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, March 20, 2017

The Creation Gardener - Servant of the Servants of God

 I want that bird, now!
No, Clancy, that's a Norma Boeckler drawing.


The Servant of the Servants of God - the pope has used that term for himself, as a sign of his modesty. That is better as a title for the Creation gardener. The chemical gardener, with his mighty rototiller, is always harming soil microbes, decreasing the beneficial insect population, and driving away birds and other worthwhile creatures.

Before spending money on a fad solution, the careful gardener thinks about its impact on all life and questions if the short-term solution is really a good investment of time and money. Rather than rant about harm, let's discuss the good a gardener can do for all life.

I did not order a chickadee added to my mocha.


First Benefit of Birds
I spent a lot of time and almost no money figuring out the best solution for attracting birds to our yard, with two benefits. The first one is having them feed at the two windows we use the most - bedroom and kitchen. They are already quite used to us walking by or using the sink, so standing at the window is no problem. The male goldfinches are giving up their drab winter livery for the spectacular gold feathers. The change is subtle at first but already moving toward impossible brightness.

We also observe a constant feeding of cardinals, a very shy bird, now quite used to us and willing to pose for photos. Common finches also feed on sunflower seeds and squirrels leave them alone - for the most part. The young squirrels are content with the fall out, because they have no easy way to poach the food from the Lowe hanging feeders.

 We let the vines continue to grow,
and now a bird has nested in them.
California Dreamin' Rose.


Second Benefit of Birds
The most important benefit of birds in the garden is their constant consumption of the insect population, which only increases to feed the babies.

I let God manage this since He has been doing such a good job since the Creation. If one kind of pest grows in number, the pest eaters will gladly show up drive that population down.

The birds' greatest need in the summer is not for food, but fresh clean water for drinking, bathing, and preening. They can often find that, but I want them used to our many shallow sources of clean water:

  • Two are near the water faucet that sprays water around.
  • Two children's swimming pools are cleaned and filled routinely.
  • Shallow clay water pans are under the soaker hoses to provide extra water for birds and toads.
Bathing and preening are essential for flight, so they love to have water and a safe place to work their feathers into proper shape for flight.

Birds are just as much fun when bathing as they are when eating. Starlings eat and bathe as a flock. Suddenly they are around the baths and splashing, dipping into the water, jumping in and out.

The recent cold nights left the baths frozen in the morning. The birds walked around on top of them, looking for useful water. This servant of the servants of God filled up five-gallon paint cans and took out water to pour over the ice.



Mulch, Stumps, Lumps of Wood, and Earthworms
Earthworms do the large-scale work of tunneling, aerating, and manuring the soil. Inside their bodies are bacteria that digest the food ingested. The bacteria need the earthworms and the earthworms require bacteria. 

Happy, well-fed earthworms multiply and make the soil better. All the creatures of decomposition play a distinct role in the process, each one taking care of one or two steps in returning organic matter to the plants. Our granddaughter thought the front looked grim with all the stumps arranged on top the soil. But it is really a massive display of what was once living to feed the growing and living below the soil. Lift up a stump and happy worms and soil creatures wiggle in dismay at the bright sunlight. A layer of wood mulch, cardboard, and newspaper gives our former lawn a dark, damp place for creatures to recycle food into the roots of the roses.



Look - A Hollow Stump
The maple tree had some rotting  and dying limbs far above. One came down as a nifty hollow stump. My first thought was, "Just what Mr. Toad or another creature would love - shade, food, and moisture."