Sacred Habitats

...discoveries of living mindfully on the Earth.

Category: Our Mountains (page 1 of 2)

Pollinators in Our Gardens: Butterflies and Moths

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and graceful of all pollinators. Through providing safe habitats we can also support the roles that butterflies play in pollination. Butterflies need flowers in full sun that are protected from wind, preferably away from roadways.

About 75% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators and over 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators. Of those, about 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats, and small mammals. The rest are insects such as beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies, and moths. And, worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend.

In the garden, keep in mind that some of the plants we plant will be eaten by butterfly caterpillars. I’ve always found that a plant eaten by them was a delight, taking the attitude of “if you build it, they will come” scenario rather than one of destruction. Because of this I plant extra, so ‘I’ can have a lush garden and so the ‘butterflies’ have more than enough to eat. Read Fast Facts for Gardeners: why pollinators are important.

It’s at the caterpillar stage of a butterflies lifecycle that it’s important to have a good field guide handy to identify them properly. Many a day in the garden I witnessed plump caterpillars eating my plants, many a future-butterfly were spared because of my field guide. One such lucky fella was the subject of the photo’s in this article. What a treat it was to go outside and watch the changes occur, which happen rather quickly (I think) considering all that’s going on.

Black Swallowtail butterfly chrysalis

“Adding native plantings in Riparian Areas to improve pollinator habitat makes sense in advancing our family farm’s conservation and economical objectives, enhancing beneficial wildlife and improving pollination in our orchard and garden.” ~ Lee McDaniel, Farmer and President, National Association of Conservation Districts

In their 1996 book, the Forgotten Pollinators, Buchmann and Nabhan estimated that animal pollinators are needed for the reproduction of 90% of flowering plants and one third of human food crops. Each of us depends on these industrious pollinators in a practical way to provide us with the wide range of foods we eat. In addition, pollinators are part of the intricate web that supports the biological diversity in natural ecosystems that helps sustain our quality of life.

Gardeners have been attracting butterflies to their gardens for some time. These insects tend to be eye- catching, as are the flowers that attract them. Position flowering plants where they have full sun and are protected from the wind. Also, you will need to provide open areas (e.g. bare earth, large stones) where butterflies may bask, and moist soil from which they may get needed minerals. By providing a safe place to eat and nest, gardeners can also support the pollination role that butterflies play in the landscape. It might mean accepting slight damage to the plants, known as host plants, that provide food for the larval stage of the butterfly.

A diverse group of butterflies are present in garden areas and woodland edges that provide bright flowers, water sources, and specific host plants. Numerous trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants support butterfly populations.

A terrific resource for learning more about which plants to consider in the garden is found at Pollinator Partnership, they have compiled free guides (PDF’s) that are quite useful, Pollinator Friendly Planting Guides (24 pages).

Moths and Butterflies as Pollinators

Butterflies, possibly the best loved of all insects, are appreciated as benign creatures that add color, beauty, and grace to our gardens. Moths, on the other hand, aren’t nearly as appreciated for their pollinating contributions. Butterflies and moths belong to the same insect order, Lepidoptera.

Can you tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly?  Continue reading

Evelyn Vincent Evelyn Vincent

Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner,  Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller

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Electricity for Our Homes: Wind Power or Mountaintop Removal

The Last Mountain: Mountaintop RemovalIn a world of rising energy prices, rising global temperatures, and rising sea levels, Americans are looking for clean and affordable energy. Yet under the influence of big energy companies, policy-makers are stubbornly clinging to the old, dirty fossil fuel technologies of the past. Along with global warming, mountaintop removal is an egregious example of the destructive impact of our addiction to coal.

For years I’ve been saying, “I would RATHER have our mountains than this extremely environmentally damaging coal industry, I will do everything within my power to get  off of the grid and make much wiser choices!”

View the Google Earth Tutorial to see what’s going on, the Appalachian Mountains are in our backyards… this IS the high cost of coal!

The Last Mountain: A Sundance Official Selection, The Last Mountain is described as, “…a passionate and personal tale that honors the extraordinary power of ordinary Americans when they fight for what they believe in. The Last Mountain shines a light on America’s energy needs and how those needs are being supplied. It is a fight for our future that affects us all.” Find theatre showings.

