Holidays in Minong, WI

This is the first day that I can post from Minong, WI. I arrived on December 18th. There are two Wi-Fi sites in town. One is at The Scoop which was closing down for the winter. Oh oh! Next I tred Stony’s Hotel restaurant and still no connection.

I drove down to Shell Lake which is a 60 mile commute to test the Wi-Fi at my residence. It was supposed to be up and running because Centurytel was supposed to fix it. All I saw was a broken frame that had broken next to the computer. This was a Chinese silk painting. Oh well, easy come – easy go. The Wi-Fi is still not working.

Returned to Minong and tried again at Stony’s but no go. Then I drove to Hayward a 40 mile round trip. The laptop worked perfectly from the Hayward Library. What gives?

When I returned to Minong, I stopped back at Stony’s but still no access. I hopped back in the car drove past CenturyLinks office. The lights were on. Hurray! I turned the car around and parked outside their office.

I knocked on the combination locked door. Someone answered the door and let me speak to the techie who really didn’t want to be there. He only had a few minutes before they were locking the door up for the holiday. Don took a look at the computer and showed me how I needed to check for new Wi-Fi sites that were available. I HAD BEEN LOOKING AT LOCAL AREA NETWORKS PAGE instead of looking at the green or background bar at the bottom. I told Don that when he returned home he must tell this family that he was Santa’s Helper and how he helped a poor women in distress because she couldn’t get her laptop connected to the Internet.

Folks this is important to me. I am writing the text for a coloring book this winter. I need access to my computers. I plan to Blog the text so at least I will be able to paste and cut later when I return to Shell Lake. From there I should be able to paste and cut to Word Doc and print off. Minong is a little Village of 521 souls. We are in  remote location in Northwest Wisconsin and we are buried under snow. Yesterday the radio said that 12 inches of snow fell.

I am typing this on a notebook and it doesn’t work as nicely as a full size keyboard so it may be a bit rustic. I am thrilled because I have Wi-Fi access now from my little Redwood Retreat in the Great No North Woods. Being able to connect with no cost to me is a gift. I will be able to add photos after I am back in Shell Lake and have full technology acccess. Working from Minong is like working on the road. Gas for the vehicle is now $3.09 a gallon.  Commuting is not a sustainable solution in Northwest Wisconsin. 

Be well insectamonarca friends whereever you are.

Happy Holiday from the far reaches of Mother Earth.


Santa’s Helpers

Each day in Shell Lake, WI, brings some joy my way. One of the things I have noticed is that we have a sense of humor here. Shell Lake is just a happy place.  People smile and wave when they see you in the car going down Main Street. This holiday I took pictures of some of us who are celebrating the season with headbands and hats!

Postmaster Chris Olson with donation of solar insects
Postmaster Chris Olson with donation of solar insects

Here is our Post Master, Chris Olson, in her holiday headband. Some folks may not have our sense of humor and frankly we don’t care. We go ahead and put on our silly hats anyway.  It is fun to remember that we can have a child like spirit. Holidays are a perfect opportunity to let the kid out.  

My Favorite Things at 23 Fifth Avenue, Shell Lake, WI, is selling the cutest animal hats and they are made in the USA. I simply had to buy a frog hat and amuse the seniors at Lakeland Manor where I live. I also mailed off a penguin, frog and snowman hat to my great nieces and nephew in MA.

Frog hat
Frog hat

Here’s a shot of the frog hat. I was laughing so hard that I looked terrrible so I am only letting you see the frog. Next comes Julie Symond wearing a penguin hat. You can visit her oneline store at

Julie Symond in penguin hat
Julie Symond in penguin hat

Cindy Dyer’s Delightful Monarch Butterfly Photos and Thoughts

Posted by Cindy Dyer, Dyer Design

My friend Mary Ellen is likely snowed in with 15 inches of snow in a remote town in Wisconsin. To brighten her day, I thought I’d re-post some Monarch photos from my blog. This was originally posted October 15, 2008.


Yes, more Monarchs. I can’t help myself. They’re everywhere! I learned a technique from my friend Mary Ellen of Happy Tonics at  about how to “stalk” Monarchs with a camera. Wait until they have their proboscis inserted into a flower and they become completely distracted by the task at hand—then move in closer, staying as still as possible. They won’t even notice you’re there. This one sure didn’t. I was able to shoot about 50+ images of this Monarch in less than five minutes.

Want to learn more about the senses of a Monarch? Click here.

Here’s a surefire way to attract Monarchs to your garden—plant milkweed!
Mary Ellen sells common milkweed seeds in her eBay store here. Milkweed is the sole food for the Monarch caterpillar. Adult butterflies can feed on other plants such as this butterfly bush, but the caterpillars only eat milkweed.

