The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Bente's Historical Introductions,
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Friday, May 1, 2015

Plant Food Falls Free for the Taking -
Creature Convention Center

A crepe myrtle bush, like all plants, creates its own free mulch,
which most people rake away so they can add the damaging fertilizer

they just bought at the gardening center.


Early spring means the trees are shedding pollen, maple tree seeds, various bud coverings, and the normal debris one expects, from twigs to large branches.

Those cleaning out their gutters are thinking, "This is disgusting. Maple trees are growing up there." In fact, that was an annual site at our home in Moline. A giant maple tree showered its leaves into the gutters in the fall, rained down its helicopter seeds in the spring. The kids loved catching the maple seeds and enjoyed the next sght. We saw rows of perky maple trees in our gutters, in neat rows -healthy, green, and growing.

The slimy dark mass in the gutters should give people pause before they despise it, scoop it out, and throw it away. How does the dark slime manage to create a nursery for so many trees?

Answer - rotting leaves absorb moisture easily, and hold it well. Dust and pollen add to the mix.  The leaves never dry out in the spring as the rain falls. The maple seeds flat spin into their compost, which is ideal to hold and nurture the little trees.

I pruned the crepe myrtle bush with my finters alone, taking twigs away from the branches, to give the bush the Lyle Lovett look. The bark is attractive, so I can understand the reason for this treatment, leaving the lower part free of growth. All the trimmings landed on the wood mulch, adding to the food supply for the roots, as the pile decayed into the soil. I have been adding grass clippings, mushroom compost, bush trimmings, and wood mulch to the base for a year, and the pile continues to be worked into the soil by God's soil creatures - earthworms, springtails, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes.



Creature Convention Center
The Jackson Bird Spa has been a bit success with birds and squirrels. I mulched an area under the trees for baths and feeders. Birds like to search for food in dry mulch rather than soggy soil, and our soil was muddy for a long time. Besides that, wood mulch is a natural environment for enticing more soil creatures to breed and come to the surface as food for birds and spiders.


All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows for our play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.



Mrs. Wright had concrete blocks only a few feet across the fence from the spa, so I asked to use them. They were once a way to keep her dogs from going under the fence, but both dogs passed away  recently.

Our helper came by to help move the blocks (toss over the fence) and build the Creature Convention Center. A few hours later, it tumbled into a heap.

Like the founders of Notre Dame, when the school burned to the ground, I said, "We dreamed too small."  I put together a new version with the blocks, more stable and closer to the house - too close. The third version will move out from the house so we can look down on the birds and squirrels enjoying food and water there.

The idea is to have nooks and crannies for food and shelter, various levels for food, a screen layer to keep food dry, and space for baths.





Logs for Food and Shelter
Our landscaper neighbor, a former Army Ranger, cut an enormous number of excess branches from five of our trees. That left several large logs and quite a few small ones.

Creation and nature lovers know that a log is food and shelter for many creatures. One will go near the Spa as a convention perch. Birds love to have a place two or three feet off the ground to use for safety and critter spotting. One log is has an upward sweeping branch, and I saw a bird using it already.

Smaller logs will go around bushes. As the logs rot into the soil, the wood will host more food for the bushes.

Don't plant sweet corn in kale weather.
Funny - people are afraid to plant peas in the cold, ideal weather for peas.

Sweet Corn Days
A butcher and I agreed that tomatoes and corn do nothing when planted early. They need warm, sunny days or they just sit there, refusing to grow. That makes tomatoes more vulnerable to cold temperatures and corn more likely to rot in the soil or be harvested by critters.

I have seen wild strawberries with lots of flowers, but no fruit so far. I suspect the fruit does not form so easily in the cold

Meanwhile the roses, far more cold hardy than people suspect, are bursting with buds and blooming, about 10 flowers so far among the KnockOuts.


Some sunshine will help wild strawberies fruit.
The bees are already working the rose blooms.