Butterfly Corner with Happy Tonics

Butterfly Corner
by Mary Ellen Ryall

April 20 – In honor of Earth Day, Jim VanMoorleham and I planted five native chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) shrubs in area three, near the Memory Tree Grove, at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. Black chokeberry is a deciduous, cold hardy shrub useful in landscape plantings, showing white flowers in the spring, colorful red foliage, and heavy dark fruit in the fall.

Meadow fritillary copyright Mike Reese, Wisconsin Butterflies Organization

Meadow fritillary copyright Mike Reese, Wisconsin Butterflies Organization

April 24 – Today I saw a white cabbage and a fritillary butterfly. The fritillary’s host plant is violet; flowers are in bloom. Butterfly sightings were posted to Wisconsin Butterfly Organization at http://wisconsinbutterflies.org/Individuals may record their butterfly sightings at this site. Kids would enjoy this activity as much as adults do. The project allows us to understand butterfly population trends.

My Name is Butterfly copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

I am happy to report that my book, “My Name is Butterfly,” is now available at Gadsden Public Library in Gadsden, AL. I am thrilled that libraries around the country are purchasing the book for children. Book postcards also went to the State Library Convention in AL where it was given exposure to other librarians.

According to ABC News, “A female Baringo giraffe calf at the Bronx Zoo was enjoying the warm New York weather over the weekend while frolicking with a butterfly that flew through her exhibit. The butterfly caught the newborn baby’s eye while she was nuzzling her mom and exploring her new home. The calf was born in March but has not yet been named, according to the Bronx Zoo. All of the zoo’s giraffes are named in memory of James and Margaret Carter, benefactors for the Carter Giraffe Building.” You can view the chase at http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/baby-giraffe-chases-butterfly-bronx-zoo-16151869

Award winning squash bread copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Award winning squash bread copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

April 25 – My recipe for Squash Bread was a winner at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College Sustainability Living Fair. The bread was chosen for Jiibaakweyang, We are Cooking Together, Flavors of Lac Courte Oreilles. I was delighted to share saved squash seed with attendees. The acorn squash grew in the Three Sisters Garden at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in 2011. Seed sharing is all about stories of where seed comes from. At the fair, Sheldon Spratford gave me beautiful corn husks. He reported that his grandmother grew the corn until the 1980s, when she passed away. He found one husk of dried corn at her house afterwards and saved it. Sheldon, an elder, mentioned that he has been growing the sweet corn since the 1990s. He mentioned that the corn is sweet and small. Happy Tonics will offer the seed at several environmental events in May. The Visitors Center/Store will be open for the season on Memorial Weekend. We invite you to stop by for sweet corn seed.

April 26 – Journey North reported that the monarch migration moved into five new U.S. states—Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, and Minnesota this past week. The cold snap is keeping monarchs away from Shell Lake; there is no milkweed up yet in the habitat. Let us hope that a warming spell will begin soon.

Carol Hubin reported on April 28 that milkweed is up on her property in Shell Lake. Keep your eyes posted. If you spot a monarch, please let us know if it is a faded butterfly or freshly born. Knowing the difference will allow Happy Tonics to record the following: Did the butterfly fly all the way from Mexico or is this the first generation of butterfly in the U. S.? Female butterflies will need milkweed to lay their eggs on. Female butterflies only live a few weeks after depositing eggs.

In 2012, we are going to count monarch eggs at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat and mark milkweed plants that have eggs. Wire cages with tags will be used to identify which milkweed plants have eggs. If you have any old tomato cages to donate or see a monarch sighting, please call Mary Ellen at (715) 466-5349.

Ginger Wilcox smudges Mike Carpenter

Ginger Wilcox smudges Mike Carpenter

April 28 – 5th Annual Earth Day Event in Shell Lake was well attended. We are grateful to Dr. John Anderson and Ginger Wilcox for leading us in a Native American Ceremony to honor donors. Butterfly friends came to celebrate the butterfly and conservation efforts on behalf of the butterfly. Happy Tonics hosted an informal potluck afterwards at the Visitors Center/Store at 25 Fifth Avenue, Shell Lake.

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NATIONAL BUTTERFLY COUNT – JULY 4, 2011

Bonding with monarchs day after storm.

Bonding with monarchs day after storm.

Today Happy Tonics is coordinating a National  butterfly count on Facebook which has been upgraded to an International Butterfly Count. We have confirmed butterfly friends as far away as Nottingham, England. Butterfly enthusiasts in several states in North America are participating also.

I had planned to orchastrate the count from our two habitats in Shell Lake, Wisconsin (WI), USA. However a powerful tornado (documented in Solan Springs – 20 miles from Minong on Hwy. 53) literally came crashing through the village of Minong, WI on July 1. It took down all the old red pine and hardwood trees on the property.  I am in the middle of a natural disaster on my 1/2 acre that once stood proud with aged trees of red pine and Chinese elms.

The good news is the butterflies were not harmed. They have been fluttering around the property for days now. Today I will honor the butterfly count from the property where I live. This is a healing therapy for me to think about what survives in Climate Change. I speak about violent storms because I believe they are a proven perdiction of scientists. One has to adapt. I feel as en envirmental educator I am walking the talk. I am drafting the start of this blog later and you will be able to read it as I process my own personal experience.

Monarch caterpillar on milkweed the day after severe storm slammed into Minong, WI.

Monarch caterpillar on milkweed the day after severe storm slammed into Minong, WI, July 2, 2011.

On July 2, one day after the storm I started looking on the milkweed to see if there was monarch life. Take a look at this! I felt so elated to know the the next generation of monarchs were alive and well and eating milkweed leaves. I should name this caterpillar “Survivor.” How did they withstand 90 mph winds? It boggles the mind.

