Friday, December 24, 2010

Old Crow Is Now A Falcon!

This blog is to alert all my blogging buddies of the new pseudonym "Falcon" (alias Tom) has chosen for himself. I must confess, I was the one who affectionatley named him "Old Crow", because of my fondness for Crows, but out of respect for his preference I conceded to his new blogging name "Falcon". Welcome Falcon! Forgive me Falcon, if I slip a few times and call you Crow, my brain has to get adjusted to this dramatic change.

Falcon has chosen wisely his new name. I did some research on Falcon's and want to share their impressive characteristics. Here's what I found.

FALCON FACTS

Peregrines adapt to their environment and live on every continent except Antarctica. They can live in the mountains, deserts, forests, on sea cliffs, in cities and large urban areas. They mate for life and return to the same nesting site every year. They are known to have substituted tall sky scrapers in downtown urban areas for nesting sites on cliffs.

A bit of trivia: While several states have adopted the cardinal, mocking bird, chickadee, and bluebird,no state has a falcon as its state bird.


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

Falcon's scientific name comes from the Latin word, "Falco Peregrinus" which means wandering falcon, traveler, or foreigner.

Also, the name falcon is derived from the Latin word falco meaning hook shaped and refers to the animal’s beak and claws. Falcons typically hunt small birds and they use their beaks and claws to swiftly immobilize and kill their prey while in flight.

There are 39 species of falcon - the Peregrine is one of five commonly found in Canada. There are 3 subspecies of Peregrines ~ American, Artic and Peale's.

5 types of falcons live in the U.S. ~ gyrfalcon, peregrine, merlin, American kestrel, and prairie falcon.

Peregrines are the most well known of the falcons.

Some like to migrate south to Latin America in the winter. They can migrate as far as 10,000 miles ~ farther than other birds.
Peregrines can live up to 17 years.

The female is called a falcon, the male is called a tiercel.

They vary in size depending on where they live ~ the biggest are in Alaska.

Their wings are thin and pointed, and span about 40 inches.

Slim birds with a small head. The male is about 1/3 the size of the female. Their bodies average 15 - 21 inches long and weigh about 2 pounds. The female will weigh about 10.6 ounces more than the male.

Adult Peregrines have blue-gray wings, backs, and heads, with white undersides marked with black bars going across the chest. There faces are white under their chin. They have large, dark eyes and very sharp beaks and yellow talons (feet).

Peregrines make a "kek-kek-kek" noise, especially when angry or aggressive.

They have very good eye sight ~ they can spot a meal up to a mile away.

They are raptors (Latin meaning "to seize") - birds of prey / carnivores - and eat other birds ~ sparrows, starlings, gulls, ducks, and their favorite, pigeons. In fact, during WWII they were often shot in England to keep them from eating the pigeons that were carrying important messages to the forces.

Falcons are the swiftest birds of prey and are very muscular. In level flight the travel about 50 kilometers (31 miles) an hour. In a dive, called a "stoop" they reach speeds over 300 kilometers (186.33 miles) an hour! Generally speaking, the higher the Peregrine falcon is in reference to it prey, the faster speeds it can attain during its pursuit the higher the probability of a successful capture.

They have a unique way of hunting for food ~ they dive at their prey so fast that they overtake it by surprise, catching it in mid-air, and the speed kills the prey instantly. They are diurnal - they hunt during the day. The capture takes less than 2 minutes!

An adult eats about 70 grams (2 1/4 oz.) of food a day ~ that equals about 2 blackbirds. For the most part, peregrine falcons do not build nests.
Occasionally they will use nests that have already been built, but they tend to dig simple depressions out of the soil on cliff sides. This cuts down on energy expenditures and maintains an adequate energy reserve for hunting.

In the city it has been observed that falcons don't like to land on the ground ~ even if their meal falls to the ground, they won't go get it. In fact, they don't usually fly lower than the level of their nest.

The peregrine falcon has also developed a proclivity towards city life. The tall buildings provide excellent opportunities to perch and the abundance of overweight pigeons provide a huge amount of biomass to feed off of. It makes the peregrines’ life a lot easier and it cuts down on city pests.

They are at the top of the food chain, so adult peregrines have no natural predators. They do however, face many threats from humans ~ use of pesticides, altering of landscape and habitats, egg collecting, hunting, and taking of the young for falconry. Baby falcons (eyases) are a tasty meal for owls, racoons, and mountail cats.


Interaction with Humans

The interactions between the peregrine falcon and man are primarily positive interactions for both parties. The peregrine falcon serves as a pest controller on farms and airports.

Falcon handlers train and use falcons to keep problematic bird species at airports under control. When released, the peregrine falcon peruses and kills birds that could get caught in and damage aircraft engines. Over time, the problematic bird species will stay out of the falcon’s established territory.
In recent years, the falcon is being replaced by specially designed sirens. On farms, peregrine falcons keep small rodent and bird populations in check. [1] This in turn maintains crop and livestock viability and reduces losses for the farm.

So you can see how regal and valuable Falcons are. Good characteristics, like you Tom. You chose wisely.

Alas though, someone has to be a Crow, so now I have given that name to my dear husband Russell. He was going to be "Darling Starling", but my heart is with Crow. What do you think Russell? Only the Raven knows, and soon you will too.

This is Raven-as the crow flies!

Monday, December 20, 2010

December 21st - The First Day Of Winter

Yes, winter is upon us! Today is the Winter Solstice and the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter and it is the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year. Therefore the first day of winter has the least amount of sunlight.

The good news is while the days keep getting shorter and the nights longer, once winter arrives the days will slowly get longer and the nights slowly get shorter again and before you know it---- spring, and then summer! But first the snow.

The Earth is actually nearer the sun in January than it is in June -- by three million miles. Pretty much irrelevant to our planet. What causes the seasons is something completely different. The Earth leans slightly on its axis like a spinning top frozen in one off-kilter position. Astronomers have even pinpointed the precise angle of the tilt. It's 23 degrees and 27 minutes off the perpendicular to the plane of orbit. This planetary pose is what causes all the variety of our climate; all the drama and poetry of our seasons, since it determines how many hours and minutes each hemisphere receives precious sunlight.

Do you remember what Solstice means? Solstice means...standing-still-sun. Such precision we have about it now! Winter solstice is when......because of the earth's tilt, your hemisphere is leaning farthest away from the sun, and therefore:The daylight is the shortest. The sun has its lowest arc in the sky.

