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.
Shooting with a camera, of course. The forest across the driveway from my house is fairly densely packed, tall Douglas-fir, White Fir, Ponderosa Pine, and Sugar Pine, punctuated by a few California Black Oaks and Big-leaf Maples. The ground cover is almost entirely pine and fir needles and broadleaf remains from last fall. In other words, brown. So, at this time of year I wander the area often and celebrate with my camera any fresh new growth that pokes through the layer of detritus. Here are my latest findings: the above photo is a new shoot of Spotted Coralroot undoubtedly growing from the same bulb as the brown remains of a stem from last fall that is still bearing a few dried out and empty seed capsules.
Nearby I found a nice fresh bloom of False Solomon's Seal.
Easy to overlook are the tiny Blue-eyed Mary. These flowers are only about 1/4 inch across and I'm forever trying to get a sharply focused image with my limited-range standard lens. I'm finding so many beautiful, tiny flowers lately I think I need to save up for a Macro lens.
This patch of Bedstraw at the base of a rock looks almost like a landscape designer paid a visit. At my house the Bedstraw are climbing up the foundation of my garage to a height of almost three feet. They can't stand on their own at that height, so they present another interesting challenge to the photographer when they crawl along the ground and mingle with other vegetation.
I forgot to mention that this afternoon of wandering was prompted in part by my remorse over having just mowed my lawn. I was soon diverted back to the house to look for survivors. This tiny blue flower that I haven't yet identified is among those that bloomed below the blades.
I don't usually indulge in commercially bred and raised flowers, but I must admit I like the yellow Irises left behind by the previous owner. They're especially nice at this time of year because the buds with a hint of the future petals fuel my sense of anticipation.
I also like split-rail fences as they represent to me a bridge between nature and cultivation.
Our sole Lilac bush is an olfactory treat. The flowers are past their prime, so soon the butterflies will have to move on, and the seeds will follow. The look of the seeds makes it seem more plausible to the novice that Lilacs are in the Olive family. As I type this during lunch, I'm getting "pumped" (as the athletes say) for a hike on the FRC nature trail. I'll be looking for a plant that a friend calls licorice. I'm guessing it's Fennel. Will bring photo evidence and report back later.