National Bee Count Results from Happy Tonics

Bumblebee on autumn sedum

Beautiful bumblebee on autumn sedum

Thanks to environmentally active women around the country and in Nova Scotia, Happy Tonics was able to do a bee count through Facebook platform. Unfortunately we were unable to post total results there because of limited character word count. However, I did submit Butterfly Corner column to Washburn County Register, Shell Lake, Wisconsin and hopefully the results will be published in full there. I am noting below for all our buzzing bee friends around the world. Take heart, you too can start to monitor the pollinators in your part of the world. Check out Xerces Society, Pollinator Organization and the Great Sunflower Project and learn where you can collaborate with citizen scientist organizations to track pollinators around the world.

National Bee Count! It is an overcast and rainy day in Washburn County, Wisconsin, June 23. Isolated Showers, Partly Cloudy, Hi 58°F, Lo 50°F, Pop 60%, wind 13 mph. The local bee count was rained out. Sue Menzel, Hayward, WI came to Shell Lake dressed in rain gear to assist with the project but because of rain, I took her to lunch instead. Happy Tonics has been coordinating the National Bee Count on Facebook throughout National Pollinator Week. Leslye Schoenhuth, Univ. of MN, Minneapolis, MN said, “Rained this morning. Breezy and 60 degrees. I would have stayed in myself if I were a bee.”  Linda Mae Gregory, Lebec, CA, wrote, “Sunny, no clouds, 87 degrees. Full sun, garden with Lavender and Rock Roses, slight breeze…went 30 minutes with only 2 bees…native honey bees. Suzanne Patles, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia said, “I saw two bees. It was sunny here, but I notice that the population of bees is gradually increasing because we are actually starting to see them again. We were ransacked a few years ago by hornets, they were everywhere and the bees were nowhere to be found but deep in the woods.” Cindy Dyer, Alexandria, VA stated, “I was in my garden this morning, deadheading rose campion plants. I counted 19 bumblebees on my Monarda, white coneflower, purple coneflowers and Liatris. That was this morning at about 9:45 a.m.” Barbara Price, Pacific Northwest, wrote, “I spent time in the garden yesterday afternoon. We are unseasonably cool here with temperatures only reaching highs in the 60’s. I only found one bee in my gardens. This, to me, is very sad. I live on a large corner lot and have lilacs, irises, roses, lilies, hibiscus, peonies, and various other bulbs and perennials in my expansive gardens as well as an apple tree, plum tree, and blueberry bush. I should be loaded with bees, but I only found one. I also have no butterflies. Stephanie Ryall, Saratoga Springs, NY says, “I went out several times in the rain, but to no BEES. It poured on and off for most of the day. We normally have an abundance of bees.” Mary Ann Bittle, Worland, MO wrote, 2:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Went 15 minutes in my garden, another 15 minutes in my front yard. Partly cloudy, 89 degrees F, winds from the SSE about 10 mph, humid. 9 total honeybees that stopped (2-3 more that didn’t), 2 bumblebees, 1 wood bee. Food sources/stopping spots included: Okra flower, radish flowers, a rose, clover flowers, sunflowers. Some (2 – 3) wandered through without stopping. Worth noting – I had several dragonflies stopping at same sources, plus some wildflowers, and some wasps doing the same. I use no poisons or insect deterrents (other than natural, organic ones such as marigolds or the like.) And Anne Dunn, Crystal Lake, MN said, “We were cold and rainy so no count by Crystal Lake Crones.

Butterfly Corner, June 8, 2011

Butterfly Corner

by Mary Ellen Ryall

Happy Tonics in collaboration with Indianhead Action Agency was invited to speak at Ruby’s Kitchen, Spooner, in May. I visited the food distribution site and spoke to the public. Free vegetable seed was available from Indianhead Action Agency in Spooner. The only requirement was that a participant be below a certain income level to qualify for free garden seed. At least 30-40 people showed an interest and many more said they were going to plant a garden. Some stated they would be first time gardeners. Rising food prices impact pocketbooks and can change a person’s behavior.

