Back to Back Issues Page
Science and Art
January 21, 2013

Thank You House Insurance.

This past Thursday, Karen heard the sound of water behind the washing machine.

Sure enough, a pine hole spray was coming from the cold water hose (with force).

I shut off the water, pulled out the appliances and there was a nice growing puddle and seepage under the laminate flooring and wicking up the walls.

We go without a laundry area for doing laundry for a few days.

A couple sections of new drywall, chunk of sub flooring, and a new floor for the laundry and kitchen are the results of a tiny leak.

Karen was just mentioning on the Honey do list how she wanted the laundry room painted.

Well, now I have no choice.

Thank You for House Insurance.

I called our Insurance people on Friday morning.

By Friday afternoon, restoration help was here and started tear off and clean up.

We can hardly hear ourselves think from the noise of the loud fans as they dry up any remaining water.

I'm sure this will be a good week long project, if not longer.

Things have to dry, Karen has to order new flooring and so on.

The current floor was only about six years old, it isn't like we wanted or needed a new one.

That is our excitement, what is yours?

Winter is finally showing up around here.

At least for now.

An arctic front rolled in and we are getting some cold temps and Lake Effect snow.

I'd rather have real snow, the lakes don't need this.

It will be interesting to see what plants survive this spring without a nice snowy insulating barrier.

Male Northern cardinals are special anytime of year, don't you think?

(Picture taken Sunday, with no snow yet.)

I now have more than 70 ducks that show every evening.

I'm going through $40.00 of cracked corn a month (just for ducks).

It may sound extreme, but we don't do a whole lot during the winter.

Feeding and watching birds is our main entertainment.

Besides, others get a kick from it too.

Continue to keep feed fresh especially your thistle (Nyjer).

Nyjer is a soft shelled seed and goes bad rather quick when it gets wet.

Fresh water is important also.

Be sure feed and water sources are near protection.

Science and Art.


Science and Art

I enjoy a good sourdough bread.

Stop off at a Cafe or Deli and Karen will tell you it is sourdough bread for my sandwich.

There is something about the texture and the slight tang that I enjoy.

You too?

My taste buds tingle over a good loaf of 'San Francisco' style sourdough bread.

Not quite a year ago, I went on the quest to make my own sourdough bread.

Like anything worth while, there is a process involved.

No worries, it is winter in Michigan.

Not much else for me to do.

(Don't get me wrong, there is always something to do, no matter where you live.)

A bit of research and a couple of attempts to make a good sourdough starter (also called mother and fed).

I'm on my way.

A new challenge (I like that).

Karen isn't so fond of me messing up the kitchen.

God never ceases to amaze me.

Come to find out, there are these yeasts or bacteria floating around in the air we breathe.

Life is everywhere.

When your water and flour mixture catches some of these bacteria, wonderful things begin to happen.

Your water and flour paste ferments, and begins to bubble and grow.

Keep feeding it and you will have a good starter that will out last you for as long as you want.

(Here is a container of my starter.)

Natural yeast or leaven is almost as old as mankind.

Records show, and the bible talks of leaven as far back as the Book of Genesis when Israel was held captive by Egypt.

Now who would think a tiny bacteria would become a major factor in our diet?

Sourdough Bread consists of three simple, and natural items.

Water, Flour, and a bit of Salt.

That's it.

It is the process that takes some time.

It takes science and art to make a good loaf of sourdough bread.

It occurred to me, that natural bread making is a lot like Gardening.

Especially 'Gardening for Wildlife'.

Art and Science are involved.

When Creation was taking place, all sorts of scientific formulas were used and later allowed to be found by people throughout history.

Nature's pallet and paint brush also plays an important roll with color schemes and what wildlife and plant life to place where.

Science and art combine to create a landscape like no other.

The end result is a painting called 'Earth'.

Science and art like we have never seen.

Making bread dough is science as well.

Having it turn out the way you want it to is also Art.

Same goes for your gardens.

Plant seeds, water and hope they grow.

Pretty simple science.

Science also factors into what you can grow in your region or hardiness zones.

Science dictates that you don't take a plant that grows in an a hot and dry location and plant it with your rain garden.

Art come in to play when you plan and plant color schemes and textures.

The right grooming, talking to and planting creates a crescendo of color and plant life.

Native plants naturally attract wildlife.

Science and art assist in attracting wildlife.

Besides the plants, colors play a big roll.

Your artistic touch chooses the colorful plants and science attracts the wildlife to them.

Pollinators like bees and butterflies.


Insects (good and bad).

Small mammals.

A wildlife garden will also put a smile on your face.

Now who would think Science could do all of that?

Art adds the water features, feeders, nest boxes, rocks and other items.

And of course, the yard art you add yourself is not just art, but a bit of your taste as well.

Could it be, that the art produces the smile on your gardening face as well.

In making bread, the science is knowing what ingredients and how much.

The art is in the kneading, aging process, and the love involved to make the right texture and taste.

Sure, science also plays into it, but the artist shapes and creates.

I think it is the art process that brings the smiles, and tickles to the nose as it bakes.

Science and art please the taste buds.

Is it the art that brings you smiles in your gardens?

Or is it simply science?

Plant locations.

What you plant

Color schemes.

Landscape design.

A good loaf of Sourdough bread takes time.

There are no growth agents like enzymes involved.

No two or three hour loaf.

It is a process.

Feeding the starter every so often.

Aging for a nice taste.

Kneading the dough.

Natural breads proof much slower than commercial yeasts.

I can take my time (maybe a few days if I choose) making a tasty loaf.

I can take off for several hours and pick up where I left off.

It's in the process (just like gardening).

It takes a bit of planning sometimes (just like gardening).

There is no rushing.

It has taken me the better part of a year to get what I'm looking for, and I'm still not there on every loaf.

That is art my friend.


Trial and error (lots of errors).

Victories taste oh so good.

The same goes with your gardens.

You start out with seeds and baby plants.

You care for and nurture them.

Native plants require less attention (most of the time).

It may take a few years to get what you are looking for.

However, most gardeners never finish tweaking.

(Many bakers never finish tweaking their products.)

The look and smell of sweet success.

You've done well my friend.

Side Notes:

Some of your garden plants may be heirlooms.

Favorites, passed down for generations.

I know I have a few.

The same goes for sourdough starter.

Many starters that found their way to Ellis Island are still being used today and making great breads, dumplings, and pancakes and other tasty treats.

Most of your plants go dormant during the cold months.

Place your starter in the fridge and it too will go dormant and you can revive it at anytime.

Sure I can go to a bakery and purchase a nice, fresh, and probably better tasting loaf of bread, and I have from time to time.

(Pictured is artisan bread.)

If I had the money, I could also buy an instant garden, designed and planted by others.

However, in both cases .......................

Where is the fun and joy?

Where is the satisfaction?

Where is the creative spirit we were given?

Where is the "I made that myself"?

Time to get some creative (artistic) juices flowing.

Whether it be in the kitchen, or the garden, it is your choice.

This time of year is always a good time to plan your work and when spring comes, work your plan.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

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

God Bless.

“There are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our encouragement, who will need our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give.”

Leo Buscaglia

Yes, you are important.

Yes, you make a difference.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

Psalm 127:3-5

"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