February 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm (water, Water Ceremony)
Tags: Bad River Reservation, Beech leaves, Birds, fresh drinking water, Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation, Pow Wow, Red Pine, Snow, water, Water Ceremony, Water is Alive
Recently, I walked out to the Cathedral in the Pines. There was a foot of snow on the ground as I hiked out to Wild Butterfly Habitat just beyond a pine grove and hardwood forest. I had to stop several times to catch my breath.
I went out to do a Water Ceremony in communion with Bad River Reservation and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College and Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation. They held a Water is Alive Ceremony and Pow Wow today at LCO Convention Center. We stand up for the Earth and are protesting Iron Ore Mine proposed at headwaters of 23 waterways through Bad River Reservation, which will pollute water all the way out through other communities also and Lake Superior.
Fresh drinking water is a gift for all living species be it human, animal, insect, plants, trees, bees and fish. Water is for all species. I played my clapping sticks as I chanted the song for the Water Ceremony. I put down corn meal that had previously been prayed with. Also I brought stale bread for the birds.
Beech leaves quivered and white pine tree needles danced in a breeze. The sun peeked out behind a cloud to be with us. And the Earth was made happy.
December 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm (Butterfly habitat, Pollinator habitat, Wildlife habitat)
Tags: Animals, Beech, Birds, Cancer cure, Chick-a-dee, Cindy Dyer, Compost, Dr. Andrew Weil, Forsythia, Mary Ellen Ryall, Millet, Mushrooms, Oak, Paul Stamet, Pine needed, shrubbery, suet, Turkey tail mushroom
Sarah was a child of the woods. Recently, she hadn’t been feeling all that well. The need to go outside and communicate with nature was calling her. Poor Sarah, the tell tale signs of respiratory disease (COPD) were a real concern right now. Sarah’s mind did a memory walk, while venturing down the woodland path. Many years ago, her grandmother told her, “My own sister died of pneumonia when she was 18 years old.” She didn’t mention her sister’s name. Continuing the thought she said, “My sister had beautiful red hair.” Then, dusting her well worn hands against her apron; Sarah’s grandmother asked that they change the subject.
Sarah’s grandmother had reminded her to live in the present and be grateful for today. These thoughts followed Sarah as she ventured out to the habitat. The path was richly carpeted in pine needles, beech and oak leaves.
Once in awhile, Sarah came upon a surprise miniature colony of moss, looking like a tiny forest, interlaced with snow and a loose bed of leaves. Sarah learned intrinsically that leaves protect moss and snow keeps the colony alive with moisture. Sarah loved learning like this.
Our Lady of the Woods
Along the pathway was a small alter to Our Lady of the Woods. Mary, her sister recently told her that the statue was Slovak. A little further along, Sarah noted transplanted rhododendrons that her sister had set out at different points along the trail. After all, it was botanical woodlands.
Upon entering the habitat, Sarah was greeted by a small handmade paper sign that read, “Friends.” To Sarah, friends were birds and wild animals that lived there. Turning her gaze to a dead tree, she noticed the suet hanger, hung a few weeks ago, was empty. In another tree, a metal suet feeder was missing. Sometimes things disappear in the woods. Who carries them off she wondered?
Shrugging, she turned her mind to the millet hung in the trees. She observed that the seed heads are holding up well. What was that sweet sound? Chick-a-dee-dee-dee. Oh little birds are here. Delighted she watched where they landed as they inched towards her.
Sarah wanted to investigate the forsythia that Mary planted this past fall. Her sister had been transplanting bits of shrubbery to brighten the habitat with blossoms some day. Deer have been here, she noted; some tender shoots had been eaten. In that moment, Sarah’s heart was happy remembering Indigenous instructors who taught her so many beautiful things, which she now carried in her heart.
Sarah dumped the contents of compost in a pile, from a stainless steel bowl. Each time she went to the habitat, she tried to bring saved raw coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells and vegetable waste. Sarah wanted to create some good compost to work with next spring.
