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 email@example.com 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.
Last summer I stepped on a Yellow Jacket nest while hiking in Boyle Ravine. I should have paid more attention. I was off the trail, poking around among rocks where Yellow Jacket nests are often found. That's the chance I'm willing to take in order to make many interesting discoveries. A few days ago I was poking around among piles of rocks near the animal shelter in East Quincy when I uncovered the beauty in the above photo. Click on the photo for an enlarged view. The photo can't sting, so try to enjoy the marvelous color pattern and architecture. The air was so cold that the yellow jacket could hardly move, so I knew I was safe. It would be foolish to mess around with Yellow Jackets when they are warm enough to swarm. They are actually wasps and the females can bite multiple times. And they can bite big chunks out of your skin! But, I still admire them. After playing with these photos for a while, cropping them in different ways, I had another stray thought. Years ago when I was taking school bus driving lessons, we were told scientific tests showed that the most readable highway signs are printed black on yellow. So, the Yellow Jacket stands out like a highway warning sign. The implied message: Be careful!