Episode #311- Nature Centered
Most people – including myself – could stand to spend a bit more time with nature. On today’s show, we’ll do just that by visiting a Nature Center, learn how to tap trees, create a backyard butterfly nursery – and I’ll share a couple of recipes too.
“The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower a tethered butterfly.”
– Ecouchard Le Brun
Life can move pretty fast, so at Life In Bloom we always encourage stopping along the way to smell the flowers. Figuratively and literally, of course. And sometimes, you just need a deeper dive into nature. Spending time outdoors with the sounds, sights and smells of nature is restorative.
Many communities have Nature Centers that provide in depth opportunities to enjoy, explore, and learn in nature. However, even your own backyard – and its residents – can become a neighborhood hub for enjoying nature. So – let’s get outside and drink in more of the natural world.
A Visit to Blandford Nature Center
Blandford Nature Center is a wonderful destination for Nature Hikes, Education, Interaction and Inspiration- I took a day to visit Blandford- and was hoseted by Julie Batty, Land Steward Manager- to talk more about Blandford Nature Center’s Mission- their environmental projects – for example- the Green Roof, a NEW Native Wildflower Garden (under construction)- a native plant Detention Basin and Green concept retaining wall- of which are featured in this episode of Life in Bloom.
For more information about Blandford Nature Center- Mary Jane Dockeray- and the calendar of events – visit this link: https://blandfordnaturecenter.org/experiences/community-calendar/
Maple on Tap Craft Cocktail #FlowerCocktailHour
Many Nature Centers offer lessons in tapping maple trees for syrup, in early spring. Today, I’ll create a cocktail using fresh maple syrup from Blandford Nature Center…
Maple on Tap Craft Cocktail Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
4 Oz Bourbon
Top off with Iced Bottle of Bourbon infused Michigan made Craft Beer (Backwoods Bastard)
Served in a Brandy Snifter on Ice
Animal Ambassadors (Sylvia the Opossum) at Blandford Nature Center
During my visit to the Blandford Nature Center- I had the pleasure of visiting with Lori Lomoro- the Animal Ambassador trainer- and one of my favorite animals- the Opossum- North America’s only Marsupial! Lori allowed us to get up close and personal with Sylvia- who serves as an Animal Ambassador for Blandford Nature Center- helping educate both young and old alike- about the benefits of Native Animals.
Blandford Nature Center has a host of Animal Ambassadors- including Turtles, Owls, Birds of Prey, and a Bobcat- these animals make personal appearances to help educate- and inspire visitors about the Native Animal speices in Michigan! The Opossum for example- can create mixed emotions- when it ‘comes to visit’ or interacts with humans- so Sylvia’s mission is to teach – about the value of the Opossom- they DO NOT spread rabies- in fact they have a natural immunity to the disease- they eat hundreds of ticks daily- reducing the tick population- a ravenous Omnivore- they will eat many things- Sylvia’s favorites are Cauliflower, Radishes and of course Grapes! Discuss mission of nature center and rescued animals. This visit specifically with Sylvia- helped us – review the benefits, and overcome the misunderstood nature of the amazing Opossum!
Have additional questions about the Animal Ambassador program at Blandford? Contact Lori Lomoro |Animal Ambassador | firstname.lastname@example.org
For More information- follow this link:
Backyard Butterflies with the Golinskis
Did you know you can create a caterpillar nursery at home and watch nature take its course in revealing beautiful butterflies? Let’s learn how it’s done from my young friends…Zoe, Millie and Doc – and their Mom- Laura Golinski
Laura had seen posts on Social Media about raising Monarch Butterflies- and helping to increase the decreasing population – of this endangered insect- and realizing they lived in a field of Milk Weed- it might be a fun project- to do with the kids- and help to educate and inspire them to be good stewards of Nature!
The process is amazing- I learned the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis from my friends Doc and Zoe… and how their hobby- is helping to boost the population of Monarch butterflies- the release process is inspiring- and it’s wonderful to see these young naturalists- in action- caring for- nurturing and releasing these beautiful butterflies!
Featured Flower: Dandelion
- Dandelions are one of the most vital early spring nectar sources for a wide host of pollinators
- Dandelions and Dandelion Greens are edible and highly nutritious
- Whether it is consumed dry, or crushed and brewed as a tea, the dandelion root is perhaps the most nutritious part of the highly nutritious plant.
- Dandelion is a common meadow herb of the Asteraceae or sunflower family.
- There are about 100 species of dandelion, and all are beneficial.
- The name “dandelion” comes from the French “dent de lion” – lion’s tooth, which refers to the serrated leaves
- Animals such as birds, insects and butterflies consume nectar or seed of dandelion.
- Dandelion flowers do not need to be pollinated to form seed.
- Dandelion can be used in the production of wine and root beer. Root of dandelion can be used as a substitute for coffee.
- If you mow dandelions, they’ll grow shorter stalks to spite you.
- Dandelions are, quite possibly, the most successful plants that exist, masters of survival worldwide.
- Hold a dandelion bloom under your chin – if your skin appears yellow, you’ll be rich some day. This particular legend dates back to medieval times.
- Dandelions are rich in nutrients including Vitamin C in the flowers, and potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron from the greens
- Tea can be made with the dandelion roots or flowers.
- The dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening to go to sleep.
- Dandelion seeds are often transported away by a gust of wind and they travel like tiny parachutes.
- Seed can travel 8 kilometers (5 miles) before it finally reaches the ground.
- Every part of the dandelion is useful: root, leaves, flower. It can be used for food, medicine and dye for coloring.
- Dandelions are high in calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.
- Dandelions have sunk their roots deep into history. They were well known to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years.
- Dandelion is used in folk medicine to treat infections and liver disorders. Tea made of dandelion act as diuretic.
- The dandelion is the only flower that represents the 3 celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars. –– The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon and the dispersing seeds resemble the stars.
- dandelion folklore suggests you that if you blow on a dandelion puff, the tiny seeds will carry a wish for you.
Here’s some interesting reference material about Dandelions- follow the links!
In this flower arranging segment- I use one of J’s Bouquets- “Sunset Drive” available at Albertsons Companies stores Nationwide- I create a fun arrangement with branches- and attach Craft Store Butterflies- to the branches with glue tabs… it’s a fun way to theme an arrangement for a nature-centric party!
Fairy Mix Salad with Chamomile Dressing – Recipe in Bloom
The farm at Blandford Nature Center grows one of my favorite salad selections – their Fairy mix salad includes edible flowers! Here’s a Chamomile Lavender vinaigrette that’s perfect dressing!
Chamomile Lavender Vinaigrette Dressing – Serves 8
• ½ cup water
• 4 bags Chamomile Lavender tea
• 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• Juice from 1 lime (or lemon)
• 1 tbsp. honey
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Lavender blooms for garnish
1. Bring water to a boil in a small pot. Steep tea bags and continue to simmer for 8 minutes to reduce liquid.
2. Squeeze and remove tea bags. Allow to cool.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
4. Enjoy this sweet and tangy dressing on your next salad. In good health!
Make the most of your steep. Reserve lightly used tea bags for infusing flavor into recipes. 2. Double the recipe. Keep this dressing on hand to as a marinade for veggies, seafood, and poultry.
Becoming more involved in nature is truly its own reward. Whether it’s a project in your own backyard, or visiting a nature center near you to learn more about the natural world, I hope you find the result both inspiring and relaxing. For Life In Bloom, I’m J Schwanke.