Native plants and trees create their own living ecosystem. The plants, wildlife, birds and 🦋 butterflies all work together to support a thriving environment.
The fall and winter seasons are no different . Birds eat the seeds off my native plants all fall and winter. Leaf litter contains habit and hiding for moths, butterflies and other wildlife. So what do we do with all this leaf litter?
These are my leaf litter suggestions:
— keep your sidewalks, driveways, and streets free from leaves. Lakes and rivers are polluted by too many leaves flowing into storm drains which drain into Lakes and streams.
–Leave you plants standing until spring, they also add food and habitat.
–Never use a leaf blower, they are too hard on everything your ecosystem is creating.
–Gently rake leaves into your gardens. This is wonderful mulch and plant protection. Leaves nurture the soil.
–Winter and spring garden surprises will create joy. Watch for birds, wildlife, and early insects.
–Cut plants off in the spring and work the leaves into your soil.
The official Adopt-a-Drain Fall Leaf Cleanup Week kicks off Monday, October 11th, and runs through Sunday, October 17th.
Leaves in the street plug storm drains and pollute our waterways.
Storm drains feed directly into our local lakes and rivers, unfiltered, so it’s important to keep them clear for cleaner and healthier waterways. Fall is an especially important time to keep the leaves that are collecting on our streets and sidewalks out of our storm drains. While they might be “natural” debris they become pollution when large quantities hit the water, break down, and become food for algae.
The United States is at peace for the first time in twenty years, people are getting vaccinated, the drought is subsiding and the fall colors are stunning. There is a lot to be thankful for and that gives hope and optimism for the future. Smile, take three deep breaths, spend time in nature and enjoy each day!
Smiling is good for your health! October 1, is World Smile Day.
The Actions For Happiness people have their Optimistic October Calendar below. I would choose one idea a week from their suggestions or create your own activities that make you optimistic.
We are at the end of World Clean Up Month. As we pick up trash and works to keep our Earth clean, I always wonder, “What can we all do to keep the Earth cleaner and healthier?”
Bring your reusable water container.
My reuseable lunch containers
Today I walked by a car that had it’s back seat full of bottled water, and too often I see people with grocery carts full of bottled water. Why not purchase a large reusable container and fill that at a store? You could save hundreds of plastic bottles from ending in the landfill and live a more sustainable life.
I have confidence in our public water supply. I know where I live it is safe!
What are the costs of bottles water to our environment? A study done in Spain answers this question. Recycling and water in every community is different so we can’t make big generalizations, but in the United States recycling of plastic is only 9 tp 11% which makes bottled water awful for the environment. Also, the production of plastic uses fossil fuels and pollutes our air.
The study found that the environmental toll of bottled water was 1,400 to 3,500 times higher than that of tap water.
World Cleanup Day addresses the issue of waste and litter across the globe. On September 18, the international day of service gets communities involved to keep their own neighborhoods clean and sustainable.
We are all in this together. Let’s keep her clean!
So much of litter is plastic waste that easily flows into our rivers and streams, and then all the way to the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic or Pacific Oceans.
Plastic litter is harmful to wildlife!
This is an productive day to get out and pick up trash. Wear gloves, bring a bag and get outside to pick up the trash in your neighborhood or choose an area you know needs to be picked up.
Good luck, be safe, watch for traffic, and enjoy your outside time! Thank You!
Being kind to others, and being kind to the Earth are actions for self-care!
The best weather of the year!
September is a huge leap from August. It is the end of meteorological summer, and after too much extreme weather, fires, flooding and a sad pandemic, many are ready to hope for a better month. Actions for Happiness ideas are below.
September has some of the best weather of the year, and it is a perfect time to be outside watching for changes and appreciating the beauty of each day. It is a big month for bird and butterfly migration.
The Actions for Happiness group has ideas below for September self-care. Biking or walking are the ultimate in self-care. I challenge you to have outside time every day in September.
Take three breaths for peace
We can’t control the violent weather, but we can work for peace. On your daily walks, I hope you will take three deep breaths for Peace. Collective actions for peace are good self-care. If we all imagine a more peaceful world the earth will be become more peaceful and more kind.
