Be Free

Friday, August 24, 2012

Discreet until dead

I don't have time to articulate this idea as well as I'd like. But, the sad demise of some of these amazing creatures provoked some thought on my part that precipitated this post. How did they die? Through our clueless interference. All summer long I've been thanking the LORD for giving us a sufficient quantity of these dung beetles to keep up with ALL of the horse and cow manure, and even most of the dog dung, on our property! I don't know all the environmental keys that have caused them to thrive as they have, but I've been daily rejoicing in their continued level of efficiency, come rain or shine. We have left them undisturbed (although Hub has repeatedly asked if he can take the tractor into the horse pens and extract manure for his compost pile). I have denied his request each time, telling him that I don't want to interfere in anyway with their labors. When they begin to fail to complete the daily chore of reducing manure piles to an oatmeal consistency, I will look into how some of the thoroughly recycled (through them) manure might be appropriated for his garden, but NOT at the expense of our better beetle community! Just to give you an idea of how much they have been accomplishing; a 1000 pound horse can produce 50 pounds of manure a day; we have 3 1/5 horses (Remy is only about 200 pounds), so, that's over 150 pounds of manure per day that these tiny laborers are processing!

Last week we had a good heavy rain that deposited 1.3 inches into our soil and every other container capable of collecting it. I went about pouring water out of bowls, buckets, wheelbarrows... and in looking for anything retaining water (since we are now very close to a West Nile epidemic in this state), I realized that a very large tire we recently imported (I have plans to use it as a trail course obstacle) had caught some of the water. Enough to interest mosquitoes. It was not in a place easy to pour out. The tire is too heavy to move by hand and I wasn't really wanting to try scooping all that water out, so, I mentioned to Hub we had a potential mosquito breeding site in the tire. He said he had heard pouring oil in the water would prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs. I asked if it has to be motor oil. He said he didn't know, but we have decided not to use the sunflower oil we have in our cabinet. He said I might try that. I did. I poured some into the water in the tire. Three days later (mosquito eggs take four days to hatch out), I went to see if there were any mosquito larvae in the treated water. I was horrified, and dismayed, and grieved, and distraught, to find 10 dead dung beetles in the water. I scooped all the water out and arranged the gorgeous little carcases. I wanted to cry!

I really had hardly seen these guys when they were alive. Very rarely I'd gotten a glimpse of one landing and burrowing immediately out of sight, but this pretty iridescent variety is nocturnal, so, they rarely are seen in the light of day. There is another type I do see that is a more drab grayish brown. They work the dayshift. I was truly guilt-ridden to think that something as seemingly innocuous as sunflower oil could have lured my reclusive workforce to their deaths! I don't yet know how losing ten of them will effect efficiency; that remains to be seen. But, I do know, that this was certainly not a deserved death for them!

The thoughts that arose in me are along these lines:
1. So many things in nature contribute to our ecological balance; it seems like every year I am shown a new creature's important role. In previous years, I've learned the significance of dragonflies (specifically their nymphs), wolf spiders, native fire ants, bees, bats, and turkey vultures... this has been our year of the dung beetles (we had a good crew of them last year as well, in spite of the drought).

2. In our culture, the most useful/productive/efficient members are often over-looked and unappreciated until they die. Then we see how much they were doing. Then we recognize their contribution and miss them.

3. God made even some of the lowliest insects beautiful. They have to live in and consume waste that we find repugnant. But, to them it is sustenance and given how rapidly they ingest it, I'm guessing they truly enjoy their meal and their work. I am glad for their sakes that they do. I'm sorry for them that we carelessly complicate their job and even stupidly cause them to lose their lives. They have short lives anyway. They would die in a few weeks. But, I feel responsible for ten of them dying unnecessarily.