Nearby, a colony of Turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) was growing on an old dead tree limb. The tree had lost its life in a blow down years ago. Turkey tail’s medicinal properties have been researched by Paul Stamets, owner of Fungi Perfecta at http://www.fungi.com/
The mushroom is believed to have medicinal properties that could treat some forms of cancer. Sarah was interested in medicinal mushrooms for this reason. The National Institutes of Health tested Paul Stamet’s Host Defense Turkey Tail from Fungi Pefecta. Dr. Andrew Weil wrote a knowledgeable article at http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400904/Turkey-Tail-Mushrooms-for-Cancer-Treatment.html
After the thrill of seeing the mushroom in her habitat, Sarah spent a few more moments looking at hanging bells she had hung. She hoped the wind would make them jingle.
Before heading home to the farm, she took one last look at a miniature pumpkin decorating a tree stump. Who knows, perhaps habitat visitors enjoyed looking at the Christmas garlands instead of eating them.
Mary Ellen copyright Cindy Dyer
Happy holidays Butterfly Woman friends where ever you are.
August 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm (Birds, Bugs, Insects, Mushrooms, Plants, Pollinators)
Tags: Birds, Conifers, Deciduous trees, Flowers, Fruits, Grasshoper, Hollyhock, Insects, Mossy maze polypore, Mourning dove, Mushrooms, Spore print, Thanksgiving, Turkey tail mushroom, Vegetables
One can hope that the moist forest has lots of different mushroom species. A few days ago I discovered mossy maze polypore (Cerrena unicolor). I am looking for Turkey tail mushroom. The algae-covered mushroom feels hairy in sections, then smooth in others. It is strongly zoned which gives it a false appearance of turkey tail. Mossy maze polypore grows on live deciduous trees or conifers.The polypore was growing on a live apple tree. Flesh has white with grayish zone separating it from a hairy cap surface. Spore print is white. I need to find colored paper for testing spores that are white. I tried getting a spore match on a white paper plate and of course I couldn’t see the print. Turkey tail grows on dead deciduous trees or in wounds. Mossy maze polypore grows throughout N. North America. Source: Field Guide to Mushroom by National Audubon Society. Not all species live on trees.
NOTE: A few day later my eight year old great-niece Amelia and I went mushroom hunting. We found a few more species. I still am unsure of species, but want to add photos and any notations that I have that may help with identification. Along the way, we stopped at the wild butterfly habitat for me to check it out.
Amelia and Toby
It wasn’t long before I saw Amelia kneeling down by a white cross where Toby, the dog, was buried in the butterfly habitat in the nearby woods. I was surprised to find her there quietly visiting the deceased dog whom Amelia and the family loved. To see her innocence and love for one of the Creator’s creatures was a heartrending sight. She said she wished she could pull the rocks away so she could see Toby once again. I knew how she felt. I told her my own story of wanting to dig up my dog Tia just too see her again too. I explained that we had to let our loved ones go when they walked on. It was respectful to them. Amelia understood. It wasn’t long before we were hiking on the trail once again.
Mossy maze polypore
Mossy maze polypore (Cerrena unicolor) Leathery , stalkless, grayish. Hairy, often algae-covered caps. Smoky pores. Spore print white. On deciduous trees mostly, overlapping. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms, 2004.
NOTE: More mushroom photos follow.
Red mushroom growing in wet forest area
I finally see where the mourning dove lives. For weeks I have been watching the mourning dove in his/her favorite roost perched on the barn roof. Yesterday I saw him fly to my father’s nearby Norway spruce tree. My sister Ronnie confirmed that this is where mourning doves live. I find it interesting that the bird likes to watch the family when they are in the pool area. It is here we have garden fresh casual suppers, sitting around a umbrella covered picnic table. The cooing bird also likes to watch human activity in the front gardens. Often I am out there smelling flowers or taking photos of pollinating insects on flowers.
Gills and spore side
Grasshopper carries pollen on its feet
Yesterday I caught a green grasshopper with hollyhock pollen on his/her legs. Now I know that even a grasshopper can be a pollinator. My sister and I love old fashioned hollyhocks. Ronnie has a scattered collection of near black, maroon and pink. We both planted a brilliant dark pink hollyhock last year and new first year leaves have been spotted both in our gardens in WI and MA. I collected seeds from the plant in an alley in WI. It is by far the prettiest color I have seen.
Let’s hear it for the pollinators! Without them there wouldn’t be a bio-diverse world nor the wonderful variety of vegetables and fruits that we often take for granted. We celebrate a thanksgiving each time we remember to thank and protect pollinators.
July 28, 2012 at 9:07 am (Birds, Healing, Health issues, Herbs, Massachusetts, Medicinal herbs, Moths, Protected water shed area)
Tags: Birds, blood pressure, Cat, Chobani Greek yogurt, Evening primrose, false indigo, Fibromyalgia, Field Guide, fireweed, Fitchburg, four-leaf clover, Health issues, Hoary vervain, ibromyalgia, Lambs quarter, Massachusetts, moths, Primrose moth, Probiotics, Protected watershed area, Tai chi, wild grapes, Wild landscaping
Greetings Insectamonarca friends,
Today, Wednesday, July 25, 2012
This evening at sunset, the sun was filtering through the forest and the fragrance of woods, herbs, and flowers including scented geraniums was impregnating the air. I stood in a grassy area before the gardens by the pool and started to practice Justine Stone’s Tai chi form as I opened up to communicating with sounds of forest and happy buzzing insects. At nights I have been sleeping on the back screened patio. I love falling asleep to sounds of wind, rain and insects blessing me. A few days ago China the cat was attached by a feral cat. She had gotten outside and has a shoulder injury. It is amazing but she and I are recuperating together. I have learned to slow down and do mindful walking to re-center my blood pressure. China is limping around on three legs. She teaches me about importance of rest. We have become fast friends.
My sister, Ann Veronica Ryall-Hohos, nickname Ronnie, has been creating a botanical paradise on 40 acres of protected watershed area in rural MA hills, near Fitchburg, MA, during her lifetime. The old homestead dates from 1820s. The house is Colonial with shaker cedar and a hoop roof. I had no idea of how extensive her plant knowledge ancestral connections would take her in creating a magnificent natural biodiversity environment. While Ronnie was busy co-creating her natural heaven at home, I was out in the world with my side of the shared plant knowledge DNA sharing my life’s work with the world, documenting field guides for butterflies and other pollinators and prairie restoration and other pollinators. I have come full circle and I am once again home after a life time of travel and environmental education commitment. Two of my books are published My Name is Butterfly and Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book. The children’s environmental education books are available on Amazon.
I don’t have the life expectancy to complete in-depth documentation of my sister’s tremendous contribution to wild landscaping. I will do regular meditation and medicinal walks among the plants and record observations of native plants, vegetable gardens, berry and grape, herbal medicinal and culinary discoveries here. At the same time, I will record new insect pollinators including the monarch butterfly and bird discoveries. I always love a natural world mystery and I wasn’t disappointed today. This morning, I walked down the hilly driveway to build my leg muscles. I am recovering from a degenerative health breakdown of my immune system. It is complicated. On the positive side I can handle what is coming my way knowing that I am not on dialysis or suffering with cancer at this time in my life. Anything other than these two categories I am grateful to say that Grace is guiding me in acceptance of impending health issues and end of life quality of life issues and independence.
There is enough time to share about the hoary vervain, fireweed,wild and domestic grapes, common mullein, four -leaf clover, heal all, and wild bergamot, lambs quarter, false indigo and possibly Culver’s root that I witnessed this morning. I saw a new species of moth. Two pink tinged moths with vanella body and white fringe around outside back wings. They were sleeping in an evening primrose flower. Of course I need to verify the species. I don’t have my WI field guides with me and will fill in details that I find through the Internet and hopefully a visit to the library, as time permits.
UPDATE: The small and delicate pink moth is a primrose moth (Schinia florida). This was a new moth species discovery for me. I am thrilled. How appropriate. There they were sleeping in a evening primrose flower, so sweet.
I also witnessed two new small bird species, one with a yellow head the other with a yellow breast. No, they are not American finches (wild canary). Again, I am thrilled to already doing my field work here and discovering new species of plant, bird or insect. I am sure there will be wonderous surprises along the way. I also gathered Lambs quarter and a broccoli leaf and added the greens to an organic garden fresh tomato sandwich for lunch. Want to lower your cholesterol? Instead of using egg rich mayonnaise, try adding a spoonful of room temperature Chobani Greek yogurt. This yogurt has natural probiotics and a mix of live cultures that keep the good flora working in the digestive system. It is absolutely critical to add living culture yogurt to the diet if one is on antibiotics and other medications. I arrived in MA with a Lyme’s disease. I was bite in WI but it didn’t register because I didn’t have the classic symptoms of aching joints. Having fibromyalgia can at times camoflage symptoms. I am on antibiotics for 21 days.
