Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
December 26th, 2010

SEMINAL THOUGHTS

“Natural” is in!   The pristine forest!  Pure uncontaminated water!    In many ways people believe that “natural” is best.    There is, for example,   a strong movement to return to  “organic” foods.   Also, after years of bottle-feeding for babies, the return to breastfeeding is thriving. I have been writing for fifty years about the reasons why “breast is best” and am heartened to see prime-time commercials by WIC and WHO urging women to nurse their babies for better health. The once strong move toward natural childbirth, however,  seems to be flagging.   A few women are on that bandwagon, having babies with midwives and doulas, but  many more seem to opt for births with injections and medications to relieve pain or strengthen  contractions, and often  even have Cesareans which are not of medical necessity.

On the other hand, who nowadays goes around saying  that natural sex is best?  Hardly anyone.*   Methods of “having sex” abound.  Only one of them can be considered natural.   Sex is only natural when the sperm ends up in a woman’s vagina.    By analogy, eating would not be considered natural if food were placed in  ear or rectum!  The mouth is obviously designed for eating, witness the taste buds,  teeth, tongue, saliva, swallowing mechanism, and tube to the stomach.   Food in inappropriate places only wreaks distress and causes disease.  Likewise, only in heterosexual intercourse can sperm achieve their purpose.    A vagina is marvelously accommodating and lubricated,  resistant to infection,  and heterosexual intercourse provides pleasure as a bonus to both parties!

How can it be imagined that natural sex would result in sperm in a baggie?  How can it be imagined that natural sex can occur when a woman’s hormones are so deranged by contraceptives that she does not ovulate, that she does not emit the “come hither” pheromones of a “natural woman”?   A woman on “the pill”  has been rendered biologically sterile and then wonders why she has no desire, and does not arouse desire in men.  

Years ago Herbert Ratner, MD, wrote about the two fluids that are  produced by human beings which are not for themselves but for “the other.”  The first, obviously, is the milk produced by a woman after she has given birth.  Common sense decrees  that it is for the baby.   Science has demonstrated that it contains many chemicals that foster growth, reduce disease, enhance immunity, and so on,  as well as providing that wonderful skin-to-skin closeness with its psychological benefits.

The second fluid produced for “the other” is the seminal fluid of a man.  No one doubts that those little sperm swimming around with their 23 chromosomes are designed to meet up with an egg, also with 23 chromosomes, to produce a new human, with the proper complement of 46 chromosomes and an entirely different genome.

Less recognized, however, and just recently coming into its own, are the properties of the seminal fluid that carries the sperm.   Does it do anything for “the other” — that is, the woman — besides provide a little lubrication?

Research psychologist Jesse Bering in a September 2010 Scientific American opens his article with the following paragraph:

Dear readers: I have come upon a secret treasure, a heretofore-unknown bounty of facts only recently unearthed by a team of evolutionary psychologists. A vital forewarning, though:  although the data and information I am about to share oozes with the promise of dramatically improving virtually every aspect of your wellbeing, it can also be abused with tragic—even fatal—consequences. This is so much the case, in fact, that I debated the merits of popularizing this material and do so here only with great circumspection and caution. So please be wise in digesting this semen-related knowledge, and be wiser still in applying it to your own sex lives

Bering explains that only 1-5% of the male ejaculate consists of sperm cells. The fluid bearing the sperm is called the seminal plasma.  “In fact, semen has a very complicated chemical profile, containing over 50 different compounds  (including hormones, neurotransmitters, endorphins and immunosuppressants) each with a special function and occurring in different concentrations within the seminal plasma. Perhaps the most striking of these compounds is the bundle of mood-enhancing chemicals in semen. There is good in this goo. Such anxiolytic chemicals include, but are by no means limited to, cortisol (known to increase affection), estrone (which elevates mood), prolactin (a natural antidepressant), oxytocin (also elevates mood), thyrotropin-releasing hormone (another antidepressant), melatonin (a sleep-inducing agent) and even serotonin (perhaps the most well-known antidepressant neurotransmitter).”

It is not surprising in our current culture  that in googling “beneficial effects of semen” we come up with reputed  benefits from ingesting the semen!  However, should the semen go to its intended destination, knowing that the vagina readily absorbs chemicals introduced into it, it is only logical to expect that the above mood-enhancing, anxiolytic, antidepressant results would be experienced by the female partner.  Recent studies have indeed shown that semen has an antidepressant effect on a woman.   Likewise, the female hormones present in the semen (follicle-stimulating hormone – FSH – and luteinizing hormone – LH) are presumed to hasten the ripening and release of eggs from the ovary following intercourse.

