Habitat loss, No Monarchs this year

Asclepias syriaca COMMON MILKWEED
Asclepias syriaca COMMON MILKWEED (Photo credit: gmayfield10)

There just isn’t enough milkweed!

The monarch butterfly numbers have plummeted, and experts tell us it is habitat loss due to bad weather(climate change), mono-cultures of corn and soybeans, and pesticides.

Why can’t you purchase common milkweed at garden stores? The experts say we should be planting common milkweed.  For the past two summers I have been trying to purchase milkweed.  Even native plant stores say, “Our supplier doesn’t carry common milkweed”  They consider it a weed.

For years I have been scattering seeds, but have not seen any results.

A garden store 3 hours from my home dug some out of their garden for me.  It was wilted by the time I was able to get it planted, but I cut it off and stuck in the ground.  Two weeks later it has some new growth and I am thrilled.

The last few years a monarch sighting was special, but this year, I can count on one hand the number of monarchs I have seen on my daily walks.  We all need to act!

What can we all do?

  1. Tell garden stores you would like to purchase common milkweed, and to please find a source so they can sell it to their customers.
  2. Plant other plants the monarchs love: Liatris, cone flowers, hyssop, butterflyweed, swamp milkweed and many smelly orange and yellow flowers.
  3. Reduce the amount of turf grass in your yard, and if possible just leave some wild areas for the birds, bees and butterflies.  Bees and butterflies love dandelions
  4. Do not use chemicals, especially neonicotinoid pesticides.
  5.  Use as many organic food products as you can, and buy local.

http://www.startribune.com/local/215176011.html  Monarch butterfly numbers down sharply


Monarch male showing its wings to attract a mate
Monarch male showing its wings to attract a mate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meatless Monday: Quinoa Burgers and Corn Casserole

Reducing meat consumption, especially beef, is great for our brains, our hearts, and our earth

Corn Casserole 

2 cups any dry uncooked pasta

1 can creamed corn                                                            017

1 can whole kernel corn (include juice)

About ¾ pound mozzarella cheese (shredded)

1/3 cup water

Place the ingredients in a large casserole dish in the following order: Pasta, whole kernel corn, water, about ½ of the cheese, next the cream corn , and the remainder of the cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Allow to sit 10-15 minutes before serving. Children and corn lovers think this easy recipe is terrific.

Quinoa Burgers

1 Cup left over cooked quinoa, barley, bulgur or brown rice(my favorite is quinoa and kale/spinach from this website).  Left over grain salads work great!

¼ cup grated carrot

1/3 cup oatmeal

1 egg and one egg white beaten together

chopped onion to taste (I put the onion in the cooking of the quinoa, barley or rice)

½ tsp salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and drop ¼ cup of the mixture into a hot skillet to saute in olive or coconut oil or place in oiled muffin cups and cook 20 min. at 350 degrees.  Place these in the oven the last 20 minutes of baking the corn casserole if you choose the oven method.

“Cooler by the Lake”

Superior Views, First week of July

Summer is late this year because of a rainy cold spring, and the strength of the sun is needed everyday to warm the air near the big lake.  Because of the crisis with bees I am closely watching all pollinator plants.  Without a doubt I am see more bees and butterflies in Northern Wisconsin than I observe in Minneapolis

Canada Anemone
Canada Anemone

Carpets of bunch berries cover the forest floor, wild geraniums, Canada anemone and flowering chives are the first to bloom.

Lupine is not blooming yet along the lake, but dominates the roadsides with the hawkweed, daisies, and buttercup.  A magnificent composition!

Hawkweed and Daisies
Hawkweed and Daisies

And everyday day on this big lake ends in beauty.


50,000 dead bees, What next?

Fritillary on Bee Balm
Fritillary on Bee Balm

The following information is from a press release by the Xerces Society.The Xerces Society is committed to protecting our pollinators and their environment.

After a tragic killing of 50,000 bees at a Target parking lot in Oregon caused by the pesticide neonicotinoid, The Xerces Society recommendations include:


For municipalities

  • Municipalities should stop using all neonicotinoid insecticides on city and county-owned property, including schools, parks and gardens.
  • City and county governments should require that warnings be posted alongside displays of these chemicals at hardware stores and nurseries.
  • Legislators, regulators, and municipal leaders across the country should ban the use of neonicotinoids and other insecticides for cosmetic purposes on ornamental and landscape plants, like the ban now in force in Ontario, Canada

For homeowners

  • Do not buy products that contain neonicotinoids. A list of products can be found at www.xerces.org/pesticides
  • Check to see if you have these products in your garage or garden shed. If so, do not use them. Make sure you dispose of them properly or take them back to the store where you bought them.
  • When buying plants for your yard, ask if neonicotinoids have been used on them. If staff cannot tell you, shop somewhere else.

