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.
There is a steep hill above the "lower green" at FRC where the combination of steepness and excessive gravel, and perhaps lack of good soil, results in its not being mowed, or at least not as often as the play area in the flat expanse of grass below. It will probably get attacked by weed eaters eventually. But, meanwhile, we get to enjoy the flowers for which this is a preferred habitat. The photo above is of Pineapple weed, one of my favorite weeds.
Around mid-morning, the Yellow Wood Sorrell, Oxalis stricta, starts to open up. By mid-afternoon, the blossoms close again. This, too, is a non-native plant, but it seems well-adapted to a wide range of habitats.
The Sorrell has interesting seed pod which you can see in the center of the photo below.
When these pods are sufficiently mature and dried out, they explode with the slightest provocation, and their seeds, like little BBs, can be sent up to 10' away from the parent plant. It's fun to be that provocation if you happen upon them at the right stage. I picked a few, and they were still too green to explode. See my next post.
On the way down to my car, in the shady area by the paved walkway, there's a growing crop of Western Dog Violet, Viola adunca.
And, the lone Woodland Star, Lithophragma heterophyllum, that I spotted a few days ago is still looking healthy. This one is growing out of some very dry soil with very little mulch, but it is much more commonly seen growing out of cracks in rock walls.