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The World is So Big, So Amazing: Nature Tidbits

September 4, 2022

Another Way for week of August 26, 2022

The World is So Big, So Amazing: Nature Tidbits

Recently I wrote about the almost-5,000 journey my husband and I took this summer. This column is not about the sights we marveled at. Perhaps you could say this is about the things we didn’t see.

We didn’t see nearly as much traffic as we see in the east. The west is so huge, the U.S. is so vast—and indeed the world beyond the U.S. is even more massive.

And remember this: the earth is covered by about 70 percent oceans/water. Land portions cover only 30 percent. What a planet we live on! I love exploring the small parts we have been able to visit.

Endless road along I-90 in Minnesota

The Bible tells us to take care of the earth. It’s fun to ponder why God created the world. My friend and former seminary president Sara Wenger Shenk writes in her recent book, Tongue-Tied: Learning the Lost Art of Talking about Faith, “Surely God didn’t create the world out of some sense of necessity.” Think about some of the wondrous things she mentions: The melodic bird music that fills the air on a spring morning, the clouds that “boil and throb with flame and darkness, the neon colors and frills of all manner of marine life flashing their iridescence through blue green waters.” Sara concludes, “I imagine that God made this all out of pure joy.” She says more but that is the gist (p. 231).

We may wonder what God thinks now of this creation and the difficulties we find ourselves in regarding how we are taking care (or not) of this earth.

A blogger—and a nearby neighbor—shared a story recently of how she was feeding good fresh milk to pigs. And why.

They have a mini-farm and were milking two cows because they enjoy fresh milk and Jennifer has learned to make buckets of cheese of various types and names—some I’ve never heard of or seen in a store. I should add they have refrigerators full of cheese as the cheese goes through its aging process.

Our visit to the Murch mini-farm a few years ago.

She writes: At first, feeding our fresh, wonderful milk to the pigs felt terribly wrong (it’s hard for me to silence the voice in my head that says I gotta make the most of everything), but it’s not actually a loss. Feeding the milk to the pigs saves on feed costs and goes towards our future sausage, and when I water plants with the whey (or milk!), the nutrients build up the soil. In other words, “dumping” the extra milk isn’t wasteful — it’s just a shift in perspective. Food production is cyclical, and sharing the milk with the animals (and land) is as valuable as using it up directly ourselves. (You can check out her interesting cheesemaking trials and tips at the YouTube channel: Eventually they sold the extra milk cow for someone else to have.

So, I stopped feeling guilty about composting some of our rotting cucumbers and tomatoes, because we can hardly keep up with picking, canning, and freezing everything. We’ve given lots away. But even giving things away becomes time/gas consuming. Composting waste helps replenish the critters that live in—and busily work the earth around and beneath us. The Compost Learning Center (online) put it this way: “Nutrients follow a cycle: soil provides nutrients to plants, plants provide nutrients to animals, plants and animals provide nutrients to decomposers in compost, and these decomposers return nutrients to the soil.”

Ants doing their busy work. And then one day the sand just disappears!

One more nature story friends shared from a trip they took years ago to Phillip Island off of Melbourne, Australia . They enjoyed watching penguins, and there were bleachers set up near the ocean where visitors could watch the penguins after nightfall—if they (people) were quiet enough! The penguins apparently send out a penguin scout to check whether the human visitors are quiet enough for them to come up to the shore. “During nesting season, they have to return to their nests [in the sand] to feed their chicks,” says one website about the phenomenon. If the humans are too noisy, the penguins refrain from coming to shore for this important job.

How vast is our world! How awesome! I can imagine God smiling at these and many other quirks of creation.    

This is not Australia, but the Rockies in Colorado. In July.


What quirk of creation have you pondered?

What do you enjoy in this world?

What part of nature could you do without?

Comment here or write to or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834. Deadline: September 2, 2022.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. Choosing tidbits is a good way to tackle describing our big, big world. Thank you for introducing me to the Murch Mini-farm and to the value of composting. My son, who lives in suburban Jacksonville, has a sizable compost pile. I believe they hide the extra house key there because no stranger would want to go near the smell – ha!

    A memory? I remember making a snowball in the Rockies in July in 1964 (or 1965), the year I traveled forty-seven states with friends.

    • You have such a great sense of humor and way with words. … If you traveled to the Rockies in 1964 that was the year our family did the “trip west” thing and we made snowballs too. You all did well to hit 47 states!! Wow.

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