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Apr 222011
 

Photo:Courtesy Mother Nature will tell stories at the Omni Center's "World Peace Wetland Prairie Earthday Celebration" Sunday, April 17 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the World Peace Wetland Prairie at 11th and S. Duncan in Fayetteville.My reflection on Earth Day last year wasn’t very rosy.  I’m not sure I have great news now that another one has rolled around.  This year, with the passing of Representative Paul Ryan’s 2012 Republican Budget Plan in the House of Representatives, clearly that side of the aisle is bent on slowing any progress towards addressing the coming calamity of climate change and protecting the environment. The bill includes a huge cut ($1.6 billion) in the Environmental Protection Agency budget and hits the Energy Department hard with harsh cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and doesn’t touch the approximate $4 billion in subsidies to oil and gas companies – the most profitable companies in the world.  I think this is wrong-headed.

Rather than wallow in my disappointment thereby contributing to your own consternation that we are still slipping backwards on important environmental issues, I feel it’s more important to share a few positive ideas and actions.

earth_day_WA DCEarth Day Network has a plethora of activities, videos, campaigns and important information throughout the year.

If you are in New York City, you might want to check out some of the events hosted by New York University during NYUEarthWeek from April 11 through April 28.  This Sunday, the fabulous Vandana Shiva will be featured at a luncheon.

Kaboose has a wide range of activities for kids to keep them busy and exposed to environmental issues.

If you are a teacher, EdHelper provides a variety of printable Earth Day puzzles and activities.

And, how about a view of Earth courtesy of NASA.

Want to get the best certification for becoming an environmental safety expert? Click on NREP Certifications.

Wherever you are, I hope that you are enjoying the gifts of Mother Earth and paying forward by stewardship.  Happy Earth Day!

 Posted by at 7:32 pm
Apr 202011
 

I wrote this blog post last year which you may also enjoy; it contains information about the history of dying eggs.  I’ve updated the instructional portion with new pictures and additional tips. The other thing I love about this activity with children is foraging for the botanicals . . . it helps me teach them about wildcrafting and opens the door to pass on in the Wise Woman tradition.

Teaching_Caleb to make Easter eggsMy favorite activity around the approach of Easter is to gather natural materials and ingredients to make colored Easter eggs with leaf and flower imprints.  This is a favorite tradition started when my girls were little and now carried on with the grandchildren.

Here are ingredients to gather to make the natural dye, arranged by color they will produce in final dyed egg:

Brown and tan:  Outer layers of onions, black/green tea, coffee, black walnut hulls
Yellow:  Tumeric, cumin, saffron, lemon rinds
Orange:  Paprika, chili powder, carrots
Red:  Fresh cranberries, cherries, raspberries, Spanish onion skins
Purple and blue: Blueberries, boiled red cabbage leaves, beets
Green: Spinach
Grey or slightly lavender:  Hibiscus flowers

Combine the dye source (you can use single botanical source, or combine several for differing hues) with 1 Tablespoon vinegar and cold water in a saucepan.  There are two different methods.  You can boil the eggs and dyes separately, strain the dye and add hard-boiled eggs in the shell to the hot liquid and let it soak until it reaches the desired hue.  Or, you can wrap uncooked eggs and cook them in the dye as they are being colored.  With the former method, if the eggs need to soak for more than 2 hours to reach the desired deepness of color, you may want to move them to the refrigerator if you will be eating them. Generally, however, natural dyes are going to create more earth-like subdued colors.  You can also cook all dye materials (the longer, the darker), cool and add uncooked eggs, reheat to cook egg and set aside to continue darkening the dye while cooling. (Refrigerate if over 2 hours.) If you want to have botanical impressions on your eggs, do the following before you cook the eggs:

Here are the things you want to have on hand:
The_botanicals400x353 Fresh herb, plant and flower cuttings.  The smaller the better, however, wrapping a large fern that covers an entire egg is a stunning design when finished.  Thinner, flat items are easiest to secure tightly.  Use your imagination. Dandelion flowers will impart a bright yellow splotch in the finished egg, adding a whimsical touch.  Other fresh botanicals will add a bit of their own color, along with imprinted texture and form.  It’s fun to let the process itself randomly influence the outcome.  Children love to do this; it’s biochemistry and art all in one . . . plus you get beautiful eggs to add to the Easter hunt or to share.
Trussed_n_Ready442x289Pantyhose or cheesecloth, cut in squares that can be tied with twisty ties or rubber bands to snugly keep plant material in place.  If re-using nylon squares or cheesecloth, be sure to rinse between eggs.  You’ll want a slotted spoon to turn and remove the eggs while they are in the dye bath, and you’ll want a couple of brown paper bags cut and laid flat to place eggs on to partially dry as you remove pantyhose or cheesecloth and botanicals.

In_the_Soup450x262Here are some tips:  Older eggs work best, buy them at least a week before boiling as newer eggs are hard to peel.  I think white eggs take the natural dyes better, plus you can create additional designs with wax to add bright white to the creation before putting on leaves and flowers. Shine up Lovely_collection406x320 finished eggs when they are dry with a little olive oil rubbed in.  Eat those eggs!  Don’t waste them – make deviled eggs, egg salad or use in a salad.  Be sure to keep them refrigerated if you will be eating them.  Most of all, have fun, and encourage your children to experiment; you’ll learn new ideas from them.  If you do this project this year, send usUsing_Lavender334x412 pictures of your creations attached as a .jpg in an email: samara@wingedseed.com, including your current mailing  address and we’ll send an aromatic surprise back.

The large one pictured here was done with a Rosemary sprig.  Isn’t it lovely?

Happy Easter and Spring!

 Posted by at 10:38 am