Monday, October 28, 2013

Owl eXcitement!

Last week when I went in for my regular dentist check-up,
I got the scoop and the photos for this post from my dental hygienist!

She stated that as she was going in to work at the clinic that morning,
she heard crows carrying on and making a much louder
commotion than their usual cries.

Her curiosity got the best of her,
so she went over to investigate the source of the crow's outcries.
Note the blue laundry basket...
This is what she and a co-worker used to capture
an owl that was being attacked by the crows!

After successfully placing the basket over the owl,
a call was made to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
This department is specially trained to deal with wild creatures
who wander out of their natural environment.

If the owl is healthy,
he will be returned to the wild.
If he needs medical attention,
we have a local veterinarian that will tend to his needs.

Many thanks to my dental hygienist Dena Sparks, 
who furnished the material for this story,
and allowed me to publish her photos as well!
Great photos from a cell phone, don't you think?

I've done a couple of other posts on owls,
Hopefully this owl was healthy enough not to need rehab.
(Click on the link above to take you to this post.)

To see more wonderful bird posts from all over the world,
check out Stewart Monckton's Wild Bird Wednesday!

And as always,
click HERE to take you to my latest post
on writing the Names of God on Rocks!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Wild Birds and Black Walnuts.... Simple things!

Watching wild birds,
and eating black walnuts...
That's part of what we do when we're down on the farm.

I was so surprised to see this phoebe grooming herself
without any sense of fear of my presence.

It looked up at me, and continued its grooming,
fluffing out its feathers.
I found what held its attraction when it darted swiftly after a moth
without paying any attention to me.
The porch light had been left on all night.
Moths and other bugs had accumulated,
and it was living up to its name as a flycatcher!

I'm not sure what this bird is.
If you know, clue me in!
It may be some kind of warbler?

I was thrilled to have a visit from this pileated woodpecker.
I'd been hearing his loud "Kuk-Kuk-Kuk" call,
but hadn't been lucky enough to see him.

He was quite a ways away,
and spooked very easily,
so I just took this photo through the window.
The moment I opened the door to get a closer shot,
he was gone.

This Northern Flicker was intently going after some bugs or seed.
 I couldn't tell for sure what he was eating.
Not nearly so spooky as the pileated woodpecker,
he seemed to like hanging around close to the house.

Then to wrap up our weekend,
we picked up black walnuts.
My husband loves to crack a batch of them,
 then pick them out and eat them
when it's cool enough to sit by a crackling wood fire.

Those are some of the simple pleasures we enjoy when down on the farm.

In the Scriptures I found a couple of interesting proverbs about a simple life.

Proverbs 13:7 says "A pretentious showy life is an empty life;
a plain and simple life is a full life."

Proverbs 15:16 says, "A simple life in the Fear-of-God
is better than a rich life with a ton of headaches"!

Thanks for your visit!
To see my Name for God this week, click on Rock4Today!

And many thanks to Stewart for hosting a birding blog link-up.
Click on his name above to see birds from around the world!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Community Venture in the Ozarks - The Making of Sorghum

For those of you who have never heard of "sorghum",
it is a type of molasses made from the juice of the sugar cane.
I was privileged to witness this process,
and would like to share this community venture pictorially.

First, the cane was gathered from the field,
the seedy tops and the leaves were pulled off,
then run through this machine to squeeze the juice out.

The juice was strained through cheese cloth material
 into a large vat before making it's way down the hill to be cooked.

I arrived just as the last batch of cane had been run through the crusher,
but a small amount of juice was still dripping from the pipe
into a nearly full vat.

From this vat, a long pipe carried the cane juice
to the place where cooking took place.

This is the raw cane juice just coming out of the pipe,
ready to start in the cooking process.

Here is the long hot fire box,
which had a constant need to be fed wood
to keep the process going -
A very hot job!