Alas. But, I shall be more careful in the future. Much more. Dung beetles WERE injured in this story. I hope that telling it will educate folks and cause them to be less heedless!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rely and Remedy: how to read mule

Rely and Remedy

One week after Remy's arrival, Rely and Remedy (Remy) were turned out together for the first time. I watched closely to see what would happen. Rely was uncharacteristically cautious as he followed this new creature around in his domain. I'd say Rely was extremely anxious to make the right first impression. This is interesting since usually Rely approaches other horses with bluster and bravado. He puffs himself up and utters bellows that suggest he is a power to be reckoned with. But, with Remy he said almost nothing for almost two hours. He followed the new kid at a discreet distance. When Remy would stop to graze, Rely would stop nearby and put his head down to eat, but he would sidle closer carefully monitoring Remy's reaction. He pretended ignore Remy, but in reality he was fascinated with reading every nuance of Remy's tail swishes, long ear positions, and other relevant body language. No contact happened between them for a long time. Here are some images that show the first hour in sequence. I'm wondering if the longer ears give greater emphasis to whatever ear gestures mean. Remy snorted a lot, too. He sounded a bit disgusted.

The black and white image is a little odd, I know, but it seemed to me to sort of show how much of a presence Rely's behavior suggested Remy manifested. Sort of like he wasn't all there! Trying to imagine what Rely was thinking, I'm wondering if he wasn't realizing that this little creature will be his only option for a companion for a while and he better make the most of it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spring 2012

I've been holding off on this waiting for enough evidence to convince all that we are having a glorious Spring this year! It actually was precipitated by over 12 inches of precipitation since the first of the year! I have been enjoying taking these; hope ya'll will rejoice with us! The LORD has gifted us early and often with His supply this year!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

December 2011

When folks come visit us, we tend to toss them the reins and tell 'em to mount up. Then we shoot them with our Canons, crop them down to size, and post their mugs on the internet for all to see. That's our way; some are more at ease with it than others. This fellow, for example, just hunkered over the horn and gave us his Salatin grin. Can't find much fault in him.
And this lil' lady, graced our place with her beautiful face! A princess in deed, momentarily treed!
Another natural draped himself on our gate; flashing us his smile to contemplate!
This clan is kin to us; but they live back East; they tarried with us a few days at least. And lest one gets the idea, that's all the kin we saw; here's another bunch of us, and here's
our feisty Ma!
And seein' as we've mentioned her, we owe the LORD for leavin'
Mom hereabouts a while longer, you best be believin'

Even after open heart surgery, after her trial
We celebrated and feasted with her in style.

But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corinthians 12:24-26

January 2012 First Few Days______________________

Rely obliged those who arrived to ride.

I missed a turret when harnessing; it didn't phase Rely a bit. He's such a trooper!
And such a hoot!
I doubt I could get off this carriage without my Hub heading. It is quite a clamor.
Guess what this is? Hub seriously tackled replacing the shower in our guest bath. This is after he painted the drywall. It is white, not pink.
When given the opportunity to graze the fresh grass in the horse trap, here's how they chose to spend their time!
10 total inches of rain in November and December brought our pond up to within 2 feet of being full.
I LOVE this man!
There's even water in the 'bottom pond', about 2 feet deep.
Green is showing in the drought clipped fields. The rain and warm weather have fostered it.
Our measuring rod is a t post on the bank of the pond. Before the rain came, it was totally exposed (telling us the pond was down 5-6 feet). Now there is only has about 2 feet sticking up out of the water. This implies the deepest part of the pond is at about 14 feet now.
Grady is starting to grow, too.
More of the shower project.
Rely and Buck pummeling the grass (which goes to show they aren't really starved for it; they'd rather play on it!)
December demanded concentration. It is always a challenging month. Just keeping track of the schedule of events, finding gifts, evading germs, tackling end-of-year projects, makes for enough excitement, but when you throw in crises, like Mom's by-pass surgery, it is no longer possible to plan a path to take or decisions to make. What I knew I must do, is what I always should do, just trust Him to direct my steps.

Because of the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us.
Luke 1:78 (KJV)
We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1: 2-3

For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the LORD; and if we die, we die to the LORD. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the LORD. Romans 14:7-8

It is worth contemplating His Mind on matters when we see who He chooses to take home to Him and who He leaves longer for His purposes.