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Snippets and Potpourri
June 09, 2008

A blessed week to you and your household.

A big welcome to all the new readers that have joined us over the past few weeks.

We managed some timely and well needed rain in my neck of the woods. Locally and nationally there has been severe weather.

Our prayers go out to all of you.

Thankfully, Lake Michigan often softens the blow that many regions East and South of here get. Yeah, I think I'll stay here.

Instant summer this past weekend, as temperatures hit the 90's and humidity levels rose. It can get a bit sticky, but it goes with the territory.

Now, before some of you folks that live in warmer climates want to call me a sissy when I mention 90 degree days just remember a couple of things.

You don't hear me calling you a pansy when you are wearing a jacket on a 60 degree day. That is balmy for us northern folks:-)

Though we laugh in silence, you don't hear us when you close down whole cities when you get an inch of snow:-)

After all, how difficult can it be?

Okay, enough teasing.

The warmer weather wants me to make this a casual Monday, so snippet day it is.

I hope you don't mind.

The days are going by way to fast for my liking, how about you?

Akita (Keet) and I still go for our evening walks if I'm not working late. Even as the fields and woods grow, I still manage to get some time in on the deer runs with her.

For all the new readers, Keet is my little 8lb. fir child.

Keet will chase anything that moves, leafs, flower petals, anything. This past week, she was very busy trying to catch all the Cottonwood fuzzies that blow or drift by her.

She didn't know which way to go or what fuzzy to chase.

Now that can make for a long walk.

Ziggy the Poodle pup is still a bit shy when I take him on small walks.

One day last week, I spotted a screech owl snoozing in a wild shrub. After Keet and I returned home, I encouraged Karen to give up 5 minutes of Rachel Ray to come follow me.

The little guy was still there and Karen saw her first owl of any kind in the wild.

When she asked me how I spotted it so fast, I didn't know what to say at first.

I think it is from growing up loving nature and keeping an open eye to my surroundings.

If you know what to look for and where to look, you can always find something happening in Nature.


The baby ducks have hatched at the garden center.

She hatched them on Thursday (my day off). I was thinking Wednesday or Thursday they would hatch.

Six of nine eggs hatched.

Friday she was still brooding them.

By Saturday morning they were gone, I hope they found water safely.

Be prepared to pay more for your bird feed once again, prices are going up very soon.

My apologies for not having a more advanced warning for you.

By now, you should have most if not all of your planting taken care of. Yup, it is time for you to relax a bit and enjoy the longer days of late spring.

Don't worry about a weed or two, you can snag those when you are out walking your little corner.

Be sure to pinch the first bloom or two off your annuals. I know this may hurt you, but it makes for a bigger and stronger plant and more blooms in a couple of weeks.

The sole purpose of annuals is to reproduce and die.

By pinching off early buds and blooms, it forces the plant to produce more. By dead heading annuals, this also forces a plant to continue to bloom to try to repoduce.

It's time to relax and enjoy your efforts.

Find a nice shady spot or even look out your windows at your wildlife gardens.

Watch as parent birds begin to bring their youngsters to your yards, to your feeders and water sources.

Warmer weather brings an abundance of butterflies. If you have a butterfly garden, or even some well chosen plants, you know you can enjoy these beautiful insects well into Autumn.

Dragonflies may visit your yard.

Not to worry, they wont sew your mouth shut or anything like that.

Dragonflies should be welcomed to your kingdom.

Be sure to raise your lawn mower to at least 3 inches.

The longer grass works to keep the weeds down and aids in retaining soil moisture.

Keep your transplanted veggies and flowers well watered. With a lack of established roots, they will dry up before your eyes if you aren't careful.

Tomatoes love the heat, but they also need water. If your tomatoes dry up event he least bit, you can expect some blossom end rot.

Blossom end rot is the black spot the develops where the blossom was. The main culprit is a lack of Potassium, but the main reason this happens is the lack of water.

This happens fast with potted tomato plants.

Continue to offer nesting materials for your backyard birds, they still have another brood or two in them.

Fresh water is very important too.

Last week I touched on male and female plants, this is very important to understand if you are planting for wildlife.

Birds need protein and eat lots of insects or even the seeds we offer. Many birds also eat fruits and adjust their diets with the seasons and will eat fruits and berries.

When you plant berry producing shrubs and small trees, you offer food for pollinators (hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and hoverflies). You offer berries for birds and small mammals.