As we learn more and more about the constituents of the fluids intended for “the other” it seems a shame to pass up  the benefits they offer. While natural  breastfeeding is now popular,  natural sex is hard to find in our society.  Either the men are condom-clad or the women have their hormones synthetically altered, or both.  We know pheromones are operative in the lower mammals.  A bitch in heat will attract male dogs from miles around.  It is believed that similar come-hither scents are operative in humans — there’s good money in selling colognes laced with pheromones – and it is also known that  female monkeys  cease to be sexually attractive to the males when they are given contraceptive pills.  My post THE PHEROMONE CONNECTION goes into this in more detail.

While sex  without a condom, with a woman  fully  hormonized (and harmonized),  seems ideal, many would protest that natural sex  would result in babies all over the place.   Really?  We have demographers complaining about a birth dearth.   We have nations losing their identity  because the natives are not having children but the Muslim immigrants are.  It is said that France will be a Muslim nation in a decade or two.   Germany cries  “Where have all the children gone!”


Mr. Bering is seriously mistaken if he thinks learning about the benefits of semen is like discovering “a secret treasure.”   As long ago as  the 1980’s the previously mentioned Dr. Herbert Ratner wrote ….

— let us observe that the nursling’s gastrointestinal tract is physiologically, biochemically, and anatomically attuned to the digestion of breast milk, just as the vagina is attuned to coitus and the absorption of semen.  Of immediate interest is the immunosuppressive effect of seminal plasma (the carrier of the sperm).  This plasma contains very powerful prostaglandins, stronger than those to be found in any other biological tissue fluids…..The sturdy, muscular, multi-layered vaginal wall is so constituted that it absorbs the seminal plasma at a slow, modulated rate in order to produce mild immunosuppression sufficient to protect the sperm and embryo from maternal antibodies.

I dare say that Dr. Ratner, believing that humans are designed by a master designer, knew a priori there where would be “good in that goo” as Bering writes, and the science only confirmed it.    

The natural, sensible, healthy alternative to make-believe sex has been slowly gaining ground – NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING.   NFP is as effective as contraceptive pills or condoms with none of the expense, side-effects, or overriding of the woman’s hormonal harmony with synthetic hormones to shut her down and turn her off.   Truly natural sex uses reason and self-discipline instead of artificial drugs and rubbers which make a mockery of the whole encounter.

Someone named Michael G.  posted this comment on someone else’s blog.  It says so well what I want to get across.

When we try to do life our own way, according to our own instruction manual, we get so frustrated, because we aren’t being used for the purpose for which we were designed. It’s like using a paintbrush to change a diaper, or a hammer to eat dinner. When something is serving its designer’s intent, effectiveness, impact, peace, and fulfillment are plentiful.

*Here I must add a plug for Patrick Coffin’s recent book, Sex Au Naturel, which is so well recommended by such well-qualified persons that I do not hesitate to second the recommendation.   I was sorely tempted to use that title for this blog post because it says exactly what the whole thing is about.  In due time I shall read Sex Au Naturel and there shall follow a post with that title.



August 2nd, 2010

IS IT LIFE YET?

This past May the scientific world rocked with the news that Craig Venter and his team had created the first “self-replicating synthetic cell.”    The result of a 15-year-quest and 40 million dollars, Venter describes the achievement thus:   “This is the first self-replicating cell we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”   Venter is well-known for participating in mapping the human genome a decade ago.

According to science writer Logan Ward:

To make the manmade distinguishable from the natural, they imbedded DNA sequences that “watermark” the synthetic genome. Venter would not reveal the secret behind the code, but hinted that “this is the first species to have its own website encoded in its genetic code.” Other watermarks spell out complete sentences, including a quote by the physicist Richard Feynman: “What I cannot build, I cannot understand.”

Details of this achievement are outlined in a press release from the J. Craig Venter Institute.

Scientists agree that Venter has achieved a brilliant  technical feat in synthesizing the largest piece of DNA so far — a million units in length — and in making it accurate enough to substitute for the cell’s own DNA. According to Venter: “We created a new cell. It’s alive. But we didn’t create life from scratch.”

Dr. Stephen Meyer, Director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, has produced a simply beautiful video explaining the role of design in creation and the role of DNA in Venter’s work.

