Showing posts with label Nature
Today my daughter and I took a class on identifying edible vs toxic mushrooms in the wild. Since I was little I always wanted to know which mushrooms I could and couldn't eat but no matter how many times friends with mushroom knowledge would point out an edible mushroom I just didn't trust it. 

A few years ago we decided to remove the majority of our grass in the front yard to make room for pollinator gardens. We removed about 1/2 of the lawn and planted numerous Minnesota natives to feed butterflies and bees. In our backyard we added several native trees to help feed the birds. Immediately we started seeing the benefits of both. The birds come to the trees to nibble on the fruits and the pollinators visit the flowers for pollen and nectar, but this year we were surprised to find this...

This past weekend my oldest daughter and I attended another herbal workshop.  This time the location was a beautiful farm in North Central, MN and it was the perfect spot since there was a great variety of wild edibles and medicinals spread over the property, even this beauty… truly growing wild, there were just two plants on the 38 acres.


I think my daughter had the most fun hanging out with the chickens 


While I was busy eating wild foods


We talked about many plants including the a variety of uses for Solomon's Seal


and Black Medick


There wasn't a boring minute while Lise Wolff talked


I really can never get enough of these plant walks.  Lise Wolff is like an herbal encyclopedia that I wish I could just put on a shelf and open when needed.  How she mentally files away so much detail about medicinal and edible plants I will never know.

It truly was a great day!

For anyone who lives in MN and may be interested in these workshops, here is a link to Lise Wolff's website .  Her classes are not always posted on her site but if you sign up for emails she'll definitely send you one when a workshop or class is scheduled.

JUST SOME PICTURES

11:46 AM, in
At this time of year we have every insect imaginable hanging out in our backyard.  You have to be very careful if you walk the trail around the Joe Pye Weed and Goldenrod because literally hundreds of wasps, honey bees and bumble bees call the JPW & GR a source of food.
 
One of hundreds of yellow-jackets calling our yard home right now. They are hungry for the Joe Pye Weed and Goldenrod.

Monarch butterflies are just interested in the Joe Pye Weed.

This little lady(bug) has been spending her day poking around the goldenrod.



I saw this frog and thought it was deformed but turns out it was crossing its legs like that on purpose.  Who knew they did that? I didn't.
 
Yesterday we went to the Minnesota Science Museum to check out the Monarch exhibit.  If it wasn't for a time constraint I could have stayed in the butterfly house all day, as it was we had to bribe Aiyana with better things to come just to get her to leave.  


Who knew insects could be so fascinating but I'm finding myself more and more interested in learning about them, and not just the pretty ones either.


Mating pair.


Apparently I am the only one who thought this was fascinating. Mating butterflies. Maya kept telling me to stop taking pictures but I thought it was cool to see.



Monarch (male) - the swollen pouches (circles/balls) along the veins near the ends of it wings tells you it is a male.


Painted Lady Butterfly hitching a ride on Aiyana's head.

Maya and Monarch posing for the camera.

Painted Lady Butterfly

Monarch (female) having a conversation with my husband.  I think she had a crush on him :P





Have you ever wondered what climate change looks like through the eyes of our wild neighbors?


photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Grizzly Bear: more mountain pine beetles = less whitebark pine trees = less whitebark pine seeds = starving grizzly bears 


photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of a Polar Bear: melting sea ice = less access to seals = more energy spent hunting for food = less time for reproduction = less polar bears  


photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of an Orangutan: drought = loss of habitat due to more wild fires = no food and no place to live


photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of a Snow Leopard: warmer, wetter weather = loss of alpine habitat = loss of hunting grounds = desperation = exposure to humans & livestock = increased retaliatory killings of the snow leopard


photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of a Gazelle: drought = expansion of desert land = loss of of trees and grass = less food = having to compete with livestock for food = loss of life for the gazelle.  


photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of a Cheetah: loss of the gazelle = eating outside normal diet = getting less “healthy” protein = negative effect on sperm health = changing the ability to reproduce effectively = dwindling number of cheetahs




photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of a Tiger: rising temperatures = melting sea ice = rising water levels = flooded lands = loss of habitat



photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Shark: warmer waters = expanding food search area = becoming stressed = a refusal to mate = less sharks + more exposure to humans = more conflict = slaughtered sharks.




photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Sea Turtle: warmer weather = melting ice caps = rising sea level = erosion of nesting beaches & changes in sex ratios = less sea turtles



Photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Bird: warmer weather = change in migratory patterns = missing out on food sources & mates = unhealthy birds = less offspring. 

Add poaching and human caused habitat destruction and what do you get?

EXTINCTION!

Now what does climate change look like through your eyes?

