Today, 24 September 2013, I was reinstated as Executive Director of Happy Tonics, Inc. a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity. We are growing in MA and I needed to receive grant monies I apply for under our own umbrella. I received two grants thus far and first one I had to put under another nonprofit’s umbrella.
The nonprofit is handling many programs already in WI, including managing a Monarch Butterfly Habitat and collaborating with City of Shell Lake on widening Route 63, which leads into Shell Lake, going past the Habitat. Sandy Stein, secretary, will attend a meeting in Shell Lake to address widening of road right-of-ways that will affect the Habitat.
She will send a report after the meeting to keep me up-to-date. I have already been engaged with Shell Lake in requesting that the disturbed road right-of-ways need to be planted with native seed. If any of the hard-scape and landscaping is moved, than it is up to the City of Shell Lake and WI DOT to remove/replace what ever is infringed upon.
Be happy Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.
March 23 – The 2nd Annual Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Summit was held at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College. John Peck, Family Farm Defenders, was keynote speaker. The topic: Food Sovereignty. In the not so distant past, the family farm and home garden were responsible for supplying food on the table. This system radically changed during the “Green Revolution.” Currently in our everyday lives, we have found out that a globalized food chain has come at a very high cost. Fuel for transportation has risen; seed has gone to hybrid and patented GMO; animals are owned of big Ag-chemical companies. What is wrong with this picture? Food Sovereignty is imperative for food security.
Last year I raised my own vegetables. I learned to can, freeze, dehydrate and dry my foods and herbs. I bought Bashaw’s organic berries and grass fed frozen beef. The organic farm is located on Highway 63, between Spooner and Shell Lake, WI. I know this food is healthy. In 2011, Lac Courte Oreilles Public Library published Jiibaakweywang, We are Cooking together, Flavors of Lac Courte Oreillis. Sandy Stein’s award winning recipe 3 Step Manoomin (wild rice) is published in the book. Sandy is Happy Tonics Secretary. She started a Happy Tonics garden plot of native and medicinal herbs in 2011. This is a seed saving project.
My recipe for Organic Four Grain Health Bread was published in Jiibaakweywang. I used amaranth (red root, pig weed) from the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. Who knew that wild edibles would be part of the native plant community, in the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden? The collaborative book project was made possible by the Institute of Museum Library Services Enhancement Grant for Native American Library Sciences. The focus of the project is to target areas of health, the environment, and traditional culture.
April 14 – Last year over 100 people attended the Gadsden, Alabama, Public Library Local Author Day, which according to Julie Dobbins, is a fun and exciting event! The yearly event provides a great opportunity to discover new writers, buy some books, and get them signed by the author. My Name is Butterfly, written by Mary Ellen Ryall, will be on display at the event. Colorful postcards, with details on how to purchase the book on Amazon, will be available to fellow authors and the public. It is near impossible to attend all the writer events, such as this; when we are so far off the beaten path. I consider it a great privilege to have my book at the Gadsden, Alabama, Public Library Local Author Day event.
The Aldo Leopold film, Green Fire, will be shown on TV in April. The film is about land ethics. Aldo Leopold Foundation says, “The first full-length documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, Green Fire, highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. Leopold remains relevant today, inspiring projects all over the country that connect people and land.” We should all be proud that the environmentalist lived in Wisconsin. Leopold wrote his famous book Sand Country Almanac in our own state. See the following times and channels:
Friday, April 20 at 8pm on WPT; Sunday, April 22 at 2pm on The Wisconsin Channel; and
Tuesday, April 24 at 11pm on WPT.
March 22 – Monarch butterfly news. Due to the unusually warm temperatures and high winds blowing north from the Gulf of Mexico, over the last two weeks, the butterfly has traveled further north at record speed. According to Journey North, the monarch has already reached Kansas, a distance of 1,200 miles from Mexico. There is concern that the monarch is ahead of the normal migration cycle, usually the monarch is in Kansas on April 15. Scientists are diligently watching for an “ecological mismatch.” The monarchs are at a critical time in life. It is this generation that reproduces the next generation of butterflies. Will milkweed be up and ready for the laying of eggs on milkweed this early in the season?
In December, Dr. Lincoln Brower and other scientists count the number of Oyemal fir trees that have overwintering monarchs. The Mexican count showed the monarch population down by 28 percent from last year. This is an ongoing trend. Part of the cause is the continued plundering by illegal loggers in and around the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Mexico.
Another concern is the loss of milkweed in breeding habitat. “Dr. Karen Oberhauser is co-author of newly published research. Her study found a 58% decline in milkweed and an 81% decline in monarch egg production in agricultural fields of the Midwest,” Source: Journey North.
