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 email@example.com 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.
In earlier posts I have often shared my observations of plants that seem to respond to lawnmowers by blooming at earlier stages, or when they are shorter, as if to avoid the next mowing. This seems related to the adaptation of prairie grasses to grazing by large hoofed animals. What seems like a roughly analogous situation is occurring on what was my front lawn but is now a brown patch of former lawn. The flowering weeds I like to follow are blooming while much shorter than they do when we have plentiful water. For instance, the patch of daisies in the above photo is around 5" tall.
In another part of the "lawn" are a couple of Salsify blooming at a height of 6". They normally grow to at least 3' before blooming. In fact a couple of them on the shady side of my garage got to 4' tall before blooming.
Dandelions, which invade lawns everywhere, are the main ones I've seen on the FRC lawns blooming at 2-3" and carrying out their entire life cycles below the lawnmower blades. The above specimens are growing in a shady section of my yard and are about 18" tall. In the shady forest adjacent to the FRC lawns I've seen them exceed 2' in height before blooming.
If this drought continues, I wonder if people will develop special kidneys like the kangaroo rats in deserts who never need to drink.