Nearly a month has gone by without any new posts, despite my recent statements about blogging in earnest. I'm finding that teaching writing classes not only involves lots of time grading papers but also focuses my interest on writing. I'm actually writing a lot in various journals and notebooks, but not focusing in the short run on material I want to post here. We'll see what develops. Let's just say, my cessation of blogging is not due to deterioration of my health. I might be back soon. It probably depends on how spring unfolds - wildflowers, lizards, interesting insects, etc., usually fire me up and prompt me to keep my camera batteries charged.
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.
I'm catching up on things seen around Oakland Camp during a recent hike. The black and red beetle (above and below) is the Dimorphic Flower Longhorn Beetle, Anastrangalia laetifica. These are females, but I wouldn't have known that from a casual glance, if it weren't for the fact that....
...a couple of summers ago, I caught a couple in the act (below). The male, on top, is totally black. I had often seen the sexes separately, always thinking they were two different species. After seeing a couple on a daisy, I did a little library research (Remember library research?) and confirmed that there's a good reason its name includes "dimorphic."
Of the many composites that produce puffy balls of seeds, perhaps the best known locally is the
Common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, which is non-native. Whether or not it's considered an invasive weed is partly a matter of aesthetics and is certainly influenced by culture. The above photo, though, is of the Mountain Dandelion, Agoseris retrorsa, which is native to the Sierra. They can grow quite tall, and the "teeth" along the leaf margins are much more prominently recurved than they are on the Common Dandelion.