The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

Lenten Mid-week Services, Wednesdays -
7 PM Central Daylight Savings Time
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, October 6, 2016

Needle Park - The Once and Future Hosta Garden

 By Norma Boeckler

Our helper finished gathering pine needles for the Hosta garden, which began with free Hostas from Mr. Gardener's row of plants. We had the cardboard layer down much earlier, when leaves and needles were scarce. We now have about seven wheelbarrows of needles spread on the cardboard, which is mostly covered.

New cardboard is going on the far west side of the backyard. That worked with - with leaves - to turn most of the backyard into shade gardening, with some modest starts in the plants.

I mentioned the distant yard to our helper - it has two magnificent pines and a thick layer of needles on the ground and sidewalk. "Betcha there is no grass in that yard." He was right. Our previous pile of stored needles in the backyard had no grass or weeds growing through it or under it.

The bird-feeding area is now exclusively around the window where we view them. The initial row of bushes - Gooseberry, Clethra, Chaste Tree, - is well established. Inside that perimeter are two Butterfly Bushes and a constant parade of butterflies - not many but persistent in their attention to the flowers. The large Butterfly Bush has been the shelter for birds feeding and the ladder for squirrels pouncing on the sunflower seeds. The ground is soft with a thick layer of sunflower hulls from all summer. When I stand to put feed in, the mole-undermined soil sinks beneath me. "Yes, more mixing of the soil. I like that."

I trust moles and earthworms to do the job of mixing, so I do not need to borrow a rototiller to destroy the delicate microbial networks in the soil.

The Butterfly Bushes prove that winter is approaching. The male Cardinals now wait for food together on the plants. The males will not sing and fight for territory and their mates until spring. Between the Crepe Myrtle seed repository in the front and the sunflower seeds in the back, our yard is Cardinal friendly. I moved the second and third birdbaths into this area as well.

Chickadees are often flitting around the sunflower seeds, grabbing one and pecking it open while holding the seed with their feet. When it is colder they will probably eat from the suet, too, but bugs are easily found in our warm, wet weather, with slight cooling at night.

Our rain yesterday was impressive and badly needed. I am supposed to harvest 50 roses for the chiro, so I am focusing  on watering and pruning on getting that number for Monday.

  By Norma Boeckler


No Pruning in the Fall - No Cleaning Up
Once again, think about the creatures before pruning and cleaning up in the autumn.

Pruning will reduce the bug and bird shelters available all winter. They go together. Where God shelters bugs, he also provides for birds. We seldom think of all the insect life in trees, bushes, and plants. When I watered Clethra, the tiny insects came off the blooms like dust clouds.

Wild bees use hollow plant stems for winter shelter. Beneficial beetle populations like unspoiled leaf litter on the ground for the next generation of workers to sleep. Alone sunflower stalk will shelter bugs and provide a nifty perch for birds to use when looking for insects on the ground below. "Nothing is wasted," as Lenski wrote about the food gathered up after the Feeding of the Multitudes.

If an apple or banana goes bad in the kitchen, we share it with the creatures. Shriveled berries and grapes will attract birds and squirrels. Raisins and nuts will increase the variety of birds coming to a feeder.



  By Norma Boeckler


Think About Spring
Most of the leaves placed on the garden and newly mulched areas will be devoured by mites and earthworms in late spring.

Pieces of twine left on branches will be grabbed by birds for nesting. So will dryer lint stuck in suet baskets. I put one colorful piece of string on the Crepe Myrle branch. Soon it was gone. Then I saw it fall down from the maple tree, high up. A robin soared down to pick it up and place it back in the nest he was building. Likewise, a robin will grab dry leaves for the walls and floors of his new home. And yet  -  people rake their leaves, bag them, and send them away.

Steady feeding of the birds will not make them dependent on humans! That is like saying going to a baseball game and eating popcorn will make humans dependent on snackfoods. Oops -  bad analogy - we are dependent. Birds are smarter. They get most of their food from God's Creation, not from ConAgra and Walmart.

The worst time for birds is during heavy ice and sleet storms. They need calories and have trouble finding enough food under the ice. Food available means the yard is a good place to settle down and put down roots. Each species will pick its location for a nest and tolerate others birds except their own kind. Flocking birds like Starlings will put a bird-friendly yard on their map and visit them regularly.

 By Norma Boeckler