Counting on … day 306

11th September 2022

Autumn is the best time to plant spring bulbs. Flowering from January onwards, these flowers are a real boon for insects looking for nectar, especially those that don’t hibernate or have come out of hibernation early. I am always surprised and amazed when I see bumblebees in January. 

Prayers for Creation

 Friday 12th August 2022 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. Proverbs 3:5

You Lord, are the source of all good things: 

We praise you.

You call us to tend and care for your creation: 

May we strive to do your will.

You have made us as brothers and sisters with all that lives: 

May we live together in peace.

A lament:-

Dried up grass, withered leaves, parched earth:

My heart aches, my soul cries with pain.

Wilting stems, shrivelled fruit, sun-bleached petals:

 My heart aches, my soul cries with pain.

Desiccated trees, with premature leaf fall:

My heart aches, my soul cries with pain.

Harden mud in the ditch, ponds reduced to a smudge:

My heart aches, my soul cries with pain.

The smell of ash and dust – no scent of roses now:

My heart aches, my soul cries with pain.

What future for frogs and toads? Will newts survive?

My heart aches, my soul cries with pain.

What future for caterpillars? If no caterpillars, what future for birds and butterflies?

My heart aches, my soul cries with pain.

What future for worm-eating birds?  What future for grass-grazing rabbits?

My heart aches, my soul cries with pain.

What future for arable farms when the rain doesn’t fall? What future for livestock farms when fields are bare?

My heart aches, my soul cries with pain.

What future for humanity when reservoirs and taps run dry? What future for humanity when food is unaffordable?

My heart aches, my soul cries with pain.

A reading from Isaiah 55:1-5 (The Message)

 “Hey there! All who are thirsty come to the water! Are you penniless? Come anyway—buy and eat Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk. Buy without money—everything’s free! Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest.  Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.

To you O Lord, we turn for help! Make your ways known to us: 

Embed them in our hearts.

Give and do not count the cost, be generous in every way.

Exercise leadership with diligence, show care with cheerfulness. 

Gracious God, help us to hear your words.

Share one another’s burdens, remove the burden of debt.

Care for the widow, the orphan and the stranger.

Gracious God, help us to hear your words.

Do  good; seek justice, correct oppression; 

bring justice to the abandoned, plead the widow’s cause.

Gracious God, help us to hear your words.

Love your neighbour.

Establish governance with righteousness. 

Gracious God, help us to hear your words.

Do not be greedy, foreswear dishonest gain.

Do not bear false witness.

Gracious God, help us to hear your words.

Tend and care for the soil, give the land due respite.

Tend and prune the plants; give them  due respite.

Gracious God, help us to hear your words.

Care for the animals of the fields, and the wild creatures.

Have respect for every living thing. 

Gracious God, help us to hear your words.

The Grace

Counting on … day 210 

11th June 2022

This morning to my great delight we were visited by a family of greater spotted woodpeckers – mum, dad and junior. Junior has a red patch on the top of his head, dad has the same patch but at the back of his head and mum has a plain head. They settled on the palm tree from where the two adults flew back and forth to the feeder bringing their offspring a succession of tasty snacks. 

The day before I had spotted a newt in the pond, a resident I had not seen for the last few years.

Both filled me with joy and I realise how much  I count on these moments of encouragement. 

 Counting on …day 185

17th May 2022

The public are being urged to keep an eye out for any signs of disease in local trees, as the UK launches a hi-tech, £5.8m tree laboratory to fight the spread of pests and diseases. The UK is especially vulnerable to the growing spread of plant pathogens because of warmer, wetter winters, and because it is a hub for global trade. The public can report sightings via the Tree Alert site, and a specialist will come and look at the tree, or send samples for further testing. One pest that affects Richmond Park is the oak procession are moth.

“First identified in London in 2006, it probably arrived on imported live wood. It has since been found in some surrounding counties. The caterpillars will be emerging over the next three months. They are black with long white hairs and move in long nose-to-tail processions, which give them their name. The nests are usually the shape of a dome or teardrop and are around the size of a tennis ball. They strip bark off oak trees and cause them to lose their leaves. The caterpillars can cause rashes and breathing difficulties, and should not be touched.”

Lent Reflection

Meadow Sky Summer Landscape Sun Tree Hawthorn http://www.maxpixel

The hawthorn tree – crataegus monogyna – is native to Britain and grows to a height of 15m. It has a shrubby shape which provides safety for nesting birds. The hawthorn bears white, and sometime pink, blossom in May and hence is also known as a May tree. It can provide food for 300 different insects, and its fruit, haws, are eaten by various birds and small mammals. 

The early green leaves can be eaten freshly picked – known as ‘bread and cheese’ or as a salad. Its haws can be made into jellies and sauces. Hawthorn is widely used for hedging and provides good shelter for livestock. The wood is used for carving and for veneers.

Symbolically hawthorn represents hope.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Love is a magical shelter where you will feel yourself safe beneath it. Mehmet Murat ildan 

Counting on … day 118 

10th March 2022

Spring is a good time for foraging. Plants are beginning to sprout and it is often the newest, youngest leaves or shoots that are sweetest. Our garden is a quasi wild garden, so I can forage there for dandelion leaves – good for salads, or for use as spinach – and nettles whose young leaves are good in soups. 

Nettles are an important food for various caterpillars. Dandelion flowers are an important food source for various insects including bees, whilst their seeds are popular with goldfinches.