Friday Faves and Monarch Butterflies

Hello everyone. Sorry I have been absent for the last few days but I have been too tired to put a thought together, and an intelligent post was out of the question.  We had a change in management for the apartments I live in and there was some grumbling that we shouldn’t be allowed to use the back field any longer.  Finally, the answer I got was that they feared it might look messy.  I called in help and with my family, friends, and neighbors we worked out there day and night to change the looks of the seating area we named The Little Cove, trimmed dead branches from trees and pulled vines that have been growing since before I moved here.

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It was nice to see how many people turned out to help to save this piece of land for us but my shoulders and arms were so sore by the end of the night I couldn’t lift my arms and had a few sleepless nights due to sore muscles.

Plants and seeds have been donated to us, my son is bringing us six foot tall clippings from his lilac tree and the children decided this year where each type of flower seed should be planted.   In the end, it was a success and we are no longer concerned about losing the field for our use, even the community garden areas passed approval.

All that was to explain why I have been absent.  Before I share a few Friday Fave articles, I did miss Change the World Wednesday at Reduce Footprints which is a very important subject, Monarch Butterflies.

This quote from Small Footprints sums it up nicely.  “Often, our first indication that the environment is suffering is in the decline of a species. Each species helps create a healthy environment and the loss of even one may have far-reaching, devastating results. “

I have yet to see a Monarch butterfly this summer, but then again we haven’t seen many butterflies of any species.  We are seeing a big change in our local area with less bees, and a huge drop in our native bat population. All these signs tell us we are in trouble.

With the Monarch Butterflies, the problem is more serious than with other butterflies as their survival is contingent on the milkweed plant. ” In their larval stage monarch caterpillars feed almost exclusively on milkweed and as adults get their nutrients from the nectar of flowers. The monarch will always return to areas rich in milkweed to lay their eggs upon the plant. The milkweed they feed on as a caterpillar is actually a poisonous toxin and is stored in their bodies. This is what makes the monarch butterfly taste so terrible to predators.” (source)

In my town Milkweed was plenty in past years, but it’s getting harder to locate. To help the butterflies I have ordered milkweed seeds and will dedicate an area just for milkweed plants.  Once grown the Monarch enjoy the nectar from smaller flowers such as those that grow on the butterfly bush, lambs ears and many others.

I hope you will visit Reduce Footprints for more ways you can help the Monarch butterfly.  Also keep an eye out for animals and insects that are shrinking in your area to evaluate the health of your community.

 

Friday Faves

 

Thankfully, I did have a bit of time online earlier in the week so I have a handful of articles for you.

  1. Lindsay @ Treading My Own Path updated her About page, finally telling us how she found herself a sustainable living advocate.  It all started with one documentary.  Her story shows it doesn’t have to be something big, we can change the world with one small message.
  2. It’s hard aging, I should know.  I am constantly amazed by the image staring back at me from my mirror, that’s not who I am, I’m not that old!  Pauline had me cracking up as she comes face to face with the realization she too doesn’t look at young as she feels.
  3. An engineer and his wife have raised enough money to start paving roads with solar cells.  At first I thought the idea was a bit crazy, I mean I live where a snow plow would destroy a road like this.  But these panels have been tested and if our roadways were covered with these from one side of the country to the next they would produce three times the power needed at current demand. These panels don’t just collect energy from the sun, they have built in lighting which would replace the need to paint lines on the roads, and will heat to melt snow as it falls eliminating the need for plows.  Yes, covering the roads in my town with these would be costly, but if we could generate out own electricity, melt snow, prevent the need for plows (and the salt used) the roads would last longer and eliminate the need to rip up and patch the streets each spring.  What other benefits can you see to paving our roads with solar collectors?
  4. I am not much of a foodie, I have said many times I wish I didn’t have to eat but alas I do to stay healthy.  But now there is an option, Soylent. Would you give up food and get all the nutrients you needed from a supplement?

I will leave you with this short video that has shocked everyone I shared it with. Never again be tempted to say birds are stupid or can’t learn.