May 27 – Jim VanMoorleham and I did a walkabout at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. We saw a queen bumblebee go into her ground nest. This is the first time either of us witnessed this. Queen bumblebees usually seek a clearing of soil that they can build a nest in. There is several water filtering areas in the habitat, which is the purpose of these sparse areas of non egetation.

May 28 – The Lakes and Pines Girl Scout Troop of Shell Lake visited Bashaw Farm and Nursery. Washburn County AODA Commission and Leopold Education and Pheasants Forever grants enabled the girls to create functional and fun container gardens at Shell Lake Friendship Commons. This year Youth Container Gardens consist of four whiskey barrels of vegetables, flowers, herbs and a pollinator garden. Garden flowers, herbs and produce will be part of the Summer Environmental Film Fest
on June 25, July 30 and August 20 at Friendship Commons. Lakes and Pines Girl Scout Troop will host the event, give a tour of their gardens and prepare refreshments.  Environmental films will focus on world water issues, monarch butterfly migration and bee colony collapse disorder.

Happy Tonics added plants to the retainer wall gardens at the Spooner Food Pantry. Herbs such as parsley, sage, thyme, ground cherries and cherry tomato plants were added to the fledgling garden. Sue Adams gave the nonprofit permission in 2010
but we were short handed last year. In 2011 we are rolling out the gardens for people to learn that food, herbs and flowers do not need to be planted in the ground for one to be sustainable. Grant money from Leopold Education and Pheasants Forever was shared with Fresh Start to install a fence around a Youth Garden in Shell Lake.

May 29 – Sophie Belisle called in the first sighting of two monarch butterflies in Springbrook. The young student reported that the butterflies came in after the storm. Sophie was very happy to see the monarch butterflies in the meadows where she lives. She
has already received a beaded butterfly pin made by Ojibwe children at St. Francis Mission in Reserve, WI. She also received a fabric art square of butterflies, by Mabel Perry.

June 1 – Happy Tonics opened a new Visitors Centert in Minong. The artist loft is adjacent to The Scoop and has the advantage of Wi-Fi access. Minong is progressing nicely with Wi-Fi friendly businesses that want tourists and residents to frequent
their establishments.

June 3 – Kris Fjelstad called in the first monarch sighting in Shell Lake. She mentioned the day was cloudy and windy. It was 77.6 degree Fahrenheit and the time was 2:25 p.m.

June 4 – Mary Ellen Ryall and Sandy Stein participated and walked with the Mother Earth Water Walkers close to Reserve, Hayward. The walkers of the southern direction have been walking since April 20th, carrying salt water of the Gulf of Mexico to Bad River, WI where it will meet with the other waters from the Atlantic, Hudson Bay and Pacific. The southern direction included Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin. The walk is ongoing until the water from the south reaches
Bad River, WI on June 12. The purpose of the walk is to raise awareness of loss of fresh drinking water in many countries around the world and to stop water privatization and pollution.

Morning Reflections

Wren house 2011 with occupant wren family.

June 24, 2011 – After five days of rain, I was excited to get outside and see my gardens this morning. I am grateful for the rain. Surely it is helping to replenish the water table in Northwest Wisconsin. I walked over to one garden and heard a lot a chirping from a bird house. The parent birds have been flying in and out of the bird house for weeks.  Now I hear a lot of chirping from the little ones. I can’t imagine the size of the babies when I see how small the wren is.

Will be back later with National Bee Count totals. We were able to post on Facebook and received responses from MO, MN, WI and Nova Scotia so far.

Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

Reflections on the Mother Earth Water Walkers

by John Schneider, June 12, 2011

I watched the ceremony on the Lake Superior shore yesterday of the convergence of the Water Walk. Luckily I got there early and had time to run along the beach and soak and meditate in the lake before I ran up the road from the beach and caught up with the group coming down to the lake. I was tuned into the experience from the point of view of the lake, and from years of running daily
in the wilderness and swimming in lakes and rivers. And from the point of view of opposition to the mine that would send runoff and bring bilge spewing pollution from ore freighters on that beach. And level mountaintops (nearly weathered by time to hills) to feed industry, industry that should already feed from recycled metal first, but doesn’t. And be powered by Lake Superior ind/wave
power melting and recycling materials with zero carbon pollution in the atmosphere and no acid rain in the rivers and lakes.