When it's winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is directly overhead at noon only along the Tropic of Capricorn, on which lie such places as Sao Paulo, Brazil, southern Madagascar, and areas north of Brisbane, Australia.

But something else happens this year! The winter solstice is even more significant because it coincides with a total lunar eclipse for the first time since 1638. So it has been more than 350 years since this has happened!

Tuesday's eclipse will begin at 1:33 a.m. and will continue through 5:01 a.m., so you'll have to stay up late or get up early.

Roughly 3:15 a.m. will be the best time to view the eclipse. When at its peak, the moon will display the most brilliant shade of coppery red.

And will we have great conditions for viewing it? Not sure? If not, hopefully we can get a look at it on the news.

So welcome the winter. Enjoy the beauty that only it can bring.


















This is Raven-as the crow flies!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jack Frost - A Pleasant Childhood Memory!

This time of year brings me back to my childhood days especially when I see frost on the window panes as well as the trees and lawn."Jack Frost was here last night", my mom would cheerfully call out. We would run with gleefull anticipation to see his icy handiwork. We never saw Jack Frost, but we did see the evidence that he was there-or was he? Who was this legendary character Jack Frost? Was he real or just a figment of the imagination. As the crow flies, I went straight to the books to find out about this pleasant childhood memory, Jack Frost. According to the American Heritage Dictionary: Jack Frost is frost or cold weather personified.
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Also according to Wikipedia, in British Isles folklore, Jack Frost appears as an elfish creature who personifies crisp, cold, winter weather, a variant of Father Winter (also known as "Old Man Winter"). Some believe this representation originated in Germanic Folklore specifically in the Anglo-Saxon and Norse winter customs.

Tradition holds Jack Frost responsible for leaving frosty crystal patterns on windows on cold mornings(window frost or fern frost).
Old Man Winter like the elfish creature Jack Frost is a personification of winter, sometimes also called Father Winter. He may be an alternative older name for Father Christmas and has been identified with theOld English god Woden.
In Russian folklore, Old Man Winter is also identified with Ded Morozel the Russian Santa Claus.
Old Man Winter is also used in many poems.
In my heart of hearts I knew he wasn't real, but now I know for sure who he is, and where he came from.

I also check out the Watchtower library on "Jack Frost", and low and behold they had a very interesting article.
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*** Autumn Leaves Bow Out in a Blaze of Glory *** (g87 9/22 pp. 16-18)
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It starts out by saying, "JACK FROST gets credit for it, but he has nothing to do with it.
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The leaves do it, but they are forced into it. The trees themselves start it, but they are acting in self-defense".......What about those beautiful fall colors? "The freezing presence of the legendary Jack Frost has no role in this drama. That imaginary sprite with his paint pot is no member of the cast".
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Read the article and find out what really causes the change in color of the leaves. I learned something interesting in that article which I didn't realize before, about why the leaves on the trees actually fall to the ground in the fall, it is not because of the cold weather, but, and I quote:
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"Jack Frost has had no role in the drama; nor is it the approaching cold of winter that causes the leaves to fall. The tree itself does it to conserve its water. During winter, very little is available from a frozen earth, and the broad leaves of deciduous trees give off large amounts of it. Without new supplies of water, these leaves would soon dehydrate the tree. So to forestall this, the tree sheds its leaves and seals the open wound with a layer of corky scar tissue.
The tree must retain its water, or the show will not go on next year".
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Of course the one who should get all the credit is our wise and loving creator Jehovah God.
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I would like to add to this blog some cute "Jack Frost" poems.

Jack Frost

A pretty brook was running at play
With little Jack Frost on a cold winter's day.
It stopped to rest at the foot of a hill
Making a pond all quiet and still.
"Aha!" said Jack Frost, "Now isn't that nice?
"And quickly he turned the water to ice.
-Author Unknown

Jack Frost
By C.E. Pike
Look out! Look out! Jack Frost is about!
He’s after our fingers and toes;

And all through the night,
The gay little sprite
Is working where nobody knows.
He’ll climb each tree,
So nimble is he,
His silvery powder he’ll shake.

To windows he’ll creep
And while we’re asleep
Such wonderful pictures he’ll make.
Across the grass
He’ll merrily pass,
And change all its greenness to white.

Then home he will go And laugh ho, ho ho!
What fun I have had in the night.


Jack Frost

Jack Frost came to town
One cold late autumn day

My windows they are painted now
With pictures white and gray.

As days grow shorter
Jack grows bold,

He does not care
whom he makes cold!

Ice on windows,
snow dusting the ground.

In the cold black night
he blusters around.
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It is of interest to note, that the Bible credits Jehovah with the formation of ice and frost.

He asks Job, "Out of whose belly does the ice actually come forth. And as for the hoarfrost of heaven, who indeed brings it to birth?" (Job 38:29)
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Also, Elihu tells Job, "By the breath of God the ice is given. And the breadth of waters is under constraint." (Job 37:10)
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Psalms 147: 16, 17, says, "He is giving snow like wool; Hoarfrost he scatters just like ashes. He is throwing his ice like morsels. Before his cold who can stand?"
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Jehovah gives forth the hoarfrost with as much ease as a man scatters ashes with his hand. It covers, encrusts, such things as trees, grass, and houses with a covering, just as though ashes had been scattered over them by Jehovah's invisible hand. This was nicely brought our from the "Insight of The Scriptures" publication under Hoarfrost.
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So the truth is Jehovah is the artist and creator of the beautiful ice formations and snow that we see during this time of the year, not Jack Frost. He deserves all the honor, and the glory. May we be zealous in telling others about our wise and loving Father, who never ceases to amaze us.
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Yes, I can still hear my mom saying, "Come quick, look at the windows, Jack Frost was here." And, although those words bring a warm feeling of happy memories of childhood days, I feel so much more joy and contentment now when I can say, "look, come look at what Jehovah has done!"
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This is Raven-as the crow flies

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Begins!

It's that time of year. The fall season will soon end. Winter will begin December 21, 2010.

Though the beauty and delights of fall seems to pass too soon, there is a quiet beauty of trees bare of leaves, and a blanket of fresh fallen snow. I love the discerning words of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), who said, "Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, tast the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.....Some men think that they are not well in spring, or summer, or autumn, or winter; it is only because they are not well in them."

So embrace the winter season with joyful hearts. Be thankful for each day. Enjoy this season, a gift from God that will last forever. "For all the days the earth continues, seed sowing and harvest and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, will never cease." Genesis 8:22; Psalms 74:17

As you know, Raven delights to blog about how each month received its name. December will be no different.

