Monday, June 28, 2010

The Long Hot Days Of Summer Are Here!

It's only a few days into summer, and already, it is living up to its name. It has been hot, and humid. But, as with any season, to be happy, we must enjoy each season for what it is, for as with life, it will quickly pass.

I thought I would share some summertime poetry, and also blog about a bug I have heard about, but know little of until now, The June Bug. What is it about the summertime that lifts our spirits? Here are some reasons expressed in poetry. Hope you enjoy it.

The Month Of June

The month of leaves and roses,
When pleasant sights salute the eyes
And pleasant scents the noses."- Nathaniel Parker Willis
"June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children's hands with posies."- Sara Coleridge
"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day
listening to the murmur of water,
or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of
time." - John Lubbock

- "A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken."- James Dent

This poem is especially dedicated to my blogging friends at Birds of A Feather.


When On A Summer's Morn

"When on a summer's morn I wake, And open my two eyes,
Out to the clear, born-singing rills
My bird-like spirit flies.
To hear the Blackbird, Cuckoo, Thrush,
Or any bird in song;
And common leaves that hum all day
Without a throat or tongue.
And when Time strikes the hour for sleep,
Back in my room alone,
My heart has many a sweet bird's song --
And one that's all my own."- William Henry Davies,

What Are June Bugs?

June bugs are ugly suckers! They have spiny legs and that feels strange when they land on you. One night while we were outside they were landing all over us (A few years ago). These were the Brown June Bug. Green June Bugs are a little later in the spring and appear in May or June. Green June Beetles fly around in the day and the brown ones fly at night.

Habitat & Lifecycle

June bugs are found everywhere in North America and many other parts of the world. The larvae is a white to yellow grub. They have rows of stiff short hair to aid them in movement. They overwinter as grubs deep in the soil (lawn) and move to the surface in the spring to feed. Green June Beetles mature in June and become adults in early July. One generation per year.
Females lay eggs in late summer. Adults of the Brown June Bug emerge in the spring. They are nocturnal. Lifecycle is three years.

Diet & Damage

When they are adults June Bugs do little damage, however get rid of them since after they lay their eggs in the soil and your lawn the grubs do a lot of damage! Adult june bugs eat leaves of walnut, oak, and foilage from many plants. The grubs feed on organic matter in the soil and damage grass in your lawn as they eat the roots. They will eat roots of your ornamentals, weed roots and other seedling roots, corn, roses and potatoes. Lawn grasses wilt and turn brown and will eventually die from root loss.

How To Control June Bugs

Milky Spore Disease Milky Spore is a naturally occurring bacterium (Bacillus popillae-Dutky) that will get rid of June bugs organically. It works on many common lawn grubs including June Bug & Japanese Beetle larvae and doesn’t harm earthworms. You sprinkle it on your lawn like grass seeds just before a rain or water it well into the soil for 15 minutes or longer right after you put it down. Don’t mow your grass until the Spore has been watered into the soil. Milky Spore has been known to last 15 years or more with only one treatment!

Grub-Away® Nematodes – are beneficial nematodes applied to lawns and gardens. They control numerous soil dwelling pests, including borers, cutworms, flea larvae, weevils and maggots.
Small Mammals & BirdsSkunks, armadillos and other small mammals will often be seen pulling back the turf in search of grubs. Bears have been know to do this as well but not usually in your gardens as a rule. Birds are great control on lawns….attract them with bird baths. Your chickens will also eat them but they’ll eat the grass too so it would be wise to only have them eating away in your orchards.

