Wednesday, September 30, 2015

National Hunting & Fishing Day 2015

On May 2, 1972, President Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, writing, "I urge all citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and in insuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations."

Celebrated on the fourth Saturday in September, National Hunting and Fishing Day has provided millions of Americans with the opportunity to experience, understand and appreciate traditional outdoor sports.  

On Saturday, September 25th, the kids and I joined our friends - the Magees at Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area as the Missouri Conservation Department was celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day by hosting free fun and educational activities including guided river-boat rides, hiking, archery and air rifle shooting, fishing and fish identification information, animal skull mazes, Asian carp filleting demonstrations and tastings, fried catfish sampling, a laser shot shooting simulator and entertainment by the Fishin Magicians.

It was a beautiful day to be outside.  The kids were completely entertained by the Fishin Magicians as we waited our turn to enjoy a wild, 25 mph boat ride and no one complained of hunger -- lots of fish tasting for everyone.

Charlotte examines a Trumpeter Swan leg up close.

The MDC cooked more than 100 lbs of catfish and carp.
More, please!

Monarch Madness 2015

On September 12th our family took part in Monarch Madness at Weldon Spring -- a free, day-long event put on by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). The purpose was to celebrate all pollinating creatures that help our plants thrive and to educate and encourage support for pollinators (especially Monarchs) that are in decline.  Scientists estimate monarch populations once at one billion have dropped to less than 60 million.  Declining habitat is most likely the cause.  MDC gave out lots of swamp milkweed plants to participants as it is the only plant that monarch will lay their eggs on.  The hope is that by providing more habitat -- monarch numbers will rise again.

We all gave it a go but once Noah found a tick on his clothes...he was out.

Megan and Lindsay were the only two in our group to successfully capture and tag a Monarch
Jenna and Carter make "dirt bombs" - dirt balls filled with milkweed seeds

Looking for the queen

Meramec State Park

If you are looking for a place to explore nature, hike, camp or just cool off on a hot day, check out Meramec State Park. It's located about an hour from St. Louis in Sullivan, MO and offers the opportunity to slow down and soak in the quiet and serenity of the outdoors. The park is well maintained and peaceful.  We began with a walk to the river where the kids found all kinds of things to occupy their time -- from watching puddling butterflies and catching toads to wading in the water and collecting shells. Later we headed over to the visitor center which provided all kinds of hands on exhibits for our entire family to enjoy.
hi ho hi to the river we go!

"Look, Mom - they're puddling!" said Noah

Noah's preferred way to "view wildlife"

Hummingbird Banding

On September 5th, we headed to Onondaga State Park to watch researcher, Lanny Chambers band hummingbirds. Chambers is one of only about 150 persons in the U.S. and Canada authorized by the Federal Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) to capture and band these tiny birds.

Data collected includes: the bird's age, sex, condition and plumage characteristics. In addition, measurements may be taken such as wing chord (length of the flattened wing from wrist to tip of the longest primary feather), tail length, mass, and bill length. After the bird is banded and released, the data is submitted to the BBL.

The weather was steamy and we were grateful to be able to watch the process almost the moment we arrived to the park.

You'd think the bars would make them wary...nope.
Measuring the bill

Deep Thoughts From Noah #67

Noah has lots of routines.  One of those involves eating the same thing every day.  For breakfast he likes 1 egg, 1 piece of bacon, 2 pieces of toast and a bowl of Cheerios.  (We think he may have hollow legs).  This morning he forgot the bacon which sent him into a bit of a tizzy.

"Oh no! Oh no! I forgot the bacon! This will affect my future!"

(I'm pretty sure it will make his future a bit brighter if he skips the bacon, but what do I know.)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Musings From Natalie #116

Natalie: "Mom, what's a Valley Girl?
Me: "An 80's reference of a teenage girl from the Valley in Southern California...they talked like this - Like totally...Gag me with a spoon."
Natalie: "So it was like an old fashioned way to talk?
Me: sigh..."Yeah, I guess so."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Deep Thoughts From Noah #65

 Noah: "I don't want to go to school today...the teachers are always pressuring me to do work."

Noah has started noticing that Natalie doesn't seem to struggle with her schoolwork like he does...
Noah: "It's not fair. Natalie is the smart one..."
Before I could interject...
Noah: "Hey, that means I must be the fun one -- I'm the fun one."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Take My Advice...and Leave It

Though I’m entering my 13th year as a mother, I believe I began mothering the moment I discovered a life was growing inside me.  Almost immediately, I started reading Heidi Murkoff’s, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”.  Once the news of my pregnancy was out – the floodgates of advice began pouring in from family, friends and sometimes even strangers who wanted to weigh in on…

Today my post Take My Advice...and Leave It appears at Natalie Ulrich Photography .