The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Six Inches of Rain - Or More - After I Watered the Front and Back



On Thursday, the clay soil was white from lack of rain, so I watered. On Friday we had at least three inches of rain, plus another three inches on Friday night. More sprinkling followed today and the water was standing in he backyard as the sun was setting.

More rain could come on Tuesday, which is great for roses, mint, berries, Butterfly Bushes, Crepe Myrtle, and Buckwheat.


We may even have enough berries this year to eat. The Triple Crown Blackberries are loaded with flowers, even in the deep shade behind the house.

Tonight I cut roses for the altar. Two Veterans Honor were in full bloom, so I took them to a neighbor.



For the altar I cut Queen Elizabeth roses and Easy Does It. Earlier I was frustrated with the short stems of Easy Does It, because it is a floribunda, more known for color than for long stems. Now the same plants are boasting long-stemmed roses with various degrees of bloom, from opening buds to prune-worthy.

The cover crop is Buckwheat, which I will sow more generously wherever we have mulch. Although Almost Eden told me Buckwheat can suppress weeds, now I understand how to use the plant to attract beneficial insects near the roses while improving the soil and supplanting weeds.

The worst and fastest spreading weed is Bermuda grass, which has the habit of extending itself and planting new plants from tip rooting. Therefore, sun and rain are a bonus for its growth. Now I can see how the shallow roots of Buckwheat simply deny a place for similar plants to grow.

Buckwheat has many virtues
and no vices for the Creation gardener.


The divine engineering of soil improvement is beyond comprehension, with so many complications. Here are some notable examples of God's Creation at work in ongoing soil renewal:

  • Fungus needs organic carbon for its growth, so the value of leaf and wood mulch is infinite. I carry large pieces of bark and wood chunks fallen from trees, simply because daily supplements add up.
  • Every single plant creates a little universe of energy and dependencies: fungus, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, springtails, sowbugs, pillbugs, centipedes and millipedes, earthworms and moles. 
  • Insects and spiders join the birds in an everlasting battle of the prey becoming prey, from the dead earthworm dragged away by the ants to the bird consumed by bacteria, mites, and creatures of decomposition.
  • Plant roots plunge into the soil and expand their network through fungi, adding carbon to grow the fungus that grows the plants in the soil. 
  • Plants shed organic matter to feed the soil. Like the earthworm, the slug will shred the plant material, speeding its reduction to basic organic chemicals for the plants. Unlike the earthworm, the slug will merrily chew, disfigure, and destroy the young plants, which only escape by becoming stronger.
  • Good soil accumulates more carbon, more organic matter, and supports more roots that improve the soil and feed the vast soil population, from the microbes to the moles.
Buckwheat for Hover Flies

The adult Hover Flies need plants like Buckwheat
in the adult stage to lay eggs around the pests,
where in a role reversal, the eggs have pest insects for breakfast.

How ironic that most of us grew up and reached Social Security age without knowing or appreciating the tiny Hover Flies, aka Flower Flies, aka Syrphids.

Likewise, the tiny Ichneumon Wasp carries out its duties without our knowledge or appreciation.

Buckwheat, Mints, and the tiny weeds of the lawn provide extra pollen and nectar for adult beneficial insects. Most of us were taught Ladybugs are great and devour bugs while young and in maturity. But there are vast numbers of other beneficial insects that do this work.

Designed for a Purpose
Every single plant and animal has a purpose, which is shown in its design. Scientists often describe this in their studies, by showing the mutual dependencies, now explained by this strange escape clause: co-evolution. Together, in harmony, these unthinking living things developed ways to help each other so that one strengthens and protects the other. I consider that mighty intelligent of the fungus to help almost all the plants on earth. There are exceptions, like Goosefoot, but there are always exceptions.

Likewise, God has given each one of us a purpose and a design to achieve that purpose. Often we long to have the talents, looks, money, or circumstances of another person. We would like to wish away the difficulties, too. But the entire mix of good and bad helps us see our purpose and pursue our strengths.

Few would want my employment history, but that has allowed me to help hundreds of students and adults establish new or improved careers. I will be teaching a class tonight of adults who would rather work in a pleasant environment. Some are worn out by stress. I have done this for years. Suddenly, one university said, "Hey instructors, why not include career planning in your courses. Share some experiences and insights to help your students find fulfilling work." 

If we can see the purpose of the tiny and overlooked Flower Flies, then we can certainly understand that God has a purpose for us.