Water Ceremony at Hospitality House Minong Wisconsin

Milbert tortoiseshell butterfly
Milbert tortoiseshell butterfly

It was a cold and rainy day here in Northwest Wisconsin and yet a blessing considering that we are doing Water Ceremony and rain is always something to be grateful for. Animals totems today were a Milbert Tortoiseshell butterfly basking on Chrysanthemum in a southerly direction which looked like a fall aster to me and Canada geese flying east at sunset.

Worth asked that I recall anything that may speak to the stained glass she is currently working on. I was thinking colors like the brown, orange and yellow of the tortoiseshell. The Canada geese that flew over honking were grey, black and white. Somehow I was seeing colors when I closed my eyes.

Animal Speak says that the butterfly is a creature of change, color and joy. The butterfly is also the symbol of transformation because it goes through metamorphosis and becomes something brand new in the process. Canada geese when they show up “can show us where excesses are dissipating our life force and facilitating a congestion to growth and movement. They can teach how to get back to creative and beneficial experiences and expressions of emotion,” according to Ted Andrews.

Later in the afternoon I received emails that attendees were unable to make it to the Water Ceremony tonight except for one. Lindy was at a distance and I suggested that she not come all this way tonight and wait till next month. Two people were ill, one was at work and the other was traveling and in Minneapolis. Deborah called from MN. Being the Council Guide for the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites I knew that it was important to perform a Water Ceremony with or without attendees.

I received a water pendant from Worth Cooley-Prost from Arlington, VA that is to be given to a woman in emotional need. In exchange I am sending her White Sage from the Midwest which is known as western mugwort. I was expecting a healing shawl in the email from Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer. Update: It was at the Post Office and I picked it up this morning. I will bless the box with water from the Water Ceremony last night. The shawl is going to a Water Sister who is suffering a lot of stress right now due to work and family illness. I will be sending white sage out to Grandmother Whitedeer for her other half Threecrows.  Women who asked to be remembered in Ceremony were: Jennifer Lynn Engstrom-Bressette, Diane M. Stephenson, Grandmother Akasa WolfSong who was doing a Water Ceremony in Beloit, WI and Cassandra Winger. We join their hearts along with the Water Sisters here and afar and offer them up to the Water for purification, cleansing and blessings.

Water Ceremony September 27, 2011
Water Ceremony September 27, 2011

I was able to use the gourd that came from the woods. Two years ago I found a mound of earth with gourds growing on it. I never was so surprised in all my life to see the gourds growing in the woods. I picked many of them and one dried out nicely and became my ceremonial gourd. I danced with this gourd tonight in the Four Directions. I placed a bowl of my garden tomatoes, a Navajo robin egg corn cob, a glass bowl of fresh rain water and the gifts on the altar. I smudged the alter, myself and room. Then I used my birch bark clapping sticks to sing the Nibi Wabo Water Ceremony song and walked in the Four Directions. Somehow I always feel happier when I sing the chant. It is if the water is happy and I can sense this.

Perhaps a lesson for me tonight is to realize that I keep my promise to myself to do Water Ceremony on the New Moon dates at 6 p.m.

The next Water Ceremony will be October 26 at 6 p.m. Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer wrote that there will be a World Water Blessing event on Oct 28 from 12 Noon to 3 p.m. Pacific time. Visit the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites to learn more at www.waterblessings.org


Conservation and Asters

Ryan Conner proudly stands next to his Conservation Star Home Award sign
Ryan Conner proudly stands next to his Conservation Star Home Award sign.

This past week I had an opportunity to visit Ryan Conner in Hayward. He invited me to see the native habitat he was implementing on his land.  He owns a home and property on Grindstone Lake. Ryan received a Conservation Star Home Award for turning a sandy lawn of mowed grass into a native habitat on the lake. Frankly this is how I found his
house. Ryan had told me he had a rather large colony of asters growing. The asters led me right to his door.

While I was there I saw several species of small native bees. I also learned about species of asters which are not easy to identify. Reason why? There are over 200 species of aster in the United States.


Calico aster with pink centers.
Calico aster with pink centers.

Ryan pointed out that calico aster has pink disk florets. The species also has a plumed flower formation. Now I know the name of white heath aster and sky blue aster which were growing in a rather large colony.

