Friday, September 11—Mount Magazine State Park

This morning’s caterpillar count was down a bit from yesterday, 23 caterpillars were observed.  

As Arkansas’ highest point, Magazine Mountain and the surrounding area offers cooler weather and lots of blooms and butterflies. With that in mind, Dan Olson and I traveled the almost two hours to find cool air and fog surrounding the mountain, even though it was just past 12 noon. Approaching the State Park, a photographer was observed on the side of the road photographing a wildflower. We stopped and as coincidence would have it, he was from Hot Springs Village as well, and a major contributor to finding rare and unusual wildflowers in Arkansas. We chatted with him about thirty minutes, taking a few photos along the roadside. There were a number of wildflower blooms in the state park, and conditions were good for photographing them, though I’m not a very good flower photographer.

Butterfly ”season” is winding down as fall approaches. We are seeing fewer species and numbers. By the time we made it to near the top of the mountain, fog was rapidly lifting revealing overcast skies. The Visitors Center had few blooms, so we did not stop there. We drove to near Brown’s Spring Picnic Area and walked the gravel road for about a mile towards Mount Magazine Cascades, then looping back along the north ridge edge to the Picnic Area. Several species were observed, but not all remained still enough to photograph, including Carolina Satyr, Clouded Skipper, Common Wood-nymph, Crossline Skipper, Eastern Tailed Blue, Gemmed Satyr, Little Yellow, Northern Pearlyeye, Red-banded Hairstreak, Red-spotted Purple, Black Swallowtail, Pearl Crescent, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Zebra Swallowtail, American Lady, Common Buckeye, Red-spotted Purple, Red-banded Hairstreak, etc. Even a Thread-waisted Wasp made an appearance.

I vowed to repair commodes before going out today. Two out of three commodes in the house are malfunctioning: the handles on both are not engaging the flush valve. Numerous half-assed attempts to repair these have failed. This morning I was determined to repair them, even if it mean rebuilding them. Beginning in the guest bathroom, I partly disassembled the commode, removing the broken handle, unscrewing the tank float, and tearing the flush valve apart. The only apparent problem was the handle. With an extra handle mechanism on hand, I rebuilt the handle/valve combination and reinstalled the float. So far, it works well. Next, I tackled the powder room commode; the handle will operate but has a lot of give and is hard to push down. In several past attempts at repairing it, I “jury-rigged” the handle mechanism and the flush valve. So, as a beginning, I removed this, and reinstalled the handle the way it was designed to be used. It seemed to work okay!

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