Black peppermint

21 December, 2013 – snow cover on the ground.

I am sorting dried herbs that I gathered last summer. I wondered why one peppermint was named black peppermint. Today I was putting the mint into a air tight container when I noticed how dark the stems were. Now I knew why it is named black peppermint.

It’s all in a name.

Transformation

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.

WELLNESS FAIR AND FARMERS MARKET AT LCO CONVENTION CENTER

Join us for the upcoming Wellness Fair and Farmers Market at the Lac Courte Oreilles Convention Center at the Casino in Hayward, WI tomorrow, September 30, 2010 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Baby pumpkin

Baby pumpkin

  We will display native crops that we grew at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in the summer of 2010. There will be pumpkins and squash.

Happy Tonics will be shucking Hidatsa beans for winter soup and packaging some for our online store at http://stores.ebay.com/HAPPY-TONICS

We will also be packaging our organic herbal teas and culinary herbs that will be available shortly online.

New Farmer’s Market at Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Reservation

Farmers Market Summer 2009 Shell Lake

Farmers Market Summer 2009 Shell Lake

  The 1st LCO Farmer’s Market will take place on Friday, August 6th from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.  in the parking lot of LCO IGA, in Hayward, WI.  We have 3 confirmed vendors and hopefully will get more – but its a start!  This will be a weekly event through the end of September. Submitted by Amber Marlow, LCO Green Team.

Happy Tonics is a member of the LCO Green Team and we applaud everyone who worked so hard to make this a reality. Let’s support our local farmers and stop importing petro food from far and wide.  The community that can feed itself is sustainable. Any questions please contact Amber Marlow at marlowa@lco.edu

I would like to mention that Shell Lake Farmer’s Market is part of the Green Teams effort to promote local grown food. We are in our third year. For information contact John Mahur, (715) 468-7544. Happy Tonics plans to have a table at the Farmer’s Market to sell our teas which we are drying now for packaging. We will also have our events calendar available for visitors who wish to discover Shell Lake’s Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden.

Joy and Nate at Happy Tonics table at Shell Lake's Farmers Market 2009

Joy and Nate at Happy Tonics table at Shell Lake's Farmers Market 2009

Today I stopped by the Farmer’s Market and bought fresh local corn, beets and kale. There was also green tomatoes, snap peas and green beans.  Right now I am boiling the kale. I grew potatoes at Lakeland Manor senior housing complex. Yes, we have our own container gardens too.  Many seniors living here came from a agricultural background and feel happy knowing we are growing our own vegetables even if in a limited way.

Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you you.

Eco Adventure in Wisconsin – 21 March 2010

Well Insectamonarca friends,

Sadie

Sadie listening to robins sing.

  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! 

clubmoss

Clubmoss growing in woods.

   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.

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