Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Newsletter - 10/15/13

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“"I believe that humans are wired for faith and that there is a special healing generated by people who rely on faith.” -- Herbert Benson, M.D., Timeless Healing

Hello Dear Friends,

Seedheads Of Perennials For The Birds
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If you haven't cut back your perennials yet, here's a new way to allow the birds to have the seeds without you having to leave a messy looking garden into the winter season.

Get a container to fit the size of your plants and then when you cut them back to the ground, put them in that container. I used a 5-gallon bucket since we have loads of tall Green-headed Coneflowers. I added some of the Native Bugleweed that spreads like a bushy vine and produces a ton of seeds. I have not seen the birds eat those, but I put a few in to keep a closer watch.

As you can see I placed it all in a bucket and sat it on the deck so we could watch from the breakfast area windows. The finches love the coneflowers. The Purple Finches, House Finches and American Goldfinches eat them up. Wish I'd thought of this idea a long time ago, but I read it in a magazine just a couple weeks ago. It helps to be able to cut back perennials so there's not as much work in the Spring when we're sucking up and chopping leaves to mulch the flower beds and plants.

Oh, how wonderful it is for those leaves to attract oodles of earthworms. Don't know why, but since we began doing that about 7 years ago, we've had them increase tremendously and the leaf mulch has made our soil black and rich to dig in. Prior to that we would buy 24 square yards of hardwood mulch every two years which was not fitting into the gardening budget well. We have a yard full of oak trees so now our mulch is free.

Flying Squirrel in Bird Nest Box
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We've done our semi-annual maintenance and cleaning of the bird nesting boxes. Last Fall when Randal began the process he found a Flying Squirrel in the first box. Then again in the second box. By then he wasn't very interested in doing more since he was disturbing them. However, there weren't any more of them in the rest of our boxes. This year we found a few nut shells in one of the ones that had a squirrel in last year, but we did not see any taking their daytime snooze.

We clean the houses in Fall to get the nest materials out and so the birds can roost in them during Winter. Often a group of birds will keep each other warm by roosting in bird houses. I make a spray of water and some essential oil since they possess so many anti-microbial properties. This time I used Geranium Essential Oil which is especially good for mosquitos, fleas, ticks, etc.

The boxes can be infested with things that will create problems with the babies, so we spray each time we clean. In the Spring we clean them again so they're ready for nesting. The Bluebirds are the first ones to use them here in our habitat. They begin rather early.

Male Monarch Fresh From the Chrysalis
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We haven't seen many Monarchs this year which has been a sad thought. I've been submitting my sightings.  You can submit yours at this website.

They are such beautiful butterflies, but then I guess they're all beautiful. It's the migration of the Monarchs that makes them such a spectacular and amazing butterfly. Read more on why the numbers are down.

Interested in how they tag Monarchs to aid in knowing what's going on in this species? We attended a Monarch Tagging Session at Ivy Creek in our area and learned a lot years ago. View the photos of Monarch Tagging.

Is anybody planting bulbs? Spring-blooming bulbs are planted in the Fall so it's time to get busy with that. We have lots of Daffodils planted which are the first to appear, but the Wood Hyacinths in their stark blue color are a real treat to see in the woods behind the screened porch. It's so dull and barren out there without the ground plants which are mainly wild blueberry bushes for us. We have the Wood Hyacinths planted on Skipper's grave. It's always comforting to see them in the Spring and to know that we'll see him again in Heaven. [Do Animals Go To Heaven?]

Randal Hauling the Apple Wagon
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We have a friend arriving from Alabama tomorrow and we have a day trip planned to Madison County, Virginia, to attend the Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival.  A first for all of us.  It's a much larger event than the one we've been doing for quite a few years.  They have farm animals, a lodge, nature trails, and there will be music and traditional Appalachian clogging (View 2-minute Clogging Video).

I'll be sure to take lots of photos.  It's located up against the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains below the Shenandoah National Park.  We're expecting to see some pretty Fall colors.

We have previously gone to Drumheller's Apple Festival in Nelson County.  We pick a bushel of early apples at the end of August in an orchard here in our county, but they aren't as good as the ones grown over near the mountains, so by mid-October we're ready for another bushel.  They store well in our garage.  We also pick up apples for the neighbors so that's why there's so many apples in the wagon Randal is pulling.

We've been blessed here in Central Virginia to have a lot of orchards for various fruits and also a lot of berry places. Are there any apple orchards where you live? You could Google and find out. What a fun day to take the children or grandchildren to an orchard and show them where fruit comes from. Pretty cool to choose your own apples from the tree too! And there's usually apple cider and apple butter for sale. Maybe a local orchard near you is having a Fall festival also.

Bee Snuggled Into Butterfly Bush Bloom
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This little guy was a late sleeper in our garden. I wasn't surprised to find a bee snuggled up in a butterfly bush bloom. I see them like this in a variety of flowers in the garden and the butterfly bushes are a common place for them. When it gets to be evening they find something to tuck themselves into and snooze the night away. Early in the morning it's easy to find them still snoozing until it warms up. It's a great time to be able to rub their furry backs as the sun warms the air encouraging them to take off for another long day's labors.

