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Heidi Schmidt

master pollinator
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since Jun 07, 2020
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cat trees books cooking bee writing
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada -- Zone 5a
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Recent posts by Heidi Schmidt

Great video... helpful, and funny!
2 days ago
Welcome! This is a very interesting topic for me. Looking forward to reading the review, and hopefully the book too. :)
2 days ago

John F Dean wrote:Odd. I was recently clearing some brush and was stung on my forearm by a black wasp.  No doubt I was near its home.  The odd part is that I have not been stung by one in years,  and my arm swelled for 4 days ......which also never happens.

Yikes--that doesn't sound fun.

Great black wasps are certainly capable of stinging. But there are others that are much more likely to. I think the Bald Face Hornet is a black wasp that may be somewhat more likely to sting.
2 days ago

r ranson wrote:I stumbled on this class.  Making a skirt fit is pretty easy, as I have some that I can trace the pattern off.  But I really like the intro videos and this person's approach to designing.

Not sure if I can afford it, so I'll keep looking.

Ooh, thank you for this. I also like what I see. I have to give it some thought, but I might dive in
4 days ago
I just completed my first two badge bits this week, so let me think about what GOT me doing those badge bits.

I'm a bit like Mike. There's just something about badges that really appeals to me. It's not that I want to prove it to a bunch of strangers, it's that I want something that is a motivation machine. Badges push me to reach further. For now, I'm happy to knock off fairly simple things, but I know I'll reach the point where I need to learn something new and get out of my comfort zone.

Examples: I love herbs. Herbal medicine. Foraging. But, I've only just begun my journey into that world. What the badge will do for me is "force" me to actually get out there and harvest that mullein and do something with it (tincture?). As opposed to just admiring it in my yard.

Or, more extreme--I'm fascinated by skills that seem so practical like plumbing, electrical work, metal work. I've done none of this. But I have a feeling if I find the easiest BBs in each of these, figure out how to do it... then it will propel me with forward momentum into doing more of the BBs in those areas, and then at some point I will actually have a bit of a skill set in things that I believe are so very valuable.

In other words, for me the badges provide something like a map of skills to follow, plus the inherent motivation to travel that path.

It took me a couple months on this site to figure things out. My first week, I had NO idea what these PEP and SKIP things were. To be honest, although I think I have a solid understanding of PEP, I still am not totally clear if PEP and SKIP are the same, or subsets of one another, or a Venn diagram together. I didn't understand all the acronyms, like BBs. I think what would help me the most would be a visual representation of this stuff... what everything stands for, how it fits together, paths you can travel, and where they lead. An infographic would suit this, in my opinion. Kind of like the Wheaton Eco Scale infographic (which is stunning, BTW!)

I also wanted to say: Ash verified completion of my first BB. He did it in such a friendly, welcoming, and encouraging way, that it definitely made me want to continue. I think this is small, but really important!

Hope this feedback helps!
Had to do some chop and dropping today, so I thought I'd grab a BB at the same time...

This area had buckwheat that was maturing. I let it stay for a good long time (couple months?) so that it could shade the soil and blossom for the pollinators (they adored it and were always buzzing around... many different types). There's also a ton of Hopi Red Amaranth growing around. I've let that grow too, to act as shade, stabilize the soil, help in the drought, to eat leaves off of, and to play around using the florets for dye purposes. But time for some of this to come down and mulch the soil.

In the main area, I chopped the buckwheat and the amaranth with a knife and laid them down. I also brought in extra amaranth from another area of the garden. I laid the downed plants to build amazing soil, and surrounded a few plants--a few tomato plants, a row of soybeans in front of the tomatoes, and a volunteer cuke.

The main area I mulched was around the 50 sq. feet, but to be on the safe side, I mulched the extra area to make sure it was enough in total.

Pic 1. Main area before
2. Tomato and soybean area before
3. Main area after (tomato and cuke to right side of plot)
4. Tomato and soybean area after, with amaranth mulch in front

(Note--the bare soil garden in the background is my neighbour's!)

5 days ago

May Lotito wrote:Yes, I took that picture. It's actually recaptured from the photo album I put together for my kids. I did a bit of nature photography over the years so I printed them out to teach kids about animal names and behaviors etc.

Awesome idea. Love your pictures. This spider almost looks unreal to me... I can see faces in her design! What a creature!
6 days ago

May Lotito wrote:That's a beautiful butterfly, good job!
Did You say swamp milkweed is fragrant before? I need to get some too.

Yes! I had no idea it was fragrant until I bent down for a whiff--and was totally enamored with the scent! To me it has lightly spicy undertones. I wish I could remember where I got the seed.
6 days ago
I took this photo about an hour ago in my butterfly garden.

I'm so excited! I'm pretty sure (after checking in my butterfly book) that it's a Giant Swallowtail! This is the first time I've seen one, and it chose my yard. It helps verify that I must be doing some of the right things to attract the critters. :)

They're not kidding when they say "giant"... this thing was as big as my hand (or would be, if her wings were outstretched). She was so lovely, and she kept sipping and sipping from the swamp milkweed you see in the picture. Every once in a while, she would do a circle around me, then go back to the flowers. She even stayed put while I ran to get my camera.

Apparently, they have a caterpillar stage that looks like an orange "bird dropping". So if you see that, let it be! They are more common in the States, especially Florida, because their caterpillar host trees are in the citrus family.

Here in Ontario, though, they feed on the hop tree and the northern prickly ash (both in the same family as citrus trees). It seems these plants are at the northerly end of their range here, so the butterflies are, too. I feel lucky to have had her.

Presenting my new friend, the Giant Swallowtail:
6 days ago

May Lotito wrote:Have you seen a black widow spider from this angle? She was such a beauty!

Holy cow, May! Did you take that photo?!?

(And yes, they are stunning in their own way!)
6 days ago