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April 09, 2012

Thank you everyone for the many 'Resurrection Sunday' Blessings and the Thank Yous.

Did you catch the Full moon Friday night?

"For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land".

Song of Solomon 2: 11,12

The Late Great 'Ernie Harwell' (Tiger Baseball) opened every Baseball Season with those few words from the Book of Solomon.

True, Major League Baseball started a few days ago, however the words are still appropriate for this time of year.

Spring is my favorite time of year.

'Hope Springs Eternal'.

The promise of new life abounds.

The promise of a new garden and that "I'm gonna do it" spirit.

It is no coincidence that Easter and the promise of new life occurs in spring.

A person has to keep a winter coat and spring jacket handy and often use both in the same day.

Frost and Freeze have put the hurt to some fruit crops in Michigan,

Temps reached the mid to upper 20's Friday morning.

(Apple blossoms waiting to open)

Asparagus crops rot in the fields as there is no work force this time of year to harvest.

My lilacs were all set to open, now they are drooping and turning brown. Hydrangeas, and butterfly bushes took a hit, but will rebound.

Friday and Saturday were almost perfect spring days, in the upper fifties to low sixty range, and almost
100% sun.

Being spoiled by March's warm weather and early blooms, we forget......

It is early April after all.

(Frosted lilac buds.)

My darling wife is going through a difficult time right now.

Her mother is showing signs of her age.

Karen's mother will be 88 in July.

There is the emotional stress of a fragile and feeble person.

Looking into assisted living.

Mom not wanting to and in denial.

And other daily life matters.

If we could, She would stray with us.

However, Yolanda is a full time job and we can't handle the added responsibilities right now.

I've been through this with my folks, as have many of you.

I am doing my best to be supportive.

Ladies, if you have any advice for a man in m shoes, I am all ears.

Anything to be there for Karen and mom.


(Frost bit Hydrangea.)

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and opinions on the Bald Eagles last week.

Should American Indians have federal permits to shoot a couple of these birds?

It was a thought provoking topic and many of you gave well though out responses.

Responses were strong and on both sides of the topic.

No matter how you feel or what you think, the important thing is, you are now aware of this.

It is also Paramount, that we are able to voice or thoughts and opinions openly.

That we can be friends no matter the topic.

I like that.

(Wild Trout Lily)

Warmer weather brings on flowers and insects and the cold will keep things dormant longer and even kill off some early blooms.

Pictured above are swollen buds of a wild apple tree, a full month ahead of normal bloom times.

Only time will tell if and how much freeze damage has happened.

While length of day totally dictates the beginning of migrations, the warm weather can and does speed up the process for many species.

Many birds have arrived here in Southwest Michigan a good three to four weeks early.


Weather and food sources have allowed them to move north at a faster pace.

Because of this, many species will have an extra clutch this year (robin nests pictured below).

Length of day (not warmth) still dictates when the American goldfinch molts into summer or breeding feathers.

Yes, they are in mid molt around here.

While length of day and hormones say move, warmer weather allows for a more expedient migration.

Hummers need food and some warmth.

A few insects and some nectaring

No sense moving north when there is nothing to offer.

This goes for all insect feeding birds.

No food, no move.

Most migrating birds, and especially the neotropical migrators are insectivores.

Again, the length of day dictates migration and reproductive glands, the weather also plays a part.

In warm springs like this one, the birds start migration on time, just like any other year.

In spring, birds have one thing in mind.

Especially the males (I'm not saying a thing).

However, why take a fast track north when there isn't any food?

Most birds take their time.

Fly 25-50 miles or so and rest.

Possibly a stretch of fowl weather will keep them grounded for a couple of days.

Survival dictates to stay put even when some urges say to move on.

In years past, you may have read articles on the plight of some bird

Migration on the biological time clock, and the weather interferes.

Insect eating birds like Purple martins die off in masses when cold snaps and days of rain happen.

And this is in the deep south on the way north.

When temperatures get to cold, some eggs may be lost if the parents aren't sitting.

There isn't anything we really can do to help or prevent egg loss.

Parent birds will desert a nest and start over if eggs are lost.

If we interfere, they usually leave the nest and start over elsewhere.

In nature, it is often survival of the fittest and as cruel as it sounds, things happen.

Warm springs like this one brings migratory birds a good 3 to 4 weeks a head of schedule.

Smooth traveling all the way from South and Latin America.

Weather is nice in the Deep
South, might just as well keep moving.

This year, birds have been able to fly hundreds of miles a day

Still, in the northern locations like Michigan, a cold snap can happen for a good month yet.

Indeed, a couple days of chilly weather and more frost is called for this week.

While birds can survive these temperatures, the life giving insects are hunkered down.

Early arrival has its risks and rewards.

Risk a food shortage,

Oh, to survive and have rights to the prime real estate.

For some species of bird (hummers come to mind), that can mean lots of ladies.

Location, location, location.

Length of day and migration?

Weather however, does aid or hinder migration, but it is still about the length of day.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

This is the beginning of a new day.
You have been given this day to use as you will
You can waste it or use it for good
What you do today is important because you
Are exchanging a day of your life for it
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever,
In its place is something that you have left behind...
Let it be something good.

Author Unknown

That should give you reason to pause.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 3:23

"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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