Monarch Poster 3x5 low rez
Monarch Poster 3x5 low rez

Mary Ellen and I crossed paths a few years ago when I purchased seeds from her through eBay. This led to a frequent e-mail exchange, and now I do volunteer design and photography for her organization, as well as other marketing materials.  I also designed a Monarch Butterfly Habitat Poster for her this past spring. Note: The poster is available through the eBay store here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Holiday Fundraising Please Don’t Turn the Other Cheek

Facebook has been very kind to Happy Tonics. Here is where we can post our Cause – Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly and why we need to raise money. We all work for free – that is the officers, board, members and volunteers. It takes funds to implement a native habitat on an old railroad bed that was full of cement and possible chemicals from earlier days.

I was told by the elder and Honorable Charles Lutz, former Mayor of Shell Lake, that during the Great Depression hobos would ride the train into Shell Lake and set up camp. He remembers the days when he saw their cooking fires and make shift camps along the lakeside near the railroad tracks. No one in Shell Lake was mean to them. The little community understood the plight of their fellow suffering human beings and left them alone.

Dotted mint
Dotted mint

I can’t even imagine how degraded the soil was when we first attempted to do something about a mowed barren strip of land. We still need to put up a display case for donors (each with donations of $100 or more) and redo the wood chip path with some recycled materials that will keep the habitat from growing right into the path.  It is too hard for us 60 something year olds to be on our hands and knees pulling weeds. We also need a tool shed for hand mower and other equipment.

This is a perfect opportunity to raise the banner and promote our cause at

Be generous folks. We are all volunteers and it takes funding to build a 1/2 acre habitat with its split rail fence, pergola, memory benches and metal and cement sculpture art. The annual maintenance in season runs from April – October and is labor intensive. 

The TV crews were at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat this past 4th of July weekend filming the habitat. The Restored Native Remnant Tallgrass Prairie dedicated as a Monarch Butterfly Habitat is going to be featured on public television starting in March 2011 on Discover Wisconsin. 

Thank you insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

Monitoring species at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat September 2010

 I am pleased to say that the metal and cement sculpture art is in the habitat now. Michell Carlisle, mother to intern Tabitha Brown, graciously donated a cement sculpture of Psyche with wire butterfly wings in glass and wood beads. This is the first art that visitors will see when they enter the habitat. The art looks contemporary and could be interpreted as modern or folk art. Psyche has been around from the time of classical Rome and is the only surviving full-length novel by Lucius Apuleius from that time period. The book Metamorphoses translates to butterfly metamorphoses. . Corrie Wolf’s father, Raymond “Duke” Wolf, donated a professional sign for the habitat. It says Happy Tonics Butterfly Garden. Tabitha not only arranged for the art she helped create both donations. She was a great help to us through the early parts of summer and all through the winter of 2010.

Tabitha Brown
Tabitha Brown

 Tabitha was our ambassador at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College and made sure that the 2009-2010 Environmental Film Fest was a success. I don’t know what I would have done without her. This year was extremely hard on me with my husband’s illness.  Through memorial donations from Pauline and Dennis McFadden, Ballston Spa, NY;  Ann Stambeck, Bobby and Bootsie Bailey and Diane Dryden of Shell Lake, WI, and Erica Hohos, Worcester, MA,  I was able to purchase a metal tulip by the artist William F. Colburn, Jr. of Fairhope, Alabama. This is a memorial to my husband, Willard H. DeJong. Will originally was from Holland and moved to the United States at age seven. The tulip is the famed flower of the Netherlands. The art is in the Memory Tree Grove on the far northern side of the habitat.

Our summer intern Brennan Harrington helped with building a wood frame for the sign. The wood used was cut and stripped from his own land in Stonebrook. He cemented the sculptures in the ground for permanence.  Brennan was also a great help at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in the summer of 2010. He took total charge of removing spotted knapweed, an invasive species, watering plants and making sure the path was maintained. It is a big job to maintain a ½ acre habitat and I appreciate everything he did for us.   

It was amazing to see the goldenrod. There were long lasting golden blooms at the habitat from September to end of October. I witnessed an abundance of small native bees including bumble bees on the plants when the heat of the sun starts to wane. They were seen in groups enjoying the last of the nectaring goldenrod. We have two species of goldenrod at the habitat one is stiff and the other is showy. Showy goldenrod has a cylindrical cluster of flowers.  Stiff goldenrod has a flattened inflorescence and broad thick basal leaves. I feel the stiff goldenrod is so pretty it should be called showy instead of stiff.

Bees appear to be like family in that they share and don’t compete for a food source. Bees just enjoy themselves. There is plenty for all. I saw up to twenty bees on just a few plants.

 An ethnobotany teacher, Leslie Ramsyck, told me that goldenrod does not cause allergies, although many people argue this fact. Don Engebretson and Don Williamson in Perennials for Michigan and Wisconsin state that goldenrod blooms at the same time when ragweed is out. Both species belong to the Ambrosia family. The difference between the two plants is that goldenrod does not cause allergies (183). There is actually a difference between ragweed also. The native ragweed does not cause llergies. It is the exotic ragweed that is the problem according to Ramsyck.

