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Wildlife Gardening and Sharing a Moment
January 30, 2012

Time to think Spring.

I'm sharing a few pictures this week to help get you in the mood.

Another up again, down again week of winter weather.

This weather can do some serious damage to perennials if they freeze and thaw to many times.

Plant cells explode and die off when the juices flow and then freeze up.

Freeze and Thaw, and Freeze.

This weakens a plant and eventually kills it off when it happens too often.

We enter a new month this week, time to clean and sanatize your bird feeders.

This should be done at least once a month, and the first week is always a good reminder for me.

This isn't at all garden or wildlife related, but something I feel the need to share.

If you have been a reader for for any length of time, you know we have a special needs daughter.

Yolanda was in an car accident many years ago (when she was 15).

I wont go into details right now, but she is a full time job for us. She is a brain injured and legally a Quadriplegic adult.

I also take her to 'Hope Network' 5 days a week, where she gets some physical therapy, but more important she gets to interact with other brain injured, and special needs people.

She has a work shop where she can make a few dollars and a 'Real Life Class'.

In 'Real Life' they go many places and do many things.

She makes friends there.

I digress.

Every morning when I drop her off, and the afternoon when I pick her up.

I take the time to interact and get to know several of the brain injured and the wonderful work staff.

Over time, I have grown close to several of Yolanda's friends.

One special young man pulled hard at my heart strings last year.

When making my rounds, one day I put my arm around John's small shoulders as he sat at his work desk.

I leaned over to say something to him, when John placed his head on my shoulder and tried to hug me.

I think a tear rolled down my cheek as I walked away.

From that moment on, I realized that my friend John (real first name), was love starved.

After that morning, I made a special effort to always give John
and others some special attention, and a bit of physical contact.

Sometimes a pat on the shoulder, maybe rub their head,

With John, it was usually a hug or some sort of arm around the shoulder and positive words.

Often John would place his head on my shoulder.

We all need physical contact, after all.

John lived in a resident house and the people at Hope seemed to be his family, but why?

(All to often, special needs people are placed in homes and ignored.)

Yes, I said Lived as in past tense.

Recently, My little buddy went home to his Lord.

Some staff members and a few of his friends from Hope Network went to his funeral.

Yolanda and I went too.

It was only then, that I learned that John was involved in a car accident when he was only 8 years old (he was 43).

An aunt that seemed to be more of a parent had told us that John was in a car with his mom, who was drunk that day and hit another car head on.

John's mom could never forgive herself for that day/moment and stopped being a mother as well (she stood in the back during the funeral).

A mom that couldn't forgive herself.

A mom that lost the last 35 years of her son's shortened life.

(His dad passed several years ago.)

Placed in a home, where family didn't have to deal with him or reality.

Now I know, why this young man was so hungry to be loved, and I am blessed to have been a small part of his life.

Even if it was only for short moments of time.

So why am I telling you this story?

I'm not sure.

I think I simply needed to share this with others.

It isn't about drunk driving, we all know where that can go.

I think I need to share the importance of love and how we need to give and get love.

We need to love freely as our Lord loves us.

Maybe, it is about a mom that could never forgive herself and lost special times with her son.

The need for you and me to forgive others and ourselves.

Unforgiveness, is like a cancer and eats away at you, affecting other aspects of your life and your health.

One last thing I learned about my friend John...............

He was an artist (even had a painting in last fall's Art Prize).

I was totally amazed and impressed by the talent displayed from another legal quadriplegic.

In many ways, John's mind was as sharp as could be.

Special needs people still have special skills.

(For my Yolanda, she always seems happy and will share a smile with anyone at anytime.)

John, you are missed my friend.

Thank you for your time.

(Rabbit Nest, below are 12 day old babies that had left the nest by day 13.)

I think I covered just about every aspect you need to know about planting and growing your own seeds.

Advice for the novice and a reminder or two for the experienced.

Now, it is simply a matter of having seeds, some of the right equipment, planting mix, and the right timing for you and your region.

Beginners, start out slow.

You can drop hundreds of dollars into this great hobby without batting an eyelash, if you aren't careful.

You will also have a few failures, learn from them and grow from them.

