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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

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Silent Sunday – King of the Castle


Although it’s been a dry summer and monarch sightings have been sparse here at the Farmstead in central Maine, these amazing pollinators continue to stop by to visit, lay eggs on our milkweed plants, emerge from their chrysalides, metamorphose into monarch butterflies and fly off on their annual migration to winter inMexico, where their life cycle will begin again next spring… ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author and monarch butterfly advocate 

County Gardening

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A Monarch Butterfly – a Visit and a Message


An amazing visit (check out the photo, post, and video) at Jennie Fitzkie’s place… Afterward, check out this link to find out how to tell a male from a female monarch butterfly! ~ Bette A. Stevens, author and monarch butterfly advocate

Monarch butterfly and milkweed plant from Bette’s garden in Maine.

A Teacher's Reflections

A monarch butterfly visited our flowers.  S/he was determined to stay, in spite of excited children and adults reaching out to touch.  This butterfly is endangered, so the visit was very special.

I always give the children I teach roots- the foundation to become strong and happy.  That comes naturally for the teacher in me.  Wings are the final journey, after roots have become secure and sturdy.  The monarch was showing me the power of wings.

This monarch butterfly stayed for a very long time.  I knew there was a reason and a message:

Jennie, never forget how important roots are.  The more you give to children, their wings can grow.

Yes.  I thanked the monarch butterfly.  What a gift!

Jennie

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Celebrate the Great Monarch Butterfly Migration & Help Protect this Endangered Threatened Species!


 

STATUS UPDATE: As of Juy 25, 2022—Monarch butterflies are on the Endangered Threatened Species “Red List.”

Their status was announced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature last week, but we still await a status change from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some of the largest contributing factors include significant loss of milkweed habitat and growth, as well as an increased use of herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals. Now for the good news.

As said by John F. Kennedy, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

 

The Great Monarch Migration

Each year from August through October, masses of monarch butterflies embark on a journey from the southern reaches of Canada that takes them 2500 Miles to remote mountain treetops in central Mexico. Millions of overwintering monarchs were discovered roosting there for the first time in 1975. Here at the farmstead in central Maine, monarch butterflies visit us from early June through mid to late September. As a citizen scientist, I report my sightings to Journey North . I invite you to visit their website to find out more about our amazing monarch butterflies and find out how you can help.

Hubby Dan and I have sighted sixty (60) monarchs so far this season. The monarch chrysalis in my photo collage was spun by a caterpillar Dan discovered on a day lily leaf when he was cleaning the garden on August 13, 2019. We transferred the caterpillar and part of the leaf to our back porch. By the time I put fresh batteries in the camera and returned, this chrysalis had already been spun. On August 31, a beautiful monarch butterfly had emerged and was resting on her chrysalis (yes, it was a girl, our 2019 Matilda) about noontime. We sat and watched for hours as she dried her wings. I moved her to a nearby phlox plant where she could rest and sip nectar as she prepared for her long journey  south. One of her friends (most likely a monarch sibling) stopped by to check on her several times. By 4:45 p.m., she was flitting and fluttering through the garden before she began soaring and landed on the birch wood pile before soaring away on her long journey south.

Note: The top left monarch was one of our earlier arrivals that stopped to lay eggs on our milkweed. The others are all of our amazing Matilda who is on her way to Mexico!

Leaders from U.S., Mexico & Canada have agreed to help protect this threatened species through the NAFTA trade agreement. Groups and individual citizens continue to band together to support and protect monarch butterflies. Together we can make a difference!

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  • Plant native milkweed
  • Provide nectar plants
  • Avoid pesticides
  • Report your monarch sighting observations to JourneyNorth.org
  • FIND OUT MORE at  WaterwayAdvocates.org

Bette A. Stevens is the author/illustrator of award-winning picture book Amazing Mailda, A Monarch’s Tale.

Here’s what two readers have to say:

“A beautiful message of love, patience, perseverance, and belief. The story is told with a frog, bird, rabbit, and the butterfly as the main characters. A perfect book for children mainly to teach them about the cycles of life and the importance of patience, perseverance, and keeping faith in a dream.” ~Karen Ingalls

“I can’t wait to give this to my grandchildren and will enjoy our reading time together with this delightful tale!” ~ D.L. Finn

 

Amazing Matilda (2019) on her way to Mexico! 

