May 2022

Blue Herons, We Still Need Your Help!

We have selected an intern for this summer! He is graduating from Taylor University this May and is in need of local housing from June 1st until mid-August (maybe the end of August, depending on our work load at the end of cattail season). Is there anyone in our local community that would be willing provide housing for him this summer?

Please contact us at 260.316.2498

Psalm 145
by Nate Simons

The other morning as the Blue Crew gathered for our daily predictable pattern of: “Good morning!” – plans for the day – thanksgiving – prayer, we changed it up a little bit and I recited Psalm 100 from memory as our prayer. Afterward, Josh mused, “Aren’t Psalms supposed to be sung? Do we even know what the tunes are?” I said that I was pretty sure that the 3,000 year old tunes are lost. Only the lyrics remain from the era of King David, one of Israel’s ancient song writers. Were the tunes ever written down? If so, what form did music take? After all, lines, staffs, and notes are a relatively recent invention. Or were the tunes just made up, memorized, and passed along the royal court musicians? With a little research, Josh discovered that the Babylonians had developed a form of written music about 1,500 B. C., 500 years before King David. He and his fellow musicians could have documented their tunes. Alas, we do not have the record.

Enter T. M. Moore. You have read his occasional offerings about Creation and Celtic Christianity in Rustling Grass in the past. In his booklet “The Ailbe Psalter,” T. M. has rewritten all 150 Psalms and set them to the tunes of relatively well-known hymns.

So, let’s try this together. Try your hand at it as I did this morning. I first read Psalm 145 in my favorite scripture translation (the New Living Translation).

I will exalt you, my God and King,
and praise your name forever and ever.
I will praise you every day;
yes, I will praise you forever.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
No one can measure his greatness.

Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.
I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor
and your wonderful miracles.
Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
I will proclaim your greatness.
Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
they will sing with joy about your righteousness.

The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
The Lord is good to everyone.
He showers compassion on all his creation.
All of your works will thank you, Lord,
and your faithful followers will praise you.
They will speak of the glory of your kingdom;
they will give examples of your power.
They will tell about your mighty deeds
and about the majesty and glory of your reign.
For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
You rule throughout all generations.

The Lord always keeps his promises;
he is gracious in all he does.
The Lord helps the fallen
and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
The eyes of all look to you in hope;
you give them their food as they need it.
When you open your hand,
you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in everything he does;
he is filled with kindness.
The Lord is close to all who call on him,
yes, to all who call on him in truth.
He grants the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
The Lord protects all those who love him,
but he destroys the wicked.

I will praise the Lord,
and may everyone on earth bless his holy name
forever and ever.

And then again in the “Ailbe Psalter.” Here is T. M.’s translation of Psalm 145.

And here is a YouTube link to the tune “Brother James Air” (some might recognize the tune when singing “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place.”)

The tune as recorded here is shorter than the number of verses T. M. lists. So, I had to sing the last two stanza acapella.

Praise to our Father whose unfailing love lasts forever!

View from the Crew
by John Brittenham

April and May are tree planting season. Here Sarah and Emily (the twins) plant trees on a nice rainy day. Grow little trees grow.
Students at Oak Farm Montessori plant trees converting a lawn space to a future burr oak savanna. At the end of April, each lower and upper elementary class took a turn planting trees in this space.
I even got my parents involved in tree planting. During Oak Farm’s EarthFest, people were invited to come out and plant trees as part of their open oak woodland and oak savanna restoration projects. It was so fun to tell my parents how to do things. Every child’s dream.
After two years of virtual training, the volunteer butterfly monitoring program training was back in person. This year Leslie Arnold from LaGrange County Parks and Recreation helped lead the training and did a magnificent job. Thanks Leslie!
When out at Mike Metz fen, I noticed some great top kill effect from this year’s fire. These willows will be set back for yet another year to allow the landscape to continue as a high-quality sedge meadow.
The Presbyterian Chapel of the Lakes got a new refrigerator and needed some help getting it moved in place. Call in the Blue Crew.
The newest Blue Heron work truck is getting some TLC from the Brittenham family. The truck’s past life at a YMCA camp was a rough one, but its in good hands now! And what kid passes up a chance to make a few bucks washing a car on a hot day.
This spring has been a cool and wet one, but native seeds are finally starting to sprout. These little beauties are plants being grown for a rain garden at Oak Farm Montessori School. Middle school students from Oak Farm planted them in February. I love this part of the growing season.
Here come the backpack sprayers! With the growing season comes quickly growing invasive plants. Here Josh and Emily tackle invasive shrubs with basal oil. The next several months will be all to full of back pack spraying as we seek to keep our communities’ natural areas healthy by controlling invasive species.
At Duff Memorial Park just north of Pine Knob Park, BHM has been working to restore an invasive species filled slope overlooking Cedar Lake back to an oak/prairie continuum ecosystem. Removal and control of invasive shrubs and trees began in 2021 and continued into 2022. Here I am moving the cut trees and shrubs in preparation of another year of herbicide application. At the end of 2022, a native prairie and oak savanna/woodland seed mix will be planted.
Duff Memorial Park before picture, May 2021. A view from the parking lot looking east toward Cedar Lake. The understory is filled with Autumn Olive, Bush Honeysuckle, Oriental Bittersweet, and many other invasive species.
Duff Memorial Park after picture, May 2022. The same view as in the previous picture. The two largest trees seen here can also be seen in the previous picture with a non-native White Mulberry tree standing between them.
We were back out at Rieke Park in Auburn Indiana finishing planting native shoreline plants and inter-seeding the turf grass areas. Josh can be seen here spreading seed on the slope. It was great to see the area had greened up and held throughout the winter.
Here is a picture from last fall at Rieke Park as we finished laying down the erosion control fabric.
Phil gives instructions to the Blue Crew before we begin invasive species control at Clear Lake Nature Preserve.
The crew prepares to go after Canada thistle and reed canary grass at the Clear Lake Nature Preserve.

Upcoming Events

Lupine Seed Collection at Badger Barrens
Saturday, June 18th at 12:00 PM

Our first seed collection event of the year will be at our Badger Barrens preserve, and lupine will be the targeted species. This is a fun plant to harvest and is an easy one for children to help out with.

We will provide all of the supplies needed.

From Fremont, head east on SR 120 to CR 925 E. Turn left onto CR 925 E, and take that to Ln 100 Lake Anne. Turn left and follow the lane to the parking area. You can click here to view it on a map and get directions.

Watch for other seed collection opportunities in June and early July, as well as dates for our fall harvests.

Native Landscaping Tour

Are you interested in developing a pollinator planting, rain garden, or postage stamp prairie at your home? Join us in July for a tour of naturalized landscaping projects in northeast Indiana. We will stop at various sites to speak with private land owners about the challenges and successes that they have encountered with their own projects.

Details will be posted in next month’s Rustling Grass and on the website as they become available.

Conceptual drawing of the pocket park pollinator garden, in downtown Angola.