Back to Back Issues Page
News and Memories
December 07, 2009

A lone daisy on bloom December 1st in my yard, it will be several months before I see another one.

Thank you everyone for your comments and support over the past few weeks.

From the letter material to the positive thoughts.

If I have made you think, helped you to open your eyes to nature, or touched you in any way, then I am doing what God wants me to do.

On this date, December 7th, 1941 is a day that went down in infamy.

As each year goes by, we hear less and less about ' Pearl Harbor Day, ' when we need to remember this.

This is a moment of Thanks to all the brave men and women that lost their lives and families that were, forever changed.

My dad enlisted in the Navy, and my uncle was Recon in the Pacific Theatre for the Army.

I wasn't even a gleam in my daddy's eyes, but many of you were here and may have memories of that fateful time in our history.

Thank you to all of our heros.

Japanese General Yamamoto’s words “we have awakened a sleeping dragon” , still ring true.

Thank God.

No matter what happens, this time of year weather seems to make the Headlines.

West Texas getting snow before We do?

Come on now.

Never fear, Lake Michigan comes through once again.

Thursday night/Friday morning blessed my part of Michigan with close to 12" of white fluff and flurries have continued off and on since

The original forecast called for snow showers.

The snow kept coming until it was upgraded to a winter storm warning.

When you have little fur kids, you must shovel an area for them so their little tush doesn't dip in the snow.

It's a labor of love (that or messes everywhere).

Still, the snow does look pretty this time of year.

Snow also means instant feeder action. I love and continue to be amazed at what the Big Lakes can do.

The kids were happy.

School was canceled, giving them a three day weekend.

Some of these pictures will give you an idea the picture to your left, shows a single male Brown headed cowbird that is slow to fly south.

Though gardening is winding down for most of us, it is still a busy time year.

Bird feeding action normally picks up.

Of course there is the Holiday season rush.

We have decorating to do,

Shopping and Baking.

So many things to take up your valuable time.

Slow down a bit.

Catch your breath.

Enjoy God's gifts to you.

Open your eyes, they are all around you.

Christmas season is more than the hurried pace.

It more than shopping.

It's sharing and giving of your self.

Christmas is a time to remember and celebrate the birth of Christ.

The gift our Creator gave to us.

Besides, it's a known fact that helping and sharing with others, helps you too.

You feel warm and fuzzy inside and that goes a long way my friend.

Okay, you aren't the only one with limited time.

I have things to do as well.

What better time of year for me to slow down , do less research and practice what I preach.

So this week I will share a bit on the news and the next couple of weeks, I may share with you a couple of did you know topics that may not relate to gardens or wildlife.

You know, something to think about or just for fun.

I haven't shared the news lately so I will give you a couple of news items that I feel are of great importance to all of us.

You may be aware of these stories, but many are not.

The news will be followed by a few of your Christmas memories.

If readers continue to submit, I can do this through the rest of December (I hope so).

Your Name (Last optional):


State or province:


This Week in the News

Two Toxic Pesticides Removed from U.S. Market.

Birds, Other Wildlife, and Humans Safer as a Result of Cancellation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that two toxic pesticides have been voluntarily removed from the market by the manufacturer.

This order, published in the Federal Register on Sept 23rd, 2009, cancels the last uses of Disulfoton and Methamidophos in the United States.

This is amazing.

Both of these chemicals are in a class of insecticide called organophosphates; nerve agents known to be highly toxic to birds and humans.

(Can you imagine a world without these beautiful birds?)

They can poison birds when they unwittingly eat granules of the pesticide, when they eat seeds, berries, or insects that have been contaminated, when they prey on rodents, birds, or other animals that have themselves been poisoned, or even simply by absorbing the chemical through their skin.

Exposure to organophosphates can lead to direct mortality, altered breeding behavior, and neurological effects that may increase their likelihood of being killed by a predator, getting hit by a car, or dying prematurely from many other causes.