Saturday, July 30- There were thunderstorms surrounding the valley in late afternoon. Water sisters arrived at the Hospitality House in Minong. We began by dressing up in skirts. Sandy Stein mentioned that when women wear a shawl and skirt it represents mountains and being close to Mother Earth. A skirt worn in ceremony is respectful and helps women remember that we are feminine energy and connected to Mother Earth. We put our sacred items together to carry them out to the sand dunes. I had on my glass water pendent that Worth Cooley-Prost had made for me. Sandy wore her medicine bag. It is good for women to have their very own medicine bag. We have several small beaded butterfly medicine bags made by an elder Marilyn Vig, Rice Lake, WI. I will exhibit and offer them for sale in September at our online store at http://stores.ebay.com/happytonics
While still at the house we witnessed a rainbow. This was a beautiful sign.
Then it started to lightly rain again as we walked to the sand dunes. Sandy Stein said, “Rain is good.” I responded, “After all we are praying for the water.” We felt blessed as we entered Sacred Space and the rain began to lighten up and then stop.
Sandy, Deborah and Godavari met the sweet fern for the first time that is now growing over the dune and into the site. I love this fern, years ago I put my intentions on the fern and wished that the fern would climb the dunes from the other side. Each of them smelled the plant and were joyous when they smelled the sweet fragrance having never smelled anything like it before. I reminded water sisters that we needed to be silent as we entered Sacred Space.
We put our individual sacred items on the blanket alter in the sand. Before we began the Nibi Wabo (Water Song) each of us added our pure water to the water bowl to marry the waters. We tried to smudge but couldn’t get a match to light the sacred sage; it was too damp. We each took a pinch of tobacco in our left hand. In turn each spoke their intentions of remembrance before beginning ceremony and added a pinch of tobacco to the basswood Two Headed Bear Dream Bowl handmade by Frank Galli. The bowl was made especially for Water Ceremony offerings. Then I gave a short talk on the observations of water to the sisters.
Message: Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer is one of the Ambassadors of the White Buffalo Family in Oregon. She is with them now and doing ceremony as we stand in circle. Worth Cooley-Prost is traveling from Arlington, VA to the Carolinas. Worth is standing with us in ceremony at the same hour where ever she is. I remembered Shelley Ruth Wyndham, Cape Town, South Africa, who asked that she be remembered each time we stand in Water Ceremony. She is with us in ceremony. Mother Earth is going through a Great Cleansing and weather is and will become more violent. We are to stand firmly grounded to the earth and hold any fear in our feet which is solidly planted in communication with Mother Earth. We are not to let fear rise up through our bodies. We are not to be afraid when great and turbulent changes occur around us. We are to know that Mother Earth is protecting us. We are the Water Walkers, water sisters and water teachers.As women we are called to protect water. We are not alone. We are here to grow in healing energy work as we band together all over the world. Each of us in our own environment is here to teach others not to be afraid and to help people cross over the rainbow road after a storm. We are here at this moment to personally adapt to Climate Change and its consequences. We need to learn what our agricultural plant growing zone is and may be in the predicted future. We need to plant appropriately while we look towards the future. Current plant zoning is changing. In Northwest Wisconsin instead of planting the same species of downed trees ( Birch, Red Pine and Jack Pine) of the last storm in Minong on July 1, we need to look at a zone or two further south and plant accordingly. We need to personally adapt and teach others to adapt. There is no sense in old programming of being alarmed when our immediate world is changing and negatively lamenting the changes. If we survive I believe this is sufficient enough to be grateful. The solution: Think positive because we are still here doing our work. Adapt! This is the message.
Then we sang to the four direction, using our birch bark clapping sticks. The clouds were getting black and thunder clouds came closer. After concluding the Water Song we ended ceremony sooner, packed up our ceremonial objects and headed back to the Hospitality House. Before we left the sand dunes, Sandy put down the sacred items she brought to the ceremony. These were a shell and rock. I left a tear drop shell in a special place also which was significant because we were blessed by rain during ceremony.
Parched sand dunes from drought.
One of the observations I have noticed since I started working on water issues and Water Ceremony, with the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites, is that I am forever thirsty. Northwest Wisconsin experienced a seven-year drought . I am conscious of having a dry mouth and wanting to drink water.
I am grateful for all the rain in 2011 even though we have had to deal with strange, unpredictable and more frequent violent storms. Even the clouds have changed to forms I have never seen before. Now I keep a weather radio on.
