"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

For A Few Pounds Of Sugar

Here are three of my husband's four bee-hives.The jars in front of each hive are full of sugar water to feed the bees and help get them through the wet, cold days of our spring weather which does not provide enough nectar & pollen for new hives.The close-up shows the feeder jar. You can see how the bottom of the jar slides into the hive allowing the bees access from inside the hive.My husband has been keeping these feeders full, so the bees have no lack, plus, the flowers, trees, grasses and weeds are blooming.
Now, take a look here.In front of the picture window.
We have two HUMMINGBIRD feeders there, but the hummingbirds have to zip through the honeybees to drink the sugar water we put out for them.
The hummingbirds also compete with yellow jackets, hornets, and ants.
 I sure hope we have a bounty of honey this year,  given the honey bee take-over of the hummingbird feeders.I wish I could have captured on my camera the sight of the hummingbirds weaving around the honeybees, and one hummingbird even seemed to be doing a face to face mirror dance with a bee. There are so many little dramas & comedies going on around here all at one time.How could I ever get bored with so much entertainment? This little bit of comedy is to be had for only the price of a few pounds of sugar.

Friday, May 25, 2012

They Too Loved the Sun & Rain

These 4 little boys enjoyed playing soldiers in our woods , not too many years ago.The two boys on the left are my nephews, both are now men married with children of their own and serving in the ministry of our Lord . The 2 boys on the right are our sons, they strive to serve Jesus too, but not in any paid positions..The tallest boy is our oldest son who served in the U.S.M.C. for 11 years doing 2 tours of duty in Iraq , one as a tank commander.All 4 boys loved a Grandpa who served in the U.S. Army in Korea and Vietnam, and our nephews' mother ( my baby sister) served in the U.S. Navy ,and their father was a Sea Bee. The two boys on the left also have a sister who serves in the U.S.Navy and now their youngest brother serves there too..Our sons' other Grandpa served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. Fortunately, our son came home alive, as did my father, father-in-law, and our nephew's father.So many did not.

Our son and my father lost many friends and brothers in arms.I know I cannot truly understand the loss of someone you fought along -side and may have seen die,or cradled them in your arms as life left them, but I do know this is  life-changing ,something  you can never forget.Even pondering this breaks my heart. Little boys emulating soldiers, so soon becoming warriors, and life changes for them in an instant.What I do know is the men and women I have talked to joined the military branch of their choice because they really felt called to serve their country and I know our son and my father were willing to give their lives for their country, believing their country was worth their sacrifice.Having a few friends and acquaintances who would mockingly belittle such noble ideals , and seeing the news make light of the ideals so many in the history of our country knowingly and willingly sacrificed their lives for, causes me to praise God for those who will stand for their ideals, for our country,and in so doing are not mocking the people they sacrifice for.So unlike what I see in those who voice their views against the ideals of our founding fathers, against those who stand and die for freedom, and for a country that has stood firm for those seeking these ideals..until this time in history.

I am thankful , unabashedly, for the American ideals of freedom for all, but wonder why this freedom is being squashed in the idiocy of being politically correct , and why we will censor truth so as not to offend those who would gladly terminate us for this freedom?Why we are so willing to eliminate or censor any celebrations deeming themselves "Christian" but embrace any and all honoring  those who are anti-American and anti-Christian ? What does this say to our youth, and what will this bring about in the near future as the children we raised in such idiocy become our leaders and the enforcers of politically correct ideals?

I wonder about this as I ponder the Christians of Nazi Germany,you know, so cool, so new, so...against the Jews and those who would support or defend them? So much like what I see now. How did I get to this ,here, in this post? Well, the loved ones I know who have served in the military fought for the ideals our country seems to have left behind in the pursuit of a new message, one that seems to mock, berate, and show shame for ideals that many, many thousands in our history DID die for.Shame on us, but most sad of all, it seems the shed blood of our countrymen cries out for the loss.So many good and righteous men and women buried , having died far away from home and loved ones, so the youth of our country can mock them, vandalize their cities, and give up rights won at great cost to show themselves to be "cool" and follow current media idols.

Happily, all 4 of these boys have grown up to be Godly men.They miss their Grandpa ( my father), a veteran who died when they were young.My father loved us, he loved this country. He would not understand those who take our liberty so lightly and are quick to mock this country, and apologize to the world for who we are.I appreciate him and what he stood for more and more and am thankful our sons and nephews do too.

It seems to me , honoring veterans of our wars is best done by remembering what they gave their lives for, and that is our country, their fellow brothers-in-arms, their families.Many felt they were honoring God in serving....mocking and belittling them, their families, our country , seem small , petty,and mean.

