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When Nature Happens, the Weather.
July 11, 2011

Welcome new readers.

Don't you enjoy some of the little things in life?

For example ........

When nature throws a curve and you get twins.

This zinnia is interesting, as it never showed signs of two stalks of buds fused together like most Siamese twin flowers do.

Come to think of it, I don't recall an odd looking bud either.

I took a picture and now will enjoy if when I walk by everyday.

The Green herons have fledged, but not before a few more chances to take a photo or two.

This was one special treat for us and for sure a very educational couple of weeks.

I don't know if I will ever have the privilege of Green herons nest in my yard again.

They are curious as they explore my yard and they are so aware of what is going on around them.

Necks will stretch out and heads are constantly turning and looking at approaching birds, squirrels and chipmunks.

They even show a little feisty attitude when a Red-winged blackbird gets to close.

And the natural pose as sits in the Spruce tree and appears ready to pounce.

(Other pictures throughout the letter.)

Have you noticed the lack of bird songs this time of year?

More and more species of bird are winding down their mating seasons and this means fewer love songs and territorial disputes.

Do you ever wonder where all of your birds go on a hot summer day?

Simple, If they aren't busy feeding babies...............

Like you and me, they look for relief from the heat.

Yes, even birds head for cool spots and are even known to take a Siesta. during the heat of the day or during storms.

Shade can be a wonderful thing.

Veggie gardens are coming along, even in Michigan.

I'm sure many of my southerly friends are busy harvesting crops I can only drool over right now.

I can say, I've picked a few cukes and a single zucchini from my pots.

Are you tired of seeing a clump of tomato blossoms, 5, 7, 9 in a cluster, but you only get a tomato or two while you are waiting for a nice cluster?

Here is a tip to help your tomato production.

Every time you walk by your plants, tap them.

Tap them gentle, but firm enough to make then jiggle.

Especially the blooms.

Now here is why.

Tomatoes have a rather tight flower and Bumblebees are the primary pollinator as other bees aren't able to do what Bumbles can.

(If you lack Bumblebees, you really need to participate.)

By tapping the plants, you are loosing the pollen from the 'Anther onto the Stigma'.

You have just become a pollinating machine and if the weather is favorable, you can expect clusters of tomatoes.

I've been doing this for years my friend and it works.

You know, this is a pretty good segway into my topic this week.

'When Nature Happens'

Do you lack pollinators?


The Weather ....................... When Nature Happens.

A few times in the past I have written about "When Nature Happens", or something along that line.

I have touched on what we may call 'Natural Disasters and are They' and 'How Cruel or Tough Nature Can be' and the Circle of Life'.

I've written on 'Shrinking Habitats' and even gave you my opinions on 'Global Warming or Climate Change'.

Not to mention a few other topics, and "Orange Crate Moments".

Some even controversial.

Who me?


This time I am going to touch on the weather.

Not only does it affect you and me, but consider all of nature.

How does weather directly and indirectly affect plant and animal life?

I don't hardly know where to begin.

You've seen the programs on TV, animals dieing from a lack of water, too much water, heat etc.

Weather plays a major roll in all of our lives.

Indeed, we often plan our days and the week ahead around the weather forecasts.

Heat, cold, rain, dry, floods,droughts ..............

They all play a major roll.

Now, toss in severe storms that can alter the landscape in seconds and we have a whole new ballgame.

This year has been life altering for many people due to the weather.

Drought, fires, floods, a record number of tornadoes and we are barely half way through 2011.

So how does the weather effect the plant and animal life around us?

This is something few of us think about.

You may recall the bad winter storms in Mexico (winter of 2010) that did a number on the Monarch butterfly population.

After making a strong come back last year, you and I were looking forward to still a growing number of monarchs.

I for one hadn't given this a thought, but thanks to a cyber acquaintance, I am now aware and I'm passing it on to you.

She showed me on 'Monarch Watch' that the droughts and spring fires in Texas have altered this year's migration north.

Because of the adverse conditions, butterflies were not able to feed and mate like they would most years.

In effect, we lost a whole generation and reproduction of Monarchs.

This helps to explain the lack of monarch sightings so far this year.

Floods and high waters might also explain the lack of other butterflies and other wildlife in your region.

When Nature Happens.

Yes, the weather plays a huge roll, even for insects.

Heavy rains ......................

High waters and floods.

You may have experienced some standing water or floods.

What happens to certain insect populations during high waters.

Yes, mosquito populations explodel, but what happens to other insects?

Bumblebees and others are mostly ground dwellers.

Bee hives and nest are destroyed, setting back the bee population and many of your native pollinators.

(Is this why you lack bees this year?)

Something we really don't think about too often, even when we notice a lack of bees.

What happens to waterfowl, loons and many of our ground nesting birds?

Not to mention nests that are woven so tight, that eggs can rot and babies drown.