Link to Stephen Meyer’s interaction video as mentioned in the above clip.

As Bill Gates says, DNA can be compared to a software program in that it contains information. What Venter has done is produce an intricate DNA software program which works when inserted into a living cell, much in the way a downloaded program will work in your computer. He has not produced the computer.

It might be well to add that not everything downloaded into your computer is beneficial. Some software has been well-tried by time and does what you want it to do. Other software is appropriately labeled “malware” because it wreaks havoc. The Vatican has urged caution in this area and even Venter has urged government regulation to oversee the fast-developing synthetic biology industry.

June 27th, 2010

SMALL TRIUMPHS

When you’re on the verge of 87 and have just snapped off at the root a lower incisor that has served faithfully for 81 years (and are afraid that come Monday the dentist is going to say it’s time to pull the remaining lower teeth!) well, then, you try to look at the sunny side of things.

Right now, I can neither bite nor chew without some pain.  One good thing is that having been “dentally challenged” for some years, I have learned how to eat without chewing.  If you boil an egg and smash it all up with a fork, you can swallow it right down. Yesterday I made a chocolate malt in my blender with ice cream, milk, chocolate syrup, and WALNUTS!  That also goes down nicely.  As usual, I have kefir smoothies with bananas, apples, and blueberries (or other available fruit.)   Then there’s yogurt, custard, soup, and mashed potatoes (white and yellow).    Chocolate obligingly melts in my mouth.  All in all, it’s doable, but being able to chew would be much nicer.

Another triumph:  Long ago I tried the shoewear  known as thongs, flip-flips, or zoris and decided I couldn’t wear them because they rubbed between the toes and hurt.  Since I have bones where my arch should be it really hurts to walk barefoot and I need some sort of cushion between me and the floor.   Last week I actually picked up some flip-flops at Walgreen’s, introduced my feet to them gradually, and find this is something else that is doable, comfortable, and very handy.   Also cool.

Another blessing, not of my doing, is that a robin has just built a nest in the rosebush on the front porch trellis.  I went back and looked at my Robin Reports of 2008 and 2009. Each year I marvel at robin instincts  and faithfulness.  My friend Dolores tells me that the ducks nesting by her pond would fight to the death to protect their eggs.  Where is the human instinct to protect the as yet unborn?  The robin nest, as I say,  is not of my doing, but I did plant the rosebush umpteen years ago!

The lovely lady who leads the rosary after Mass in the morning, follows it with some Legion of Mary prayers which include Mary’s Canticle (Luke 1:46-55).   I have been dismayed that after saying it regularly for well over a year, I had not yet learned the responses.  It seemed they just wouldn’t stick in my head and, of course, I blamed it on old age.  Well, behold!, finally, I seem to have learned them.  Don’t know how long they’ll stay, but for the time being, they’re mine.  And my soul glorifies the Lord!

v. My soul glorifies the Lord.
R. My spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
v. He looks on His servant in her lowliness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.

R. The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy His name!
v. His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear Him.

R. He puts forth His arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
v. He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.

R. He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.

v. He protects Israel His servant,
remembering His mercy,
R. The mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons for ever.

POSTSCRIPT:   When I finally got to the dentist on Monday my lower central incisors had been flopping around for a couple of days and he hardly had to pull at all – just sort of lifted them out.   Then — miracle of miracles! — he worked on them a bit and turned around and glued them back in!   (Not in their sockets, mind you, but onto the remaining teeth.)   So I’m back in business, biting (gently) and chewing (gently) and I won’t have to go toothless to my birthday party on July 10.   What a dentist!

~~~

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. ” — Luke 9:58

March 20th, 2010

FINALLY, SPRING!


LET’S  C E L E B R A T E !

~~~

 

The year’s at the spring
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hillside’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn:
God’s in His heaven—
All’s right with the world!

— Browning




October 9th, 2009

“I TRY AND I MADE IT”

William Kamkwamba is only 22 as I write this. Born in Malawi, Africa, in 1987, he was one of seven children (he was the only boy) and lived in a house without electricity and with water from the local well. His father raised maize and tobacco, they were church-going Presbyterians, and the

TINY MALAWI

TINY MALAWI

children made their own playthings from whatever they could find in the village. Because he lived in “modern” times, some of their playthings were broken down radios.