The proper use of science is not to conquer nature but to live in it. – Barry Commoner

 

Have a wonderful weekend

29 thoughts on “Friday Faves and Monarch Butterflies

  1. I promise I will catch up. There are 200+ post stacked up right now. I will get to all I can. This is a good one. I’m glad you were able to save your planting area. I do understand the cost with sore muscles, etc. I am in agreement with the solar road panels. Usually a good idea gets sidelined because it infringes on someone else making money off the problem. Like electric cars hurting big oil pockets. Each could have it’s place but some only want to see one possibility. You may think you are only making a small dent in the overall picture, but you are having a HUGE impact in the minds of others. Keep up the good work. Hugs from another sore body.

    • Marlene, I am way behind myself, no worries. I can just imagine how sore your body is with all the work you are doing in your new home. I sure hope you are feeling better and have some down time now.

      The solar roadways have received more donations than they ever expected which is a good thing. I’d love to see them start popping up around the world.

  2. Dear Lois I am so pleased you got all the troops rallied around and worked so hard to do what you did.. and all to the good… So pleased for you all.. Although I so so sympathise with your aching muscles… you poor dear…. I can just imagine you not giving in even though you were hurting!.. tut tut… Glad your son came to help too…. and those Lilac cuttings sound just the thing too..

    Reading the comments about the owner considering building .. Keep focused and know good things happen when a community pulls together… I hope more will keep an interest in it and make it a pretty area of relaxation as well as where you can grow your own…
    This is what a community is about… And my Dreams are for us all to be growing our own sharing, caring and giving as you do Lois…
    Bless you and I hope you take things easier… and rest up well… ( well I know you have as I worked my way backwards through your posts… But take care…
    Sue xox

    • Sue, thank you. I am staying positive, pretty much to the extent that I won’t even consider another building in our field. The field has been such a gem and I expect it will stay. As more families move here it’s a safe place for children to play.

      It was wonderful to see all the new people who have added to the field and want to participate in using it. It really has turned into a community here as new tenants quickly join right in and share what they have. I’ve heard the new tenants remark, both to me and to others, how nice it is to live where neighbors know each other. And where the rest of the apartments in our town have a high turnover rate, (even among adults) since we cleared the field people now stay for years.

  3. Hi Lois, Sorry to hear that you were especially sore and tired from all your work! But how gratifying to know that you “saved” your back yard for yourself and all your neighbors. And how great that so many pitched in to make it happen. I think when we all can learn to work together for a common cause it is always a good thing. And planning for a lovely area for yourself AND the butterflies is even better. Thanks for sharing this with all of us. ~Kathy

    • Hi Kathy. Yes, the muscles were sore but I tried to view it as a really good work out. ;-)

      It’s been so gratifying to see the number of people who are enjoying the field and are joining in. The children are out there all the time which is fantastic. I love watching the little ones ask to plant seeds and weed just for the fun of it.

      It’s finally warm enough to plant so I’ve got to get back out there and get those seeds started. Thankfully they will come back each year.

  4. I love hearing about times when a group of people get together to solve problems brought about by bureaucracy or stupidity – there is power in uniting and doing something practical. Congrats to you all!!

    The butterfly post is excellent – these are issues that the entire planet is dealing with [or ignoring!]

    Another pingback – Thank you!! I’m glad you could relate Lois :-)

    • Pauline, I could definitely relate to your story. :-)

      My neighbors and I have been watching which wildlife returns each year and which have their numbers falling. We count the frequency in which we find ladybugs, praying mantis, even the snakes. It’s a bit early for the Monarch’s here but we aren’t seeing as many butterflies as usual, our bat numbers fell drastically which has resulted in increased mosquitoes, etc. We are trying to put together ideas to support more species here to have a sufficient diversity by restoring the ecosystem in the field. It’s all one big experiment that we hope will make a difference.

      • Whenever I hear of groups of people doing things like you and your neighbours my heasr is warmed and I know there is hope! Good intentions carry a lot of weight when paired with practical exercises. It may all be experimental but it is the kind of experiment we need more of!

