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FROM READERS: Hot, hotter, hottest

Sunday, July 1, 2012 | 2:00 p.m. CDT
A sparrow cools off in a bird bath in photographer John Hall's yard.

John Hall frequently photographs his mid-Missouri surroundings and has been sharing his images with the Missourian for several years. Hall was also recently featured in a Columbia Missourian article, in which he reminisced about his days as a bat boy in the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri Baseball League.

Well, if anyone is going outside and do anything it has to be early in the morning during this recent onset of not so cold weather. Depending upon where you are at any given time of the afternoon in this area you'll feel the 105 to 110 degrees.

I arose this morning and the first thing I saw was Mrs. Cardinal scratching her head in an attempt to figure out why it was so hot. She finally figured out there wasn't much she could do about so she pointed her head in the direction of the only breeze she was apt to feel all day.

The butterfly bushes were full of skippers and a description of them, taken from the internet is here. If for some reason it doesn't transmit I can summarize it for you. "It isn't easy to identify all the different kinds of skippers and is probably a waste of time anyway." So, I share some photos of skippers from without further comment. One skipper photo is two skippers. Enough said. A picture is worth at least two words and maybe a thousand if you believe in old adages.

(If you can't see the slideshow embedded above, view it on Flickr here.)

Every once in a while a comment is received from a photo recipient about the exceptionally clear and colorful nature of the content. I'll have to give most of the credit to the big guy/gal in photo. It goes places that I can't and can detect images I'd never discover with the naked eye. I use this lens, each morning, to check on the garden and flower garden invaders such as the tomato hornworm and the Japanese beetle on the same butterfly bush bloom with a skipper.

A close eye is kept out for the tomato hornworms for the tomato crop is about to cascade on to the scene. The crop prospects were much greater a few days ago prior to the searing heat. Nothing but cactus and telephone poles survive long in this heat.

In the good news side of things "Tye" was waiting at the fence this morning to meet me. He was abandoned and was shuffled between two humane societies in the state until my neighbor rescued him from "Dr. Death." He's a good guy and his pedigree isn't known.

Did I mention it was hot? It is so hot the honey bees spend a lot of time at the bird bath drinking water. Back to the Japanese beetle invasion. I called out the Sevin insect spray team and those beetles are no match for that potion. In an attempt to depict the pestitude (new word I invented today) I took a photo of two skippers. Although you can't see all of them there were six beetles between those skippers.

When I last I mentioned the honey bees they were hanging out at the local watering hole. Well, they moved on later to their job as Polinators. They formed a carpool and headed over to Hibiscus City. As they carried heavy loads of pollen from one bloomed out plant to another that was budding I caught them in action. You might say they were as busy as bees, today.

Some people ask why I have hibiscus in large numbers near my tomato patches. It's elemental, Mr. Watson, they attract bees. Bees pollinate tomato blooms as well as hibiscus. Since the hibiscus blooms are so large and colorful, the bees head right to the job at hand. Most of the hibiscus near the tomato patch closest to the house are a dark color the ones in the lower tomato patch are nearly white.

And, due to the very hot and dry conditions I even tolerate the sparrows to visit the watering hole and have even consented to let them nibble around on some goldfinch seed that the finch have informed me isn't fit to eat.

Since starting this narrative I made a trip out into the blast furnace heat to check on the Japanese beetle situation. Either they were wiped out this morning with my insecticide or else they took the day off due to hot weather. And, I shall now transmit these photos and find a way to stay cool for another four months. Who knows, by October it might even rain again.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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