William was a questioning child and he wondered how the radio took the sound out of the air and made it audible. He took radios apart, studied them, and soon he was able to fix other people’s radios.  Another thing that intrigued him was a bicycle he saw which had a headlight powered by pedaling the bike. How did that work?

William  was fortunate enough to live near a scrapyard where he could find “machine parts and stripped bodies of cars and tractors.” He learned about batteries from discarded radios and cassette players. There was a library with a pitiful selection of books which he couldn’t read but he pondered the diagrams and learned about electrical wiring.

This year William Kamkwamba, with the help of Bryan Mealer, has written a book (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind) about how he, at the age of 14, built a windmill from scraps and findings  that brought electricity into his house.

He started secondary school but was unable to continue because he couldn’t pay the fees and didn’t have the proper uniform. One year the crops failed and their food supply in Malawi dwindled as they gradually cut down to one meal a day,  that meal  only a few mouthfuls. He watched his family and neighbors turn grey and gaunt. There was barely any food for Christmas, 2001. Cholera followed the famine. Finally, the spring planting thrived and then waiting, waiting, waiting for the first ears of maize to be ready. At last — a feast on corn!

Such want and suffering in the third millenium, A.D.!    Such a triumph of the human spirit!

William was considered crazy as he struggled to achieve his dream. Eventually he received some publicity and was invited to tell about his windmill at a TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) conference in Arusha where scientists, inventors, and innovators share their big ideas. On this trip he flew on his first plane, stayed in his first hotel, met his first computer, met the internet and Google! When he googled ‘windmills’ he came up with 5 million hits. Where was Google when he needed it?

This is that first talk.

Great book!

And here is William’s blog.



September 3rd, 2009

WHO HAS AUTHORITY?

Lately I’ve been musing on the concept of authority– who has authority and  why?   This train of thought was initiated by  two of my favorite TV programs, Dog Whisperer and Supernanny.  Cesar Millan on the National Geographic channel has for years been going to the homes of people who can’t tolerate their dog’s behavior and showing them how to fix the problem.  It has to do with recognizing the nature of a dog and a dog’s needs, and the nature of the dog pack.

In the natural, dogs run in packs.  Each pack has an alpha male which has achieved that status by strength or intelligence or both.  As a pack the dogs work together to protect each other and to achieve whatever their doggie ends happen to be.  They all do better because they cooperate.

When a family acquires a dog they intend to feed and shelter it, and it is their hope that doggie and family will enjoy each other.  Sometimes that doesn’t work out as planned.  Doggie is fearful or belligerent or destructive.  Cesar describes his work as “rehabilitating dogs and training
people.”  The dog entering a human family has become a member of a new pack and the humans are the new pack leaders.  The humans need to learn how to assert their authority and doggie has to learn to be submissive to that authority.   Everyone is more happy that way.   Occasionally Cesar will take the dog from its home and put it with his pack of dogs – a kind of boot camp – to learn how to get along in a pack.  When you ask Cesar who is the alpha dog in his pack he replies without hesitation, “I am.”

Here is a sample of Cesar at work calming down an aggressive dog.

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There are numerous other videos available on YouTube for those who do not have the pleasure of watching Cesar at work on television.

On to Supernanny.  Jo Frost (website here) is an English nanny whose program has been a hit in both the UK and the US.  She aims at maintaining consistent adult authority, while creating a safe and peaceful environment in which children thrive. She goes to the homes of out of control kids and shows the parents how to create a more serene home and happier children.  Children are, after all, almost always less knowledgeable and less experienced than the parents, and the parents are almost always reasonably caring and mentally competent.  Parents need to be in control for the good of the family.   It is as bad for the children to rule the roost as it is the for inmates to run the asylum.  Jo goes to an unhappy home and  the next thing you know the kids are going to bed at a reasonable time, getting along with each other, and not throwing tantrums in the supermarket.

Meet Jo Frost here in this  YouTube clip


We are members of God’s family, his flock, his pack, if you will. We are his, “the work of his hands.”   God says he loves us and we should not be afraid.  If we are able to believe in a good and loving God, a God who is obviously far more intelligent than we, we do well to listen to what he says and accept his authority.  God’s rules will be for our benefit.  We can choose to live in harmony with our neighbor, not lying, not stealing, not harming each other.    Or we can choose to go our own way and not get along. Ultimately we can choose not to belong to the pack.

