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April 14, 2014

You know it is spring when you can hang out the wind chimes.

It is that time of year again.

Karen and I took our Three year old grand daughter to see......

'The Butterflies are Blooming' at 'Frederick Meijer Gardens'.

I am sharing a few pictures.

Every spring the Botanical gardens bring in Chrysalis and Butterflies from around the world.

This is a major attraction, especially for elementary and pre schools.

Where else can a body go this time of year to watch butterflies.

Butterflies and moths from Asia, Africa, Australia, and points in between.

Toss in a tropical setting, and .........

What more do you need?

How about a little girl that isn't afraid of butterflies.

Yes, she was afraid of butterflies if they came too close or wanted to land on her (oh the shame).

Fear is taught, I need to talk to that household.

All in all, it was a nice time.

What a blessing last week was. Most of the week saw daytime temperatures in the 50's and 60's Fahrenheit.

Some well needed rain came and stayed for the weekend.

Back into the 40's today

April in SW Michigan can bring many things.

Not simply the weather patterns either.

One of the reasons I enjoy spring so much is the constant changes.

Don't ignore your surroundings any day of the month, you will probably miss something.

It may be the new perennial you planted last fall, and you anxiously wait to see if it survived the winter.

If you live in the southern tier of states, it is probably the arrival of hummingbirds.

For me, this past week I spotted my first butterfly of spring.

A Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) butterfly.

Question Marks are more into carrion, manure, and tree sap, for food, which would explain early visits to the woodlands

Female robins have arrived and the males are in full combat mode.

Yes, in all of nature, the male of a species makes a fool of himself for the ladies.

Tree swallows are back.

And check out how quickly some of the Goldfinches are changing

And a sound familiar to early spring (warmer days and evenings).......

Peeper Frogs.

Peepers are one of those things synonymous to spring.

It was warm enough for me to spot my first 'Big Brown Bat' of the season as well.

April always offers up something.

With warmer weather, come more and more the urge to get out in your yards and gardens.

Choose wisely what tasks you choose to do.

A few times this spring I have cautioned you to not rush into digging and trampling over wet ground.

Damp soil (even lawns) will pack down.

Packed soil make for difficult root growth, not to mention a lack of oxygen plant roots need to grow healthy.

Healthy roots means healthy plants.

When you can pick up a handful of dirt and it fall apart or crumbles with little effort, it is good to work.

If it stays in a ball come back in a few days.

Don't be in a big hurry to lay down mulch and shredded bark.

Once your soil temperatures have reached the desired warmth, feel free to cover the ground to keep out weeds, retain moisture, or just for looks.

If you cover the ground when soils temperatures are still cool/cold, your soil will be slow to warm up.

Cool soil means slow growing plants.

Yes, you see commercial sites where mulch is already being put down.

Businesses get a jump on things, but that doesn't make it a good thing to do right now.

That said, don't rake the leaf litter off that you put on last fall (unless it is several inches thick).

Leaf litter is one of nature's purest and best organic matter you can use, and it's free.

Leaf litter and small twigs also offer nesting material for your birds.

Not to mention the joy of watching them hunt for food amongst the litter.

(Peppers and things.)

My seedling are looking good and strong so far.

There isn't enough time or space for me to plant all sorts of goodies.

I don't have a greenhouse like some of you do.

Besides, Karen will have no part of that.

I buy several plants, but I do grow some.

I plant seeds not just to save money, it is more than that.

Much more than a money issue.

There is the challenge.

Something to do.

Some pride comes with success.

For me the main reason is this.

I like to watch things grow.

If I can start from a seed, nurture it, plant it and care for it from beginning to end.

That gives me that certain high.

The flowers seem to be a bit prettier, and the produce is a bit tastier.

Still, it is watching things grow up.

As if they are your babies.

It isn't the produce, or the flowers, it is the whole growing process.

Indeed, I am a bit saddened when plants are finished doing what they do and die.

Even perennials from seed are special a few years later.

You too?

So why do you plant and grow seeds?

Any responses will be published in next week's letter.

Let's hope for many responses.

Every year I write an Easter letter and send it out on Thursday or Friday.

Lord willing, I will do the same this week.

It is my way of giving something small back to God for the gifts he has given to me.

Yes, you are some of my special gifts.

If you are offended, feel free to delete it.

It is something I need to do.

Read it.

Enjoy it.

Know that God has given us many things.

Including the most precious gift of all.

His Son Jesus.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

As always, here is your positive thought for the week.

God bless.

"The greatest mistake is in believing that we are 'only human'
We are human in expression but divine in creation and limitless in potentiality."

Eric Butterworth, minister and author

Read that again, and again, until you get it.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--
his eternal power and divine nature--
have been clearly seen,
being understood from what has been made,
so that men are without excuse."

Apostle Paul, Romans 1:20

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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