Take some time to reflect on the military men and women you know or are related to . Thank them. Remember those who fought and died in military service in this country. It is a small and quick thing to do for those who lost their lives and cannot enjoy this holiday weekend you are looking forward to, but I suspect, they would not begrudge you this. The freedom to celebrate any and all occasions with those you love in a country proclaiming freedom is what they signed up to fight for!

"For love of country they accepted death."James Garfield
"We who are left how shall we look again Happily in the sun or feel the rain ,Without remembering how they who went ungrudging and spent their lives for us loved , too, the sun and the rain?"Wilfred Wilson Gibson
 "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal.." headstone in Ireland
"The dead soldier's silence sings our national anthem." Aaron Kilbourn

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hawk & Blizzard

Blizzard our Siamese cat enjoyed a day in the sun.
Blizzard wears a harness and leash because we have lost too many beloved cats to predators, and we also do not like our cats to eat the many wild birds we feed.
Blizzard enjoyed chasing bugs & butterflies, bees and ...
But the most fun of all was stalking, attacking, and wrestling our dog Hawk, a willing participant in their never-ending games, most often played indoors on Hawk's pillow in front of the t.v.
O.K. Rest time in the shade, the games will continue later on tonight,indoors.
Blizzard keeps watch on Hawk, and stalks him all day, attacks Hawk whenever he can grab him, and when the two of them are exhausted, they fall asleep together on Hawk's pillow. I think they are pretty evenly matched, but most often Blizzard shows himself the winner of their friendly wrestling matches.I think Hawk allows this because he loves having a furry companion to cuddle and claim as his own. Whatever brings them together and binds their friendship, they are fun to watch !

Friday, May 18, 2012

From The Porch ~The Chipmunk

Do you see her? This little chipmunk is hanging out with the concrete bunny in front of our porch.
She seemed to like having her picture taken,
Such tiny perfection, such glossy fur, such bright eyes, such delicate little fingers ( paws?) She is busy though, there are seeds to be eaten and gathered, and I think she has young ones waiting for her in some cozy , safe haven hidden from the cats and any other predators looking for little chipmunk snacks.She is so bold and fearless though. I hope she stays safe , she is a sight to enjoy from the porch.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Springing With Joy ~Lambs

Lambs are the perfect illustration of the word 'spring'."Spring: to leap, bound...to spurt; dart;shoot." Webster's
 I am not sure which lamb starts the little flock of lambs going, but in the early evenings, especially if it is a sunny evening, one lamb seems to give a certain look, then without warning, a whole group of lambs begins to run, leap, circle and spring, seemingly, with great joy, into the air, twisting mid-air to face the opposite direction,  land, and begin again, over and over.There is no T.V. show that can compete with this, and I love to sip a cup of good coffee as I watch my lambs play their lamb games.
 Sometimes the yearlings get into the game too, and to see a larger sheep jumping into the air, and leaping off logs to run around with the lambs is truly a delight, but I do have to laugh at the larger and older lambs as they jiggle as they run. Kind of like older ladies having fun with their young'uns, jiggling and laughing for the sheer joy of life."Joy:state of happiness, bliss." Websters Dictionary. I don't know about you,but in spite of so-called modern "wisdom" , I think animals do experience joy and happiness, just watch my lambs, baby bunnies,goat kids,puppies, foals,well...you get the picture."Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious." Psalm 66:1

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Simply Thankful

Our first-born, our daughter, and me. Her birth made me a mother , and for that precious gift I am thankful.She is now married and  a mother with 4 children of her own.

Our 2 sons ( shown with me ) were born very soon after our daughter and I can honestly say the years I spent at home raising our children were some of the very best years of my life. Don't get me wrong, I am still enjoying life and consider these years wonderful too, but I thoroughly enjoyed being with my children in all stages of their lives, and still do. The amazing thing is I am enjoying their children too !
I don't have anything witty & wise to say this year about Mother's Day because I feel simply thankful. This year it will be a quiet day, and that is very nice. My children have their own children to celebrate the occasion with them, but they have remembered to call me. I am fortunate to be able to be with my children and grandchildren frequently and have a lot of fun with them. But today I will enjoy my front porch. I will leisurely sip coffee as I sit in the rocking chair, watching the birds and my lambs.My husband & I will read the Sunday paper together, and later barbecue some chicken.I also plan on working around our pond, because I like doing that. I will think of my children and their children, I will pray for them all. ( How can I not?) I will again praise God for allowing me the privilege of being a mother and a grandmother, something never to take for granted.I am thankful that today I know my children are all healthy and safe, as are my grandchildren. I am thankful to know that my children & their spouses call Jesus their Savior, that the 7 oldest grandchildren do too. What else can possibly be better than that except for the youngest grandchild to come to Him too? "This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bugle-Weed Becomes Us ~

