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October 17, 2016

Still no killing frost around here.

Thank everyone for your comments and compliments on Yolanda's mask and the Hope Network art display titled 'Brain Injuries Unmasked'.

Check out the fat hummingbird.

After no hummers for more than a week, this chubby bird shows and stayed an additional three days.

So fat and slow, she almost didn't look like a hummer.

I've never seen one with a double chin before.

Truly a late season treat.

This week also brought a sign that winter is near.

The first Dark-eyed junco of the season (picture below).

Who says you can't grow cotton in Michigan?

This is the second year in a row that I have successfully grown and produced cotton.

Now I'm sure the plant isn't as bountiful as plants grown in the south, but it goes to show what a gardener can do when they put their mind to it.

Days continue to grow shorter and cooler.

They can however, produce some magnificent evening skies.

Okay, you want to know about Miss Penny.

(There are a few pictures of her.)

She is all kitten and loves to explore.

Climbing on top of Karen's Tiffany Lamp to strike this pose.

She was removed as to not to knock it over.

Also you will see pictures of Penny and Snicker Doodles, as the pair are becoming playmates and fast friends.

Akita (Keet), in her 11 year old body wants to play at times, but gets too rough, and persistent at times.

This past week, as I slowly tackle fall clean up, I notice these Aphids on a Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).

What a novel topic for a fall letter, and here is why.


In ideal conditions, some entomologists suggest that a single aphid could produce up to 600 billion descendants in one single season.

Here is how that is possible.

Asexual Reproduction.

With a few exceptions, aphids in spring and summer are all females.

The first aphids hatch from eggs in early spring.

You may not even notice a few of these plant suckers.

Wait a bit.

Aphids hatch as pregnant mothers to be, as they give birth to live babies, not eggs.

To add insult to injury, these newly born babies are already pregnant.

Adult aphids can produce 50 to 100 babies.

A new born aphid becomes a producing adult within a week and then can produce five offspring a day for the next 30 days (about).

To do the math would be mind staggering.

(Cotton Bolls)

Generation after generation of wingless females survive and reproduce.

The weather may grow hot or host plants start to die off and suddenly some of the females grow wings and fly off to possibly find a new host plant which may differ from the spring host.

Late in the season something happens (isn't nature grand).

Some of the newborn aphids become males as well as females.

Only now does mating and reproduction take place.

Instead of giving birth, the females lay eggs at the base of a host plant.

All living aphids die off or are killed by cold weather.

The eggs that survive predation will soon hatch the following spring as pregnant females.

And this is why I am writing on aphids this week.

Side Piece for you.

You may have seen ants hanging around an aphid infestation.

Sugar ants.

Aphids defecate sugar and this attracts the ants.

The ants now become a form of protection for the aphids.

Creation has shown its miracles and wonders, even in the smallest of creatures.

So many aphids to feed so many predatory insects like Lady Beetles, and many more.

Aphids also provide food for many of our smaller song birds.

Leave one on your plant and before you know it.......

You have an infestation.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

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

God Bless.

“Find the person who will love you because of your differences and not in spite of them and you have found a lover for life.”

Leo Buscaglia

Mr. Buscaglia was a quote giving machine who truly loved life.

Loving because of our differences is what god showed all of us with the ultimate act of love.

It is a verse you may have learned early on in Sunday school.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:16

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority,
lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued,

“The other is good – he is joy,
peace, love, hope, serenity,
humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy,
generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight is going on inside you –
and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute
and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

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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