Welcome to the internet's favorite "family safe" blog

Double clicking on a photo will give you an enlarged view

Search This Blog

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Snow Snakes Alive!

This snow snake awaits a victim to fall upon
Over the years, I have spent many a day trudging through the snow near and far.  I had heard old timers speak of strange wild creatures and not being one to doubt those more experienced than I, I kept an open mind.  All these years and my attention to the unusual was finally rewarded.  In the rugged area behind our home known as groovy gully, a favorite place for the grandkids to slide on Christmas Eve, I was on snowshoes packing the snow for the annual slide-a-thon.  When I heard a definite hissss coming from above my head, I jumped back just in time to avoid being struck by the biggest snow snake I had ever seen!  Forgetting the danger, I quickly grabbed my camera and got this shot to prove to those who would doubt that such a creature exists in the wilds of Lake Nebagamon. 

Woodchuck Discovers Natural Thermometer

On an icy morning our rhodadendron plant looks like this with leaves rolled tight and narrow.
A few hours later when the temperature reached the upper 20's the leaves relaxed and unfurled.
Yureka!  Woodchuck walks by these plants daily as he comes and goes along the front walk.  One day he says, "these plants have a life of their own - one time the leaves are plump and the next they are skinny!"  Further observation revealed a direct relationship to air temperature.  Sciencemarches on.
The Lord God who has created the heavens and the earth came up with this innovation to protect the leaf cells when exposed to extreme cold.

Heavy Snows Have Long-Term Effect on Some Vegetation

How would you like to trudge through here on snowshoes? 
Loop de hoop! In November, we experienced heavy, wet snows that bent flexible shrubs and trees over forming a hoop.  Add more heavy snow, pinning the top to the ground with thawing and freezing rain on top and you have a hoop that will last all winter.  In fact some of this vegetation will remain in this form permanently.  Alder and hazel shrubs and even slender birch and saplings of all kinds were vulnerable. If you are a careful observer, you will occasionally see historical evidence of this kind of phenomena which occured in the past.  Stressed trees may survive and express their 'bent' for years to come. As the proverb says, " As the sapling is bent, so the tree grows."

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Perfect Christmas Gift

I wrote this for the Duluth News Tribune.  It appeared in the December 24, 2010 edition.

Christmas is upon us again.  Some of us are still in a tizzy trying to find that ‘perfect’ gift for our loved ones.  Psychologists tell us this is a stressful time for many; the lonely, the poor, the bereaved, and those in dysfunctional families.  Benevolent organizations such as the Salvation Army are stretched in their efforts to reach out to the desperate and needy. 

God has a better plan:  He came in the flesh 2000 years ago, born to a humble young virgin in Israel.  Jesus, the Savior of mankind, the divine creator of the universe, came to earth to experience humanity and to offer humanity the opportunity to experience the divine.  He had full knowledge that he was headed to the cross with the purpose of taking the punishment for our sins upon himself.  He was God’s gift of Love.

Most would agree that Jesus has had more influence on the world than any other man.  Some say he was a ‘good’ man or a ‘great moral teacher’; however, he said he was Truth, Life, and the only way to salvation.  If he was who he said he was, he deserves our complete love, worship and obedience.  He invites us to follow him and promises he will be with us, lead us, answer our prayers and give us eternal life. 

Someone has defined religion as man’s attempt to reach God.  Jesus is God’s way to reach man.  Mohammed did not die for us; Buddha did not die for us.  The many Hindu gods did not die for us.  Jesus did.  He loves all mankind and he commands his followers to love others as he does. 

No matter who you are and what you have done, God loves you and has the perfect Christmas gift for you - himself!