Hand Pick

If you see any damage, dig around in the soil or lift pieces of turf and destroy the grubs when you find them. Collect the beetles in the morning when they are not very active and destroy. You will find them on many plants and they are easy to shake them off. A flashlight in the evening will attract them and you can destroy them using stomp method or drop in hot soapy water.
Ensure a Healthy LawnCut your grass higher in the summer as beetles prefer to lay their eggs in short grass. Keep your lawns well-drained and aerated. In the spring don’t water your lawns too often to ensure deep root growth.
I am hoping to add some pictures to this blog, as soon as I figure out how to do it.
I came across this cute poem about a June Bug. I hope you find time to read it as it really is cute.
They call me a June Bug, But I don't come in June
They really should call me a May Bug
I fly all night looking for a light
A little romance and then love
I'm the June Bug of another's dream
Yeah, I'm the one that's on your screen
I'm the one that comes in the hundreds
The one you step over with your feet
I'm a June Bug, A June Bug
I'm roly poly round
Looking for love, Yeah, looking for love
And I know it's flying around
I spend seven years in that ground
And all I ever am is a Grub
Of course when I climb out of that hole
I wanna find me a little bug love
You want to see my buddies?
Well, just keep that light burning bright
We will come in the thousands
And visit you all night
We come up from the ground
At night we can be found
We visit you in the month of May
And all night we hang around
You want to know just why
We don't move when you come outside?
Well, that's because a Bug named Fred
Told us all to pretend we died
We come up from the ground
All we want is a little Bug love
But I tell you that ain't easy
Sometimes it's just real tough
I saw Sam the Bug the other day
Flying straight for a big head light
I guess he liked it quite a lot
Because he is still there and bright
Poor Arnold the Bug, Well, I don't know
He is stuck on someone's shoe
We tried to tell him but he had listened to Fred
That Bug just wouldn't move
You think you've got troubles
Well, let me just tell you
You don't know the half of it
Til a shoe comes down on you

All we want is a little love
Although we come in the month of May
They call me a June Bug
A June Bug, A June Bug
I'm roly poly round
Looking for love, Yeah, looking for love
And I know it's flying around!

This is Raven-as the crow flies

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Summer Solstice!

It happened yesterday, June 21st at precisely 7:28 AM EDT, in the Northern Hemisphere. It is officially the first day of summer. It is also called Midsummer because it is roughly the middle of the growing season throughout much of Europe.

"Solstice" is derived from two Latin words: "sol" meaning sun, and "sistere," to cause to stand still. This is because, as the summer solstice approaches, the noonday sun rises higher and higher in the sky on each successive day. On the day of the solstice, it rises an imperceptible amount, compared to the day before. In this sense, it "stands still."

As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their longest summer day in December.

In pre-historic times, summer was a joyous time of the year for those Aboriginal people who lived in the northern latitudes. The snow had disappeared; the ground had thawed out; warm temperatures had returned; flowers were blooming; leaves had returned to the deciduous trees. Some herbs could be harvested, for medicinal and other uses. Food was easier to find. The crops had already been planted and would be harvested in the months to come. Although many months of warm/hot weather remained before the fall, they noticed that the days were beginning to shorten, so that the return of the cold season was inevitable.

The first (or only) full moon in June is called the Honey Moon. Tradition holds that this is the best time to harvest honey from the hives.

This time of year, between the planting and harvesting of the crops, was the traditional month for weddings. This is because many ancient peoples believed that the "grand [sexual] union" of the Goddess and God occurred in early May at Beltaine. Since it was unlucky to compete with the deities, many couples delayed their weddings until June. June remains a favorite month for marriage today. In some traditions, "newly wed couples were fed dishes and beverages that featured honey for the first month of their married life to encourage love and fertility. The surviving vestige of this tradition lives on in the name given to the holiday immediately after the ceremony: The Honeymoon."

Some more summer solstice facts:

. Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer otherwise known as the Summer Solstice

. Ancient pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump.

. Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called 'chase-devil', which is known today as St. John's Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.

. The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun's energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.

. Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids' celebration of the day as the "wedding of Heaven and Earth", resulting in the present day belief of a "lucky" wedding in June.

. Today, the day is still celebrated around the world -- most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.

. Pagan spirit gatherings or festivals are also common in June, when groups assemble to light a sacred fire, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn.

People around the world have observed spiritual and religious seasonal days of celebration during the month of June. Most have been religious holy days which are linked in some way to the summer solstice.

Pagan Beliefs “Christianized!

According to the 12/15/81 Watchtower page 87, and the 4/1/84 Watchtower page 9, many pagan beliefs have been "christianized" as noted below.

