Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Newsletter - 4/15/14

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""I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour if we will only tune in." -- George Washington Carver

Hello Dear Friends!

Donna and Benjamin - 2/23/82
I've had so many comments about y'all enjoying the old photos of me ... or should I say, the younger photos of me.  I am still working back through all my print photos and scanning them in to put them on digital (CDs and DVDs).  It's been a nice winter distraction as it was last winter.

We celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary on April 9.  I remember years back meeting somebody that had been married for 25 years and I thought how ancient that sounded.  We had an Asian lunch and went down memory lane for most of the day thinking about the hours before, during and after the wedding ... and then our honeymoon in Quebec City, Canada.

I'm going to be doing a post on the subject of "America's Worst Charities" but it won't be out before this newsletter goes, so here's a link if you'd like to be sure YOU are not giving to charities that may be only using 3% of what's given toward the actual cause.  You might be surprised to see what's on this Top 50 list.  We've always used websites to check out a new place we were considering  giving to.  The websites we use are included on this web page also on the left side.  Check out America's Worst Charities.

The daytime temps have been in the 60's pretty regular now and I have so enjoyed spending time with God outside on the deck and screened porch.  Getting to look up at the amazing blue sky with the bare trees is a glorious sight, although I will be totally thrilled to have the leaves back on the trees.  They are budding up.

None of our plants have been progressing rapidly with the colder nighttime temperatures.  Last week we had some nights below freezing.  It seems that we've already "lost" part of our Springtime, but getting time outdoors for even part of a day is absolutely wonderful to me!  And it is more consistently warmer this week.

We brought out the hummingbird feeders since the Ruby-throated Hummingbird arrives in mid-April here in Central Virginia.  It's always exciting to see "our" hummingbirds return.   Want to know when they will arrive in your area?  This hummingbird migration website has each state listed on this page.  If you get more than one species it tells you when each will arrive.  Here we only get the Ruby-throated.  The Rufous has been seen during migration, but we've never seen it on our property.

With the cooler weather the Yellow-rumped Warblers had been staying around longer than usual.  They arrive in flocks so it's a pretty sight to see all the patches of yellow in a drab winter landscape.  These birds are sometimes called Butterbutts because of their bright yellow patch above the tail feathers.  They eat wild seeds but when scarce they will come to feeders for sunflower seeds, raisins, peanut butter, and suet.

View Enlarged Image
Rear View of Yellow-rumped Warbler on Deck Rail
Suet is what they really enjoy here at Bluebird Cove, but we see them on the sunflower feeders now and then also.  They will head north to breed so we won't be seeing them much longer.  Read more about Yellow-rumped Warblers.

We have the White-throated Sparrows, with their painted by God look of wonder, with us all Winter and about this time of year the Chipping Sparrows (Photo at Occoneechee State Park in Clarksville, VA) return and the White-throats take off.  It's always an interesting trade off like there's some formal agreement between them.

The hawk has been lunching at our place and that's a real hard fact of nature that I don't take too well.  I don't mind hawks getting food, but not on my property.  It reminds me of the bait and kill method of hunting where hunters put food and salt licks out to attract the deer and then just shoot them off. 

I was on the screened porch one day and heard all the birds scream out their alarm call while they flew for protective covering.  The doves have a flight speed of up to 55mph but they are certainly no match for a hawk.  I thought the hawk may have taken one of the doves since I did see only one flying away.

They must've flown above the house and then doubled back around because some bird hit the screen on the porch and you could hear it drop.  It was all a flash and I ran to go outside so that the hawk wouldn't get the downed dove, but it had already swooped in and taken it from where it had fallen I guess because it wasn't there.

View Enlarged Image
Mourning Dove on Deck
Many doves fall prey to hunting (allowed in many states) and predation by hawks, such as the Cooper's Hawk that stakes out backyard feeders, especially in the winter months.  Cooper’s Hawks are superb and powerful flyers, capable of rapid flight through dense vegetation, twisting with circuitous flight at high speeds and low levels. Prey may be taken on the ground, in flight, or in trees or bushes. They may even pursue prey into dense underbrush on foot.

Doves mate for life so now we seem to have a lone male plus our other Mourning Dove pair.  Banding studies reveal that Mourning Doves can live up to 10 years in the wild. Northern populations are migratory, and the mortality rate of juveniles can be as high as 70% in their first year of life. We have doves all year here in Central Virginia.  I am hoping our lonely male can attract a female. 

In grade school we learn that plants need water and light to grow. That they gather energy from the sun and water from the earth and rain.  Although the news isn't new as far as announcement, I just learned that a biological research team has made a discovery that at least one plant has another way of doing this.

The green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, not only engages in photosynthesis, but also has an alternative source of energy it can draw from.  Other plants.  : it can draw it from other plants. When faced with an environmental shortage, these single-cell plants can draw energy from neighboring vegetable cellulose instead.  This finding could also have a major impact on the future of bioenergy.  Check out the story in Science Daily.

I am always excited when science catches up with the amazing wonder of God's Creation.  We have so blatantly destroyed so many things that He provided for us in our ignorance and greed for the sake of convenience.  Discoveries like these make you wonder what is now extinct that would have played a role in making life better for us.  God's love provided it all for our pleasure and we were made for His pleasure.

Consider ... nothing can separate you from the love of God.  Not angels or demons, not principalities or powers.  Nothing in this world or out of it (Romans 8:38-39)!  May you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is (Ephesians 3:18) 

God tells us "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13)  When you set your mind on God's love for you, all of His promises become more real and accessible.  You close the door on the devil's deception.  The doubts he throws into your mind as he did with Adam and Eve will no longer penetrate. 

Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2).  Choose to not doubt God's love like you would set a cruise control on a car and no longer doubt that it will keep you going 55 miles per hour.  Never allow another thought to come in contrary to that love.  Like cruise control, when a bit of a hill in the road comes before you, kick in a little extra power from within and choose to continue to believe The Word.

Remember ... Angels rejoice over you (Luke 15:10), demons flee from you (James 4:7), and God Himself dances over you with singing (Zechariah 3:17).

Have a Joyous Spring!

P.S. Anything in here that might help somebody you know?
Here's a link to the online version of this newsletter:  

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