Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 11/1/15

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The Nature In Us Newsletter
November 1, 2015
By Donna L. Watkins

“He that plants trees loves others beside himself.” – Thomas Fuller

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Hello Dear Friends!

Season of Color - When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, Autumn was my favorite time of year.  We were surrounded by trees and I spent a lot of time at a park only two blocks from our home with my great grandfather and the park was full of trees also.  And the trees were full of squirrels and birds which is the reason we went there .... to feed them.  The store on the corner sold a little bag of cracked corn or the same size bag of peanuts.  What fun it was for me to enjoy those moments with somebody who adored me and whom I adored ... and together we connected to God's Creation and all that resonates with our very souls. 

In Pennsylvania there is a great diversity of deciduous trees that provide longer and more varied Autumn displays of color than anywhere else in the world, due to the ideal longitude and latitude and varied topographies that offer a blaze of color everywhere you turn.  That's what I've read.  The rich reds of Red Maple, Black Gum and Sumac and the golden yellows and burnt oranges of Hickory, Sycamore, Birch and Poplar trees present a vibrant scenery as far as the eye can see when you're driving along the highways. 

In my early 20's I moved from Pennsylvania to Mobile, Alabama and after that to Atlanta, Georgia.  Met a guy there that swept me off my feet, married and moved to Oklahoma where he was from.  Oh, the longing for the trees of the south and northeast.  Central Oklahoma looked so barren to me.  After "four years of duty" as I say, we moved back to Georgia for a couple of years and then to two town in Alabama for a total of 17-1/2 years.  I missed the Fall colors and we had been tired of the extreme heat and humidity of Alabama, so we headed for Central Virginia where we could see some Fall colors again. 

However, we quickly discovered that it was much too cold for either of us, but we had invested quite a lot of time and energy into building a "Backyard Wildlife Habitat" and attracted so much wildlife that we couldn't imagine leaving it all behind.  So here we are ...  November 7th will be 15 years of living with cold weather and no leaves on the trees for six months of the year.  I call myself Goldilocks because it was too hot in Alabama and too cold in Virginia.  We'd like to live in between where it's "just right." [grin]

Sweet Treat Recipe - Whole Wheat Carob Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
Speaking of just right ... these cookies are wonderfully delicious! Had to share the recipe with you!  You might double the recipe if you're baking for more than one.

Recipe For YOU From ME
3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour (or sift regular whole wheat bread flour twice)
1 c. old fashioned oats (not instant)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. honey
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 large egg
1 c. carob chips

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl combine flour, oats and soda.  In mixer beat together butter and sugar.  Add egg, vanilla and cinnamon, scraping sides if necessary to combine.  Gradually add flour mixture.  Reduce speed and stir in carob chunks.  Drop rounded tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto an oiled or parchment paper baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes.

Tidbit - 530 Lbs. Lost Without Diet Plan - Weighing 700 pounds, Nancy Makin had lost hope.  After 12 years of weight gain, Makin had spiraled into despair. The more food she ate, the more shame she felt, and nothing could stop the cycle.  Then one day her sister gave her a computer. Inspired by the friends she'd made online and no longer judged by how she looked, Makin finally took control of the situation. 

Makin said the psychological transformation was so complete that she lost all that weight without diet pills, exercise or even a diet. She just stopped gorging. "I achieved this on my own, in a natural way, with no surgical procedures having been performed.  No particular 'diet' plan was followed; no pills, potions or ab-crunching exercises played a part in my recovery," she wrote in a congratulatory letter to herself.  Read the entire article.

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Tiny White Micrathena (Micrathena mitrata) Spider
View More Spider Photos
Bugs - This tiny little spider was on the screened porch.  Didn't know it was a spider since it was too tiny to see anything about it.  While I was positioning it for a photo it spun a web to repel off the tabletop, so at least I knew it then.  

It's part of the Orb Weaver Family of spiders, being barely 1/4 inch long. It has an irregular, flat shield with black markings on white, at the top of its abdomen, also having two short spines. This spider spins a very dense web, especially when you consider its size.  They can often be seen at eye level along woodland trails.

Tidbit - Medical - Have you seen "The Operating Room of the Future" that has been developed in Israel?  A friend in Massachusetts sent me the info last year and I'd forgotten about it until another friend sent me a link again.  It's an amazing technology that would provide non-invasive procedures for what we now call surgery which cuts on the body.  Procedures are done as an outpatient visit with patient being able to go back to work.  There are locations for specific procedures.  Uterine fibroids seems to be the most common. 

