You feeling this too?

I like Lara’s writing and deep thoughts. I think the world needed resetting. Only mother nature can stop the madness we were headed to. Now everything is on hold. I find this new space tranquil. I am doing handiwork again after 50 years. I am planting a Victory Garden of native plants and crops such as potatoes. Setting the seed potatoes out tomorrow. I finally have enough time for me at 75 years of age. Be grateful we are slowed down in our tracks. We were going nowhere anyway, even if it felt like we were on Top of the World in a New York Minute. Now we are one with nature and it is sustainable. Be Grateful that this time was chosen so each of us might know silence and meditation.

Eating on the Wild Side

Recently I saw a recipe for pasta with chickpeas, tomato, and spinach. Instead of spinach, I added dandelion leaves. With a dandelion digger and carrying an aluminum chair to the flowering dandelion field, I dug up roots and leaves. The common bumblebee and European honeybee were at play in the field, gathering nectar, from the first flowers of spring.

At home, the flowers were placed in a container to enjoy for a day before they faded. The roots were separated for drying for winter medicinal tea. The leaves were chopped and fried in garlic olive oil that I made a while back. Talk about good.

The Global Pandemic reminds me to return to my roots in herbalism, environmental education, master gardening, and wild foraging. I love returning to my roots. Thank you, Mother Nature, who provides for us.

Grimm Fairy Tales — Fabulous Realms

Beetle and Butterfly Pollinator Talk at Saratoga Community Garden

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Speaker Mary Ellen Ryall, Environmental Educator
Saratoga Community Garden at Wesley Retirement Community


Fossil records show that beetles were abundant during the Mesozoic meh·suh·zow·uhk period (about 200 million years before present). Beetles were flower visitors of the earliest angiosperms such as Magnolia and rose. Source:

Beetle pollinators are attracted to flowers by the bright orange color. The beetles not only pollinate the flowers, but they mate while inside the flowers. A mutant version of the plant with red flowers becomes more common with the passage of time. A particular variant of the beetle prefers the red flowers to the orange flowers. Over time, these two beetle variants diverge from each other to such an extent that interbreeding is no longer possible. What kind of speciation has occurred in this example, and what has driven it? Sympatric speciation, habitat differentiation.


Ladybug is the official State Insect of Massachusetts

The ladybug was adopted as the official state insect or insect emblem of Massachusetts in 1974 (thanks to a campaign that began with a second-grade class in the town of Franklin). Because this insect benefits agriculture and delights children everywhere, Ohio, New York, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Delaware also designate the ladybug as an official state symbol.

A ladybug can consume up to 60 aphids per day, and will also eat a variety of other harmful insects and larvae (including scales, mealybugs, leafhoppers, mites, and different types of soft-bodied insects), as well as pollen and nectar.

Also called lady beetle, ladybird, or lady fly, the most common variety of ladybug found in Massachusetts is the two-spotted lady beetle (Adalia bipunctata).

Save the New York nine-spotted Ladybug

The nine-spotted Ladybug of New York is also in decline at

Puerto Rican Insects are declining.

The date includes pollinators. 2 degrees Celcius has already impacted 60 percent of the insect animal pollinators. If it happens in the tropics, think what is happening here. How many bees and butterflies have you seen of late?


Some common butterflies that you will find in the New York State area include Cabbage White, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch, and Pearl Cresent and Painted Lady.

Pearl Cresent:

Host plant for Pearl Cresent: Several species of smooth-leaved true asters such as New England Aster. The species overwinters in the third instar caterpillar stage.

This spring, May 2, the Pearl Cresent was here when the lilacs bloomed. The butterflies look for native plants as the host plant, including the New England Aster, to reproduce and to obtain nectar. I didn’t see any asters because it was early. Lilac is not native, but first, which usually happens before native plants are out and flourishing. There are two broods, one in May and the other in August. Source:

Cabbage White:

Cabbage white butterfly: Reproduces on Brasilia plants such as cabbage, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts. Yesterday, I saw the Cabbage white butterfly in someone’s garden plot. The butterfly was laying eggs between the leaves of a Brasilia plant. Check the leaves and lightly wash the plant leaves gently with soap and water, and gently hose down afterward.

Painted Lady and the Monarch Butterfly

Summer 2018 – The Saratoga Community Garden was abundant with Painted Lady. The butterfly, along with the Monarch butterfly arrived around the same time. It was migration time toward the end of August.

The Painted lady overwinters in the southern United States. The Monarch journies back home to the Oyamel fir forest in Mexico. Last year both species were drawn to the brightly colored zinnia flowers. The Monarch butterflies flew right to the red zinnia, which they can see.

Monarch Butterfly Update.

The butterfly has seen a significant rise in the winter species surviving the winter. It is estimated that over 100,000 Monarchs are on their way back up north. With the winter habitat down t less than 20 acres, it is remarkable that the Monarch can still turn around their 10 percent survival rate, at least at the moment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife are watching the numbers to determine if the Monarch is now an endangered species.

