The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Last year, Alex pruned roses for me each time we grilled. He learned to distinguish between the good blooms and those ready to be cut. This is something many gardeners do not grasp, which is represented so clearly in the True Vine passage of John 15:1-10. The deadwood and old blooms are pruned and thrown away. The fruitful parts are pruned to make them even more fruitful.
Pruning makes grapes and roses more fruitful. A reader with vineyard experience wrote that grape vines can take anything, but the grape clusters are fragile and easily ravaged by disease and predators.
Once our week of cold is over, we will be pruning the older bushes. The roses will be cut back by 2/3rds, which will foster cane and root growth. The crepe myrtle will have a lot of twigs and dead wood cut off to facilitate blooming.
Alex and I had no pruning available, so we went int to backyard to feed the birds. I bought meat at the meat market, plus four pounds of suet. This was a new experience for Alex. I told him about beef suet being hard, kidney fat from cows.
We packed it into two wooden feeders that were sent by a reader. Those were both picked clean. Bulk suet from the freezer is more like modeling clay, so we could jam it into the wood feeders, to give the birds the sense of picking insects out of the trees.
We also had plenty of empty suet bags, so we filled each one with lumps and left the suet crumbles on the feeding table. Alex thought corn was a good incentive to place in the suet, so we added corn kernels in between the lumps.
I said, "I like to feed them because they are fun to watch. But I also like what they do for the garden, Alex."
"What is that?"
"They eat thousands of insects."
Alex said, "Oh yes, I remember." When we put two more bags on the feeder by the window I saw my extra twine was almost gone.
"Look at that twine. I put five pieces out for the birds to use for their nests. Now I only have one left."
I have seen robins pulling on string from the chicken wire, just to have more building material.
We talked about birds using leaves, grass, twigs, dog fur, and twine for their nests. One nest fell from a tree and revealed a strip of gold foil on the outside. The foil did not add any structural strength to the nest, but the gleaming gold provided some class and glamour for the humble dwelling.
Instead of filling the metal suet baskets with over-priced wafers of suet, I will put dryer lint and string there for the nesting season. Sassy may contribute, involuntarily, her fur as well.