Wendell Berry has this to say about the clean coal industry…

Not a Vision of Our Future, But of Ourselves

The only limits so far honored by this industry have been technological. What its machines have enabled it to do, it has done. And now, for the sake of the coal under them, it is destroying whole mountains with their forests, water courses and human homeplaces. The resulting rubble of soils and blasted rocks is then shoved indiscriminately into the valleys. This is a history by any measure deplorable, and a commentary sufficiently devastating upon the intelligence of our politics and our system of education. That Kentuckians and their politicians have shut their eyes to this history as it was being made is an indelible disgrace. That they now permit this history to be justified by its increase of the acreage of “flat land” in the mountains signifies an indifference virtually suicidal. Continue reading

Study Shows West Virginia Mountain Could be Permanent Power Source for 150,000 Homes Continue reading

Evelyn Vincent Evelyn Vincent

Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner,  Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller

Follow Me on Pinterest

Renewable Energy and The Mouse That Roars Beats The Lazy Giant

According to the US Department of Energy:

Wind energy today accounts for only 1 percent of the nation’s electricity. A May report from the Energy Department concluded wind energy could generate 20 percent by 2030, with offshore sources accounting for nearly 20 percent of that.

According to the Danish Wind Industry Association:

The Danish energy plan, Energi21, from 1996 set up a target for 4,000 MW offshore wind power in 2030. These 4,000 MW are expected to produce 13.5 TWh per year equivalent to 40% of the Danish electricity consumption.

Why is it that a country so small can best a country like the U.S.? They have a smaller population? Their GNP is smaller as well. How can they muster the determination, not to mention the money, to reduce their dependance upon outside sources for energy? While the United States (meaning the government and certain special interests) plays this game with its citizens?

George Bush said things like “the Kyoto Protocol doesn’t go far enough” so he doesn’t sign on. He says that third world countries, including China and India must must go first. Is this how to lead a country and be a beacon to the world?

If we had followed President Jimmy Carters’ lead back in the 1970′s and invested in solar and wind we would be completely free of relying on unstable countries to supply our energy needs. (See my post – 1 Trillion Dollars)

With all the infrastructure we have and all the industry we have why can’t we be doing better than we currently are? If I had my guess it is because the oil and coal industries have invested so much in our political system that our political system would have a hard time operating without it.

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Curt SitersCurt Siters

Webmaster

Shoals Creek Village - a new build intentional community.

My Eco Oasis - the hub for what will be a network of many ecovillages.

Big fan of living simply

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.  ~Albert Einstein

Man's heart away from nature becomes hard.  ~Standing Bear

Water Table and Runoff

Several years ago in front of our place the county brought in some heavy equipment to clean the ditches that run alongside the road. They brought in backhoes, dump trucks and a grader. Being a man I just watched them – not thinking too much about it because I had to go to work shortly.

A few days later as I was mowing the lawn (we were renting at the time and that was part of the agreement – personally I don’t want a lawn) in the waning light of evening it struck me that what they do to maintain these roadside ditches is really environmentally unsound.

There had been some grass growing alongside the road and a little bit in the ditch. When they were done there wasn’t any grass along the road and no vegetation in the ditch. Now, anyone who has looked at a stream knows that water coursing down hill likes to find the path of least resistance. The less resistance that faster it can flow and the more soil it will carry with it.

This whole thing came to mind partially from a show we watched on PBS entitled “Mystery of the Megaflood” and in it they talked about how water works to carve out dirt and rock. It was really interesting.

The ground here is very high in clay – ok, all clay – which makes runoff, especially in areas not covered with vegetation, as clay is very slow to absorb water and cannot hold all that much. So, vegetation is all the more important to hold back the water and prevent erosion.

They removed all the vegetation that would have slowed the flow of water reducing the rate of erosion and it will be several years before there are enough plants to reduce the runoff. They have done this before as there is a fire hydrant there which was set into a block of concrete and you can see that the bottom of the concrete is beginning to show.

I don’t think that the planners have taken into consideration that roadside ditches like these that are void of growing plant material will erode the road base and destroy the integrity of the road. Which between the annual scraping and future road repairs is more costly than a couple of people picking up the refuse and using weed whips every 3-4 weeks.

# # #

Curt SitersCurt Siters

Webmaster

Shoals Creek Village - a new build intentional community.

My Eco Oasis - the hub for what will be a network of many ecovillages.

Big fan of living simply

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.  ~Albert Einstein

Man's heart away from nature becomes hard.  ~Standing Bear

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