Tag Archive: nature


There’s Always Something!

That’s how I feel this morning when thinking about why I didn’t get blog posts up for the last couple of weeks. There’s always something, such as the major(very good, very happy) distraction that was Carey’s graduation festivities. We spent two days up in Newberg for a symposium, hooding, and commencement, plus other assorted activities. Given that the drive itself is an hour one way, yeah, that took some time. I do have to say it’s a beautiful drive – orchards, vineyards, old farmhouses, clover fields, woods. The sunset pouring over the coastal range into the valley on the way home Thursday didn’t hurt anything, either!

Besides the graduation, we’ve had sporadic internet unavailability. I think maybe (I hope, I hope!) that got fixed. For maybe the last two months, we’ve randomly lost internet connection. I’ve blown so much time trying to troubleshoot it, and we’ve had three techs come out, too. The first replaced the modem, which seemed to help for a while. It didn’t solve everything. The visit from the second tech didn’t make any appreciable improvement. We still had some trouble, so I replaced the router, which also seemed to help, but we still had periods of outage and horrible slowness. We actually started logging it. We recorded time, duration, speed tests, what people were doing, what the modem showed, and all sorts of info. When the third tech visited, that log helped my mom tell him what issues we were having, and he found a mostly broken wire in the ISP’s box. He fixed that, and (crosses fingers) things have been okay so far.

Another culprit has been the weather. It’s been unseasonably warm. Early May, it was about 85F! It’s also been windy. Bits of the trees have been blown off all over. I saw dust being ripped off the ground and tossed everywhere. The weather feels a lot more like late June or early July than last April and early May. The sunshine has meant we’ve all spent more time outside. It’s been a mixed blessing. Who doesn’t love sunshine and blue skies and green grass more than rain and drizzle and chill while you’re out doing chores? It’s meant Kimberly’s ball games are getting played instead of rained out and missed. It’s meant hot dog roasts and park picnics and other fun stuff. But it’s confusing. It really shouldn’t be this warm and especially not this dry this soon. We aren’t ready. I’ve got a couple of piles to burn, and I can’t do it with the wind picking up pieces of stuff and throwing it places. There are already wildfires in central Oregon. We really ought to have another month or two of spring rains. I hope it does cool off some and start doing some gentle raining.

This past week, it’s been birthdays and Mother’s Day and (unfortunately) back pain. Mom and I both have birthdays. The birthdays were fairly low key, but that was nice. Neither Mom nor I really like a huge amount of fuss, generally speaking. Just a little fuss is good.

I hope to return to a more normal posting schedule next, but we’ll see. Can’t promise a thing. After all, there’s always something! 😉

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If I Was A Blog Post

If I was a blog post, I would be about… huh… drawing a blank. I’m sure there’s a blog post lurking around here somewhere. Maybe I should check under the couch. Perhaps it dropped back behind the way the throw pillows do. Hm, guess not. Maybe I’m just unmotivated. I can’t really claim to have been horribly busy. There have been things to do, for sure, but it’s not been complete craziness.

I could lay some of the blame on spring fever. The weather has been, if not outright lovely, at least plenty nice enough to make outside quite attractive. Spring isn’t my favorite season – that place of honor is held by fall – but there are things about spring I just love, like the incredible range of green shades, the flowers, and how the land wakes up. Early spring is a stormy curmudgeon who has not yet had enough coffee and grumbles about the light.

But once in bloom? Spring makes me wonder if perhaps, after all, the earth is a morning person. It’s (mostly) warmer. The birds seem to share in the joy and are all a twitter-pated. There are wild turkeys out in the woods, and the toms are out there a-gobbling. They have a funny cry. I suppose it’d be scary in the dark if it was unfamiliar. The lambs are in their juvenile delinquent stage. They’re about half sized, still rounded with baby fat, and quite full of themselves. Kimberly has rediscovered her swing. She dons her bike helmet and carefully walks out to the swing. While she’s out there, the hills are alive with the sound of music. If she faces downhill and away from the tree, there’s a bit of an echo from the hills just across the valley. She loves to go out there and sing and sing and sing.

I love being out in all of this, of being a part of this world. It sweeps me away. One day last week, I went out just to transplant a few flowers from their unwanted, volunteer location to the new and highly desirable development near the chicken pen. As I was moving them, I realized that I could use the extra dirt in the beds I’d started for ferns. I just needed a few more rocks! While I was hauling more rocks, I found a hole, which explained how that one hen keeps getting out. I filled the hole and hauled more rocks and talked to Mom, who mentioned the mint waste, and one thing led to another and another… Next thing I knew, I’d been out there about three times as long as I’d planned, and it was well past lunch time!