Don't get discouraged, especially if you just put a lot of money into grow light, heat mats, portable greenhouses and such.

If possible, find a gardening mentor.

One topic I haven't covered yet and has been brought to my attention is.........

Gardening For Wildlife.

Attracting birds and butterflies to your gardens.

I never tire of talking about, or writing on birds and wildlife.

I write on this topic a few times a year in one shape of form.

From planting to attract wildlife to feeding the bugs to attract more birds.

God has blessed me with at least two passions.

'Birds and nature', and a 'love for gardening'.

Everyone is given at least one special skill or passion.

Not everyone discovers or develops this passion.

I knew early on that birds and nature pulled at my heart, but never knew why.

I also had a love for gardening.

All kinds of gardening.

Growing up in rural America, gardening was a good skill to have

After all, we ate what veggie gardens provided for most of the year.

Still, it wasn't a chore for me.

I actually enjoyed it, most of the time.

(I also liked flowers, but a real boy didn't admit to that.)

Again, another skill or passion and no where to go.

Parents didn't guide us or show us how to prepare.

No mentor to teach life planning.


God has given all of us something special.

A skill or passion unique to you in a certain way.

(No two people or passions are completely alike.)

However, it is up to us to discover and develop these passions.

That encouragement or direction was never given.

A way of life for most of us

I never had a plan or set goals until I was near 40 years old.

(Research shows that 92% of us never make a true plan or set goals.)

I never knew how or why.

Now I'm really learning and growing, and having the time of my life.

I did learn enough along the way to make a living for much of my adult life.

Whether it was owning a wildbird-nature store, working at a nursery or doing landscaping.

I've been known to give a lecture or speak at seminars as well.

Again, I digress..........

It was then, that I truly started 'Gardening to Attract Birds and other Wildlife.'

Sure, I had my share of bird feeders and always found room for another cool looking flower.

I even had a small, yet formal Rose Garden.

Things had to be trimmed and kept weed free, (that is what I was taught growing up).

Chemicals flowed rather freely.

All of a sudden, my creative juices were released.

Many exotic plants were replaced by native plants.

Pesticides and herbicides are rarely used.

Prim and proper became hodgepodge.

You know what..............................

It even looks better (at least it does to us).

Wouldn't you know it.....................

A few years later, native gardening slowly started to catch on in North America.

Even with history giving us Naturalists like 'John Muir', 'Henry David Thoreau', and 'John James Audubon', Nature never really took hold.

Possibly, we took it for granted.

Trees, butterflies, birds and meadows always seemed to be there.

A short few decades ago, that was true for most of us.

Then America was still a rural country, like Canada still is.

We could step out our back door to the front door of nature.

Stripping the land.

Killing off wildlife.

Removing food sources.

Using toxins at alarming rates.

Introducing every kind of non native plant species to or land.

Careless regulations allowed for many a land and sea creatures to threaten our native species.

A destructive way of life that is finally catching up with all of us.

Forgive me, I must step down from my 'orange crate' and I never intended on it, but sometimes a person gets carried away.

Once I started to create a little wildlife habitat, things began to happen.

More birds began to fill my yard with song and movement.

Within a couple of years, nests appeared in the shrubs and trees.

Pollinators will always show no matter what is in bloom, but the lack of pesticides gave me thriving populations.

With some planning, you can have native trees, shrubs and flowers in bloom most of the season.

Native plants also offer a better source of seed and fruits needed for our song birds and small mammals.

Native plants also host caterpillars for your favorite butterflies.

Now here is the real kicker for attracting birds.

If you really want to enjoy song birds, native plants also offer a better food source for native insects.

Insects attract a larger variety, and more birds to you yard and gardens.

While most birds feed insects to babies and fledglings, there are many species of birds that only feed on insects.

No insects, no birds.

Once again, I've gone on too long.

Next week I will once again cover some ideas on creating a bird friendly yard and how you can too (Joe Beehave, this is for you).

Well, it is time to fly for now.

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

God Bless.

“We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain.”

Henry David Thoreau

Today's Scripture was sent to my from a reader, Jeanie Moses.

This verses fits well into this week and next week's newsletter.

This one is really good.

Thank you Jeanie.

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 people are without excuse.

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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