Since 1908

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Pastor's Blog

The Cricket

September 25, 2017

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I was putting some porcelain bowls away the other day and happened to clink two of them together, making an almost ringing “bing.”  I’d been thinking for weeks about crickets who, like the cicadas, have been singing persistently most evenings.  I’d been thinking of a way to describe the song of the crickets and had found it distressingly difficult.  Until I clinked the porcelain bowls together. 

The male cricket makes his bright, chirping sound by scraping his wing covers together; there’s apparently a toothed ridge on the underside of his wing covers that causes the cricket song’s drawn-out, ringing chirp … kind of like the sound of dragging your fingernail down the teeth of a hard plastic, or better, metal comb.  Though I’ve never touched the underside of a cricket’s wing covers, I know the cricket’s exoskeleton and legs have the consistency of over-baked chicken, but more fragile.  Which is why I can’t imagine how cricket flesh has the resonant qualities of kiln-fired clay.  And such a loud, ringing sound, too.  Like it’s amplified, the singing exploding with electricity.

The Ginkgo Tree

September 19, 2017

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Ginkgo trees can live for 3000 years.

They grow in a variety of soils and conditions, though they’re not fans of hot and dry climates.  Their versatility and hardiness may have made them ideal candidates for planting in cities like downtown Green Bay, on Moravian Street.

The Squirrel

September 12, 2017

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Grace has a lovely black walnut tree in its Monroe Street green space.  Walnut trees are late bloomers; their leaves form late in spring, so trees nearby get a head start every year … a head start that might be part of the reason it’s difficult for walnut trees to compete with other trees. They do recover quickly if their competitors age and fall, but they need to tower over others in order to flourish. 

Because the forest is a competitive place, and because they’re not great competitors, walnut trees have developed a couple secret weapons.  Exuded by their leaves are chemicals called polyphenols which are an excellent defense against insect pests.  The chemical known as juglone is, at the same time, exuded by the roots of walnut trees and by the husks of walnuts … juglone is a chemical that discourages most kinds of plant growth around the tree.  If you’re a gardener, and you have a black walnut tree near your garden, you probably already know this.

The Cicada

September 7, 2017

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The cicada sings for sex.