Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Anyone else have an issue with some kind of pesty small bug which bites? We aren't sure around here just what bug it is that has taken to buzzing around our heads and biting faces and necks and arms and legs, as well as continually flying into our eyes but whatever it is it is an outdoor constant this season. It doesn't seem to be a mosquito because the bit mark it bigger and itches for days. Go outside and they're floating around the head and neck.
Also, the temperate weather and regular rain has led to really rapid and lush growth of the flowers and vegetables we've planted. They seem to grow 6 inches a day. But partnering the flowers is a rapid growth of weeds of all kinds. We can hardly keep up with keeping them away.
The 17 year Cicadas are hatching and getting ready to sing all day and all night in June and beyond, but many insect experts believe they will stay a bit north of the St. Louis area. But many parts of Missouri and Illinois will be living among millions of these creatures.
Nature often isn't as pretty as travelogues and photographs portray it, nature can be cruel, at least to our human eyes. So it is with the beautiful Hawk. So graceful with the long, wide wings, floating over head. but what we don't often see is what the hawk is looking for, so pointedly, on the ground. Food. Food in the form of other living things like rabbits and squirrels and ducks. Yesterday two of our staff people were standing outside one of the campus buildings, right by the road, when all of a sudden they heard a strong fluttering whoosh. Right in from of them a hawk swooped down, grabbed a rabbit and rose right back up into the air. One of the staffers happened to have her phone in her hand and quickly snapped a picture. It's a bit blurred as the hawk was moving, the rabbit was screaming and so was she.
Hawks are huge, stealthy, always sitting on the rooftops of the campus surveying their next meal. They miss nothing.
Here are a couple of news reports from this week which are lacking in the "why" or the "where".
A ground beef recall which includes Missouri went out this week over e-coli poisoning. Supposedly this contaminated meat was sold to restaurants, but no where did any report say where this meat ended up. What restaurant, what cities? Most people reading these stories wanted to know this more than anything else.
Not as important to most meat eaters and restaurant goers, is this story. "Two people were hospitalized after they went off a building in downtown St. Louis Wednesday morning." This happened at 5:45 on Washington Avenue. So what's the deal here?
A tractor trailer overturned on a Delaware highway setting loose 20 million bees which were being hauled from Florida to Maine. My question is how do you count bees, how do you put 20 million in a truck and why does Maine need them, how do they catch them all and get them back on another truck? Is Deleware stuck with them now?
Whoa! How fast are things growing this spring? Really really fast. Maybe because we've had a not so hot and dry spring, but boy, is nature busting out faster than we can control it. Go to bed one night and things outside seem nice and calm, each blade of grass, flower, weeds, tree leaves, all knowing their place in the environmental spectrum. Then wake up the next morning and see every single thing trying to overlap every other thing. I just noticed we have lily plants that are giants this year and have spread all the heck over the back of our yard. This is great if you're a lily fan, but I am not. I have little use for a flower which has enormous green leaves, spreads like crazy and blooms for one day.
It's spring madness. If, however, you have distinguishable planting beds for flowers and vegetables you may be able to have some control over the weeds which seem to think they're allowed to be as big as they want and grow anywhere they want.
Try mulching, it does help as long as you remember to get as many weeds out of the area first. We'll never win the weed battles but we do what we can.
Every flowering bush and tree has taken turns being just spectacular this year, each in its own time so that it has its place center stage. At the moment the Knock Out roses are coming into their own as well as some of the perennial blues.
An environmental watchdog group put together a list which defines what fruits and vegetables are worst and best according to how much pesticide residue they have.
The worst of the worst in this regard are apples which would have been my guess. Anyone who has ever planted an apple tree and hoped to pick those beautiful fruits in the fall was quickly defeated by wormy and spotted apples. Apple trees are hard, the fruit is so susceptible to leaf spot, worms, and other things that it's no wonder pesticides are used.
I'd say wash the produce well before using. Captain Obvious.
Here are the worst:
Sweet Bell Peppers
Nectarines - Imported
Snap Peas - Imported
And the best with the least pesticide residue
Sweet peas - frozen
I wonder why the difference in regular potatoes and sweet potatoes, don't they both grow under ground? And, most, but not all, the produce in the first group are the kind which are eaten with the skin while the best items are not. Except for the sweet potatoes.