Saturday, May 23, 2015

Being Thankful for Trees Means Being Thankful for Cicadas

     As I was pulling out of my driveway, I noticed some creatures all along the fence. I stopped the car and got out my camera to snap a few shots. I knew immediately what they were and realized they were not the same species as I had seen a few years earlier. (Earlier post about dated Wed., July 10, 2013)




     The raindrops beautifully adhered to the cicada wings. Their size is in comparison to the nail head you see. They have creamy red eyes, a black body and yellow/brown legs. They were just resting and not making any noise. The males have to warm up before they start the cicada sound that a lot of folks dislike. I enjoy the sound because it always bring back memories of camping.


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     As I was walking the grounds today, I found a few holes where these species of Cicadas have been living underground for the last 13 years. Their arrival has been named, The Lower Mississippi Valley Brood. (Brood XXIII) The next arrival of this particular brood should be in the year 2028.
                                                         
                                                           

Most of the following information was obtained from these two websites: www.cicademania.com/cicadas/the-most-interesting-17-year-cicada-facts/ and www.care2.com/causes/10-reasons-cicadas-are-good-for-the-earth-and-us

Cicadas do not eat solid food. They only eat tree sap from the oak, cypress, willow, ash and maple trees. They provide food for birds, squirrels, turkeys, fish and other animals that eat insects. Even domesticated dogs have been know to devour them.

Spraying them with pesticides makes them toxins to the animals that eat them.

Asian people have eaten them for centuries.

They should not be called locusts because a true locust looks like a grasshopper. Many people mistake cicadas for locusts and this is why some have bad feeling about these wonderful creatures they take care of our trees and forests.

Their tunneling aerates the soil. They participate in the "flagging" of trees which means weak branches on the trees will wither and die, thus removing the ones that would cause a tree to fall over during strong winds.

After they die they release nutrients back into the soil which helps trees grow and have better seed production the next spring.

You may find cicada wings laying around. I think I may gather up as many as I can and try to make some nature art from them.

I am just guessing that the animals that ate them didn't like to eat their wings. I guess lucky for me, now to decide what creation I can come up with.

I hope you have found this post interesting and I hope that you know that most animals are on this earth for a reason. Cicadas help feed other animals and help our trees. Without trees we would not breathe clean air. They are a necessity. Cicadas are the necessary in a chain in the life cycle. They are to be appreciated, enjoyed and viewed as the beautiful creature that God meant for them to be.




                                










Thursday, May 7, 2015

Last of the March Winds (April 27, 2015)

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A gusty but steady wind showed up today. It appeared to be one of the March winds that had somehow been left behind and was trying to hurry and catch up with the many winds that had come and gone before it. Making the air chilly on this sunny April afternoon and continuing to for hours caused me to think it was running a race. I commend it for not giving up even though it showed up unexpectedly.
 
Streams of cool air rushed through the screen causing the wind chimes to twist and play their lovely song tunes. I was sure hoping the wind would hurry and catch up because I like my yearly Aprils and Mays warm. Green leaves on the trees twinkled in the sunlight as the wind continuously rocked them back and forth.
 
This day reminded me of days on the beach except it is usually a little warmer there than here. I miss the ocean's waters and the sand between my toes. I will remain content for now with dirt in my fingernails as I pull weeds and transplant poke weed from the yard to the wheelbarrow. I have decided to embrace this hopeful last lonely runner as he moves swiftly and steadily by putting on a jacket.
 
This lingering force of nature teaches me that one only needs to participate to perservere, whether it be in a race or something as important as a job, skill or life. You can be assured that you can finish just as strong as the other participants. Although you may not be as fast or in the lead, you can travel the same distance in the same manner and reach the same goal or ending point. Never give up! The lagging March wind didn't!

 

 
 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Daffodils to Dandelion Wishes

     First comes the daffodils, blooming from the green patches located on the edge of the small ditch that carries the water from high upon the ridge down to the lower part. They arrive in yellows and next in whites. I love to pick the fragrant flowers to bring them in the house to fill a few of the vases I have acquired over the years. My kitchen window sill displays my collection.


Right around the corner comes April along with the Redbud which is also located along the same small ditch. It is the only
Redbud on the property. One fall I gathered seeds from it but haven't planted them yet. Next the white dogwood blooms along another small ditch that also carries water down the ridge but in a different direction. Sometimes I feel like I am living on an island.



     Along with the trees, the robins, blue jays and cardinals appear eagerly waiting for me to fill and refill the birdbath. They can be heard singing their morning songs and seen gathering twigs to build their nests. Other birds have been known to appear such as sparrows, woodpeckers and brown thrashers but the first three are regulars and stay around bringing their young into the world in the many trees located on the property. Sometimes they will dig up the sunflower seeds that I have planted so the quantity of sunflowers that I get to grow depends on the birds and the rain. The first year I planted the seeds, one sunflower grew to its full height. The next year I had two to bloom. This year I am hoping for many sunflowers. I planted the seeds right before the rains began in April and now I have many small plants coming up from the ground. Only time will tell. I must remember to keep them watered otherwise they will dry up. I am excited about the possibility of many sunflowers!


     In Mid April, Easter arrives and is celebrated. Dandelions
cover the ground in their yellow dots and magically white
puffballs of potential wishes arise from them. Standing tall waiting for anyone to pluck them and blow a gentle breeze so their seeds can be carried across the lands. Do you ever make wishes with dandelions. Did you when you were a child? You are never too old to pick a flower or weed and give it to someone, put it in a vase or close your eyes and make a wish.

     A wish is hoping for something? What things do you hope for? Are they material objects such a new car or new house or to win the lottery? Or do you wish for peace, love, someone to get well, or a miracle? I have found that wishing or praying rarely works on myself but when I am wishing or praying for someone else the wish or prayer is most certainly granted. Just as Jesus died for us because he loved and cared about us, we should focus our wishes and prayers on others.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Building A Snowman Is A Teaching Opportunity


     I remember building my first snowman or trying to at least. It was hard work, even for a child. I was cold but the best part about it was that I had my mom teaching me how to do it. I'm sure if she had just sent me out the door and said, "Go build a snowman," I might have figured it out but probably not, knowing what I know now.
     First, you take a handful of snow and pack it into a snowball. Then the hard part comes. You must take the little snowball and place it in the snow and roll. You must roll until your little snowball becomes a giant snowball, making sure to stay in the snow and not back over the area you have just rolled in. This takes time and movement. It probably burns lots of calories.
     The base of the snowman must be larger than the other two parts of the snowman. Oh yeah, the snowman is comprised of three large round snowballs. The bottom one being the largest and the middle one the next largest and the head or top snowball is the smallest and by the time you get to making it you are glad it is the smallest because you are usually tired from all that work.
     It is worth building a snowman? Yes, of course. But remember children should be shown, otherwise they might possibly get frustrated and give up. So get out there and enjoy the snow with your children. If you live in the south, snowfall doesn't happen everyday. This is your chance to reconnect with your little one or ones! Have fun! Get cold! After you build your snowman enjoy a snowball fight or make snow angels! Oh, and don't forget to thank the person that taught you!