Photo By: Mel Fechter

Mentoring Mankind with Memories and Musings

Jun 23,   Spring and Summer in Shangri La
Mar 20,   Adventures in Cyber Dating
Mar 13,   Stories of WWII are Fading Fast
Feb 22,   Canst Thou Protest Too Much?
Jan 26,   New Medical Paradigm On Horizon
Jan 16,   COLLEGE DAZE Is On the Horizon
Jan 10,   My Book Is On Its Way to Publication
Dec 18,   Red Letter Days Mark Milestones
Dec 17,   Today Was a Red Letter Day
Dec 1,   the 2nd Year of My Voyage is Over
Nov 20,   I Find Family and Friends at Hallmark
Nov 5,   My Book From the Male Viewpoint
Oct 12,   Music & Movies Mark My Milestones
Sep 18,   My New Life Appears on the Horizon
Aug 23,   Life is a Pathway with Many Forks
Aug 21,   The Importance of Doing My Best
Aug 4,   Life Imitates Hello Myrmidon
Aug 1,   Writing a Book Has Changed My Life
May 25,   Will You Accept My Apology?
May 1,   A Journal is a Window on Your Life
Apr 30,   A Road Trip to Shangri La
Apr 25,   Movies as Matchmakers
Apr 23,   Me at Seventy-Three!!!
Apr 19,   Make Time for Your Friends
Apr 14,   Can One Make a Difference?
Apr 9,   a snipit from HELLO MYRMIDON
Apr 1,   What Price Glory, Sweat, Tears
Mar 30,   To Retrieve or Not Retrieve
Mar 29,   Discourse on Decisions
Mar 25,   Memory Retrieval
Mar 24,   I Join the World Community
Mar 22,   Website Lessons
Mar 3,   My Miracles, Part 2
Mar 2,   My Miracles, Part 1
Feb 9,   Phones of Old, Part 2
Feb 8,   Phones of Old, Part 1
Feb 7,   Twitterpated!!!
Jan 25,   Jacob and Esau, Part 2
Jan 24,   Jacob and Esau, Part 1
Jan 10,   A New Goal?
Jan 9,   My Earliest Memories
Dec 31,   2016: Successes and Failures
Dec 30,   2016: My Self-Discovery
Dec 28,   I Finally Hear My Angels
Dec 27,   Angels and Me
Dec 26,   Angels Inspire Me
Dec 24,   the Littlest Angel
Dec 23,   Story of My Name Part 3
Dec 22,   Story of My Name Part 2
Dec 21,   Story of My Name Part 1
Dec 19,   Prior Challenges Part 2
Dec 17,   Prior Challenges Part 1
Dec 16,   My Website Challenge
Dec 15,   Astrological Review of 2016
Dec 14,   North Coast Winter
Dec 13,   an Angelic Intervention
Dec 12,   Birth of HELLO MYRMIDON
Dec 11,   Christmas Lights Fade
Dec 10,   Christmas Art Project
Dec 9,   Finding a Perfect Tree
Dec 7,   Christmas with KW
Dec 6,   Christmas around the World
Dec 4,   Mom’s Story Part 2
Dec 3,   Mom’s Christmas Story Part 1
Dec 2,   Ghosts of Christmas Past
Dec 1,   My First Blog

Guest Blogs

Mar 24,   SusanDay on Being a Grandparent

13th Jun Plants are Amazing Creatures

Most of us tend to think of plants as static and one dimensional, mostly good for food, or for the benefit of colorful flowers or shade oases from the hot sun.   But if we look closer we can see that they truly are amazing creatures.  Yes, I said creatures, not creations.  They are literally born from tiny seeds, actively seek nutrients from their environment, grow, produce, reproduce, and eventually die.  How is that different than any other of God’s creatures?  

We humans seem to feel that we have to do lots of obvious work to achieve some goal or expectation, and we tend to measure our worth by that rather than by the sum total of our lives.  Plants, on the other hand, just go through life accepting and making the best of each stage.   As I write this I am reminded of the Biblical quote from the Sermon on the Mount…..”Consider the lilies of the field, they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet…. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these”.  As was pointed out, at first glance those lily plants did not appear to be "toiling", but without any fanfare each had done what was necessary to produce its beautiful countenance.