December is the twelfth and last month of the year according to the Gregorian calendar, which is used in almost all the world today. It was the tenth month in the early Roman calendar and takes its name from the Latin word decem, which means ten. It became the twelfth month in a later Roman calendar. In 46 B.C., the Roman statesman Julius Caesar added two days to December,which before then had only 29 days.

Winter begins in December in the northern half of the world. Some people call it "the frosty month." But winter does not begin until December 21 or 22, and most of December is usually warmer than other winter months. On the first day of winter, the sun reaches the solstice, when it appears to have gone farthest south. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the shortest day of the year. But it is the longest day in the southern half of the world. The latter part of December has long been a holiday season.

The Romans honored Saturn, the god of agriculture, with a festival called Saturnalia. Today, Christmas is the chief holiday of the month in many countries. So called christians celebrate it as the birthday of Jesus Christ, but in reality they are really celebrating the Roman Saturnalia, which true christians have no part in. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18) The Druids of northern Europe used mistletoe in a December festival. Mistletoe is also used in connection with Christmas. The mistletoe had been a symbol of fertility in pagan worship and kissing under the mistletoe was a Celtic tradition. Hanging mistletoe in the entryway of the home came from the belief that it warded off evil spirits.

Soon the fall season will end, and the winter season will begin. Did you get a little taste of it a few days ago, when Jack Frost passed our way? The lovely scenes of ice painted on the windowpanes, brought back memories of happy childhood days. The grass looked white, and sparkled in the sun light, and oh the joy of stepping on rain puddles that turned to ice. Being out in the ministry that day was exhilarating, and you can be sure the hot chocolate tasted better than ever.



I will end this blog with a farewell poem dedicated to the fall season.

It's That Time Of Year

Wild geese are flying overhead;
The air is crisp and clear.
The last bright leaves are tumbling down,
For it's that time of year.
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The pungent smell of woodsmoke drifts
From bonfires everywhere,
And squirrels darting to and fro
Hide nuts in ample share.
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Wagons filled with happy children
Are seen on country lanes;
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Older folk, in sweet nostalgia,
Live childhood days again.
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The flower beds now look forlorn;
Jack Frost has passed our way.
With icy breath he seared the blooms
That once were bright and gay.
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A cozy fire is on the hearth;
Dear friends have come to call.
Come let us share a cup of tea
And say good-bye to fall
- by Kay Hoffman

This is Raven-as the crow flies!










Friday, November 26, 2010

November Days Dwindle Down to a Precious Few

Where does the time go? For me half of this month was spent in California, visiting our family. Time well spent. The weather was beautiful, warm days cool nights, and to my surprise I saw so many big beautiful crows, reminding me of my blogging friends back home, especially, old crow.

While in California I had the opportunity to enjoy the art of making a homemade pumpkin pie from scratch. It was fun and not so hard. The pumpkin did not come out of a can but out of a farmers market.
Pumpkins are such a delightful sight to me, coming in all shapes and sizes. Their beautiful orange color defines the fall season.

Why not try your hand at making a homemade pumpkin pie from scratch. Not only will you enjoy this old fashioned simple pleasure in life, but the taste is "frabjouslicious", to borrow a word from Sparrow's new blog.












There is not much time left to this month, so before it ends why not try to pursue some joyful activities you never seem to have time for, like a meditative walk in the woods.















Or, what about finding colorful leaves to preserve or hang in a picture frame. Fay, one of our dear friends and spiritual sisters did that and it was outstanding.

How about making a colorful fall wreath from things you may find in your own back yard.

Or perhaps sitting in front of the fireplace, sipping a cup of hot tea, curled up on the couch reading a good book.

There is nothing like the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven on a cool fall morning, and then sharing it with a friend, drinking coffee, delighting in uplifting spiritual conversation, and perhaps at times lifting up each others spirits because of discouragement and hardships in this life. Proverbs 17:17.

How about taking up the hobby of photography? I've been encouraged by the lovely pictures Sparrow has taken.

I am sure there are many other things you can think of that could be done to enjoy simple pleasures in life. If you would like to share some of your ideas it will be very welcomed.

In the new system we will have forever to enjoy the things we have so little time for now. The most important enjoyment we have now is learning more about our heavenly father Jehovah, and doing his will.
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What will you be doing these last few precious days in November? I hope it will be something you like.
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I will close this blog with one last gorgeous look at the fall season. Sit back and enjoy!



















This is Raven-as the crow flies!








Monday, November 1, 2010

November First!

Here we are again. The beginning of a new month. And as the custom has been, Raven tries hard to blog every first of the month. So here it is. This blog came close to not being done, especially because of the tragic events of the last few days. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those who grieve the loss of their beloved mom, and our dear sister in the truth.

What do you know about the month of November? How did it get it's name? Here's what I found out.
November!
November means "ninth month". Yet it is the eleventh month in the modern calendar. This anomaly has existed for over 2000 years. In the old Roman calendar (which was only ten months long) November was indeed the ninth month. But this changed when two months were added on to the year, and subsequently, in 153 B.C. the Roman Senate moved New Year's Day to January 1st. Curiously, the names of the numbered months were not changed to account for their new positions.

November began with 30 days, but Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, took a day away in about 700 B.C. Julius Caesar added the day back when he reformed the calendar in 46 B.C. July and August had been named for the first two Roman Emperors, Julius and Augustus. The Roman Senate offered to change the name of November to "Tiberius". He wisely refused saying, "What will you do if you have thirteen emperors"?

November comes between autumn and winter. In the North Temperate regions during November, the trees are bare, and the dead leaves on the earth have lost the brilliant color they had in October. Soft snow seldom hides the bareness of the fields, but the grays and browns of the landscapes are sometimes relieved by delightful days of hazy sunshine. The Anglo-Saxons referred to November as "the wind month" and sometimes "the blood month," probably because during this period they killed animals for their winter meat.

This blog will be limited. Soon we will be flying out to California to visit family and I have so much to do before we leave Thursday morning, and I have accomplished so little to that end.

My biggest request to all my blogging friends, (Old Crow, Old Crow's wife Mickey, Sparrow, Swallow?), and others is to please pray for us. Sparrow, I know I can count on you. Thank you my dear friend. You know exactly how I feel.

I will end this blog with some beautiful November poetry. Enjoy!

