Genesis 1:31
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (New International Version-NIV)

Truly Gods vast creation, landscape, wildlife and man is beautiful beyond description.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Nearly Spring, April 12, 2013

Here in Southwestern Ohio we are experiencing a typically suppose to be spring day at least by the calendar. We had 3 or 4 days in the mid 70's to low 80's with the night time temps in the low to mid 60's and just over those few days and nights all the flowering bushes and trees popped out and have been beautiful. and just as typical we had a day and night of rain and most of the blossoms fell off. The next two nights we are suppose to get close to freezing. But let me tell you it is not that way in the sun room. I suspect you are tired of hearing about my giant elephant ears but I am sorry but I just have to tell you the one plant now has 5 blossoms and a new one is coming up. The other stem of this plant now had two blossoms. I honestly don't know what to expect. I hope it is not the situation where the plant blooms and then dies. Just have to wait and see.

The last few days I have been busy doing my income tax. Boy what a job. Anyway they are filed electronically and notice has been received that they ( both federal and state ) have been accepted.

Most of the flowers and plants I ordered have arrived and I anticipate they will get planted next week with  warmer weather being forecast. I did get the Hens and Chicks planted in two new small rock gardens I made on either side of the front entry. I can't believe it is only 20 some odd days before I hit the road again to go to Oklahoma to attend Sara's college graduation. I will be driving straight to Tulsa for a few days then to Arkansas to see my brother and some more sightseeing on the way back to Ohio. Have not totally decided what all I want to see but the world is full of wonderful things to see and explore.

Have stuff I need to do so will close this posting.  As always remember God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dead Sea Scrolls # 2, Apr. 4, 2013

Above is the Cincinnati Museum Center where the some of the  Dead Sea Scrolls are on display. Since the first scrolls were discovered in a cave above Qumran in 1947 there have been many questions raised about them such as who wrote them? Where were they written? Why were they put in the caves? Other questions were raised by the way they were handled after discovery

The French Biblical School in Jerusalem had a largest collection of the scrolls and did not allow any outside study of them for several decades. This brought out speculation that they had discovered information that was unfavorable to the Catholic Church so they were hiding it. Many of the scrolls are kept and protected by Jewish authorities in Jerusalem. The Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem has many scrolls and artifacts. At all these organizations the scrolls and artifacts are studied and attempts are made to preserve them for future generations.

As is often the case when mankind finds something new he immediately starts to study it and in many case try to preserve it but in virtually every case his efforts end up doing more damage than good. Such is the case with the Dead Sea Scrolls. As I indicated in my first posting some scrolls were actually cut into pieces and sold as souvenirs. The scrolls as the names implies were in rolls and very dusty ( if not dirty ) so the cleaning and unrolling process was extremely difficult. There were many large as well as hundreds of small fragments of scroll material. In an effort to piece these pieces together often they were taped together with cellophane tape so they could be read and studied. In some instances the parchment was placed between panes of glass and the pressure of the glass caused the adhesive of the tape to be forced into the parchment   Further damage happened when the tape was removed. Some scrolls were stored under wood floors where the accumulating moisture damaged them.

Several theory have been advanced about who wrote the scrolls and where were they written. One theory is that they were written in Jerusalem and transported in pottery jars to the caves of Qumran when Roman soldiers advanced on Jerusalem. Another theory is that they were written in Rome and transported in pottery jars to the caves of Qumran. Why they would have been moved from Rome is unknown. Another theory is that they were written by the Essenes in Qumran and placed in jars in the caves above Qumran as Roman soldiers approached and destroyed the settlement of Qumran. Modern science and technology  such as DNA, and various kinds of analysis has helped answer some of these questions

First lets look at the Jewish religious community back 2,000 years ago where we find there were 3 different sects. One was the Pharisee. Then there were the Sadducee's.  Then a third much smaller group was the Essenes. It appears this last group played a major role in the writing and placing the scrolls in the Qumran caves. They lived in Jerusalem then moved to Qumran where they lived for about 200 years. It is believed the scrolls were written by the Essenes who placed the scrolls pottery jars and stored them in the caves as the Roman Army approached and destroyed the settlement. There they stayed until discovered in 1947. It appears the Essenes spread out across the country and were never again located in a settlement like Qumran.