As a result of their danger, many organophosphates have been removed from the market, but these two pesticides are still used on a variety of food and non-food crops, posing a high risk to birds.

Chemicals we can absorb through the skin and get sick from.

Our pets can absorb it or eat it from another dead bird or animal.

Our birds and wildlife suffer.

And this stuff is put on food crops?

Data from American Bird Conservancy’s Avian Incident Monitoring System database document hundreds of bird deaths due to these two pesticides since 1980.

As with most pesticide deaths and injuries, the vast majority of birds killed likely go undiscovered or unreported.

More than likely, the death toll is certainly significantly higher.

Not to mention young that die from starvation when parents die off and eggs that will never be laid.

Many of the birds exposed to these pesticides are migratory birds, including hummingbirds, Canada Geese, American Robins, and Swainson’s Hawks, all of which are protected by law under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The cancellations of most uses of these chemicals are effective December 31, 2009, with two uses of Disulfoton allowed until the end of 2010.

Disulfoton was banned by the European Union in 2003, and Methamidophos has been banned by 53 countries in accordance with the Rotterdam Convention of the UN. (Now why can't be be ahead of the pack just once?)

So, what took so long?

Carp Threaten The Great Lakes

I've been keeping an eye on this story for the past couple of years.

This past weekend, a massive fish kill took place Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal that heads into Lake Michigan.


It was an attempt to deter yet another introduced species of fish from entering the Great Lakes.

In the Mid 1990's Silver and Bighead species of Asian carp escaped and or were introduced to the Mississippi River reeking havoc on native species in the river and its tributaries.

The fish kill, which continued through the weekend, was a preemptive strike designed to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a short period of time to perform routine maintenance on an electric barrier built specifically to stop the destructive species from entering Lake Michigan.

So serious is this fish invasion, that many governments were involved.

While the Natural Resources Department led the operation, the biologists and ecologists zipping along six miles of poisoned waterway Thursday were from Indiana, Ohio, New York, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Quebec and Ontario, all areas bordering the Great Lakes threatened by the aggressive fish.

The federal government was paying for much of the $3 million project, which may need to be repeated in six months when the electric barrier is again due for a tune-up.

The silver glint of tens of thousands of dead fish dotted the brown water of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on Thursday.

But among those fish, officials found just one Asian carp -- the dreaded invasive species that the state's largest fish kill was designed to root out and destroy.

The toxins were dumped while an electrical barrier normally used to prevent any Asian carp from the Great Lakes was turned off for maintenance.

The kill operation — which required the removal of an estimated 200,000 pounds of dead fish to a landfill — began Wednesday last through Saturday.

The Asian carp — which can grow to 4 feet — were imported by Southern fish farms but escaped into the Mississippi River in large numbers during flooding in the 1990s and have been making their way northward ever since.

No Asian carp have yet been found in Lake Michigan, but it could be only a matter of time.

Wildlife officials discovered a single Asian carp Thursday in a canal leading to Lake Michigan, the nearest the destructive species has come to the Great Lakes, Illinois environmental officials said.

Environmentalists fear that if the silver or bighead species of giant Asian carp reach the lakes they could starve out native fish species and devastate a $7 billion-a-year fishing industry.

Concern about the silver or bighead species of Asian carp led to calls even before Thursday to close the waterway connecting the lakes to the Mississippi — an unprecedented step that could disrupt the movement of millions of tons of coal, grain and other goods.

The electrical barrier, installed in 2002 to repel fish with non-lethal jolts, had been thought to be the only thing standing between the carp and Lake Michigan. Officials said two weeks ago that DNA from Asian carp had been found between the barrier and a lock near the lake.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and five environmental groups have threatened to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to force it to temporarily shut three shipping locks near Chicago because of evidence the Asian carp may have breached the electrical barrier.

The agency has said it would consider all options but would not close the locks without first studying the possible effects.

Many other officials from other states have also suggested the need to shut down the canals as well.

