Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Different Baby News

baby bird on the way
The other day I went to water the hanging begonia in the backyard, and something flew out and hit my shoulder. I'm sure the neighbors heard my startled shout! When I peered in the plant, I saw the brown speckled egg inside. I haven't been able to determine whether there are any additional eggs in there or not as I don't want to disturb the nest. 

I've yet to get a close look at the momma bird. Looking at bird egg photos online, it looks like it could be a wren. But many birds lay eggs with brown spots. Hopefully I'll get a better look at the bird. Now when I water the plant I go to the opposite side of the pot and slowly water. She's flown out one other time, but at least I'm not in the line of fire when I do that.

In other bird news, this morning I was watering my planters out front and heard some blackbirds calling out. One flew to the top of the small street tree across from us. Just like that a mockingbird let out a cry and took on the blackbird. Apparently protecting a nest, she was quickly joined by her partner, and together they chased those blackbirds right out of their area. It was something to see!

Speaking of mornings, this was yesterday's sunrise. We are so blessed to live here.

sunrise over Mountain Island Lake

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Golden Oldies Pickleball

pickleball social
We play pickleball quite frequently, sometimes a couple times a week in our community and a day or two a week elsewhere in the Charlotte area. This game has changed a lot since becoming the fastest growing sport in America. Most notably is the number of younger players getting caught up in the game. While this is great for the sport, it is not also so good for the older folks when playing in leagues or tournaments. Even the "senior" divisions are listed as ages 50+.

Despite the fact that I am in good shape for my age and pretty fast on the court, I do not have the athleticism of someone a couple decades younger than me. I am not looking to make excuses, just stating a fact. After talking with some players that I met from another 55+ community, we decided to meet to see if we could do a joint social pickleball event between our two communities.

We pulled together a fun night of play, mixing our players with theirs in a round robin format. We held it at their community because they have six courts plus a restaurant and bar. We had 90 total players register, and it was a blast. While there was downtime between games, no one seemed bothered by this. They used the time to get to know they other players in their foursome. At the end of the evening, the two clubs purchased pizzas and cheesy bread for the players, and we hung out for a couple of hours swapping pickleball stories. It was a great experience, and one we hope to repeat!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

High Country Getaway

Blue Ridge Parkway
The Charlotte area had some record-breaking heat last week, so we decided to escape to the North Carolina high country for a couple of days. Encompassing seven counties in the northern part of the state, the high country is typically much cooler than the counties down south.

We left Thursday morning, driving straight to our first destination. Craggy Gardens, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway and part of the National Park Service, is known for its abundance of rhododendrons. Peak season at this altitude of 5,860 feet is mid-June, so our timing was perfect. While it was a bit overcast when we arrived, the cloud cover did clear as we hiked the area. The low 70s temperature was a delight after the high heat and humidity we had left behind.

Nearby the Craggy Gardens is Mount Mitchell. That was the next stop on our itinerary. At 6,684 feet, it is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Established in 1915, the 4,789-acres became the first state park in North Carolina. Unfortunately the peak was shrouded in clouds the day of our visit, so visibility was nil. 

We spent the night in the Linville Falls community at an old lodge. While it was quaint, clean and beautifully maintained, it had no WiFi to speak of and we had zero cell service. It also had no air conditioning in the rooms. While that might not be a problem normally, the humidity was extremely high and the room was sticky. With its location between two highways, leaving the windows open at night was not an option. Suffice it to say, neither one of us slept well that night.

The next morning we made the short drive down the highway to Linville Falls. While we have hiked in this park before, this time we practically had the place to ourselves. That was a refreshing change from our last hike where Covid brought everyone and their brother out into nature. It was a lovely way to spend the morning. We grabbed lunch in Morganton before heading home. It was a short but very nice change of pace for us.

Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Pkwy, Linville Falls