That, they tell me, is hell — an eternity of life without God.

~~~


I will meditate on they precepts and fix my eyes on thy ways,
I will delight in thy statutes, I will not forget thy words.  – Psalm 119:15-16

It is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. — Psalm 100:3

July 19th, 2009

A DIVINE DESIGN

Our U. S. bishops have proclaimed July 19-26 as Natural Family Planning Awareness Week.  They publish  a poster and make available educational  materials that the various parishes can use but promoting Natural Family Planning is left up to each diocese.  The week is meant to highlight the anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae and the feast days of Saints Anne and Joachim. Happily it also coincides with the publication of Benedict XVI’s new encyclical, the very beautiful  Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth).

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NFP — A DIVINE DESIGN

The varieties of contraceptive medications are multiplying so quickly that it is hard to keep track of them – pills (choose monthly periods or every-four-months), patches, implants, inserts et al.   All  of them come with warnings about side-effects, both in the package inserts and the TV commercials. In the face of all this hype, I feel that Natural Family Planning (NFP) needs an advocate. The old “rhythm” method, which was used primarily by Catholics, was sometimes referred to as Vatican Roulette because it often resulted in pregnancy due to the variations in cycles among women.

Many people are unaware that “rhythm” has now been replaced by Natural Family Planning which has an effectiveness of over 95%, equaling that of “the pill” and without the expense or the side-effects. NFP, which involves cooperation between man and wife, awareness of the cyclical changes in the woman’s body, and a measure of self-control, has been steadily gaining in popularity among various groups.

The first of these groups might be referred to as the “ecological” group. These folks want to preserve the integrity of their bodies, and would not want to pollute the human body any more than they would pollute the environment. They delight in a fully functional body and do not choose to interfere with normal function. They think it inconsistent to say “Avoid drugs” on the one hand, and on the other hand to say “Take this drug so you won’t get pregnant.” They do not think it is true that self-control is possible in the areas of drugs, food, and alcohol, but impossible in the realm of sex.

A second group, not entirely distinct, consists of those who are aware of the effect of oral contraceptives (OCs) on a woman’s body. They have either experienced the unpleasant side-effects of “the pill” themselves or know someone who has. Or they may have read the warnings in the Physician’s Desk Reference or in the package inserts. They wonder why the responsibility and physical consequences of birth control should be borne by the woman alone. The woman who takes OCs daily bathes every cell in her body with powerful hormones which may lead to problems in multiple areas. It has certainly been a boon to the manufacturers (700 billion dollars a year) to have millions of women taking their pills daily but it is hardly a boon to womankind.  After years of abusing her body by medicating it when there was nothing wrong with it, can a woman really expect that body to immediately snap back and produce a baby on demand?   Some are lucky; many are not.   Some doctors are talking about a current ‘epidemic’ of infertility.


A third group consists of those who for religious reasons consider artificial birth control wrong because it interferes with the design of God. Contraceptive pills and appliances are seen as means of trying to outsmart God by sabotaging his handiwork. The Catholic Church has emphatically spoken out against artificial birth control. However, with growing awareness that the new OCs do not prevent ovulation as effectively as the previous, stronger, more hazardous pills, but rather render the uterine lining inhospitable so that the developing embryo dies, many non-Catholics are looking for an alternative to the “pill.” In essence, the “pill” can cause a very early abortion.

Looking into Protestant history it is found that John Calvin, John Wesley, and Martin Luther all spoke out against birth control. In his book, The Bible and Birth Control, Charles Provan, a Protestant, states “there is no doubt about it; the contraception laws of the 19th century were passed by Protestants for a largely Protestant America…no Christian church ever accepted contraception as morally permissible before 1930.”

How, then, does Natural Family Planning work? It is possible by observing the changes in a woman’s body, in her cervical mucus, and in her body temperature to accurately determine the one day in her cycle that she ovulates. By avoiding sexual intimacy for several days surrounding ovulation a couple can also avoid the hazards, the expense, and in many cases the guilt of artificial contraception. Couples report that they have better communication and that the brief period of abstinence is the best aphrodisiac! In No-Pill No-Risk Birth Control by Nona Aguilar a husband reports: “I wasn’t enthusiastic when we changed to NFP, but we saw no other way. We went to class very, very reluctantly. Almost right away it started happening again: that incredible yearning I used to feel for my wife returned–and not just once in a while. It was there every month. Every cycle gradually turned into courtship and honeymoon all over again.” A wife says, “Our last baby was conceived out of love, with full knowledge that we would conceive. From that moment on we could picture the hours and days of growth. But before NFP I feared going to bed, as I didn’t know my fertility cycle and worried that I might become pregnant. Now I know my fertility signs and feel 100 percent confident in those signs and no longer fear. It is a great relief and a burden off my shoulders. I want more children — but when I am ready and capable.”

Natural Family Planning is not something that is taught in any depth in medical schools but there is a Natural Family Planning Medical Consultant Program offered for physicians at the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, in Omaha NE. Information on NFP is available there. You can teach yourself much about the practice of NFP by using the online manual, Natural Family Planning: The Question-Answer Book by John and Sheila Kippley. This online manual is short, easy-to-read, and free.

Man is the only animal that mates year-round. Other animals mate by instinct and only for a season. We have the option of using our reason and our will to choose our season, to achieve pregnancy or no pregnancy, which is the only true reproductive freedom. And we can have this without polluting our bodies, without exchanging normal bodily function for years of abnormal function!

