Monday, June 1, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 6/1/15

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  The Nature In Us Newsletter - 6/1/15  
  by Donna L. Watkins  

“Dare to live the life you dreamed for yourself.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Hello Dear Friends!

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Baby House Finch Waiting For Mama to Feed
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Birds - We've got baby birds all around. Lots of House Finches, Carolina Wrens, Blue Jays, White-breasted Nuthatch, Cardinals, and others coming in daily for the quick food, water and the wonderfully necessary bird baths.  I can see the "awwhhh" in the Mama's eyes after being on that nest and then working so hard to get her babies fed.  Actually both parents enjoy the bird bath.  It's the hot spot in our whole one-acre habitat on the deck in full view for me from the screened porch.

The baby wrens arrived the other day jumping and squawking all around the deck. "Reporting for duty, Ma'am.  Can I wash the deck with my splatters from the birdbath?  May I help you empty that small bowl of safflower seeds on the stake in the pot?  Hmmm ... looks like Mom and Dad are going to feed me, so I'll just "be still and know" ... that I'll be taken care of.  We need to do more of that with our Heavenly Daddy.

House Finches and Purple Finches are sometimes confusing to ID.  Keep in mind that the House Finch has grayish blurry streaking on the belly.  The little tufts of hair on this little one will come out.  It's just part of the downy feathers that cover the babies until they fledge.

This House Finch couple had two and you can see they're different by night and day.  Wonder if one is male and other female.  Can't tell at this stage of it all, but one sits and shakes all over begging for food with quite a volume ... and the other one is imitating what the Papa is showing them as far as the bird bath and the metal ornament in one of our deck pots that has Safflower seeds on it.  One eating and drinking ... the other begging. 

Kinda reminds me of how Christians can be.  Jesus came and died for us and gave us an opportunity for abundant living just by believing and trusting in Him.  Some dig deep into that relationship to get all they can get from it.  It's simple ... but sure hard in a day and age where we think it's all about DOING and so many trying to earn the approval of parents or The Father with this fast-paced lifestyle, always feeling like they never measure up.

The Lord is full of mercy and to give us the grace we need to fight the battles.  His grace and mercy is what carries us through.  I know the desires of my heart and mind are to know Him more and that's where "seeking Him with all my heart" comes in.  It can really make life joyful amidst horrible circumstances. He daily loads us with benefits (Ps. 68:19) and loves us to an incredible degree that I can't imagine we will ever comprehend.

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Male Red-winged Blackbird in Back Woods
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This year we've been entertained by the Red-winged Blackbirds.  The males have been in our back woods with their Springtime calls for a female.  It's the males that give the bird it's name since they have the red and yellow patch on the top of their wings.

What I didn't know until this year is that those patches are for a real show.  When they do their "Springtime Appeal" for a mate, their vocal call is accompanied by an outstretch of the wings and a fluttering.  It looks magnificent from the front of the bird, but I have not been able to get one who would cooperate with me.  He may do a call facing me and as I grab for the camera, he turns around and faces the woods to show-off.  Granted there aren't any females on my deck so why bother with that direction.

It's a first time event to have them on our property for weeks.  Maybe the population in their normal habitat is too high and they wanted to find some new territory.  Go West Young Man, rings in their ears.

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Male Red-winged Blackbird in Display For a Mate
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The problem with that is that we're east of the area we usually see them which has some wetlands and meadows surrounding it down the street.  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to hear their varied calls and simple just to see them.  They're a pretty bird and not one to be a problem at all with the smaller songbirds.

This bird is well-known and widely distributed in North America with estimates of  nearly 200 million of them in a range extending from Canada and Southeast Alaska and across the lower 48 states and into Central America. Its preferred habitat is a cattail marsh, but you can find them in moist open shrubby habitat.  I guess that's why we didn't have them stay around for more than a couple of weeks to see if there were some females hidden in the woods, but no breeding or residence established here.  I guess I'll just have to settle for the fact that God just wanted to bless us with something new and interesting this Spring!

Tidbit: Vending Machines - Check out these strange vending machines that really do exist around the world: Strange Vending Machines

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Baby Squirrel on Deck Rail
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Critters - I won't forget to mention the baby squirrels who are a handful of fun for the first few months of life. They wrestle with each other and then race all over the place, flying up trees, jumping across branches to other trees which makes me very nervous! They are definitely cute! Randal and I sit in our chaise chairs in the evening and watch what we call "Squirrel TV." Since we don't do television reception, it's a great alternative to terrific entertainment.

The Gray Fox has been visiting nightly.  I love hearing the spattering of their little feet.  They're definitely hyperactive as they jaunt around looking for anything in the compost pile that they consider a meal.

I went out on the deck one night to toss our fruit and veggie scraps into the "compost area" and Mr. Raccoon was up on the feeder.  We have two baffles on that feeder pole.  At the bottom there is the stovepipe variety and on top of that the witch's hat baffle.  How does he get up there.  He immediately stopped eating and had a dead-hard look at me as I spoke to him, telling him he wasn't supposed to be there, and then his look turned to surprise and he willingly got down.  Hmmm ... at least that's how it went in my mind, don't know about his.

The most exciting critter view is Mama Love Deer's fawn. I noticed she was getting very rounded in her mid-section and she was also having more difficulty walking. Then on Saturday I saw a little baby fawn out in the front yard under the pines on the bank standing by its mother.  I couldn't tell much since there were some bushes between us, but I could see the fawn was nursing.