For now, take the day off if you are celebrating America’s Independance Day. The butterfly count will confirm how pollinators do in severe weather conditions at least from this part of the country. I heard on the radio this morning that el nino or la nina seasons can bring severe weather also.

Mary Ellen Ryall reporting from Minong, WI, USA – National Butterfly Count.

July 4, 2011 – 10:30 a.m. Copper butterfly seen on valerian flowers. It was sunny and breezye today. Butterfly was on north side of property and in vegetable garden. 11:30 am. Europen skipper was on the the south side enjoying the native grass as a …resting place. I noted some extra delights also. A mother robin was teaching her fledging to dig for worms. She was seen feeding the baby. Fledgling was following her around on the front property. Back property saw a mother robin teaching her baby about the bird bath. Quickly I went to fill it up.
I ate Juneberry, fresh swiss chard, strawberry tomatoes growing organically in my gardens.   1 p.m. Monarch butterfly seen flying around on front propertty. Winds picking up. Then a saw a wren picking up twigs and the bird has started building a next in one of the wren houses.   3:30 p.m. Monarch was flying by front property.
Weather: 84.7 degrees F, winds 5.8 mph. Day is sunny and clear.
Lisa M. Johnson reports from Milwaukee, WI, “I did the butterfly count anyway.  My count was zero.  I picked the sleepy intersection in front of my house, which has a lot of prarie flowers and a little stream nearby.  I would be willing to do it another time.  It may have been too hot for a sensible butterfly to be out and about.”
Ethel Peoples of Shell Lake, WI states, “I saw one monarch butterfly by my carport.”
OK butterfly friends. Hope to see your reports here shortly. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the butterflies. They do need our love and help.

Be well insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

Full moon is so bright

What a glorious wonder. The full moon in Northwest Wisconsin is the biggest and brightest I have ever seen. They say tomorrow if it is clear out it will be even more dazzling. I tell you to be out in the moonlight is like keeping the moon company. Perhaps it is the other way around, maybe the moon is keeping us company and playfully thrilling us tonight.

I hope you can see her and that you are dazzled too.

Blog Talk Radio with Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer

Silver Lake, WI, 2008

Silver Lake, WI, 2008

I am a member of the Sisters of the Planetary Water Rites. Women are the protectors of water. I represent northwest Wisconsin. We are building a network here of women who will meet in ceremony and prayer and send good energy out to the universe to protect Mother Earth.  Grandmother Whitedeer lives in California and is the founder of the Sisterhood and I follow her guidance. With her leadership we move forward to build a network across the country to honor Mother Earth and the gift of water.  

  

I was fortunate to hear Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer on the Blog Talk Radio on Jluy 5, 2010.  She was interviewed by Ann Smith. Rhonda Hall is a co-producer of the program.  Grandmother Whitedeer is a Bear Clan Mother of the Medicine Creek Métis in Laytonville, CA.  She holds women’s circles and Grandmother Net of Light Ceremonies. She is one of the Ambassadors’ for the Sacred White Buffalo Family in Northern Oregon. She is currently working on a novel that is coming to her through Spirit. Tonya works with endangered species Medicines of the Green Nation and maintains a Medicine Walk open to the public to educate all those that come to her land named through Spirit as Medicine Creek in California. She shared that she is channeling with the grandmothers from the other side.  It is now a call to power because the Grandmothers are speaking. 

We are setting up a Net of Light and women are gathering.  We send out this light to protect the water especially after what has happened in the Gulf of Mexico with the gushing oil from the Gulf floor.  We need to take inner silent time to communicate with the spirits.  Women need talking circles and water blessings to connect with the power beyond us. 

Grandmother Whitedeer has presented a letter to the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers in Sedona. Now there are 73 circles all over the world.  There was a World Prayer Day for the Water on May 18. There is a paradigm shift that is happening because we are gathering in prayer and ceremony to honor the water. We use prayers and ceremonies to reach higher consciousness.  Grandmother Whitedeer stated that we don’t concentrate on the negative. We gather to pray for Mother Earth’s blood which is the water. She asks that you visit the Water Blessings Web site and she will guide newcomers with information on how to do a Water Ceremony.   

On July 11, 2010 – the Star Nation is coming to help those who carry the light.  There will be a meteor shower at sunset. At sunset we are being asked to hold up our arms to the heavens as we face west. Don’t interpret messages.  Just keep an open heart. Star Beings where once on Earth.  Open our hearts and we will receive what is sent down. I am a Lighter Bearer. All of us are made of water.  Dr. Masaru Emoto states that humans are 70 percent water.  Grandmother Aggie (I believe this may be Agnes Baker Pilgrim) stated to Grandmother Whitedeer that when we bless the water we are blessing ourselves because we are mostly water. 

The Sisters of the Planetary Water Rites is a joint effort and we stand between heaven and earth. Animals are forming circles and they are coming to us to let us know that the time is upon us. We are being invited to communicate with nature and the Green Nation (the plants and trees), the winged ones (birds, butterflies, bees and other insects) and the finned relatives being the dolphins and other water creatures are right with us.  Visit www.waterblessings.org to learn more about Water Ceremonies and where you can join a group already participating in this Calling. 

PHOTO NOTE:  In 2008, my dog Tia nd I used to swim in crystal clear Silver Lake. In 2010 the lake shore is becoming choked with weeds and it is withdrawing from the shore as the water table goes down possibly due to climate change. Also building more houses on the lake is polluting the water with soap suds.  Loons used to live in this lake. I pray they still have a home here. I send up my prayer offerings for the winged ones and the water here at Silver Lake where I had many a happy wild encounter.

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