Even nature bows its head

I learned something new a few days ago. My sister had put fresh flowers in an antique flower base, she keeps on the kitchen table, that one of friends gave her. This was the first time I had seen the flower. Ronnie said the Latin name; she explained it was the obedient plant. She then showed me how individual flowers on a stem could be bent in any direction. It was as if the flower had joints. I was amazed because I had never seen this before. She said, “That’s way it is called the obedient plant.”

I witnessed a new discovery yesterday. I watched a small bumblebee land on wild bergamot blossoms. The bee grabbed onto a tiny extension (like a stiff string) at the very tip of the top petal. In all the years that I have gathered beloved wild bergamot for cold and flu season, I had never even seen this floral feature before. Then with patience, the bee was able to work its way into the open deep cave for nectar.

I heard the wood thrush again and loons flew overhead, even thought I didn’t see them. I could hear them. Loons have a primordial haunting song.

Ronnie had to return her grandchildren to the other grandmother, who lived closer to where the young couple live. Ronnie’s son Aaron and his wife Melissa live quite a distance from Fitchburg where the old farm ( Winter Hill Farm) is located.  It was the perfect time for solitude and aqua therapy after the hub was silenced.  While entering the pool, I saw a tiny tree frog swimming in the water. I scooped the frog up and deposited the amphibian on the cement pool patio. It was so sweet to see the frog leap away. Then I rescued a green cricket or grasshopper. Last but not least, I was able to gently scoop a nondescript moth up and land it on solid ground. The moth fluttered off.

I read somewhere that Buddhist monks would move earth worms so that no harm would come to them. Realizing that worms help make soil, I know how critical it is to ensure conditions that respect our under the soil relatives . We gardeners relish composting and mulching. Rich decaying matter can be broken down faster by worms. Isn’t it wonderful to rejoice because there is life beneath and above the soil?

Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

Advertisements

Adapting to Climate Change

Please take a minute to REGISTER AND VOTE at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

Happy Tonics needs your VOTE to help us do our work.  Officers and Board Members give of their time to educate and implement programs to adapt to Climate Change by promoting Sustainability of Native Plants, Monarch Butterfly and other pollinator habitat.  Our mission is:  Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly and Food Safety Issues.

Bumble bee

Native bumble bee on autumn sedum

beauty she gives

small square foot garden

We are a small grassroots nonprofit that needs your help to WIN our Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake grant proposal.

This is not Happy Tonics first attempt to bring Adapting to Climate Change into national awareness.

We were honored to participate in the Green Effect grant process with National Geographic sponsored by Sun Chips in 2009.  Although other worthy causes won, we believe that each of us must do our part to bring the message of adapting to climate change home.  (National Geographic, Green Effect Winning Ideas for a Better World, November 2009, insert after pg. 6.)

Native pollinator plants

Plant native wildflowers for drought conditions

Won’t you help us now?  Please SIGN UP AND VOTE at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100

Thank you.

HOPE – WE NEED TO SEE the movie FRESH

Lacinto kale.  Italian heirloom from 18th century.
Lacinto kale. Italian heirloom from 18th century.

Just when we thought the global food battle was lost to genetic engineering (GE) in Washington, DC, along comes hope.  I am thrilled to speak about the Good Food Movement.

 The movie FRESH will be out this spring.  Watch the movie trailer at  http://www.freshthemovie.com/

Happy Tonics promotes the importance of local grown and organic crops and grass fed animals for dairy, poultry and meat.

FRESH the film is already marching forward in Wisconsin.  You can view the film in Hayward, on January 31, at 2 p.m. at the Park Theatre.  The film features Joel Salatin from Polyface farm, Shenandoah, Virginia, and Will Allen, of California’s Growing Power.  Both of these extraordinary people have been instrumental in the Good Food Movement.  Allen says,
“The Good Food Movement is now a Revolution.”

If each and every one of us can take this message home and practice it, we can change the global food marketplace one plate at a time.  Remember Margaret Meade said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

Visit Will Allen at www.growingpower.org/blog

Visit Joel Salatin at http://www.polyfacefarms.com/

Let us know how we can work together to promote food sustainability in our own neighborhoods right where we live.  Home is where the heart is.  Let’s hear from yours. 

Good day, Mary Ellen 

Growing Food by Mary Ellen Ryall

Spider web after rain
Spider web after rain copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Take a look at Will Allen.  

He walked away from corporate America and sports sixteen years ago to head up a growing business.  His main goal is to grow soil at his working farm Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  It is all about community gardens and we need to get growing in each community.  Visit http://www.growingpower.org/

When we realize that it takes nearly 1 gallon of fossil fuel and 5,200 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of conventionally fed beef (Mooallem, 2009), we might start to realize we need to support local farmers and grazers.  Meat taste like meat when it is wild harvested or grass fed.  Biofuels made from crops have been responsible for up to 75 percent of the 130 percent increase in global food prices in the past six years (Weltz, 2009).  Food is not fuel and should never be taken out of the mouths of people and diverted to another profit making purpose. 

