Category Archives: insects

bees insects

miniscule nature animation

I may be behind the times here, I’m not sure, but I was introduced to these Minuscule videos by my colorful friend Patricia at POTJE THEE. They are so cute, witty, and the perfect blend of nature and animation, we can’t get enough of them!

To see more go to You Tube and type in Miniscule. I had a hard time picking just 4 to share!

“That’s all.”

insects nature Uncategorized

autumn splendor

After a wet and cloudy week the sun decided to show her face this morning.  We are having a knockout Autumn full of color thanks to our beautiful Ohio deciduous trees. I found myself being beckoned outside to photograph the sun’s rays hitting these beautiful trees. Our “baby” ginkgo is putting on a really golden show for us this year.

ginkgo and cherry

This tree just whispers wisdom if you are willing to stop and listen.

  ginkgo

There were ladybugs all over our hawthorn tree sunning themselves!

  ladybug on hawthorn beries

Looks like the larva has left the gulls in the old pin oak tree.

pin oak

 And our beautiful maples are a-blaze with fiery colors!

scarlet maple

butterflies caterpillars insects nature Queen Anne's Lace Uncategorized

overwintering eastern black swallowtail caterpillars

This week we have been preparing for the cold weather. We have been harvesting herbs like mad, digging up annual herbs to bring indoors, bringing in the houseplants and scented geraniums, and finding many Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars everywhere (on fennel, Queen Anne’s lace, and parsley)!

fauna and rain and the ebs

araina

 We don’t want to leave them out in the frosty weather to die so we made them a cozy little habitat where they can eat until they almost burst, then make chrysalises to warmly wrap up in through the cold winter. Once everyone has made a chrysalis, we will put the habitat outside on our porch and keep it there for the entire winter, regardless of temperatures.  They will stay good and warm in their protected little wraps all winter long.

caterpillar winter home

Then, when we least expect it,  just when we are feeling anxious for warmer temperatures, they will emerge as butterflies welcoming Spring!

eastern black on fennel

** Here in Ohio they typically emerge in late April or early May, so we check them daily at this time.

bees health herbs insects nature

goldenrod history and medicine

Happy Autumn! Our field is ablaze with gold from the tall goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) growing everywhere. I love the golden color of this plant and it has an interesting history in the USA. After the Boston Tea Party, the American Colonists drank sweet goldenrod tea, calling it “Liberty Tea,” to replace the English tea that they had dumped into the Boston Harbor. Liberty Tea became so popular that it was even exported to China.

autumn

Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever. It has very little  pollen grains which are heavy and sticky and meant to be carried by insects; in contrast to ragweed pollen which is spread by the wind (airborne pollen). HA, actually, the only way to get goldenrod pollen in your nasal passage is to stick the actual flower up your nose! ;)

autumn 3

The goldenrod growing in our field is Tall Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), which tends to have galls growing in the tall stems. Using the Handbook of Nature Study, I made a goldenrod study packet for the Little Ladies to guide them in studying this beautiful plant. You can download the free goldenrod packet here.

autumn 4

Now, for the medicinal goodness of this plant. A favorite herbalist of mine, Susun Weed, has many medicinal ways to use goldenrod:

Goldenrod tonics are easy to make. Harvest any goldenrod by cutting the top third of the plant in full flower on a sunny fall day. Or, respectfully pull the entire plant, roots and all, in the late autumn or early winter. Then follow the simple directions below. Note: You can use any size jar when making a vinegar or a tincture, so long as you fill it full.

To dry flowering goldenrod (goldenrod tea): Bundle 2-3 stalks together and hang upside down in a cool, shady room until thoroughly dry. When the stalks snap crisply, store the dried herb in brown paper bags. One or two large handfuls of crushed leaves and flowers, steeped in a quart of boiling water for thirty minutes makes a tea that can be used hot, with honey, to counter allergies (especially pollen allergies), fevers, sore throats, coughs, colds and the flu; or taken cold to relieve colic in babies, and gas in adults. Dried mint and/or yarrow are tasty, and useful, additions when making goldenrod flower tea.

To dry goldenrod roots (goldenrod tea): Rinse dirt off the roots, then cut away all the stalks, leaves and dead flowers. If possible, hang your roots over a woodstove to dry; if not, place them on racks and put them in a warm place to dry until brittle. Store in glass jars. Depending on the difficulty you are addressing, goldenrod root tea may be made with large or small amounts of the roots brewed or decocted in boiling water. Or the roots may be powdered, alone or mixed with flowers, and applied to hard-to-heal wounds and sore joints.

To make a goldenrod vinegar: Chop the goldenrod coarsely, filling a jar with chopped flowers, leaves, stalks (and roots if you have them); then fill the jar to the top with room-temperature, pasteurized, apple cider vinegar. Cap it tightly with a plastic lid. (Metal lids will be eroded by the action of the vinegar. If you must use one, protect it with several layers of plastic between it and the vinegar.) Be sure to label your vinegar with the date and contents. Your goldenrod vinegar will be ready to use in six weeks to improve mineral balance, help prevent kidney stones, eliminate flatulence, and improve immune functioning.

To make a goldenrod tincture: Chop the goldenrod coarsely, filling a jar with chopped flowers, leaves, stalks (and roots if you have them); then add 100 proof vodka, filling the jar to the very top. Cap tightly and label. Your goldenrod tincture will be ready to use in six weeks, by the dropperful, as an anti-inflammatory, a sweat-inducing cold cure, and an astringent digestive aid. Medical herbalists use large doses (up to 4 dropperfuls at a time) of goldenrod tincture several times daily to treat kidney problems — including nephritis, hemorrhage, kidney stones, and inability to void — and prostate problems, including frequent urination.

goldenrod oil

I also like to make a goldenrod oil for achy muscles and joints. Fill a jar with chopped flowers and leaves and cover the plant material with a carrier oil (sesame, olive, almond, or grapeseed). Cover and place in a warm windowsill for 3-6 weeks; shaking daily. Strain and bottle. Rub the oil on sore muscles and joints. Enjoy!

fairies flowers herb insects mushrooms nature

Free AMAZING Clipart

I must share this AMAZING free clipart site from Florida’s Educational Technology Clearinghouse….Clipart ETC.  There are no advertisements or pop ups at this site, it is safe. There are over 58,000 illustrations from old books, pin and ink drawings and prints. Some of the categories are math, plants, animals, alphabet, music, cartoons, American history…these are only a few. You won’t be disappointed. Here are some samples……

 

golden183

49678_red_clover_lg commonmush_14527_md

fairy_2_md unicorn_7194_md

 CLICK HERE for a visit!

insects nature

Praying Mantis

This fascinating creature and I had quite a conversation this evening. She had a lot of wisdom to share, but I pinkie swore not to tell. I guess this wisdom can only be told by praying mantis to human, not human to human. So if you want to know what the wisdom was you must ask one yourself.

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I had her full attention for quite a while; then we admired the goldenrod together.

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 Until she eventually turned and walked away.

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 *I have had a few people ask me lately about the camera I use. It’s a Canon Rebel XSi; I use the lens that comes with it. I LOVE this camera and highly recommend it, but still have a lot to learn and am hoping for new lenses come the holidays. Have a beautiful weekend!