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.
Only about ten feet from the pavement, and I walk by it every day. Yet, I didn't see this Pine Drop until this morning. A member of the Wintergreen family, along with the familiar Manzanita, it was in a shady spot surrounded by tall Douglas-fir. Also, it was around 3 feet tall, so it must have been there for several weeks by now. Maybe on most walks I'm in a hurry or my mind is elsewhere. I still can't believe I haven't noticed it before today.
When you first see one of these Pine Drops, you'd never guess it could be in the same family as Manzanita. But when you get close enough to study the individual flowers it becomes more obvious.
One major difference, though, is Pine Drops doesn't have chlorophyll, so it doesn't make its own food the way green plants do. It gets its nutrients from the soil in much the same manner as the Fungi. It's a saprophyte.