|Winter brings with it a new beauty.|
Today the sun is shining and the temperatures are supposed to reach near 50 degrees by midday. The high temps are much appreciated by many people here in Minnesota. Anne still has petunias that are on our deck that are enjoying the extra sun as well.
My thoughts go back to the 1970s when the energy crunch was so evident by how people were looking to cut energy costs in anyway possible. Some were buying energy efficient stoves and fireplaces, (that is how my cousin Dudley Hussong got started with Cozy Heat) while others put solar panels on their roofs and some on the side of their homes. Unfortunately, here in Minnesota during the winter months we have about 40% sunlight and so, solar panels were not as helpful as in other sunnier locations. As time goes by, we have discovered through a process of elimination that some new energy efficient ideas have worked, while others have gone to the wayside.
|Storms reveal God's awesome strength.|
Man is a very ingenious creature, he struggles to adapt into whatever circumstance he finds himself in. Through stages of trial and error he has figured out what works and that what does not work. Today wind energy is being harvested throughout southern Minnesota. As I drive west on I-90, I see more and more wind generators popping up, and the countryside reminds me of old Holland and its windmills. Fossil fuels once again are becoming increasingly more expensive to buy, and with the limited supply of oil, we are once again searching to find other sources of clean energy. All one has to do is to turn on the TV and you can see adds about battery-operated cars. With all their advancements, I wonder, when the battery does not charge anymore, will it cost the value of a car to buy another? Again, without the trial and error of advancements, we would not have any new technologies coming out at all.
Many people today are returning to their roots. They are selling their homes and going back to the farm life of 75 years ago. They are buying pigs, sheep, cattle and chickens to raise for food. These individuals are not using growth hormones nor are they putting their livestock in stalls to be left there. These animals are roving around in pastures and meadows eating the grass and seeds provided by nature. Animals are supplemented with stored grass, hay and seeds in the winter, while staying warm in their respective buildings (barn, chicken house, hog barn, and such, but they are still allowed to roam free on the farm during the day.
|Abby enjoying new snow.|
I remember my father saying that when he was a boy, his folks asked him and his brother Bobby to get the chickens into the chicken house before the big storm hit. It was snowing heavily and grandma was afraid they might die out in the snow. My father told me that it was snowing so heavily that they could not identify each bird due to the fact that snow was beginning to encase their bodies with a hard icy residue. They quickly grabbed the chickens and put them in gunnysacks and rushed them to the chicken house, empting the bags and rushing back outside again to hurriedly retrieve other snow encased birds. Needless to say, their job was done very quickly due to the fact that there was an approaching blizzard. The next morning though, would reveal a dreadful surprise for everyone.
Grandma went to the chicken house the next day to gather eggs and let the hens out to roam for food and gravel. What she found would be remembered by her family for many years to come. Upon nearing the chicken house she could hear the chickens cackling with screams of frenzy. Upon opening the door to the chicken house grandma realized what had taken place. The day before when her two sons were gathering the near frozen chickens into the gunnysacks, they added an unwanted visitor to the collection of chickens. To grandma Anna’s surprise, there was a feathery predator flying around trying to make meals of all the chickens.
|"I am sorry, what did you say?"|
Now the chicken house was supposed to be a safe haven for the hens, but after this day, the chickens would think twice before entering their once impregnable domain. The chicken her son had gathered the day before, turned out not to be a hen or rooster, but its predator instead, the feared chicken hawk. Snow encasing the chicken hawk became its best disguise. When it finally thawed out sometime in the night, it must have thought that it had died and went to chick hawk heaven. He found all the chickens gathered together roasting on wooden perches and in nests, and what easy pickings at that. After grandma collected herself from watching the mayhem before her, she shooed the chicken hawk out the door, taking away from it its only chance at eternal happiness here on Earth.
|"I was wondering if you might have a nut for me?"|
Sometimes later when looking back, we realize that God brings laughter into our lives, as opposed to what at the time seems like calamity. When the feathers and dust had settled, grandma saw that the chickens survived, and after she gathered her breath, she saw the humor in what had just transpired. Her children and her children’s children still laugh over that incident. I am sure even now in heaven, grandma Anna and her family are still laughing over that very extraordinary day. I know we are.