Monday, June 29, 2015

Join the Parade

Our subdivision of Norchester will have its traditional July 4th parade of kids, walkers, decorated bicycles, floats, and misc. other interesting people and vehicles. 

Beginning at 10:00 AM, it starts at the north end of the subdivision at Laneview and Balcrest and proceeds south down Balcrest to the Norchester activity center on Jones Rd.

Come and join the parade or be an enthusiastic bystander.  
The Norchester Garden Club will have a float featuring one of its projects, the Matzke Park Butterfly Garden. The garden is in full bloom and great shape so plan on a visit after the parade and take some pictures with the kiddos at the activity center or the garden.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

National Pollinator Week

If you like plants... here is an interesting link to information on National "Pollinator Week" which is June 15-21.

Bee on sunflower

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tree Damage

As many of you know..  Association for Better Community Schools (ABCS) and Norchester Garden Club have provided many of the new trees for the park as well as creating and maintaining the garden. The last group of 7 trees donated by ABCS cost $1400.00 and the park staff have done a great job of planting and caring for them.  There is, however, a problem with one or more of the "Fitness Trainers" who exercise with their customers in the park in recent days. These pictures were taken the morning of May 28, 2015.
This fine young tree is in a prominent location by the monument.  It looks fine from this direction.    But closer inspection shows the very severe damage to the bark on the other side. 

The damage is caused by these fitness groups placing exercise bands around the base of the tree, which they then stretch and "saw" back and forth as part of an exercise routine.   The trainer has been told to stop this practice by the park staff.

A related problem is the use of the park benches (donated at $1000 each) for stepping up and down on, etc.  The composition slats in the benches do break. 

If you see such practices... please: 

1.. Say something to the individuals involved.. ask them to stop. You can also tell them that exercise equipment/stations are on order for this park so that such folks will have a proper place and means for their workouts.

2..  If you feel uncomfortable confronting such behavior, please inform park staff immediately as they are usually present. 

3..   If park staff are absent or not readily available, please call the Pct #4 constable number 281-376-3472 and request an officer stop by.  The park is part of their area of responsibility.

Little can be done for such damage, and with half the circumference of the trunk being damaged.. it is somewhat unlikely that this tree will survive. The best that can be done is to clean up the damaged area and let it try to heal by itself.  It is not recommended that a sealant of any kind be placed on such a wound. 

Here is a link to what A&M has to say.. HERE

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Monarch Butterfly Look-Alikes

Four Fast Facts about Monarch Butterflies
  1. Monarchs know the right direction to migrate even though they have never made the journey before. They have a sun compass, with receptors in their antennae—and use an internal magnetic compass on overcast days.
  2. Milkweed is the one and only host plant for monarch caterpillars.
  3. Monarch populations have dropped 90 percent in the past 20 years due to massive habitat destruction and pesticides.
  4. The grassland prairies that run through the middle of our country provide one of the most crucial monarch habitat corridors in the world.

Learn how to tell monarchs apart from viceroy and queen butterflies.
An orange, black and white butterfly alights on a milkweed blooming in your garden. But is it a monarch butterfly? Or is it a viceroy or queen butterfly? Do you know how to tell the difference?
Don’t be fooled! Learn how to distinguish monarchs from their look-alikes by taking our Monarch ID Quiz by   Clicking Here

Monday, May 4, 2015

Flag Time Once Again

Norchester looks particularly nice on these "flag days" the band provides.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

More About Milkweed

We have featured milkweed and Monarchs a number of times on this blog... Here we go once again.

We came upon two articles from the National Wildlife Federation and Monarch Watch on our friends and their favorite plant.. milkweed, that are worth a review.  Both are several pages with lots of pictures and other links so I have downloaded them as pdf files which you can also review and download as you choose.  Both are links to our DropBox so just click on them, and be patient while they load on your screen. You don't need to have DropBox or sign in for anything.
 The first one describes twelve native varieties of butterfly weed for monarchs. Each has a picture and some background information.  That link is HERE

The second article
has some additional information along with links to other resources on the butterflies and their plants.  It may be found

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Trees for Matzke Park

The Association for Better Community Schools (ABCS) is proud to announce the donation of $1400 to Pct #4 for the purchase of 7 trees for Matzke Park.  The trees at the park have been aging and due to drought in the past few years, many have died off. So in October 2014 ABCS offered the donation to Harris County for some replacements. They have finally arrived and hopefully will be in place within a few more days.  There are seven.  Two are Burr Oak and five are Cedar Elm

One is not looking too well right now, but with luck will recover and be fine

In 2006 ABCS, a 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer group, partnered with Precinct 4 to preserve the 20 acres of land now known as Matzke Park at Jones and Grant. ABCS, through its cooperation with Be An Angel foundation, is also responsible for the special needs playground.  ABCS, and several of its generous donors have also been a major funding source for the Matzke Butterfly Garden and its amenities.

The Randalls and Krogers Neighbor Programs are one source that help to provide ABCS with funds to replace trees, plants, upgrades and continued support of Matzke Park.  Your signing up for these programs and shopping at either Randalls or Krogers help ABCS to collect these needed funds.  ABCS board members, past and present are Tracy Toma, Susan Greenway, Martin Heemer, Joan Fitzgerald, Margaret Buchanan, Kathy Reagle and Carol Bennett.  If you have questions, suggestions, or requests for the park please email us at 

Here is how you can support the park.

         Kroger   Link your Kroger Rewards card to ABCS.  This must now be done each year. The program year starts in August.   Both Kroger and Randalls provide very modest funds to ABCS each year related to the purchases made by customers who have linked their rewards cards to our ABCS organization.  All of these funds are used for Matzke Park and Butterfly Garden improvements.

Sadly the number of families who have remained linked to Kroger has trickled down to Only Four.  Yes, only four Kroger cards remain linked to ABCS-Matzke Park.  In past years, this program has provided as much as $150 every quarter. This past year the amount is much less than $20.  Not even enough for them to send a check each quarter.  All of this money goes to the park and/or Butterfly Garden. So if you enjoy the park and the garden.. please sign up now, and then again in August when the renewal for the year begins again.

Randalls (Safeway, Tom Thumb)   ABCS is still registered with their Good Neighbor program and it is only a one time signup for you at a store.  It automatically renews each year.  Just provide their customer service desk with this number:  1969   This is the Randalls number for our organization.   

Signing up with Kroger also gives you weekly emails with Kroger Special coupons, etc.  And you don’t loose any fuel points.  Sign up is now through computer or smart phone and much easier than in the past few years.
However, you must have registered for a Kroger online account with your computer or the smart phone app, and then "re-link" your card each year starting in August.
To register with Kroger:

1.  Click HERE which is

2.  Sign in if you already have an on-line account.. If needed, click on Create an Account.  This short process will also sign you up for online coupons. You will need to provide your Kroger Plus card number (printed on the card) or call Kroger at:  1-866-221-4141.

3.  Once your Account is established, sign in and click on Community Rewards to provide the ABCS number for Kroger which is:  82607

You can also register with Kroger by downloading the Kroger app for your smart phone.  Download it, select Register and enter your information including your card number and the Community Rewards number 82607