Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Helping the 99% - The Beneficial and Harmless Insects

Ladybugs are cute, but they are also voracious pest eaters,
whether immature or full grown.

The supposed ideal lawn and garden is not insect friendly, for two reasons:

  1. The neatness obsession hurts the foundation of insect life.
  2. The bug-free obsession kills all the bug life for a time when only 1% of them can do any harm.

The important of insects is eloquently described below -

It might surprise you to know that a mere 1 percent of the insects we come across in our lives are actually harmful. These are the creatures that consume our plants, introduce disease, bite our flesh, feed on our pets, and cause economic, aesthetic, or medical damage. These are the bugs that tend to attract our attention, and as a result they get all the press—most of it negative. 

The remaining 99 percent of insects are either benign or beneficial. Benign insects are very good at going about their business without harming our crops or us. And beneficial insects are, in fact, doing some type of good in the landscape. Insects can be beneficial for several reasons. First, they can be pollinators. We all know how important quality pollination is to a farm or garden. The world, after all, cannot function without it. Most of us can readily recognize common pollinators like honeybees and butterflies, but there are hundreds of thousands of other pollinator species in this world: beetles, moths, wasps, ants, flies, bats, and birds. Not to mention the more than thirty-five hundred species of native bees in the United States whose pollination work sadly and undeservedly plays second string to that of the imported European honeybee. 

Fifteen billion dollars worth of food needs to be pollinated by some little creature each and every year in the United States alone.

Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 184-194). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.

Crepe myrtle seed pods feed the birds in winter.

Our crepe myrtle bush is quite the feeder by itself, a microcosm of what can be done. Insects find a pleasant home in bushes - food, shelter, and a place to leave larvae for the winter. A bush rains down mulch in the form of dead leaves on the soil below. I put wood mulch under our crepe myrtle and saw it being drawn into the soil below by the handful of worms I commissioned to work that area. I added to the mulch by trimming the plant and cutting up the trimmings as mulch below. A spider signaled the value of this pile by casting a filmy web across it to feed herself and her brood.

The second bloom of the bush turned into handsome seeds in pods at the top of the bush. Birds will use these for food all winter and recycle some of the food on the bush below. Birds will also seek out the larvae hidden in the branches.

A trashy yard and garden create an ideal living space for insects - and if left alone - for the beneficials that keep insect pests in line.

Trashy does not mean shabby, but multi-habitat. We all like the front yard to be showcases. In the spring of 2014 we had a front yard with an ugly space around the maple tree, an overgrown crepe myrtle, and grass. Now we have 16 mulched rose bushes, a neatly trimmed and twice-blooming crepe myrtle, and a trimmed maple tree with attractive mulch around the base.

A healthy garden, however, is absolutely teeming with parasitoids. Parasitoids are among the most abundant categories of animals on the planet, with about 150,000 described species and many more yet to be named. This population consists mostly of parasitoidal wasp and fly species. Adult female parasitoids find host insects (you’ll find out how later) and lay their eggs on or inside of them. These parasitoids are not dangerous to humans or other mammals as they can’t sting, nor do they ever use us as hosts.

Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 260-264). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.

Unlike thorns, pigweed is easy to remove and great for the compost.
Each big leafy plant is a village for insects good and bad.

The backyard has two mulched garden areas for 2015, spinach growing, and about 200 linear feet of mulched fence area. The dead tree is mulched for next year, when the trumpet vines will grow up its smooth exterior. Our mulch always has a newspaper base, which means our neighbors must pitch in with their extras, happy to be rid of them.

Some areas that went bonkers with weeds are now covered with newspapers and wood mulch. The dead weeds beneath are the ultimate green manure, loaded with nitrogen and carbs to feed the soil creatures, including insects, grubs, and a wide array of soil creatures.

Appreciating the natural cycle of predator and prey means recognizing that there is a place for pest insects in the landscape. Because the population of predators always lags behind that of prey, gardeners shouldn’t panic when pests are discovered. Instead, wait and watch for signs of arriving predators and parasitoids. It’s important to see that the population of predators always lags behind that of the prey (this is particularly true if a parasitoid is involved, as their lag time is actually a generation or two behind their host prey). If you put it on paper, it looks much like two undulating, wavy lines with the one representing the predators always hitting its peak slightly after the one representing the prey. In an undisturbed cycle, neither the population of predators nor that of prey will ever hit zero. This means that in order to sustain a healthy population of predators in the garden, one always has to have prey available.

Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 282-289). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.

Another resident seems to have planted or nourished some wild violets, so I am moving them to the back area where they can thrive.

The back section of the yard will be a cultivated trashy area, between the Butterfly Bushes and the Russian sunflowers. I want an area full of bee and butterfly plants, which will favor all the beneficial insects.

Everyone wants to chop down their weeds and grasses, but multi-habitat means tall plants, longer grass, and so-called weeds. Comfrey, pig weed, and goosefoot are not what we covet for the rose garden, but they are great for the wild area.

Whatever wild berries and herbs I can cultivate there will be welcomed by the life God created at the beginning of time.

