Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring! A Time of Renewal...A Time of Hope

 Mutts Cartoon: a long-tailed male birdie perched on an extended branch,
serenades his intended mate in a nearby tree:
“Sweet as sweetest Grecian honey will my song be when I sing,
O Beloved…in the season of the Spring!”
(written by Ruben Dario)

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz;
I wonder where the flowers is.
Although originally  credited to Ogden Nash ~ an American poet (1902-1971) writing pithy and funny verse, the author is in fact...the very famous poet...'Anonymous' ...according to one writer. There are various versions.  The Brooklyn version and by many considered the borough's National Anthem reads:
Spring has sprung, the grass is riz;
I wonder where the boidie is.
The boid is on the wing, but that's absoid
From what I'm told...the wing is on the boid.

          Other Versions:  Spring has sprung and the grass is riz;  I wonder where the daisies is.
                                                      The birdies are chirping in the trees;
                                                       The wind is blowing as it please.
                                                       Everyone's as happy as can be
                                                       'Cause winter's gone as my eye sees.

“The More Snow, the Better” writes Kathy Renwald.  “Fluffy snow is good for the garden, and we got gobs of it this winter.  Light feathery snow insulates your precious plants like a goose down comforter.  Fluffy snow has lots of air in it...and that keeps the temperature warmer at ground level around the base of plants. When the air temperature was -25C degrees, it was -2C under the snow at ground level where the plants reside.  The bonus is that when the snow melts, it waters the plants. That phenomena, called the freeze-thaw cycle is the worst thing for our gardens...often pushing the plants out of the ground exposing their roots to the elements.”

By the reaction of the returning song birds, they all appear to be wondering just why they flew back so soon.  A few...dared even to spend the winter here...grateful for the humans who kept their 'feeding stations' operating. Spring now invites us to consider gardens with a view of protecting butterflies.

Ancaster's 'Butterfly Family' dedicated to preserving threatened species...written by David Churchill ~ The Hamilton Spectator.  Devin Melanson stated, “It just happened.  It started when we decided to go 'pesticide-free' and plant some native species.  Five years ago, the garden included milkweed plants attracting plenty of butterflies.  After a trip to Cambridge's Butterfly Conservatory, it's been a journey of discovery, commitment and love for the entire family...with my wife Sunila and boys now 10 and12.  We raise the butterflies from eggs and then we release them.” Their backyard operation  has expanded beyond native plants.  Our outdoor 'dining tent' has become a summer  home for dozens of butterflies.  Eggs are nurtured and caterpillars are fed  in the 'caterpillar crib'.  The boys help keep a daily watch on the operation and educate neighbours and friends.

Some might only see milkweed as an invasive species and a bit of a nuisance...but it's a source of life for Monarch Butterflies...and being THE ONLY PLANT THE CATERPILLARS EAT.

Last summer the family successfully raised more than 150 Monarchs and gave away another 100 or more eggs for others to look after.  Devin states, “You don't need a big yard and the job's not difficult.”.
Sean, their 10-year old calls the Monarchs...beautiful,
and says he likes how they feel when they land on his hand.

Buy a Toque...Help the Monarchs:  Francois Simard is developing a new line of textiles with a secret ingredient...MILKWEED.  Even someone who's followed the story even slightly knows this much:
The decline in the Monarch Butterfly population ~ 90% over the past 20 years (by some estimates) is the result of the loss of milkweed.  Milkweed is disappearing...largely due to agricultural herbicides used in critical Monarch breeding regions.

Francois says that during his textile work on hemp and flax, someone pointed out to me, “Here's another fiber...milkweed.”  We tried something and it worked.  Encore 3 is now launching its first milkweed absorbent textile kit for Parks Canada to clean up oil and fuel spills.  Milkweed can also be used for cold weather clothing.  Francois Simard plans to launch a garment line in 2016 with a Chicoutami, Quebec-based manufacturer and in transportation as a base material for light-weight thermo-formed panels. It can be blended with other fibers to make textiles for clothing, too.
“Plant a Wild Flower Garden to save the butterflies!”

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud…commonly known as ‘Daffodils’
is a  lyric poem of four verses by William Wordsworth.
The inspiration for the poem came from a walk with his sister
in England’s Lake District

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills;
When all at once I saw a crowd…
A host of golden daffodils..
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And tumble in the milky way ~
They stretched in a never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay.
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

Merle Baird-Kerr…compiled March 10, 2015
Comments are welcome…email to


  1. SHERRIE COMMENTS: "Happy Spring to you and all your readers. We made it through...enjoy our new Season!"

  2. This change of Season is likened to...turning the pages to a new chapter in the book...a new lease on International Day of Happiness. As ever, Sherrie, I'm grateful for your continued interest and views of Life!