But thanks to a Facebook friend I never met before, and her guide to the ceremony, a young native girl, and several kids swimming and wading in the mother lake. And several moms comments….but especially a 6 year old who was barefoot and remarked as I was putting my running shoes back on after swimming, “Oh I should have brought my shoes down too..” I realized the point of view of
my childhood again, I had camped in that very same area with my family as a kid, and still I think that trip is in my dreams.

Mother Earth Water Walkers Bad River copyright Jennifer

Mother Earth Water Walkers Bad River copyright Jennifer

Dream on… this is looking through their eyes, the children and their mothers and grandmothers hopes for them…And then!! The great moment for me.. a small thing, but I happened to be right there where the boats would land with the Water Walkers.. the grandmothers….A man stepped up and asked if I would help pull the boats up. A great honor.. a few of us pulled together. Wonderful experience I will meditate on for years… Then I went to the North Country Trail at Upson Lake to explore the Penokees where they would be effected by mining run off. These mountains are wonderful. Their waters are beautiful; I meditated
beside a stream on the trail, watching the intricate insect life. I saw butterflies sucking moisture from mud on Upson Lake boat landing, now to explore this whole area via the trail and get others there too. We need to draw inspiration to fight the mine and fight for those precious waters feeding our very lives and the life web we inhabit.

Importance of water stressed – MiningJournal.net | News, Sports, Jobs, Marquette Information | The Mining Journal

As many of you may have heard by now, I walked with the copper pail with water from the Gulf of Mexico last Saturday when Sandy Stein and I caught up with the Mother Earth Water Walkers between Old Post and Reserve at LCO.  Anna Merritt and I are going to Bad River Reservation tomorrow, June 10. Follow-up on this day afterwards.

Please take the time to read about the important issue of protecting water for all species and for generations to come. Water is a gift and not a resource to be plundered, contaminated, bought and sold.

Importance of water stressed – MiningJournal.net | News, Sports, Jobs, Marquette Information | The Mining Journal.

Today when you take that sip water, be sure to thank the water. She has been taken for granted and disrespected for far too long. In ancient times and with many tribal cultures of today, people remember to thank the water and honor her for the gift of life she brings.

Mother Earth Water Walkers reach LCO in Hayward, WI

Saturday morning, June 4, I drove up to Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Reservation in Hayward, WI and parked at the tribal college to wait for Sandy Stein, Secretary of Happy Tonics. Our plan was to meet up with up Mother Earth Water Walkers and join them.

First I must tell you that the old ravens that guard over the college let it be known I was there. They landed in trees near me and I bid them good morning as they cawed. These ravens have been in the forest near and around the tribal college for years, perhaps even generations. I know because they or their descendents were there when I graduated from the tribal college in 2003.

Sandy arrived and we put on our skirts over pants to show a sign of respect and then we headed to Hwy. E going in the direction of Reserve. We said our intentions silently and put down some sacred tobacco as we drove. I called WOJB the tribal radio station while we were on the road and a nice young man told me that the walkers were about at the hill headed for Reserve. What hill I thought? Northwest Wisconsin is all hills since the four glaciers passed through this country long ago. Sandy understood that the walkers stayed on the reservation last night in Old Post so she turned down a road that might be where they were.
And they were. The walkers of the southern direction have been walking since April 20th, carrying the salt water of the  Gulf of Mexico to Bad River, WI where it will meet with the other waters from the Atlantic, Hudson Bay and Pacific on June 12th.  The southern direction included Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin – The walk is ongoing until the water from the south reaches Bad River, WI

Brody helped walkers between runs. Mary Ellen waiting to walk.

Brody helped walkers between runs. Mary Ellen waiting to walk.

Not knowing how to join them in the well orchestrated walking event, she asked a driver with the back window displaying WATER WALKERS. His name is Brody and he said, “Jump in” and I did.

