Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Montpelier Estate - The Home of James and Dolley Madison

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Montpelier Estate, Virginia
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Orange, Virginia, Montpelier was the lifelong home of James Madison. Madison was raised at Montpelier, lived here after his marriage to Dolley, returned here after his presidency, and died here in his study surrounded by the books and papers that marked so much of his life's work.

It was at Montpelier where Madison researched past democracies and conceived of the system of government that became our republic.

The Montpelier estate features the Madison mansion, historic buildings, exhibits, archaeological sites, gardens, forests, hands-on activities, a new Visitor Center, and a freedman's cabin and farm. Here, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can spend an hour or two—or a day or two—strolling the grounds, picnicking, and learning more about the man whose contemporaries called "Father of the Constitution," and the woman who inspired the title "First Lady."

Since 2004 the Montpelier mansion has been undergoing a massive restoration to return it to the home that James and Dolley knew and loved. A $25 million architectural restoration was unveiled on September 17, 2008.

Content Source: Montpelier Website

Donna and Randal at Huge Ancient Cedar of Lebanon
at Entrance to the Montpelier Estate Gardens
View my photo gallery of two separate visits to Montpelier, three years apart.  The photos are not only titled but there is a lot of information about the history: Montpelier Estate - Home of President James and First Lady Dolley Madison

Our favorite spot was by an ancient Cedar of Lebanon which was planted in the early 1820's which was during Madison's time.  It's been said that the three large cedars were a gift from France delivered during one of Lafayette's visits in 1824.

The cedar of Lebanon was the tree said to have been chosen by Solomon for providing the timbers to build the Temple. While there are some botanists who assign species status to a fourth form of Cedrus, it is generally accepted that there are only three species of the genus Cedrus in the world, the cedar of Lebanon (C. lebani), the Deodar cedar (C deodara) from the Himalayas, and the Atlas cedar (C. atlantica) from the Atlas Mountains of North Africa.

All three of these species can be viewed on the Montpelier mansion lawn. Many of our trees we commonly call “cedars” are really junipers.

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Bird Feeders of the Future

High Tech Feeders Track Visits by Birds

A new use of technology called RFID (radio frequency identification) on feeders is yielding more information about birds than scientists ever dreamed possible. The feeders track visits by individual birds. Cornell Lab scientists now have data on 650,000 visits to feeders by 129 individual songbirds in 5 months. They learned that individual birds took up to 203 seeds in a single day and most chickadees had favorite feeders. Read the entire article.

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Garlic as Medicine

From Creation Moments

Numbers 11:5
"We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic."

Garlic. Even say the word and some people move away to give you some distance. Others gather around because, to them, garlic helps make the meal. Garlic has begun to attract the attention of medical researchers as well.

At the Tagore Medical College in India, researcher Arun Bordia kept track of 432 heart attack survivors for three years. During that time, half of the survivors drank the juice from six to ten cloves of fresh garlic each day, while others took a garlic-scented drink with no garlic in it.

Over the three-year period, the garlic group had 32% fewer heart attacks and 45% fewer deaths than the other group. Research in the United States with chickens, who metabolize cholesterol in much the same way as humans, suggests a reason for these results. Chickens that were fed aged garlic extract showed a 50% reduction in the kind of cholesterol that clogs arteries.

Medical researchers are also looking at some interesting evidence that garlic may help prevent some forms of cancer, especially stomach cancer.

When the Creator made the heavens and Earth, He knew that humans would disobey Him, destroying the creation with sin. He also knew that in doing so we would bring disease and death into the world. We can thank Him that He stocked the Earth with substances that could be used to treat some of the earthly effects of sin. However, we can thank Him even more joyfully that He provided the full cure for sin for each of us in the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ!

Dear Father, I ask that You would not allow the wonderful gifts You have given us to make this life better distract me from my eternal needs and Your spiritual supply in my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

"Garlic medicine: cures in cloves?" Science News, v. 138, Sept. 8, 1990. p. 157.

Read about Nature's Sunshine High-Potency Odor-Controlled Garlic.

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What Death of a Child Did For Other Children

The Touch A Life Foundation was founded in June of 1999, after Pam and Randy Cope suffered the death of their 15-year-old son Jantsen. Just hours after this otherwise healthy, athletic, remarkable young man finished football practice, Jantsen died suddenly from an undetected heart defect.

