Sunday through Sunday, July 24-31, 2022—Dog Days of Summer, Part 3

Near record breaking heat and high humidity continue in central Arkansas, making doing chores and playing outdoors uncomfortable most of the day. Consequently, our lives are pretty quiet. Sunday was church, after which I shot a few photos in the back yard; only a lone Robber Fly was observed. We played bridge Sunday evening with the Morrises.

Robber Fly

I played pickleball on Monday, shot photos on Tuesday, and played pickleball again on Wednesday, and Thursday mornings; but didn’t play golf this week because of the extreme heat.

Kay played pickleball twice on Tuesday, golf on Wednesday, and pickleball again on Thursday.

Dan and I went to Middle Fork Barrens Natural Area on Friday, as he was kind enough to share locations of the not oft seen Dragonhunter dragonfly and American Rubyspot damselfly.

A few butterflies were photographed.

Another dragonfly and damselfly offered shots.

Even a few flowers appeared.

After Middle Fork Barrens, we migrated to what we call Magellan Pond, the body of water on Ponce de Leon at the entrance of Magellan Golf Course. As we arrived a Great Blue Heron was actively feeding, but quickly departed.

There we shot photos primarily of the Halloween Pennant dragonfly, our target species.

A Fiery Skipper and bee were photographed sharing a spent bloom.

From Magellan Pond, Dan drove us to an area adjacent to Balearic Road, and an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail provided a topside view.

Friday evening, we had dinner at the Desoto Club, under new management (isn’t it always,) with the Morrises and Pam. I thought it was only so so, and grossly overpriced.

Karyn and Aker came Saturday about lunch, and with Kay enjoyed the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs. They left Sunday morning. And, that was pretty much our week. In looking back, this July must have been the hottest on record!

Sunday through Saturday, July 17-23, 2022—Dog Days of Summer, Part 2

Heat and humidity continue to envelop a good portion of the nation, and we seem to be at the epicenter. Consequently, we continue to stay indoors, except for outside chores, and morning pickleball and golf. Kay kept to her active social life with various meetings, lunches, and the monthly The Book Club meeting. I spend most days working on an ancestry book, preparing a couple of blogs, and photography, namely matting and framing a number of images. I ventured out in the “back yard” to photograph butterflies, dragonflies, and damselflies, though numbers of these species are down significantly, at least where we live. Here are photographs from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. These are presented as a slide show, so just click on the arrow to advance the photo.

Sunday through Saturday, July 10-17, 2022—Dog Days of Summer

With an abrupt end to spring in early June, temperatures in the central US have been hot—record setting hot! Consequently, Kay and I have stayed indoors except to venture out for the occasional golf and pickleball games. There is not much to report in this particular blog entry. It’s almost too hot to take pictures of butterflies and dragonflies, though our back yard offered a quick photography fix on Thursday and Saturday. Thursday’s butterflies included Southern Cloudywings, Delaware Skippers, and Fiery Skippers as shown below.

Thursday’s dragonflies included Common Green Darners, Eastern Amberwings, Blue Dashers, Slaty Skippers, Widow Skimmers, and Eastern Pondhawks.

Saturday’s quick jaunt in the backyard revealed only one butterfly, a Southern Cloudywing.

Southern Cloudywing

A few dragonflies were observed, but appeared as if they had seen better times; thus, no photos. However, one damselfly made it in the mix, a Variable Dancer (this one is less than an inch long.

Variable Dancer

And And, it seems like this is the period known as the Dog Days of Summer. From the FARMER’S ALMANAC. “The “Dog Days” of summer are from July 3 to August 11 each year. They’re usually the hottest and most unbearable days of the season. We often hear about the “Dog Days” of summer, but few know where the expression originated. Some think it’s a reference to the hot, sultry days that are “not fit for a dog.” Others suggest it’s the time of year when the extreme heat drives dogs mad. But where does the term come from? And what does it have to do with dogs? You may be surprised to see is has to do with the stars!

The phrase is a reference to Sirius, the Dog Star. During the “Dog Days” period, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth. Sirius is a part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.

