Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bargin Shopping in New York

Hiram sent me this.


The last few days I have been thinking about the importance of living in the present. A recent selection from the Upper Room was Mathew 6: 25-34. These are the words of Jesus where he talks about not being anxious about what we will eat,or drink, or wear, or where we will live. These scriptures are a reminder that God has provided a way of living for the natural world and clothed them in beauty, and that if He has done this for birds and flowers, He certainly has not forgotten us as individuals. This passage ends with one of my favorite admonitions: Sufficient unto the day is the trouble there of. I remember my Dad saying this,and I imagine that he learned it from his parents as it is such a stilted translation,perhaps from Old English. He was not exempt from worry, but he understood the great burden that worry is. Paul had some words about worry,too. He said that we should throw off every burden that holds us back and run the race that is set before us. We depend on the Ancient One to provide water stops along the way.

Wordsworth wrote about our tendency to race about doing unimportant things:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

Judging from these sources, worry and concentration on perceived bodily needs is not a recent problem for humankind. And it never stops. The kids think they need the latest backpack and my bedridden mother is afraid she will run out of money to care for herself. I think this is a natural part of humans and indeed to a limited extent is necessary for survival, but it should not be our primary task . Our primary task is the care and feeding of our souls. The first thing that I need to do to attend to my soul is to quiet the clamor the world makes in my head, and remember who I am in relation to God.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Orange Tiger Lilies


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My orange tiger lilies have been blooming for several weeks but are about to finish. These old favorites are common around old homesteads and are common pass along plants. I got my start from my mother who got hers from her mother. They are sturdy plants reaching 3-4 feet tall, and are one of the few plants that produce bublets (properly called bulbils) in the axils of the leaves. They are easily propagated from these and will bloom from such a start in 2-3 years. They can also be propagated like most lilies from division of the bulb scales. The specific epithet is Lilium lancifolium and it originally came from eastern Asia. It is regarded as a delicacy there and all parts of the plant are edible--except the pollen which is said to be toxic. All parts of the plant are toxic to cats, causing kidney failure. Go figure.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nice (?) Bug

We had 2 of these creatures on our screen at Sanibel Island. What on earth is it?? Does anyone have any ideas? It hardly moved at all, and I did not want to disturb it(It looks scary to me). One stayed about 4 days in virtually the same spot.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ybor City, the Latin Quarter of Tampa

These are some street scenes from Ybor city. We stopped just for a look around at the famous cigar shops, restaurants, and beautiful mosaics. People were just moving up and down the street and all around as if it was not hot as 700. There had apparently been a wedding or reception right before we got there because some one was sweeping up the red silk rose petals from the street. I collected a few just to remember the scene.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fingernail Moon

Did you see that beautiful tiny slice of moon last night just at sunset? There was still a bit of pink smear left from the sunset. The rest of the sky was dark, and the moon stood just at the edge of the darkness. It was so beautiful. I thought about my camera, but decided that the memory was probably better than any picture I could make.
Once in Montana (Big Sky Country) we saw an astoundingly beautiful sunset and Hugo took several pictures of it, but like a shot of the Grand Canyon, a photo can't capture the magnificence. What remains is not a memory of the sunset, but a memory of my feelings about the sunset. Which is better.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sanibel Again

I am at Sanibel Island this week with the whole family for once. The water is VERY warm,like tepid bath water. So is the pool.The days are incredibly hot,the shells are still here but in limited numbers,and we are having a great time. We are being more selective with the shells we collect this time. At least we are trying to. They are all so beautiful and such great treasures that it's hard not to take them,even when you know you have better specimuns at home.
This afternoon late we were in the water for a long time. There is a sandbar a long ways out in the water and we went there to find lots of sand dollars. There were some really gig ones, but they were all alive so we did not take any. They are pretty smelly when drying,plus it is against regulations to take live shells. There were some dinner plate size 8 armed star fish. We put them on our heads like fancy hats and paraded around for a while. Then pitched them back in

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Roy Hood Art

I recently acquired some more Roy Hood wood carvings. The ones with the harnesses are horses and the yoked ones are oxen,or cows as he called them. He told me about being in the logging business in the 30's and that he had used "cows" to drag the logs out of the swamp. One log was so big that only a portion of it would go on a truck.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Benefits of Clay Soil

This hot humid weather is getting to me. When the weather is to miserable for me to go outside and doodle with my plants, I am telling you it is miserable. The plants don't seem to be suffering though. I've had enough rain at my house so that things are still looking pretty good. This ole red clay is hard to work, but when it gets hold of water and fertilizer, it holds on and can sustain plants through droughts much better than sandy loam. Stop cursing that clay in your yard and face the facts: in Alabama our richest soils are red clays. They do need organic matter like all soils, and they can be lightened up with enough sand. Be careful with adding sand though. Too little can actually cause a sort of cement to set up and you could be worse off than when you had done nothing. My red clay needs a dose of epsom salts to keep some plants (notably tomatoes)from getting blossom end rot. The magnesium sulfate causes calcium to be released from the clay particles where it is tightly bound. It then become available to the plant. Calcium deficiency is the cause of blossom end rot. So much for today's soil chemistry lesson.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Copperheads on the Move

A few days ago in the early evening before dark, Dora announced to me that she had found something I needed to take a look at. I could tell by her bark that it might be a snake. I found her prancing around just out of striking distance of a 2 foot copperhead. To tell the truth, I had trouble seeing it even with Dora pointing the way. The camouflage on copperheads is incredible. This is the second one Dora has pointed out to me and it is equally hard to see in grass or dry leaves.
I ran to get the hoe which I had turned into a weapon by a friend who sharpens tools. I never use a regular hoe for anything except snake disposal. I use a hinged hole in the garden because it cuts in both directions and allows the weeds/grass to be severed just below the soil.A nice dry soil mulch is left on top of the soil.
An internet search revealed that the snake was probably looking for a meal of cicadas, which are in much abundance around my house. I never had thought of snakes eating insects before. Although I have observed them being attacked by hordes of what appeared to be chiggers.
After I dispatched the snake Dora wanted everyone to see her prize so she dragged it all around the yard and tossed it in the air as high as she could. She knew she had done good!
I just hope no more of his friends or relatives are around.
And for all you snake lovers out there, I do not go around indiscriminately killing snakes. If I find them in the woods or fields, I just give them a wide birth. I do not bother them in their homes. But if they invade my home space--WATCH OUT!
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