If you're in Minnesota please attend Wolf Walk in Duluth to advocate for gray wolves and stop the wolf hunting and trapping season in November. 




I'm writing this for one reason only. How many people look at the International Wolf Center the way I did? That is why I write. If you are anything like I was you see the Intl. Wolf Center as a haven for wolves. A place that educates the public not he factual information pertaining to Canis lupus, a place that is run by people that care about and want to preserve our wolf population (their twitter page says they advance the survival of wolves). Well... if you think like that I would say that you are wrong, just as wrong as I was. 
The turnout of wolf protectors at the state Capitol in Minnesota yesterday was awesome!  We rallied to stop the hunt/trap this fall for over 3 hours.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many like minded individuals and know that we were all there for a greater good which is to protect Minnesota's gray wolf population and put a stop to the hunting and trapping that will happen this November. 
Howling for Wolves had a booth at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival - Pet Fest Weekend - on Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19 and the response about the Wolf Hunt is exactly what we all expected.  People do not want the wolf hunt/trap this November and they were very eager to sign the petition demanding that it be stopped.  Out of the hundreds of people that passed by the HFW booth I personally only came across 3 that were in support of the hunt/trap and their responses went exactly like this:
That is all I kept thinking about today.  We are running out of time to save our wolves.  The hunt begins in November and although it seems like a lifetime away it's really just around the corner.  The leaves are already beginning to change from a bright green to a dull yellow which means fall isn't far away. 

MASON BEE?

4:35 PM, in
I was so excited to find this itty bitty bee in my garden working really hard on one of my bamboo poles that I'm using to stake my raspberry bush.  I immediately thought it was a mason bee.  Some of the other bamboo poles in the raspberry patch have mud plugged holes already (possibly from last year).  Anyway... I took some pix and a video to show my daughter Maya but when she saw the video she insisted that it wasn't a mason bee.  She thinks it looks like a wasp but the video is a little deceiving when it comes to seeing the bees size.  It was really tiny, about the size of my fingernail.  I don't think any wasps are that size.  Are there wasps that size????




I figured if I can't have honeybees right now it doesn't mean I can't have another type of bee.  According to my beekeeping friend Dave  it is a little late in the season to get going with Mason Bees so I'm going to give bumble bees a try.  A while back, after my beekeeping course, my oldest daughter decided she wanted to try keeping bumble bees.  She's always had a fascinating relationship with bumbles.  When she and I took a class at a local nature center 14 years ago we learned the difference between bees, wasps and hornets, which ones are aggressive and which ones aren't, etc... After that time she's always handled bumble bees.  She mostly likes to stroke their backs when they are busy working a flower.  Since she is so brave and had a real interest we ordered Marla Spivak's book: Befriending Bumble Bees.




Maya, my daughter, caught a bunch of bumbles initially but we were unsure in our ability to determine which ones were queens so she'd always let them go.  Well, since I'm bee-less I've decided to give the bumbles another try. With bumbles I won't have to worry about swarm management and worried neighbors, I'll just be able to still enjoy having a relationship with bees.

Now all I need is a bumble bee to show up.  They are late this year.

Wish me luck! :D

SAVE OUR WOLVES

6:46 PM, in
Shimek (member of Ojibwe tribe) wants the five year moratorium on hunting back. He says in the American Indian creation story, the wolf is a brother so wolves and humans are spiritually bound. He said, It's our feeling that if we do everything we can to take care of the wolves, and the wolf does well, we will do well. He said through history when the wolf has not done well, neither have American Indians.
My daughter Maya and her friend Kim have started a new blog called GENERATION OF THE WOLF. They plan on using the blog to share their thoughts about wolves and to sell their drawings in order to raise money for the International Wolf Center in Minnesota.
We had a good turn out at the rally for the right to know. Lot of great speakers and creative signs. I was surprised at how many people are TRULY dedicated to this cause especially on Saturday when it was only in the 20's, we were all freezing our butts off, but... we were all happy to be there fighting for what we believe in.
In my neighbors yard

WINTER IS HERE

8:15 AM, in
...and it is beautiful!
This plant/herb is taking over my yard, choking out all the flowers and other weeds (that I actually like) but the upside to it is that my honeybees LOVE it. This is the first time I've seen hundreds of honeybees head straight over to something in my yard. They aren't the only insects in love with this plant either, there are bumble bees, wasps, and other things I can't identify. Can anyone identify this crazy plant/weed?
This has to be the best sign of spring. While hubby was adding fresh cedar mulch around the perimeter of our home he found a nest of little bunnies. We decided to leave that area alone until they were grown and gone. Hubby found them in a hole under our front door mat that had blown onto the ground over the
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