Saturday through Thursday, June 18-30, 2022—Celebrating Summer

Saturday and Sunday were quiet days; we took advantage and rested, catching up on social media and blog writing. On Monday, we welcomed daughter Jenny and her family for several days. For the rest of the week—Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday—we spent time at the beach, in the swimming pool, and on the patio playing in the water.

The visit with Jenny, Harper, Linc, and Sutton was terrific, but I must confess that hiking with Harper and watching her take photos was extra special; she is a talented young lady. I can’t wait until the other two are old enough to “play” with me. Here are some of her photos.

Jenny was great help in washing clothes, making meals, and cleaning up during their visit. Kay and I spent Saturday and Sunday recovering from our hosting duties as grandparents. And then, we began playing golf and pickleball in earnest on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. In fact, after playing golf and pickleball Monday, golf on Tuesday, and pickleball some 4+ hours on Wednesday, I was about done for, and had to quit Thursday golf on the 14th hole. Kay was out playing both sports as well, but had enough sense to know when enough was enough. Fortunately, the hot tub was repaired early in the week and provided soothing relief for our aging and aching muscles and joints. Kay’s friend since before first grade, Sue, came to visit Thursday. I did make it out to the back to do some photography Thursday, getting a few decent shots of butterflies, mostly Sachems and/or Fiery Skippers, and one Pipevine Swallowtail.

Dragonflies were zooming everywhere.

Even a Tree Frog could not escape being “shot.”

Tree Frog

Thursday through Thursiday, June 9-16—Heat and Humidity

It appears that we’ve entered a period of high heat and humidity, combined to yield a heat index of over a 100° most days. That makes it near impossible to enjoy any outdoor activities, even those involving just a minimum of movement. Oh well, I vowed to remain home most of this summer for the first time in many years despite the temperatures.

On Thursday, June 9, Kay and the girls traveled to North Little Rock for “The Book Club” monthly meeting. Dan Olson and I tripped to Middle Fork Barrens Natural Area just east of Hot Springs Village in an attempt to photograph female Diane Fritillaries, Arkansas’ state butterfly. The males appeared a week or so ago, so we knew the females would soon follow. The sun and heat brought our a number of butterflies, including several species of skippers. Photographs were made of a Horace’s Duskywing, Common Buckeye, Crossline Skipper, Fiery Skipper, and Clouded Skipper.

I was lucky to capture a couple shots of an Eastern Tailed-blue with its wings open—such a little beauty. 

And, a Pipevine Swallowtail sat still long enough to photograph. 

Pipevine Swallowtail

There were a number of male Diane Fritillaries; the few females were difficult to photograph. 

Towards the end of the day’s walk, a couple of females settled long enough for pictures, before a male would pester them away; love was in the air.

A few dragonflies were also moving about.

And finally, a “last of the season” Indian Pink was found in an area of dense vegetation. 

Indian Pink

Friday’s heat kept me in the house most of the day while Kay gave blood for lab work prior to her mid-year medical review.

We both stayed in Saturday morning before leaving shortly after lunch to attend Ridge’s soccer games. He is becoming a very good player, and it’s always fun to watch him play. Photos were taken by Kay.

I awoke Sunday with the beginning of a back ache and is the result of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. Surgery in April 2015 significantly helped in relieving the constant, debilitating pain, but about every four to six weeks a back ache arises and lasts a few days. We attended church, and then went to Pam’s to assist with assembly of patio furniture. It was another hot, humid day. A couple of hours at the Diamante pool sure helped for cooling off. Bridge with Jim and Jackie Sunday evening was a hoot; it’s much fun the you win!

The back ache worsened on Monday, forcing cancelation of an afternoon golf game. Just to get out of the house, I drove to the Diamante Pickleball courts, and because there was a shortage of players, agreed to play. Surprisingly it helps the ache. But, a couple of hours after pickleball, the ache returned! Kay opted out of her pickleball games, and watched the “sedition” hearings, followed by a long visit to the manicurist.

As expected, the back ache continued Tuesday, but I participated in the church group golf scramble anyway. Of course our team came in dead last, but we had a good time. Kay had her semi-annual medical visit, only to find out she’s in great health!

Kay was up BEFORE the crack of dawn on Wednesday, as she was the “cart barn starter” for the Hot Springs Village Women’s Duffers golf group. That lady gives a lot more than she gets, but enjoys the action and people; she practically knows everyone in Hot Springs Village. I played pickleball with the Diamante group. There are about eight to ten regulars that play, and the competition is very strong regardless of the team makeups. Most games are decided by only a few points. It is really enjoyable to play with them. And, the back ache continues.