Leaves
"How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.
At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow."
-Elsie N. Brady

Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast."
- Sara Coleridge (The Months)

"November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn,
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring."
-Elizabeth Coatsworth

"Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable,the hurrying rustle of crisp
leaves blown
along the street or road by a gusty wind,and the gabble of a flock of
migrating geese.
Both are warnings of chill days ahead, fireside and topcoat weather."
- Hal Borland














Until we return...
This is Raven-as the crow flies!
















Sunday, October 31, 2010

The End Of October

The Beginning of October started out with high hopes. The beauty of the autumnal leaves, deep azure blue skies, cool invigorating weather lifted our spirits in joyful fall activities. Nothing could stop such paradisaic delights, except when the cruel reality of living in this wicked system raises it's ugly head. Yes, no matter how beautiful the earth looks, no matter how serene and peaceful such fall scenes bring serenity to our souls, it is quickly and deeply marred by the stark reality, that as long as we live in this wicked system there is no paradise. This month of joyful hopes and anticipations ended in the painful, sudden death of a dear sister and friend. We are all deeply saddened at the tragic loss of our loving sister, Chris. She was a good example of faithfulness under difficult trials. Her insightful comments at meetings, and excellent use of illustrations reflected her love and faith in the truth, and her relationship with Jehovah.

Being raised Catholic, once she recognized the truth, she quickly got out of Babylon the Great, helping her four children come to an accurate knowledge of the truth, despite ridicule and opposition from her family. She put Jehovah first in her life, even at the threatened risk of losing her marriage which she tried hard to preserve. Because of the many difficulties and trials in her life she could not see how beautiful a person she really was in the eyes of others and especially Jehovah.

Our lives have been blessed knowing her and her family. Our hearts are deeply broken. We will miss you terribly dear one. We look to the only one that can save all of us, even those sleeping in death, Jehovah, " the God of all comfort." (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)
Jesus said to Martha: "I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life." (John 11:25). "There is going to be a resurrection of the righteous and unrighteous." (Acts 24:15).

These wonderful truths from Jehovah lift us above the painful experience of death, and brightens our hope. May we be zealous in sharing that hope with all those who mourn. "Happy are those who mourn since they will be comforted." (Matthew 5:4).

In the mean time, may we pray for, stay close to, and do our best to comfort those who are mourning this great loss.

This is Raven-as the crow flies.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Sad October Morning

This blog takes precedence to the one I was planning on a much happier note, "Joyful Simplicities for October," but because of a tragic turn of events that I wished had never happened, the death of my beloved cat Kenya, October 23, 2010, this blog takes priority.

Just saying her name makes tears well up in my eyes, and a lump in my throat. Those of you who have lost their dear pets know the feelings I am describing.

Kenya, the love of my life, after 16 1/2 years of mutual love, loyalty and affection was dying from kidney failure. How could that be? She was always strong, active, playful, didn't look her age. Naively, I thought she could go on for at least another 5 years or more, and then die peacefuly, at home, in her sleep. Instead, in the last few weeks she quickly took a rapid turn for the worse. The last few days before she died, her unchanging beautiful face began to look weak and drawn. Despite her frail weakness she still would respond to my call, looking up with her big beautiful green almond shaped eyes, she managed to respond with her sweet trying to please cry, even getting up on wobbly weak legs to show her unfailing loyalty in wanting to please me. What should I do? Maybe it's an infection, or a bad tooth that can be easily fixed, I must take her to the Vet. But what if it is something worse? They may suggest to put her to sleep. What should I do? I felt so helpless, I couldn't save her. I had to decide. Should I let her die at home? Or must I make the dreaded decision to have her put to death? Those of you who have been through this, you remember that feeling, don't you? "It is the right thing to do, merciful, otherwise she will die a painful death", the Dr. said. "She will feel no pain. We will give her a sedative that puts her in a peaceful sleep, and then inject her with a drug that will stop her heart". "No hope Dr?" I asked. "No, I am sorry", he said, his eyes welling up with tears. "I know how you feel, I had to put my dog, my best friend to sleep just a few months ago and he was ony 10 years old. I would have done anything to extend his life another 3 years, but I was only thinking of myself not him. I did the right thing for him by relieving his suffering."

So, with a pain so deep in my heart, and stomach we conceded. I hugged Kenya, kissed her, and told her I loved her. She was then sedated. I could not be present for the final blow of stopping her heart. I left the room. A few minutes later the Dr. came out with my Kenya in a box. We took her home, and my dear husband buried her in the back yard, her final resting place.

In our lesson at the Kingdom Hall Sunday during the Watchtower study, one of the paragraphs spoke about a sister who was experiencing deep sadness due to past experiences in her life before she came into the truth. She said what helps her to get the strength to endure, is the genuine friends and spiritual family that now brings her happiness, and also she tries to focus on what Jehovah promises for the future. Replacing cries of sadness, with cries of joy.

Her comments are so true. In my distress Jehovah helped me by sending my dear family, friends and spiritual family to my aid. They felt my pain and gave me loving support. Thank you so much my dear friend Sandy (Sparrow). You truly are a loving, loyal friend, and I love you for that. Tom (Old Crow), and Mickey (Old Crow's wife), thank you too for being a good friend, showing love, understanding, and kindness. I love you for that. Also, Beth. What a sweet loving sister for wanting to come and give me loving moral support. I love you for that. That's what familly and friends are for. Infact, I was pleasantly surprised to receive from many of the brothers and sisters at the kingdom hall, sincere heartfelt sadness for what may seem to some a small loss. Thank you all. Your love and support was a great comfort and help. I love you all for that.

And most of all we love and thank Jehovah, our greatest friend and suppport, because really, as the scripture in Psalms 72:17-19 says "Blessed be Jehovah God, Israel's God who alone is doing wonderful works."

It is so strange coming home to my house now. Kenya would many times greet me when coming into the house. Her joyful, purring cry, as if to say "I'm happy you are home." No longer do I see her sitting on the window sill looking out the picture window in our living room, or sleeping in her favorite chair in the living room or on the bed in the computer room. No more does she come to sit next to us on the piano bench when we would play the piano. She seemed to appreciate music. No other cat we had has ever done that.

Ophilia too feels the loss of her big sister Kenya. After all she and Kenya have been together for at least 11 years. Whenever Kenya would be outside, Ophilia would cry at the side door to tell us, "let Kenya in," and as soon as we did Ophilia would rub up against her with a joyful cry. There were times they would be huddled together on the bed or couch, and at times they would have a spat, like most family members, but never held a grudge.

It was so sad to see Ophilia at the side door Saturday night, sitting, looking at the door crying, as if to say, "where is Kenya, let her in." Sorry Ophilia, Kenya is not coming in anymore.