Afterwards, while dealing with the tremendous grief of losing their son, Pam and Randy decided that in lieu of flowers at his funeral, they would ask people to donate money to a memorial fund established in Jantsen’s name. To their surprise, they raised nearly $25,000.

Unsure of how to spend the money—thinking first that they would build a playground in their hometown of Neosho, Missouri or buy new uniforms for the girls’ soccer team—they eventually decided to donate a portion of the funds to their friends who had built an orphanage in Vietnam.

To ensure that this was the best place for Jantsen’s money, Pam, Randy and their 11-year-old daughter Crista traveled to Vietnam to visit the orphanage.

It was here that everything changed!

The poverty suffered by people in Vietnam was nothing like Pam or Randy had experienced before, and as they walked the streets of cities like Saigon and Danang, they began to pay attention, and eventually get to know, some of the children forced to live and beg on the streets. After returning home, Pam began to read about the problem of street children in Vietnam, commonly known as doi moi, or “dust of the earth:” about the beatings and fear they were forced to endure, their hunger and malnutrition, and, worst of all, their chances of being picked up by child traffickers and forced to work in hard labor conditions or sexual bondage.

Hoping to do their part to save at least a few children from this fate—and a future in slavery—Pam and Randy decided to partner with volunteers in Vietnam and use Jantsen’s gift to rent a house in Saigon, hire houseparents and bring in fifteen children who would be given a permanent home, an education, medical care, and a chance to be part of a family. A few months later, they rented another house, brought home fifteen more kids, and Touch a Life was born. Today, the foundation supports 211 children in eleven group homes throughout Vietnam.

In 2006, Touch A Life expanded their work across the globe to Ghana, West Africa, after Pam and Randy read an article in the New York Times about the thriving child slave trade there. Thousands of children, some as young as five years old, are sold to work in the fishing industry or as domestic servants in the Lake Volta region. After learning of the neglect and abuse these children are forced to endure on a daily basis, the Copes knew that Touch A Life had to get involved. To date, working in partnership with a remarkable team of Ghanaians, TAL has rescued 68 children from slavery and built a residential facility where these former slave children can live, receive an education and have a chance at hope.

Visit the Touch A Life Website.

In April of 2009, Pam’s memoir was published to critical acclaim. Read about this book:
Jantsen’s Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue and Grace and order your copy. What an inspiration of what can happen with the bad events of our lives.

The Touch A Life team is now based in Dallas, Texas.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Man With Hope For The Future

I was particularly touched by this encouraging story of Jessner and his family in Haiti that appeared in the Summer issue of The Sower newsletter. After the hardships and trauma that many experienced in that country, there is always a glimmer of hope and forward-thinkers shining brightly amidst the rubble. Enjoy ...

Jessner’s Corner

By Scott Sabin, Executive Director
For as long as I have been here we have had a section in The Sower called “The Director’s Corner.” Sometimes it has my picture next to it, and sometimes I make our editor leave it off. I realize that it is my job to represent the organization—to be the face of the organization, if you will. However, all of the really great things we are doing are being accomplished not by me but by the people we work with, the people who are empowered by your support and prayer. They are the ones who have planted the 6.3 million trees that we talk about. They are the ones operating the savings and loan groups, and they are the ones restoring fertility and abundance to the land. They are the heroes of the Plant With Purpose story. So today I would like this to be Jessner’s Corner.
Jessner is a Haitian farmer with almost no formal education. I took this picture of him last spring, shortly after the earthquake. This picture of him with his son offers a great window on his character and personality. It was a time when smiles were the last thing one would expect to see. Yet Jessner is a man with hope for the future and he is a man who has discovered his vocation.
As it turns out, he has an enormous talent for agricultural innovation and experimentation. He lives not far from our office in southern Haiti where he runs our research farm. His own farm is filled with experiments he has devised to test the interactions between various plants and trees. When I last visited, he proudly showed me the work he had done, work that had begun to restore and return fruitfulness to a steep rocky plot of land where he and his family draw sustenance.
The media rarely talks about the poor except to portray them as victims, helplessly awaiting rescue. Poor people, sadly, often buy into the same story. They believe the lie that they have nothing to offer, no talent that is valuable to anyone. This lie is even stronger among subsistence farmers, the rural poor. In most countries they are looked upon as backwards, an impediment to development, despite the fact they often produce much of the wealth of the country.
Since the earthquake there has been much speculation in the media about who, from the outside, should “fix” Haiti. There has been an expectation that the disaster relief and associated aid would rescue the country and set it in the right direction. This has been followed by disappointment when the relief work did nothing to correct the deeper problems that face the country. Today most articles tend to lack hope. But I think Jessner, and a million more like him, are the hope of Haiti.
One of the most important things we do at Plant With Purpose is help people discover and utilize their talents. I believe an important and sometimes neglected part of the Gospel is the good news that Jesus calls us all to contribute to the kingdom. All of us have talents, and all of us have something to offer. All of us have a vocation. Jessner is a man who has discovered his.