Goldenrods are resistant to pests. Some wasps prefer to make the stem a home. Eggs of the wasp are inserted into the stem which creates a stem gall.  The larva lives within and burst out at some point as wasps.   

Indigenous Voices from COP10 in Nagoya, Japan, Year of Biodiversity

One good thing about technology is that with videos and cameras we are able to listen to the Sages of the world speak for the living Earth. They teach and remind us that the Earth that we live on is a gift of life to us all.  We are all related. We are dependent upon Mother Earth to support our very lives. We need the butterfly and bee to pollinate our crops. We need the animal kingdom for food. We need trees for shelter, to heat our homes and cook our food. We need the plants of the Earth for medicine and food as does the animal, bird, reptile, insect or fish. We need pure water as does all of creation on this planet. We must stop abusing Mother Earth.

Earth Foundation and Green TV were in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010 for the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity and recorded the voices of Mona Polacca and Agnes Baker-Pilgrim. Both elders are members of the International Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers.  I am noting below the videos produced by Green TV.  I regret that there is some hesitancy in the voice control. None the less, the words of wisdom from both Grandmothers is too important to miss.

May we all learn before it is too late. We need to protect Mother Earth for future generations.

Listen to The International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers who spoke at this global environmental event.

Grandmother Mona Polacca, Hopi Elder.
Ancestral Voices Grandmother Mona Polacca at

Ancestral Voices Grandmother Agnes Baker-Pilgrim at 

Grandmother Agnes Baker-Pilgrim

Stop illegal deforestation at Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries

Published by Mary Ellen Ryall on Dec 10, 2010
Category: Environment
Region: United States of America
Target: United States of America, Canada and Mexico
I thought this pupa was a jewel when I first saw it in the garden
I thought this pupa was a jewel when I first saw it in the garden
Background (Preamble):

The only host plant of the monarch butterfly (milkweed) is often a noxious weed in Canada. In the USA there is a loss of biodiverse agriculture and agricultural lands to urban sprawl and use of pesticides and herbicides.

In Mexico there is illegal logging of Oyamel fir trees within the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. In 2010 according to Monarch Watch over 50 percent of the monarchs died due to mudslides, freezing rains and floods within and around the sanctuaries.

We the undersigned promise not to use pesticides or herbicides in gardening. We agree not to plant monoculture crops.

We promise to plant a variety of native crops and plants for pollinators and insect control. We promise to plant milkweed for the monarch butterfly to establish the next generation of butterflies.


Victorian and Contemporary Needle Work in Wisconsin

Ann Veronia (Ronnie) Hohos
Ann Veronia (Ronnie) Hohos

A Madison Magazine featured this online article about needle work in Wisconsin. I find this interesting because my sister Ann Veronica (Ronnie) Hohos noted the outstanding needle work she saw while visiting me in Washburn County this past summer. We went to the Spooner Fair and Ronnie saw a display of handwork there. She ought to know, Ronnie is a master needle woman herself.

Here is the link for the article at

Peace Meditation Message from Sun Bear, Cherokee Elder

Dear Water Sisters and Brothers of The Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites:
Subject: message from Sun Bear

just in from Sun Bear….
Hi Everyone,

I received an urgent phone call from Willy Whitefeather; Cherokee Elder; on the evening of November 28th, 2010. He spoke about the tense situation between North and South Korea, and other potential Hot Spots around the World for full scale War.
He is asking everyone who is willing to participate; to begin on December 1st, at 12:00 Noon, to focus on Prayers For Divine Intervention, for a minimum of !2 minutes; and continuing this each day at 12:00 noon, until December 12th, 2010.
Willy would like this request to go out to as many people as possible around the World. This has to do with creating Mass Activation of  The 12-12 Universal Harmonic Frequencies Of Change And Balance. (12th month; 12 noon; 12 minutes; until the 12th day of December). We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, to bring peace and harmony to the World.

Love To All

Sun Bear
(Cherokee Elder)   Forwarded by Grandmother Whitedeer

Shell Lake – Christmas Lights in the Park

Butterflies in the park
Butterflies in the park

Hello holiday visitors!

 Happy Tonics is participating in the Christmas Lights in the Park for this first time this year. The Lions Club and leader Arlise Santiago came up with the idea three years ago. At that time the City of Shell Lake gave permission to use the campground. There are paved roads within the campground. People can drive through the park and enjoy the festive lights and Christmas music. Churches, school, art center, bank, businesses and nonprofits are all there with lighted displays to welcome visitors and residents alike. We are the only city in Washburn County, Wisconsin, that has a unique display of lights like this.   

 This year Happy Tonics was lucky enough to buy lighted butterflies and dragonflies on sale. Board member Diane Dryden is responsible for painting the cheerful sign and putting the display up.  Sally Peterson, Mayor of Shell Lake, said she loved the display and several people told me they really liked what we did. I always have to give credit where it is due and of course the applause goes to Diane Dryden.

Hope you enjoy our show.

Sign in the park
Sign in the park

Shell Lake, Washburn County, Wisconsin

Let us dazzle you
Let us dazzle you