Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nature enthusiasts excited about Wild Birds Unlimited's new location in Macomb

They can survive on their own. Still, Michigan winters are tough on birds and at this time of year they will be looking for reliable sources of food, water and shelter. So, if you’ve ever thought about expanding your hobbies to include birding, now would be a good time.

“I’ve always liked nature, trees, flowers, animals, bird, I enjoy all the sights, sounds and smells,” said Pam Gors, co-owner of the newly opened Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop on Hall Road in Macomb Township.  “I’m a Master Gardener and I love growing anything that benefits the three-Bs: birds, butterflies and bees.” That’s how and why her garden grows, to fulfill a purpose either as food or shelter for at least one of them. Among the plants that fit the criteria: three different varieties of milkweed for monarchs; an assortment of shrubs and trees that produce fruit preferred by birds; and lots and lots of flowers for the bees and hummingbirds.

This passion is one of the reasons Pam was keen on becoming a Wild Birds franchise owner. For her husband and co-owner Bob, it was not so much his love for birds but a yearning to be his own boss that prompted his move. “After 35 years, I was just tired of the corporate business world,” said Bob, who quit his job in information technology to man the store during the week. On weekends it is Pam, who is still working full time as an IT person who manages the store.

“I grew up in the grocery store business and I have the retail background,” said Bob.  “With her love of birds and my business experience this just seemed like a natural progression for us. We also have 2 acres that attract what seems like hundreds of birds.”
Not only because of the property but because of the amenities that it offers including everything from bird feeders and houses to bird fountains – which is often the last thing people think about over winter.

“Bird baths are really important,” Bob said. “People think birds can eat the snow during the winter but a source of water is not the only reason for the fountains. They also bathe in the water to clean their feathers. The cleaner the feathers the better job they do in insulating the bird from the cold.”

People also need to provide shelter for the birds. In the summer and through late fall there are places that shield birds from the elements and their predators but once the leaves are gone it’s open season on birds. Bob said something as simple as piling up twigs in the yard can provide shelter for a small bird. Another thing Bob points out to beginner birders is that birds can change color. “Some people think Gold finches leave in the winter but they’re still here. They lose their gold color in the last summer and early fall.”

Providing people with the most accurate information available on backyard birds is just part of the mission statement created by Bob and Pam. They also hope to provide enthusiasts with all of the products they might need. Whether it’s a $15 starter kit or a $200 bird house with stand and $300 binoculars they’re determined to make a go of the family’s new business.

“It was very scary at first to make such a huge change in career direction but we couldn’t be happier with our choice,” said Pam, who along with Bob encourages people to stop by the new store and check out their holiday displays.

Tips for winter bird feeding

In case you happen to be among the more than 53 million Americans who enjoy the hobby of backyard bird feeding here are a few tips for the winter courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop:

Provide high energy foods

·        Birds will use more energy to keep warm so they need more feed with high fat content

·        Seeds that help provide the extra calories birds need at this time of year includes: peanuts, thistle and seed blends high in sunflower seeds.

·        If you have visiting Juncos and native sparrow consider using blends with some millet.

Provide a suet feeder

·        A great source of high energy for birds is suet, which is actually beef fat. 

·        Particularly fond of suet are woodpeckers, Chickadees and Nuthatches.

Provide cover, shelter and roosting space for birds

·        If you’ve got a nesting box clean it out and prepare it for a winter stay or add another one to the yard.

·        Brush piles created with tree limbs, twigs and other debris provides birds with a place to escape the wind, snow and rain.

·        Leave the plant skeletons in your yard or garden as they provide the birds with natural food and a protective covering.

Friday, November 14, 2014

An appetizing event offered to 'Hunger' fans on Nov. 17

Here’s a snack for “Hunger” fans, who can’t wait for the opening of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

Josh Hutcherson stars as “Peeta Mellark’ in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Photo Credit: Murray Close

On Monday, Nov. 17 there will be a series of social media events that will include live chats, Q&A’s, exclusive debuts featuring the cast and filmmakers including Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Jeffrey Wright, Willow Shields, Sam Claflin, Mahershala Ali and Natalie Dormer, along with director Francis Lawrence and producer, Nina Jacobson.

Woody Harrelson stars as ‘Haymitch Abernathy’. Photo by Murray Close

To join in the fun fans can submit questions on Facebook and Instagram by using the hashtag: #AskMockinjay.