The Monarch Butterfly Habitat has upland white aster. There are several other species of asters at the habitat and hopefully I will be better able to identify the different species more easily now. Ryan is a dedicated volunteer at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. He has assisted the nonprofit for nearly four years now during the summer season. He has added many native species to the Shell Lake habitat, which in time will provide more color and interest beyond the summer months. It is interesting to note that one of Ryan’s neighbors has also begun to turn his land into a native habitat for pollinators.

Without native habitat for pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies, dragonflies, bats and moths there most likely would not be the plant and insect biodiversity that exists today. According to Douglas W. Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, “Up to 90 percent of all phytophagous insects are considered specialists because they have evolved in concert with no more
than a few plant lineages” (Bernays & Graham 1988). Native insects have not evolved with alien plants and most likely are unable to eat them. For homeowners who want bees to pollinate fruit trees and gardeners who want to have flowers and vegetables pollinated, it is important to plant native plant species that will invite pollinators to the back yard.

Washburn County Register from the Archives

Want to read the news about the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, WI? This where it all began a few years ago which seems like long, long time ago to the volunteers who made it possible. Enjoy the read at

Washburn County Register.

Here come the videos for Earth Day Event in Shell Lake, WI 2011

Monarch caterpillar two days after 100 mph storm
Monarch caterpillar two days after 100 mph storm

Jennifer Barton, environmental specialist, sent me two videos today that she was able to create on YouTube. I am learning more technical skills daily. I wish I had a way to add email addesses from my computer to any of the sites I am Blogging on but my computer was set up to do no such thing. I can’t share my contacts outside of my own system. This makes it difficult to add friends to new sites. Perhaps someday!

Shell Lake, WI

 This is an announcement about my book My Name is Butterfly getting published with Cassie and her mother Tanya Thompson as live models at


Now listen to the New Editions Band who played voluntarily at the event. We are grateful to our many friends.


The Earth is a better place because of all of you. It is a transformation in process when one learns that it is not about one’s self. It is about the collective subconscience and how we all work together in an ancient hive of sustainability and collaboration.

Purchase the books Monarch of the Butterflies and My Name is Butterfly on Amazon.

Source: Jennifer Barton is an Environmental Specialist with Northwest Regional Planning, Recycling Department.

I’m out on a limb

I have been thinking about learning a method of removing photos from my hard drive and transferring photos to an online site. The reason being is that now that I have bought a new camera, Nikon L120, I will be experimenting more with photography and don’t want to store more photos which are turning my computer into snail service. I mean really! The massive digital library is slowing my computer down…..

Well the program I choose is Google’s Picasa. I really don’t know what I am doing but I hope bit by bit I will learn the system and how to transfer photos to my Blog on WordPress. Here’s a go where one photo file is being stored.  These are some of the photos of the Storm on July 1 and aftermath on July 3. I called it Storm Reflections. So far this file are stored at https://picasaweb.google.com/108867763374351132884/20110703Storm070111?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Now I will check this site to see if it is actually possible to open the photos. OK the photo file does open and you can view the photos for this blog there.  Please have patience with me. I am a senior of 66 years old and learning technology doesn’t come easy to this elder.

I can even view the photos using slide show. But how do I upload a photo from Picasa to this page? Hummm! This is still a mystery. If anyone out there knows, please comment. Perhaps I can learn through the new Eaarth global kindred community. The old way as far as I am concerned is gone! re: Call a techie. I used to be able to do this but now I have to knock on Heaven’s door.

SOS: New Eaarth by Bill McKibben.  The founder of 350.org is the author of Eaarth. We are already forming new tribes with community like minded friends wherever they are in the Universe. It’s exciting to be part of growing large network which is according to McKibben “making a life on a tough new planet.”

p.s. Read my post on the photo site. This will give you an idea of what transpired with nature after the storm.


After the storm landscaping decisions

I have made a conscious decision to plant the property with native habitat after Minong suffered a straight line wind and rain storm on July 1. It could have even been a tornado for all we knew. My life span isn’t long enough to see tall red pines grow again. At least I have a rescued spruce on the back property and it is a joy to my heart to see it growing. I hired Sharon Tarras to draw up an edible landscape design for me. Sharon designed a large butterfly garden on the front property which will decrease my mowing substantially. You see my little redwood house sits on a 1/2 acre in the village. The back property is already being converted to native prairie habitat. The next step will be to implement native shrubs along the southern border that will act as a privacy screen from a driveway and building next door. It will take a few years for it to grow tall enough to give me and wildlife some shelter but I am moving forward with this intention.