Mary Ellen Ryall carrying water and Conner Beauleu carrying Eagle feather staff.

Mary Ellen Ryall carrying water and Conner Beauleu carrying Eagle feather staff.

He and his wife Barb Baker-Larush have been on the road for a
long time and they were orchestrating the walk through the reservation. Sharon Day has been on the walk since April 20. It is so important that the water never stops. It has to keep moving until it reaches its destination being Bad River on June 12 where all water walkers from the Four Directions will converge; Pacific and Atlantic Ocean; Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes.

Conner Beauleu carries Eagle feather staff.

Conner Beauleu carries Eagle feather staff.

The same respect is held for the Eagle feather staff that men usually carry to protect the water and the woman carrying the water. If a man or young male is not available than the water carrier herself has to carry the staff also. The staff is sacred.

Water runner Barbara Baker-LaRush. Eagle Feather Staff runner Conner Beauleu. Isaiah Martinson, Conner's cousin slightly cut from photo copyright Mary Ellen Ryall.

Water runner Barbara Baker-LaRush. Eagle Feather Staff runner Conner Beauleu. Isaiah Martinson, Conner's cousin slightly cut from photo copyright Mary Ellen Ryall.

Sharon Day copyright Mother Earth Water Walkers.

Sharon Day copyright Mother Earth Water Walkers.

To start my walk, Sharon Day, one of the main event organizers and grandmothers smudged me so I would be pure before I carried the copper pail with water gathered from many clean and fresh sources. Brody told me Sharon was in a hurry to get back home for a few days and had started to step up the pace so that walkers knew that it was important to help her in their own pace in order to help Sharon achieve her goal. She has been walking through many states and was near closing of her part
of the walk. I think that was probably spurring her on. I was impressed that a Grandmother could walk at a clip like this. It was almost like she was dancing the steps as she fast walked to the beat of drum music.

I had to hold on to the pail handle and walk at the same time as the walker started to pass it to me. I matched my steps with hers until she was sure I was walking on my own. I felt honored to finally be walking on this important journey. I have wanted
to be part of this walk since Grandmother Josephine Mandamin started walking with a vision of protecting and respecting water back in 2003 when she walked around Lake Superior.  Brody told me the walkers stayed at his house last night June 2, in New Post. In the evening they sat around a bonfire to relax after a long day. I must say I never saw such fit Native American women as I did today. These are warrior women who have the heart beat to walk from their hearts. They are dedicated to bring this
important issue of fresh and pure drinking water forward for all species and for seven generations out. The vision is global.

Multinational companies don’t want us to know that they are buying up rights from countries to “OWN” the water. Colonization is still ongoing. Then the multinationals turn around and bottle the water and sell it back to the very poorest of the poor in
developing countries such as in Africa. It is unethical to dishonor water in this way. Water is a gift from the Creator not a commodity to be bought and sold.

While on the walk, I was happy to see Paul DeMain was there doing a live stream from News from Indian Country. We have worked together on several occasions over the past few years. His wife Karen was there too but we were concentrating on our roles
and didn’t have time to meet and greet. When I walked I felt empowered and in the silence all I could feel was my own breath and heartbeat. I remember there was drum music, sounds of singing birds, sights of cotton fluff blowing on the wind from cottonwood trees and fragrant green forests on both sides of the street. It was an honor to finally be part of this sacred walk. A young man, Conner Beauleu, held the staff and ran beside me was focused as we both were. He did two runs, one after the other, and was my silent strength. I am a 66 year old woman with mild emphysema and it felt so comforting to have a young warrior  beside me. Such a noble young man true to his Ojibwe culture.