I gathered wild bergamot and common mullein which are respiratory herbs. I drink a tea of these herbs for COPD. I added heal all, a general tonic and four-leaf clover which is rich in vitamin B. This was my morning medicinal tea. This evening I am making a medicinal tea of cedar leaf, a healing herb for body, mind and spirit, centering and balance. This is a well known herb used by Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa plant people of the Great Lakes region of WI. I am adding a few leaves of energizing peppermint to this mix. I found out that I need catnip a sedative or chamomoile for evenings, not an energizer, otherwise I can’t fall asleep. Since this writing, I have found Solomon’s seal which I have been looking for in WI. I am so thankful that the plants are here to greet me. It feels like old friends are welcoming me home. Early morning between 4 am and 7 am, the barred owl comes calling. I do not hear a return salutation so perhaps the owl is alone at this time.
Be well Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.
November 1, 2011 at 7:33 am (Birds, Environmental and Holiday Film Fest, Happy Tonics, Nursing Homes)
Tags: Annual Meeting, Birds, DVD, Environmental and Holiday Film Fest, Happy Tonics, Hummingbirds, Nursing Homes
October 21 – The environmental film Hummingbirds by Nature was shown at Terraceview Living Center. Film crews used special cameras to capture 500 images a second. These wondrous tiny birds are the only bird species that can hover, fly backwards and fly vertical. I have seen male hummingbirds perch near a nectar source in order to defend their territory. The film showed one species of hummingbird that was trained by a flower. In the tropics, intoxicating datura flowers grow and only the sword bill hummingbird with its extra long bill can pollinate the flower. The movie literally shows the tiny bird as magic in the air. Hummingbirds are the smallest warm bodied creatures on the planet. They are fast and their wings can beat up to 200 times every second.
After the event I stopped by City Hall to chat with Mayor Sally Peterson. She donated the 2010 donor fee for Terraceview in memory of her mother Angeline (Angie) Klopp. It just so happened that October 21 was her mother’s birthday. Mayor Peterson said, “My mother loved hummingbirds.” It was a good feeling to know that the first film to celebrate the fall had an intention beyond simply showing a film.
October 22 – Happy Tonics, Inc. held its Annual Meeting at Lakeview Bar and Restaurant. Officers and board are currently exploring long term plans and goals for the nonprofit and the Restored Remnant Tallgrass Prairie. The purpose is to insure that both the public charity and habitat are secure into the future. The Monarch Butterfly Habitat, two blocks north of downtown Shell Lake, is on the long range Comprehensive Plan for Shell Lake.
Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to improve Route 63 near the habitat which in turn will naturally become a Pollinating Corridor. This improvement could benefit the Highway Bettering the Economy and Environmental Act (Highway BEE Act), Bill H.R. 2381. Happy Tonics is involved with Pollinator Partnership which says, “The bill promotes conservation practices on 17 million acres of highway rights-of-ways (ROWs) by encouraging reduced mowing and native plantings that provide improved habitat for pollinators, ground nesting birds and other small wildlife.”
Another consideration for Happy Tonics is the state owned DNR land on the south side of Shell Lake. In years to come the City plans to upgrade the woodland trails. This would allow more opportunities for the public to visit the Wild Butterfly Habitat that is maintained by the nonprofit on the south side of Shell Lake.
September 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm (Elwha River, Fish, Glines Canyon dam, water, Water conservation)
Tags: Birds, Elwha river, Glines Canyon Dam, Habitat, River, Salmon, Tributaries, Wildlife
May rivers run free. Here is a success story of the Elwha River and restoration back to natural life. The project gives hope to citizens and native people alike. The dismantling of Glines Canyon dam will allow the water to run where it can do the most good. This is natural habitat for wild salmon and other species. Let the rivers run free!
American Rivers : Elwha River Restoration: Background and History.
