Birds and Garden News

Here’s a little report on the goings on in my yard. The weather was beautiful today and I was able to go outside and get a few things done. Between the rake and the shovel – and the stooping and pulling – I ought to be on my way to becoming buff. Of course, it will take more than one day of hard work to get the chores done and to get myself in shape. I hope I can still move my back and arms tomorrow.

Got my Kentucky Wonder pole beans planted. I still have some mighty healthy weeds to remove so I can get the rest of the garden in. The herbs are doing great. The marjoram survived the winter along with dill, parsley, coriander, rosemary, spearmint and garlic chives. The green onions are looking good. Tomorrow I hope to deal with the weeds so I can get the vegetables and peanuts planted pretty soon. Peanuts are a new adventure for me. I do hope to get the other two parsley plants that I just bought in the ground tomorrow. Can’t have too much parsley if I hope to have swallowtail butterflies again this year. Something I still need is milkweed for the monarchs. I was told their numbers are down due to weather and loss of habitat, so I sure want to be able to feed any monarch caterpillars that may show up.

I saw a gold finch today at my feeder. I guess he’s a straggler. The rest of them left 2 or 3 weeks ago. My buff-bellied hummingbird left the second week of March. We hope he comes back next winter. I won’t let my husband mow the part of the yard that I call our “meadow” until after the wildflowers bloom, but there are a few things that come up that we don’t want growing out there. So, today I was pulling them and I saw the first ruby-throated hummingbird for this year. Well, the first one for my yard. I have a friend who had her first – two in one day! – on March 15. We put a hummingbird feeder out near the back of the yard hoping for a visit from the orchard oriole. He was in the woods behind our house last year, so we hope to entice him to come a bit closer. Anyway, that’s where I saw the hummingbird. It may be my imagination but he looked pretty worn out and hungry to me. I need to get some food in the other two feeders tomorrow so I’ll be ready for the rest of them.

I sure hope I can move my back and arms tomorrow.

Violent Reactions

Man, I better study faster! People are going nuts over the healthcare bill, while I’ve been listening to a series of lectures on Academic Earth on Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s a whole class on non-violent resistance. So far it’s pretty interesting. I’m up to the 5th lecture.

The professor did say something that I thought was strange. He said Jesus was an advocate of non-violence but Christians are not. I thought it was strange because I’m a Christian and here I sit for over an hour at a time listening to this man. I wondered how many Christians he knows? He’s off in his Academic Berkley World and I’m in Texas. I’m not likely to cross paths with him. I wish I could meet him; I’d love to sit down and have a conversation. What he said bothers me about as much as what the brick throwing, ugly phone callers are doing. I know that sounds shocking, but I think there is a lot of what we could call “seed power” in an idea.

What he is doing – characterizing all Christians as preferring violence over non-violent solutions – is as wrong-headed as Christians who characterize all liberals as immoral, uncaring people. And why it bothers me so much is that it’s dangerous. We don’t see each other as people, as flesh and blood human beings, when we paint with the wide brush. When we lose sight of our common humanity, we become capable of acts of violence, based only on a philosophical disagreement.

I’ve been thinking about John 17 today. Jesus didn’t pray that those who are called by His name – Christian – would be known for our opinions, doctrine, or moral lifestyle. He prayed that we would be one with Him and that the love of God would be in us. How ought we to behave if that is so? (Check I Corinthians 13.)

Since the bill was passed, I’ve not only had to pay attention to my reaction to that – to know that God takes care of me, regardless of what any government does, and to have a peaceful and joyful attitude in His presence (we live our lives Coram Deo – before the face of God) – now I need to watch my attitude toward those who are reacting violently. I need to pray for them, as well as pray for the protection of those they have threatened.

In every group there are extremists, and it’s interesting how that comes about. I recently read¬† – somewhere, I don’t remember where – that when we only associate with folks who think like we do that is how extremists are ‘born’. The views, whether liberal, conservative, religious, or whatever, are accepted by all in the group of like-minded folks. No one wants to be lost in the crowd, so what happens is someone will become “more” of whatever the group is. This makes that one stand out in the crowd while also gaining approval of the group. Then someone else who doesn’t want to get lost in the crowd becomes “more”.¬† And so it goes.

I think the solution is to mix and mingle. Let’s practice a bit of prevention here. It will be good for all of us. Go to websites and coffee shops and ask questions of those you disagree with. Get to know them a bit. Not just for their views, but know about their families and their jobs and their interests. Know your neighbors as much as you can, too. Let’s all – no matter what our political or religious views – let’s all have peace as our purpose. We do all have to live together. And I can’t think of a better way to invite a heavy-handed government solution to violence than to behave in a violent manner. So, everybody just take a deep breath and slow down, please.