The front walk-way to our home has been a true gardening challenge.When we first built our home it was shaded by towering firs, cedars, and hemlocks. We loved the trees surrounding our home and by choice planted shade-loving flora & fauna, and just as we felt our landscaping plans were finished, needing only maintenance, a windstorm knocked our trees down and 3 of them fell on and through our roof crushing it, requiring major repair.We had the few remaining trees surrounding our home cut down and then had to re-think our shade garden landscaping, because now most of our flower beds were in the sun.
What surprised us was many of the plants we had already planted for shade, were thriving in full sunshine now.The blooming plant here is Ajuga, or commonly called 'Bugle-Weed'. Along with the a fore-mentioned violets, and Lady's Mantle,the Bugle-weed not only thrives, but prospers. The blue color appeals to us, but even better, my husband & I sit on the porch and watch the bees and hummingbirds constantly humming and buzzing to and fro. Butterflies too are attracted to the flowers.
 The Bugle-weed has popped up in other places around our property, just as the violet and Lady's Mantle have, showing an ability to withstand the extremes the weather dishes out. From very hot and dry, to very wet, cold, and dark. These plants all have withstood my dogs urinating and defecating on them regularly, my ducks digging through them and squashing them, and slugs galore!Here they are, my Ajuga, violets, and Lady's Mantle, blooming again to please the bees and hummingbirds, make our entrance pretty, and this pleases us. I need to mention, they are growing on rocks,with sidewalk on one side, and the house foundation on the other, so when I say the growing conditions can be very hot and dry, believe me, this is true!
I should also mention the Bleeding Hearts too. They grow up along our porch and they have seeded themselves in many other places on our property. Oh boy do the hummingbirds love these!
Look at the Ajuga and Bleeding Hearts ,what abundance, especially for nectar gatherers.
I do miss our shady porches and the towering trees,but a sun-shiny front porch with such hardy and prolific flowers has proven to be just as much of a respite from the days work, and I have to admit, seeing hummingbirds flying around the porches and enjoying the blooms, and realizing although we had planted for shade,the plants have done even better in the sun ,has more than made up for what we considered loss.Besides, now when the windstorms rage, I don't worry about our roof giving way to trees, and that counts for a LOT! "Ajuga :about 50 species of low-growing annuals ( they grow all year round here *) and perennials make up this genus, which ranges through Europe, Asia,Africa, and Australia, mainly in cooler regions....the plants spread by runners or underground rhizomes, some forming extensive carpets.They make attractive ground covers, especially for shady places, such as corners of courtyards." 'The Plant Book' The Plant Book (Mynah)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sweet Violets ~Tenacious & Persistant

Violets prosper in my gardens.They have almost become as weeds, choking out plants and flowers we deliberately planted...
...so much so that last year I worked very hard to eradicate them.It did not work, they have sprung up in greater numbers this spring.
This year I am appreciating their hardiness. Look at these violets springing up in my herb garden. They have survived the storms, the onslaught of slugs, crushing branches, and even peek out from under weeds that can choke a tree.
The violets in the picture above are a bit different than the previous picture, they are a different variety. You can see the tiny, dark purple plant in the foreground. The violets are holding their own amidst the bugle-weed and Lady's Mantle, both vigorous and aggressive plants themselves. I did not deliberately plant violets here on our property, they snuck in by hiding themselves in pots of newly purchased herbs.The good thing about weeding violets out of the garden is that my chickens love to eat them, so do my sheep.Even as weeds violets are useful.

I have been reading about this little plant that is beginning to claim my heart. For one thing, it is blooming at a time when there are not a lot of flowers in my gardens, thanks to the weather. The violets bloom in the hot summers, in the shade. They thrive in rocky and dry soil, wet and sloppy soil.
Violets are used in medicines, cosmetics, perfumes, teas, in cooking.Some ancients used violets to "moderate anger".I am going to try crystallizing some violet flowers to decorate desserts, and may even try some of the herbal remedies ,with such an abundant crop, why not?
I am not going to be quite so hard on the violets anymore. They can have a little space here and there.
On reading about flower symbolism I see the violet is associated with modesty, virtue, humility, calmness. I think the violet should symbolize tenacity, persistence, survival,determination. And beauty. Delicate beauty that belies is hardiness. "Winds wander, and dews drip earthward; Rains fall, suns rise and set; Earth whirls, and all but to prosper a poor little violet." James R. Lowell