For nursery and hardware stores

  • Stores should proactively take action by pulling these toxic and poorly labeled products from their shelves.
  • At a minimum, display materials should be placed at point of sale so that consumers know that these products kill bees and other beneficial insects, and that they can cause plants to produce toxic nectar and pollen months after treatment.
  • Nurseries should list plants that have been treated with these chemicals.

For the federal government

  • The EPA should work with pesticide companies to add clear warnings to homeowner and ornamental neonicotinoid insecticides that are toxic to bees and other pollinators.

For insecticide companies

  • Companies that make homeowner pesticide products that contain neonicotinoids should add clear language to product labels highlighting that these products are highly toxic to bees and other pollinators, and that treatment to plants may result in nectar and pollen that are contaminated with the insecticide and may kill bees and other pollinators.

Tragedy Strikes Pollinators in Oregon

Bee Happy

Pesticides/neonicotinoids must be restricted and some banned!

Last week as we were celebrating our marvelous pollinators for Pollinator Week,  it is estimated that 50,000 bees were killed at one location by a neoicotinoid pesticide that has been banned in Europe

A landscaping company made a huge mistake, they did not follow the directions for the pesticide they were using. They sprayed 50 blooming Linden Trees in a Target parking lot in Wilsonville, Oregon.  This led to the massive bee kill.  Just imagine how often this kind of mistake is being made!!

I recommend not using chemicals of any kind for the health of your family, pets, pollinators and wildlife.  012



Celebrate National Pollinator Week

This is National Pollinator Week.

Pollinators are essential to our environment.  They are necessary for most of the world’s flowering plants and crops. Habitat loss, pesticide use, and introduced diseases are taking an enormous toll on our pollinators.

My short list of what you can do today!

1. Do not use chemicals like insecticides or pesticides, and I would reduce the use of all chemical use!
2. Second, plant flowers that bees and butterflies like.  They like clover and dandelions  and many flowers.  Perfect turf grass and hostas are not good pollinator food.
Below is from the Xerxes Society. They work to save our pollinators:
Whole Foods Market and its vendor companies have relaunched the Share the Buzz bee conservation initiative. And for the second year running, they are teaming up with the Xerces Society to promote awareness of and engagement in pollinator conservation.
As part of the Share the Buzz campaign and in celebration of National Pollinator Week (June 17-23), Whole Foods Market invites you to support our work.
Eat Summer Squash: Between June 12 and 25, Whole Foods Market stores nationwide will donate $0.10 to the Xerces Society for each pound of summer squash sold. Yup, on every summer squash: zucchini, yellow, crookneck, and all the others. The money raised will go directly to support our work with farmers across the country, helping them to restore wildflower-rich native habitat and protect local biodiversity.
To help you find ways to eat squash, we’ll be posting a recipe every day until June 25 on our Facebook page.
Be a Bee-Smart Shopper: The following Whole Foods Market vendor companies are raising funds to help sustain our nationwide bee conservation efforts. Please show them your support!
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., through their brands MaraNatha, Westsoy, Terra Chips, and Arrowhead Mills Attune Foods Cuties Kashi SweetLeaf Muir Glen Talenti So Delicious Udi’s
Find Out More: To discover more ways to support pollinators, including ideas for creating a bee garden in your own community, visit Xerxes Society Webpage:  Bring Back the Pollinators webpage.
Thank you for doing your part!




Recycling, a Win-Win for Everyone

Our new one-sort barrel arrived this week.

New recycle barrel
New recycle barrel

I like what the City of Minneapolis sent to homeowners in trying to increase the amount individuals recycle:

*Recycling is one of the easiest ways to protect the environment.

*Recycling saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

*Recycling conserves vital natural resources such as trees and water.

*Recycling collection and recycled products manufacturing in Minnesota provide 53,000 jobs and $6.4 billion gross economic activity annually.


Forum on how to maximize the use of our new one-sort containers: Saturday, June 22,
9:15 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Lynnhurst Community Center in Minneapolis