Scott Sabin
Executive Director
Visit our website, www.plantwithpurpose.org, for the most recent update on our work in Haiti and to donate toward these efforts.

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Save Cash with Online Bartering

By Noble Sprayberry

Cash-averse shoppers – people who prefer barter over buy – have pushed transactions traditionally made face-to-face onto the more anonymous web.

Sites such as barterquest.com and u-exchange.com allow shoppers to trade a range of good and services. Others specialize, such as homeexchange.com, which bartersvacation homes, and swap.com, which focuses on items such as books, movies, and video games. Many others exist.

'Since there is a proliferation of barter websites out there, you do have to be a little savvy about the site you choose,' says Shera Dalin a co-author along with Karen Hoffman, of the book, The Art of Barter: How to Trade for Almost Anything. Read the entire article.

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Skip Inhumane Declawing Cat with Alternatives

Skipper Loved to Take a Break from His Scratching Post
Pet cats could be unpredictable creatures once in a while; we cherish them so much that we often provide expense for their meals, toys, coat shampoos, etc

— but they nonetheless take pleasure to scratch everything in sight and usually it’ll be your $2000 sofa, pricey chair, or the legs of your dining room table.

That is why it really is so important to own a cat scratching post in your house, given that the companies that produce them, make a merchandise that’s more captivating to your feline than anything else inside your home.

Pet cats love to scratch so they can preserve their claws at the proper length, at the same time also keeping them razor sharp. This isn’t something to hold against them, as it is something that is hard wired into their genetics (in the outdoors a cats claws are weapons for securing onto prey before they make a kill, or defensive weapons against predators). Read about alternatives galore!

Sponsored by Life's Abundance Healthy Pet Foods.

Yellow-rumped Warblers Coming North

by Donna L. Watkins

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Yellow-rumped Warbler

These warblers migrate later than most. They don't even arrive in the south until late September and they winter over much further north. If you can attract these pretty birds you will be blessed by its ferocious appetite for a variety of bugs.

There are two species of this bird. The Myrtle Warbler hangs out in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and the Audubon Warbler is common from West Texas to Northern California.

We get to enjoy the Myrtle variety here in Virginia.  Last year we had quite a flock of them.  They really enjoyed the suet feeders on our Front Porch Bird Buffet.  I was surprised they hung around since I picture warblers in warmer weather, but I found out that the Yellow-rumped Warbler is the only warbler able to digest the waxes found in wax myrtles and bayberries. Its ability to use these fruits allows it to winter farther north than other warblers, sometimes as far north as Newfoundland. Wow!

They'd be nice to have around in summer since they eat mainly insects then, with a long list of choices: leaf and bark beetles, weevils, ants, scale insects, aphids, grasshoppers, caddisflies, craneflies, gnats, spiders, caterpillars and other larvae. Obviously the choice of caterpillars may not always be a good one if they're beautiful butterflies or beneficial moths.

They do eat spruce budworm which is a serious forest pest. Other favored fruits are juniper berries, poison ivy, poison oak, greenbrier, grapes, Virginia creeper, and dogwood. Preferred wild seeds are beach grasses and goldenrod. If they come to feeders, they'll eat sunflower seeds, raisins, peanut butter, and suet.

