The weather is fabulous, and the lake breeze is blowing away the biting insects!!
The swamp milkweed is covered with tiny monarch caterpillars, and we have several Rose-breasted grosbeaks visiting our yard daily.
We learned a new butterfly, the Comptons tortiseshell.
A surprising thing happened. Sadly, it probably happens often. A Swallowtail butterfly was going back and forth, and back and forth. I watched for about 10 minutes, and wondered if it was some kind of butterfly ritual? Luckily, the sunlight picked up a faint spider silk. This beautiful butterfly was trying to free itself from a spider web. With a little help from me, the Swallowtail was free, and a spider had lost his dinner.
North country Ruby-throated hummingbirds and other birds bring joy!
We love our freedoms. We ride ATVs, run leaf blowers and lawn mowers, spray chemicals and have fires in our yards, totally unaware of how are actions could be affecting other people. A new study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency(MPCA), puts the responsiblity for air pollution on the general public. Their study says air pollution in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis, St. Paul and suburbs 2.8 million) causes 2,000 deaths a year.
The Minnesota Pollution Control report gives specific ways to improve air quality:
Drive the most fuel-efficient vehicle you can afford.
Take public transportation, walk, or bike whenever possible.
Limit wood-burning activities like backyard bonfires.
Look for alternatives to fossil-fuel-burning small engines such as electric lawnmowers and weed trimmers rather than those that use gas.
“Gratitude and acknowledgment are essential components in creating and attracting what you want in your life. Through the expression of gratitude on a daily basis, you align yourself to receive all the good the universe has to offer. By simply focusing your thoughts and attention on the abundance that is already present in your life, you will literally shift your energy to a positive vibration that will automatically and effortlessly attract even more to be grateful for.” Jack Canfield
Wishing you a weekend of gratitude and outdoor adventures!
When you shop, do you try to purchase products made from recycled materials? This green business, Banner Creations, in Minneapolis is a hero of mine. They sew and make products from material made from recycled plastic. I purchased my reusable shopping bags (above) from them, and not only did they make a fabulous product, they were creative and efficient to work with.
See the new research below, and get outside in a quiet place for a walk.
In the past several months, a bevy of studies have added to a growing literature on the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors. That includes recent research showing that short micro-breaks spent looking at a nature scene have a rejuvenating effect on the brain — boosting levels of attention — and also that kids who attend schools featuring more greenery fare better on cognitive tests.
With a little planning, it’s easy to make your Fourth of July celebrations red, white, blue and GREEN. Follow these tips to make your Independence Day celebration a little more environmentally friendly:
• Recycle! Provide your 4th of July guests with recycling containers or ask your host for one. Print recycling labels for free at http://www.hennepin.us/eventrecycling.
• Use your own dishware instead of disposable paper or plastic plates and silverware. Although you may spend a few extra minutes at the sink, the extra effort goes a long way in reducing waste!
• Grocery shopping for the 4th? Remember to bring your own reusable shopping bag.
• Provide reusable food containers for guests to bring leftovers home, or encourage your guests to bring their own. You’ll have less to clean up and avoid food waste!
• Look for air quality updates and avoid having a bonfire during poor air quality days. MPC.com
• Traveling around town for the 4th? Bike or use public transportation instead of driving if possible.
• Buy 4th of July decorations that can be reused every year instead of decorations that can only be used once.
I thank Pope Francis, along with millions throughout the world, for encouraging churches and all of us to discuss and think about our unsustainable habits. Pope Francis is concerned with the lack of fresh drinking water, the loss of bio-diversity, and the diminished quality of life many on our planet are experiencing. The Pope and I would disagree on birth control, and the sustainability large families, but I think his other ideas are right on! The list below is the best list I have seen on things we can all do to reduce our carbon use. Below is from Priest Father Rocky:
10 things you can do to implement “Laudato Si.”
1. Use 10% less air conditioning — in home and in car 2. Use 10% less fuel — at home and in car 3. Drive 10% slower 4. Use scrap paper for your first draft 5. Use natural light instead of electric whenever possible 6. Turn off the lights when you leave the room 7. Use real plates, napkins, and cups: not paper and plastic 8. Reduce water consumption (recycle shower water into the holding tanks for toilets) 9. Be respectful at home: “please and thank you” 10. Say Grace BEFORE and AFTER meals.