Bees are so important for our food supply and there's been so many reports of masses being killed off by the systemic pesticides (that means the chemical becomes part of the plant itself) being used on plants. The numbers are alarming and pesticides have been banned in other countries while the USA continues to promote chemical poisoning not only of the bees but also of people. It all goes into the water supply ... but that's another topic. If you garden, be sure you consider pollinators and choose plants that will provide for these very much needed critters on our planet. [Read: Plant For Pollinators]

Speaking of warming up ... It's amazing how many people have mentioned that the Farmer's Almanac says we're going to have a very cold winter. I know bad news has more "shock value" but I don't understand why. There seems to be a trend of delighting in passing along bad news. We are to encourage and edify one another, not give opportunity to the devil to create fear and dread.

Mourning Dove Praying For Spring
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Maybe it's like any other bad habit ... it's just hard to break without the power of Christ behind it. Jesus said, "apart from me you can do nothing" in Matthew 15:5. Oh, how true. Even when we think we have successfully conquered something our success often seems to be temporary when it comes from the flesh and not our spirit.

Back to the weather ... if anybody wants to counter the bad news with good news, the Farmer's Almanac's accuracy is not very statistically good.  Check out this article from Fox News.

I've spent far too many years dreading winter here in Virginia.  This year I've been asking the Lord to show me all the beauty He sees in winter.  All I can see in the natural world is a struggle to survive outside my windows.  Maybe winter wasn't God's design.  Various seasons are mentioned in the Bible, but winter is not one of them.  I can't imagine the Garden of Eden having a winter season.  Could it be another result of the Fall which turned so many things upside down from God's original design?  If the Israelites came out of Egypt with just what they had on, they certainly weren't prepared to endure a winter out in the middle of a desert wilderness.  Anybody have any ideas on this?

Up From The Grave He Arose ... Triumphant!
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There's so much of the beauty and excitement of discovery lost in winter.  I would like to hibernate.  Dig a hole, crawl in and wake up to find it's already Spring!  What a delight!  But there are many wonderful things that happen day-to-day in winter and I would miss those blessings of life.

I am always fascinated as I discover mushrooms that are triumphantly emerging from their "grave." The soft light weight of a mushroom doesn't have the power within itself to push so much earth above it out of the way. It's the power within it that breaks through and shouts to the world that a spiritual force is all around us, always evident in the things which He has created.

"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made." -- Romans 1:20

I Dwell in the Secret Place of the Most High ...
and abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Ps. 91)
The power of the resurrection resides in us! Christ in us, our hope of glory! If we could comprehend how much power we have in Christ, there would be no circumstance that would make us grim. Surely, even winter would seem like eternal Springtime.  That's a view I'm seeking the Father to give me.

The Bible says we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). So much of the Word is so incredible that our finite minds simply cannot absorb the reality of it all, and so Christ is made unto us wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30) so we can comprehend in our spirits who we are in Christ.  When we can get a revelation on that all things will become new within our minds and heart.

We were created to be filled with the love of God flowing through and from our lives.  Are we seeking and searching for Him with ALL of our heart?  What wonders God has to share with us as we draw close to Him and snuggle into His lap and listen to His words of life and love over us.

"The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice." -- Zephaniah 3:17

Now that's a great visual for how to spend winter.  It's like another form of hibernation.  Being in Christ where the physical world and body no longer direct us lives.  We only see and know and love Him.  Nothing else matters.  We come as a child to delight in His smiles and love for us.  We are pleasing to God.

I plan to include a segment in each newsletter on who we are in Christ.  The Body of Christ would not be depressed or defeated if we could grasp the position we have in Christ through His resurrection and redemption of our eternal lives.

Everybody lives forever, but those in Christ will live eternally with Him.  Use this segment of Word to meditate on for the next two weeks until the next issue.  Speak them to yourself while you look in the mirror.

Voice-activate the promises of God throughout your day. God spoke the entire world into existence.  There is power in your words and amazing promise when you speak His Word. Your heart and mind will be renewed and you will be amazed at the change in how you see yourself and how the circumstances in your life don't look like they used to.

Who We Are In Christ - Things to Ponder to Renew Your Mind 

I am the bearer of good news (Isaiah 52:7),
a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18),
and the carrier of the King of Glory (Colossians 1:27).

Until next issue .... stroll through a local park or woods and gather up some colorful leaves.  I like to scatter them on a table and enjoy seeing them change as the days go by.  Our Abba Daddy is quite an artist!  Enjoy His Creation today!

Blessings to Your Household and Your Life!
P.S.  Know somebody who needs to see something in this newsletter? Forward it to them. Thanks!

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written by Donna

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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: "© Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com." The link is: www.TheNatureInUs.com.

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