When they went to leave, I could see that it was Mama Love Deer since she was limping. She seemed more attentive with this little one than the previous one.  I'm so glad.  I took some photos but nothing that I would keep so I will be seeing them again out back I'm sure and hope to get photos and include one in the next issue of the newsletter.

Tidbit: Air Quality - Some people spend at least 40 hours a week in an office. We may not think about the importance of the air we breathe in our workspace, but poor air quality can negatively impact our productivity and health ... even if it's a home office.

“We’re so worried about what we put in our bodies with food, but with air, sometimes we don’t even think about it,” says Jill Doucette, co-author of Greening Your Office: Strategies That Work and owner of Synergy Enterprises.  Here's five tips for breathing a little easier in your office.

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Juvenile Five-lined Skink Caught a Locust Underwing Moth
(Euparthenos nubilis). The  Moth Got Away!
More Moth Photos Along With Caterpillar Stage Also
View Video of the Event
Skinks & Moths: The Down Side to a Fallen World - Until Jesus returns and establishes His Kingdom, we live in a fallen world with fallen natures.  God created animals and man to live together peacefully and there was peace within the animal kingdom.  But sin changed it all.

I was sitting on the screened porch one day and heard a flapping noise.  I looked up in the corner of the adjoining deck and there was a juvenile Five-lined Skink with a moth in its mouth that was flapping away fighting for his life.  I got my camera and filmed it as my heart broke for the beautiful moth.

I had seen these moths but didn't know they had such beauty on the hidden wings area.  What gorgeous colors.  Almost thought it was a butterfly but I've seen those moths parked for the day waiting for evening to approach.  This moth fought for about 8 minutes so I knew it must not have been injured enough to die.

The good news is that the moth got away.  I had to cheer!  Never give up!  It may save your life ... or make your life what you've dreamed it could be!  For those with strong hearts, you can view the video

Spiritual - Thanks to Lynn Alford for sending me an article that had a segment on our self-worth.  I think this topic is a critical issue within the church.  I heard some startling statistics about the percentage of Christians who struggle with depression.  If we knew who we really were, depression would not be an issue.  And by knowing I don't mean that you know a verse that you memorized on this topic ... I mean know in your heart, which is where Jesus said we had to believe for our faith to work.  We need to know who we are within Christ and the Cross.

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Angel Statue and Purple Columbine
View More Garden Photos From 2015
Don't just read these words ... ponder the message for days when you lie down to sleep and chew on it when you get up.  Begin to look at yourself in the mirror every day and speak to yourself as God would about you.  Look up Scriptures that tell you how much worth and value God assigns to you.

Jesus said, “I am not praying for these alone, but also for the future believers who will come to Me because of the testimony of these. . . . so that the world will know You sent Me and will understand that You love them as much as You love Me.” (John 17:20,23)

From Dr. Bill Gillham
WORTH: What am I worth? Jesus wouldn’t flash a financial statement to answer this question about Himself, so neither should I. The value of anything (to a purchaser) is determined by what he’s willing to pay for it. The Living God bought me. He could’ve bid a used dumpster for me and bid North America for Billy Graham if He’d wished because He can do what He wants. After all, Billy lives in a tall, handsome earthsuit and reaches millions for Jesus, but this is the wrong perception. God offered the only Boy He had to purchase me. He gave the Apple of His eye, His only Namesake! That’s Who God spent to purchase me. Oh, I tell you, I have great value. To God, I’m worth Jesus!

Picture a balance scale with Jesus on one end and me on the other. My worth and Jesus’ worth are equal in God’s mind. There’s a worth that can never erode! I may lose my job through health or economic reversals. My retirement program may collapse. I may lose my family, house, car, prestige, or be disgraced. Will that lower my true value? Never! My worth is set in Eternal Concrete.  Read the entire article.

Teapot Flower Arrangement From Our Son,
Benjamin, For Mother's Day Years Ago -
Still a Special Treasure to Me!
Health - Did you know that Jasmine tea has many health benefits?  Jasmine contains a significant amount of polyphenols which have proven to fight cancer, viruses, and slows aging. Jasmine reduces blood sugar for diabetics, and also reduces high blood pressure. This helps prevent heart attacks, strokes, thrombosis, and arterial sclerosis.

Other benefits include improving intestine conditions by blocking the development and growth of bad bacteria and by strengthening good bacteria. It helps to reduce the risk of blood clots, to prevent allergy and flu, to keep fluid balance, to boost the immune system, and to provide oral health that helps prevent dental cavities.

Jasmine tea fights food poisoning, including cholera, dysentery, and piccoli causing gastric ulcers. It is also used as an herbal anti-depressant, helping with post-natal depression and menopause problems. It can sooth muscle and joint pain, including chronic back pain. Recent studies show that jasmine tea can be used to lose weight.  Read the entire article.

Quote - In case you missed the quote from the beginning of the newsletter, let me put it as a last reminder also ...

“Dare to live the life you dreamed for yourself.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now go and dream and ask the Lord how you will bring it to pass together.  He gives us the desires of our hearts which to me means he puts them there for me to have a vision.  Without a vision the people perish"(Prov. 29:18). God will be your Shepherd to guide you there.

Until next time ... remember ...

God's In Love With YOU! - "For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."  (Zephaniah 3:17)

P.S. Anything in here that might help somebody you know?   

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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website,

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