Bonfires are lit along the eastern coast of Spain and in many countries of Europe on the eve of June 24, termed “Saint John the Baptist’s” day on the Catholic calendar. What do bonfires have to do with John the Baptist? Barcelona’s morning daily “La Vanguardia” admits that the entire festivity actually “represents the Christianization of the summer solstice.” This astronomical event, when the sun appears to stand still in its heavenly northward or southward motion, motivated festivities and licentious merrymaking among the ancient pagans.

“In A.D. 601, Pope Gregory the First, known as Gregory the Great, issued an edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert,” states a recent issue of Natural History magazine. “Instead of trying to obliterate peoples’ customs and beliefs, the pope’s instructions were, use them. If a group of people worship a tree, rather than cut it down, consecrate it to Christ and allow them to continue their worship.” Calling this a “brilliant concept” and the “basic principle in Catholic missionary work,” the article continues: “Catholic holy days were purposely set at the time of native holy days. Christmas, for instance, was assigned the arbitrary date of December 25 because it corresponded to the midwinter celebration of many peoples. For the same reason, Saint John’s day was set at the summer solstice.”

However “brilliant” the idea was toward the spreading of so-called Christianity, it certainly is not God’s way of doing things. When the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, they were instructed by God to destroy thoroughly all pagan worship there. (Numbers 33:52; Deuteronomy 7:5, 6) And for true Christians, “clean and undefiled” worship requires that they keep themselves “without spot from the world.”—James 1:27.

Rather than ‘Christianize’ such pagan events, the apostle Paul sets the right course for true Christians by asking: “What sharing does light have with darkness?” Then he admonishes: “'Get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing'". 2Corinthians 6:14-17

Aren't we grateful that we are part of Jehovah's clean organization, and no part of "Babylon The Great"? "For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind." Revelation 18:4-8.

May we continue to be active and zealous in helping honest-hearted ones to know the true God Jehovah and get out of "Babylon The Great" before her "sudden" and "swift" demise. Revelation 18:7,8,21.

This is Raven-as the crow flies!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May Bows To June

Where did May go? It went super fast for me. Again being busy, especially in the Lord's work, time speeds up, don't you agree?

Well as the custom has been since this blog's inception, Raven's delight is to try hard to begin the first day of each month with a blog no matter how important, or trivial it may be. June will be no different.

As usual, I like to know how the different months got their name. June is an interesting one and of course it's named after a pagan goddess.

Juno was the Queen of the Gods. She gave her name to the month of June. She was the goddess of marriage, which partly explains why June weddings are so auspicious. The Greeks knew her as Hera.

The summer solstice is normally June 21st (sometimes the 20th). In the northern hemisphere this is the day with the most daylight. After this date the days begin to get shorter". Normally this day is not specifically celebrated in North America. However, other cultures do have celebrations. This is also the first day of summer.

Wouldn't it be nice, and maybe when we are in the new system of things this will be, to have the months named after the magnificent qualities of our glorious creator, Jehovah God? That would be so much more appropriate in honor of him.

We learn so much about Jehovah from the things he has created. And because of my friends at Birds of a Feather, I have developed a keener awarness of one of Jehovah's most delightful creations, Birds! After all Jesus did say "observe intently the birds of the heavens." (Matthew 6:26) And so I find myself listening, looking, and observing more closely these beautiful creatures.

Being out in the ministry is such a blessing from Jehovah. Not only do we strenghten our faith and skill in helping others and ourselves, it affords us an opportunity to drink in deeply of Jehovah's creations causing us to meditate on Him and his amazing creative abilities, and wisdom.

This past Saturday, the last Saturday of May, when out in the ministry, not only did we have some enjoyable conversations with our neighbors, but we also had the unexpected pleasure of coming across a beautiful, well designed bird's nest resting on the side of the road. It evidently had fallen out of a tree onto the ground. We anxiously looked to see if there were any eggs in the nest. Sadly, they lay crushed on the ground. The color of the eggs were a lovely deep acqua. I immediately picked up the nest, this work of art, not only to bring it to my home , but especially to share this delightful find with my birds of a feather blogging friend who I affectionately call Sparrow, but you all know her as San. She too expressed a delightful sigh of joy when she saw it.