Update: Endangered Species List
What’s next
May 24, 2019
Listing decision deadline extended
December 15, 2020
Listing decision is due

Video of meadow for pollinators

Visited a yard meadow created two years ago that is offering life to native plants, pollinators, and birds at

Defining Speculative Fiction – DIY MFA

I am starting to tool up for writing a historical nonfiction book on my ancestors.I think this site may be of assistance.

The Neophyte Writer

Knowing your genre is key for getting your book into reader’s hands. Melanie Marttila breaks down speculative fiction definitions!

Source: Defining Speculative Fiction – DIY MFA

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Random prompts sheet – Sat 22nd June — Morgen ‘with an e’ Bailey

Hello. Here are your prompts for today. Make of them what you will and let me know how you get on in the comments section below (or on Facebook/ Twitter). NB. just give us a summary unless you want to share the whole piece but if you post the actual writing, it’s deemed as published and you’ll […]

via Random prompts sheet – Sat 22nd June — Morgen ‘with an e’ Bailey

I did am author interview with Morgen Bailey in the past. She is outstanding in keeping up the game of writing. Bravo Morgen.

Celebrating Anya LaFlamme

Anya LaFlamme attended the pollinator classes I taught at Gateway Park, Fitchburg, MA, a few years ago, She has continued on to pursue the Massachusetts Master Gardener Classes and is a graduate of the Horticulture Program at Tower Hill Botanical Gardens Horticulture College, in Boylston, MA.

I am very proud of Anya. She is also a beekeeper and landscaper. The graduation is on November 2, 2018 at 6 PM. The event will be held at the British American Club, 1 Simon Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420.

Send Anya your congratulations. She deserves our applause. Bravo Anya.

Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer Cargill



grandmothertonyawhitedeercargill  June 6, 2018 – Goodbye dear sister

Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer Cargill walked on in May 2018. I was traveling in May. I felt that a transition had taken place, and I knew intrinsically that it was Grandmother Whitedeer. I could feel her absence. Yesterday, I telephoned California and spoke with her husband. Grandmother Whitedeer did not suffer at the end of life, according to her spouse, and I am relieved that she walked on to the other side without pain.

Grandmother started the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites at Some of the sisters helped Grandmother with the website because she was a teacher and not a computer techie. I was honored to be a councilwoman. I remember when Grandmother called me up and told me that it was important that I join and why.

In 2014, I moved to Saratoga Springs, NY, the home of my ancestors since 1856. I am focusing on Herbal Keepers as a Mission: We teach about the importance of pollinators for a secure local food supply. I am a protector of the Green Nation at

water Hans free domain

We need to safeguard water and the green nation for the future, not for ourselves, but for the next generation, and generations to come. Dedicating daily Ceremony is the center of our Being, and we are honored to be called the Sisterhood of Planetary Water Rites. Water, plant and pollinator advocacy continues at

Even though our spiritual teacher has walked on, I feel it is important to remember what she taught us about The Net of Light and the Grandmothers Teachings. I am blessed Grandmother trusted the Sisterhood with her life’s lessons and the book of her life’s work entitled Messages from the Ancient Ones. I asked Grandmother if she wanted to publish the book a few months ago and she said no. The book was a gift.

Miigwetch Grandmother. I will always remember you until our paths cross again. Aho.

Dandelion Greets the Spring

Hobomok moth.jpgPhoto: Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and Hobomok skipper (Poanes habomok)

The flower is a sunny composite with bright yellow bloom, which is made up of many petals in a tight cluster. The bumblebee is one of the first insects to seek out its sweet nectar. Photo is of a tiny skipper butterfly sipping dandelion nectar.  The early plant of spring is a delight in salads. When dandelions grow in a field, I trust no weedkiller has poisoned the earth. Otherwise, only grass grows. The cold and wet days of April are long this year. It was the last week of April before I could venture out into the woods in search of a spring tonic such as dandelion.

Wild foraging always keeps me connected to the earth beneath my feet. I am communing when I am outside and scouting wild edibles. Before I take anything, I make a little ceremony of honoring the plant and ask permission to gather something to use for myself. I put down an offering of a sacred plant which is ground up, and smudge with white sage. Both are healing, and I feel a sense of peacefulness in making an offering. Nature is a gift, and I need to honor and remember the sacrifice on the part of a plant’s life. Who am I to grab something without asking? The flowers and leaves are nourishment to wild creatures or pollinators.

There among the woodlands, clumps of dandelion grew. I picked leaves and brought them back, washed them, and put in a salad. Dandelion is rich in iron, potassium, and magnesium. Iron promotes the healthy production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. I feel sluggish after the long hard winter. After eating several leaves in a salad, I feel a slight surge of energy. Potassium is good for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work properly. I try to aim to eat a banana or a potato a day to ensure that I am getting enough potassium. Magnesium is necessary to transport calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes. The process is imperative to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm. The three of these minerals seem to go hand and hand, and all for the asking are readily available in dandelion.

I could go to the health food store and purchase dandelion leaves as a tea or dried herb, but the plant parts would be dead to me, and I am not confident that a plant in a store has the same value as the fresh herb itself. As an herbalist, I feel this is true, at least for me.


The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants

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