 

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Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Children’s #Binmen Sue Wickstead


Thank you, Liz, for your insightful and extensive review of MY MAINE and its ending, “Finally, I highly recommend My Maine to anyone looking for a constant in tumultuous times. The book will be a comfort.” Thank you, Sally, for sharing Liz’s wonderful review and for introducing us to Sue and her awarding-winning books as well. ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author 

Visit Sally’s to read all about it!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first book today is a poetry collection by Bette A. Stevens – My Maine – Haiku through the seasons.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to…

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Ninety-seven (97) 5-Star Reviews for Award-winning Picture Book AMAZING MATILDA!


MATILDA expertly as a cirus acrobat... 2016

About the book

This “Gem of a Tale” about a Monarch Butterfly teaches kids lessons in friendship, patience and persistence as AMAZING MATILDA transforms from egg to caterpillar to butterfly. (Children’s Picture Book/Ages 5-11).

Order your copies today:

AM Celebrate Season MATCHBOOK bas 2016

Related Sites:

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Easter Blessings (+Music) and “Faith,” a Poem by Bette A. Stevens


Easter Blessings (Poster, pPoem & Scripture

Faith

Take all of your worries and all of your fears
Cast them upon Jesus who’s waiting, He cares
He came down from glory to save you and me
His brothers and sisters who yearn to be free

He proved with his life that His calling is true
We trust that He cares about all we go through
His love it surpasses, His blessings abound
His faithfulness throughout creation resounds

In Scriptures we find Him, His words and His deeds
Imploring each brother and sister, He pleads
Surrender your worries and all of your fears
I’m here to walk with you in laughter, in tears

We’ll dance through the triumphs and trials together
Good plans will prevail, no matter the weather
God’s love is as sure as the sun, stars and moon
Eternity’s waiting, there’s plenty of room

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

John 3:16-17 New International Version (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Happy Easter!

—Bette A. Stevens

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AMAZING MATILDA Only 99¢/p for a Limited Time…


Looking for the perfect picture book for the kids this spring?

AMAZING MATILDA’s got you covered!

ONLY 99c/p thru APR 18! Celebrate SPRING with a monarch butterfly adventure #monarch #Butterflies endangered AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch's Tale (Ages 5-11) #metamorphosis #EarthDay #education GRAB THE BOOK at bit.ly/19Qr3Y0

 

One concern parents have is how to inspire their children to meet challenges with patience and persistence. This is the plot of the award-winning picture book, AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarchs Tale, written and illustrated by Bette A. Stevens. In this story a caterpillar wants to learn how to fly. She asks all of her friends in the meadow, but doesn’t find an easy answer. Yet, she continues the quest until, at last, she becomes what she wants to be—a butterfly. AMAZING MATILDA offers adults the opportunity to inspire the children in their lives to meet their own challenges with patience and persistence.

  • For a Limited Time you can DOWNLOAD the eBook of AMAZING MATILDA for ONLY 99¢/p at http://bit.ly/19Qr3Y0 GRAB A COPY TODAY!

 

  • Be sure to check out the #FREE PDFs.  Amazing Matilda Finger Puppets and Fun & Learning with Monarch Butterflies— two excellent reading and life/environmental science resources to go along with the book. Find the download links below.

 

  • Missed the Limited Time Deal? NO WORRIES… Award-winning AMAZING MATILDA is available in paperback and eBook versions and it’s an AMAZON KINDLE MATCHBOOK every day—that means, when you purchase the paperback for $9.49, you can download the eBook version for FREE! Click the link to Order your copies today

Check out these #FREE Reading & Monarch Butterfly Resources from Bette 

Stevens has put together two (2) FREE #PDF companion pieces to make talking to the kids about AMAZING MATILDA and learning about Monarch butterflies exciting and fun.

am-finger-puppets-handout-12funlearningwith-amazing-monarchs-2016

 

CLICK THE TWO LINKS ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD. These resources will not only keep the kids talking about the book with their finger puppets, they’ll learn even more about Monarch Butterflies, their endangered habitat, monarch and milkweed conservation and preservation.  Fun & Learning offers activity sites and resources for butterfly gardeners and teachers as well.  Don’t miss these two great resources for families, clubs, classrooms and homeschoolers.