I am secure in knowing that there is pure water at the artesian well in the woods where sweet water flows to the surface from deep within Mother Earth. What a happy woodlands it is that surrounds the artesian well. Even though the trip is long and I need to drive 60 miles round trip from Minong to Shell Lake and back, I am happiest when I am drinking this precious pure water.
After the Water Ceremony Godavari wrote, “Thanks so much, so very much, for having us at your place, especially right after the trauma of the storms, when it must have been hard for you to get ready. I like that it rained on our ceremony. In Siddha Yoga rain is auspicious (highly beneficial, a good omen) because it is a blessing upon the earth and its people. As you said, it is life itself. After our ceremony, I began drinking water with much gratitude, knowing we are blessed to have clean water on this part of the earth. And inside, I feel a purification beginning, which the water ceremony seemed to launch. Purifying me of anger and resentment, making space for greater love. So in a personal way too, I am grateful to you for leading us in honoring water, in honoring Mother Earth.
Note: Godavari means goddess of a holy river, and there is a River Godavari, as they call it there, near the Siddha Yoga ashram in India.
Worth Cooley-Prost says, “My part of Water Ceremony was brief and on the move, but held my Heart and I hope added something Good to the whole. My old (85 now!) friend Dot, who co-founded the Light Group in Kinston NC in the early 1970s, brought me a little container of water from there. (It used to be artesian well water, now it’s a mix of that and water from the Neuse River… anyway, Water from close-to-me Ancestors’ home since 1841 or so.) And our car smelled so wonderful with sage lit!
Tonya Whitedeer Cargill is a Clan Mother of the Bear Clan of Medicine Creek Metis in Laytonville, CA. She holds women’s circles and Grandmother Net of Light Ceremonies. She is one of the Ambassadors’ for the Sacred White Buffalo Family in Northern Oregon. She is currently working on a novel that is coming to her through Spirit. Tonya works with endangered species Medicines of the Green Nation and maintains a Medicine Walk open to the public to educate all those that come to her land named through Spirit as Medicine Creek. Visit the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites at http://waterblessings.org/
Mary Ellen Ryall is a Council Guide of the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites and Executive Director of Happy Tonics, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity. Ryall is the author of My Name is Butterfly published in 2011 by Salt of the Earth Press. The book will be available on Amazon shortly.
The fully illustrated children’s book gives testimony of why native plants are important for pollinators. The charming book teaches about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and its only host plant milkweed. Over the last eight years Ryall has planted milkweed at the sand dunes. Monarch butterflies flitted about the day of the Water Ceremony. This is another good sign that the monarch butterfly abounds in Minong in and near the sand dunes.
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
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.
As many of you may have heard by now, I walked with the copper pail with water from the Gulf of Mexico last Saturday when Sandy Stein and I caught up with the Mother Earth Water Walkers between Old Post and Reserve at LCO. Anna Merritt and I are going to Bad River Reservation tomorrow, June 10. Follow-up on this day afterwards.
Please take the time to read about the important issue of protecting water for all species and for generations to come. Water is a gift and not a resource to be plundered, contaminated, bought and sold.
Today when you take that sip water, be sure to thank the water. She has been taken for granted and disrespected for far too long. In ancient times and with many tribal cultures of today, people remember to thank the water and honor her for the gift of life she brings.
Karen De Main from Mother Earth Water Walkers called today. She said the southern route will be at Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Ojibwe Reservation on Saturday. They will come from New Post to Reserve and then walk on Trepania Road where the tribal college is. Sandy Stein and I plan to meet hopefully in the parking lot at approximately 9 a.m. and wait for the Water Walkers there.
We will join them at this point and walk to the Pow Wow grounds passing the Tribal Offices and Grade School. Ceremony and feasting will take place on the Honor the Earth Pow Wow grounds. It is a thrilling moment for all water sisters and brothers as Grandmother Josephine Mandamin comes to LCO from far away Canada. She has been on the Sacred Water Walk since April 10.
At long last I will be able to walk with the Grandmothers and Water Brothers and Sisters and stand in solidarity to protect Mother Earth’s precious blood so that future generations will have access to free and flowing fresh water. Water is a gift of the Creator and needs to be respected by all people.
I truly believe the movement is now galvanized from this sacred heart beat and is reaching out to the world and the world is waking up to the issue of water being a gift not a commodity to be sold or polluted.
We’re almost there at 81 VOTES at 9:10 p.m. Only 19 more VOTES to go till we reach 100. Yeah Team! If you are watching the results and have voted once, you are entitled to two more votes. Each voter can vote three times. If you are new please REGISTER AND VOTE AT http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100 for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake.