The Answer to the Question

I don’t usually comment on things in the news unless I have something to say that I haven’t heard anyone else say. Two times in the past couple days I’ve seen someone either not answer, or give the wrong answer, to a question regarding the healthcare bill.

The question was first asked yesterday by Woopi Goldberg on The View. Elizabeth Hasselbeck was objecting to the bill because it is mandated that we all have it. Woopi asked what’s wrong with that since we are already required to have other insurance, such as auto insurance? She got no answer. None at all.

This morning on the 700 Club Gordon Roberts asked Jay Sekulow, who is a constitution lawyer, why it was a problem that this is mandated since we already have to have auto insurance? Same question. He got an answer but I think it was totally the wrong answer. Jay Sekulow said it was a problem because for auto insurance you get a benefit. You get to have a driver’s license and you get to have a vehicle. Oh, for Heaven’s sake!

Now I have to say what I didn’t hear these folks say. The reason a state – not the federal government – can require auto insurance is that their state constitution doesn’t say that they can NOT require auto insurance. A state can do anything its constitution doesn’t prohibit. The Federal Government can only do what the US Constitution tells it do to. The Federal Government is restrained by the Constitution. And the US Constitution does not tell the Federal Government they can force us to buy a product or have any kind of insurance. This is why we are hearing about the 10th Amendment and states are filing lawsuits to stop this legislation.

I’ve only learned this in the past few years as I’ve been listening to folks like Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell and Jacob Hornberger explain a few things. I hope folks will calm down and quit yelling, gather a few facts, and do a little bit of reasoning with each other.

Yard, Gardening and Bird Adventures

Well, here’s a bit of an update on the yard, gardening activities and birds. You know a while back we had a pretty deep freeze for this part of the country and a bit of snow, too. Right now the only green on the lawn is clover (love it!) and weeds (got work to do there). The grass is still brown. My freesias are blooming but they are surrounded by brown fern, so they could be looking better. I managed to get some of the damage out of the flower bed but I didn’t quite make it over that far.

My husband’s used to be really tall cactus that we cut damage off of after the freeze flopped over a couple days ago. Well, part of it flopped over. The part that is still standing is just as dead as the part that fell though. I told him the Portulaca seedlings I have going will look really nice in place of that cactus.

We’re not sure about the satsuma tree. It has no buds on it at all. Neither does my father in law’s.

The other day I transplanted – up to bigger containers – 32 tomato plants. I put them deeper in the soil than what they were growing so they can develop more roots. I want to plant them the week after Easter and I want some good roots going first. Our average last frost date here is March 15th but I don’t trust it this year, so I’m giving it a couple more weeks just to be safe.

Gotta’ tell you the other day when I went out to the garden shed to transplant the tomatoes I put my hand up inside of some brown paper that my dill is wrapped in. It’s hanging to dry and when I did that, I thought it’s probably getting a bit late in the winter to be doing that – putting my hand where I can’t see what might be there – so I better not do that again. Might be a wasp in there before too long. Then I looked over at the window and saw a snake skin looped over a fishing rod that is stored horizontally above the window. I don’t reckon I will put my hand where I can’t see – probably ever again. Oh, it looks like it might be a baby rat snake’s skin. It looked pretty cool just like it was so I didn’t want to take it down and count scales and all that to try to identify it.

I have bell pepper seedlings and eggplant seedlings to put in bigger containers in a day or two. And, the coolest thing! A friend gave me some peanuts to plant. It was a little kit thing with a pot and the planting medium and the peanuts. I have a sprout! I can hardly wait to see how this little adventure goes. I’ve never grown my own peanuts. (I can see my grandpa smiling. He grew up on a peanut farm in Mississippi.)

I ran across an old email the other day where I was telling a friend about some baby hummingbirds on our Lantana. That was in June of 2006. Sure would be cool to see that again. Right now the goldfinches are on their way to their summer home. I haven’t see one in a couple days. Yesterday five of them were spotted at a feeder down the street but only two of them were there today. I haven’t seen the little buff-bellied hummingbird today, but I was gone most of the morning. I only saw him once or twice yesterday. I’ve learned that blue jays have a really pretty sound they make. It sounds downright melodious. I thought they only squawked, so this is a neat discovery. I wonder if it’s their spring song, to attract a mate? Oh, I’ve started putting crushed shells from boiled eggs out on the feeder so the birds can get some calcium. They need it so their eggs will have good strong shells.

Well, that’s my report for this time. And it’s time that I get outside in this sunshine and get the rest of the weeds out of the flower bed so the freesias can shine. I hope things are going well in your garden and yard.