Dragonfly forest and other stories

Sympetrum olcinum dragonfly

Sympetrum olcinum dragonfly

Amelia, my niece was overhead saying to her brother and sister as they looked out the front door facing the expansive gardens and lawn, “It’s a dragonfly forest.” There were hundreds of dragonflies dive bombing mosquitoes and it did look like a dragonfly habitat.  We often see them by the masses at sunset around the pool area when we have our dinner out at the picnic table. Honestly, there are no mosquitoes because of the dragonfly patrol. No need to spray here. I did get a photo of the red or rust yellow-legged meadowhawk (Sympetrum olcinum). We saw a twelve-spotted skimmer (Libfellua pulchella). The skimmer has a white abdomen and several spaces on the wings that are clear, with darker accented markings. It is rather large and noticeable.

Looking in a field guide for vernal ponds, I learned that the eastern box turtle is of special concern in Massachusetts. I feel fortunate to have a shell that my dog Tia and I discovered near the pond that was on the back side of our property in Lusby, MD. In December 2000, I carried the shell with me when I moved to Wisconsin. Once I was there, I learned that the turtle was a significant part of Ojibwa culture in the Great Lakes region. There is no such thing as coincidence, seeing as I had moved to Indian Country and would be studying with the Ojibwa at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCOOCC). I graduated from LCOOCC in 2003. You can read about my journey to the Midwest online at http://www.tribalcollegejournal.org/archives/8298

I was granted a Creative Writing Award from Tribal College Journal where the article was published along with other tribal college authors. I am thrilled that the prestigious Journal published the  issue online for prosperity.

Amelia, my grand niece

Amelia, my grand niece

Continuing our woodland walk, Amelia and I saw many frogs. I saw a wood frog  that wears a black mask across its eyes and has a yellow line that distinguishes this particular frog species. Frogs were not all we saw. There was cucumber root . My sister Ronnie told me what it was. Here is a photo of the plant. The upper set of leaves were growing through the beautiful ferns that exist within the woodlands.

Cucumber root

Cucumber root

The plant is unique because it as two separate sets of leave with berries within the top array of leaves that form a circle around the plant stalk. Ronnie also pointed out running cedar that grows near the far boundary of the property near the frog pond. . I have to jog my memory re: medicinal plants and look up both running cedar and princess pine. Something is nagging me about one of them being a medicinal plant.

On the walk down Ashby West Road yesterday, I came across lady slipper leaves visibly growing near one of my favorite grandfather boulders. I was really taken aback. There are at least eight sets of visible plants growing along the side of the road. I drove down the hill yesterday and Ronnie was able to be my eyes as we passed the large glacier boulder. Ronnie, being a plant expert herself, was able to spot the lady slippers. I love them because they are part of the orchid family and hardy enough to grow in our northern climate.

ladyslipper

Today We Sing Your Praises

Hand Drum Contest – Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Convention Center, Hayward, WI.  Happy Tonics will be at LCO Ojiwe Community College on Thursday to present a program on Oneida Culture and Corn.  It is all about saving tribal indigenous crop species from extinction. 

Brighter Planet VOTING PERIOD has ended.  Happy Tonics, Inc. received 234 VOTES for their initiative to adapt to Climate Change.  Happy Tonics, Inc. Officers and Board Members wish to thank each and every one of you for your votes.  Today we heard from Michelle L. Voight, Executive Director, of Tourism Washburn County Tourism Association at www.washburncounty.org  Michelle let us know she VOTED for  adapt to Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.

 We are both members of Destination Marketing Organization at http://wisconsinvisitor.com/?113140   Nancy Herman, Yellow River Advertising and Marketing and Greg Vreeland, Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad, are dedicated to letting the public know that we have some great green initiatives to promote Eco tourism and Volunteer Eco vacations in the Great North Woods of Wisconsin.  Check out the train schedule in Spooner at http://www.spoonertrainride.com/  to find some interesting short excursions that include meals and other eco friendly activities like the pumpkin train that goes out to a pumpkin patch in the fall.

Monarch Butterfly Habitat

Monarch Butterfly Habitat, Shell Lake, WI, USA copyright Cindy Dyer

 In the summer, right down the road from Spooner is the Monarch Butterfly Habitat that Happy Tonics implements.  The city owned land is now a Restored Remnant Tallgrass Prairie for many species of butterflies, native bees and dragonflies.  Visitors have even seen ducks, deer and a bear come wandering through the habitat. 

One doesn’t need a lot of land to restore nature back to native habitat.  Native plants are host plants to butterflies and do not require intensive watering.  The plants have very deep roots.  The prairie rose has been known to grow 20 feet down into the soil to tap water.  Can you image lawns doing this?  Why deplete water to maintain a lawn?  Native grasses and wildflowers can do all this with so little in return.   With climate change we need to adapt.  Bless you all for voting and helping to protect Mother Earth. 

Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

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