This concept must have been rattling around in my brain for a long time already without my realizing it, because many years ago I wrote a book of stories illustrating how plants do the best they can in an unheralded manner according to the conditions where they choose to grow.  I titled it The Tree and Other Stories in which I described specific lives of various plants.   My purpose was to help young children begin to develop a relationship with the whole plant kingdom by introducing them to a few individual examples, and then following each plant throughout its entire life cycle.  I feel that one day it will become a companion volume to Hello Myrmidon especially useful for younger children.

This long buried train of thought has apparently resurfaced now because of a project I have been working on this week during my monthly visit to my place in the small valley I call Shangri La.  There is a plant there that has thrived so well in the valley conditions that it has attained the dubious status of “noxious weed”. In the spring it sports tall stocks of beautiful blue-green leaves and copious yellow blossoms that vaguely resemble mustard blooms. Because of this it is locally referred to as Marlahan mustard, after the farmer who accidentally introduced it into the valley many decades ago. 

If it were just a normal wildflower peeking up through the native grasses then its yellow would be a welcome addition to the landscape.  But these normally knee-high stalks branch out and tower over the grass ground cover like a forest of trees, unwilling to share access to vital sunshine with all the smaller wildflowers below which also need to make their presence known to the bees for pollination.  And due to their sheer size and numbers these behemoths spread like wildfire and if unchecked they soon take over the whole area.

There are as many opinions about how to deal with them as there are people who have attempted to rid their areas of this scourge.  Last year I was advised to cut off all the flowers, which I did.  The next month when I returned they were all back again.  So I cut them again, this time including the whole stock.  The next month I when I again returned I found another sea of yellow confronting me.  So then I cut out the whole crown of the plant down to the root, and that time the flowers did not regenerate.  However, it was late in the season so I was not sure if it was from cutting out the crown or because it was past the blooming time.  I also realized that it took a great deal of energy to chop them out, and the jarring it caused to my arthritic hands was very painful.  But I left no seeds to sprout last year on my whole 2 acres, so I felt it would be worth it in the long run.  Little did I know that seeds that had apparently laid dormant during the past several drought years would rejoice at the copious rains of this recent winter and come leaping to life with an unbelievable gusto. 

So when I arrived for the first time this spring, instead of finding a place free of mustard,  I found a vast yellow landscape that was beyond all imaginings.  Unlike last year these were all at least knee high, many were waist high, and some were even chest high!!!  And instead of a single stalk on each plant, many sported 6-10 stalks each with a diameter the size of your little finger.   Needless to say I was flabbergasted.   I even had to chop down a whole forest of them that were crowding around my gazebo and blocking my view of the valley.  If I only had those to cut I would have been able to cope.  But the infestation spread across my whole home site, and spilled out onto most of the rest of my 2 acres as well.  In fact, it appeared to be such a daunting task that I was overcome and only chopped out just enough to make trails to my gazebo and bench.  The rest were all blooming happily when I left in early May. 

When I returned this week, the areas where I had chopped out the whole plant were still clear, so that definitely appears to be an effective control method.   The rest were in various stages of seed maturity, some still bright green, others approaching the dark blue black color of mature viable seeds.  But I noticed one other very important characteristic.  As soon as the plants started to make seeds their leaves began to shrivel, until the plant appeared crispy and dead by the time the seeds had matured.  And when the green seeds were clipped off they just dried up and did not mature any further. 

So now I know how to abate them, which is fortunate because a lot of mature seeds escaped my extermination efforts this year.  From now on I will schedule my trips for when the majority of the plants have new green seeds, and plan to clip them off before they have time to mature.   This is definitely a case of live and learn.  For my first trip of the season when the yellow flowers abound and the leaves are healthy I will try a vinegar and Epsom salt spray that I heard will prematurely kill the plant and thereby prevent the seed production.   Perhaps next year’s progress report will be one of greater success.  I can only hope.  


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