Kenya's beautiful face and unique personality is etched in my mind, and heart. I won't forget her. I know as we get back into the busy routine of life, my thoughts of her will become less and less - but I willl never forget her. Something will happen that will jolt my memory of her and I will have tears well up, and pain for a moment again. But my love for her will never be for a moment but always.

Thank you for patiently letting me pour out my heart in this blog. It's not meant to depress, but helps me express my love for my Kenya and try to cope with this painful, unavoidable, part of life we all have in common. Everyone handles stress and grief differently. For me, talking and writing about it helps me cope getting the pain out of my heart, and mind. Also it can draw the love and friendship of my family and friends even closer. One dear brother kindly reminded me of the beautiful promise from God found at Isaiah 65:17-19....."the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart." What a wonderful hope Jehovah has provided.

I am hoping to get my original blog planned for October in before this month ends. If not, it will have to wait until November. Until then.....


This is Raven-as the crow flies




Friday, October 1, 2010

October First!

October, a time of beauty, a time when the earth is starting to slowly settle down, inspiring in us a desire to seek it's colorful, comforting, peacful charm. Let October seduce you with its abundant charm. Robert Frost put it so well when he said of October, "Beguile us in the way you know." "Release one leaf at the break of day; At noon release another leaf; one from our trees, one far away." So as this complex spinning world grows more bewildering, drink in deep this "beguiling month" and enjoy its boundless beauty in joyful simplicities of life.

Above all, may we take the time to thank and reflect appreciatively, meditate deeply, on the one who provided this all, our Father and life giver Jehovah God.

As the custom is, Raven's delight is to learn how each month received its name, October will be no different.

October is the tenth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with a length of 31 days. The eighth month in the old Roman calendar, October retained its name (from the Latin "octo" meaning "eight") after July and August, after Julius and Augustus Caesar respectively, when the calendar was originally created by the Romans.

The first frost usually happens in October in the North Temperate Zone. Leaves change to their brilliant colors, and begin to fall, making the ground a beautiful haven of color. The farmers have to finish harvesting of the crops, but winter isn't here yet. The cold won't stay. In fact, we will still have warm days ahead.

Most birds have left for the south by the first frost, but the sparrows love the weather. They are seed eaters, and eat many weed seeds that would otherwise damage the next field crops.

Farmers bring in the last of the fall crops and either store or ship them to other parts of the world. In some parts, apples and grapes are still on the trees and vines. Many apples are harvested at the end of October.

Football usually dominates the scene in October. Hockey also begins it's season in October. And, the World Series will steal some of the spotlight from other sports.

I will include with this blog some cute October poems, that help us visualize this glorious month.

OCTOBER QUOTE

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came;
The ashes, oaks, and maples,
And those of every name.

"October's the month
When the smallest breeze
Gives us a shower
Of autumn leaves.
Bonfires and pumpkins,
Leaves sailing down -
October is red
And golden and brown."

Oh suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour October's bright blue weather."

Because it is such a beautiful poem, I will print Robert Frosts poem in it's entirety.

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
one from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake,
if the were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost--
For the grapes' sake along the all.

I must end this blog for now! I will return with some delightful fall activities. Your comments are welcomed. Until then....













This is Raven-as the crow flies!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Summer Ends- Fall Begins!

Yes, not only is fall in the air, it is here! Today is the first day of fall. The Autumnal
Equinox occurs Wednesday marking the start of the fall season.


The Autumnal Equinox occurs at 11:09 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Sept. 22. This marks the beginning of fall for the northern hemisphere and the beginning of spring for the southern hemisphere.

The Autumnal Equinox marks the point when the earth is neither leaning toward or away from the the sun. On the equinox, the sun is located directly over the equator and generally equates to equal (equinox) day and nighttime lengths.

Equinox's occur twice each year giving us the fall equinox and the spring equinox.

The next change of season occurs on December 21, 2010 at 6:38 p.m. EST. This is when the Winter Solstice occurs marking the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere.
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There is a full moon early Thursday morning (5:18 a.m.) and since it is the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox, it is called the "Harvest Moon".

In case you are wondering, we don't move the clocks back one hour until the first Sunday in November. This year that will be 2:00 a.m. November 7th.
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How does the autumn make you feel?
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"Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue, and nights that become suddenly clear and chilled. The season comes full with the first frost, the disappearance of migrant birds, and the harvesting of the season's last crops."- Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis
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In the poem "The Months" by Sara Coleridge, she writes:

"Warm September brings the fruit
Sportsmen then begin to shoot"
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Yes the fall brings many delights. A time of harvest, when the earth is prime. The harvesting of apples, figs, grapes, pumpkins, nuts and more. A time of beauty nothing can surpass, the vibrant colors of the majestic trees' leaves against a deep blue sky. Sitting with family and friends by a crackling fire on a crisp cool autumn night, sipping some wine, or perhaps hot apple cider, reminiscing of times past and things yet to be.
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Yes all of this and more is the gift of our loving heavenly father that will never end! "Everything he has made pretty in its time. Even time indefinite he has put in their heart, that mankind may never find out the work that the true God has made from the start to the finish. I have come to know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good during one's life, and also that every man should eat and indeed drink and see good for all his hard work. It is the gift of God." (Ecclesiastes 3:11-13) "For all the days the earth continues, seed sowing and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22)
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May we especially be active, and joyful during this fall season, in the great spiritual harvest taking place now. This is the most important work being done today, and we have the privilege of working with the master of the harvest, Jehovah God. This too is the gift of God.
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There is more to come. Until then, have a happy fall.
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This is Raven-as the crow flies!














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Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall Is In The Air

Can you feel it? The way the air was crisp and cool, not hot and humid?Did you see it? Did you notice the color of the leaves on some trees changing? Or perhaps while walking on the street, you stopped to pick up some colorful fallen leaves on the ground.

Then too, you may have gazed with delight at the sight of a large V shaped flock of canadian geese flying overhead, off on it's journey south. Or, another pleasant sight to the eyes is to see a flock of blackbirds flying, sweeping and diving in a synchronized fashion overhead against a gray billowy clouded sky as you are driving along, meditating on the beauty of the earth and it's creator. Then too, you may notice the squirrels working hard now to store their food before winter sets in. These are some of the signs that fall is near.

