on “Mississippi Recreational Gardens: Establishing a Backyard Wildlife Habitat”, which illustrates how you can design your yard for wildlife, and planning for areas that will provide the basic needs of wildlife: food, water, and shelter. This document includes many informative lists of plants that will attract birds and other wildlife. Native trees for attracting birds include black gum, live oak, slash pine, southern magnolia, sweet gum, black cherry, cherry laurel, southern crabapple, parsley hawthorn, native fringe tree (Grancy graybeard), hollies, persimmon, sassafras, and sweetbay magnolia. Native shrubs include American beautyberry, arrow-wood Viburnum, blueberries, elderberry, and red buckeye. Vines and perennials include blackberry, coral honeysuckle, black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, and firebush. Many trees and shrubs that are favored by local wildlife will be offered at our upcoming spring plant sale, to be held March 22 and 23 (Friday and Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Plant professionals will be available at the sale to help you choose the right plants for your own unique site conditions, in addition to informational handouts A plant list of species that will be at the sale will be available on the Arboretum’s website the week of the sale. Admission to the site will be free that day, so bring a friend along and explore the wonders of our Arboretum.. Call the Arboretum office at 601-799-2311 for more information, or visit www.crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu. The Crosby Arboretum is located in Picayune, I-59 Exit 4, at 370 Ridge Road (south of Walmart and adjacent to I-59). For further exploration: Visit the Mississippi State University Extension Service website to research Mississippi native plants you may wish to include in your home landscape with a high wildlife value, such as publication 2334, “Native Shrubs for Mississippi Landscapes” and 2330, “Native Trees for Mississippi Landscapes.”
Picayune Community Spotlight: Picayune Police Department
The Picayune Police Department has had a year of progress in the war on drugs, 911 capability and high visibility which in no small part has been due to focus on goals; cooperation of city officials and community support and departmental commitment— for example, everyone received the Chief’s Award from Police Chief Bryan Dawsey at the Chamber of Commerce Banquet.
Parker brings Christmas to 95 children
Cathryn Paker has spent all year diligently working on giftboxes for children she will never see. On Thursday, for the fifth consecutive year, she presented those 95 giftboxes for children in need to Christian Care Ministries on behalf of herself and her church, St. Barnabus Anglican Church.
Third annual Christmas on the Rails and Shopping by Candlelight
The Third Annual “Christmas on the Rails” is from 5 until 8 p.m. Friday in conjunction with Picayune Main Street’s Shop by Candlelight and Art Works sponsored by Greater Picayune Arts Council (GPAC). Art Works and Shop by Candlelight go on until 9 p.m. Sometime during the evening, the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce will announce the winner of the Best Decorated Store Front contest.
CWC Pilgrimage: A second time around
D.L. and Sandra Barker Bolton invite you to join them for the “second time around” as they open their home for the Civic Woman’s Club Christmas Pilgrimage to be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2 until 7 p.m.
Both of them were on the first tour of homes when Civic Woman’s Club started the Pilgrimage in 1986. D.L. and his late wife, Wanda, had a Renaissance Christmas, and Sandra and her late husband, Larry, had a Victorian Christmas.
Business withstands test of time
McDonald Funeral Home, now owned and operated by Steve and Ann
McDonald, is a 96-year-old family run business with several long time
employees and was the recent recipient of the 2013 Excellence in
Business Award from the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce.
Vocability: Did Black Friday make you blue?
The holiday shopping season has begun and in its honor this week’s
column relates to retail terminology.
Anyone who has either had a part-time job or has been known as a
frequent shopper has most likely encountered several of these terms.
Match the ones you know and learn the others because it will give you
a whole perspective on your shopping experience.
As always, the answers are at the bottom of the column.
Partners delivers Presents for Pearl River County
“Our vision was to coordinate with all three county school districts and have students anonymously adopted like the programs used with ‘Angel Tree’ and such,” said Herndon, who is Children's Minister at First Baptist Church in Picayune. “We have two locations for trees that will have ornaments representing children in need. One is at Coast Electric in Picayune and the other is at the Poplarville Courthouse.”
Coast Electric is located at 6375 U.S. 11, in Picayune. The Poplarville Courthouse is located at 200 Highway 26 E, in Poplarville. The trees are conveniently located for access when the facilities are closed.
Toys for Tots registration and drive
Boxes are available in Picayune, Poplarville, Crossroads, Millard, McNeill and Carriere.
In Picayune, a few of the many locations to find them are: Crosby Library, Highland Community Hospital, Picayune Police Department and SPCA. In Poplarville, a few of the many locations to find them are: Jacob’s Well, Chamber of Commerce and Hancock Bank. In Crossroads, a box is located at Crossroad Seafood and Grill. In McNeill, a box is located at McNeill Travel Plaza. In Carriere, boxes can be found at Hide-A-Way Lake and PRC School ROTC.
To sign up, go to WORC from Monday, Dec. 2 through Friday, Dec 6, during the hours of 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. through noon. Those needing further information can call 769-926-1333.
Fred Cruse Foundation again giving away bicycles
All donations can be either dropped off or mailed to Fred’s Westside Pharmacy located at 207 Kirkwood St., Picayune, MS 39466. For more information call Diane Cruse at 601-798-8888.
Angel Tree for children
Trees with angel ornaments to adopt can be found at Wal-Mart and Highland Community Hospital. Those who would like to sponsor a child through Angel Tree, or find out more about it, may call the church at 601-798-6301 or visit the Internet site at www.angeltree.org.
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