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.
I had never heard of this plant until a year ago when Jay Wright and I each spotted it in some front yards in our neighborhood. It took a little doing to identify it, being a cultivar that doesn't appear in our wildflower field guides. We could have asked the owners, I suppose, since they probably bought it in a nursery. At any rate, finally ID'd it as Nigella damascena. It is known by many common names such as...
Love in a Mist, Devil in the Bush, Ragged Lady, and just plain Nigella. There are many cultivated varieties which have their own popular names. Just like with humans, there's this ambivalence - love, devil, hmmm. Which is it?
The most amazing discovery for me was to find it's in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae.
The variety of flower shapes and colors in that family is remarkable. The local example that's now blooming in the woods around Quincy is the Red Larkspur, Delphinium nudicaule. Soon to follow will be the Crimson Columbine, then the Monkshood, among others.