After a slow first five months, I'm back to blogging in earnest. In the forthcoming few months I plan to keep on tracking the blooming of wildflowers, the activities of bugs and reptiles and any other critters I'm quick enough or lucky enough to photograph, and to comment on ecological relationships. Since there is an increasing sense of ecological crisis among many people and more vigorous denial of such on the part of others, I will inevitably comment on the social and political dimensions of survival as I see them.
I am still an adjunct instructor in the English Department at Feather River College, but time permitting, I am available for hire as a nature guide in the region in and around Plumas County. A brochure describing my usual kinds of natural history adventures is in development. Email me c/o firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address and a statement of interests, and I'll send you a rough draft.
I have been teaching since 1965 and have recently joined the English Department as an Associate Faculty member at Feather River College. Recently taught Nature Literature in America and am currently teaching Interpersonal Communication and Basic Reading and Writing.
The area around the Keddie Cascades has lots of different lichens and fungi at this time of year, and just a few signs of the flowering plants about to emerge. The Bird's Nest Fungi (top photo) are difficult to spot, averaging about 1/4 inch in diameter, and often covered by pine needles or fallen leaves. But, they are worth getting the knees of your pants muddy for a closer look. Then there's a great variety of lichens growing on tree branches and trunks, and rocks. Some of the patches on rocks can be hundreds of years old. On the rocky faces along the trail as well as on the roadside either side of the trail entrance there's lots of Sedum (fifth photo from top) that will soon send up stalks with bright yellow flowers. Last, is Pipisessewa or Prince's Pine. This member of the heath family, Ericaceae, must stimulate human creativity because it has been given many different names.
Pipisessewa is probably of Native American origin. All the other names have their reasons, and it can be quite an interesting back door into history to research the origins of plant names.