The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rain Promised in One Hour - Holy Moleys


Last night Mr. Gardener was watering his lawn and bushes, and I was watering the roses. I have used his lawn mowing as 100% proof of rain in the near future. He finished mowing his property, front and back. It has to rain now.

We talked about the Crepe Myrtle bush he wanted to plant. I pointed to Almost Eden to our right. The nursery infrastructure is easy to see from our yards. When I saw the new structures going up, I knew we had a business starting in the old dairy farm. In Bella Vista we used to shop at a mini-mall that was also a former dairy farm. I like this conversion better.

We walk across a mown field of grass to reach the plants. Sassy considers a walk through Almost Eden a regular duty. She can track cats, dogs, rabbits, and anything else - as I look at plants. We often find Almost Eden watering many of the plants while his dog Opie waits.

We share the same perspective on plants - no toxins. Almost Eden has an abundance of insect and bird life as a result.

Mr. Gardener is going to shop there for Crepe Myrtles. They might be called Southern Lilacs. I have seen many varieties of Crepe Myrtle in this area - pink, raspberry, and purple blooms. Their popularity comes from a long blooming time (months) and tolerance of hot, dry weather. Unlike Chaste Tree, which hates watering, Crepe Myrtle responds well to watering and also enjoys a heavily mulched base.

Plants Are Self-Mulching
Mulching is a generic term for placing a layer of organic material around the base of a plant:

  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Grass
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Flowers
  • Leaves.
When I was a beginning gardener, I raked leaves out from under bushes, so they could have bare soil around them. Most bushes promptly dropped more leaves to mulch themselves.

God mulches every plant, much more than people imagine. Leaves, pollen, flowers, and dead insects fall off each plant to add organic matter to the top of the soil. That layer of organic matter keeps the soil cool and moist while feeder the very creatures we want to tend the roots - bacteria, fungi, protozoa, earthworms, and many more. This spring a mole circled the supercenter of food underneath my Crepe Myrtle, the same area that I mulched for the last four years. His digging for food was exactly where I mulched, the first time I have seen a mole dig a food tunnel in a perfect circle. He took days to complete his work. 

 "I love Creation gardeners,
and I frustrate the rest of them.
Goodbye and thanks for all the June-bugs."



Earthworm Enjoyment

Insects are undoubtedly mole nutritive staples, but they're not actually their first priority. Large earthworms are actually what moles generally like to eat the most. Moles consider earthworms to be so valuable they regularly stash them away for later consumption. If they have an earthworm surplus, they tuck them away inside designated safekeeping units. One researcher found a unit consisting of more than 1,200 earthworms. The unit also housed several grubs.

Big Appetites

Moles possess extremely speedy metabolisms. Because of this, it's absolutely crucial for the subterranean mammals to take in substantial portions of food daily. If they don't, they simply can't sustain themselves. Moles generally consume between two and three times their body weights every 24 hours. Moles are unable to survive without eating for 12 hours or so.

Over 500,000 bacteria will fit inside the period
at the end of this sentence, so a mole is this big or bigger in relation
 to soil creature size.


Moles love earthworms, but they also consume pests in the ground before those grubs hatch into big pests. Although the mole doubtlessly wiped out or stored most of those earthworms underneath the bush, plenty more available nearby. Less hysterical gardeners -the ones who welcome moles - also realize these enormous animals (in light of most soil denizens) are the Caterpillar tractors of the yard.

Moles may frustrate you, but June-bugs (Japapese beetles) infuriate me. Moles do no harm, but June-bugs devour the best flowers and do nothing to make up for their vandalism. I suggest gardeners thank the moles for reducing the number of destructive insects developing under the soil.

The most often named villains of the garden - moles, Starlngs, Grackles, Crows - are also the most voracious predators of pests. Likewise, people complain about Dutch white clover, whose only fault is pulling nitrogen out of the air and fixing it for the soil - thanks to bacteria in the roots.

Clover will sit there in the grass, feed the bee population, mulch the soil with its leaves and flowers and pollen - and die off leaving tiny pods of organic nitrogen compounds for the grass roots. And it expands it beneficial network wherever it can find purchase for its benevolent growth.

People would pay big money for Pokeweed
if the birds did not plant it for free.
We tend to denigrate what is free
and chase what is expensive.


Mulch Has To Go Somewhere
Before garbage pick-up trucks, people gathered organic waste of various types and composted them. During morning walks I find green bags of grass - later leaves - that will go to the dump. If I were building compost, I would grab the grass bags and add them to my compost pile. However, they would lead to hauling the finished compost somewhere in the garden, not my idea of fun. And that ignores the chore of picking up a big, moist bag of stinking, rotting grass and dropping it into the Icha-boat.

I will wait for dozens of bags of autumn leaves, carefully and conveniently gathered in the same bags, lightweight, dry, and devoid of that memorable rotting grass stink. 

I also pick up pieces of rotting wood, often very light - wormed out by soil creatures - and freshly dropped deadwood, still weighted by moisture and ready to feed the troops. Both types are valuable to weight down the cardboard layer before the autumn leaves arrive. I also use them to prop new bushes prone to wind or animal damage. Several logs held up a newly transplanted Butterfly Bush that was weaker than a UOJ argument. After several months of rainwater, the bush was flowering and standing on its own.

Meanwhile, the logs and cardboard held in moisture, served as a food zone for insects and birds, and kept us all from walking into the bush and uprooting it. I moved the small logs to the new cardboard, to keep our yard from airmailing the covering during the next wind storm.

The bare cardboard adds a note of Dogpatch to the backyard at the moment, but it will soon be covered with autumn leaves and promoting the growth of Hosta. Meanwhile, the grass is rotting into the soil and increasing the soil creature population.

When I thought of short-cuts, growing up in Moline, my father would say at the bakery, "You are the laziest thing I ever saw." I looked for ways to shorten the time involved since youthful energy was not lacking. I doubled the load. Now I have moved from flours to flowers, and I still search for ways to make it easier and more productive.

Note for the Frugal 
Newspapers, cardboard, grass clippings, and tree offerings are all free and yet packed with potential soil nutrition. Tree stumps are easily harvested from the curb during fall and spring clean-ups. 

Neighbors see tree stumps as trash to be hauled away. I see stumps as free bird perches and soil creature food. If they have little off-shoots, so much the better. 
Make a rustic fence with these on top of the wood mulch.
Stumps make great squirrel and bird perches.
They love to be a little off the ground and look
for food from that position.