Remember when I said I was going to limit the number of gardening projects we did this year? I think I was deceiving myself. I got up this morning and I was thinking about the garden and how we were going to need to make plant markers for the 36 different kinds of plants we are planting and suddenly two words popped into my head: Butterfly Muddle. When I did my Maryland Master Gardener training last Spring I did a lot of volunteer hours in the Children's Garden portion of the Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center: weeding, harvesting and driving produce to the food pantry, and leading school groups. It was a lovely large and cheery garden, with brightly painted raised beds and cool stripy compost bins made of pallets.
They had volunteers paint large stones with the names of each of the plants in their butterfly garden. The stones were painted beautifully and then had a protective coating applied to them to help them resist the weather. One stone confused me: Butterfly Muddle. I found out that a Butterfly Muddle is a shallow dish with water and gravel in it. It mimics a butterfly-accessible mud puddle for drinking from. You also want some nutrients. I've found various recommendations for this. Some say to make a mud mixture with water and plain dirt. Some say to use moist sand with a few flat stones and to sprinkle salt in it now and again. Regardless, all it takes is a pie pan or shallow saucer, and the mental note to keep adding water daily. Also, place the muddle in a spot protected from strong winds, and which is in the sun so that they can warm their cold blood.
Just click on a picture to enlarge it. If we have a birdbath and bird feeders, we should certainly make our pollinator friends feel welcome as well! So the Butterfly Muddle is a project for today.
(Regarding plant markers, I actually don't have a source for large stones so I'm thinking of buying some pieces of tile to paint.)
Last night there was a multimedia art exhibit about bees and beekeeping in the Hughes Gallery in Murphysboro, but we missed it. That's too bad; it looked really cool. It included sculpture, media art, and a live performance and was part of Honna Veerkamp's MFA thesis work at SIU. According to the newspaper, "The exhibit chronicles Veerkamp's first year as a beekeeper and uses sculpture, performance, and media art to explore honeybees and communities." I'm sorry I didn't get organized enough to get us there!
At her website she talks about the All-Species Puppet Parade last year... something I'd love to have us do this year! That's something I cut out of the paper as well. Now I need that Action step between cutting it out of the paper and writing it in my planner... and actually going as a family. If we go back to homeschooling, I will need to be able to take that crucial step. There's a Community Puppet Making Workshop next weekend in Carbondale for puppet-making; the second All-Species Puppet Parade and Earth Day celebration will be April 22nd.
The puppet-making is organized by Nonviolent Carbondale and is part of 11 Days for Compassion. I HAD signed us up for the Living Books experience at the library but my husband has asked us not to go because he is not comfortable with the children interviewing people formerly incarcerated. It's too bad, because it's an event meant to break down prejudice. The girls were also going to interview people of different religions and those who are handicapped.