1 p.m.: REDDIT AMA with Natalie Dormer

2 p.m.: TWITTER Chat with Francis Lawrence

7 p.m.: FACEBOOK Fan Even with the cast of Mockingjay including an exclusive new clip

9 p.m.: YAHOO and TUMBLR Live Stream from the LA Premiere with new footage from the film

Jennifer Lawrence stars as ‘Katniss Everdeen.’ Photo Credit: Murray Close
The film opens on November 21st, and also stars  Elizabeth BanksStanley TucciSam Claflin, and Jena Malone.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

English Gardens’ Ladies Night is good for you and Forgotten Harvest

Operations Manager Jim Miller (RAY SKOWRONEK/THE MACOMB DAILY)
We all have events we look forward to every year, be it a summer fair or winter parade. A favorite among the girls I know who love decorating and shopping — or any excuse to hook up with friends during the week — are the Annual Ladies Night events hosted by English Gardens.

The soirees this year will be 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, in Clinton Township and Nov. 14 in Royal Oak.

Activities will include snacking, pampering and holiday decorating. By pampering, I’m sure they mean their staff will be prepared to answer as many questions as you might have. I live in an apartment, but I’ve always wanted to create a Christmas village scene. How can I do that with very little space? What’s the best way to decorate a tree, decorations first, lights last or the other way around?

“As for the holiday inspiration, attendees will have the chance to go to a variety of inspiration stations for ideas on ribbons and bow-making (or) floral and gift gardens,” says Chelsea Hancock, English Gardens marketing assistant.

Guests will also learn about holiday lighting trends. What’s the popular color of the year? Is there anything new? I remember being among the first homeowners in our neighborhood to have icicle lights, thanks to English Gardens. Another station will feature ideas for evergreen porch pots and fairy and miniature gardens. Attendees should know, however, they will not be making decorations to take home — they’ll take home ideas to make their own.

Why the $10 fee?

Because it is not only a fun night for you but 100 percent of the registration fee benefits Forgotten Harvest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to relieving hunger in our communities by donating surplus, prepared and perishable food to emergency food providers.

Here are a few facts just to give you an idea of the impact that this group has had in fighting hunger and waste in Michigan since 1990:
Forgotten Harvest rescued (as they refer to the prepared and perishable food collected by its trucks) 45.5 million pounds of food from more than 450 sources in the area. When it first started out in 1990, they may have only had a few restaurants and caterers who donated to the cause. I remember, shortly after they began, spending part of my day riding along in one of the trucks — which stopped at several bakeries — thinking what a great idea. Apparently a lot of people thought the same, because their sources grew to include grocery stores, fruit and vegetable markets, dairies, famers, wholesale food distributors and a host of other Health Department-approved locations. All of this donated food — which would otherwise go to waste — is then delivered free of charge to 280 emergency food providers in the Metro Detroit area.

During my ride-along we delivered our load to a shelter for women and children. On average, Forgotten Harvest transports more than 3 million pounds of rescued food each month to emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, children’s homes, senior centers and group homes. According to food industry standards, one pound of food equals one meal, so this is the equivalent of 45.5 million meals per year. And it’s not just Macomb County that benefits, but also Wayne and Oakland counties, too.

It’s hard to believe, but the Forgotten Harvest trucks cover 2,000 square miles to feed hungry people.

Ladies Night at English Gardens on Nov. 7 will be held at the Clinton Township store, 44850 Garfield Road. For preregistration call 586-286-6100. English Gardens' Ladies Night, Nov. 14 will be held at its Royal Oak store, 4901 Coolidge Highway. For preregistration call 248-280-9500. Hours for both nights are 6 to 9 p.m. To register online visit EnglishGardens.com.

It's official: Daniel Radcliffe among the new stars to appear in 'Now You See Me 2'

The tricksters are at it again only they've added some players to the deck.

It has been announced that Daniel Radcliffe ("Horns," "Kill Your Darlings,"  "Harry Potter Films,"), Lizzy Caplan (Showtime's "Masters of Sex," the upcoming "The Interview") and Jay Chou (Taiwanese mega-star) will be joining the magicians for their newest show in "Now You See Me 2."

Radcliffe, who is repped by UTA and ARG in the UK and attorney Fred Toczek  will play Walter in Liongate's Now You See Me 2.
Caplan will play Lulu. She is repped by WME, Mosaic and Jackoway, Tyerman, Werthheimer, Austen, Mandelbaum & Morris. 

Jay Chou, who is represented by JVR Music, will play Li.

The threesome will join the ensemble cast that includes Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine and Dave Franco.

One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public's adulation with their mind-bending spectacles, the Four Horsemen resurface in Now You See Me 2 only to find themselves face to face with a new enemy who enlists them to pull off their most dangerous heist yet.
Jon Chu (GI JOE: Retaliation) will direct the film from a script by Pete Chiarelli and Ed Solomon. Producers are Bobby Cohen, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

Erik Feig, Co-President of the Motion Picture Group, along with Geoff Shaevitz, President of Production, will oversee the project for Lionsgate.