Much of what is known about the Essenes comes from the writings of Josephus Ben Matthias who was born into a family with a long history of priests and he became a priest himself. He spent time with an Essene sect before becoming a Pharisee at the age of 19. He realized the power of Rome could not be defeated so he discouraged the Jewish rebellion against Rome. He was swept up in the rebellion and was made a commander of Galilee. When Jerusalem was destroyed he was taken to Rome as a prisoner. His life was spared when he predicted that Vespasian would become emperor which he did 2 years later. Upon release he adopted the family name of Flavius the name of the emperor. In A. D. 70 Josephus Flavius he joined Vespasian's son Titus to march on Jerusalem and this made him an unforgivable traitor by many of the Jews. Later he returned to Rome where he became a Roman citizen and started writing about the history of the Jews. Some think his writings were not only to record history but an explanation of the Jews to the Romans and perhaps try to redeem himself.

With that background of Josephus has a lot to offer about the Essene sect. The Essenes reject pleasure as evil. They  despise  riches and seem to all share all things in common so that no one seems poor and another one rich. They do not anoint themselves with oil and consider it a defilement. They think that to be sweaty is a good thing. They are clothed in white garments. Josephus indicates they have no certain city but many of them live in many cities thus when one travels he always finds one Essene he can stay with. They have very strict rules about eating, bathing, and reading and studying the holy writings. They spend several hours a day devoted to reading and studying. What they most honor after God himself is the name of their " legislator " Moses whom if any blaspheme, then that is a capital sin. The process for a man to join the sect is roughly a three year process of rigorous routine. Generally most do not marry. One sect within the Essene do marry for the continuance of mankind and not for the pleasures of marriage.  This marriage is on a  trial bases for three years and if it appears the wife may be able to conceive then the marriage is official.

Now lets look at how science and technology has helped answer some of the questions. When the scrolls have gone through the years of cleaning and restoration much of the materials removed have been saved. Examination of this material has been under the microscope. Small insects, some white fibers and head lice have been discovered. This white thread may be from the white garments the Essene wore.  It is thought that DNA may be retrieved from these head lice and other materials may be traceable to human bones removed from graves during early excavations. ( Israel  prohibits removal materials from burial sites now ). Many of the scrolls were written on goat skin and they have been able to obtain DNA from these scrolls and determine that the skins that certain scrolls were written on were from the same goat. They have found that some scrolls that are not legible to the naked eye are clearly readable under UV light or different colored lights.

To me one of the most amazing fact is the examination of the clay that was used to make the jars which contained the scrolls. They took samples of the clay used in Jerusalem  to make pottery. They took samples of clay used in Rome to make pottery and they took samples of clay used to make pottery in Qumran.  They found that the pottery at Qumran was made at Qumran thus dispelling the idea that the scrolls were moved in pottery from Jerusalem or Rome. This furthers the position that the scrolls were also written at Qumran by the Essenes at Qumran.I want to conclude by showing a few photos.

Caves like this where Dead Sea Scrolls were found

Caves like this where Dead Sea Scrolls were found
Caves where scrolls were found
Entrance of cave where 530 scrolls were found in 1952

Same cave as shown above
Closer view of entrance of the cave shown above
This shows damage to one of the scrolls
This shows how some pieces of scroll were sown together

Just had to show you two more giant elephant ear photos. Below is the third blossom on the same plant.

The following is a large leaf which was so heavy the stem could not support it and the limb bend. The leaf will eventually die because it cannot get water past the point where the stem is bent. This leaf is close to 3 feet long and 20 or so inches wide.

Well it has been a busy day working on this posting. Signing checks at church. Then taking Michael to get his hair cut then a good meal with him at Cracker Barrel. Finally got home about 6:30. The traffic was a mess.

As I always say God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

West Chester Nature, Apr. 3, 2013

I have one more posting covering the Dead Sea Scroll on display here at the Cincinnati Museum Center but first I want to share some other material. If you follow my postings you soon learn I love nature and all of the beauty God created for us to manage, appreciate and love. I have a lot to watch and laugh at in my back yard and in the plant room. I will share a few photos and comments so lets get started.

I have nine bird feeders in the back yard and one specifically for the squirrels all 8 of them but they always want to eat from other feeder that are for the birds so I am always on the look for feeders that are suppose to be squirrel proof like the one above. You can see it is anything but squirrel proof.

