|Goldfinches line up on a sunny day for their sunflower seeds.|
Yesterday the rain slowly built up, from barely coming down to a steady downpour. From that point it continued on to a lengthy cloudburst that turned the backyard into a shallow lake. About four inches fell in one day.
Bird feeding continued all day, with more eating as the rain intensified. That tells me they were pessimistic about warm sunny weather arriving soon.
| Bluebirds are even more popular than goldfinches.|
They love suet and worms.
Robins and doves were on the ground looking for food, which reminded me of the massive size of our bird-feeders. The entire front yard is mulched with cardboard and shredded wood, with a frosting of maple leaves (almost gone now). The backyard has about 60 bags of leaves, cardboard, some shredded wood, and pine needles. Tree stumps garnish the front and back areas, watchtowers for birds, shade for toads.
This mammoth deposit of organic matter is also home to a billion insects, from the seldom seen springtails to the obnoxious fat Japanese beetles. They also play a crucial role in the Creation Garden, because they attract and feed the birds while waging constant war on each other. Spiders are omnipresent, weaving their nets wherever convenient or - like the Walendas - working without a net. The hunting spiders are just as important and both classes are removed by the used of insecticides.
Nothing is more ironic than paying for insecticides when beneficial insects, spiders, and birds do this work for free and keep pests under control.
| Blue jays actively farm the forest,|
planting acorn trees for their descendants.
Insects and spiders also contribute to decomposition. Springtails are insects and mites are spiders. The 60 bags of leaves each year are reduced by earthworms and mites working together. The earthworms pull down the leaves and the bacteria in their guts digest the leaves. The final result of earthworm labors is the casting that combines very fine soil with an increase in sweetness and nutrition for the plants. The so-called sweetness is base, or the opposite of acid soil. Sometimes a bit acidic is good, but in general plants like a sweeter soil that releases more chemicals for them.
Naturally this rain feeds and fertilizes every aspect of the food chain, from the fungal growth to the damp rot of wood to the bloom of roses.
The younger gardening experts discovered organic or Creation Gardening late in their careers. Probably Sharon Lovejoy is the exception. My mother pooh-poohed insecticides in favor of letting the beneficial insects do their work. My 40 days in the wilderness of chemical temptation were more like 40 seconds, when I saw how much each container cost.
I can see the chemical gardeners saying, just like the Church Growthers - "You're just lazy." Trusting the Creation in the garden is just the same as trusting the Word in ecclesiastical matters. In this case there is a coin with two sides. One is the effectiveness of God's Creation, engineering, and management. The other is God's efficacious Word in the Means of Grace.
I have grown old hearing people say, "You have to have this program. Buy this program. It will work wonders." And so many programs have been pushed down upon and sold to unsuspecting congregations. "Everyone is doing this, and it really works. We even have pre-printed sermons to go with it." One was a national promotion with a Superbowl generic ad and a call-in center. The results were - 30 people phoning in to say how much they liked it - all members of the denomination.
| Mourning doves have a sad call but a peaceful demeanor.|
They love seeds.
Lenski said, "Programs come and go. Only the Word builds up the congregation." Luther was even more specific. He advocated the sermon as almost the entire work of the congregation. The Lutheran Reformation was nothing more than the effect of the sermon, Luther expounding the meaning of the Gospel from the text. Whenever an issue came up, he examined the Scriptural support for or against certain issues. People grew in their knowledge and application of the Word.
| Grackles are smart-alecks, like the entire crow family.|
Like crows and starlings, they devour insect pests and grubs.