Watch a short video of a Yellow-rumped Warbler in the rain.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Birds Mobbing a Black Rat Snake

by Donna L. Watkins

I was reading on the porch when the birds began "mobbing" something from the holly tree that is outside the breakfast room window (we thought it was a bush when we planted it). I always figure it's a snake but they usually do this in trees so I've never seen what they see with their amazing bird's eye view.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Black Rat Snake in Holly
First let me mention that these snakes are good snakes. They are not aggressive even when handled. They will keep your property free of things that you would enjoy less than a snake, I assure you.

Black Rat Snakes enjoy resting on branches in trees and bushes, but I now know I've been looking too far away from where the birds are making their fuss. As I observed from this experience, they're right where the snake is. My view was only a foot away from the window, so I was so excited to have a front row seat.

There were five species fussing over it and shouting their alarm calls. I did get a two-minute video of them flying at him and hopping all around him. Very odd! I was so surprised. They would make a huge fuss. He never moved. Then they'd go feed and 5 minutes later somebody would come check again and begin the whole scene over with everybody else flying in and out of the bush around him.

I couldn't believe how close they would get to him. They kept moving around the bush, hopping in really close, especially the wren which you can see in the video between the branches. Various species would fly around him to scare him off. He never budged.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Black Rat Snake
I took the opportunity of being able to get some underside and side views by going outside. Since he was facing away from me, I stroked his back to get him moving to a better place to get the underside view and get a picture of his face which was mostly hidden behind a leaf when viewing from inside the house.

He was 2-1/2 feet long but very thin. As you can see from the photo, the body closest to his head is even thinner than the other half, which may mean that the back half still has some food moving through. I thought the wiggly design was pretty cool but have no idea why his body seem to be laid in ripples.

The raindrops were a nice added touch also. At first I was wondering why he had two bumps on the top of his head, and then I realized they were raindrops. Even on a slant they seem to stay on his skin so that intrigues me since the skin is so smooth. Maybe it has something to do with the actual scales.  View video: Black Rat Snake With Birds Mobbing

Get detailed info on the Eastern Rat Snake at eNature.com.  They even come in different colors.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Anti-GMO Movement in Europe Offers Lessons For USA

Get a group of people together to talk about the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) gobbling up American soil and, chances are, someone will bring up "what happened in Europe."

How is it that our neighbors across the pond were able to swiftly enact mandatory labeling laws and essentially ban genetically modified (GM) crops in six European states, while here in the United States we let the biotech machine plow on? What lessons can we learn from the Europeans? Georgina Silby has some ideas.

After you read the story, you may want to view: GMO timeline: 1976-2011.

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Plant for Pollinators

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - St. John's Wort with Pollinators
Did you know that there are many native bees that are struggling due to habitat loss?

In addition to bees, it’s important to create a welcoming habitat for other pollinators like butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and even flies and beetles.

This article written for National Pollinator Week gives you some ideas for your Fall planting in the garden.

Next year you could make a big difference for pollinators by choosing wisely for what you plant this Fall. Not only do you help wildlife, but you get to delight in their provided entertainment. Read the entire article.

Here’s some other tips for attracting different pollinators:

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Plan An Autumn Treasure Hunt

An Autumn Treasure Hunt
By Stephanie Boles

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Baby Brown Thrasher
When there is a plethora of leaves and other fall items, what should you do? Go on a treasure hunt, of course.

This article includes several ideas for the young gardener to make crafts from items found in the fall landscape.

Why not introduce your children to the joy of gardening by taking them on an autumn treasure hunt, and then make fall crafts together.  Continue reading »

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Roses - Created By God


Isaiah 40:8
"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever."

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Rose in the
Billy Graham Library Garden - Charlotte, NC
Roses have fascinated people for thousands of years. While modern rose strains are the result of two centuries of breeding, the Greek naturalist Theophrastus wrote about the hundred-petaled rose 2,400 years ago. The Autumn Damask rose, which blossoms in both spring and fall, was nurtured and cultivated by the ancient Romans. The first settlers in China began to cultivate roses over 4,000 years ago.
Rose breeding is one of the oldest human experiments in the science of genetics. Roses are bred for variations in size, color, frequency of bloom and scent. More than 25 distinct scents have been identified in roses. By the mid-19th century, breeders had developed some 4,000 varieties of roses.
Perhaps roses with names like Chrysler Imperial, Charlotte Armstrong or Mirandy sound familiar to you. The man who developed those roses and has won over a dozen "All America Rose of the Year" awards is Walter Lammerts. He became one of the world's leading authorities on roses while he worked as the senior breeder at Armstrong Roses. He also developed four varieties of peaches.
Dr. Lammerts is a creationist. He not only rejects evolution, but he blames belief in evolution for slowing the development of better strains of plants. He points out that breeders who think change takes place slowly and through evolution don't expect to make much progress, and they waste time trying to fit what they learn into evolution. He adds that, despite thousands of years of breeding, roses are still roses.
Dear Father, I thank You for the improvements to life on Earth that have been made through the efforts of Bible-believing scientists like Dr. Lammerts. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Mohs, M. 1987. "Where has all the fragrance gone?" Discover, June. p. 90. Photo: Autumn Damask roses, courtesy of A. Barra.