"What kind of birds nest is it?", I asked. She said, "I'm pretty sure it's a Robins nest, you should blog about it" I said, "what a great idea." She took a picture of it to put on the blog, and sent it to me on e-mail, and it came out beautifully. I believe she is putting it on her blog site and as time permits, blog about robins nests as well. I will make an attempt to do the same. So between the both of us, you shoud be well informed.

I came across some information on how Robins build their nest. There is a ton of information on the different shapes of nests, the matereial that birds use and the places they build them. It is an engineering marvel, giving credit and glory to Jehovah who made them instinctively wise.

Focusing on robins, they can live up to 12 years. They may have built 20 or even 30 nests over their lifetimes. They don't need written instructions for building their summer homes. They follow the "nest-building blueprints" in their brains, and instinctively know how to build the perfect structure to hold the eggs they're about to lay. Have you ever noticed that robins' nests are always alike? But have you ever seen a robin teaching another how to build a nest?

Imagine you are a robin. You can make a nest yourself if you follow the insturctions below.

1. Find a suitable building site.

. The site should be protected from sun, wind and rain. It can be anywhere from ground to treetop in height; the site must be on something sturdy enough to anchor the nest securely in place.

. Your nest should also be very close to a good feeding spot so you can easily find worms while keeping an eye on it, and it shouldn't be too far from water.

. Choose a spot that is hard for predators to see. Remember, you and your eggs and babies will be sitting here for the next 5 weeks, so be careful to pick a spot that's safe, cool, and comfortable.

2. Gather materials.

. Grass fibers: Collect about 350 dead grasses and twigs that are about 6 inches long. (The pile should weigh about 135 grams.)

. Soft mud: After a soaking rain, collect mouthfuls of mud in your beak and travel back and forth to your nest site a few hundred times.

3. Build!

. Weave the grasses together, cementing them to each other and to the supporting branch or windowsill with mud.

. Next, use your tummy to shape the nest into a perfect baby cradle.

. Finally, line the inside with the softest grasses and hairs you can find so the eggs will stay warm and not get pierced by any twigs or sharp grass edges. The nest must be tight and snug enough to cradle the eggs and hold in your warmth, but large enough to hold four or even five big nestlings.

When you are finished, your nest should weigh about 205 grams when dry. This is a heavy nest. But four nestlings together can weigh as much as 280 grams before they leave, so your nest must be very strong!

IMPORTANT NOTICE! You've done a lot of work to make this wonderful nest. But after the babies leave, you often have to move out! Even the cleanest robin family can't keep out mites, lice and flies. Once these critters get a head start, they can really multiply fast, making an old nest unsafe for a new batch of babies. You might raise later broods in the same remodeled nest, or you (the female) may build a second nearby nest in 2 or 3 days.

The Awake magazine dated 7/22/71 pp.14-15, also mentioned the robin assembles his nest in a variety of places. He uses branches or crotches in trees; bushes, porch vines, rose arches, fence posts, stone walls, nooks on buildings, bridges, boats and wagons as well as nesting shelves set up by some kind human. The height of these locations has been observed to vary from a few feet to seventy feet from the ground.....the robins use natural mud as a cement for their nests. If none is available they have been known to make it by filling their bills with dust and then dipping them into a birdbath. Or they may wet their feathers and shake off the drops in a dusty place.

Also there was this interesting detail in the 12/8/99 Awake under "Whistling While They Work", it said," Do you enjoy working to music? Well, apparently, many birds do too. The book "The Private Life of Birds", by Michael Bright, notes that birdsongs have a stimulating physical effect on listeners, saying that after exposure to birdsongs, "the heart rates of both males and females went up." Furthermore, some female birds "built their nests faster" and "also tended to lay more eggs" when they listened to male birdsongs."

So as you can see these beautiful creatures work hard. By being alert to note how and where the birds themseves make nests, one may be move to praise and thank the loving Creator, Jehovah God, for these winged gifts to mankind. Psalms 104:1, 16, 17.

There is more I wanted to add, but because of a lack of time I must stop. Until next time.

This is Raven-as the crow flies!