You see if you just keep studying the problem eventually you can sole it as this squirrel did. Not only did he get inside the feeder he eventually removes the bird perch's so the feed would spill out. Squirrel proof. HA.
Back to the store for a refund.

While cleaning out drawers and cabinets Joyce found a pecan tree that Jan made years ago. She glued pecans to a cone shape and then finished it with a high gloss spray. I threw it out under one of the feeders where it remained untouched for a day then Mr. squirrel decided to take a look and he liked what he saw. He worked all day 10 or so hours removing the pecans. There were at least a hundred pecans stuck to the form. He would remove the glue and pieces of the cone stuck to the pecan then went off and buried it in the yard and flower beds. You can see pieces of the cone lying around where he cleaned up his prize. Interesting as competitive as the squirrels are none of the others bothered him or his find perhaps they will later dig the pecans up after he did all the work.
Above I referred to the squirrel as Mr. but in this photo I think he is a pregnant Mrs. 
This is not the squirrel inside the feeder above.
Giant Elephant Ear now has three blossoms
Hugh elephant ear leaf. When it learn over to far the stem can't hold it up so it causes the stem to
 fold and it will eventually die because it can't get water past the fold point. 
This leaf is a good 3 feet long.

I go by fairly regularly to check on the wild turkeys and the last time I went by there were at least 7 in the field. Several of the males had their tail feathers all spread out strutting their stuff. I suppose they were trying to impress the female. It seemed to me they were ignoring the males.

I did buy a new and different squirrel proof bird feeder but so far nothing has even looked at it. When I put something new out it seems they have to get use to the new thing before they ( birds or squirrels ) will approach it. I will let you  know. I hope all the squirrels will be able to do is just climb all over it and that they are permitted to do.

Must close now. Post #2 on the Dead Sea scrolls is coming next. Remember God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Monday, April 1, 2013

Snow And Dead Sea Scrolls, Apr. 1, 2013

This posting is one that I don't know where to start as the last 2 or 3 weeks have been a blur with so much activity so as the story goes I will start at the beginning  as best as I can recall with the help of my trusty camera. March this year was a wonderful month because as you can gather from an earlier posting Daughter, Joyce drove the long ways from New York for a few days visit. I appreciated this more than you can imagine. We had a great time looking at old slides and photographs and trying to accurately recall old events and I must admit that on some of the details I did not have perfect recall. Of course it took 3 of the girls ganging up on me to prove I was wrong. Joyce helped me clean out some more drawers and helped me decide it was time to throw away a lot of old stuff that no one would want or have any use for.

It has finally decided that winter should act like winter. We have had a couple of pretty good snows with snow flurries just about every day while Joyce was visiting. With the colder weather and the snow the wild life has been active in my back yard.

Four Of Seven Deer In Yard At The Same Time
Something Spooked The Deer And All 7 Are Just About Ready To Leave The Yard
The 7th Deer Gets A last Bite Of Apricot Tree Before Jumping The Fence

Joyce and Charlie visited a Orchid show in New York before she came to visit me and she brought me a beautiful Orchid. I love Orchids and it's a beauty. Since she went back home it has a new stem with 5 blossom buds on it and it looks like another new stem is starting to come up. Now all I have to do is keep from killing it.