Visit the Creation Moments website.

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Doctors Take Aim At Antibiotic Resistance From Factory Farming

As the U.S. government stalls, other countries are moving ahead. Denmark, the world's leading exporter of pork, began phasing out non-therapeutic use of antibiotics more than 15 years ago.

Many U.S. experts on antibiotic resistance are frustrated that it has taken their country so long to take action. The FDA expressed their concern regarding the severity of the problem as early as the 1970s, and Ellen Silbergeld, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, suggested that the dangers have been obvious for far longer.

In 1945, upon accepting his piece of the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery and isolation of penicillin, Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming delivered an ominous warning. "The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. Then there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and, by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug, make them resistant," said Fleming, who had observed antibiotic resistance in his lab.

His warning went largely unheeded. Soon after, the FDA approved use of the drugs in livestock feed, and the effectiveness of penicillin quickly plummeted.

In a May 2011 lawsuit filed against the FDA for failing to curtail antibiotic use in animal feed, the plaintiff, the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, cited research suggesting that nearly half of the meat and poultry products in the U.S. contained drug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus -- of which more than half were resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics. Read the entire article.

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Recovering Lost Pets

This is Bandit, but he's definitely not lost!
This is my friend Robin's dog.  A real cutie like her!
LostMyDoggie.com provides a service to help you find lost pets.

They have three different methods for sale, but the website offers a lot of information and tips for how to recover lost pets.

I found out about it because I received a flyer at our home on a lost dog in our community.  I've seen lots of them over the years ... but never one that is linked with a website.  I was intrigued.

The end of that particular story is that our free weekly county newspaper reported that the dog was found very quickly, which was important since it was on medications.

It's nice to see something work!  Keep the link ... you never know when you might need it.

 Here's a great info page to begin with and then you can look around: Lost Pet Tips.

Don't forget to bookmark the website and to share it with friends and family.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Newsletter - 9/15/11

Hello Dear Friends,

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins
Mushroom Looks Like an Orange with Bits of Icing
In enlarged view it looks like the peel of an orange.
We've had a lot of rain and with each day of it we pray that Texas would be rained on and all water sources refilled.  It certainly makes us grateful for it and hard to complain about rainy days.

With the moist soil we've had oodles of mushroom varieties.  I took a 20-minute walk in our backyard one day and got lots of photographs.

You can view the mushrooms in the Bluebird Cove Garden Gallery.  You can search for the word "mushroom" with the search box at the top to see all mushrooms from this year.

I had such a grand birthday last year to celebrate my 60th, that this year I seemed to have no interest in making any plans.  Our son came last year to celebrate with me and the mere fact that he wouldn't be here this year made looking back at last year's birthday much more appealing than planning for this one.

Donna Opening Gift #1 From Son Who Was On The Phone
Randal kept asking me what I wanted to do and I honestly could come up with absolutely nothing ... which for all who know me well as the great planner ... that was really odd.

By the end of the day, though, we realized that God had plans and that's why my spirit kept saying, "no plans, thank you."  Our family tradition is for our son to call so I can open his gifts while he's on the phone and Randal is snapping away with the camera.

