The Birds and The Bees

Ahhh fall. What a wonderful time of the year! The cool crisp air, amazingly blue skies and all the colorful foliage of the trees. I both love and hate it at the same time. On one hand, it always reminds me of my childhood and the excitement I always felt for the upcoming holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. 🙂 On the other hand, I have to say goodbye to all my favorite annual flowers and most of my little garden critters. Of all of them, I think the ones I miss most are the hummingbirds. Little sis and I always have feeders in the front and back yards for the little guys. This year when they headed south for the winter, we were busy and left the feeders up longer than usual. The hummingbirds had been gone about a week or so when sis noticed movement on the feeder by our front window. It was covered with bees drinking from the feeder. I have never seen them do this in such large numbers before. I would see one or two occasionally but nothing more. After watching these little guys, with much fascination, as they emptied the feeder in just a couple of days, I decided to snap a few pictures.

Honey bees (Cropped & Crossover)(watermarked)

Bees drinking from our hummingbird feeder.

Hummingbird (Corrected-Orton-watermarked)

Here is a pic of one of the last hummingbirds to visit us in our backyard this year.

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Mums the Word

Yesterday, I (Big Sis here) decided to head to one of my favorite places, the Missouri Botanical Gardens, to take some photos. The weather was so nice I just couldn’t resist. I found several changes had been made since I was there last week. The workers and volunteers had been busy clearing and replanting flowers throughout the gardens. I found some amazing beds of mums and wanted to share some of the beautiful color with you! Enjoy!

Yellow mums (Corrected & Watermarked))

Orange mums (Corrected & Watermarked)

Dreamy Yellow Butterfly

Earlier this week Big Sis and I made a trek down to the Shaw Nature Reserve, located in Gray Summit, Missouri. Every Fall the monarchs fly through on their trek South but, unfortunately, there has been a steady decrease in their numbers in recent years. 😦

The ranger we spoke to told us that they had been afraid that the monarchs had dwindled to the point of nothing but thankfully, they had started to see them the weekend before. Excited, we headed out to the prairie sections of the reserve to see what we could find. Sadly, we found very few monarchs. We spotted some but just 5 years ago their numbers were in the thousands flying through but we saw less than 50 this time, and we were walking for over 4 hours. I fear that this may be the last year that we see any.

However, we took 100’s of photos. Yes, I said 100’s and we’ve been pouring through them all week. We’ve been experimenting with a new look to the photos and we’re really excited to share them!

What do you think of this dreamy yellow butterfly?

Here we've played with the color a little.

Here we’ve played with the color a little.

 

Here we've only cropped him.

Here we’ve only cropped him.

 

Which photo do you prefer? Let us know!

 

 

Apple Orchards, Fried Chicken and Eckert’s Farms

Today, I picked my own apples for the first time at Eckert’s Farms and I loved it. Yay me!

But walking through the rows and rows of apple trees, I realized how refreshing it was to actually see where my food comes from. It’s funny how quickly we’ve grown accustomed to having everything we need right in a centralized setting with no clue as to who picked it, what farm it’s from or what it actually takes to grow it. We need to understand how hard it is to grow that apple or orange. But that’s just me. Personally, getting out in the sun, walking around the trees, watching the insects and birds, and really seeing what it takes to get my food made was a huge stress reliever. Plus it gave me some color. Go me.

The orchard we went to, Eckert’s Farms, is a local establishment that’s been around over 100 years. It has a grocery section, restaurant, garden center and various farm sections that you can pick from throughout the year. Come Christmas I am seriously thinking about buying one of their fresh Christmas trees.

But since this was our first trip there we stopped for lunch at their restaurant before heading out to the orchards. I highly recommend their pressure cooked fried chicken, it was moist, the skin was crisp and oh my word was that chicken breast delicious! The sides included mashed potatoes, sweet corn, and green beans. Fabulous! Sis and I chose to get all white meat which cost a dollar more but well worth it to us.

They also have a frozen custard stand on site but since we had already staggered out of the restaurant full, we’ll have to try that next time. Oh the horror of having to find an excuse to go back! 😉

Here’s just a few of the photos I took. I’m a newbie to the IPhone. so fair warning.

Geese gourds? Looks like it to me.

Geese gourds? Looks like it to me.

Uh, is Charlie Brown in there?

Uh, is Charlie Brown in there?

Pumpkin Truck

Love the truck!

Mixed pumpkins

Mixed pumpkins

Come sit a spell...

Come sit a spell…