Butterfly Corner, June 8, 2011

Butterfly Corner

by Mary Ellen Ryall

Happy Tonics in collaboration with Indianhead Action Agency was invited to speak at Ruby’s Kitchen, Spooner, in May. I visited the food distribution site and spoke to the public. Free vegetable seed was available from Indianhead Action Agency in Spooner. The only requirement was that a participant be below a certain income level to qualify for free garden seed. At least 30-40 people showed an interest and many more said they were going to plant a garden. Some stated they would be first time gardeners. Rising food prices impact pocketbooks and can change a person’s behavior.

May 27 – Jim VanMoorleham and I did a walkabout at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. We saw a queen bumblebee go into her ground nest. This is the first time either of us witnessed this. Queen bumblebees usually seek a clearing of soil that they can build a nest in. There is several water filtering areas in the habitat, which is the purpose of these sparse areas of non egetation.

May 28 – The Lakes and Pines Girl Scout Troop of Shell Lake visited Bashaw Farm and Nursery. Washburn County AODA Commission and Leopold Education and Pheasants Forever grants enabled the girls to create functional and fun container gardens at Shell Lake Friendship Commons. This year Youth Container Gardens consist of four whiskey barrels of vegetables, flowers, herbs and a pollinator garden. Garden flowers, herbs and produce will be part of the Summer Environmental Film Fest
on June 25, July 30 and August 20 at Friendship Commons. Lakes and Pines Girl Scout Troop will host the event, give a tour of their gardens and prepare refreshments.  Environmental films will focus on world water issues, monarch butterfly migration and bee colony collapse disorder.

Happy Tonics added plants to the retainer wall gardens at the Spooner Food Pantry. Herbs such as parsley, sage, thyme, ground cherries and cherry tomato plants were added to the fledgling garden. Sue Adams gave the nonprofit permission in 2010
but we were short handed last year. In 2011 we are rolling out the gardens for people to learn that food, herbs and flowers do not need to be planted in the ground for one to be sustainable. Grant money from Leopold Education and Pheasants Forever was shared with Fresh Start to install a fence around a Youth Garden in Shell Lake.

May 29 – Sophie Belisle called in the first sighting of two monarch butterflies in Springbrook. The young student reported that the butterflies came in after the storm. Sophie was very happy to see the monarch butterflies in the meadows where she lives. She
has already received a beaded butterfly pin made by Ojibwe children at St. Francis Mission in Reserve, WI. She also received a fabric art square of butterflies, by Mabel Perry.

June 1 – Happy Tonics opened a new Visitors Centert in Minong. The artist loft is adjacent to The Scoop and has the advantage of Wi-Fi access. Minong is progressing nicely with Wi-Fi friendly businesses that want tourists and residents to frequent
their establishments.

June 3 – Kris Fjelstad called in the first monarch sighting in Shell Lake. She mentioned the day was cloudy and windy. It was 77.6 degree Fahrenheit and the time was 2:25 p.m.

June 4 – Mary Ellen Ryall and Sandy Stein participated and walked with the Mother Earth Water Walkers close to Reserve, Hayward. The walkers of the southern direction have been walking since April 20th, carrying salt water of the Gulf of Mexico to Bad River, WI where it will meet with the other waters from the Atlantic, Hudson Bay and Pacific. The southern direction included Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin. The walk is ongoing until the water from the south reaches
Bad River, WI on June 12. The purpose of the walk is to raise awareness of loss of fresh drinking water in many countries around the world and to stop water privatization and pollution.

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.

Summer days with the Girl Scouts

Attendees at environmental film showing
Attendees at environmental film showing

  On Saturday August 21, 16 children and adults attended the film Incredible Journey of the Butterflies at Friendship Commons in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA. This was the last in the summer series of Environmental Education Events sponsored by Happy Tonics, Inc. with grants from Washburn County AODA Commission and Leopold Education.  The Pines and Lake Girl Scout Troop hosted the event.

garden fresh tomatoes and peppers
garden fresh tomatoes and peppers

 The girls picked fresh tomatoes and peppers from their container gardens at the Commons and served up healthy refreshments of fresh fruits and vegetables to their guests. To celebrate the completion of the summer event, the girl scouts will receive a butterfly tee shirt.  

Mary Ellen Ryall with Pines and Lake Girl Scout Troop
Mary Ellen Ryall with Pines and Lake Girl Scout Troop

 Don’t forget to join Happy Tonics on September 5 for the “Butterfly Marchers” as part of Town and Country Days. The cast call is for kids from 8 to 80. Meet at Friendship Commons at 11:45 a.m. to dress for the parade. Wings provided or bring your own. Parade starts at 12:30 a.m.