If the waterways are shut down, it will cause untold loss of dollars in shipping and transporting of goods throughout North America.

Will we ever learn?

Here are a few of your Christmas memories.

I have three more to share with you next week that readers have sent me too.

Remember, if you want to share your favorites or memories, just return this to me with your



State or Province:

Along with your special thoughts.

Sandy in Albion, N.Y.

Hi Ron, I love reading favorites from everyone so please keep it up.

I have a favorite about Christmas. When I was a kid and we lived along Lake Ontario (my parents still live their) we would all go to Grandma and Grandpa's house for Christmas about 40 miles away. Well Christmas eve it snowed about a foot or more. When we got up that morning we couldn't believe all the snow.I was afraid we wouldn't get to go to grandma's.

Everyone got bundled up and we headed out. We took the parkway which is right along the lake and we made our own path,the plows hadn't been out yet. It was so beautiful all the trees covered in snow, the pine trees were just grand. It looked like a postcard no wind just the fluffy white snow all over the place. It felt like a real old fashioned Christmas that year. When we arrived at Grandma's she had hot cocoa and cookies for us. We always had a feast on Christmas with grandma everything homemade like noodles,raviolis,roast beef, salad and cannollis.

Grandma past her talents down to me. So now I'm the one making everything, in which I enjoy and I am teaching my girls so we can all carry down the traditions. But, I'm still waiting for that Christmas snow we had many years ago.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.

Thank you Sandy.

Traditions mean so much and memories can bring back a special feeling.

One never knows when the Big Lakes will kick up a batch of snow. Maybe this will be the year as the waters are still relatively warm.

Cal Lindberg in Snellville,Ga. :

I remember as a little boy on Christmas eve, laying on the floor, next to a chair my dad was sitting in, listening to radio. Remember, we had no TV way back then. We would listen to such programs as Amos & Andy, Jack Benny, heavyweight boxing matches between such as Joe Lewis, Two ton Tony Galento, Billy Conn etc. On Christmas Eve I had to go to bed REAL EARLY so Santa could come. The living room was as it was usually, but when I got up Christmas morning there was a tree, train track with houses lit up etc.

I would naturally wake up early, BUT, I wasn't allowed to come down stairs until my Dad played Jingle Bells on the piano. Precious memories.

Thanks Cal.

On Christmas eve, mom would read to us 'The Night Before Christmas' and more important the 'True Christmas Story' from the bible.

Like you, we had to go to bed early (now who could possibly sleep). When we woke up, we would sneak to see what Santa had brought us.

Memory Lane can be special place to visit.

Joe Wilson, in the Upstate of SC:

The generation under us, and even those to come NEED to hear HOW we helped make AMERICA! Our Faith, our truth and our trust, our morality, our hard work, and our building the small towns all across America.


Please RON do NOT stop the memories from US your readers. I love to read them:

Christmas memories from long ago (40's thru 60's)

Christmas in Maryland, right smack in the middle of 4 or 5 Dairy Farms, was well worth the wait. We lived in a small village called Beaver Creek, on Rt 66 just off of Rt 40, east of Hagerstown, Maryland. Seems like we worked hard all year long, gardening, helping farmers, etc. preparing for the winter. We would always have such a wonder table setting of foods for. Some of the time for Christmas Meal it was Roast Pheasant & Quail breasts. Or just a big ole Chicken and even HAM. And quite often my brother would bring home a WILD turkey.

My brother and I both did some hunting in our teen years, and that is where the wild game came from. The entire family worked the garden hard all summer and fall. We even had our own pumpkins for Pies at Christmas and even squash pies. Mother loved Oysters, and would definitely have Oyster Stew or fried oysters for those who liked them (mostly her).

Dad would always get us boys, and maybe my middle sister Betty to tramp through the woods and fields looking for just the right Christmas Tree. Most of the time it was COLD, and even though it was a Cedar Tree most of the time, we always make it look GREAT. We strung popcorn and cranberries for it. Mom had some old fashion ornaments for the tree also. And Icicles too. Also lights when they would work. - - Dad was a very hard worker, and would take time real often to play with all 4 of us kids, even in the SNOW. A snowball battle, or chasing us through the huge pile of snow piled up by the driveway.