As you can see from the photo, the phone is on the fireplace hearth, I've opened my first gift of a card game, Uno National Parks Version, and Randal is snapping away.  We talked for three hours and ten minutes to our wonderful son with a focus on quite a broad range of topics.  What a treat!  There were other calls, emails and cards that were lined up on the fireplace mantel so it turned out to be a really peaceful and joyful birthday focused around relationships rather than experiences.  Life is a balance of both.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Caryopteris in Bloom
Being a Saturday, we spent much of the day on the screened porch watching the wildlife entertain us.  We have our chaise chairs facing the back woods and right in front of the them is a bed of Caryopteris bushes.  I love the color of them.  They are now blooming.  They were given to us by our neighbor friends, Ken & Yvonne Bushell, years ago.  I've mentioned Ken, the artist, wildlife gardener, engineer,  photographer, etc. who has now moved to Tennessee with all of his talents.  We really miss them.  We still share photos by email - see a few of Ken's photos on my gallery.

We do have other delightful neighbors next door who are lovers of wildlife (and have rescued three beautiful black labs).  She and I email about wildlife in the woods behind us.  Yesterday I received a beautiful short email from her that I considered pure poetry.  I asked her permission to share it with my Creation-loving friends, so here it is:
I'm so excited. Did you hear the Owls last night? They were (I think) two of them outside our bedroom window between our other neighbor's house and ours. I stayed awake listening to them until 1:00 a.m. They were wonderful and the most vocal of any I've ever heard. When we were in NC, we had them all around but they never continually hooted like these two. With the [harvest] moon above and these wonderful sounds, I just couldn't go to sleep and let the beauty of the sky and sounds go to waste. Ahhh.. God's creatures and the lovely sky with all its inhabitants He has created.  God Bless!  D
© Donna L. Watkins
Red-spotted Purple Admiral Butterfly on Sedum
Speaking of wildlife and God's creatures ... I am always amazed at the different personalities of various critters.  The selfishness of hummingbirds is evident as they expend so much energy chasing away others from "their" feeder.  Learning to share would save them all those unnecessary tank-draining flight minutes.

Life is lived better with open hands and fingers, being willing to let some of what God gives us slip through to other hands that are more needy than our own.

Regarding the hummingbirds, I saw something new on the deck where they enjoy the flowering plants that I put in pots because the deer eat them up in the ground.  The sedum has just begun to bloom and the hummingbirds have loved it.  It's also a big butterfly attractor so we've had a variety of butterflies and currently lots of Red-spotted Purple Admirals.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Molting Female Cardinal
It seems the butterfly and the hummingbird both liked the same flower, so the bird would literally chase the butterfly away from that flower every time it landed on it. 

Considering I have three big pots of these blooming sedums on the deck. I simply call that naughty, but then my grandmother used to call me that a lot, and I cannot claim innocence.

Have you been seeing a lot of birds with strange feathers and almost bare spots? They are molting. It's a process of changing coats, much like our kitty does. By the end of August and early September many of birds are looking a bit shabby. There’s nothing wrong with them. After a busy summer of nesting and raising the babies, a bird’s feathers get tattered and worn, so they need replacing.

Our wildlife sure were fast in eating up the two 5-gallon buckets of apples we picked up from the ground of a local orchard for them.  We will be going back in a couple of weeks after we finish the bushel of apples we got from the trees for people eating.  The squirrels were fun to watch as they attempted to carry an apple up a tree to consume it.  Some of them dropped to the ground, but most were successful.  Watch a video of Squirrel Eating Apple on Tree Limb.

Take a virtual visit to our backyard wildlife habitat.  Have you visited the Critter Gallery lately or the Garden Gallery?  You can begin to create your own with information at NWF's Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program website.

Winter will arrive much too soon, so be sure to schedule plenty of playtime in God's Creation this Autumn.  Take pictures and revisit the experience one cold Sunday in winter.  Don't let life be eaten up with all to-do tasks.  We need to relax and play too.

If you enjoy this newsletter ... share the website with somebody else.  There's a "Share This" option on the right side.  Thanks!

Love and Hugs,

View Posts By Topic
Posts Since Last Newsletter

The Harvest Moon This Week

Response to Movie, Contagion

Fluoride Spill at Water Facility Burns Hole in Cement

Faith - Knowing the Unknown

Sept. 11 Memorials Include a Wooded Trail

How God Gives You a Life of Faith

Feline Diminished Thirst Reflex

Getting Your Birds to Stay for The Winter

Portrait of the Bottled Water Industry

God's Looking At His Crop

Turning Golf Courses Into Parks

Don't Cut Back Those Flowers!

Conversion at The Chocolate Factory

Is God Crying Over Grass?