Locally we have the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville having acquired their equipment in 2009 where a team of experts provides treatment for uterine fibroids and conducts research focusing on using MRgFUS to treat brain, breast, prostate, bone and liver tumors and conditions such as epilepsy, stroke, chronic pain, Parkinson's disease and essential tremor.  It's been around awhile, so you may have heard of it, but wanted to provide the info for those who haven't.  Read Article or View Video.  There are 9 states listed that have locations for uterine fibroids.

A House in the Woods
Trees - I've always said I wanted to live in a tree house, and there's some out there that have been built.  But now there's a new twist from OAS1S, an innovative and 100% green building typology, which creates exciting new possibilities of combining homes with living in nature.

The forest-like communities mix tree-like units with actual trees in a forest.  Identical to trees OAS1S units are made of wood and leaves, they collect sun and water, and provide oxygen and food.  The constructions are prefabricated of recycled wood, organic insulation, green walls and triple glazing.  Totally off the grid and 100% self-sufficient with energy.  They bring competitive middle-class housing for people who demand high-quality and green living. Check it out.

Tidbit - Family Life - How well would you do if you were asked to describe your spouse's face to a police sketch artist?  It's tougher than you think.  At the start of this 4-minute video, 6 couples were separated so they could describe the man or woman in their life with only memory as a reference point.  Participants seemed unabashed in describing their counterparts and in the end they come together and get to see each other's portrayal of the other.  It made me wonder if I could do that well even though I live and work with my husband.  Sometimes we really don't look at people ... even those who are nearest and dearest to each other.  View the video.

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White-throated Sparrow
View More Photos of White-throated Sparrows
Birds - The White-throated Sparrows are back from Canada.  They arrived on October 20th and were a welcome site.  The first I saw of them were two that seemed to be fighting for the same position on the holly tree that's by our breakfast window.  

Have no idea really what they were fussy or chasing each other for, but I assumed they were not from the same province of their preferred breeding spot in Canada.  It's interesting how some species will have certain personalities that are more agreeable.   

But since then things have settled down and they all appear to be friendly since there's plenty of food out there for them.  They are busy ones scratching under the bushes and in the leaves for a seed.

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Baby Canada Goose
These Boots Were Made For Walking
View More Canada Goose Photos

I've always been fascinated with the Canada Goose.  I used to call them Canadian Geese, but was kindly corrected by somebody taking the time to tell me they are Canada Goose or Geese.  We've been seeing flocks of them headed south and that's always a treat as they fly over head keeping time with their honks and rotations as the lead goose.  The V-shaped formation that geese use when migrating serves two important purposes.  You can read about that here.  

Some populations are not going South as they had been due to weather changes and availability of waste grain in Fall and Winter.  This bird was nearly extinct in the early 1900's.  Programs to reintroduce them have been so successful that in many urban and suburban areas, they are considered a problem.  The oldest known wild Canada Goose was 30 years 4 months old, so they can have quite a lengthy lifespan.

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Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Suet
View More Ruby-crowned Kinglet Photos
On October 26th I saw the Ruby-crowned Kinglets that are migrating through for winter which is mostly spent in the south and southwestern U.S. and Mexico, but some western populations only move to lower elevations during really cold months. They are such tiny, energetic birds that flick their wings nearly constantly, yet only burn about 10 calories a day!  

They breed mostly in the spruce-fir forests in northwestern U.S. and Canada, but also live in mixed woods and in isolated trees in meadows. They lay a very large clutch of eggs (up to 12 in a single nest).  The entire clutch of eggs can weigh as much as the female herself.  The male stays with her until the chicks fledge and there's only one brood per year.  They love bugs and many of the bad ones, so we're glad to see them passing through around aphid time when they gobble them up along with cottony scale from our Pyracantha bushes in Spring. 

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Overlook at New River Gorge Visitor Center
Fayetteville, WV
View New River Gorge Area &
Birding & Nature Festival Gallery
Spiritual - "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and  doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon  a rock:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matt. 7:24-27)

There are few things stronger than rock. The right kind of solid rock can withstand great pressure and serve as a foundation or building block for great buildings and structures. In this photo you see an overlook platform built on "solid rock" for the foundation. Jesus told us to consider the things He says as a foundation of solid rock.

Proverbs offers a lot of wisdom for our lives and 4:20-22 shows us some promises that go with giving attention to the Word of God. "My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body."

Donna on Screened Porch
May God's Blessings Surround You Every Day!


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

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