Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trader Joe's and a sweet visitor


Can someone tell me what the attraction is at Trader Joe’s? I’ve been hearing about this store for a year, mostly from friends in Ohio. A four-page invitation to an opening in Charlotte came in the mail today and it’s hanging on my refrigerator door. Should I try something new?

About 5:00 p.m., I put a plastic bag in my coat pocket and headed outdoors with Chloe and Bella. It was time to do poop patrol. The peanut feeder needed filling, too. I wondered why the peanuts were disappearing so fast (those darn Starlings) and as quickly as I wondered…


What’s this? A female Downy Woodpecker scaled the feeder pole. She’s not a lifer, but she’s a new visitor at my house. She didn't notice the suet two feet away and headed straight for the nuts.

I needed the joy of a new visitor.

“Ok, Mary. Get a grip.” I began to quickly tip-toe inside the house for the camera and remembered it was already hanging around my neck. Dammit! Wasted time! I didn’t expect to use it since I had not taken any photos in two days - a long time...


The sun was setting too fast. I did not move from where I stood on the deck. Thoughts through my head… “Just take some photos, relax. If Bella charges with the hula hoop, I’ll freak out. Be quiet. Take control of the settings on your camera. You are out of the auto mode now.”


Thinking, “Breathe. No, don’t breathe. This low light setting might work. Snap away.”


A few Brown-Headed Nuthatches arrived. Ms. Downy continued to work it. Yeah!



And a bonus,


Mary merrily finished poop patrol, played hula-hoop with Bella and threw a few golf balls for Chloe. She skipped inside and made a fabulous dinner. Not fabulous, really...mediocre at best.

What a great ending to an uneventful day. Now I'm off to put some clean laundry away.

My days have been too action-packed and I'm surprised I posted on two consecutive days. Early to bed is important lately. I'll be visiting when I can. I miss you all.


thailandchani said...

Trader Joe's is one of my favorite stores. :)

Anonymous said...

Trader Joe's is very different for different people. I think it is much over-rated, crowded, and not the best place to get a lot of things. I prefer our local places. I might have to visit a few of them to get everything that might be at Trader Joe's, but the folks are nicer and I like to patronize local stores. I think Trader Joe's has become another big chain, taking away from local merchants.

However, to each his own. You will find many people who think there is nothing like it and will drive a hundred miles to visit the nearest one.

Great shots of the bird feeders. Sometimes those are the best ones of all. I have dozens of books to show me birds I'll never likely see. It's refreshing to see great shots of the same birds that come to my feeders.

kate said...

All I zoomed in on was the 'Belgium Chocolate' - Trader Joe's isn't familiar to me.

The bird shots are great - so clear. It feels as if I'm there watching the birds feeding.

Carol Michel said...

I think we have a Trader Joe's here in Indianapolis, but it is on the other side of town, so I've never been. That side of town gets all the 'fancy' stores first!

I need to get some clean clothes out of the dryer, too, plus the dishwasher needs to be emptied so the dirty dishes in the sink can be loaded up in it.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

KGMom said...

My daughter loves Trader Joe's. She also loves Whole Foods.
We have neither of those here in central PA.
As for your bird shots, can you put your camera on manual and use a low light setting. Can't remember all the tricks right now. But it can be done.

Unknown said...

Yea Mary on the bird shots!
I'm liking that chickadee.

I've heard a lot about trader joe's but have never been to one. Perhaps someday they will come to PA.

Annie in Austin said...

We've found that many ingredients for healthy, natural-type cooking are priced as if they are normal grocery items at Trader Joe's, but they're treated like luxury items at Whole Foods. Trader Joes hasn't come to Austin so we buy some favorite items to bring back with us when we visit family and friends in the Chicago area .

It might not be a good place for you, Mary - you'd just feed all the fancy seeds and nuts to the birds!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Sara said...

Hi Mary,
Nice pictures of the Downey WP, I hope she stays around for you. Those Brown-headed Nuthatches are so cute ! I'd love to see one, a lifer for me.

Trader Joe's has a gourmet, speciality, eclectic variety, not really an everyday sort of store but good fun occasionally. Take a friend, laugh, enjoy !

Alyssa said...

The downy woodpecker shots are great. I think woodpeckers are the neatest birds - they are close to being my favorites. I just loved your previous post with Bella and Chloe.And with them "fighting"! You've captured that crazy dog look completely! It is so much like our Garm and Thea. Thea will attack Garm, biting and snarling like a wild dog! It's weird to hear coming from such a little dog. He can out run her and sometimes he just body slams her as he runs by! And yes, we also become entangled with the leashes, especially when we come home at night and the pugs are completely nuts to see us! Give your girls and hug for me - and a cookie.

Jayne said...

All I know about Trader Joe's is that's the place for Two Buck Chuck! :c) I've never been to one either. Sounds like it would be fun to just experience it.

LOVE the shots of the Downy and Nuthatches! Yay you!!!!!

RuthieJ said...

I've never heard of Trader Joe's.... maybe he hasn't gotten to Minnesota yet??

But Wow, Mare, 2 nuthatches and a downy on the same feeder? Now THAT'S exciting! I'm glad you had your camera--with all that activity, maybe it's not the starlings getting all those tasty peanuts. Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Trader Joe's is the greatest! I've been there in CA. None near my home. I'm jealous. Would love some of their dried apricots about now.

Love your blog and photos too.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Downy Woodpecker at the feeder is a wonderful thing.

As to Trader Joe's around here they have items out of the ordinary.

Mary said...

Chani, I hope there will be a Trader Joe's in Thailand for you!

Anon, thanks for your take on TJ. I'll try it soon and give a review. I'm glad you enjoyed the bird shots!

Kate, you chocoholic!

