Rise and Shine Sunday Letter friends!
I’ve already been outside this morning in the rain killing milkweed bugs. A gardener does what a gardener has to do.
I swear the summer days keep swooshing by and before I know it another week has come and gone and I have nothing written for my Sunday Letter. So I scramble a few thoughts together, all the while wondering if this might be my last letter for awhile. And then I do the same thing the next week. And I suppose I will continue this word scramble until I don’t.
Thanks for being here.
Game Camera Update
You may remember we are participating in a University of Arkansas wildlife study this summer—a game camera monitors our backyard (and several other properties in northwest Arkansas) to identify the critters living among us and our effects on them. (Actually, we are living among them. They were here first.)
We received our first official update this past week.
So far the camera in our yard has captured 588 critter photos in one small area where a few hostas grow. Our most frequent visitors have been gray squirrels—no surprise there! Birds clocked in second, followed by dogs (again, no surprise), cottontails, a baby opossum, and a raccoon.
Check out this cottontail picture. Isn’t he cute?
This project will be continuing into fall.
This photo provides a good reminder to be careful when deadheading, especially if your flowers are growing near butterfly host plants. You never know where a chrysalis might be. (I took this photo at the BGO Butterfly House.)
One certain monarch caterpillar chose a purple coneflower leaf as her place to spend the chrysalis stage of metamorphosis. This stage can take anywhere from 9-14 days.
Be careful where you step too. Life abounds.
A few weeks ago, we saw Chicago in concert at the Walmart AMP in Rogers. Everything about the concert was FANTASTIC—the music, the venue, the easy in and out parking, the beer line, the weather—everything. Mostly it was great to be out and about again. The Chicago concert was the first live performance at the Walmart AMP since Covid shut everything down. And it was the first concert Chicago performed since Covid too.
So, everyone was super psyched.
These songs were part of my childhood, part of me.
My sister and I had a groovy yellow ball-and-chain Panasonic transistor radio that we took outside when we played. We tried to get the best signal out of Memphis and were forever trying to learn the words to songs like Saturday in the Park. We bought the Chicago V album at the record shop in Osceola. That particular album was released on July 10, 1972, which happened to be the date of my tenth birthday. So you see, it was released for me.
Hearing the real thing live all these years later gave me chill bumps on a warm summer night.
Remember when flickering Bic lighters set the mood for a concert? Now we use the iPhone flashlight app.
So much has changed, yet so much hasn’t.
I’m headed out of town today, going to the July writer retreat at Hemingway-Pfeiffer in Piggott, Ar.
I’ve lost count of the number of Hemingway-Pfeiffer retreats I’ve attended, six or seven, possibly more. I’ve done some of my best writing there in the barn where Ernest Hemingway wrote.
This time, I’m a bit worried I will get to Hemingway-Pfeiffer and words will not come. I’ve been distracted from my writing lately, my mind jumbled with other things, my days filled with gardening and puppies and such. Fingers crossed that the spirit of Papa Hemingway will work his magic on me again.
Also, I’ve been invited to do a reading while I’m there. And I’ll be signing a quilt square—I’ve always wanted to sign a Hemingway-Pfeiffer quilt square! (All the authors who do readings sign quilt squares that are then displayed around the building.) That will be exciting for me.
Send good writing vibes my way please.
Things Momma Says:
I’m not eating anymore cake until someone else has a birthday.
Thanks for being here, Sunday Letter friends. Yay for another week and more chances to do good things! If you’ve not gotten your Covid vaccination, I hope you’ll reconsider. Arkansas is leading the nation’s Covid surge for no good reason.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.