My middle sister was born Dec 24th, 1945. Wow! What a time that was. We had a big ole snow, like 40 inches plus. Dad agrees to take mom to the hospital because of problems she was having. Dr. Levan met dad & mom at the hospital 8 miles away. Dad used his 1938 Buick to push snow. He would push it as much as he could then back up and push some more. He made it safely to the main highway 40, which was plowed and then on to the hospital.

Some of the things we kids enjoyed about Christmas and winter was Ice Skating on local Golf Course ponds. Sledding in the huge hills of the Sawmill, and even on Rt 66 with a chain of kids hooked our sleds together with our feet/toes and come down a steep hill. We also sledded in an Apple Orchard, built like steps. Gosh that trail must have been 2 miles long. Two or three rides was all evening. I will never forget that fun. We even took a Studebaker Hawk, President CAR out on the frozen pond at the Golf Course. Hmmm! Yes, we had our wild times and sewed our wild oats, as Grandma and Grandpa would say.

I remember walking to elementary school for 1 1/2 miles in deep snow. BUT we struggled, because we knew Christmas was coming and all that excitement. THE best time was the reading of the Christmas Story from Gods Holy Word, before any gifts were opened. After gifts followed a great breakfast of Pan Hause and pig puddin'. We were able to get this from our local dairy farms when they butchered in late fall, which was sometimes into December. Puddin' meat was made from hogs, or beef, bits of meat made into a sauce (grease and all) which was heated and we put right on top of Pancakes, with syrup to boot. Yummy! really good eating!

New Years Day we always found Saur Kraut and Pork on the dinner table, as a good luck charm into the new year. Looking back into my childhood, that was the most remarkable time of my life. Even now, I have pictures of my youngest kids playing in 45" of snow, in western Maryland, making Snow Angels, and covering each other with snow. Those are my fondest memories of Western Maryland, where I was born, and raised.

Thank you Joe.

You lead a full life as a child didn't you? But some of that stuff always brings back smiles.

Now why would you move to South Carolina and miss out on all of the snowy fun?

Sue from Tilton, Illinois:

My greatest Christmas memory was walking a mile to church for 5:30 am services were being held and I was going to be an angel in it.

My grandmother and aunt raised me, neither drove so we walked a lot.

It's no wonder I still walk every chance I get, must have started when I first learned to walk because by the time I started school it was no problem for me. My one wish is that the good Lord will let me keep it up until I drop! God Bless! Thank you Sue. Can I say you are still an angel without getting in trouble? Some how, I was always a shepherd in the church and school plays (before God was kicked out of school). Walking is a good thing, as you know. I'm sure you will keep walking and enjoying our wonderful natural world as well.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane, it is always great to hear from others. What sticks out in your mind and how others live.

We truly are blessed to live in such a diverse part of the world.

Now here is your thought for the week

I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be honorable, to be compassionate. It is, after all, to matter: to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.

Leo C. Rosten (1908-1977)

That is one eye opening quote.

Read it again if you must.

Where does a person start on this one?

Do you take honor or compassion?

Will you show responsibility?

Can one lead to another?

Does your Creator want you to be all of these?

It is possible when you continue to grow.

It is amazing what can happen when we help and share with others.

When you live with honor, it gets noticed.

When you show compassion, God knows, even if others around you don't know.

You are making a difference and teaching others to do so as well.

Choose today, that you will become a better person and continue to grow towards your goals.

It is possible.

It is your choice and no one else.


You can do this and you will.

Start with a sharing smile.

This season seems to bring out the best in most people, but you and I will continue to grow.

You do make a difference and your life lives on through others.

Until next time my friend.

God Bless.

"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.

Back to Back Issues Page