~~~


There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die…a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. — Ecclesiastes 3:l,5.

Intelligence and love are not in separate compartments: love is rich in intelligence and intelligence is full of love. — Benedict XVI, Love in Truth.




June 21st, 2009

HOLEY MOLEY

It’s mid-June and I haven’t written a word about my garden this year.  It’s about time to get up-to-date.  The asparagus has already done its thing and was delicious, what there was of it.  It seems to be petering out over the years, probably because I don’t do anything for it or to it other than pick it.  The horseradish and rhubarb are HUGE and trying to take over the whole garden space.   The tomatoes, peppers, parsley, cilantro, and potatoes are thriving–that’s just about all I’ve put in this year – and all would be well if it weren’t for the MOLE!

Last year my nemesis was a rabbit, the first ever seen in this neighborhood in mid-town.   In fact, a photo of our young bunny was the first picture  ever posted on my blog.   I was a novice then and am not much better at pictures now.   Really must get myself one of those flip minos I read about!  That first-ever bunny ate up my broccoli but soon disappeared.

Now I have my first-ever mole.  Haven’t even seen this one but it wreaks havoc in the mulch and I know very well where its hole is.    Every morning when I look at the garden the mulch (using lawn clippings very kindly provided by my grandson, Danny) is all torn up and upheaveled. And the little snap trap that I put over the hole is sprung but empty.   Fortunately, from what I read, moles don’t eat plants – what they are after is grubs and worms and bugs and those are things that are surely happy under my mulch.

I just looked up Ruth Stout and can’t believe that her book How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back was first published way back in 1959.  I immediately took that book as my gardening bible and have used her ‘no work/no dig’ technique ever since.  Her secret was to surround her plants with lots of  hay (and any other available compostible material) which keeps the weeds down, the ground moist, and feeds the good earth to boot. Although she died in 1980 at the age of 96, a new edition of Ruth’s book came out in 1990.  She lived in nearby Redding, CT, and I actually visited her and her garden in the 1970’s.   Ruth was a free spirit who loved the simple life, and her book is a treasure for organic gardeners.    Every gardener should read it. My garden has 45 years worth of leaves, clippings, egg shells, vegetable scraps, etc., in it and is really good dirt.  Plants thrive and worms abound.   But now, a mole has found it and is having a hey-day!

What to do?  Ask Google, of course.  Besides costing money, most of the contraptions for getting rid of moles seem to involve impaling the critter rather than catching it.  It seems easier to first try repelling them.  I read about a repellent containing fox and bobcat urea which is supposed to strike fear into the heart of a mole.  Another repellent contains castor oil.  The one I’m going to try first (because I have the key ingredient right in my yard) is a Mint Mole Blaster made by blending mint leaves with water and boiling it up.  It is said that moles hate the smell of mint.  I’ll report on my success.  I hope we’re onto something here.