 It is interesting to note that college campuses across the USA are starting to introduce local grown food right into the cafeteria.  Tim Galarneau, is cofounder of Real Feed Challenge, a national campaign, wants to introduce 1,000 universities and colleges to buy 20 percent of their food by 2020.  Tim will still be actively working long after I retire.  It is good to know that youth are stepping up to the issue now.  Communities need to learn how to grow their own food so they can feed themselves in the future.  Josh Viertel, the 31year-old president of Slow Food USA says, “It’s just this incredible outpouring of energy to do the right thing.”  I feel confident that Tim Galarneau and many other young activists will lead the way to sustainability.

 Are we too little too late?

At the same time we need to keep our eyes open and on global food security and climate stress now that climate change is knocking at Earth’s door.  Please take a few minutes to listen to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack speaking on Agriculture and Climate Change in the video at http://vimeo.com/8137485

He spoke at Agriculture and Rural Development Day, on 12 December, 2009, a day-long event at the University of Copenhagen with more than 300 policy makers, negotiators, producers and leaders from the agricultural and climate change scientific community.   Unfortunately many believe that genetically engineered crops are a possible solution to end world hunger and the second Green Revolution has begun.  By listening to this video, we are staying informed and hearing about the world’s challenges to these paramount issues.

 Mooallem, J. (2009, March-April).  Veg-o-might.  Mother Jones, 36-37.

Weltz, A. (2009, March-April).  Trouble on the Limpopo. Mother Jones, 44-47.

Viertel, J. (2009, March-April).  Tray chic, Mother Jones, 47.

GE thoughts for the day by Mary Ellen Ryall

Native serape corn

Native serape corn

Genetic engineering (GE) is the practice of altering or disrupting the genetic blueprints of living organisms.  Think of trees, plants, fish, animals, microorganisms and humans who are no more a true species but now bits and pieces of something else, outside of their own natural species line.

The Creator did not cross different species with each other.  Man is crossing the species line in the laboratory.  Fish genes are now in tomatoes, bananas have no seeds, a bacterium pesticide is in the DNA of corn and the list goes on and on.

What are these altered crops doing to the soil?  What are these crops doing to human health?  What is the consequence to the very crops and animals that have had their DNA changed forever?  Take the tiniest spider in his web, is there anything more beautiful?  Or corn pollen that scatters from silky hairs to wrapped corn kernels within a cob.  The pollen slides down the silks and pollinates each and every corn kernel.  Why would one poison a plant and let it fertilize itself with its own toxic pesticide pollen?  In turn we eat the toxic corn.  This was not the way it was intended.

German researchers have found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the guts of bees feeding on gene-altered rapeseed (canola) plants.  Wind, rain, birds, bees and insect pollinators have been carrying genetically altered pollen to adjoining fields, including organic and non-GE fields.

 In 1999, we learned from Cornell University that GE Bt corn killed the monarch butterfly.  According to Food, Inc. a must see film, there is a growing body of evidence that GE crops are also affecting other beneficial insects included ladybugs and lacewings, as well as beneficial soil microorganisms, bees, and possibly birds (Weber, 2009).

Scientists in Oregon found that GE soil microorganism, Klebsiella planticola, completely killed essential soil nutrients.

Source:  Weber, K. (2009).  Food, Inc. NY:  Public Affairs (84-86).          

Beneath the soil there is life by Mary Ellen Ryall

The earthworm makes soil copyright by Mary Ellen Ryall
Photo of an earthworm who lived in my garden. Photo taken after a rain.

I watched a video of E. O. Wilson, a biologist, explaining biodiversity and the possible consequence of the loss of at http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/83  He was speaking about the hidden life beneath the soil that supports life.

The topic was of interest to me because of a video I did for News from Indian Country “Tracking the monarch butterfly through corporate killing fields,” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ7vl9qJIAA

I touched on the fact that even earth worms were being poisoned by pesticides and herbicides.  Sandy Stein, secretary of Happy Tonics, and I experienced what massive doses of ammonia (fertilizer) felt like as we traveled on Route 35 alongside the concentrated animal feeding operations and monoculture fields in Kansas, USA.  Please read “Nutrients for plants” to learn about the dangers of ammonia fertilizer at http://www.nutrientsforplants.com/blue-fertilizer.html

 If we lose earth worms and kill other (unknown) soil microbes what will be the consequence?  E. O. Wilson speaks to this finite hidden world.  Please watch his video.  We must honor and protect biodiversity including the soil which contains the “mystery of life within.”

 Nick Vander Puy, reporter from News from Indian Country, sent a quote that ties right into this plea.   “Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow.  They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional.  On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming.  Maps and mazes.  Of a thing which could not be put back. Not to be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”  Source:  Cormic McCarthy’s apocalyptic story The Road.

Every precious species belongs here.

%d bloggers like this: