Monday, April 29, 2013



Being attacked by nature is a challenge. A challenge that has been present since the beginning of mankind. 

Insects attack plants. Plants die and replenish the soil; a good thing. Animals each follow their own cycle.

I consider myself blessed to having lived long enough to find being attacked by animals not only a challenge, but a joy. I’m not attacked by them personally, but in a way that makes me want to outsmart the critters.

I may be able to outsmart the critters, but I’m certainly not smart enough outsmarting the forces of nature. That part is the Almighty’s doing, and I respect that.

Nature bows down in gratitude for the blessings from above.

Nature submits to the One that directs all.

When the squirrels first chewed the lid of the bird feed barrel and shoved it to the side, I placed a rock on the lid. The mice said to the squirrel, “Hey dummies, look at my hole, I can still get my share!”
I smiled and let them have the little they eat.

Then spring sprung, the ground warmed, peonies sprouted. They sprouted just under the bird feeder. Turkeys came along and scratched for morsels that had dropped from the feeder. In their exuberance they wiped out most of the new peony sprouts. I smiled and placed a few stones around the shoots.

The deer not meaning any harm survived the winter’s sparseness by plucking a few morsels from the evergreens near the cabin. Do I really think the Good Lord wants those plants to die? Nah. I smiled and said to myself, “They’ll only get bushier. I may place a net over them next winter.

Then the neighborhood beaver wiggled itself into our pond. He perused the setup and decided that the two year old willow tree would make a good snack. I smiled and said to myself, “I’ll get another one and plant it in the same spot, but I’ll wrap it in chicken wire and see if he’s game enough to use the wire for a little dental floss.”

Well, we did see bear tracks before. That always makes one feel they're living back in the 1800s. 
First we saw the bird feeder on the ground. “Strange,” we thought. No high wind swepped the mountains since the last time we came to the cabin. I was sure I’d mounted the feeder high enough off the ground as not to get whopped by a bear, but there it was, spent, empty. . . .I smiled.

My smile turned to a gasp when I walk around to the deck. There was sprawled the smoker, (my birthday present) all over the deck. “Maybe we did have a little wind after all.” I said to Carol.

“Wind––my foot,” I shouted when I saw the paw marks on top of the grill cover. Good thing the pine pollen gave the culprit away. Without the pollen, no evidence of a bear would have been positively found. The grill stands four feet of the floor. The paw marks obviously showed the brute was taller than the grill; and also tall enough to smack the bird feeder. I smiled. Case solved.

At least we don’t have to deal with evil, rebellious, self-serving, man living in the woods.

This well known creature no longer has the guts to accept the challenges offered and directed by the Almighty. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ear Buds vs Tree Buds

In the past I've made statements like, "I remember when one could hear a bee buzz twenty feet away and could not see it. Today one can see a bee three feet away and cannot hear it."

It is not only the drone of incidental noise in the air that contributes to not hearing, but also loud music, home entertainment, and being self-absorbed in gratifications.

"Stop and smell the roses," has more than one meaning. I know one can bend over and smell a rose, but does anyone see it for its beauty. The same for running, stop, take a deep breath and actually commune with God's creation.

A jogger may run right past blooming dogwoods and simply say,"Ah, nice white." Then just keep moving on.

As we run through life we miss the beauty that is free to see and enjoy. We run with our head down afraid to make eye contact as not to be forced to engage in a greeting, and Lord forbid, a conversation.

Look what one can see if we only slowed enough to walk:

All of a suden we see a painting, a composition, hear a tune in your heart. You have switched from self to something outside of yourself. Realizing you say, "What about that!"

Gee . . . you've stopped running. Now you've made eye contact with nature, a non-threatening image. An image one can easily smile at. You feel free - at ease. You realize this is what is missing in your life. "Be still and know that I am God . . . Ps 46:10" The Scripture says.

Uninhibited, you will want to get close. You will absorb something into your soul that has not entered for selfish reasons. You are open. "Speak to me," you say. 

So is it with God. Quit running, dismantle yourself, and listen.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Beaver Attack

Carol and I have worked hard to settle the cold and stormy depths of our Floyd County woods. Our beautiful pond is man-made which apparently upset one of the native inhabitants.

As you can see, last year we added a dock, a ramp by which to walk into the water, a patio to sit around the fire pit, and a weeping willow to eventually shade most of the patio.

Two days ago, as we pulled up to the cabin Carol hollered, "Look, look! What has happened to our willow?" The trunk of the tree was chewed in half making the top topple over. Only the middle was still tied to the post that kept it steady when the harsh winds blew.

As I snuck up to the situation a large critter took off and swam under the dock.

The monster temporarily left its dinner behind. You can see the tree did well and had several nice branches, now just nubbins. The white stick in the water is part of the tree. Its bark was all chewed off. White sticks littered the water all around. The bark must have tasted pretty good to the pig.

Mad at me, the creature circled his fallen prey telling me to get lost. At one time he smacked the pond with his tail to send a sound like a shotgun blast.

I got a couple of movies of the beast before darkness took over.

The next morning the remnant of the tree laid on the ground. Obviously he wasn't happy with part of his catch still hanging in the air. It must have taken quite an effort to yank the thicker than two inch trunk of the T-post stake. He even chewed more of the branches before his gut filled.

Well we heard coyotes howl and yap during the night, seen bear track, saw red foxes, fox squirrels, a bald eagle, dozens of turkeys. Now a four-foot long beaver.

Never a dull moment in Floyd County.