This September there will probably be some newly-winged Monarch Butterflies that will leave from our meadow and, incredibly, fly about 2500 miles to the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico. There they will overwinter with hundreds of thousands (hopefully) of other Monarchs in a small grove of Oyamel Fir trees until next spring when they will fly to the Texas Hill country to mate and start a new brood that will head north.
We can help the Monarchs by providing a healthy meadow habitat and especially by making sure they have the one plant, Milkweed, that they can’t live without. Monarchs lay their eggs only on Milkweeds, and their caterpillars only food is Milkweed. The caterpillar forms its chrysalis on, you guessed it, Milkweed.
Here at Mill Creek we mow our meadow once a year in the late winter/ early spring. This year, thanks to a number a hard-working volunteers, we completed this challenge this past Monday.
We are very grateful to the following who donated their time and talent to help our environment: John Springer (who picked up the rental “Billygoat” bushwhacker and its trailer at the break of dawn, and then returned it later that evening), Amy White, James White (Amy’s son, our young “ringer” who probably mowed twice what us older folks did), Julia Smagorinsky, Ann and Roy Draper, Brian Coleman, Rudy Nyhoff, David Bonner, and yours truly, Jamie Kegerise. In addition to the mowing, the Saturday and Monday crews both help clean up our flower beds.
We mowed over hundreds of tree saplings, most of which were invasive ornamental pear varieties that we spend all season battling. Now the native grasses and flowers have room to grow. The meadow might look a little bare for a few weeks, but if you pay attention it will go from brown to green over the next several weeks. Monarchs are lovely to see and have an amazing story to tell our children. But so are the many other species of pollinators, other insects, reptiles, birds and mammals that call our meadow their home.
It may seem like a small step to maintain a meadow compared to the many much larger needs of our hurting world. But small steps are important, especially when we use them to connect in community and to teach about our interconnectedness. Wednesday evenings we gather to do some meadow and gardening chores around the property. We would love to have you come out, even if you just want a quick tour of what we’re up to.