This is a look at the long row of copper baffles which slowly turn the juice
into sorghum when it reaches the far end.
It was interesting to me that the juice had to travel up hill,
and was explained to me that the heat drew it up.
If the baffles were slanted the other way,
or even level, it would run down too quickly
and not have time enough to cook and be purified.

Specially made scoops with holes in them
were constantly used to skim off the foam.
This foam was not wasted,
and although most of it was going to be added to hog food,
someone said it could also be used for "bear bait"
before bear hunting season.

It took a community of people to pull this venture together.
Although recuperating from a recent illness,
 the man on the right was gracious enough to volunteer his time
and his equipment in order to put sweetness on the table
for the community.

This appeared to be the hottest boiling point in the procedure.
Great care was taken to prevent anyone from getting splashed
by the super hot liquid which would have clung to the skin
causing deep burns to go deep into the flesh.

As the syrup moved down the baffles,
it turned from a greenish color,
mellowing into brown.

The firing process gave off a lot of heat, so
a shade had been erected on the end to protect from
the additional heat of the afternoon sun. 
One of my husband's most valuable contributions to the effort
was providing cold water and Gatorade out of his ice chest.
The younger helpers were quick to pass out the cool drinks
to the men who were needing to be re-hydrated.

When the syrup reached the last baffle,
it was released from this valve, ...

...And then placed in this vat until it was cool enough...

...To be poured up into sterile jars,
which sealed quickly as the heat created a vacuum.

While the cooking process was going on,
others were working to remove the leftover cane,
much of what would become food for horses
or other farm animals.

The 87 year old mayor pitched in and did his share of the work.

Here he is showing me where sorghum was made years ago
using a horse instead of a tractor to operate the "squeezer" machine.
The faint imprint of a circle could still be seen from the many
times the horse had to circle round and round to extract the juice.

And there you have it -
The finished project!
One of the men laughingly said that if the price of the sorghum
was figured on minimum wage pay,
it would probably cost about $169.00 a gallon!
But bringing a community together in this kind of venture -

I haven't noticed sorghum ever mentioned in the Bible,
but I guess honey would be its closest counterpart.
The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:103,
"How sweet your words taste to me;
they are sweeter than honey."

To see my Names of God on Rocks post for today,
click on ROCK4TODAY!

Thanks for stopping by!
I hope you enjoyed your visit to Ozark country!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Until next year...

In case you wondered,
...No, I'm not taking a blogging break!
I'm talking about my little hummingbirds.
I think they are gone UNTIL NEXT YEAR!
The little "hummers" usually arrive around my birthday in April,
and I consider their presence a great birthday gift!
For the past several years I've also been keeping track
of when they leave.
For three consecutive years,
October 5th seems to be the magic number.
This was one of the last little stragglers.

I heard his little "tweaking" noise as I went to get the mail,
so I just sat on the front porch and watched him for awhile.
...And he appeared to be watching me, too,
looking at me between taking time to groom himself.

It was October 5th,
...and I wondered if it would be his last visit.
I kind of felt like he was saying good-bye!
A cold front was predicted to come through later that evening.

Sure enough,
that was the last I saw of him -
...Or was it a her???
Maybe the male ruby throats had gone ahead
to find a winter nesting place somewhere down south?

I could hardly believe how much nectar was gone from the feeders.
The last two stragglers were chubby enough that their "take-offs" looked
to be in slow motion compared to what they had been
earlier in the summer.
I wondered if they rode out on the same wind
 that brought in the cold front to the Ozarks on the night of October 5th...
It amazes me what instincts God has given them.
Job talks about learning from the wisdom of birds,
and then later cries out for God, our Maker,
"who gives us songs in the night",
"who makes us wiser than the birds".
In Psalm 50, Asaph tells of God's greatness,
with verse 11 saying God knows all the birds.
Matthew 6:26 says God feeds the birds,
so I guess His eye is on my little hummingbirds, too!
I guess I'll be blogging about other stuff!
To see my latest Names of God on Rocks post,
click HERE!
Or click HERE to see Wild Bird Wednesday!