“Nature is a way to escape to a healing place!” John Caddy
First there were four, then there were seven, now there are over ten monarch butterflies playing tag in my yard. This has been going on for two months. Monarchs are passionate for meadow blazing star (Liatris), and they get excited when the blazing star is blooming. Watching them makes one happy.
Monarch butterflies love blazing star!
Our world is in crisis and we need to find ways to lessen stress on our Earth. We know droughts, incredible heat, fires, floods, and smoky air are causing people, trees and wildlife to move to safer places or even die. Human behavior has helped to create this awful situation, and new paradigms are needed to lessen our carbon footprint. We already know that the world needs us to drive less, use less water, eat less meat, buy less, and reduce our plastic footprint.
What can we do more of that is actually good? Making a healthy change to your yard by planting native plants is a positive action you can take. Deep-rooted native plants are a win-win for our earth! They do not need chemicals and they do not need watering.
The native plants growing in my yard have produced way beyond my expectations during this harsh summer environment. Because deep-rooted plants don’t need to be watered and don’t use chemicals they create a healthier environment, and an important way to help our Earth. Planting earth friendly plants will bring more birds and butterflies to visit your yard. A pollinator garden brings joy many months of the year, but especially in July and August when the pollinators are crazy over nectaring plants.
How do you create this healing place for yourself and the birds and butterflies in your neighborhood? Remove some hostas and turf grass and replace them with native deep-rooted plants. You can create your own eco-system of life in your own yard. Start simple!
Start by planting some milkweek and bee balm
and purple cone flowers.
Native gardens are an eco-system of their own creating food and joy for pollinators and humans alike! Create your own escape from the world by using deep-rooted plants to invite birds, butterflies and other wildlife into your space. Many birds raise their babies on the insects and caterpillars they find in the pollinator garden. Birds eat seed from the native plants all year. The goldfinch are already eating away on the bee balm, cone flowers and brown eye Susan.
Cardinal flowers will bring humming-birds to your yard, but cardinal flower is not drought tolerant.
This has been an unusual summer in an unusual world. Wild fires, pandemic. drought and excess heat dominate the conversation and the media. Many now check the morning air quality just like they check the weather. A local weather expert says there is no normal anymore. In Minnesota and Wisconsin we are used to fresh Canadian air, but more and more we are getting dirty wildfire smoke!
Many of us have no idea how we should change our behavior when the air quality is poor. Lawn mowers, leaf blowers, fire pits, and car trips continue to pollute the already dirty air. Hennepin County has some suggestions below.
Dirty air can make cases of Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases much worse. Be careful, and wear a mask!
I am a firm believer in community health and working together for healthy communities. We can all take more personal responsibility for clean air and clean water. Many minority communities deal with polluted air on a daily basis, and have lived with bad air for many years. Wildfires don’t discriminate like chemical plants, hazard waste dumps, and garbage burners. We all experience the smoky air, and see what breathing is like in other polluted places. Clean air is necessary for everyone, do your part!
Our actions count, make them positive!
The largest county(Hennepin) in Minnesota posted ideas to manage bad air days.. I think it is worthwhile.
Below is from Hennepin County:
Stay healthy during air quality alerts
In July, the Twin Cities area experienced air quality alerts due to an increase in fine particles from Canadian wildfire smoke. This made the air unhealthy for sensitive groups, which includes those with asthma, heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and people doing extended physical activity outside.
Everyone should take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy:
Take it easy, listen to your body, and limit, change, or postpone your physical activity. Stay away from local sources of air pollution, like busy roads and wood fires, if possible. If you have asthma, follow your asthma action plan and keep quick relief medicine handy.
There are also steps people can take to reduce pollution to avoid contributing more to unhealthy air quality. These include:
Reduce driving by combining trips, avoiding unnecessary idling, carpooling, and walking, biking, or taking public transit. Postpone backyard fires. Postpone the use of gasoline powered lawn and garden equipment. If possible, invest in electric lawn equipment. Learn more about air quality and how to stay healthy during poor air quality days on the Hennepin County Climate Action website.