Nearly a month went by without any new posts, despite my recent statements about blogging in earnest. I found that teaching writing classes not only involved lots of time grading papers but also focused my interest on writing. I'm actually writing a lot in various journals and notebooks, but was not focusing in the short run on material I wanted to post here. Finally, in the month of July, I managed to resume my average of one post per day for the month. I plan to surpass that volume from here on out. What I post here, combined with my daily writing in journals, is mostly fine-tuning what I hope to publish in a memoir about my experiences in education as student, parent, teacher, supporter and critic.
Meanwhile, I am still available for guiding local nature hikes. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about rates and parameters of time, distance, and personal needs regarding matters of health and fitness.
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.
Some of these bugs have fascinating names and can keep bug-phobes on edge. The two above photos are of a member of the Family Reduviidae, or Assassin Bugs. I don't know this particular species, but one of its cousins I found last summer is called the Western Bloodsucking Cone Nose. I haven't been bitten or had my blood sucked yet, and I've found their variety of shapes, colors and behavior quite fascinating.
Probably my most photographed bug of the summer is the Common Checkered Clerid which last summer I found mostly on a flower called Checker Bloom, but this year I've photographed it on at least a dozen different species of flowers. I don't know which of these might just be resting places and which might actually be a part of the beetles diet. More observation or reading needed. More fun to discover by observation.
The Dentate Eleodes, most often called a Stink Bug, is fun to play with. When it strikes a defensive posture as above it gives off a sweet cyanide smell. It works. Upon smelling it, I had no desire to eat the bug.
This Longjawed Orb Weaver had spun its web just above standing water where it's easily confused with Water Striders, which are not spiders, but sometimes I've found this one hiding on the stems of plants with four legs stretched forward and four backward, making the entire spider skinny and looking like only a slightly raised portion of the plant's stem.
The Red Milkweed Beetle has passed the peak of its feeding and breeding season, but I did find this one the other day on a Showy Milkweed that has already gone to seed. Watching it chew on the leaves, I sense that it could deliver a pretty good bite, but when I let them walk around on my hand, they never do. To my eye, they rival the Checkered Clerid for the title of Most Beautiful Beetle in the county.
The honey bees on thistle seem so preoccupied with eating that they've never distrubed me when I've walked among dense swarms of them. I like the color combination in this photo.
The most exciting new (to me) bug this summer has been the Thread-waisted Wasp. Never threatened to bite while busy feeding on Indian Hemp and Brewer's Angelica. I did see one successfully defend herself against my cat with a sting or bite on his nose. The cat bit first, or tried to, so....