Since 1908

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Pastor's Blog

The Woods (are Lovely Dark and Deep)

June 19, 2018

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Today, at 4:36 a.m., I was surprised to find fierce orange burning in the sky and water at the east end of the lake at Imago Dei Camp which, from where I was sitting in the Woodlands Lodge, seemed in the distance to narrow to a point of fire.

By 5:12 a.m., that fiery orange had filled the sky and water even to the shore of the lake I could see only twenty yards away through the trunks of trees and their green leaves.

The Ichneumon Wasp

June 12, 2018

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Taking a break yesterday from writing for our new Sunday School curriculum, I stepped outside to find an ichneumon wasp on the small cement slab outside the back door of our new garage.  It took a few moments to realize what she was.  Female ichneumon wasps look like oversized wasps with slender, cinnamon-brown bodies accented with yellow; black-framed yellow bands stripe her abdomen which ends in a four inch long, black, whip-thin tail with which she lays eggs in the larvae of various kinds of insects – including those of horntail wasps.  After mating and after locating a tree or a stump or a rotting log in which the larvae of horntail wasps live, it can take her up to 40 minutes to locate where a horntail larva is in the wood, drill through the wood into its burrow or even into the larva’s body, and lay an egg. 

She only has 27 days to do this.  Then she dies.  In a few weeks, the ichneumon wasp eggs hatch in the horntail larvae and eat the horntail larvae.  When the ichneumon wasp larvae are done eating, they enter the pupa stage of their life, during which they are transformed from a chubby grub into a slender, winged wasp.  Early the next summer, the ichneumon wasps emerge from trees ready to start their species’ life cycle over again.