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The Change of Seasons
September 21, 2015

I see once again I forgot to change letter titles last week.

If you deleted it, please go back and read it.

As you can see by the picture, we do have real beaches in Michigan.

This is holland State Park along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Not the wide expanses of the oceans, but every bit as nice.

We even have kite boarders and surfers when the winds blow.

Yes, Karen and I managed a couple of days at the Big Lake last week.

For us, September is the best time to go, as the beaches aren't crowded at all.

The weather can still be warm, and the water is still swimmable for me.

No Sanderlings, or Piping plovers this year.

Not even a duck to feed.

One thing that is always plentiful, are the seagulls (aka. sky rats).

If all goes well, we may try again this week.

Yolanda is a Hope Network and this gives us the chance to relax a bit.

I've also managed to can some tomatoes, pickle a few jars of Jalapeno peppers, and dry some herbs.

This week we usher in the first official day of Autumn.

A bit late this year at September 23.

Things really begin to change now, especially in the northern regions where daylight hours continue to shrink and temperatures continue to drop.

In the meantime, continue to enjoy all of your flowers and the wildlife that they attract.

Right now I have a second wave Hydrangea blooms that add beauty.

The annuals continue to bloom, especially the Red salvia.

Late season perennials like Cimicifuga, Chocolate Eupatorium, and Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani), offer some late season color as well.

Some late blooming phlox, Coreopsis, Rudbeckias, and Gaillardia also offer color and food for birds, bees and butterflies.

Speaking of butterflies.

Monarch Migration is in full swing right now in Michigan.

Never in my wildest imaginations would I ever think I would feel this giddy over a butterfly.

At least two a day visit my yard as they nectar up for the next part of their journey.

I see a few when I drive ( the van has caused a couple of untimely deaths), everyday as well.

Trips to the beach and you see scores of the orange and black creatures as they follow the lakeshore south.

I haven't seen this many monarchs in the past few years combined.

Again, it makes me smile.

Maybe the small amount the U.S. government put forth to help. the slowdown of illegal deforestation in Mexico, and bashing Monsanto just might be helping.

Continue doing your part and help build up nectaring and milkweed stations for the only true migrator in the butterfly world.

Goldfinches continue to feast on the sunflowers and seedheads of the Cup plant.

Can spot the four birds in this picture.

Pictured are a few Juvenile goldies as they enjoy a meal.

I so enjoy listening to them.

Adult goldies are changing into winter plumage as well.

Hummers continue to gorge themselves as they prepare to head out.

By the end of this week I probably wont see them again till next May.

Leave your hummingbird feeders out at least two weeks after your last sighting.

Make sure the sugar water is fresh.

There may still be a bird around that you haven't seen, and a late migrator may need a quick fix that you happen to offer.

I've had early October hummers before.

Don't worry about your feeders keeping birds from migrating, it is a God given instinct to leave when they do.

Typically it is the young that stick around a few extra days.

When the body clock goes off, they will leave.

Juvenile hummers are much like the monarch butterfly.

They head off to a strange land they have never seen before, yet they know they must go and where to go.

Now tell me, is Nature grand.

Other sure signs that the seasons are changing.

Migration is taking place everyday of the year (somewhere).

Yet we are familiar with the fall migrations of the many species we know.

Molting also takes place with most birds too.

Adults replace old worn out feathers with shinny, new ones.

For songbirds, juvenile plumage is replaced by young adult colors.

For the birds that winter over in temperate climates, diets begin to change from from insects to fruits and seeds.

Food or the lack of, is the main reason most birds migrate.

Again God's call is to migrate while the food trail is still strong.

One last sign of fall in West Michigan.........

Artprize starts this week.

We're looking forward to that

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God bless.

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English Novelist and Clergyman

What is more enthusiastic and makes your heart happy than giving and serving?

Never be lacking in zeal,
but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Romans 12:11

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men,

Colossians 3:23

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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