I thought you might be interested in the DNR Monarch Butterfly Habitat that Happy Tonics has land use for a seasonal habitat. Just look at the milkweed. Native milkweed is the only host plant of the monarch butterfly and this meadow is full of milkweed. Here is a photo of our sign that Matt made last year with a small grant from the Spooner DNR.
Today we want to thank Paul DeMain, Editor of News from Indian Country, for voting and passing the word along. Please read Nick Vander Puy’s interview with Dawn White on the Importance of Water.
Happy Tonics is a co-sponsor of the Environmental Film Festival. We heard from Belinda Bowling, Owner Innkeeper, Casa Escondida Bed & Breakfast in Chimayo, New Mexico at http://www.casaescondida.com/
Sandy Stein and I had the pleasure of staying at the Casa when we were exhibiting at Tesuque Pueblo, New Mexico, in 2008. Facebook friend Amy Lou Jenkins, author of Every Natural Fact Five Seasons of Open Air Parenting also voted for our grant proposal. The book has not been released yet but can be pre-ordered. We like to make friends all along the way. So many individuals have emailed to say they have voted and we are deeply honored. You never know who your friends are until you need them.
Till tomorrow, keep up the good work. REGISTER AND VOTE for Happy Tonics. We love hearing from you.
Wednesday is chore day. I went outside only to nearly miss the garbage truck. Luckily the driver saw me. I dashed to the shed to get the garbage out for him. We have to lock garbage up here because creatures from the woods would make a mess of it.
The fellow was friendly. He asked, “Are you having a good time?” I said, “I’m having a time of my life snowshoeing and I am so happy.”
The driver responded, “You make me feel like I should be out here doing the same thing.” We talked about the forest and how it reminded us both of Upper New York State. He told me, “I drove a truck till 1996. That is the last time I saw Vermont and Upper New York State.” I mentioned that I hadn’t been back since 1985.
I explained that I came out here to be away from crowds and how that part of the country had grown dramatically. I mentioned that out here, I could raise my own food and the heck with it. He said, “I know and feel much like you do.” Then we went our separate ways.
This is the land of self survival and there are more people who have a Pd H degree here and love this country simply because they want to live free. New Hampshire has a motto “Live free or die.” That’s how many of us feel in the Great North Woods. We are self-sufficient and depend on ourselves.
The wind is howling and it is a bitter cold today. I did not snowshoe. Instead I am studying a book MycoMedicinals by Paul Stamets. Sandy Stein and I met him in 2008 at the Tesuque Pueblo Food Sovereignty Conference in New Mexico where Happy Tonics was invited to exhibit. He was the keynote speaker.
This is when I seriously started to dive into learning about mushrooms. I have always been fascinated by them and did an independent study in learning to identifying mushrooms and finding out which ones are edible. Not having a teacher, I never did learn to properly identify them and knowing how dangerous they can be, I will wait till I have a teacher.
This is one of the things I noticed most out in these woods was the fresh air and I think the lichen may have a role in how pure the oxygen is here on this land.
In the meantime, I order my mushrooms from Paul Stamets Company Fungi Perfectis because he is world-renowned for his knowledge about MycoMedicinals and mycelium. I even coated some vegetable seed with mycelium last summer because it is reported to make roots stronger. This summer I plan to scatter mushroom spawn in my straw laden garden.
This discovery and research is very important. So few of us understand the mycelium connection in its relationship to the earth and compared to the computer Internet. We are hi tech now and perhaps because we are we are now able to grasp the importance of mycelium to save the world.
We are pleased to announce that Sandy Stein and Pat Shields, husband and wife, will be in Costa Rica for much of December.
Stein is secretary of Happy Tonics, Inc. a nonprofit environmental education organization and public charity. Pat Shields is a board member and facility at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College.
The Reserva Biologica de Monteverde is just 15 km from the ranch. The natural paradise setting of the ranch is on Lago Arenal in view of the Arenal Volcano and the valley of the Rio Cano Negro and is surrounded by the Children Eternal Forest and the Arenal Forest Reserve.
Costa Rica has the most species of butterflies anywhere in the world outside of Ecuador. We hope the team is able to photograph butterfly species that are unfamiliar to us. A video camera will record interviews at the organic ranch. Happy Tonics mission is: Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly and Food Safety Issues. We are looking at other countries to see what we can learn about staying small, producing our own local and organic food, promoting biodiversity of habitat for butterflies and eco tourism. Be sure to keep up with the blog news in December here at Insectamonarca’s Blog.