        • Pauline, I have been so excited this year to see new people getting involved in working in the field. Wait until you see what the children did to spruce things up. ;-)

  5. Milkweed is fairly abundant around here. I’ve been looking for years for monarch cocoons around our plants, but the best I’ve seen are two caterpillars and I think the birds got those. A word of caution about where you plant your milkweed. It grows by runners under the ground and can take over an area. So, put in some place where you have room for that.

    I’m very happy to hear that you get to keep using your field and cove.

    • Live and Learn, thanks for the advice, and yes I want to plant it in an area we leave wild where they can multiply and the butterflies won’t be so close to people. I know all about plants that send out runners we have the sumac here already. ;-)

    • Christy, the Nature program on crows was very interesting. We have a large group of crows that visits and hangs out in the field. They have gotten more brave each summer that we have been here, getting closer to us. They watch me put out food for them,I put unsalted peanuts out. It has always seemed as if they knew when I was bringing the peanuts and when I was bringing regular bird seed. I like to think they do recognize more than I gave them credit for knowing.

  6. Ohhh! I am sorry you are tired and terribly sorry that your new landlords aren’t too happy with the field being used – I would hate to see you lose that!
    I hadn’t seen that post of Pauline’s, how funny it is. I can’t really laugh though as I was reminded of my age last year with a very traumatic incident in a chemist shop involving a lipstick, magnifying mirror and reading glasses. The image reflected back sent me into a spiral of despair….I am OLD???!!!!
    I saw those solar roading panels on TV, what a brilliant idea!

    • Wendy, it’s always something but I refuse to give in and just let go of the field. We have done a lot of work on it in the past couple of summers and each summer more and more people are meeting out there, hanging out in the shady area and now there are small children living here who are out there all day long.

      Isn’t it scary to see our reflections and come face to face with the proof of our age? I really want to hear that story of the magnifying mirror, reading glasses and lipstick. ;-)

      • Oh, you love it so and surely your new landlords couldn’t be so hard and brutal as to take something that tenants make great such use of.

        I forgot to say earlier we have alot of monarch butterflies here and I am going to grow swan plants to encourage more.

        Oh, it’s a tragic story involving much woe lol. We don’t have mirrors here, just the one on the bathroom cabinet. The bathroom is very dark and I don’t see well up close without glasses so I guess for nine years I have been quite ignorant of the fact Wendy IS AGING. Roger had a doctors apt 3/4 hr drive away so I went for a drive with him. Sitting in the car waiting I spied a chemist and thought I should replace my lipstick that was down to nothing. I put my glasses on to read labels and prices the found one to try. Checked it out in the mirror which I didn’t realise was a magnifying mirror. Thew face staring back was just covered in wrinkles and I couldn’t believe it…that face looked about 80 yrs old. I started shaking, bought my lipstick nearly crying ten sat back in the car. By the time Roger got out I was a mess lol. He stared at my face and said “Honestly sweetheart, you don’t look that bad, it’s just a few little lines”. It wasn’t for a few weeks that I realised it had been a magnifying mirror and I had been telling everyone how shocked I was I was so old, that I never realised my face was aging….a rather rude awakening – I am no longer 35, but 55!

  7. OMG

    I haven’t read through your Friday Faves yet, but my gosh, I can\t believe they threatened the “back lot”..

    I am so glad many turned up to help, to make it “meet their standards”.

    However, I have to say, they (the new management) are being rather two faced and nasty about it all. sort of makes me wonder, if they thought they might start charging?

    after all, I am pretty sure it is MUCH better shape/looks than before you and other folks started working on it?

    • Lynn, I too was shocked because the previous management used the field and seating area as a selling point when showing apartments to prospective renters and for some it was the deciding factor to rent here.

      What I do know is that the owner is still considering building another apartment building on that land. I have ignored this because the rental market is not as good as it used to be in this area so it would be a risky venture, but when the property was up for sale that was a key point on the listing.

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