The balance of life is illustrated by two different episodes of rose pruning. Our grandson Alexander found a grasshopper on the rose he was trimming. He did nothing to bother it, but trimmed near it. The grasshopper saw no reason to move, and we saw no damage. Later, I was cutting roses for our neighbor. A grasshopper was near my fingers and alive, but never moved. I ended up with blackspot on the roses, from the rainy season, but no insect damage.

A single ladybug—probably the most illustrious beneficial predatory insect—can consume up to five thousand aphids during its lifetime, and a single minute pirate bug—probably the least illustrious predatory beneficial—eats about thirty pests per day; and there are thousands of other insect species that do the same.

Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 203-206). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.

Plant id test -
yes, this is goosefoot, easy to eat
good for you.
Why do you pay for a salad when eating out?
Instead, eat a salad outdoors.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wild Strawberries Steal a March on the Backyard Garden

Wild strawberries feed the birds we love,
and Creation gardening feeds the soil the plants depend upon.

We began the backyard gardens for 2015 this summer, laying down newspapers and wood mulch  to turn the lawn into compost. That works faster than most assume. Soon the grass and weeds are black, and after that, soft soil is ready for planting.

Some people write about using Dawn detergent and vinegar to kill weeds. The stench of Dawn should warn people that they are dousing the soil with powerful chemicals. Everything dies with detergent. Ocean scientists found this out when treating oil spills with shiploads of detergent, killing off all sea life. In contrast, oil itself is temporarily toxic but goes away without oceanocide. (Source - Mrs. I worked for an engineering firm that specialized in hazardous transport.)

Blowtorch - that will definitely kill weeds, start grass fires, and perhaps burn down fences and outbuildings.

Note that my method builds the soil without harming anything.

The backyard garden has a Western exposure, so there is quite a bit of sunlight, even with the extra trees. I always had some scrubby wild strawberries around the faucet, but something new happened this year.

The elevated soaker hose went across the mulched area for the future vegetable garden. That meant the area underneath the mulch was always watered and shaded. But the line where the mulch met the house was not perfectly shaded.

The wild strawberries, fortified with rich, watered soil beneath, began marching across the base of the house, bearing bright red berries. In various places before, I have seen them as minor weeds, usually rather dry and dusty, not healthy but not yet willing to die.

Now they are neat little bird-feeding plants with brilliant red berries. The three main foods for birds are:

  1. Suet, mealy worms, and soil creatures.
  2. Seeds of all kinds, but especially sunflower seeds.
  3. Berries of any kind.

People who use weed killers on their lawn will shudder at eating the surviving wild strawberries. I use no weed killers beyond mulch, so my organic berries are good for birds and humans alike. The way they creep across the back of the vegetable garden sets the table for birds to get used to one-stop shopping - wild berries, suet hanging above, and sunflower seeds tossed on the ground. Meanwhile, the mulched area is ideal for hunting those soil creatures - who move the shreds of wood and betray their activity.

Easter Sunday at Holy Word, Austin,
and Christ the King.
Don't laugh - WELS rewards this with seminary calls.

This is where we need to adjust everyone's thinking, as I learned from a book on rabbits. We raised them once and learned a lot from them. We never thought of promoting Easter with ads saying - Live rabbits for petting on Easter Sunday!

The common wisdom is that predators control the rabbit population, but do they? If the rabbit population declines, what will the hawks eat, carrots? In fact, the rabbits control the predator population. Only so many predators can exist at the top of the food pyramid. The population below controls the population at the top.

So if one wants birds in the yard, the yard must support the population of birds. I have suet out, so the insect eaters will stop and stay for the next season. I enjoy spreading sunflower seeds, because all the birds enjoy them, and some seeds volunteer, growing into new plants in the next season.

If every plant cell is a complex chemical factory
with nano-mechanisms, they must be nurtured at the same microscopic level.

God Employs What People Despise
People plan epic gardens. One said, "We have a backhoe to dig the rose garden!" Mrs. Ichabod gasped.

The lawn and garden people sell bags of expensive chemicals that are cheap to manufacture. The chemists and engineers at Dow Chemical used to laugh at the mark ups.

With some planning and labor, the same goals can be realized without the big equipment and big bills. But what is needed? Newspapers? Everyone is throwing them away. Mushroom compost? That is just another day for manure. Mulch? Grass clippings, dead leaves, and old weeds?

I have heard and read the lectures on Creation (organic) gardening. "There, there, have fun with that, but come back for the insecticides, herbicides, and inorganic salts when you fail. Bring your MasterCard or Visa."

"We're gonna do God's work in Round Rock,
but it will take lots and lots of money - yours."

Faux-Lutherans Despise the Means of Grace
The only ones more contemptuous than chemical gardeners are the Church Growthers. They have great visions for God's Kingdom - but it will take a lot of money.

They have no use for carefully preparing sermons. They copy and paste from Groeschel and other frauds. They hide the sacraments, because God's Instruments of Grace might offend those who need them the most.

Anyone who opposes them is against missions, against evangelism, and lazy, crazy, or disgruntled. To prove how essential their diabolical labor is, they must belittle or destroy the efficacious work of the Word. And the Growthers do work hard - they have to. They must prop up their gimmicks, inject them with spiritual steroids, and march lock-step with other frauds, peculators, and abusers. They need lots of money to do God's work with their entertainments. Koine demands $3,000 to show up.

