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.
My previous post included views of three local lakes. The water in a lake is obvious. What is not so obvious is ground water. Unless you're a well driller or a hydrologist, you may not be in the habit of noticing above-ground symptoms of water beneath the surface. The above photo is of a dense patch of Lemmon's Wild Ginger growing in a creek bed on the FRC campus. There's no visible water flowing in the creek bed, but there must be plenty just beneath the surface to support the ginger as well as lots of Corn Lilies, ferns, and White Alder.
This close-up of the ginger leaves shows how the flowers, which grow out of the bases of the stems, are completely hidden unless one parts the leaves.
I parted nearly every pair of leaves and found fresh-looking flowers blooming on nearly every plant.
Across the paved walkway from the patch of ginger is a ditch in which the creek has been confined in order to build the large playing field we call the "lower green." The ditch has a slightly visible flow of surface water. Enough to support a dense crop of aquatic buttercups, Horsetails, various sedges, and Forget-Me-Nots.
At the edges of the creek bed (ditch) are Deerbrush, and on this damp morning there was plenty of dew on the leaves.
There is a rock missing from the large stone fireplace near the Campus Center, and it took very little dirt and water for the cavity to sprout a healthy-looking patch of Burr Clover. This "weed" is a close relative of Alfalfa. With graduation coming in a couple of days, I figure the weed eaters will discover it and eat it.
Looking across the expanse of grass known as the green, one sees a patch of Black Cottonwood, a definite sign of water just below of the surface. This looks to me like the path the creek used to take and is intent on using again. For now, it's a stand-off. We keep mowing, killing gophers, and maintaining the "integrity" of the ditches that keep the water flowing down either side of the campus when it wants to meander down the middle.
Pointless to try to mow between the cottonwoods, so it makes for a nice little wild area where various wildflowers grow, insects visit, deer graze, and birds hide.