Spring fever, I suppose. My mind’s outside wandering. I’m sure it will come back eventually. It might even bring a blog post back with it!

Luke 11 and Blackberries

There’s an interesting passage in Luke 11. It says:

24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

It reminds me of blackberries. Yeah, blackberries – I’ve got this (super fun, sorta) project that I’ve been working on in the last couple of weeks. I’ve been carefully grubbing up blackberries and their roots.

Himalayan blackberries love it here in the Willamette Valley. They aren’t native plants, which means that they don’t have terribly effective competition. Given half a chance, they reproduce faster than rabbits. They’ve become a real problem in some of my mom’s pastureland. Most of one field has a low covering of the stalks, the edges sporting snagged wisps of wool waving the sheep flock’s surrender.

There are many methods that could be used to clear the field, to sweep clean the house. Spraying it with an herbicide like Crossbow is pretty popular and probably one of the easiest methods. Herbicides can be effective, but there are possible drawbacks. You can kill off plants you want to keep or leave behind poisonous residues. Hacking, leveling with large equipment, and burning are other methods, none of which are terribly effective and all of which have cons. You see, blackberries have roots, highly resilient, life loving, strive to survive roots. Those roots don’t much care if you hack off all of the shoots above ground. Whatever. They’ll just wait until you’re not looking and put up some more. Death by flames? Haha. Most of those roots will survive just fine. Use large machines to gouge those roots up? YES!!!…. Maybe not so much. Some will die, sure, but some will just get uprooted, reburied, and start – you guessed it – putting up shoots. Those shoots won’t even have any competition but for the other weeds, ‘cause large machinery is nondiscriminatory and digs up everything. Too bad the sheep wanted to eat that grass, huh? It’ll look like you swept the ground clean, but those berry roots are just biding their time, waiting to shoot up and reproduce.

I suppose this is why we’ve found the laborious method of grubbing up blackberries by hand to be the most effective. I get rid most of the roots, and I don’t completely thrash the other plants nearby. Much of the grass is still there, and especially this time of year, it doesn’t waste any time creeping into the empty space. Root removal by Rebekah helps evict those wicked berries and preserves and encourages other plant growth. If all I did was try to clean out the canes, even if I managed to kill off the roots, if I don’t fill the space with something else, those berries will be right back in there growing like mad.

That’s why the story in Luke reminds me of blackberries. I’ve never had any lasting success in keeping a field clear of berries without introducing something positive (plants, animals, etc.) to help control their persistent encroachment attempts. Likewise, I’ve never had any lasting success in my life in overcoming bad habits, repenting of sin, or being delivered of any sort of wickedness if the process stops there. Can’t leave the space empty. It leaves room for all of that junk and then some to make itself right back at home.

Tree Frogs

There’s something about coming home in the dark. It’s not quite warm, but it’s not quite chilly, either. There’s something in the air that heralds the coming of daffodils and grass sprinting for the blue sky. You can almost smell the perfume spring is ready to launch into the air. The birds know it. Courtship rituals abound, robins, hawks, and who knows what all strutting and streaking and singing their hearts out.

And in the darkness, singing a mad chorus of joy for the coming abundance, are the tree frogs. On my way home, I saw at least two little froggies not hopping fast enough across the road. Silly, little frogs – chickens cross the road. Frogs should stay in their ponds and by their trees. When I got home, I climbed out my car and heard the frogs’ chorus of life. It makes me smile, always. Here, the hills are alive with the sound of music. I suppose I wouldn’t be so fond of the sound if the frogs were right outside my window, but they aren’t. There are trees all over these hills, and tree frogs must live in most of them. They sound like such a happy community, twittering and ribbeting and creaking away at each other.

Tree frogs remind me that life is good, the sun comes up, winter passes, food grows, and new life comes. Tree frogs and their chorus are awesome!

Glorious!

It rained this morning, 37 F degrees outside and everything wet, gray, chilly… In a word, it was dismal. I don’t enjoy weather like that. It can be depressing and make my whole life appear wet, gray, and chilly. I had to go see my doctor again – discouraging – about my back because SAIF – aggravating – said so. It just wasn’t a good feeling. Dismal, yuck.

Thank goodness life is not really like that. On the way back home, it was no longer raining. There was sun and blue skies. Clouds were still there, sure, and some of them were even gray, but there were light gray ones and dark gray ones and some so light they looked more white than gray. Some even borrowed a halo from the sun as they passed beneath it and the earth. All of this beauty encased the earth below, the upright trees winter-stripped, the evergreens proudly dark, the hills bedecked with vibrantly green grass. Everything glistened under that blue and white and gray sky as the water left by this morning’s rain caught and amplified the sunlight. Glorious! It was marvelously glorious!

And life is far more like that than dismal. God has given us many good things.