What about the apples, and grapes ripe for harvesting, these are sure signs that we are nearing fall. Of course, one of the most pleasant sights to confirm we are in the fall season is to see with great joy the abundance of pumpkins all shapes and sizes. A gardening book stated, "If you want to be happy plant a pumpkin, and if you want to be really happy, plant a big one". I couldn't agree more. Everytime I see a pumpkin, any sullen spirits I may have quickly turns into a happy, jubilant cry for joy.














I am sure you may have some other indications that fall is in the air, and so I would be delighted for you to add to this list by your comments. Why not watch and jot down in a journal the varied changes you see taking place during this season. Perhaps save some leaves and press them to retain their beautiful fall color, as a rememberance of the fall. It will quickly come and go. Life is so short when you think of it in terms of seasons. If you are at a certain age lets say 40, or 50, you have seen only 40 or 50 falls. If you live to 80, you will have only seen 80 falls. Life is short when you view it from that perspective. We thank our loving father Jehovah God for his abounding love and his promise of everlasting life to enjoy each season, each day of life for ever and ever. Psalms 133:1-3; 21:4; Titus 1:2.

I began this blog I believe in February of this year, during the winter season; and so I have written about and enjoyed each season. Which season do I enjoy the most? It's hard to say, because each season has its own beauty. This lovely poem I am about to write expresses the delema we may have to choose which season is the happiest in life. What do you think?

"The question, "Which is the happiest season of life?" was asked of an aged man. And he replied:

"When spring comes, and in the soft air the buds are breaking on the trees, and they are covered with blossoms, I think, 'How beautiful is spring'; and when summer comes and covers the trees with its heavy foliage, and singing birds are among the branches, I think, 'How beautiful is summer.' When autumn loads them with golden fruit, and their leaves bear the gorgeous tint of frost, I think, 'How beautiful is autumn.' And when it is severe winter, and there is neither foliage nor fruit, then I look up through the leafless branches as I never could until now, and see the stars shine in God's home."- Source Unknown

"There is no season such delight can bring,As summer, autumn, winter and the spring."- William Browne, Variety, 163
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You see, some men think that they are not well in spring, or summer, or autumn, or winter, it is only because they are not well in them.
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Enjoy each season for what it is, and you will be happy.
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This is Raven-as the crow flies!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September! A New Month Begins

September is one of Raven's favorite months. There are a few reasons why I get excited when the 9th month of our calendar year arrives.

For one thing it is the beginning of a new service year, the time when we increase our activity in the ministry. With renewed zeal and determination we pray for Jehovah's help in fulfilling our assignment; trying hard to make and reach short term goals as well as long term goals, and above all, working together in love and unity with all the brothers and sisters, as that will honor Jehovah, draw others to the truth, and increase our joy. The "joy of Jehovah is our stronghold."-- Nehemiah 8:10.

We have an added reason for joy this month. Another faithful sister has joined the pioneer ranks. Congratulations Janice! May Jehovah bless your self-sacrificing spirit. Looking forward to working with you in the ministry.

In addition to a new pioneer publisher, we are happy, and blessed to have a new baptized brother, Kyle. "It's just the beginning" Kyle. A wide door of activity is now opened to you. What a blessing and asset to the congregation. Congratulations to you, and your parents!

Another reason I enjoy September, it was the month Russell and I were married. It will be 42 years on the 28th.

I remember it as if it was yesterday. The sky was a deep azure blue. Not a cloud in it. A perfect day, not too warm or cold. We were surrounded by so many of our family and friends, sharing in our inextinguishable joy.

To me, he was a perfect wage from Jehovah, a gift for which I will be forever grateful. As expressed in the endearing words of the Shulammite maiden to her shepherd boy, Russell, "my dear one was dazzling and rudy the most conspicuous of ten thousand....His black hair is like the raven....His eyes like doves....His palate is sheer sweetness and everything about him is altogether desirable. This is my dear one, this is my boy companion..." Song of Solomon 5:9-16

Thank you Russ for your love, friendship, spirituality, and support. Happy Anniversary Month!

Being this is the first of September, my delight is to find out how each month got its name.

September is the ninth month of the year, according to the Gregorian calendar, which is used in almost all the world today. It was the seventh month in the old Roman calendar, and its name comes from the Latin septem, meaning seven. September later became the ninth month when the ancient Romans moved the beginning of their year from March 1 to January 1. September has had 29 days, 31 days, and, since the time of the Roman emperor Augustus, 30 days. Unlike the previous 8 months of the year which received their names from pagan God's and Goddesses, the last four months got their names from their original numerical placement in the year.

September is one of the warmest months in the Southern United States. Northern states have warm September days, but the nights get much cooler. It is also harvest time for crops. And, in Switzerland, it's called Harvest Month.

And so dear friends, September is the month when summer slowly comes to an end, soon the fall will settle in. May your September days be fruitful, filled with love, joy and peace.

I will end this blog with a cute "September" poem:

"When the goldenrod is yellow,
And leaves are turning brown -
Reluctantly the summer goes
In a cloud of thistledown.
When squirrels are harvesting
And birds in flight appear
By these autumn signs we know
September days are here."
This is Raven-as the crow flies!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sourdough Bread And Beach Plum Jelly

How has your summer been so far? Busy? Hectic? Fun? The feeling you want to do so many things and not enough time to do them? That's about how my summer has been so far.

Something I wanted to accomplish for a long time was to make sourdough bread from scratch, without using store bought yeast, making my own "starter" by mixing just flour and water and allow the bacteria that's in the air to ferment the dough. This was how things were done years ago.

The process took time and patience, but seven days later I had a lovely sourdough starter that I was able to make 3 loaves of sourdough bread, and it was not only delicious but very nutritious.
A good sourdough starter can last for years, even decades, with the
proper loving care! Sourdoughs were originally produced by wild yeasts. The starter (or sometimes called a sponge) is a flour and water mixture that contains the yeast used to rise the bread. You can buy dried versions and then activate them or you can make your own, catching the wild yeasts indigenous to your area.



If you would like to try your hand at making sourdough bread you need to start with a sourdough starter. Instructions below:

Things You'll Need
Flour
Water
Time
Bowl
Refrigerator room

Step 1
Mix one cup room temperature water with one cup flour in a bowl. You can use all purpose flour, wheat, rye--anything your heart desires. Loosely cover the bowl with a kitchen towel.


Step 2
Let that mixture sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours. You should see bubbles starting to form.

Step 3
After you have bubbles in your starter, discard half of it and add another cup of water and another cup of flour. Mix this thoroughly, and put the starter in the fridge.

Step 4
Two days after you refrigerate your starter, discard half, and mix in another cup of flour and water each.

