Getting Ready for a Long Journey

A new monarch on blazing star

This is an exciting time for my yard!  At this time of year my yard is overrun by monarch butterflies and hummingbirds.   Total enjoyment!

The hummingbirds are gorging on the nectar feeder and on the cardinal flowers, and monarchs are obsessed with the blazing star flowers.

Then just like, that they are gone on a perilous journey, migrating to warmer climes. First the hummingbirds are gone, then a week or so later, no monarchs! I hope they aren’t caught in storms, or hit by cars, and that they all arrive in Mexico or Central America safely.

Cardinal flowers

 

Female ruby-throat hummingbird

How can you have monarchs and hummingbirds in your yard? First, never use chemicals. Second, plant lots of milkweed, cardinal flowers and blazing star. Good Luck!

September 2. is National Hummingbird Day! A day to celebrate these amazing birds.

 

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June on Lake Superior

Magnificent skies

June is a month of variety, fresh green plants, and interesting skies. As the month ends, I reflect on the beauty of Lake Superior and the landscape that surrounds it. The length of the days and natural beauty is energizing. Everyday differs with the direction of the wind, and the big lake is usually part of this equation.
The birds are secretly nesting and raising their young, but I watch an unaware flicker fly in and out of her nest hole with food.

Wild geranium, easy to grow, is loved by bees and butterflies.

 

White Admiral Butterfly
Lupine on Lake Superior

 

 

 

 

 

The lupine, wild geraniums, Canada anemone, thimbleberry, and raspberries bloom while the milkweed takes over the garden path.

And.. everyday enjoys a new butterfly.

 

I Love Parks and Monuments!

Battle of Gettysburg, 1963

Earlier this month I took a road trip from Minnesota to Washington, D.C. We traveled the back roads through Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Everyday we would stop and hike in a park we came across. It was an amazing experience. Everyday we saw different trees and plants, different landscapes and birds, and a divergent mix of people. It was a lesson in diversity and beauty.
We stopped at monuments, state parks, county parks and national parks. The day we were at Gettysburg, I sat outside and ate lunch at the entrance to Gettysburg, and watched the people as they entered the park headquarters. I was struck by the diversity of people entering. It was a diverse group, of mixed ethnicity, and a range of militia t-shirts to “War is not the answer” shirts. The diversity was so interesting!

Parks and monuments are places we can all come together. They are places the wildlife can thrive, and where we all should feel welcome! In these politically divided times they are a place where everyone can meet, learn and enjoy. Parks and monuments of all kinds are what really show the strength of America! They take you to a history, gratitude and beauty of what our county truly represents.  You leave feeling intense patriotism in your heart! Please support and love these amazing treasures.

To learn more about the battle of Gettysburg click here.

Monument to President Lincoln

And read the Gettysburg Address

Superior Views: Lots of Rain

A rainy week on Lake Superior. Leaves are just budding on the  birch trees
A rose-breasted grosbeak brightens the rainy days

The week began with “extreme fire danger” warnings. But the rains came on Monday, and it has rained all week.  The swollen rivers and streams pour into Lake Superior turning the lake muddy brown.
The middle of May is always fabulous for viewing migrating warblers in northern Wisconsin. Even with the rain and storms migrants are passing through to their nesting areas. I hope they stay safe. This week we saw yellow-rumps, palm warblers, chestnut-sided, Nashville, oven-bird, and red-starts. Also, we had a beautiful male rose-breasted grosbeak visiting our feeder.
Blooming marsh marigolds are perfect for the wet ditches.

Marsh Marigolds love the rain!

I am Hopeful

Hope for wildlife
Hope for wildlife

This is a collection of hopeful stories I have read the past week.

I love the hopeful stories of this past week. These are stories that give an exciting projection of what the world is going to be like in the future. This is my occasional series on hopeful good news stories happening throughout the world.

1. Cedar Rapids, Iowa is planting 1,000 acres of native prairie to create bee/butterfly/bird/wildlife habitat by planting native prairie plants.   99.99% of Iowa’s native habitat is gone. Information at Iowa  Let’s hope other communities will do the same!

2. IKEA has created growrooms which are large, multi-tiered spherical gardens that are designed to sustainably grow enough food to feed a neighborhood.

3. India: This one is beyond my understanding: Scientists in India have captured carbon and are turning it into baking soda.  Read about it at India

English: No name baking soda

4. Indonesia: Indonesia, a nation of many islands, has strong goals to cut plastic use. Read about it here.  wpid-20151101_155242.jpg

5. Texas: “I never thought that wind would pay more than oil,” said a Texas landowner. Wind power is paying ranchers more money for wind than oil. Read about it at Texas.

wind-turbine-cornfield

6. Hope for the Paris Climate Agreement.  Ivanka Trump and her husband seem to support the historic climate deal.

7. Copenhagen now has more bikes than cars which is no surprise if you visit this biking city. Their bikes lanes are as wide as car lanes.  See video bikes in Copenhagen

 

 

 

A Brew of Spiders

“Once you begin watching spiders, you haven’t time for much else.”  ― E.B. White

By Patrick Edwin Moran - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20787919
By Patrick Edwin Moran – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20787919

I have a love-hate relationship with spiders. They are a mess to pick up after, leaving droppings on my floors and the outside of my house. They build webs in every corner and under chairs and furniture. And Spiders are scary.

BUT

They do so much good for the earth and are one of the most interesting living things on our planet.  Spiders eat more insects than birds and bats combined, and they are valuable food source for birds and bats. Hummingbirds use spiderweb material to build their nests. The most fascinating thing about spiders are those incredible webs, and famous stories in literature are Charlotte’s Web and Arachne. Some spiders build a new nest every day, and in Ukraine Christmas spiders are good luck. Factretriever.com has put together 83 amazing facts about spiders.  Read them here.

Have a Happy Halloween!

October 2016, Superior Views

20161017_104029October 2016

October has been spectacular on the south shore of Lake Superior.  The lake is a deep rich blue and everything on shore is bright gold.  The red of the maples has evolved into wpid-wp-1413767657351.jpeggold, blending with the yellow birch and aspen. The entire outdoors reflects a pleasant gold hue.

Most of the flowers have turned to seeds, and migrating birds have gone south. All t20161020_130218he remaining wildlife is getting ready for winter: Chickadees, nuthatches and flying squirrels empty our bird feeder.  Chipmunks and squirrels are eating, digging, and being stalked by a hunting coyote.  The adult bird-62696_640eagles are paired up and travel as a twosome.  The world must look awesome from their favorite pine tree overlooking the big lake, and when they soar above the gold-red landscape.