Plans to help with repair of the pickleball courts Thursday morning were disrupted by several problems with our sprinkler system; a leak, stopped up filters, and blown heads. One of the four areas was completely repaired while work was begun on the other three. We had dinner with Morris’s at Cajun Boilers in Hot Springs. Though the service was great, but all of us were disappointed with the food; Cajun Boilers used to be a really good restaurant. And, by the way the backache is slowly going away.

Friday through Wednesday, June 3-8, 2022—Between the Storms

“Between the Storms” sounds like a country or gospel song title, but it’s our weather reality. Those of you who live in Arkansas know I speak the truth!

On Friday, Kay and I ventured to Costco in West Little Rock, our first trip there in about a month! Buying gasoline and have my hearing aids serviced are two things we always do when shopping there. Regrettably, there are few sampling stations with food on which to nibble. I ventured out to Middle Fork Barrens Natural Area in hopes of finding Diana Fritillaries, Arkansas’ state butterfly, fluttering about. It’s always a time of the year to which I look forward. A few males were active, nectaring on the Monarda, commonly known as Bee Balm; no females were observed.

With warm temperatures and sunshine, and the absence of rain, other butterflies were nectaring.

Several dragonflies landed and remained still long enough for their photo to be made.

And surprisingly, the wildflowers were spectacular.

Saturday was relatively quiet. Pam joined Kay and me at the Diamante swimming pool for a bit of sun; the water is still too cold for immersion.

On Sunday, Kay, Pam, and a couple of other ladies flew to south Mississippi to spend a few days relaxing at Beau Rivage. Gambling, eating, and sunbathing were the main items on their agenda. With Kay absent, it sure was quiet around the house—“just sayin.”

Because of rain, I stayed in the house on Monday and Tuesday working on photo organization and edits, and beginning an online, in-depth course in Photoshop. In that last regard, it seems like I have to play each video two or three times before some of the lesson(s) soaks in. And, I’ve begun a diet as I NEED/WANT to lose weight and get healthier; it’s not easy!

Kay returned home to storms and heavy rain on Wednesday, saying that the commute from the airport to Hot Springs Village was frightening with the intensity of rain and roadway water. Our Wednesday afternoon pickleball games were cancelled once again because of the rain.

Saturday through Thursday, May 28-June 2, 2022—Social Butterflies and More

Memorial Day weekend proved to be a quiet one for the most part. Saturday, we worked in the “yard” a little bit, and then hung out at the pool at Diamante Country Club. After that, we both read, and then watched British crime dramas.

On Sunday, Karyn, Matt, and kids came to visit. Ridge immediately jumped on his kayak and paddled in the lake. Aker and I got in another kayak and joined him. The kayaking was short lived when Aker thought wasps were chasing us; it was a few Eastern Amberwing dragonflies. Convincing her that they were harmless was not in the cards. The Adams’ joined friends at Lake Balboa for afternoon boating and playing in the sand. 

Monday, Karyn, Ridge, Aker, Kay, and I played pickleball at Diamante. After practicing for about half an hour, all of us except Aker joined other pickleballers in a few competitive matches. Karyn and Ridge did great.

After pickleball, they packed up and returned home. The back of our lot near the lake provided a number of damselflies and dragonflies to photograph, with a preponderance of Blue Dasher dragonflies.

To say that Tuesday was a quiet day would be an understatement. Two significant things happened. First, we spotted an unusual moth on the deck, and second, Kay played ladies’ pickleball with her Tuesday group. I “piddled” in the yard, and read. See, I told you it was a quiet day!

Wednesday began a new month; they seem to be whizzing by. Kay play golf with the Lady Duffers as usual, and I finally made it to the Diamante pickleball court after a long absence due to weather related wet courts. We were scheduled to play pickleball with the Paddle Wheelers (winter Arizona group and friends), but it began raining just as we arrived at the Hot Springs Village Courts. The downpour continued for the next hour or so, preventing our playing. We “adjourned” to the Mexican restaurant for drinks and dinner.

Thursday, I played pickleball. Kay and I attended her PEO group party, and visited with a lot of folks from church.

Weather in Hot Springs Village has prevented much in the way of outdoor sports. It has rained frequently, the golf courses are wet, and the pickleball courts are slick and unsafe most of the time. When a break in the weather allows some photography, it is typically so humid that my clothes are soaking wet after only an hour or so. We’re sure glad that there is no climate change or global warming; what would we do then!