Step 5
Two days later, check your starter. It should have risen in the refrigerator. If it has doubled, it's ready to use. If it hasn't risen, give it more time.

Step 6
After your starter has matured, feed it about once a week by discarding half and mixing in a cup of flour and a cup of water. Kept on a regular feeding schedule, your starter will last indefinitely. To keep it replenished, you should feed it after you use a portion of it to make bread (with the cup of water, cup of flour mixture).

The Recipe:
3 1/2 cups rye, kamut, spelt, or whole wheat flour, which ever you prefer
3 cups rye flour
1 quart sourdough starter
3 cups filtered water
1 1/2 Tbsp salt

1. Mix all together, with a heavy duty wooden spoon 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Pour the dough evenly into 3 well greased bread pans.
3. Place the bread pans aside on a counter for at least 7 hours, covered loosely with a dish towel.
4. Once they have risen sufficiently, basically double in size and close to the top of the bread
pan, they are ready to be baked. The longer they stay out the more sour the taste, which I personally like.
5. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour


This simple basic sourdough bread is very tasty and nutritious. Especially toasted with butter and my homemade Beach Plum Jelly.Beach Plum Jelly is the taste of summer.

For the past 3 years we could not find many beach plums, but this year they were abundant.

This elusive, bittersweet, stubbornly hardy fruit is worth the while. Make no mistake: with their piquant zest, their edgy bitterness, like authentic British marmalades, beach plum jellies, jams, syrup, may become an acquired taste for you too. For true aficionados, the ravishing products of the prepared native fruit are addictive.

The beach plum is a low-growing fruiting shrub or small tree native along the sandy dunes of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts all the way up to Newfoundland. It is most common on Cape Cod where beach plum has become a cottage commercial venture for Beach Plum Jams and Jellies. They bear over a period of about a month in late summer, their fruit ripening at graduated intervals on each individual shrub, so they must be harvested by hand in small batches
After spending about an hour picking these berries on a beautiful summer day at Short Beach, Russell and I managed to collect quite a few berries and preserved enough jelly to last us for a while, well into the late winter, early spring.

We especially enjoy eating our Beach Plum Jelly during the winter months reminiscing summer's activity, and days at the beach. The sun, sand and surf, the wind gently blowing, sea gulls flying and calling out a plaintive cry; the signs of summer slowly nearing it's end as we quickly gather our precious berries, a gift, that helps us reflect back to our creator and the summer past.


Recipe for Beach Plum Jam

2 quarts beach plum

2 1/2 cups water

3 1/2 cups sugar

Pit and cook beach plums in water about 15 minutes

Add sugar and bring to a hearty boil until thickens

Pour into sterilized jelly jars and process in a canner for 10 minutes

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog on some of my summer activity. Maybe you will be inspired to try and make sourdough bread, and beach plum jelly, it will add another adventure to your life, and you really haven't lived until you try it!

This is Raven-as the crow flies

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August First - As The Crow Flies!

July has come to an end, and a new month begins - August.

To me time is speeding up, it's flying by so fast. Still we have the same amount of time, and yet not enough time to get everything done that you would like to. Don't you agree? Of course the most important thing we focus on is spiritual things. That is our priority, and if we continue to put that first in our life, we will have lots of time, " forever", to do all the things we didn't have time to do in this old system of things.

Of course one thing I try hard to make time for is this blog. And it is the first of August, and so as tradition calls for it, Raven delights to blog every first of the month.

The month of August, what do you know about it? I hope this blog will enlighten you to some interesting facts about August.

The word August, is a Latin word meaning; inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic: an august performance of a religious drama

The month of August is named for the Roman Emperor Augustus. ( Before he became Augustus, this Caesar was named Octavian). He completed the calendar reforms begun by his great-uncle and adoptive father Julius Caesar. The Roman Senate, in order to curry favor with the tyrant changed the name of the eighth month. The name was changed from Sextilis which actually meant "sixth month".

The eighth month had been called the sixth month for over centuries, because the Roman Senate had rolled back the beginning of the year to January 1st in 153 B.C. but had not changed the names of the months to conform to their new position in the calendar.

August or Sextilis (at that time) originally had 30 days. Numa, in his reform took a day away and Julius in his reform in 46 B.C. gave a day back. When the Roman Senate designated the month August, they stole a day from February to build up July making June equal to the month of July (the month of Julius). Today it continues to carry 31 days.

It is interesting to note that in one secular reference it said, "eight years before Jesus was born, the name of the month changed from Sextilis to Augustus in honour of the Roman Emperor Augustus Caseasar, because many of the important events in his life happened around that time of year".

So it goes again, naming months after sinful imperfect, men, treating them like gods, honoring them instead of our heavenly Father Jehovah God, the one who made "times and seasons, months and years". (Genesis 1:14; 8:22; Psalms 74:17)

What else about August?

The Anglo-Saxons called August, Weodmonath, which means weed month, because it is the month when weeds and other plants grow most rapidly.

The birds are already planning to fly south for the winter. The insects are noisier and more numerous in August than in any other month.


Summer is about half-way through. We are still in the "dog days of summer", since the conjunction of the sun and the dog star, Sirius, occur throughout August.



This is perhaps the busiest month for businesses, since most people take their vacations in August.

Did you know that Friendship day is celebrated the first Sunday in August ~Sunday August 1st, 2010~ is Friendship day. But for true christians, friendship day is everyday! "A friend is loving all the time.......", Proverbs 17:17

The children will go back to school. Families will take that last weekend get-away before the cold sets in.

And for us, August 27, 28, 29, we will be privileged to attend our District Convention. Jehovah takes such good care of us. Can't wait for this spiritual feast.

I will end this blog with a little weather-lore for August.

The hottest days of the year often fall in August.

"Dry August and warm doth harvest no harm".

"If the first week of August be warm, the winter will be white and long".

For all those who love the snow, lets hope we have a white winter this year!














Our thoughts and prayers are with Old Crow who is recovering from hip-replacement surgery. Get better soon Crow, we miss you and want you crowing with us again!









This is Raven-as the crow flies!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cow Appreciation Day--July 15th

As you may know Cow's are something close to Raven's heart.
The cow is the most productive, efficient creature on earth that Jehovah has created. She is the premier dairy animal because of her cooperative temperament, the comparative ease with which she can be milked, the volume she is able to produce, and because of the versatility of cow's milk. Think of all the delightful physical benefits this lowly and humble animal provides for us. Milk, cream, butter, cheese, yogurt, ghee, buttermilk, whey, and we can't forget about ice-cream.

