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 almost titled this one "Off the beaten path, barely." These recently-arrived fungi and the group of Oak Treehoppers, were within 3 feet of the paved path leading from the FRC main parking lot up to the main classroom buildings. I've pointed out these beauties to many people over the past few days, and I have developed a hypothesis: wearing headphones shrinks one's peripheral vision.
There are Shaggy Mane fungi in several stages of development next to the path. The top photo shows the beginning of decay while the one above shows a fresh cap that might have been cut in half by a passing lawnmower.
The above cap was around 4" in diameter. I haven't ID'd it, but there many of these, probably connected beneath the surface. I remember in previous years this type often forms Fairy Rings. I'm looking forward to seeing them again, but it seems the lawns are mowed more frequently this year, so I might be out of luck.
Two more views of Shaggy Manes (above and below). They remind me of a more vertical form of the Giant Sawtooth.
In the same vicinity, there is a mid-sized California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii, that hosts a reliable colony of Oak Treehoppers (below). The is the first time I've seen an adult that was such bright orange. Other adults I've seen are either olive drab with yellow spots or, a completely different look with longitudinal red and white stripes and bulging red eyes. If you scroll back to photos taken in September from 2011 through 2013 you'll find these great little bugs in all their forms. The juveniles are particularly attractive, although without a lens you're unlikely to see them as anything other than bumps on a twig.