Tag Archives: God’s stuff

Bonus Video: Funny Turtles

I remember my box turtles cheesing off our dog, Rags, by eating his dog-food and ignoring his objections. What could he do to them?

One of these tortoises is attempting to mate with a basketball; but the others appear to be… well, playing. We even see a tortoise, perhaps an Aesop’s Fables re-enactor, trying to catch a rabbit. That reminds me of my nice pet land crab who became the object of a small tortoise’s amorous ambitions, resulting in the world’s slowest romance on the floor of my iguana cage.

There’s a lot more to the mind of a turtle than we might think.

It’s God’s stuff, and it always works. A lot better than any computer, we might add.

‘For the Beauty of the Earth’

With the ugliness of our current political season approaching a point beyond belief, now turn we unto God’s stuff: For the Beauty of the Earth, sung by Heather Prusse, packed with photos of God’s created beauty–preserved by Him, despite the fallen status of this world. The beauty is there for a reason: to testify that God is nigh.

The Very Rare Frilled Shark

See the source image

(Thanks to “Unknowable” for the news tip)

Well, well! Somebody finally caught a frilled shark and took pictures of it. (http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/11/14/demon-shark-with-snakes-head-caught-for-first-time.html)

Okay, I’m Mr. Nature so I knew what a frilled shark is, although I never saw anything but line drawings of it. “Demon shark with snake’s head” is laying it on a bit thick, but it certainly is a unique shark. They caught it deep in the waters off Portugal.

If you link to the news article, look closely at the pictures. See those teeth? They have a very odd shape; you wouldn’t be likely to mistake them for anything else. (Well, for some weird kind of pasta, maybe.) I found quite a few teeth like that, fossil-hunting around the Jersey shore, suggesting that sharks like this were more common, once upon a time. Lots and lots of shark teeth, all different shapes and sizes, in the Navesink Formation.

The frilled shark is still here, even if some of the seas it used to swim in aren’t. God has created many variations on the basic shark body plan, and this one is one of the strangest.

How Long Do Sharks Live?

Great white shark–how long does it live?

Hi, Mr. Nature here, pleading ignorance–’cause I don’t know how long sharks live in the wild and I’m not sure how you’d find out.

Some sharks do well in captivity, but some don’t. It’s not a natural environment, no matter how large the aquarium. They say the humble spiny dogfish has a lifespan of 100 years or more (http://www.sharks-world.com/how_long_do_sharks_live/). They think the Great White tops out at 30 or 40, based on counting growth rings in shark vertebrae. But I don’t know how reliable that method of calculation can be, given the small number of actual specimens in the sample.

How many fish in the sea die of natural causes? I would guess, not many. There’s always a bigger, faster fish looking to eat you, parasites galore, and storms that can wash you up on land: all sorts of hazards. Who can observe the whole life of a fish? Pet goldfish, if you aren’t careful about how you take care of them, die in a year or so. But if you know what you’re doing, they can live 20 or 30 years. But who knows what happens to a fish in the wild, throughout its life?

This is nature, this is God’s stuff–an inexhaustible supply of fascination: and a reminder that no, we certainly do not know everything.



A New ‘Biggest Dinosaur’

Image result for images of patagonian biggest dinosaur

Patagonia, in South America, used to be known for extraordinarily big men. Now it’s known for extraordinarily big dinosaurs.

The newest contender for the crown, Patagotitan, was discovered in 2012 and only presented to the world this year. Scientists calculate it as being roughly the size of eleven elephants, and some 120 feet long.

Bob Bakker, the paleontologist who did more than anyone to change the public perception of dinosaurs, once told me he thought God must have taken real delight in creating these giants. Who am I to disagree?

Now that they’re looking for them in the Southern Hemisphere, scientists keep discovering bigger and cooler dinosaurs–it’s hard to keep track of them all. We needn’t take the Darwinian spiel seriously, and we do have to allow for normal human error in reconstructing the whole animal from an incomplete set of bones: but we can certainly step back and admire God’s handiwork.

Any animal this size really ought to make us humble. And this is Mr. Nature, with more of God’s stuff, signing off.

Homage to a Butterfly

Mr. Nature here–and I can’t let this year go by without paying homage to the tiger swallowtail butterfly, one of my favorite creations by God’s mind and hands.

These tigers are holding a convention on a stand of buttonbush. I’ve never seen so many in one place. Around here, you just see one now and then, alone. But then we don’t have any buttonbush to attract them.

Mrs. Nature is thinking next year’s garden might be better as a butterfly garden–milkweed for the monarchs, and assorted wildflowers for the rest. I’m all for it. Maybe this’ll be my chance finally to see a hummingbird.

A Cat You Never Heard Of

Hi, Mr. Nature here, with a cat you never heard of: the wild Manul of Central Asia, also known as Pallas’ Cat. Scientists consider it a kind of living fossil. It’s about the size of a regular domestic cat, looking much fatter because of its thick fur.

The Manul looks cute and cuddly, but zookeepers–and there aren’t many of these critters in the zoos of the world–say it’s very difficult to tame. It seems the Manul has a short fuse. But we’ve all known cats like that, and at least the Manul has good looks going for it.

God took the basic cat template and created all kinds of variations on the theme. That’s what makes the music of Creation such a complicated symphony, and one that never runs out of surprises.

A Nice Pet Snapping Turtle

Snapping turtles have a reputation for being ornery; but check out this 40-pounder having a cozy time with his owner. The turtle is, in short, a pet. And far from biting your fingers off, he likes getting petted.

I’ve always found snappers among the easiest turtles to tame. Although they are water turtles, they’re pretty much at home on land, too. So you can let them stroll around.

The point is: almost all animals respond to love, gentleness, and affection. Even some of the animals that you look at and say, “Oh, no way!”

This is an aspect of God’s creation–a distinguishing mark of His handiwork.

We call it love.


Image result for images of black walnuts

No, it’s not an artillery barrage I’m hearing, It’s our nearby walnut tree pelting the earth.

The nuts in the picture are peanuts, compared to our black walnuts. Ours are roughly the size of baseballs, and just a little heavier. The tree is full of hundreds of them–and don’t be standing under one, when it comes down. The other day one struck my writing chair and broke a hole in it.

We can’t make use of them because it’s way too labor=intensive to get the nut out. Under the green rind there used to be a layer of yellow stuff which by now has turned all black and gooey and disgusting. Squirrels like to perch on a branch over my head and spit this gunk onto my manuscript. They’re lucky I don’t have a slingshot.

Once the yard is covered with hundreds of these nuts, maybe even thousands of them, the footing becomes extremely iffy. Easy to turn your ankle!

In spite of all these drawbacks, though, I can still understand that these nuts are God’s stuff and He made them for a reason. They’re even sort of cool, and I have to admit I do enjoy picking one up, taking my stance on an imaginary mound, going into my glorious Luis Tiant windup, and firing a strike past Johnny Bench–who isn’t really there, but you get the idea.

He hasn’t gotten a hit off me yet.

Symbol of Hope and Sanity

This is the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Irkutsk, Siberia, and this is the music of its bells.

Built in the 17th century, the cathedral survived 70 years in the Godless Soviet wasteland, the communists having shut down religious services and converted it into a bread factory.

When I was growing up, there was no hope whatsoever that the Soviet Union would ever pass away. But it did! I was still in bed when Patty came running upstairs with the news: “There is no more Soviet Union!” It was as if God had simply plucked it off the table.

He can do things like that.

And the bells, so long silent, ring again. God hears them. He did not forget them, nor His people who were waiting for the day when they could hear them, too.

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