The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

May 25, Ascension Day Holy Communion,
7 PM Centray Daylight 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

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Delight of Working the Soil - Oceanography of the Dirt

 Our neighbor and her daughter wanted to be
rose gardeners. She started with an extra Veteran's Honor
and now has three of these Home Rome roses to plant.

Our Army Ranger veteran and landscaper stopped by to say hello to Chris and ask to borrow Sassy. He looked over my front-yard and grinned, saying, "Do they mind what you did to the grass?"

He was the one who asked, "What do you have against grass?" But now that the roses are blooming and the other plants forming, the front yard looks more like a display for gardeners and rose-lovers alike.

I thought Edith's Darling was an odd name for a rose.

 Above is a Downton Abbey rose, so Edith's Darling
is Marigold - marigold colors.
Once I took two offers of $5 roses, which were from Weeks, a large wholesaler, selling their leftovers via Gurney's. This time the grower was Weeks again and the retailer Spring Hill Nursery. I network with all of them and no longer buy at full price. New featured roses are often $30 each. These were $6.

The catch is taking what is offered, but that worked well twice before. As readers know, I often brag about the $5 roses thriving under the maple tree.

 Neptune
I favor roses with a long history and a small price. Mr. Lincoln was $12 from Edmunds, and I know what to expect from that rose - long stems, deep red roses, a cloud of aroma. Still, it is fun to find the labels on the new bare root roses and look up their names.

Planting roses means sitting on the damp ground, often on thorny pieces of rose pruned some time before. I contend with tree roots, opportunistic weeds, and an abundance of Wild Strawberries, carelessly planted  - or on purpose - by the birds who patrol the garden. The Robins were watching me open up patches of mulched soil, knowing food would be disturbed and running around for their hunting. Several pieces of cardboard mulch featured dozens of bugs underneath, doubtless the reason for Grackles quickly flipping cardboard away.

Some people like to fish, boating on lakes - and the ocean - to enjoy their hobby. I like digging in the ocean of soil beneath our feet. When dealing with untilled soil and steadfast maple roots in the past, the labor seemed endless. Now the front-yard is completely mulched and full of red wiggler earthworms.

Jeff Lowenfels argues that keeping the soil undisturbed is often better than tilling and rotating crops. Fungi  set up their own networks in the soil and perform the duties managed by the plants, delivering nutrition and water in exchange for the carbon credits they need to grow.

Ignoring the other microbes, the fungal contribution alone is staggering, intricate, microscopic, and unseen. That reminds me of Jesus speaking to Nicodemus about the power of the Spirit/Wind (the same word in Hebrew and Greek).

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

The wind is invisible but tears roofs off, uproots trees, and blows buildings apart. The Spirit's work is always united with the Word - just as powerful and invisible. Therefore, references to the Word include the Spirit, and references to the Spirit include the Word. Spirit-born means Word born, born from above, the power of the Spirit in the Word conveying Jesus to us.

When soil is sterilized in the laboratory, plants will grow in it, but they are stunted and more prone to disease. Only recently did the soil scientists learn of fungus growing in plants to protect them - and fungal connections to most plants, feeding and watering them. Many labored in agriculture, landscaping, and gardening without knowing these basics, which are only now reaching the public. And yet we take derivatives of soil fungus to kill disease in our own bodies. Everything has a purpose, and nothing is wasted.

Gardeners enjoy being little creationists in the soil, making tiny changes to an incredibly complex system and enjoying - or abhorring - the results. I let the English Ivy grow, as Mrs. Ichabod wanted, so the landscaper said,"Is it growing over the picture window on purpose?" I told him they were free curtains and shades, even though they want to grow inside too. The unfortunate result is the ivy sneaking into the rose garden to enjoy more sun and water.

Various mint plants dot the rose garden now, to keep the beneficial bugs fed in their adult stage. Plants will send extra nectar to attract beneficials when attacked. Having the host plants nearby increases the numbers of resident Hover Flies, Ichneumon Wasps, Tachinids, and Pirate Bugs. Spiders are heroes - toads are honored guests, pampered with rotting logs and shallow pans of water.

 Mountain Mint's tiny flowers attract tiny bugs
that prey upon pests.

Last year I pampered the mint plants - Mountain Mint, Monarda, and Cat Mint. The tiny mints of last year started out the spring as tall green plants ready to bloom all summer.

 Cat Mint looks like lavender.