What happens to rabbits, mice ad other creatures?

Nature Happens, and often it can be unforgiving.

Nature also provides these control systems to insure a healthy and genetically sounds population.

In a healthy environment and habitats, these issues would mostly go unnoticed as populations make a quick rebound.

In locations where certain populations of wildlife are threatened or endangered, every
one counts.

When heavy rains and high waters take out Loon nests and Trumpeter swans, it gets noticed.

Do you even stop to think about our ground dwelling furry critters?

Natural fires (lightening strikes) caused by the weather are also one of Nature's cleansing tools.

The weak are taken.

Forest and field are cleansed, and new life explodes.

Heat and drought, can also wreak havoc on plants and animals.

In times of drought, fewer animals survive and with some species, fewer are born and in extreme cases, none at all.

This starts at the bottom of the food chain and works its way to the top.

Fewer mice and deer, means fewer foxes, wolves, certain birds of prey, and so on

Fewer flowers and plants, means fewer insects, seeds, and fruits, which translates into fewer fledging birds.

Parent creatures can't possibly feed themselves and youngsters too, when food is scarce.

In times of drought, some plants die completely.

However, many of our regional, native plants are created to survive lean times.

Natives often go into dormancy to save energy.

Native plants have been surviving natural ups and downs since the beginning of time.

Introduced species........................... maybe not so.

In dry or drought years, many of your trees will shed foliage to conserve water and save energy.

The following year, you may experience a bumper crop of seeds and your conifers may be top heavy with cones.

Nature has built in to these trees, a survival mechanism.

When trees are stressed, something kicks in that tells the tree it better reproduce more to insure the species survival for following years.

If you had a dry year last year, I'm sure your conifers are loaded with cones.

Your Silver Maples probably dropped an excessive amount of helicopters (seeds) this spring.

Yes, Nature Happens.

Weather extremes happen.

What about the snow and cold that most of us get?

Good question.

Native plants and animals once again, equipped to handle the elements of winter.

Some animals will join most plant life and go into hibernation or dormancy.

Those creatures that don't hibernate, grow a winter coat of fur and for birds, many species grow more feathers.

Some bird species migrate.

Animals generate more heat by shivering (often we can't see).

Many store up fat reserves or move to better feeding grounds (migration).

Winter birds will pick out a winter feeding ground and you can help.

In severe winters with heavy, heavy snow, some animals and birds will die off.

This again removes the sick and weak, which insures a stronger/healthier population.

If the previous summer was bountiful, more will survive.

Nature Happens.

Birds and many animals are so in tune with nature, that they can feel the drop in barometric pressures.

Yes, they know when a storm is coming well before we do and sometimes before modern science can pick it up.

Birds and animals will flee from danger if they aren't caring for babies.

Many times, sea birds are found hundreds of miles inland before a hurricane ever makes landfall.

How often have you watched your birds gorge themselves hours before a storm?

Yet, some years many migrating birds like the Purple Martin (pictured above) are caught with their pants down.

Several days of cool and damp weather in late winter or early spring will keep insects grounded.

Migrating birds need their insects to survive and the early bird often suffers when this happens.

Flocks of martins and other neotropicales, suffer when a cool, damp spell comes along.

In years of bounty, when most elements seem to cooperate, plants and animals thrive and many populations seem to explode.

Plant life is happy and thriving.

Native insects are plentiful and this makes the birds and other insectivores happy.

Including other insects.

Mice, lemmings, squirrels, rabbits and other small mammals have their bellies full and produce large litters.

Large litters help to feed bear, martins, coyotes, fox, owls, eagles and more.

Plants produce copious amounts of fruits and seeds.

Bird populations get a boost as some species succeed in multiple nests.

Everyone and everything seems to be happy once again.

Then .......................................

Just like that, the weather changes.

Nature Happens.

Creation has a wonderful check and balance system.

We have a little more than a century of recorded weather.

Yet, scientists can go back in time to some degree and discover ups and downs in temperature and weather conditions.

From Ice ages, to droughts and what lived where and pretty much when.

Records show that the Vikings colonized Greenland a thousand years ago.

Yet today, scientists want to panic us about Greenland's ice melting and flooding the globe.

Where was this ice 1,000 years ago and why wasn't the earth flooded then?

Even with all of the human destruction and attempts to ruin or beautiful earth,

Creation not only provided checks and balances, but also provides room for hick-ups when things get off kilter.

Nature Happens ........................

Weather Happens ....................

Shrinking habitats.................

That's up to you and me my friends.

Well, it is time to fly for now.....

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

God less,

You cannot add to the peace and good will of the world if you fail to create an atmosphere of harmony and love right where you live and work.

Thomas Dreier

There will always be worldly turmoil, seek His peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be
troubled and do not be afraid.

Jesus Christ, John 14:27

"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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