Cows are referred to as the foster mothers of the human race because they produce most of the milk that people drink.

The first cow in America arrived in Jamestown colony in 1611. Until the 1850's, nearly every family had its own cow. The first regular shipment of milk by railroad was between Orange County, New York, and New York City and began in 1841.

In 1856, Gail Borden invented the condensed milk process. This process removed some of the water from milk so it would take up less space. Refrigeration came into use in 1880, and the first pasteurizing machine was introduced in 1895.

A cow chews her cud (regurgitated, partially digested food) for up to 8 hours each day.
Contrary to popular belief, cows do not have 4 stomachs; they have 4 digestive compartments:

Temperament Of The Jersey Cow

As a whole, the Jersey breed is a docile breed of cow. Female Jersey cows are known as being curious, calm animals, so much so that they were valued as pets as much as herd animals and milk producers. Bulls have been known to be much more aggressive. Their color is generally brown, ranging from copper to dark brown, and they have the most beautiful, big, rich, chocolate brown eyes. A mature cow will weigh 1,000 pounds or less.

By the way, another health benefit we can get from the cow, is lower blood pressure. If you are ever up-tight, take a ride into the country and stop by a field of cows eating grass. It's the picture of poise and calm.




Origin

Jersey cows get their name from their place of origin as a breed, the British Channel Island of Jersey. DNA tests suggest that the breed is descended from Danish cows brought to the island from the continent, but there is no conclusive evidence of this. It is considered to be one of the oldest purebred cattle breeds, with records of breeding going back six centuries.

Every Family Should Have A Cow

The famous 19th Century agricultural essayist, William Cobbett said, "When you have the cow, you have it all." The dairy cow does so much for us and asks so little.

As mentioned before, not so very long ago, a great many people did indeed keep a cow and she was often an adored member of the family. Well-to-do families even in cities kept a cow well into the early part of the 20th Century.

Some of the forces that stopped cow keeping were the same ones that have stressed the American family. A desire for consumer goods which can't be satisfied without focusing the whole energy of the family on acquisition was certainly a factor. The automobile was important; but it dispersed families and directed interest away from home based activities. A rising desire for consumer goods fostered a yearning for enhanced social status. So, the high status animal, the horse, replaced the cow. But all of these factors are as chaff compared to the power of the 20th Century revolution in food production, processing and distribution. There is so much to say about that, and so that will be another topic for another blog at another time.

There is an amazing cow magic that most people don't know about. "A young fellow wantin' a start in life just needs three things: a piece of land, a cow and a wife. And he don't strictly need that last." That's an old saying to which some may agree.

According to the book, "Keeping A Family Cow" by Joann S. Grohman "An over-arching truth about the cow is that she drives the domestic or small farm economy. By living on a constantly renewing resource, grass, she is able to support not just herself and her calf, but also your pig and you chickens (neither of which can live on grass) and still provide milk for the house. The reverse is never true. No pigs or chickens or any other non-grazing animals can live on grass or support another animal. And the cow does it on a free resource made of water and sunshine. Through her amazing ability to convert grass, ( thanks to Jehovah), which otherwise has no value, to milk and meat, which does have value, the cow produces wealth. She thus vaults the domestic or farm economy into a self sustaining mode. Even with the most exacting sweated labor in the orchard or garden, you can't grow plants that will support reproduction in pigs or chickens or any other non-grazing species including humans; the best you can do is fatten them. This key fact about cows should never be forgotten."

So with that said, believe it or not, July 15th is Cow Appreciation Day! -- something to "Moo" about.

Our appreciation for cows can be expressed in many ways. Some websites suggest you go out and give a cow a big hug and/or a kiss. While it might sound like fun, you don't have to go to extremes to enjoy this special day. It can be as simple as pausing for a moment to think about cows, and all that they do for us.

In appreciation for all that the cows do for us, have an ice cold glass of milk. Add chocolate syrup, if you prefer. Then, fire up the grill, and cook some burgers or a steak. And, don't forget to get your fill of cheese. Sorry, goat cheese is not allowed today.

Note: Restaurants and dairy companies celebrate this day by offering specials. Watch for them.

The Origin of Cow Appreciation Day:

Our research did not find the origin of this day. The selection of the date is not universal. Some websites have Cow Appreciation Day listed as July 14th.

So are you ready to get a cow? If not, I hope this blog has heightend your appreciation for this ever giving animal and the one who provided it our loving heavenly father Jehovah God!

Don't forget, hug a cow on July 15th!

This is Raven-as the crow flies!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

Have you heard that expression before? I have, and I always associated it with a very hot, humid, muggy summer season. But I wondered why these days were called "the dog days of summer"?

I asked some of the brothers and sisters if they knew what that expression meant. Although they were very familar with the phrase, they didn't know its meaning. So of course one of Raven's Delights is to find out the meaning of things and to blog about it.


What Are The Dog Days of Summer ?

Some say it signifies hot sultry days "not fit for a dog." Others claim its the weather in which dogs go mad.

Everyone knows that the “dog days of summer” occur during the hottest and muggiest part of the season. Webster defines “dog days” as...

1 : the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere.

2 : a period of stagnation or inactivity

But where does the term come from? Why do we call the hot, sultry days of summer “dog days?”

In ancient times, when the night sky was unobscured by artificial lights and smog, different groups of peoples in different parts of the world drew images in the sky by “connecting the dots” of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture:

The Chinese saw different images than the Native Americans, who saw different pictures than the Europeans. These star pictures are now called constellations, and the constellations that are now mapped out in the sky come from our European ancestors.

They saw images of bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and others, including dogs, (Canis Major and Canis Minor).

The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. In fact, it is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the earth received heat from it. Look for it in the southern sky (viewed from northern latitudes) during January.

In the summer, however, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days” after the dog star.

The conjunction of Sirius with the sun varies somewhat with latitude. And the “precession of the equinoxes” (a gradual drifting of the constellations over time) means that the constellations today are not in exactly the same place in the sky as they were in ancient Rome.

Today, dog days occur during the period between July 3 and August 11. Although it is certainly the warmest period of the summer, the heat is not due to the added radiation from a far-away star, regardless of its brightness. No, the heat of summer is a direct result of the earth's tilt.

So as you can see the summer heat has nothing to do with Sirus, and all to do with the tilt of the earth toward the sun.

I always like to know how things got their name. Now you know too!

So enjoy the rest of these "dog days of summer" for they will be quickly gone before we know it.

This is Raven-as the crow flies!