Well, I’m back! (That’s supposed to sound like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”, but when it’s typed, it just doesn’t have the same resonance!)
I was gone to Ohio all last week to help facilitate some training there at Cedarville University. We had a wonderfully energetic, gifted and bright group of “students” to work with, and I was joined by three other facilitators to help with the training.
What does all that have to do with a picture of a woodpecker? Not much of anything, really, but I’d not posted for a long time and I didn’t take my good camera with me, so I’m trying to get back into the swing of the routine again. HOWEVER, we are due to hook up the fifth wheel and head back to CA starting on Wednesday of this week, so it may be hit or miss again for a while.
But you should know this about woodpeckers (I took the picture of this one from the dining room table):
Unlike most birds that sing, a woodpecker will drum its beak against a tree. Other woodpeckers can identify which bird it is by the sound of the drumming.
There are over 180 species of woodpeckers. Any given woodpecker may peck against the wood of a tree as many as 10,000 times in a single day. Now that gives me a headache just thinking about it!
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1934, a massive storm sent millions of tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the US as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta.
When the Great Plains were settled in the mid-1800s, the land was covered by prairie grass, holding moisture in the earth and it kept most of the soil from blowing even during dry spells. By the early 20th century, farmers had plowed under much of the grass to create fields. World War I caused a great need for wheat, and farms began to push their fields to the limit, plowing under more and more grassland. After the war, with the introduction of even more powerful gasoline tractors, the process sped up.
Soon, a severe drought spread across the region. As crops died, wind began to carry dust from the over-plowed and over-grazed lands. The number of dust storms reported jumped from 14 in 1932 to 28 in 1933. In 1934, the storms decreased in frequency but increased in intensity, culminating in the most severe storm yet in May. Over two days, high-level winds caught and carried some 350 million tons of dust all the way to the eastern seaboard. According to The New York Times, dust “lodged itself in the eyes and throats of weeping and coughing New Yorkers,” and even ships 300 miles offshore saw dust collect on their decks.
The dust storms forced thousands of families from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico to uproot and migrate to California, where they were derisively known as “Okies”. These transplants found life out West not much easier than what they had left, as work was scarce and pay meager during the worst years of the Great Depression.
Another massive storm on April 15, 1935–known as “Black Sunday”–brought even more attention to the desperate situation in the Great Plains region, which reporter Robert Geiger called the “Dust Bowl.” That year, as part of its New Deal program, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration began to enforce federal regulation of farming methods, including crop rotation, grass-seeding and new plowing methods. This worked to a point, reducing dust storms by up to 65 percent, but only the end of the drought in the fall of 1939 would truly bring relief.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Cats are extremely sensitive to vibrations. Cats are said to detect earthquake tremors 10 or 15 minutes before humans can.