In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.”

Thus, the term Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to August 11 each year.

While this period usually is the hottest stretch of summer, the heat is not due to any added radiation from Sirius, regardless of its brightness. The heat of summer is simply a direct result of the Earth’s tilt.

During summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the tilt of the Earth causes the Sun’s rays to hit at a more direct angle, and for a longer period of time throughout the day. This means longer, hotter days.”

Wednesday through Saturday, July 6-9, 2022—Another Set of Grandkids

The next few days were special ones—time with another set of grandkids. We met Karyn, Ridge and Aker, and Ron and Cheryl for pizza Wednesday evening in Benton. After dinner, Ridge and Aker were handed off to us for their summer visit. Because it was late, the kids played with their tablets for an hour or so before heading to bed.

The kids woke up in a pleasant mood Thursday morning, and remained quiet and inactive for an hour or so. A quick breakfast was followed by a full day of activities. Kay and Ridge went to Diamante for pickleball while Aker and I remained at the house to water the plants and “play” outside. Ridge is becoming a formidable pickleball player, and got to play with and against the US Senior Olympic champion and Diamante Tennis pro, Geoff Hodsdon. Geoff used the opportunity to teach Ridge about the game. Aker enjoys watering the plants and admires the beautiful colors. After an active morning, the kiddos had lunch, and then were off to the pool with Kay where they had a great time. Evening came quickly, and after quieting down it was bedtime for all of us.

The grands and I traveled to Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs Friday morning after breakfast. With over 100 hands-on exhibits, there were enough activities to keep Ridge and Aker busy for a couple of hours.

The indoor cave was far and away their favorite exhibit, and they “explored” it many times during the visit. It was too hot to spend any significant time outside, but there was plenty to do otherwise. After a quick lunch, Kay and Pam took the kids to see Minions: The Rise of Gru. Upon their return, Kay and I offered to take them to the pool at Diamante, but they politely stated a preference for the beach at Lake Balboa. The beach was near empty, and as the sun faded, the breeze off of Lake Balboa provided relief from the hot conditions. The kids had a ball, and played in the lake until we drug them out well after sunset. A late dinner and bedtime followed.

Time with Ridge and Aker passed entirely too quickly, and Kay returned them to their mom about mid-morning Saturday. I ventured outside in the afternoon to discover a few butterflies, mostly Fiery Skippers) nectaring on the Lantana, and a rare visitor to our yard, a Gray Hairstreak, was also spotted among the many blooms.

A few dragonflies were zooming about looking for their next conquest.

The house sure was quiet the rest of the day.

Friday through Tuesday, July 1-5, 2022—Too Darn Hot

After a brief respite from the heat, another heat dome has settled over mid-America. A heat dome occurs when high-pressure circulation in the atmosphere acts like a dome or cap, trapping heat at the surface and preventing cool air from entering the area. Many scientists say this may be the coolest summer for the rest of our lives!

I don’t like real cold or real hot weather, and am forced to stay inside during these temperature extremes anathema for someone who not only enjoys, but thrives on outdoor activities. Consequently, Friday and Saturday were stay-at-home inside days for the both of us. While watering potted plants on the deck and patio, a few photos were made—mostly dragonflies, but also a butterfly and a flower. I occupied “inside time” by sorting through old photographs, and identifying each by key words. Fortunately, this is a several days’ job, and provides relief from the heat, and rekindles many memories.

Delta Arrowhead

On Sunday, we joined Ron, Kaden, and Diana at Lake Ouachita for a couple of hours of lake time, but the heavy boating traffic made “hanging in the water” difficult. Nevertheless, it was great seeing and spending time with them.

Independence Day was a hot one as well. Typically, we enjoy a picnic-type meal with Jim and Jackie and friends, but I canceled out due to heat. Kay was a brave soul and suffered through the super heated still air. She and Pam canceled their viewing of the Hot Springs Village July 4th fireworks because of the heat.

Tuesday brought more of the same as I played in a sweaty golf scramble with our church group, and thankfully it was at Coronado, a short, executive golf course. Despite having a great team, we came in dead last!