In the course of my googling I learned that Mole-in-the-Hole computer games are popular.  Have a try at Whack-a-Mole,  simple and fun and
good for channeling mole angst.

~~~

God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.  – Genesis 1, 28

June 3rd, 2009

ROBIN REPORT

May 1.   Last year’s robin nest in the rose bush is in disarray.  I actually saw a squirrel practically sitting in it! But the robins are looking at it, too.
May 2.  Nest is looking better, with a smoother bottom.  Robins come and go.
May 4.  I notice today that the bottom of the nest is newly lined with very fine grasses – looking inviting.
May 5.  Robin seen sitting.  No eggs.
May 7.  ROBIN BLUE!  What a lovely color.  One egg.  Last year on May 21 I happily reported that our robin eggs had hatched.  Delight was followed by disaster
May 8.  Three eggs.  It has finally stopped raining and we have a bit of sun with a promise of 70 degrees today.  Lilacs in full bloom.  Spring has sprung!
May 10.  Mother’s Day.  Four beautiful blue eggs.
May 20.  Once again I am amazed at how fast robin eggs hatch.  Chicken eggs take 21 days.  Today I took a peek only to see no robin egg blue at all – only quivering fuzz.  The temperature should go up to 80 today and apparently mommy feels comfortable leaving her chicks for a little while. It was at this stage last year that the robin babies upped and disappeared.
May 24.  I peeked.  The four baby robins are all snuggled together, sleeping, and you can watch their breathing.
May 26.   The babies rest quietly–that is until the momma returns.    Then they are all long neck, open beak, and eagerness.  Already they are crowding the nest and sleep with their heads on the edge of the nest.
May 28.   Those babies must be well-fed.   They are growing so fast!
May 31.   The nest is jam-packed and the babies are practically spilling out.   The parents (I guess) come and go with their beaks full.
June 1.   I climbed up to peek  at the baby robins this morning and they went flying off in all directions, with the mother squawking in the air!  One is sitting on the porch floor.  What will it do next?

Obviously, it has happened again.  The same incredible thing that happened last year.  Three weeks after they hatched those robins are out and flying!!!!   The parents are much in evidence, chirping and calling, with food in their beaks.   Somehow the baby chick sitting on the porch has upped and gone.  I read last year that the parents look after the kids and feed them for awhile after they are “out of the house.”  I do hope so.  At the rate that they are maturing, these robin chicks won’t need that kind of parenting for long!

I doubt that anyone recalls or cares that I went on and on about the robin saga last year.  This is only my second year in the robin-hood and it is all still fresh to me.  I probably will not do it every year (should I have that opportunity) but for the time being I still delight in the promise of every bud on the bush, every chick in the nest, and every new baby in the arms of its mother.  It’s an appreciation of life thing.  Also, this year, I am especially enjoying the spring colors – the lush green of the new ivy leaves, the bronze colors on some maples, not to mention the flowering trees and bushes – dogwoods, rhododendrons, forsythia.  Spring is so beautiful!  And robins are amazing.

Just found this (May, 2011): http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9479342&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1

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Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. — Matthew 6:26

May 16th, 2009

AVE, AVE, AVE MARIA

This video needs no comment.   I will follow it only with Father Weslin’s biography, taken directly from his book, The Gathering of the Lambs. You decide if we have here a crazy old man or a martyr for Jesus’ babies.

CATHOLIC PRIEST ARRESTED AT NOTRE DAME FOR BEING CATHOLIC

Father Norman retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army after twenty years of active military service. He was a paratrooper, commander, and chief of a war plans division on the General Staff. He was the Operations Officer responsible for the nuclear-tipped missile defense of New York City, Chicago and South Korea.

Father Norman was a married man with a wife, two children, and two grandchildren. He has been involved in the pro-life movement for twenty-five years. He and his wife started Birthrights, Life Support Centers, and political action committees in an effort to stop the killing of Jesus’ babies.

After his wife’s death in an automobile accident in 1980 he converted his home into a “home for pregnant, unwed mothers.” 252 mothers have since lived in the Mary Weslin Home for Pregnant, Unwed Mothers. 115 babies have been born directly through the home. At this time Father has five pregnant women living in his home.

Father was an alcoholic for twenty years. He recovered thirty-one years ago. He worked as a priest with Mother Teresa for a nine-month learning experience — counseling alcoholics and drug addicts in the slums of New York.

After twelve years of picketing killing centers and sidewalk counseling, Father realized that we could not stop satan’s multi-billion dollar child-killing industry by ourselves but that Jesus could and would if we made the sacrifice of confronting satan directly at the killing centers.

A Contrast in Integrity

A Contrast in Integrity

Left: Notre Dame denies its Catholic heritage by giving pro-abortion Obama the “necklace” of an honorary Doctorate.
Right: Father Norman Weslin lives out his Catholic faith on the Notre Dame campus and is “necklaced” by the police!

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Though he was cruelly treated he submitted humbly and said not a word like a lamb led to slaughter.   Isaiah 53:7