A walk within a forest

Woods

Woods

Sarah was a child of the woods. Recently, she hadn’t been feeling all that well. The need to go outside and communicate with nature was calling her. Poor Sarah, the tell tale signs of respiratory disease (COPD) were a real concern right now. Sarah’s mind did a memory walk, while venturing down the woodland path. Many years ago, her grandmother told her, “My own sister died of pneumonia when she was 18 years old.” She didn’t mention her sister’s name. Continuing the thought she said, “My sister had beautiful red hair.” Then, dusting her well worn hands against her apron; Sarah’s grandmother asked that they change the subject.

Sarah’s grandmother had reminded her to live in the present and be grateful for today. These thoughts followed Sarah as she ventured out to the habitat. The path was richly carpeted in pine needles, beech and oak leaves.

moss

moss

Once in awhile, Sarah came upon a surprise miniature colony of moss, looking like a tiny forest, interlaced with snow and a loose bed of leaves. Sarah learned intrinsically that leaves protect moss and snow keeps the colony alive with moisture. Sarah loved learning like this.

Slovak

Our Lady of the Woods

Along the pathway was a small alter to Our Lady of the Woods. Mary, her sister recently told her that the statue was Slovak. A little further along, Sarah noted transplanted rhododendrons that her sister had set out at different points along the trail. After all, it was botanical woodlands.

Friends

Friends

Upon entering the habitat, Sarah was greeted by a small handmade paper sign that read, “Friends.” To Sarah, friends were birds and wild animals that lived there. Turning her gaze to a dead tree, she noticed the suet hanger, hung a few weeks ago, was empty. In another tree, a metal suet feeder was missing. Sometimes things disappear in the woods. Who carries them off she wondered?

millet

Millet

Shrugging, she turned her mind to the millet hung in the trees. She observed that the seed heads are holding up well. What was that sweet sound? Chick-a-dee-dee-dee. Oh little birds are here. Delighted she watched where they landed as they inched towards her.

forsysthia

forsysthia

Sarah wanted to investigate the forsythia that Mary planted this past fall. Her sister had been transplanting bits of shrubbery to brighten the habitat with blossoms some day. Deer have been here, she noted; some tender shoots had been eaten. In that moment, Sarah’s heart was happy remembering Indigenous instructors who taught her so many beautiful things, which she now carried in her heart.

compost

compost

Sarah dumped the contents of compost in a pile, from a stainless steel bowl. Each time she went to the habitat, she tried to bring saved raw coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells and vegetable waste. Sarah wanted to create some good compost to work with next spring.

turkey tail

turkey tail

Nearby, a colony of Turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) was growing on an old dead tree limb. The tree had lost its life in a blow down years ago. Turkey tail’s medicinal properties have been researched by Paul Stamets, owner of Fungi Perfecta at http://www.fungi.com/
The mushroom is believed to have medicinal properties that could treat some forms of cancer. Sarah was interested in medicinal mushrooms for this reason. The National Institutes of Health tested Paul Stamet’s Host Defense Turkey Tail from Fungi Pefecta. Dr. Andrew Weil wrote a knowledgeable article at http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400904/Turkey-Tail-Mushrooms-for-Cancer-Treatment.html

bells

bells

After the thrill of seeing the mushroom in her habitat, Sarah spent a few more moments looking at hanging bells she had hung. She hoped the wind would make them jingle.

pumpkin

pumpkin

Before heading home to the farm, she took one last look at a miniature pumpkin decorating a tree stump. Who knows, perhaps habitat visitors enjoyed looking at the Christmas garlands instead of eating them.

Mary Ellen copyright Cindy Dyer

Mary Ellen copyright Cindy Dyer

Happy holidays Butterfly Woman friends where ever you are.

Happy Tonics September News

Ryall, M. E. (2010, October 6). Happy Tonics September News. Washburn County Register, p. 10

Alex paying attention to learning to identify leaves

Alex paying attention to learning to identify leaves

 There was a Fall Youth Plant Science event at the Spooner Ag Research Station on Saturday October 2, 2010. Area 4-H youth and other youth were invited to attend the event. Happy Tonics is proud to announce that the Pines and Lake Girl Scout Troop of Shell Lake attended. The Girl Scout Troop had a container garden at Friendship Commons this past summer. Offering youth gardening opportunities is one way to jumpstart their interest in gardening. 

Emily experiences pure joy as she catches a falling leaf

Emily experiences pure joy as she catches a falling leaf

Kevin Schoessow, UW-Extension Spooner Area Agriculture Agent and UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteers lead discussions and demonstrations on making compost, planting garlic, pruning grapes and raspberries and putting the garden to bed. There was a tour of the Spooner Ag Research Station Display gardens were youth learned about the “off the grid” drip irrigation system, powered by an airlift tech pump and windmill and the newly constructed hoop house for season extension. The girls learned something about seed saving and enjoyed tasting fresh fruit, vegetables and berries right from the garden.

Kevin showing a button bottom and a peanut shaped squash

Kevin showing a button bottom and a peanut shaped squash

Happy Tonics exhibited at the Lac Courte Oreilles Convention Center as part of the Wellness Fair and Farmers Market on September 30, 2010. The nonprofit organization is a member of the Green Team at the LCO Tribal College which sponsored the event.  A pumpkin and squash display was on Exhibit. The plants are native to the Americas. A Three Sisters Garden (Corn, beans and squash) was grown in the habitat to teach visitors how heirloom organic crops may have been grown by Native Americans in the prairie of long ago. WOJB did a live interview of the Three Sisters Garden with Mary Ellen Ryall.   Happy Tonics volunteer staff shucked Hidatsa beans and packaged organic herb tea and organic culinary herbs for their online Store at http://stores.ebay.com/HAPPY-TONICS

Happy Tonics received a Matching Gift from Hachette Book Group from Park Avenue, New York, as a match to the donation made by Erica Hohos of Worcester, Massachusetts. The donation will allow us to implement memory pavers around the large wild black cherry tree in the Memory Tree Grove. We will honor Happy Tonics members who have passed on with pavers. The nonprofit organization will invite the public to participate in this upcoming fundraiser. Citizens will be able to purchase an engraved paver in memory of their loved ones including family, friends and pets.

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