June 1, 2011 at 2:18 am (Animals communicate, Memory Gardens, Plants)
Tags: Animal communication, Baby, Birds, Cats, Dulce, Family, Morning Ceremony, oak trees, Plants, Solomons Seal, Sombra, Tia my dog, Wind
I know it sounds a little silly but I absolutely get intensely focused when I see new plant species living on the property that were not there before. I may have wished for a certain plant or tree such as an oak tree or solomon’s seal to suddenly surprise me in my own little woods. What a thrill it is to discover they found their way to my heart’s sanctuary.
Rainbow over Minong
Today I was doing morning ceremony to honor the Four Directions and entities I speak to in remembrance. While I was facing west and finished remembering my family including my deceased husband, my precious dog Tia and cats Dulce, Sombra and Baby; suddenly I saw Black Cohosh and wild Leeks in the forest patch behind their memory garden. Do the plants enjoy seeing my heart spill over in joy? I can’t help by think they do and I believe they love me too. All of creation loves us and wants us to remember that we are all related and connected to each other.
We have fast lost the ability to understand the language of the wind and winged friends. I listen to the robins when they bid goodnight to the day and wish I understood their language. I hear mankind once did understand their brothers and sisters who live in the animal kingdom. How did we become so disconnected? Even though I can’t understand the chirps I at least can say I feel an understanding that they are saying goodnight and giving their thanksgiving for a beautiful day and sunset.
Nighty night Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.
May 9, 2011 at 11:20 pm (Birds, Minong Wisconsin, water)
Tags: Birds, Minong, water, Wisconsin
Today in Minong, Wisconsin, USA, the winds blew approximately 40 mph. It was enough to snatch a baby bird from its nest and hurl the small bird down in my back yard. From where the bird was carried is a mystery. I saw the baby bird on the lawn from my window and went out to investigate. The fledgling got scared and tried to fly. The bird could only make minute flights close to the ground. I kept my eye on the bird throughout the day.
Early this afternoon I went out and saw that the baby was not moving. The bird opened and blinked its eyes and I knew that it lived; however, I also knew that it could not fly now. Perhaps it suffered some internal injury. I sang the baby bird an honor song. Then I found a live worm and carried it to the bird on a straw strand. I thought the bird might be hungry and thirsty. At this point I also brought a small lid filled with water to tempt the bird.
Farewell baby bird
By 4 p.m. the baby bird had died. I bent down and kissed its tiny head the color of fall leaves. It felt warm. The body was black with tinges of blue and green. The color could only be seen from a close position. The bird with closed eyes blew over and I noticed one foot curled and the other straight. I dug a hole and gently placed the small bird in along with sacred tobacco that was used in earlier morning ceremony prayers.
I thought about the mother. She would never know what happened to her baby bird and my heart wept.
February 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm (Bird seed, Birds, Minong Wisconsin, Squirrel)
Tags: Bird feeder, Bird seed, Birds, Minong, Squirrel, Wisconsin
This the second time I have seen a gray squirrel find his way around my squirrel trap feeder. A few day ago I caught him on the feeder and I tapped loudly on a window and he scattered off. Unfortunately, I scared two pigeons that were also feeding on dropped bird seeds exposed on frozen ground. We only have about a dozen pigeons in Minong, a village of 521 people. I have often wondered where they came from. Minong is located in a valley in Northwest Wisconsin.
The squirrel was at it again this morning. No, I don’t really know if the squirrel was male; but I think of squirrels as male because they are such aggressive feeders. This morning when I saw the new snow fall, I knew that the birds would not be able to feed on the now buried seed. This is where the squirrel came into play. By digging into the snow, he was able to expose seed and also able to feast on a nice breakfast himself.
Without realizing it before, I now see the winter squirrel in a symbiotic relationship with winter birds. He gives a little and helps a lot when there is snow on bird seed. The birds are now able to land on the seed tray that the squirrel prepared for them.
February 11, 2011 at 4:50 am (Birds, Fox, Minong WI)
Tags: Birds, Dried fruit, Foxes, Minong, Stale Bread, Wisconsin
Tonight two foxes came into my backyard. They both blended into the tree shadows and at first I didn’t know they were foxes until I saw their long tails. Late afternoon I had put out stale bread and dried fruit. It appears fox like these kind of treats. The treats were meant for tomorrow morning and the bird.
I wouldn’t take anything for the joy of having wild animals on my 1/2 acre property.
Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.