Fitchburg Art Museum and CMAAC Farmers Market


Friends, Locavors, and Supporters of the Arts

Please join us at the “Art of Buying Local” Farmers’ Market
Fitchburg Art Museum
Thursday, July 11, 3 – 6:30 pm
25 Merriam Parkway, Fitchburg, MA

There will be fresh local fruits and vegetables, artisan bread, locally made soaps and lotions, local honey, fun activities for the kids, live music, locally made soy candles, photography and local artists, live cooking demos, free fresh salsa and more.

Mary Ellen Ryall, author of The Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book and My Name is Butterfly,
will be selling and signing her books and talk on importance of pollinators.

See the 78th Regional Exhibition of Art and Craft, one of the oldest exhibitions of its kind in New England. This special exhibition includes all medium of expression including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, mixed-media, and crafts  (including jewelry and fiber art). The aim of this exhibit is to encourage, discover, support, and display the best regional talent.

Admission to the Farmers’ Market and Art Museum is FREE from 3 – 6:30 pm

Bring the whole family!

For more information contact:
Sheila Lumi
Market Manager

Natural Pollinator Habitat at Gateway Park

Fitchburg, MA

May 21, 2013

ImageSheila Lumi, Director, Central Massachusetts Art and Agriculture Coalition, came by The Sundial to pick me up this morning. She helped load three donated bags of good potting soil into her van. I wasn’t much help with a bad back. Next stop was Dunkin Donuts for much needed coffee.  I had my game plan for evaluating the Natural Pollinator Habitat. ImageWith camera in hand, I walked into the knee high clover.

White cabbage butterflies (Pieris oleracea) were flitting about. Easy to spot with dark spot on wings and dark tip on edge of wings. One landed on blue-violet blooming hairy vetch (Vicia villosa).  Black mustard plants and cabbage family are host plants. I am uncertain at this point if mustard plant is growing in habitat. I suspect so because the community gardens haven’t been planted yet. According to Live Science, researchers reported Sept. 5 in the journal PLoS ONE that black mustard gives off a specific scent when large cabbage white butterflies (Pieris brassicae), as they are called, lay eggs on it. This odor both repels other pregnant butterflies from laying more eggs on the plant and attracts two species of parasitic waspsTrichogramma brassicae and Cotesia glomerata. The wasps swoop in and attack the butterfly eggs and the caterpillars that have hatched from them, the researchers said. This defense mechanism prevents a colony of caterpillars from feasting on its leaves. (In return, the wasps parasitize, or live off, these eggs.) The study was led by Nina Fatouros, of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Read the whole store at

 At least three yellow swallowtails were seen flying about. ImageTheir host plant is birch, cherry and other trees. Couldn’t tell what species of swallowtail because none were near where I was doing field work. Then I saw the smallest blue azule butterfly ever seen. It was smaller than the size of my little finger’s nail. Imagine that, so tiny.

ImageStephen Twining stopped by. He had suggested that a path be implemented to a lovely metal bench that is screwed into a cement base. Right now, it is inaccessible, unless you walk through knee high plants.  Sheila will network with her circles and see what she can come up with. She is thinking that a curved wood chip path would be a solution. Mowing a path might be less work. We found this out at Restored Remnant Tallgrass Prairie in Shell Lake, WI. All three of us agreed that the sound of water was a lovely feature here. A little later when I was alone at the habitat I heard lots of crickets singing. It was pure joy.

 Stephen and Sheila helped carry three 40 lb. bags of good topsoil to a location that was off the beaten path. It was there I planted three mounds of different species of sunflower. I wanted the site to have an annual native plant that would pop color and provide food for birds come fall and winter. I plan to go back after the sunflowers sprout and plant a squash ground cover in between the sunflowers. That way the leaves will shield sunflower roots. Climbing beans will be planted within the mix to add nitrogen to the soil.

I am very happy with the habitat. I did not see any invasive species within the site. Of course this is a preliminary look. I did see some native grasses and shrubs in clumps.  You know I will be back.


A New Natural Pollinator Habitat is Born

I am thrilled to share that Mary Ellen Ryall, Butterfly Woman Publishing owner and Happy Tonics, Inc. board member, will be offering environmental education programs at Gateway Park along the Nashua River in Fitchburg, MA. Shelia Lumi, director, Central Massachusetts Art and Agriculture Coalition, will work with Ryall in offering environmental projects and gardening talks at the park. There is a Community Garden within the park that Lumi will be in charge of. She is the director of the monthly local Fitchburg Farmers Market at Fitchburg Art Museum.

Both Lumi and Ryall are excited to collaborate on Environmental Education at Gateway Park in the summer of 2013. Stay tuned for more news.Image.

Night at the Fay Club

Fay Club

The Fay Club, Fitchburg MA

The Fay Club, a private club, in Fitchburg, MA, was created in 1902. It is a beautiful Victorian historical home. The Fay Club history can be read at the following link at

I am discovering that early women of Fitchburg, MA, were leaders in their community. Their vision has made it possible for me to walk through doors that normally are not open to the public. “Architect Richard Upjohn (Trinity Church, New York City) designed The Fay Club in 1883. The Fay Club was commissioned as a private residence by George Flagg Fay for himself and his daughter, Lucy.” Years later, his only surviving daughter willed the home to the Park Club which later changed its name to Fay Club and moved to this location to honor the generous donor.

Christmas tree at Fay Club

Christmas tree at Fay Club

I was thrilled to be invited to participate in the once a year event. Copies of my first book, My Name is Butterfly, were sold. Several buyers told me of their own butterfly stories. I was delighted to speak to residents and meet young children. One little girl came over with her grandmother. She pointed to the book and said, “I want that book.” Her grandmother mentioned that she was an avid reader. Later when the child was engaged with her mother, the grandmother returned to buy a book. It did my heart good to see a child pick out the book.

The Fitchburg Farmers Market is an interesting group of entrepreneurs who are farmers and artisans.

Sheila Lumi

Shelia Lumi, Director of Fitchburg Farmers Market.

Sheila Lumi, Director, organizes where the Farmers Market will take place. She is a natural at marketing and a local honey producer. I noticed that Sheila has an eye for beautiful hand crafts. Soft knitted alpaca bags, gloves and socks were a delight to buyers. Sheila’s honey went fast. I am happy I was able to purchase one bag, as a Christmas gift, for my niece Amelia.

She is helping me scatter native seed at a new Wild Butterfly Habitat and Wildlife Sanctuary I am implementing, on my sister’s property, in the Fitchburg Hills, within a protected watershed area.

handcrafted bag

Knitted Bee Bag by Mary Anne Troxler

I think Amelia will get a kick out of the bumblebee that is felted within a sunflower on the bottom of the bag. There is a butterfly in the bag’s design also. The wool is soft and inviting. I think the bag will make a creative water bag. Matter of fact, I am going to put a bottle of water in it before I give it as a present.

Vee Lashua, proprietor, Brookside Family Farm, was instrumental in greeting guests and selling product. She personally knew many of the Farmers Market crafters. Vee also knew many guests. I assisted in promoting the monthly Fitchburg Farmers Market, at the Fitchburg Art Museum, first Thursday of each month, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

My Name is Butterfly

My Name is Butterfly

I am venturing towards assisting the Fitchburg Farmers Market and by being a member; I will have an opportunity to sell my books at the monthly Farmers Market. I am enjoying it already. It didn’t take long for me to flutter towards like minded spirits.

Be well butterfly friends where ever you are.