I have added the following information to the National Butterfly Association Web site: “The weather is getting colder and has dropped to the low 40s over the past few nights. I was stunned to see a Monarch Butterfly yesterday, Sept. 20, 2011, thinking that the butterfly should have been on its way south to Mexico by now. I hope it will have time to fly out of northern zone.”

Also saw a sulphur, a tiny (1 inch) American copper and a cabbage white. It was warm yesterday and in the high 70s. Today is in the 40-50 degree F. range. The chrysalis was found empty after the straight line storm on July 1, 2011. A monarch was born after a raging wind storm of 100 mph. The bench it was on was under a downed red pine tree. A kind logger was able to gently get the bench out and the chrysalis lived and a monarch was born.

I am reading Bringing Nature Home, by Douglas W. Tallamy. I already know how important native habitat is. I am the executive director of a nonprofit environmental education organization and public charity. Happy Tonics created a Native Remnant Tallg

American copper
American copper
rass Prairie in Shell Lake that is dedicated as a Monarch Butterfly Habitat.

Photo: American Copper copyright Duke University from Google image Picasa photo program

Climate Change will be impacted by Alberta Canada Keystone XL Pipeline

Want to learn what 350 means?

According to NASA’s James Hansen, “the earth’s premier climatologist, has laid out these stakes with some precision. His team found in 2008 that, if the atmospheric concentration of CO2 exceeds 350 parts per million, we won’t be able to have a planet “similar to the one on which civilization exists and to which life on earth is adapted.” We’re at 390 parts per million right now, and, what do you know, the Arctic is melting rapidly, the atmosphere is getting steadily wetter, and the oceans are turning sharply more acid. Follow Hansen’s math a little further: If we wean ourselves from fossil fuels by 2030, then the earth’s CO2 levels will begin to fall, and, by century’s end, we’ll be back near 350. Damage will be done in the meantime, but perhaps survivable damage. And, conveniently, the world’s supply of “conventional,” easy-to-get-at oil is starting to dwindle: The deposits in places like Saudi Arabia, which were built long before anyone had heard of climate change, are nearing the autumn of their lives. We could, in other words, use this moment of declining oil supply as a spur to make the leap toward renewable energy—a gut-wrenching leap, but one that, if we landed successfully, would put us in a new world.”

Recommended reading: Eaarth, Bill McKibben 2011. McKibben is the founder of 350 Organization.

Alberta Canada Indigenous Keystone XL Pipeline Tar Sands Struggle

I am posting this link because I believe that each person needs to learn what is at stake with the Alberta Keystone XL Pipeline Tar Sands struggle. The immediate consequences may not affect us yet but it will over time.

Let us learn from Indigenous communities that have already suffered from consequences of mining and contamination of water on tribal lands. If you want to know what is happening to your neighbors in North Dakota and Pennsylvania, listen to the people speak about ruination of mountains and how ground water is already impacted. I have heard them. It is hideous to think that multi-national corporations could even think of defacing the Earth in such a selfish way and for such a selfish end. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.

The USA is not leading the world in alternative energy, rather it is still trying to extract dirty fuel. It must STOP. Many citizens in this country understand that we are at a pivital moment. We can walk into sustainability or we can watch the natural world being destroyed and what will protect us then?

If you want to know about fracking or privatization of bottled water watch Tapping, Blue Gold and Gasland.

The best site for watching videos on the protest in Washington, DC to stop the Alberta Canada XL Pipeline Tar Sands is at Indigenous Environmental Network at http://www.ienearth.org/index.html

We may not be given a second chance. It is now that the tipping point is being reached. We need to protect nature, which in turn gives us life. Nature is not dependent upon humans to survive. It is the other way around.

Visit http://www.ienearth.org/index.html to start learning about this threatening danger.

The Butterfly Circus short film

A friend in California sent me this link today. I thought the Butterfly Circus short film was a wonderful lesson of learning to give of ourselves from lessons we have learned in our own lives. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did at http://thebutterflycircus.com/short-film/

How to Grow Your Garden Photography Skills | Taking Better Pictures of Gardens

Cindy Dyer visited Mary Ellen Ryall in September. She taught Mary Ellen a few photography tricks. I bought a Nikon L120 because Cindy recommended it. I am learning for her with this post also. Plan to take a few photography classes this fall in Hayward, WI with WITC.

Enjoy Cindy’s post.


How to Grow Your Garden Photography Skills | Taking Better Pictures of Gardens.