Isn't  That Beautiful
Joyce Headed For The Cincinnati Museum Center

The Cincinnati Museum Center is located in the old Union Terminal which is still active as a train station but currently also serves as the home of the Museum Center which has a display of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Joyce and I went to see it. Currently at the Museum Center there are several scrolls on parchment, animal skins and all sorts of ancient pottery items and coins from those ancient biblical times. There are roughly 900 Dead Sea Scroll still in existence. Only 10 were on display at this stop in Cincinnati. The most cherished scroll is The Ten Commandment Scroll and it was not on display when Joyce and I went. In the Bible the Ten Commandments are mentioned in Exodus and Deuteronomy. The scroll on display here is from  Deuteronomy. There are only 2 ancient manuscripts that contain the Ten Commandments. The other Ten Commandment manuscript, known as the Nash Papyrus, is at Cambridge University. The Ten Commandment parchment on display here is 18 inches long and 3 inches wide and is estimated to be between 2010 and 2060 years old. It is written in Hebrew and has 2 pieces sown together. The Antiquities Authority of Israel requires that this particular particular scroll be stored in darkness for one year after every 10 days of display. The Cincinnati Museum Center was able to get this 10 days extended to 17 days. Unfortunately it was not on display when Joyce and I were there. Concerning the other scrolls on display no photographs were permitted of them. There were monitors every few yards to make sure no one took any photos. It was not that they did not photographs taken but they did not want the exposure of the scrolls to the bright flash of light. The lighting in the rooms and display cases was subdued. They even would not let you use your cell phone and we saw several instances of people being asked to turn off their cell devices and put them away. They were ready to ask you to leave if you did not follow directions. This scroll display will go from Cincinnati to Boston. It has been to North America only twice before. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947 in caves near an ancient dessert settlement of Qumran, near the sea. It is not know for certain who wrote them and placed them in the caves or even why. The story goes that an individual was near one of the caves and tossed a rock inside and heard the breaking of pottery. This led to the discovery of the scrolls and numerous other artifacts. Many of the items on display were discovered during excavation of and around the old settlement of Qumran.
Aerial View Of The Ruins Of Qumran In The Judea Dessert

Large Pottery Jars ( See Three Photos Below Describing These Pieces Of Pottery )

These scrolls are important to the Jewish, Christian and Islam faiths.  Much controversy  exists among many religious groups about the scrolls and their meaning. The one thought I have is I wonder why God kept the scrolls preserved in such good condition and permitted their discovery in 1947. Being in the large pottery jar in the dark caves and the arid climate of the dessert area helped preserve them but why? After their discovery I knew they were discovered in caves by the sea and I always assumed they were just slightly higher than the beach by the sea but that is not the case at all because photographs of the cliffs where the caves are located show they are many feet up from the sea and not easily accessible.

After Joyce went back home I went back to the Museum Center to see the ten Commandment scroll but guess what. I did not get to see it because they were all sold out. I may try to buy a ticket on line and go back before it moves o the Boston.

Also, at the Cincinnati Museum Center in the IMax theater was the movie of the flight of the Monarch Butterflies. It was amazing and I highly recommend it if it comes to your area. It is a story about a boy who is fascinated with nature and eventually studies butterflies and wonders where they come from and where do they go. This turns out to be a life long study for he and his wide as they learn how to tag the wings of butterflies and get reports back from people who have found the tagged ones. Long story short he eventually teams with a young man in Mexico who helps him track them and actually finds where they winter. He and his wife visit the site and he finds one of the butterflies that he had tagged. Very inspirational movie and once again proves how awesome our God is in all the aspects of nature and the creatures He placed in His creation. The mother butterfly flies from Mexico to Texas where she  lays an egg on a weed that is distasteful to animals. The egg hatches a worm which feeds only on this weed and eventually morphs into a beautiful Monarch butterfly who flies on North as far as Canada. There she lays  an eggs which turns into a worm and eventually a butterfly who before winter flies to Mexico. In Mexico they stay in one particular pine wooded area high in the mountains where they cluster together by the tens of millions and provide warmth to each other. They are so thick on the boughs of the pines you can't see the greenery. This is a most beautiful movie, very educational and inspirational as well and you should see it.  I was told the DVD won't be out for another 6 to 12 months.

The Cincinnati Museum Center is home to many outstanding displays some of which are of John James Audubon. The following plaque tells about his work.

John James Audubon Plaque On Museum Center
Cincinnati Skyline Looking From The Museum Center
Mural On Wall Of The Dome In Main Lobby. From This Lobby You Enter All Other 
Areas Including The Amtrak Train Waiting Room
Mural On Another Wall In Main  Lobby Under The Dome

IMax Theater Projection Room
If you love organs and organ music the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is the place you need to come. On specific dates they have noted organist perform concerts on the Museum Center organ. If my memory serves me right this organ was once in Philadelphia and was moved to Cincinnati in 1987. It was restored and installed in specifically designed organ chambers in the Union Terminal. The main chambers are located on either side of where the Rotunda meets the rear concourse. The antiphonal division is over the entrance to the Cincinnati history Museum There are more than 4,000 pipes which are played from a console with four manuals.The next recital is April 29 of this year and I hope to be able to get tickets and attend.

Well I better close out this posting as it is time to fix something to eat and I have way to much more to talk about and this would get way too long. So remember God loves you and I love you also.

Grandpa Bill