Eco-friendly Gardening Increases Property Values

Bats. Sea Turtles and King Crabs in Danger

Newsletter - 9/1/11

What Happens to Birds in Hurricanes 

Previous Posts You May Have Missed

Toxin-Free Pesticides Get Rid of Pests

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The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website: © 2011 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com. The link to use is: www.TheNatureInUs.com.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Harvest Moon This Week

Summer is almost over and the Harvest Moon is looming large in the evening sky right now.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Harvest Moon
The Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox, the day on which summer ends and fall begins. This year’s equinox occurs on Friday, September 23.

The full moon happened last Sunday— but the moon is still big enough the next few days to provide a good look.

Many folks observing the Harvest Moon believe it seems bigger, brighter or more colorful than other full moons. In reality the moon’s large size is just a trick of the eye called a “moon illusion”, caused by the brain perceiving a low-hanging moon as larger than one that’s higher in the sky. Read the entire article.

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Response to Movie, Contagion

From Nina Fascione, Executive Director of Bat Conservation International

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Great White-lined Bat
Some of you may have seen or heard of the movie Contagion, which was released Friday, September 9. This Warner Brothers film written by Steven Soderbergh is about a mysterious, fast-spreading virus that kills countless humans around the world.

In the end, it is concluded that the virus was linked to bats.

Bat Conservation International is concerned that the issues raised by this film may damage the cause of bat conservation. 

For decades, they have worked to educate the public and to change negative perceptions about bats. I hope this movie will not undo the progress they have made.

This is BCI's official statement about Contagion:

"Although bats sometimes harbor pathogens, any risk pales in contrast to the benefits bats provide. In fact, bats hunt and reduce the number of insects carrying diseases such as West Nile Virus. And scientists recently concluded that bats save American farmers billions of dollars a year by consuming crop-destroying pests.

Bats also pollinate many valuable plants and disperse seeds that help restore damaged rainforests. In North America, right now, bat populations are being decimated by their own disease, White-nose Syndrome, which does not affect humans.

For centuries, bats have been threatened because of misinformation and myths. We hope this movie does not encourage such needless fears."

Video: Great White-lined Bat with Mosquito Buzzing It While Roosting

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Fluoride Spill at Water Facility Burns Hole in Cement

A recent chemical spill at a water treatment facility in Rock Island, Ill., required the assistance of an emergency relief crew decked in the very same type of hazmat suits being worn by workers at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in Japan.

Except instead of radiation, the leaked chemical at the water plant was actually hydrofluorosilicic acid, a chemical fluoride component commonly added to drinking supplies for the stated purpose of preventing cavities. This fluoride chemical is so hazardous that it actually began to burn through parking lot cement in Rock Island before emergency crews arrived on the scene.

According to reports from WQAD News 8 in Moline, a tanker truck delivering the fluoride began to overflow, leaking the chemical directly onto the parking lot where it spilled down towards the street. And before emergency crews arrived on the scene in full hazmat suits and gas masks, the fluoride had actually begun to burn a hole right through the concrete.  Read the entire article.
"In 1995, neurotoxicologist and former Director of toxicology at Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, Dr. Phyllis Mullenix published research showing that fluoride built up in the brains of animals when exposed to moderate levels. Damage to the brain occured and the behavior patterns of the animals was adversely effected.

Offspring of pregnant animals receiving relatively low doses of fluoride showed permanent effects to the brain which were seen as hyperactivity (ADD-like symptoms). Young animals and adult animals given fluoride experienced the opposite effect — hypoactivity or sluggishness. The toxic effects of fluoride on the central nervous system was subsequently confirmed by previously-classified government research.

Two new epidemiological studies which tend to confirm fluoride’s neurotoxic effects on the brain have shown that children exposed to higher levels of fluoride had lower IQs."  (Source: HolisticMed.com)
Additional Resource Book:  The Fluoride Deception

Consider an in-home water treatment system that is more than a simple filter taking out bad odors and improving the taste.  There's too many 'bad things' in our nation's drinking water to trust what comes out of a tap or can be removed by a simple filter.

One consideration is a reverse osmosis water treatment system.  Our preference with that type is the Nature's Sunshine Reverse Osmosis Water Purification System which can be purchased at wholesale prices at this link.

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