Your shrubs attract insects that attract birds and some shrubs are host plants for butterflies. Don't forget about the shade they offer and maybe at ground level you will have a toad or two.

Look for the butterflies of your region and the host plants they need.

Shrubs and small trees offer protection from weather and predators and also offer nest sights for you favorite feathered friends.

Look at native shrub selections for your region.

Coffee grounds are great for Roses and Hydrangea, but coffee grounds aren't the great slug killer some like to report.

Coffee grounds aren't course enough to scratch up the slimy stomach and there isn't enough caffeine in the grounds to give the leaf munchers a caffeine overdose as some want you to believe.

I have admired nature for most of my life, I have loved birds for as long as I can remember. I think my love of nature grew as I began to understand her.

My love for birds, That gets me thinking at times.

Sometimes I'm not sure why, but when I cogitate this subject, I realize it was the ability to fly.

Freedom to move or go where ever they wanted to go.

How grand that must feel, to extend your wings and take off into the sky.

Birds also fascinate me because there are so many species and they serve so many different roles.

From pollinators to predators, to some of natures garbage collectors.

Birds are also indicator species.

With many species of birds, you can tell how healthy a certain environment or habitat is.

Do you have a reason why you enjoy gardening?

How about birds and butterflies?

If I get enough responses to this, I would like to do a letter just on your answers.

Remember, Give me your First Name, City or region and state or province you live in

Its been awhile since we did a special, give me lots of participation now.

Father's Day is this coming Sunday, let's hear it for all the dads out there.

The estimated number of dads across the United States today is over 64.3 million.

In the U.S., the first modern Father's Day celebration was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West VA.

In 1972, President Nixon signed into law a permanent U.S. Father's Day to be observed on the third Sunday of June.

Believe it or not, neckties are the Father's Day gift. Americans spend more than one billion dollars each year to buy a staggering 100,000,000 ties.

That's roughly one tie for every male over age 20 in the USA.

Where did we go wrong guys?

Where is the circular saw or fishing pole.

You know, dad might even like a new birdbath of feeder for the yard.

Think of it as an extended Mother's Day gift gals. a new birdbath and feeders for the yard.

Think of it as an extended Mother's Day gift gals.

Be sure to make it a quality bath or feeder.

Does dad want a water garden, look into some options.

Maybe he wants a nice native tree or native shrubs to add some quality to your wildlife habitat.

Even though dad is a guy,(it's a woman's world men) he just might understand the importance of native plants.

Does dad want a water garden, look into some options.

Dad doesn't have to be the man that helped make you, dad can be any influential figure in your life.

Dad could be grandpa, an uncle or maybe a big brother.

Dad could be a neighbor or a mentor.

Dad could be your mom, grandma or big sister.

Well, you get the idea.

While my dad was busy working, my mom was often both mom and dad to us kids.

Dad did keep a roof over our head and taught me a work ethic that continues today.

It wasn't until later in life that I finally understood some of my dad's thinking.

Dad believed work made the man, there is nothing like good, honest work.

Men didn't show their true feelings.

Men didn't cry.

If you made a baby, by golly you better support your child no matter what.

Yes, dad taught responsibility.

Mom taught me it was okay to cry and to show affection toward others.

I learned at a young age that I was tender hearted and would cry.

I also learned that girls/women like a man with a tender heart, not only the macho image.

Being a parent is hard, that is why we need two parents.

If you had one parent, thank them and bless them for all you are worth.

Now days, many dads are more open, loving and spend play time with their kids. To this day, I still get a bit jealous when I see a dad playing with his kids.

Part of me wants to join in.

Part of me says thanks pops for teaching me what you did and letting me learn some stuff on my own.

This coming Father's Day, thank your dad or dads, even if they are no longer with you.

There is something about thanking and forgiving, even when they have passed on, that releases something in our spirit.

To all the Dads of the world..............

We salute you on your special day.

We may not be mom, but we are needed.

Its difficult to talk of dads to much, when I am one.

You know, it would be like tooting my own horn.

Well, that's about it for now.

I can get long winded at times, can't I?

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

It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test.

Elbert Hubbard

Finding ability in others and showing them the way,


If that doesn't make you want to smile.

You know, a smile may be one ability many of us have and don't know it.

Do you know how to smile?

Do you know how to share it?

Your smiles brighten up the world and you may show others how important it is for them to smile and to share it.

Smiles just make you feel good.

Smile at our Creator's wondrous works.

Until next time my friend.

"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 recieve their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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