Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Deep Thoughts From Noah #73

Noah: Mom, have you ever had any adventures?
Me: Sure!
Nat (interjects): Noah, she used to work in the Caribbean.
Noah: Like with pirates?!
Me: Um, no.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Meet Me Outdoors in St. Louis

The National Park Service turns 100 in 2016.  To honor this milestone, Meet Me Outdoors in St. Louis serves to celebrate the many everyday ways to discover, experience and conserve nature and the great outdoors. On April 2nd, the Missouri Botanical Gardens kicked off the Meet Me Outdoors  initiative with the re-opening of the Doris I. Schnuck Children's Garden and Tower Grove House along with the debut of the new PlantLab and renovated Brookings Exploration Center. During the event more than a dozen community partners including Audubon Center at Riverlands, Earthdance Organic Farm School and St. Louis Master Gardeners were on hand to share their enthusiasm and knowledge about the outdoors.

The kids and I took part in a "build a bee home" workshop --one of the many hands-on activities available throughout the grounds. 

If you would like to be a part of this movement - simply take the pledge:
Together, I/we pledge to:
* Look under more rocks for squirmy things
* Picnic in a local park
* Camp out under the stars
* Nap, read, or sketch under the shade of a tree
* Bike a new stretch of nature trail or greenway
* Build a for
* Conduct a neighborhood nature census
* Participate in or organize a community planting or clean-up day
* and/or pursue other outdoor adventures throughout the year, including as many as we can from this list


Looking for worms and learning about composting

Nat made a pea necklace...and later planted it.

Bug Hotels

Hard at work

Friday, April 1, 2016

Musings From Natalie #125

Natalie: "Mom, when I grow up I'm going to be a hippie!"
Me: "You are?...What does it mean to be a hippie?"
Natalie: " give the peace sign a lot.  Wear tie dye clothes and save the world by not letting others cut down trees and stuff."
(Right, on!)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wagon Days at Long Meadow

Last Saturday's sunny blue skies made it a perfect day for an afternoon ride to the country. We ventured to Long Meadow Rescue Ranch near Union, Missouri to enjoy a picnic lunch and tour the facility as part of their Wagon Days event. Located on about 165 acres, the ranch is a division of Humane Society of Missouri and boasts to be one of the most comprehensive horse and farm animal care and rehabilitation centers in the country.

Long Meadow Fast Facts:
* The ranch currently has about 167 animals in it's care. Of that number 89 are horses.
* It is not state funded and relies completely on private donations.
* Barn Buddies is a sponsorship program that helps provide medical care for the animal of your choice...from horses to pigs, turkey to sheep.
* The next Wagon Days event is happening May 14th - includes a wagon ride around the grounds and open house.
* Regular visiting/adoption times are Fridays 12-3 p.m. and Saturdays 11-3 p.m.
* Spring Fling is their biggest fundraiser of the year. $10/person or $20/carload, children 12 and under are free. Event includes riding demonstrations, food, kid activities and more.

Nat caught a grasshopper and couldn't wait to show Steve.

Kelso tried to steal a tasty snack off the back of the pick-up while we rode by.
Kelso's nose was the size of Natalie's head!
Once sick and running with gusto

Resting a spell after lunch
Newbies to the ranch.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

World Eagle Day 2016

This morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed when I spied corn flake-sized snow falling outside my window. Now that's it's officially Spring - Jack Frost needs to take a hike. However, I was determined for our family to enjoy a fun day -- outside. Once the weather had cleared and temps begun creeping back up to the high 40's we headed out to World Bird Sanctuary (WBS) for their annual World Eagle Day celebration.

We made a bee-line for the amphitheater just in time to catch the 1:30 p.m. show. I was happy to discover our favorite WBS naturalist, Trina, would be heading up the program. Her enthusiasm and quick wit are entertaining and we always leave a show with a new little nugget of knowledge how vultures eat so much they are often too heavy to fly and defend themselves from other predators by vomiting their meal to both scare off their attackers and make themselves lighter for flight.


After the show we took a tour of the hospital. The Sanctuary boasts the highest release rate around at 44% ...the average rate for other bird rehabilitation facilities is 36-38%.  Incredibly WBS is not state or federally funded -- it relies completely on private donations.  Cost to feed one bald eagle for a year is $1,000...they are currently caring for about 26 -- along with many other feathery friends.

If you missed this year's event -- no worries because WBS offers weekly keeper talks every Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. and from Memorial Day through Labor Day you may catch their amazing animal encounter shows on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. -- all FREE.

Check out their website for a slew of free, family-friendly events.



Prosthetics - they've had limited success with them thus far.
While touring the hospital we spy an x-ray showing a bird shot with pellets.
Lots of protective gear is needed when handling egrets and cranes.
Rehab workers wear camo and use a bird puppet to feed babies and injured birds
in an effort to guard against them becoming familiar with the human form.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Musings From Natalie #124

Natalie: "What's for dessert?!"
Me: "You just had pancakes for dinner...I would say that was dessert."
Natalie: "Aww...but Maaahhm."
Me: "Earlier today you had enough jelly beans to sink a boat -- that's enough."
Natalie: "A boat?! Really? How big a boat? I mean if you are talkin' one of those little remote control boats that you see people using at parks then...yada yada"
(Steve says she reminds him of Abby from the cast of NCIS. sigh)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Musings From Natalie #123

"Mom, you need to buy more Oreos...cause they are healthy for my taste buds."