This morning it was quite chilly with a high wind.
First I heard the call of the Opichi, robin in Ojibwe, when I was outside looking at the rising sun in the East. What a sight, I watched 15 of them fly by on the land I love. They were headed towards the Staghorn Sumac for a tasty treat of fruit still clinging to the branches from last fall 2009.
Then I walked down to the level land and saw abut 25 male Opichi who were puffed up and strutting their stuff. The ladies will be along in about a week and each male robin will make a radius around him that is well-tended, including himself. It will be up to the ladies to pick out their favorite tuxedo attired male partner.
I noticed the first flower of spring blooming near Pat and Sandy’s house in the afternoon of 22 March and it was this gorgeous crocus.
Be happy Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.
I am out here in the forest again. Pat and Sandy flew out to San Francisco on Friday and I am staying with Sadie again at the cabin in the woods. If I wasn’t so busy with writing a DNR Grant Proposal for Citizen-Based Monitoring Project for monarch butterflies, pollinators, insects and native plants and uses for the two Monarch Butterfly Habitats, I would have perhaps had time for a few other projects re: listen to the wind and write more.
Well the woods I love look completely different in March. Snow is off the ground. I was so hoping to find a water source but didn’t when I walked the property yesterday and today. But there is magic here. Yesterday I discovered a path on the back of the property that would accommodate cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ATVs and snowmobiles. It isn’t that big, of trail distance wise, but perfect for quiet sports re: wild plant gathering, animal and bird watching, snowshoeing, walking and cross-country skiing.
Some of you may know from the February posting Eco Adventure in Wisconsin, that I was anxious to find wild plants and herbs. Boy oh boy!
Today I found several colonies of Club Moss, a medicinal plant used for muscle pain and it is a diuretic. Of course I had to bring some back to the cabin to place in an alter setting and I made a very tasty tea using the herb. I love natural medicines. If I can prove a plant is of value because of use, I can then recommend it. This is my own trial. I was so happy to find it that I put down tobacco and thanked the plant for letting me take its life so that I might try it as a medicinal remedy.
The forest also showed me some pussy willows, mushrooms, Indian pipe and a few other spring flowers (not yet blooming). I can’t locate an herbal book with photos at the cabin till I get back to Shell Lake sometime next week and look at my herb books.
The songs of the old oak leaves and the wind blowing through the oak forest yesterday brought me back to memories of long ago at my father’s farm in Rock City Falls, New York. I haven’t had this beloved memory for so many years. How I missed it. Nothing has filled the void until I found these special woods that I love. I feel a familiar sense of healing here. I don’t want to be separated from these glacial moraines that have found me once again. Can you imagine being separated from your special earth memories for 25 years?
The sun was warm today and I found perfect place on a hill facing south and just lay down and sun bathed in the 50 degree weather. First I put on sunscreen from the white powder of the birch tree. I heard a calling going on but I don’t know what species it was. I did scare up a wild turkey yesterday from far in the bramble and small quaking aspen trees. Could it have been a male and female turkey calling to each other?
I did find last year’s bracken fern so I am hoping we can gather fiddlehead ferns here this year. What other treasures lay beneath the oak leafed carpeted forest floor?
It was a glorious day.
Be happy insectamonara friends where ever you are.
I spoke with Sue Sill, Executive Director, La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, (LCHPP) via email yesterday. She is in Mexico now where the damage of floods and mudslides destroyed Angangueo and El Rosario, towns near the Mexican Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. We do not know the status of the monarch butterflies yet and what the survival rate is. There is no way in or out at the present time. According to Monarch Watch, we will need to wait and see.
You can make donations directly to: LCHPP, 404 Victoria Ave., McAllen, TX 78503. We are also raising funds for LCHPP on Happy Tonics Facebook Blog.
October Hill Foundation in Connecticut donated $5,000 in seed money to initiate the monarch area assistance fund.
Won’t you please help by donating to help LCHPP? Thank you.
What would life be without the Monarch Butterfly? The monarch is a butterfly of transformation. Is she teaching us that clear cutting leaves the mountains vulnerable? No tree roots to hold the soil can bring soil erosion through heavy rains which in turn can bring floods and mudslides.
The monarch needs the Oyamel fir forest to survive in Mexico. Stop clear cutting to save the Mexican Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. Mexico is the home country of the monarch butterfly. Reforestation will begin in the spring with funds raised for LCHPP.
Albuquerque, NM – Ray Powell, Jane Goodall Institute and former Land Commissioner of New Mexico, spoke about youth and that they are disconnected from nature at the Xeriscape Landscape and Water Conservation Conference held in Albuquerque, NM. Mary Ellen Ryall, Shell Lake, of Happy Tonics, attended the conference.
Richard Louve wrote a book on this subject titled “The Last Child in the Woods.” Powell stated that the average youth spends 30 minutes outside each day. This time is not necessarily playtime but rather time it takes to walk to and from the car, bus or to ride a bike to and from school.
Youth environmental educators need to make a bridge for youth to grasp the message that it is their world that they are inheriting. Goodall says, “We have a choice to make use of our life and make the world a better place.” Considering that youth of today have become cynical, educators ned to understand the root causes, be compassionate, give hope and help youth feel empowered.
When communicating with youth, one needs to understand that 7 percent of what they understand is verbal, 38 percent is vocal tone and 55 percent is in body language. The message we are giving kids and they understand on an average of 50 percent is, “Do we care?”
Happy Tonics of Shell Lake plans to sponsor several youth environmental education opportunities this summer. Their goal is to change behavior from one of hopelessness to hope and to encourage youth to participate in healthy outdoor environmental education, activity, advocacy and action.
Join us for the March Environemental Film Fest
LCOOCC, 13466 Trepania, Hayward, Wisconsin
LCOOCC James “Pipe” Mustache Auditorium Thursday, March 11th, 2010 Lunch Available on Site @ 11:30am for $5 – Provided by LCO Elders Association 12:00pm Speaker: Dr. Damian Vraniak 12:30pm Film:“America’s Lost Landscape: The Tall Grass” 1:30pm Community Discussion – Advocacy to Action
Prior to Euro American settlement in the 1820s, one of the major landscape features of North America was 240 million acres of tall grass prairie, but between 1830 and 1900 the prairie was steadily transformed to farmland. This change brought about an enormous social change for Native Americans. The film creates a powerful and moving viewing experience about the natural and cultural history of America. Loss of prairie and fragmentation is a loss of many species, plant, animal, and human. (57 minutes)
Save the Dates for Upcoming Environmental Films and Sustainable Living Education!Thursdays –April 22nd and May 6th
For More Information Contact: Amber Marlow – GIS Lab/ Rm 508 or @ 634-4790 ext 156