This was a once in a lifetime experience for me. I wouldn’t have the physical endurance to do the action miles that are required to fulfill the total trip through many states. I am a Council Guide for the Sisterhood of the Planetary Rites, founded in  California by Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer. I carried a butterfly beaded medicine bag handmade by Marilyn Vig, an artist in Rice Lake, WI. Inside were the names women who sent emails saying they wanted to be with the water walkers  in spirit. Their names are: Worth Cooley-Prost, DC, Anna Dunn, MN; Cassie McCrow, WI; Anna Merritt, WI; Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer, CA and founder of the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites (SPWR) in CA; Kunda Wicce, Island  near France; Sandy Stein and Mary Ellen Ryall, Happy Tonics, WI and SPWR, WI chapter participated in the walk; Ginger Wilcox, WI; Chris Doolan Ottose, WI and Akasa WolfSong were women who were spirit walkers.  Inside the medicine bag was a prayer bundle of red cloth. Inside the small bundle was a pinch of sacred tobacco, made by Ginger Wilcox.

Sandy took lots of photographs which we will publish later because a CD needs to be made first and uploaded to my hard drive. I am so proud of her and her insight in knowing how important it was for me as an elder to walk in this unfolding vision. Women
are the protectors of water. I would like to mention that Worth Cooley-Prost is an artist in Washington, DC. We are water sisters through Facebook and have never met. Worth recently sent a beautiful water necklace that she was inspired to create through ceremony, moon and water. She doesn’t make her glass jewelry until she has been inspired by her rituals and ceremony first. Now I wear this water necklace to all water ceremonies. I was wearing the necklace today and as I walked with thoughts of all the women who have touched my life, I touched the medicine bag with sacred intentions within.

I gave the little medicine bag to Brody’s wife Barbara Baker LaRush. She will know who should hear the story when they sit around another bonfire.

Be happy insectamonarca friends wherever you are.

Mother Earth Water Walkers

Grandmother Josephine Mandamin

Grandmother Mary Ellen Baker

Today I woke up at 5:15 a.m. excited because today has finally arrived. Sandy Stein and I will meet at Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation’s tribal college at 9 a.m. with anticipation of meeting up with Mother Earth Water Walkers. The Water Walkers will be coming through Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation on their way to Bad River on June 12.

The purpose of the water walk is to raise awareness to protect clean fresh drinking water from pollution and privatization around the world and to protect water for seven generations out. Water is a gift not a commodity. Water is coming in a copper bucket which Grandmother Josephine Mandamin  and others who have been water on and off since April 10. Men often have carried the Eagle Feather Staff to protect women. Water Walkers are coming to Bad River to converge  on June 12  from the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes.

Will report on if we made the connection today. Sandy and I plan to walk with the Water Walkers from the tribal college to the Honor the Earth Pow Wow grounds. LCO has opened up the event to the public and invites the public to come and meet the Water Walkers. There will be ceremony and feasting.

Mary Ellen Ryall is a council guide of the Sisterhood of Planetary Water Rites with headquarters in California. She will carry the intentions of women who shared  that they wanted to be on this walk with the Water Walkers.  The names will be typed up and added to a small butterfly beaded medicine bag that she will wear as she walks with the Water Walkers.

NEWS Southern Route of Mother Earth Water Waters getting close

 

Artesian well in the woods where I get my drinking water.

Artesian well in the woods where I get my drinking water.

Karen De Main from Mother Earth Water Walkers called today. She said the southern route will be at Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Ojibwe Reservation on Saturday. They will come from New Post to Reserve and then walk on Trepania Road where the tribal college is. Sandy Stein and I plan to meet hopefully in the parking lot at approximately 9 a.m. and wait for the Water Walkers there.

We will join them at this point and walk to the Pow Wow grounds passing the Tribal Offices and Grade School. Ceremony and feasting will take place on the Honor the Earth Pow Wow grounds. It is a thrilling moment for all water sisters and brothers as Grandmother Josephine Mandamin comes to LCO from far away Canada. She has been on the Sacred Water Walk since April 10.

At long last I will be able to walk with the Grandmothers and Water Brothers and Sisters and stand in solidarity to protect Mother Earth’s precious blood so that future generations will have access to free and flowing fresh water. Water is a gift of the Creator and needs to be respected by all people.

I truly believe the movement is now galvanized from this sacred heart beat and is reaching out to the world and the world is waking up to the issue of water being a gift not a commodity to be sold or polluted.

Notes from a Plant Discoverer

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

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.

%d bloggers like this: