Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Blob has grown!

There's a quiet spot on the FRC campus surrounded by the various wings of the MAIN building.  Beneath one of the outdoor stairways there's a stump of what was a 3-foot diameter Ponderosa Pine.  Several years ago, this was a great spot to see the Orange Peel Fungus.  Due to some landscaping changes, they no longer grow there. But late last summer I spotted a small bracket fungus emerging from a crack in this stump.  It has grown.  Probably quadruple the size it was last August.  That's not to mention the portion of the fungus that lies underground.  It could spread hundreds of feet fro this point, going under buildings and paved walkways.  I don't have the means to investigate the extent of the fungus such as this, but just seeing its small, above-ground manifestation fires up my imagination. I also find the reddish brown pigmentation beautiful.  I hope they leave this stump and surrounding area alone for a few years.  Maybe the Orange Peel fungus will come back.

Early Morning Light

Not an original title, for sure.  Many photographers, including Ansel Adams, have names one or more photographs with this title due to the impressive shadows and and lighting on the warmer end of the spectrum compared to mid-day.  When I got to work at FRC the other day, the sun had not risen. But when I walked up the pathway from the parking lot, the sun appeared.  Just before entering the classroom building, I saw this scene.  It took my breath aware.  My phone camera didn't capture the special lighting that my eyes beheld, but I had a strong urge to hike into the forest at this point and go up the hill where there's a view over American Valley and the town of Quincy.  But, instead, I decided I'd better go to class.

Sunday, January 12, 2020


 During winter break, especially early in the morning, there were few, if any, humans walking around on campus, so the wild turkeys were bolder. And there were more (14) than I used to see before Thanksgiving.  Sort of counter-intuitive.:)
Yesterday my middle son Greg and I took a nice, muddy hike on My. Hough.  The road was muddy, and still had patches of snow, but wonderful views of Quincy and Claremont Ridge in the distance. The trees in the canyon right below us glozed as the low light glistened off frost and dew. Click on either photo for a closer view.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Trying to remember high school physics

Click on the bottom photo in order to read (if you need to,  I do).

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

I've traveled widely in Quincy

 Borrowing a quote from Henry Thoreau, who "traveled widely in Concord," I just happened to choose a different parking space on my way to my office.  This gave me a whole new perspective.  Instead of the "view" from the driver's seat being a sign reading "Faculty Parking Only," I was enthralled by my view of a large White Alder surrounded by the variety of other trees that characterize our campus.  Immediately behind the Alder was a Black Oak, and bother were then backed by a mixture of Incense Cedar, White Fir and Douglas-fir. So, I got the camera (AKA phone) out of my pocket and moved in for a closer look.
 The clusters of female cones (foreground) always bring back memories of my model railroading days when I used these Alder cones to adorn my home-made, scale model pine trees.
 Then the male cones, which are similar to the catkins found on oaks and birches were also photogenic.
 On my way back to the parked truck, evidence of Black Oak and Ponderosa Pine on the pavement caught my eye. I resisted the temptation to pick up the acorn shell and practice my whistle.  It was too cold to take off my gloves. 
 Another piece of evidence of the California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggi, was the inspiration for this blog, now 14 years old.
Finally, as I walked across the "green" [I usually avoid the paved pathway], I found this lone Alder beautifully framed by a panorama of FRC's major tree species.  The place where I love watching Ravens and various squirrel species come and go and wild turkeys seeking cover, just in case they think I'm hunting for dinner.


 Lots of people love cat videos.  I love to mock people who love cat videos. But this scene of our cat Dolce I couldn't resist. No video clip needed as he stayed still in this position for a long time. What impressed me is the notion that he might be aware of how attached the family is to this puzzle. Normally, I would expect a cat to enjoy bashing the loose pieces with his paws as if practicing for playing with mice before the kill.  But, instead, Dolce daily hops from the back of the nearby sofa to the bare edge of the card table, then very carefully lies down on the puzzle without disturbing the work in progress.  I am not usually one to anthropomorphize, but this I couldn't resist.
 On the theme of "puzzled," this imaginative cover of Kafka's Metamorphosis  rekindled my interest in Kafka's writing - talk about being puzzled!  I like being puzzled by Kafka's writing.  I also like discussing with my literature students stories about which the critics disagree.  There is no definitive "answer book" for Metamorphosis. Being an insectophlle, I recoil at the idea that the German name for the insect that Gregor becomes means something like vile vermin in English. On the other hand, some critics believe the real metamorphosis the title alludes to is the gradual changes in Gregor's sister over the course of the story, especially after Gregor's death.  I enjoy this kind of puzzle, and Metamorphosis is a relatively short work, so I might have to find the time to read it again.
Finally, another example of puzzlement is the Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa, which, to me, has some of the most beautiful flowers in the plant kingdom, yet, except for butterfly lovers, tends to be relegated to the "weed" category. Since I'm partial to most kinds of weeds, I find beauty even in the dried up remains of last season's crop.  In fact, last week I purposely stopped at one of my favorite "milkweed stops" along the road to Greenville to see if an of these remained.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

An Omen?

I just revisited and updated my post of last October 16.  I was beginning a theme of daily, early-morning observations when I got distracted after posting only a photo of the spectacular sunrise.
Then, further distracted, mostly by school work, I never got back to my blog until New Year's Day. I'm now determined to fix that.  The above photo was taken on a more recent early-morning walk.  I'm sure I'll work this into a lesson in my English classes.  In light of this past weekend's goings-on in the Middle East, the cartoon felt like an omen to me.  This cartoon was posted inside a glass case near the entry door of the Plumas County Museum on Jackson Street.