Carol, the work never ends, right?

Donna, if you daughter likes TJ, it must be good. I switched from auto to low-light - never had much luck with that mode...

Toni, there's a Chickadee everywhere I look unlike last winter when I saw only a few once in a while. Funny little birds!

Annie, HA! You're right. They have luxury bird seed and feed? wow.

Hi Sara, TJ sounds like an afternoon outing for fun! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Alyssa, sounds like you know exactly what the dog circus is like with Garm and Thea as the clowns :o)

Jayne, Two Buck Chuck? Hmmmm.

Ruthie, I've read so many good comments on the store that I'm eager to visit. Just when I gave up all hope of woodpeckers visiting... I had seen red-bellied ones two months ago but none since then.

Anon, thanks for your TJ review and for stopping by!

Lisa, don't you just love woodpeckers? They're so vibrant in color.

Annie in Austin said...

Mary - they might have something special for the birds... but I was teasing you about buying people food for critters.


Mary said...

Annie, I would do that, too :o) We treat our critters well. Michael buys 1/4 lb. of liverwurst for the dogs on Saturdays...

possumlady said...

I was very excited when Trader Joe's opened close to me a few years ago. Now I go in once every few months. They certainly don't have everything I need for a regular grocery run and with traffic around here, I hate to have to go to two stores. I think my most favorite thing in the store isn't even food. It's little packets of dried lavender that you toss in the dryer. I makes everything smell so fresh.

JeanMac said...

You had me laughing about looking for your camera which was around your neck - sounds familiar!

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed you were able to get those shots even in low light.

Since there's a Trader Joe's near home, work, and church, I usually end up there about once a week to pick up staples. My experience is quite opposite from "anonymous" -- TJ's people are nicer, prices are better, and, like Annie, wholesome foods are well-priced.
(this is nikkipolani, by the way; I don't have a google/blogger acct)

Mary said...

Possumlady, I'll try to remember "the lavender" when I go.

Jean, LOL! Yes, very familiar...

Nikkipolani, I hope the people in the new TJs are friendly; however, most people here are very hospitable. You've commented before as Nikkipolani, what happened?

NatureWoman said...

I am cool store deprived in my area so I have no clue what Trader Joe's is. If you go, please let me know!

I *love* your bewd photos Mary! They make me happy to see them!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I love the bird shots! Great job!

I love Trade Joe's because:
1. They have the best pizza sauce.
2. I love their fragrant brown rice- I keep my family members in Alabama supplied with this stuff.
3. Organic beef broth cheaper than other places.
4. Roasted red pepper hummus is delicious.
5. Buttermilk is cheaper.
6.I also buy Stevia and olive oil there.
Those are my regular purchases, but so many other things are cheaper than the grocery stores, even cheaper than Walmart in most cases.
They also carry some unusual hard to find things.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
My daughter shops at Trader Joe's in Portland. We went with her last summer. Very cool store. I bought road trip food.
Downy Woodpecker is so sweet. I do love them. Your photos turned out excellent! I took some photos of a Downy on a suet cake in the window box through the office window today. Have not stopped to download yet. I adore your Brown headed Nuthatches! They are not in my area. seeing yours is almost as good as seeing them in my backyard.
It is exciting to see a new visitor to the yard. I bet the male is close by and will be on the peanuts soon.
Enjoy putting your Christmas decorations up. The house always looks so pretty once it is done.

Mary C said...

Wow! Mary, those shots of the Downy (and nuthatches) are so cool. Great job! I guess I'm gonna have to learn how to use that "low light" feature on my camera, too - especially this time of year. ;o)

Anonymous said...

Fantastic photos as usual. The woodpecker is similar to our Kookaburra. Such pretty birds. The little nuthatches are so cute. You are a very talented lady Mary. Well done. I still can't manage to get a photo of the magpies, they scoot as soon as I produce a camera. I can walk around the garden without one but the second I bring it out, they are gone.

Mary said...

Mary the last two posts contain the most amazing photos. i would not get anything done if I was you as I would be watching the birdies all the time.

Susan Gets Native said...

I have never been in a Trader Joe's, but I hear that is the store that is responsible for the famous Chet Baker flatulence.
Chicken strips....ferment into methane, apparently.

Anonymous said...

Just love seeing your downy in this! Bravo!

Larry said...

Good for you.-I gave up and stay on auto setting just about all the time.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Mary, I'm hooked on Trader Joe's. If you love high-quality nuts, trail mix, dried fruits (including amazing things like mangosteen); if you like sushi; if you'd like to cook Indian or Thai and have no idea what you're doing but CAN open a jar of simmer sauce; if you like good cheeses and fruits; if you love coffee from beans; if you love wine (who doesn't); if you love beautiful bouquets of bright flowers in winter, and if you love getting those things super cheap, sometimes shockingly cheap; if you love to try new flavors and odd things, then Trader Joe's is the store for you. As far as I'm concerned, I'd LOVE to see Trader Joe's become a "big chain." We drive two hours to stock up at ours in Columbus.
Baker sez try the chicken breast strips, but stand back about an hour later. That's his "Mether's goin' away" treat. He loves to see me grab my car keys!

dguzman said...

I've heard a lot about Trader Joe's and I shopped at one in NYC when we were there last summer. My thoughts on it are similar to the first anonymous's comments -- a big chain, sort-of a yuppie sensation right now. I also prefer to patronize local stores. But it's pretty popular, as the other commenters can attest!

Bill said...

OK....that Julie z can paint an amazing word picture can't she!!! I was going to tell you why we like Trader Joes.....and then I read her comment......made me feel like I just strolled through the store! (We go to the same one in Columbus.) She did, however, not mention the Vanilla Almond Crunch cereal, bagels or FREE SAMPLES!