The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Monday, June 15, 2015

Creatures Are Always Fed, Watered, and Bathed at the Jackson Rose Farm

Early blooming roses attract bees, of course,
and their pests attract ichneumon wasps and flower flies.
I have seen both on my roses.

One well worn myth is, "You have to keep feeding the birds, or they will be dependent on you and starve when you go on vacation." Perhaps that means we should not feed them at all.

God feeds His creatures. As one UOP friend pointed out, He is always balancing His Creation. A plague of tree-destroying insects will attract a horde of parasitic wasps that feed on them. The plants send up a chemical signal that brings in the paratroopers, who land, breed, and go to work. There are interesting complications in this, such as the insect that will not lay eggs to parasitize the plant unless there is damage first. That may explain the delay in the rescue attempts.

We can only help feed the creatures. Birds only get about 15% of their needs from us, and many people feed them the equivalent of snack food, not enough to live on and not solid enough to raise the kids, who like their meat extra rare and often still wiggling.

If I neglect to feed the birds one day, they still have suet (kidney fat) and leftover seed scattered around. I found the peanut flavor suet is creating a feeding frenzy among the starlings. Four or more line up to have flavored suet - wouldn't you?

The finch bird feeder takes about a month to empty, used mainly by finches, chickadees and sparrows - ignored by the squirrels.

The sunflowers are starting to bloom, so they will have fresh seed available. Meanwhile, the beneficial insects will feed on the sunflowers and find a haven there. I have seen grasshoppers resting on sunflowers and roses alike, but less a threat to the plants as an offering to the birds.

They always have the two community pools in which to bathe and drink. One is already cut down to guarantee shallow walls, less of a threat, and easy cleaning. Popular? you ask. In 24 hours the water is loaded with dirt washed off the birds, so I dump it (recycling my birdfood) into the garden and refill with fresh water.

Besides that I have about 12 shallow dishes for bathing and drinking. The birds splash them and drink them empty in one day, often in the morning and afternoon. I water the dishes with the new plants.

And let us not forget - Jackson Mulch is one of the best bird feeders. Beneath a layer of newspapers and wood mulch, many creatures dine and multiply. The birds see their movement and pounce.

Cardinals feed near me now,
even though they are a shy bird.


Diversity Feeds
Even a change in bird food will bring new birds to the feeding areas. I combine nut and fruit blend with ordinary sunflower seeds. I get more species that way.

But that also applies to plants. Many plants provide food and shelter for insects, who also provide food for the birds. Still other insects, far more than I ever imagined, feed upon their fellow bugs.

I am working on increasing the variety of plants in the backyard.

When I grow potatoes in the backyard next year, I will sow buckwheat nearby because of buckwheat harboring insects that eat the potato bug.

I hear the crow more than I see him.
They are large, powerful pest destroyers.