God's Word Is Efficacious in Converting and Hardening
The principles of Creation are no different from the working of the Holy Spirit in the Word. One can defy Creation, but the results will be the same.

The Word of the Gospel converts. The purer the teaching, the more powerful the effect. When people mix God's Word with man's word, the effect is diminished, often down to outright rejection, the pious words used to mask a demonic message.

But when the preacher trembles at God's Word and dares not oppose it or teach anything contrary to it, the effect is divine. Faith is planted and nurtured by the Word. The congregation only needs to be faithful in teaching and worship to accomplish His will and enjoy the fruits of the Spirit that spring from Gospel teaching.

When expensive gimmicks are used, people say, "We need more expensive programs. This is not enough." When the congregation or synod relies on the Word of God, they have to acknowledge, "God has done this. We are blessed to be see Him at work in His Word and Sacraments."

Obstinate unbelievers, especially apostates, become enraged by the Gospel and take every opportunity to tear apart anything God has done through the Word. They are bottomless reservoirs of slander and malice, as WELS/ELS/LCMS/CLC leaders have shown. They rob widows and orphans and steal church properties with their attorneys, who wear their fancy $3,000 suits. The same attorneys defend their criminal pals so everything can be brushed under the rug.

Face it - your synod's "mission money" spends more time in the courtroom than in the mission field.

But this blessed opposition is the sign that God's Word is having a divine effect. They drive the faithful out of their faithless synods - that is good, no? They wake up people to the Book of Concord, to faithful translations of the Bible, to faithful congregations.

Infant faith?
Answered here.

Programmed Sanctification, 2012 - Admit It - The Photos Make You Smile

WELS Prayer Network Board of Directors

Aderman is a founder of WELS Church and Change,
but Church and Change went away.
Right? Right?
Jim Aderman (Sharon)
121 N. 66th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53213-4041
(414) 475-5096
Office (414)771-2530
Cell: 414-403-6224

When Bruce Becker's job was eliminated at The Love Shack,
Mark and Avoid Jeske hired him the next day.

Bruce Becker (Linda)
4172 Hidden Creek Road
Jackson, WI 53037-9114
(262) 677-0058
Office (414)  562-8463
Matt plagiarizes sermons, promotes awful rock music in church,
and advertises Easter worship with live bunnies.
Easter is all about bunnies and gimmicks.
Just the man WELS needs for the Asian seminary.

Matt Doebler (Chris)
1316 Quicksilver Street
Round Rock TX 78664-1118
(512) 470-4078
Office (512) 470-2133

Reg Draheim (Jan)
1096 Reed Street
Green Bay, WI 54303-3064
(920) 499-8551
Office (920) 497-1000

Robert Gurgel (Judith)
2611 S. Kinnickinnic
Milwaukee, WI 53207-2101
(414) 281- 4649
Office (414) 483-9122
Paul Kelm (Lynne)
4412 Magna Vista Drive
Jackson, WI 53037
(262) 674-1232
Dan Witte
664 Jefferson Street
Crete, Il  60417
(708) 672-0633
The torch of Enthusiasm passes
from John Lawrenz to Steve Witte,
new president of the WELS porta-sem.

Steve Witte (Mary)
Unit A 3/F   6 Nassau St.
Mei Foo Sun CHUEN Lai Chi Kok
Kowloon, Hong Kong


Prayer Warrior Churches

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)

Criteria:  These churches have at least one Church and Change person designated as their Prayer Leader who along with the Pastor is willing to receive information from WPN and will pray at least once a week for Synod ministries or have at least one specific prayer ministry in his/her congregation. 

St. Mark’s, Green Bay , WI 
Beautiful Savior, Green Bay , WI 
Good Shepherd’s, West Allis , WI 
St. John’s , Lannon , WI
St. Marcus, Milwaukee , WI 
Grace (Downtown), Milwaukee , WI 
St. Andrew, Milwaukee , WI
Centennial, Milwaukee , WI
St. John’s (Howell), Oak Creek , WI 
St. Andrew, Middleton , WI 
Trinity, Crete , IL 
Bethlehem , Oshkosh , WI
Fairview , Milwaukee , WI 
Immanuel, Medford , WI
St. Paul ‘s, Onalaska , WI 
Sola Fide, Lawrenceville , GA 
St. Johns , New Ulm, MN
Risen Savior, Orlando , FL 
St. John ’s , Burlington , WI  
St. John ’s , Jefferson , WI
Grace, St. Joseph ’s, MI
St. Peters , Mishicot , WI
St. John , Maribel , WI 
Immanuel, Black Creek , WI 
St. Paul , Fort Atkinson , WI 
St. John ’s , Wauwatosa , WI 
St. John ’s (68th), Milwaukee , WI
Prilgrim, Minneapolis , MN
Grace, Portland . OR
Martin Luther, St. Louis , MO
Lamb of God – Madison , AL
St. Paul ’s. Muskego , WI 
Bethany, Port Orchard, WA