We have had a couple hatches of Mountain Bluebirds this summer, and the new crop has been learning to forage on their own this week. I try to keep a ground-level pan of water filled for drinking and bathing, and the youngsters readily use it. They tend to be pretty skittish, but this evening they seemed to want a bath more than they wanted to distance themselves from me and my camera! One would think that a bird as beautiful as the Mountain Bluebird would have an incredible song and vocals, but that isn’t really the case. It is not that their song is bad, it just isn’t very musical. Typically they are most vocal in the morning, but on a cool evening they will break out in song…as it were.
Sing unto him a new song: play skilfully with a loud noise. Psalm 33:3
From J. Vernon MeGee’s Thru the Bible: We are to sing a new song unto the Lord. What is that new song? Several psalms speak of a new song that will be sung in the future. I think when the time comes to sing that new song there will be new singers also. I am going to have a new body, and I think I will be able to sing. I hope the Lord will let me sing in heaven. Revelation 5:9 says, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” The psalmist exhorts us to sing a song of praise to God because He is our Creator, but the new song we will sing in heaven will be because the Lord Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. In Revelation 14:3 we read, “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” A new song will be sung in the future.
“Be not afraid, you wild beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness have sprung up and are green…” Joel 2:22a
We don’t usually see very many elk along the highways until Autumn, when the rut begins and breeding season commences. Just yesterday, on a trip to Lewistown, we were blessed with front row seats for a viewing of about a dozen bull elk, with antlers still in velvet. They were sparring and chasing each other playfully as they traveled out of the timbered Snowy Mountains and through a hay field. Until breeding season this bachelor group will likely hang together, but that all ends when the race to sire next year’s crop starts.
These are just another example of the magnificence of God’s wonderful creation!
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 6:37-39)
What an awesome invitation from our Saviour! If we come to him in faith and believe in Him, we will receive an abundance of peace, joy and love. Our “thirst” will finally be quenched when we have shared those gifts with others. Without water, our bodies will dehydrate and eventually die. But the living water that we receive from Christ is an everlasting gift for us to share with others on earth, and then to enjoy in the hereafter with Him. Are you thirsty? Then belly up to the Living Water bar, tended by the Master Himself. Oh, and you don’t need money; His water is free, you only need faith!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17).
Her shingles have vanished, her back is swayed, the remaining skin of her body is worn thin. Standing alone in a field of wheat stubble, she has a story to tell, but can’t attest to her history. Was she once surrounded by cattle and sheep, who were nurtured at her stockpiled bounty? Perhaps calves and lambs sought refuge under her protective coat to shield them from the lashing wind and burning snow that drifts high against her back? Only hints of her history remain – her memory wanes from her decades of hard labor. Her remaining days are few. Perhaps a spring squall will write the final chapter of her story. She is old, and will soon pass away.
This old barn and I have some things in common. As time marches on, I find my body becomes pretty vocal about the services it has rendered over the years. My knees pop and crackle, my back aches, and my shoulders groan; yet, I am a new creation. The day I proclaimed my faith in Christ as my Lord and Savior, He made me new again. When the old barn finally crashes to the ground, it will be her final chapter. But after my life here on Earth is done, by the Lord’s grace and mercy, I will spend eternity with Him in Heaven! No more aches and pains! No stress or worldly concerns! Eternity in the heavenly mansion He created for me! “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21).
I have added some additional bird images to the Birds of the Heavens gallery. The new photographs include an American Kestrel, White Crowned Sparrow, House Wren, Great Horned Owl, Hairy Woodpecker and a Downy Woodpecker. All of these were taken on my travels through Montana and Wyoming.
God created the earth and all that is on it much faster than I am getting this blog assembled, but I am nearly done with the basic framework. The addition of the bug and insect gallery, Things that Creep, marks the final gallery that I need at this point. All of the insect images were made with a telephoto lens and hand-held, which isn’t the best technique for yielding sharply focus photographs. When spring finally arrives, I intend to get in the habit of using a tripod for this kind of shooting, and will also see if I can use a real macro lens more frequently. I have a really nice Canon EF-S 60mm Macro lens, but I don’t like changing lenses out in the field too often because it increases the likelihood of getting dust inside the camera and on the sensor. Carrying a second camera with the macro lens mounted, in addition to my primary camera with the long telephoto, makes most sense.
Our weather has had some extreme variations over the past several weeks, and there may be an upside to this. Our grasshopper population has been very strong for the past several years, which we commonly blame on mild winters that are not harsh enough to kill off a large number of dormant grasshoppers. However this year’s multiple weeks of subzero temps, broken up by a significant thaw, followed again by this plummet of the mercury, may actually put a dent in their population. Early warming periods can cause a premature hatch of the dormant eggs, which, if followed by an extreme cold snap, will result in a higher mortality rate. I think I will pray for this to happen a few more times over the next couple months!
The only positive aspect of grasshoppers that I see is that they make good photography subjects!
After several days in the 30’s and 40’s last week, this 10 to 20 below zero weather really hurts! It was -17 when I pulled into Casper, WY tonight. Surprisingly, the wind wasn’t blowing too fiercely; maybe only 10-15 mph.
Since my last post I have added a couple more gallery pages. Images of landscapes and rural scenery will be located in the gallery called, Before the Mountains. My collection of landscape images is relatively small, so I have started with only five images that include Memorial Falls, a sunset on Barr Lake in Colorado, and several mountain scenes from Montana and Wyoming. The From the Third Day gallery hosts photos of a variety of plant life. The current series includes a number of wildflowers taken at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, some others taken on the Lewis & Clark National Forest, and some “domesticated” flora from my travels. As with all the galleries, the images will be rotated periodically – so check back now and again to see the new content.
On the lower portion of the sidebar on the right-hand side of this page I have started adding links to blogs and websites that I frequent. I have also included Alesia’s website, Hearts Toward Him, which is home to a variety of Scriptural inspirations, as well as several gift items including Udder Delights Goat Milk Soap. There are also a couple photography forums listed, as well as Michael J. Smith’s Magic Light Photography blog. To say I am inspired by Michael’s images would be an understatement. His landscape images are simply outstanding. Another link I added is Roy Churchill’s Photos of North Devon. While clicking through some bird photography forums I stumbled upon some of his images, and was really impressed with the quality of them. A while back when I found myself frustrated with my photography results, I emailed Mr. Churchill, who lives in the UK and I have never met, and sought some advice on equipment and technique. His response was a very detailed step-by-step checklist for capturing good images, which I have been successfully applying to my efforts. I am very grateful for his generous assistance.
Tonight I will wrap-up with a springtime image, as I am eagerly anticipating the next season and a little warmer weather!