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#NationalPoetryMonth: Write a Spring Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Celebrate National Poetry Month with a Haiku Poem

Springtime Melodies

Haiku by Bette A. Stevens from MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons

Sunbeams composing
Springtime melodies, humming
Tapping to the tunes

April is a perfect month to get outdoors and get inspired. As a former teacher (grades four through eight), I know that kids of all ages love writing poetry and they enjoy illustrating their poems too. It’s simple and it’s so much fun to tell a story in the three short lines of Haiku. You’ll find a link to some great poetry writing tips at the end of this post. Of course, you’re not limited to writing one haiku poem—you can write as many stanzas as you wish. Give it a try! 

Grab the kids, take out your pens, head into the great outdoors and get inspired!

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

  • Check out more of Bette’s haiku poems inside MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons here. The collection includes the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with 49 of her photographs and illustrations. Travel through Maine’s four seasons and discover state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State with the author.

(Haiku: m)

haiku

noun hai·ku ˈhī-(ˌ)kü
  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference.

Discover more about how to write haiku and other poetry

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MY MAINE (late winter) excerpts from Bette A. Stevens’s Poetry & Photography Collection


 

MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons reflects the Maine I know and love. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author 
The haiku above written February 2022. Photo taken from back field (farmstead peeking through) on a perfect snowshoe day as winter’s landscape begins to transform itself into spring.

Below is a sampling from Winter Tales.  

Winter Tales 🌲

(Selections from— MY MAINE, Haiku Through the Seasons by Bette A. Stevens)

Sheets of diamonds
Glisten on frozen meadows
Perfect snowshoe day

Icicles weeping
Tears of joy from the rooftops
Winter jubilee

Dawning feels warmer
Daylight slowly grows longer
North tilts toward the sun

Afternoon shadows
Scrambling through frozen forests
Sing—Joy to the world

Black and white portraits
Etched below an azure sky
Disappear at dusk

Thanks so much for taking time to enjoy a bit of late winter in MY MAINE, Haiku Through the Seasons

Did You Know? 🌲

Maine’s official nickname is “The Pine Tree State.”

The Eastern white pine tree appears on the state flag, its state quarter and, as of 2017 , 89.1 percent of the state was covered in forest, making it the most tree-covered state among the 48 contiguous US states. 

My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through the state’s four distinct seasons. The collection of 150 haiku poems includes 49 of the author’s photographs as well as facts and symbols from The Pine Tree State. MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons is available in print and eBook formats. Take a peek inside and grab a copy at AMAZON.com. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

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Have an Amazing New Year!


May your days be blessed and beautiful

May your nights, sweet dreams supply

May your New Year be amazing

As a monarch butterfly

© Bette A. Stevens

Learn about Monarch Butterflies

Bette in her garden with one of the monarch butterflies that emerged from its chrysalis at the farmstead in central Maine.

Monarch butterflies offer an amazing view into the intricate nature of the wild. Their scientific name—Danaus Plexippus— Greek for “Sleepy Transformation,” gets part of the story right, but not the epic whole. Monarch butterflies embark on an amazing migratory phenomenon as they have the ability to hibernate and metamorphose.  International conservation efforts to protect and restore monarch habitat are ongoing. These efforts may help improve the near-endangered/endangered status of the species; but we, as ordinary citizens, can easily help the monarch butterfly recovery right in our own backyards and gardens.

  • Resources for kids, families, educators and gardeners 
    Download Bette’s FREE PDF “Fun & Learning with Monarch Butterflies” where you’ll find:
    ★ Monarch Butterfly Facts
    ★ Coloring Pages
    ★ Gardening
    ★ Video: How to Make an Origami Butterfly
    ★ Butterfly Teacher Guide and so much more…
    ★ How you can help protect our monarchs
    DOWNLOAD Bette’s FREE PDF https://4writersandreaders.com/fun-learning-with-monarchs-2/

Wishing all of you & all of
our amazing monarch butterflies…
“An Amazing New Year!”

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

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